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Hometown player trying to earn his stripes

CINCINNATI (Perry Schaible) -- It's the dawn of a new day at Paul Brown Stadium. Dozens of men are on the field for organized team practice activities. It's the first day the full team is together. Some have made the team, others are trying to stand out to make a name for themselves.

Number sixty-three Larry Black Jr. is among them,  fighting for a spot on the fifty-three man roster.

This is Black's second year with the Bengals, but he has yet to play in an NFL game. Last season, a crushing blow, Black suffered a dislocated ankle and broken fibula during a routine practice drill. The injury was caught by HBO cameras for 'Hard Knocks.'

Black said, "I watched it one or two times, I won't watch it again though."

The Bengals put him on the injured reserve list and the long journey back to the gridiron began.

"When it happened on the field, I was like 'football is over' but I talked with the Bengals, I did my rehab and stayed the course and stayed strong minded and prayed. Things turned out right."

Black spent the year stewing, then thinking, and eventually getting motivated. Today, he is back on the field at Paul Brown Stadium, once again fighting for a spot on the team. He keeps the cleats and the socks he was wearing the day he was hurt in the trunk of his car.

"Just a reminder to know that I made it back from it and that I can keep striving and getting better day in and day out."

Now, it's time for the guts to get the glory.

Black said, "I'm gonna have that tough mindset and go out there and play ball."

It's a long process.  The first game of the season is in Baltimore on September 7th. Black is ready to make his childhood dream of playing for the hometown team a reality.

Follow Perry Schaible on Twitter @Local12Perry , and LIKE her on Facebook.


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