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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball during the second quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

John Grieshop/Getty Images

Even though Joe Mixon didn’t make much of an impact in the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, head coach Marvin Lewis believes his rookie running back has a bright future.

“He’s way better than I expected,” Lewis said on a conference call Tuesday, per Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk. “He’s very, very talented. As a football player, he’s excellent and as a young man, I’m really impressed with him and just the way he carries himself and does things. That’s good. He’s going to have a fine pro career and he’s had one game under his belt now.” 

The discussion of Mixon’s personality could be as important as what he does on the field based on his history.

The former Oklahoma star was suspended his entire freshman year in college after punching a woman in 2014. Three years later, he fell to the second round of the draft, although virtually every team was aware the type of talent he possessed.

Lewis hopes to see some of Mixon’s ability on display Thursday night against the Houston Texans.

The rookie was ineffective in his first outing, as he totaled just nine yards on eight carries while adding three catches for 15 yards. As Adam Levitan of DraftKings noted, he still got a reasonable amount of work in a crowded backfield featuring two other established running backs:

If he can get more snaps and touches as the season wears on, Mixon has a chance to exceed expectations and become an impactful player on Cincinnati’s offense.

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