The 2011 NFL season is a quarter of the way through and the Bengals are 2-2. So far this season, Jermaine Gresham has caught 16 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. With 12 more games left on the regular season schedule, Gresham is on pace to catch 64 passes for 748 yards and eight touchdowns.
If that happens, Gresham would do something that no Bengals tight end has done in 16 seasons. Not since the 1995 season has a Bengals tight end racked up over 700 receiving yards. Gresham would also have one of the top-five receiving years for a Bengals tight end since the 1980 season.
In 1995, the Cincinnati Bengals, led by quarterback Jeff Blake, finished the season with a 7-9 record (4-4 in AFC Central which consisted of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Oilers and the Jacksonville Jaguars), which allowed them to finish second in the division after the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That year Carl Pickens racked up 1,234 yards and 17 touchdowns and was selected to go to the Pro Bowl. After him, Darnay Scott had 824 yards and five touchdowns on 52 catches and then, in third place, was Tony McGee, the tight end.
McGee caught 55 passes for 754 yards and four touchdowns that year and that was the last time that a Bengals tight end had that kind of season.
On top of being the first Bengals tight end to have a 700-yard or better season since 1995, Gresham, if he continues this pace for the rest of the season, would have the fourth best season of a Bengals tight end since 1980.
In first place would be Dan Ross' 1981 season in which he caught 71 passes for 910 yards and four touchdowns on the way to the Bengals' first Super Bowl berth. Ross was less than 100 yards from being the team's leading receiver that season. Chris Collinsworth led the Bengals that year with 1,009 receiving yards.
In second place would be Michael Lee Harris' 1984 season in which he caught 48 passes for 759 yards and two touchdowns. This was Boomer Esiason's rookie year. Even though Ken Anderson played the majority of the season, Esiason ended up starting in four games on the way to an 8-8 season.
In third place would be Tony McGee's 1995 season which I talked about earlier.
In fourth place would be Jermaine Gresham's 2011 season if he keeps up his current pace.
And in fifth place would be Rodney Holman's 1989 season in which he caught 50 passes for 736 yards and nine touchdowns. The Bengals, led by Esiason, finished with the third-ranked offense and the No. 15 defense in a league of 28 teams, but they still finished with an 8-8 record and failed to make the playoffs.
Ross, McGee, Harris and Holman. If you're a tight end in the NFL and you play for the Cincinnati Bengals, those are three good names to be associated with. If Gresham continues to do what he has done for the first four games of the 2011 season for the next 12 games, his name will be right next to their names in the Bengals record books.