HairOnFire Posted August 1, 2007 Report Share Posted August 1, 2007 Re-energized Ratliff already proving that he belongsCornerback's hard work is making believers of his coaches and teammates. By Chick LudwigStaff Writer Wednesday, August 01, 2007 GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Keiwan Ratliff has a reputation for being Mr. August. He shines in the preseason only to disappear when the real games begin.Is this the year he becomes Mr. September?"I want to play in the league for a long time," Ratliff said. "So I've got to prove to the coaches that I can be a player they can count on for years to come."Ratliff weighed nearly 200 pounds when he arrived as a second-round draft pick in 2004. Now he's a svelte 186 — quicker, faster and stronger. With Johnathan Joseph rehabbing a broken bone in his left foot, Ratliff is the temporary starter at right cornerback."This offseason, since it's my fourth year, I looked at it like it was my last year in college," Ratliff said. "I got in the best shape I could, and I'm trying to show the coaches that I want to win a spot. Whether that's a starting spot or a nickel-back spot, I'm just trying to get on the field."He got an earful from strength and conditioning coaches Chip Morton and Ray "Rock" Oliver, and he listened."They preached to me: 'If you're gonna be here every day, you might as well work hard,' " he said. "This was one of the first years I actually went in the weight room and really gave it my all."Teammates and coaches have taken notice. And judging from the tipped passes, solid tackling and blanket coverage he's shown so far in training camp, Ratliff appears ready to make his mark ... so far."Keiwan needs to just keep playing and practicing the way he's doing," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "He's had a great spring and offseason, and he's had a great five days of work here thus far."Added Joseph: "Keiwan's been making plays ever since the spring. He's been re-surging, doing what's asked of him and making a household name for himself."Maybe he can become Mr. September after all. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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