Late last season, we started to hear rumblings that Jay Gruden and the other coaches were very high on Practice Squad receiver, Armon Binns. So much so, that they were trying to find a way to get him on the 53-man roster and onto the field. It never really worked out for him last year, but when the team opted not to re-sign Jerome Simpson, they let Binns battle for the open No.2 receiver spot with Brandon Tate.
Most people outside of Cincinnati weren't very familiar with Binns. Cincinnatians knew of him from his days at the University of Cincinnati, but everyone knew him as the undrafted free agent that couldn't stick with the Jaguars and was barely hanging on with the Bengals. Now, he faces off against the team who gave up on him initially this Sunday in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Binns is reflecting on where he's at and where he has been. It seems as if Andrew Hawkins wasn't the only Bengals receiver on a path to redemption.
While Hawkins doesn't hold a grudge against his old team that tossed him aside (the Rams), Binns has a bit of a different point of perspective. His being overlooked is something that continues to drive him:
“It’s something I’ll never forget. I talk to Urb (wide receiver coach James Urban) about it all the time. It’s something that motivates me. Being looked over. Being told you’re not good enough is something that’s very hard for me to let go and it’s something that drives me to be as good as I can be when I come to work every day.”
Binns had his first career touchdown last week against the Redskins and has made a number of good plays in consecutive weeks. He's not the speedster that Hawkins is, but he excels at making some tough catches and provides good size at the position.
In his sitdown with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Binns reflected on what he went through in 2011:
“I heard from a few teams. It just kind of was a waiting game,” said Binns of the couple weeks between getting cut by the Jaguars and signing with the Bengals. “When you get let go at the last cuts, everybody really has their team set, so you’ve kind of got to wait until someone gets hurt or something else doesn’t work out. I was little banged-up in Jacksonville. Fresh out of college so you know you’re really getting adjusted to the program and the speed of it. I think coming here was the best thing for me to sit on the practice squad and really learn and grow as a player.”
“I think anybody as competitive as we are in this business would feel that way, going back you want to show them that you are good enough and that they passed up on something good,” Binns said. “You don’t want to get too big on any one game. You want to go in there and you want to do your job. The game is not about me. The game is about our team going to Jacksonville and coming out of there 3-1.”
It's that experience that's led him to contributing through the first three weeks into the season, and hopefully again this Sunday against his former team. He's now become a great tool for quarterback Andy Dalton to use in conjunction with Hawkins and all-world receiver A.J. Green, as well as tight end Jermaine Gresham.