From deep behind the clear visor of his black- and orange-striped helmet, Bengals RB Jeremy Hill tried to avoid entertaining the many thoughts in his head that were too deep for the moment. But it wasn't easy.
Benched for committing the gravest of football sins -- turning the ball over not once, but twice -- the starting running back was relegated to spending the closing minutes of a tight game serving as cheerleader for an impressive Giovani Bernard, while also thinking hard about how he had to prevent turning these activities into a weekly occurrence. The fumbles that led to his benching had been a relatively foreign concept in the days before he settled into a Bengals uniform.
But now they are.
"You could definitely start saying it's an issue," Hill said of his seven fumbles through 18 career NFL games. "I can be happy and in denial about it, but it's definitely become an issue and it has to get fixed."
Hill spent the final 22 minutes, 53 seconds of Sunday's home opener standing next to the coaches while Bernard went off. There was no indication who would get the start in Week 3, but Hill is going to have to correct the problem or it's going to cost him playing time.