Trey Hopkins on difficult year: Cincinnati Bengals schedule, notes

After Cincinnati Bengals center Trey Hopkins tore his ACL in January, he had a choice to make. Either Hopkins could go through a quicker rehab that got him ready for the season opener, or he could slow down the process and return at full strength. 

For an offensive lineman with a lot to prove, neither option was desirable. Hopkins was going to miss time, or he was going to make a fast return and potentially play the worst football of his career as an NFL starter. 

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) takes the snap from Cincinnati Bengals center Trey Hopkins (66) in the first quarter during a Week 3 NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Hopkins was fully cleared for the first day of training camp in July and has started every regular season game. Since then, Hopkins hasn’t played like the center who earned a three-year contract extension in 2019, and he said this has been the toughest year of his career.

“There’s a lot of things in life that you don’t enjoy doing, things that aren’t fun,” Hopkins said. “I knew when I got hurt, the alternative was being on the sideline or in the training room. I didn’t want to do that. This is what I asked for. They gave it to me, I worked for it, keep (going) with this thing.”

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