Bengals Name Captains, and Unlike Last Year, No One Was Stripped of Their Title

The Cincinnati Bengals named six captains Monday, five of whom are returning to the role.

Who Are the Cincinnati Bengals Captains for 2023?

QB Joe Burrow, RB Joe Mixon, C Ted Karras, DT DJ Reader, and DE Sam Hubbard will be wearing the “C” on their jerseys again in 2023, while CB Mike Hilton will be doing so for the first time in his career.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said the coaching staff doesn’t offer any input into the captain vote, leaving it completely up to the players.

“They’re the voice of the locker room, and that doesn’t mean that guys who aren’t captains can’t have that voice as well, but they’re the guys I will turn to,” Taylor said.

“We don’t do it every week, but I’ll turn to them, and we’ll have discussions, things that are on my mind about practice or the opponent we’ve got, or things I want to get done in the locker room. So extra voice, I guess you could say.”

Burrow has been a captain all four years he’s been in the league, while Mixon received the nod from his peers for a third consecutive year despite a turbulent offseason that saw him stand trial on an aggravated menacing charge that ended with him being found not guilty in addition to a gun incident at his home in which he was not charged but is a defendant in a civil suit.

“Everybody on the team knew what it was,” Mixon said a few days after the trial ended. “It’s a great thing for everything to be pretty much over with and to be able to hone in on being the best teammate that I can possibly be, being the leader and captain that I am around this team.”

There is recent precedence for players to have their captainship removed. Tyler Boyd was a captain in 2021 but not last year, when he was replaced by Karras, something the receiver admitted didn’t sit well with him.

“This year it doesn’t bother me as much as it did last year because I went from captain and then wasn’t one,” Boyd said.

“Now this year, I don’t worry about it because I don’t know if this is where I’m gonna be next year. I ain’t trippin’ about it. Last year it did bug me. But at the end of the day, I know my value to the team, and I’m still gonna be out there leading guys. Just because I’m not labeled that don’t mean I can’t be that.”

Boyd wasn’t the only one stripped of the honor last year. Safety Jessie Bates III lost his captainship after sitting out of OTAs and most of training camp.

“Obviously, to be a captain, you’ve got to be here. I knew that,” Bates said last November. “But just because I’m not captain doesn’t mean that I can’t be a leader in this locker room.

“I know a lot of guys still look at me in that way. A lot of guys around this locker room were here last year as well when I was a captain. I don’t think my role on this team has changed ever since. It was pretty cool to wear a C on my chest, though.”

This is the third year as a captain for Hubbard and the second for Karras and Reader.

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For the first time in the Taylor era, there is not a special teams representative. Last year it was Michael Thomas, but he’s currently on the practice squad.

Taylor said there is no requirement that players be on the 53-man roster to be a captain and that some who weren’t received votes, with him mostly likely referring to Thomas and Stanley Morgan.

“Obviously, there are new faces here, and those guys have to learn as they go, but overall, I think we have enough returning guys that understand what we’re looking for,” Taylor said. “And I haven’t disagreed with any of the captains we’ve had. So they’ve done a good job with that.”

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