We're back with our second installment of the morning Quick Takes on the Cincinnati Bengals blog. Here are five thoughts to get your day going:
1. Hall takes a step. We knew the day would eventually come when injured Bengals cornerback Leon Hall would return to football activity. According to Bengals.com, it has. After all, he and head trainer Nick Cosgray had a timeline, one rather similar to what they had two years ago when Hall had the misfortune of trying to return from the exact same injury. That 2011 injury, one to his left Achilles, sidelined him for the latter half of the season. He had the advantage -- if there is such a thing in these cases -- of hurting his right Achilles a few weeks earlier in the 2013 season, giving the Bengals hope that he would at least progress a little quicker this time around. He appears to be right on schedule to make his full-strength debut ahead of training camp in July. After the 2011 injury, he was cleared to full activity a couple weeks before the 2012 training camp started. Hall says he is "in a good place right now." It looks like we'll see him out there in a few months, as expected.
2. Hall's place. Right now, Hall says he's working on cuts, turns, back-peddling and breaking on the football. His training had previously revolved around getting the Achilles healthy again and to the point where it could do each of those things. He and Cosgray still aren't practicing in poor weather that might cause more harm than good, but they are doing enough to get Hall's body back used to doing everything it could before the latest injury occurred. ... When Hall returns by training camp, he'll be joining a cornerbacks group that will of course include fellow veterans Terence Newman and Adam Jones. Younger players Dre Kirkpatrick, Chris Lewis-Harris and Brandon Burton also will be part of the crew, as will newcomer R.J. Stanford, a free-agency addition who previously played in Miami. Chances are high another one or two young cornerbacks could tag along in July, as well, with expectations high the Bengals will use draft picks on such players. So where would that leave Hall? Still very much in the starting rotation, where he and Newman could trade snaps at the No. 1 left cornerback position. With high odds that the Bengals will see a number of three- and four-receiver sets this year, expect Hall to remain at the primary slot corner spot, too. As old as the Bengals are in the secondary -- Hall will turn 30 by the end of the season, joining Newman and Jones -- they also will be very deep there once they get their longtime vet back to full health.
3. Charles awaits court. Another update we didn't get to in Monday's Quick Takes has to do with Bengals H-back Orson Charles and where things stand following his March 31 arrest for wanton endangerment. Charles was in court last Friday while I was still off. He entered a not guilty plea 12 days after Richmond, Ky., police said he allegedly waved a gun at a motorist while traveling down Interstate 75. The road-rage incident has the Bengals in their normal mode of waiting for more facts to be revealed before commenting. It's about the only stance anyone, the team or otherwise, can take at the moment. Still, it should be noted that Charles is facing some serious charges and the people around him are approaching them that way. His attorney, Michael Eubanks, told Lexington, Ky., television station LEX 18 News after Friday's plea hearing that his team was doing its own investigation into Charles' arrest and the circumstances surrounding it. If convicted, Charles could be sentenced for one to five years. He'll be back in court April 23, when a preliminary hearing begins.
4. Dane's back. We mentioned on the Bengals blog Monday that receiver Dane Sanzenbacher re-signed with the team for an amount just less than the tender he had been offered back at the start of March. Like the other two restricted free agents the Bengals had at the time, Sanzenbacher was given the low-round tender, which equaled about $1.43 million for the 2014 season. The tender was offered that low in hopes that other teams wouldn't go much higher than that if they wanted to reach out to any of the three free agents. In Andrew Hawkins' case, those plans backfired. Cleveland offered him an amount much greater than the Bengals' tender. It was one they couldn't match, allowing him to leave. It's interesting that Sanzenbacher ended up signing for just $1.2 million on his one-year contract. The Bengals had leverage in his case, though, seeing as how he was inactive for seven games last year and he wasn't a major piece to the offensive puzzle.
5. NFL Nation TV. Plug time. Be on the lookout on ESPN.com's NFL pages around 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday where a link will go live to a Spreecast chat featuring yours truly, Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez and Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold. We'll be talking about all three teams, as well as all the latest headlines around the league in a new, interactive live chat that the NFL Nation team is excited to launch. Should be fun and informative for all. Paul and I will be regulars on the weekly segment, so check often for it. The event begins at 2 p.m. ET.