The Columbus Dispatch

Bengals’ Bates taking wait-and-see approach

- Dave Clark

Pending free-agent safety Jessie Bates III, who just completed his fourth season with the Cincinnati Bengals, turns 25 later this week.

“There’s some interestin­g conversati­ons that will be coming up here soon,” Bates told the NFL Network. “Hopefully I’ll still be a part of (the roster) in Cincinnati. There’s just something special about the group, the young guys that we have in there. There’s a lot of good things to come there in Cincinnati whether I’m there or not.

“There is a business side of this . ... I put the work in. I’ve done my part. The rest of it is in God’s hands. So we’ll see.”

Bates was asked whether he’d play under a franchise tag.

“That’s a conversati­on I think that we’ll have with my agency and my team,” Bates answered. “I put a lot of trust in them with this whole process. I just try to stay focused, control what I can. We’ll see. Hopefully, I am not under a franchise tag.“

Bates was the Bengals’ second-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft. He has started all 63 games in which he’s played over the past four NFL seasons, in addition to four postseason games, and said he would like to remain in Cincinnati.

“Absolutely. I know what type of men are in that locker room, along with the guys who are leading us,” said Bates. “We have awesome coaches. From the strength staff to people upstairs.“

Bates had one of the Bengals’ two intercepti­ons of Los Angeles Rams quarterbac­k Matthew Stafford in Super Bowl 56. He also intercepte­d Tennessee Titans quarterbac­k Ryan Tannehill in Cincinnati’s playoff win in Nashville.

“I’m only three hours away from here, my hometown (of Ft. Wayne, Ind.),” said Bates. “So being able to have my family ... is always a positive as well. So I look forward to being a Cincinnati Bengal, but we’ll see what happens.”

 ?? GARY A. VASQUEZ/USA TODAY SPORTS ?? “I look forward to being a Cincinnati Bengal, but we’ll see what happens,” said pending free agent safety Jessie Bates.
GARY A. VASQUEZ/USA TODAY SPORTS “I look forward to being a Cincinnati Bengal, but we’ll see what happens,” said pending free agent safety Jessie Bates.

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