Chidobe Awuzie, the Bengals new starting cornerback who loves chess because it simulates life’s daily treadmill against checkmate, prides himself on first moves. From the Sicilian Defense to the Alapin to the age-old Ponziani Opening, Awuzie has enough game to get noticed by a grand master.
But it was the Bengals’ opening gambit in free agency back in March that left Awuzie the most impressed and in control of the board. They were the first to reach out with money and coaches and even with other teams getting hip and entering the auction later in the day, Awuzie had committed by the end of that first night.
“Loyalty. They were the first team to hit me up and everything made me feel like I could come in here and excel to the best of my ability and help this team win,” said Awuzie after practice one day this week, recalling those first conversations with head coach Zac Taylor, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo and cornerbacks coach Steven Jackson.
“One thing stuck with me when Coach Taylor told me that one thing for sure is they have all the right guys in the locker room and when I come in I’ll see it for myself. So far, that hasn’t been a fib or coach talk. Coach Taylor spoke the truth. That makes players more comfortable when you have a coach telling you the truth.”
The truth is that Awuzie didn’t know that…