Former Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh didn't leave the greatest lasting impression upon his departure from Cincinnati. No, it wasn't LeBron level of leaving. It was more along the lines of the same sports fairy tale of player leaving for greener pastures, then making off-handed remarks that he didn't think were insulting; yet the fans and good people of Cincinnati found insulting.
"It’s so different from Cincinnati, where I played for eight years. When you’d go out there, there were always people stopping you to take your picture or get your autograph. In Seattle, you can just go about your business. There are so many millionaires out there that they couldn't care less who you are."
It very well could be that he complimented Bengals fans in a round about way, saying that Cincinnati was much like his personality; blue collar worker that's always willing to speak their mind without filters. Like boycotting Madden because he felt his rating wasn't good enough. Then again, why would he insult Seattle when he made the comments playing the Seahawks. Bengals fans too exception to the comments, and they should.
In his final three seasons with the Bengals, Houshmandzadeh averaged 98 receptions, 1,042 yards receiving and 25 combined touchdowns. In 2007, Houshmandzadeh recorded a touchdown reception in eight straight games; only Jerry Rice had a longer streak dating back to 1970.
Houshmandzadeh left Cincinnati for Seattle, signing a five-year deal worth $40 million, with $15 million guaranteed. Looking back now, he probably thought the guaranteed money was brilliant, especially considering the Seahawks cut Houshmandzadeh after only one season, catching 79 passes for 911 yards receiving and three touchdowns -- which was his lowest touchdown total since 2003 when he missed the entire season. Before signing his contract, Houshmandzadeh felt insulted by the Bengals initial low-ball offer during negotiations; though there felt a twinge of regret leaving Cincinnati for Seattle -- the Bengals going to the playoffs and Seattle finishing 5-11 had a lot to do with it. Though we suspect that being labeled the self-proclaimed go-to guy might have something more to it.
Houshmandzadeh eventually found his way to the Baltimore Ravens, who were trying to give quarterback Joe Flacco weapons for a playoff run. In 11 games this season, Houshmandzadeh has 17 receptions for 291 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He's only recorded more than two receptions in one game and his 56-yard touchdown reception against the Carolina Panthers is the only game this season he's gone over 50 yards receiving. The Bengals shut him down in week two.
So naturally, James Walker asks Houshmandzadeh about the state of the Bengals; a team he hasn't played for since 2008. "I thought they were going to be really good, especially when they beat us [in Week 2]. We turned the ball over a bunch. But wow! It shocks me. It really does." Houshmandzadeh also sees no chance that Palmer leaves Cincinnati after this season and believes that Chad Ochocinco will return. On whom the coach will be in 2011 if Marvin Lewis doesn't return?
Maybe not so much this year, but the defense has played well. So maybe they let [defensive coordinator Mike] Zimmer get it. Or do they bring in a guy like [Raiders offensive coordinator] Hue Jackson? Everybody on the team knows he will command your respect right now. You're going to have fun, but you're not going to cross the line. Hue and Carson would work well together. Maybe Marvin does go back. But if not, Zimmer is there and he likes those guys. Zimmer is the reason why the expectations became so high, because of what he's done for them on defense.