Defensive tackle Chris Baker joined a new team this offseason when he signed with the Bengals following his release from the Buccaneers, but there are familiar faces in Cincinnati.
Defensive line coach Jacob Burney and linebackers coach Jim Haslett were both in Washington with Baker from 2011-2014 and both men have fond memories of how Baker played during those years. Baker feels the same way and says the two men “groomed me and really believed in me,” which is why he feels confident he’ll rebound after a disappointing season in Tampa.
“I know the type of player that I am capable of being if I am given the opportunity to go out there and show what I can do,” Baker said, via the Bengals website. “I know I can return to being one of the best defensive tackles in this game. I’m working my butt off each and every day and now that I’m with a coaching staff that believes in my ability, I’ll show everybody what I can do.”
Burney cautioned that his history with Baker “doesn’t mean anything” if Baker isn’t dedicated to being the kind of player he was before his one season with the Buccaneers. Baker has lost weight and says he’s in the best shape of his career as he tries to prove to Burney and the rest of the organization that dedication won’t be an issue.