CINCINNATI — Trey Hendrickson was all smiles after Tuesday’s offseason workout.

After a tumultuous offseason that featured a trade request, the Cincinnati Bengals’ star pass-rusher was firm in his desire to play for the team this season.

“That’s a no-brainer,” Hendrickson said. “I mean, I love this team. I’m in great shape. It’s good to see the guys.”

The three-time Pro Bowl selection rejoined the group this week for the team’s voluntary offseason workout program. Hendrickson, who was second in the NFL in sacks created last season and tied for second in total sacks (17.5), had asked for a trade after the Bengals declined to give him a long-term deal. Last summer, he added an extra year to his contract through the end of the 2025 season.

The move netted him an extra $5 million in salary last year but didn’t have an impact on his 2024 salary or alleviate concerns about the future. Hendrickson said that when he and his agent, Harold Lewis, met with the Bengals to inquire about either a long-term deal or a trade, the answer from Cincinnati’s front office was “pretty firm.”

“You kind of hope for the best,” Hendrickson said. “[In], football, you get what you earn in some ways and in other ways, there’s a business side of it.”

The 29-year-old has been one of the league’s best edge rushers since the Bengals signed him in 2021 to a four-year deal worth $60 million. He has 40.5 sacks since, the fifth-highest total during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Bengals defensive tackle B.J. Hill said there were “no hard feelings” when Hendrickson tried to sort out the contract situation during the early portion of voluntary workouts.

“You just can’t take it personally,” Hill said. “You got to remember there’s also the business side of it as well.”

Hendrickson said that like others inside the building, coach Zac Taylor was supportive as he navigated the contract situation. He also said he understood why Cincinnati’s front office stood firm in keeping the current terms of his deal intact.

And on his side of things, he had no regrets about taking the one-year extension last season.

“My goal was to play here longer,” Hendrickson said. “So, when they offered me a chance to play for Cincinnati another year, I took it. I would take it again.

“I’m not asking for a great business decision. I know that asking ownership, there’s not a lot of ways to cut it. I just know what I can do and how I can do it. And I think my tape has proven that over the last four years as a starter.”


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