Apr 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick speaks during the press conference at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals' Dre Kirkpatrick hopes to avoid "bust" label

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After Cincinnati Bengals corner Dre Kirkpatrick was plagued by injuries his rookie year and relegated to special teams and limited defensive snaps, there’s no certainty he’ll crack the starting lineup in his second year. But the former Alabama All-American knows he could be one injury away from being called upon at any moment  and he’s making sure he’ll be ready to answer the call if it comes:

No doubt. It’s not going to be on me to make that call. But I’ll be ready. It won’t be because of me not being ready. I will be ready. I’m just playing my role.

Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer likes where Kirk is now after coming into the NFL with a bit of a “me-first” attitude:

He’s another one of those guys who, when he came in here, he thought the world revolved around him a little bit. I think he’s finally woke up and said, if we don’t do it the way they want it done, if we don’t understand that this is how it’s going to be, they’re not going to play.

I think he’s come a long way, too, from what I can tell. We’ll see what he does on the field. And he might be a little bit rusty to start out with. But you can never have too many good corners. Those guys are like, they’re brittle.

Kirkpatrick needs to at least stay healthy and play well in the limited snaps he’ll likely be getting in 2013 if he wants to give the coaching staff enough confidence that he can become a starting CB at some point. With Terence Newman, Adam Jones and Leon Hall all signed through next year, Kirkpatrick is facing an uphill battle for playing time.

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