Bengals Draft Busts #3: Ricky Hunley

I told you once already, I was not the father on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

We like to point out how draft busts often hurt a team's overall development. For the most part, that's always true. But sometimes, in the end, a bust can actually become a benefit for a team. We pointed out earlier this week that Jack Thompson, the third overall draft pick in the 1979 NFL Draft, actually ended up helping the Bengals because Ken Anderson, who started getting healthy again, resumed his focus as an elite quarterback in the league at the time.

Much of the Bengals Super Bowl XXIII roster came from the 1984 NFL Draft, including one highly drafted holdout that may have poured the cement for the team's successes in the late 80s. Let's quickly go through the draft. Bruce Kozerski, named as an alternate in three Pro Bowls (1988, 1989 and 1990), started 138 games in 12 seasons for Cincinnati. Bruce Reimers started 64 games, primarily as an offensive guard for eight seasons. Linebacker Leo Barker was one of the team's linebackers in nickel packages for eight seasons, until 1991. Brian Blados, somewhat of a disappointment as the team's third first round pick that year, only started 60 games. Drafted in the third round, running back Stanford Jennings career is highlighted with a 93-yard touchdown return in Super Bowl XXIII for Cincinnati.

Then there was Boomer Esiason, drafted in the second round as the 38th overall pick. Most of you sort of remember him.

But who is this holdout, this first round draft selection in the 1984 NFL Draft that actually made the Bengals better by not signing with the team? That player was Arizona linebacker Ricky Hunley. A first consensus All-American linebacker in 1982 and 1983, Hunley was introduced into the college hall of fame in 1989.

This August 15, 1984 New York Times article writes, updating the lengthy holdout that seems to be the status quo in the NFL anymore.

Hunley, a linebacker from Arizona, has missed a month of training camp and, through his agent, Howard Slusher , has reportedly been seeking as much as $500,000 a year in a package that would include an expensive car, insurance policies and real estate as well as cash. In announcing the team's refusal to negotiate a deal with another club, Mike Brown, assistant general manger, said, ''While this will cost the Bengals a draft choice, we prefer to pay this price instead of setting a precedent whereby a player can force our club to trade him by holding out.''

Good god. Are we in a time machine are we are talking about Carson Palmer?

Eventually the Bengals did trade Hunley's rights to the Broncos for three draft picks, which ended up being Tim McGee (1986 first round pick), David Fulcher (1986 third round pick) and Greg Horne (1987 fifth round pick).

After not signing with the Bengals forcing the organization into sacrificing their seventh overall selection in the 1984 NFL Draft, you have no choice but to call Hunley a bust. But unlike other busts on our list, this is one where the Bengals actually benefited greatly. Hunley, who could be argued to being one of biggest busts for the Broncos as well even though he started two Super Bowls, went on to have an average career in Denver, playing only four seasons before joining the Cardinals and Raiders to close out his career in 1990.

In return for the trade, the Bengals received draft picks and selected players that would become major contributors during the team's Super Bowl run in 1988.

Ironically, Hunley returned to Cincinnati in 2003 as a linebackers coach for rookie head coach Marvin Lewis, where the two met in Washington the previous year. Lewis was forced to fire Hunley after five seasons as the linebackers coach in 2007 for a defense that ranked as one of the worst in the league. Admittedly, it seemed somewhat unfair to fire a coach that had to deal with so many season-ending injuries at the position, but there you have it.


Are You Smarter Than The Experts?
Correctly predict the first 32 picks of the 2011 NFL Draft and you’ll win $10,000,000!
BEST ROUND EVER IN PRIMETIME
Enter at
facebook.com/BudLight
Here We Go

Enjoy Responsibly ©2011 Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Bud Light® Beer, St. Louis, MO. ©2011 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. No Purchase Necessary. Contest open to U.S. residents (except CA) 21+. Contest begins 12AM CDT on 4/1 and ends 5:59:59PM CDT on 4/28. See Official Rules for complete details. Void where prohibited.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker