Hansen Changes Tune After Call From Coach

When Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen was not selected in this year’s draft, he immediately started getting calls from NFL teams that wanted him to sign as a free agent.  Oakland made such a persuasive pitch, that Hansen sent out the following tweet.

But 32 minutes later, Hansen changed his tune.

So what happened?

“Marvin Lewis called,” Hansen told me.  “I thought that if the head coach is calling me, that’s something special and that’s saying something.  He was the only head coach that made the first contact and I figured that they really wanted me if he’s calling right after the draft.  I actually committed to Oakland and told them that I was going to be a Raider, but then Coach Lewis called.  I talked to my agent and he said that we hadn’t signed anything yet and nothing was official.  So I decided that Cincinnati was the right place for me to be.”

How did Oakland react?

“It’s a business and they understood, but they weren’t happy,” said Hansen.

With Andy Dalton entrenched as the Bengals starting quarterback, and Bruce Gradkowski back as an experienced back-up, Hansen’s likely role in camp is to compete with Zac Robinson for the number three spot.

“We watched (Hansen) in the East-West Shrine game and I thought he was – by far – the best quarterback in that game,” said Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.  “He makes quick decisions, he’s accurate, and you can see that he’s tough because he took a beating out there.  He has the ability in the pocket to make people miss and he has a good, strong arm – a lot stronger than you think.  He can really throw it.  He’s done some really good things.”

Hansen was 12-for-17 for 144 yards in that All-Star game after a solid senior season at Colorado under new head coach Jon Embree.  Early in his college career, Hansen had to share snaps at quarterback with Cody Hawkins – the son of the head coach at the time Dan Hawkins.

“He was basically fighting the ‘Coach’s Son’ syndrome,” said Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham who was the TV analyst for some of Hansen’s games at Colorado.  “The coach’s son was the quarterback that he always had to beat out and a lot of people felt that Tyler should have played more than he did.  He has the ability to extend and create plays – when a play broke down; he extended it and made something out of nothing.  Sometimes the plays he created ended up being better than the called play.”

Like most NFL teams, the Bengals typically view their third quarterback as a developmental candidate.  Hansen says a key to winning that job will be mastering Cincinnati’s offense.

“You have to be sharp in everything that you do,” Tyler told me.  “You have to know answers to questions and you have to be quick with it.  I think that’s the biggest challenge for me – learning this offense and knowing the adjustments that Andy, Bruce, and Zac already know.  They’re ahead of me so I have to catch up.

“I think there’s a chance for me to make this team.  As long as I keep competing and keep learning this offense every day, I think that I have a shot here.”

Despite going undrafted, Hansen wouldn’t be taking part in the Bengals OTAs if he didn’t have a shot to be an NFL quarterback.

“It doesn’t matter how I got here – just to get here is something special,” said Hansen.  “On my very first day, I looked on the wristbands and saw ‘NFL’ and it was just a dream come true.  That first day you’re like, ‘Wow…I’m here.’  Every day just keeps getting better and better.”

I’d love to hear from you at Dan.Hoard@Bengals.nfl.net

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