I know that character discussions are one of those things that we tire talking about -- no thanks to me, right? The topic is mostly generated when the Bengals acquire a player with history and the media constantly reminds us that character is always a problem with the Bengals. Aside from the fact that the media -- like the one north of Cincinnati that I won't name (Dayton Daily News) -- struggle to believe that the Bengals have moved on with better stories like winning ten games in a season and going to the playoffs, the issue of character isn't really that big of a deal to most of us anymore.
However, KUSports.com has a very engaging article that examines Dezmon Briscoe's fall to the sixth round being related to his off-the-field issues and how that little fact could be the best thing that happened to him. What were those problems?
For starters, there was a charge for shoplifting in 2007 followed by problems attending class and a suspension or two for violating team rules. No big deal at the time and certainly nothing that stood in the way of him becoming a record-setting wide receiver and one of the best the school ever had seen.
Oddly enough, Matt Tait argues (and I agree with it) that Briscoe's chance to make the most of himself in the NFL may benefit him because of the situation he's fallen into with 31 other teams passing on him.
Maybe all this will work out in Briscoe’s favor. I mean, he is going to the Cincinnati Bengals, who have a franchise QB, Carson Palmer, and an incredible veteran receiver in Chad Ochocinco for the Dallas native to learn from. If Briscoe were taken in the second round he may have entered the league with a little too much swagger and expected things to be easy, to be handed to him because of his status as an early-round pick. But now, as a sixth-rounder, he’s going to have to earn everything he gets.
Briscoe’s always been best when driven by a little adversity. Even though a little song and dance along the way might have moved him up the draft board, falling to 191st overall could be the best thing to have happened to him.
Former teammate Kerry Meier said it best, when asked to size up his former teammate a little more than a month ago: “Any time you can get him involved with and around football, you’re going to find good things,” Meier said. “He just needs to stay around football and ultimately stay focused on the task at hand and concentrate on being the best football player he can be.”
I know what you're thinking. Why am I bringing up past character issues with a player? Unlike the stories that just give the Bengals (or their players) grief, this one examines it in a positive twist that could present Briscoe as a receiver that makes the most out of the situation he's given. Aside from the fact that the Bengals keep acquiring players that other teams won't touch -- and actually getting the most out of them -- these players turn out to be model teammates that do what they have to do to help this team win. In other words, the things we hear of these players never surface while they're with the Bengals.
And that's the point that most outsiders are missing with the Bengals these days.
Much like what happened with Bernard Scott, Briscoe is now given the opportunity to ditch his past and become a very good football player with a team that made the playoffs last year with more expectations in 2010. The fact that he's forced to do everything perfectly to make the squad and get playing time is encouraging. The last time the Bengals drafted a guy with some off-the-field stuff in the sixth round turned out to be a damned good value last year.