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The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to build off one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, but there was a major question whether or not star safety Jessie Bates was going to be alongside as they bid for another Super Bowl run. To his chagrin, the club elected to use the franchise tag on Bates earlier this offseason. Without a long-term deal secured, Bates had spent the majority of his offseason away from the organization. Until now. 

As first reported by Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bates reported to the team's facility on Tuesday, ending his holdout. The 25-year-old did not sign his franchise tag nor did he report to the start of training camp on July 25 after the two sides were unable to come to terms on an extension. Now that he has officially signed his $12.9 million fully guaranteed deal for the 2022 season, Bates can join his teammates on the practice field.

The Bengals brass had been hopeful that this would be the outcome with Bates as he was a key piece during their Super Bowl appearance a year ago. In the playoffs, Bates totaled two interceptions, allowed opposing quarterbacks to combine for a 35.6 passer rating, and opposing receivers hauled in just 36.4% of their targets against him. With those figures in mind, this is a major pillar of Cincinnati's defense who is now back in the fold at a pivotal time of the summer. 

This week, the Bengals are holding joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams, which is being used as a dress rehearsal for the starters before the regular season. Having Bates on the field during this period will certainly help him get back up to speed and be ready to roll by Week 1. 

Bates has spent his entire NFL career with the Bengals to this point after the club drafted him in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Wake Forest. He was a second-team All-Pro in 2020 and has blossomed into one of the top safeties in the league. In 63 career regular-season games, Bates has totaled 10 interceptions, 35 pass breakups, and 408 tackles.