Bengals owner, Mike Brown, is fully aware of the fans concern regarding the character issues with a few players. So much so, it has fans, commentators, radio show hosts, questioning if this is the route we want to go. Sure, there's plenty of talent, but most fans in the NFL put a premium on a player's character in one of the most violent sports in America. It's the new-age argument, "is talent more important than class?"
Mike Brown, on Bengals.com, addressed that concern:
"We want our fans to know that we share their concerns regarding the recent off-field conduct of several Bengals players. We expect our players to be good citizens, as most are, and we hold them accountable for their conduct under team and league rules.The NFL gossip site, Pro Football Talk, comes out and says that Mike Brown was the one that picked up Ahmad Brooks -- a player that's been red flagged to have character issues.
"We are closely monitoring these matters. All are currently pending and they will be addressed in accordance with the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, including possible disciplinary action.
"Regarding this week's selection of Ahmad Brooks in the supplemental draft, we are aware of no pending allegations of any kind against Ahmad. The club's judgment is that any past transgressions were insufficient to deny him an opportunity to prove himself as a responsible NFL player.
"Coach Lewis and I look forward to meeting with our local media at our annual Pre-Training Camp Luncheon on July 26. As usual at this event, we will both be available to respond to any and all questions."
A league source tells us that, although Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has plenty of influence over the composition of his team's roster, the decision to select Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks in the third round of the Supplemental Draft came from owner Mike Brown.I have to advise however that PFT is merely a gossip site that provides a "humorous" opinion and shouldn't be taken into consideration as factual.
Our guess? Lewis is putting the word out that Brown made the decision in order to deflect a mounting storm of criticism regarding the team's addition on Marvin's watch of guys like Chris Henry and A.J. Nicholson and Odell Thurman and Frostee Rucker and Fahu Tahi.
Even if Brown did in fact make the decision, we wonder what if anything Marvin had to say as the boss was pondering the possibility. Did the coach say, "You know, this guy's college coach is putting out the word that the kid is a turd, and there are reports he failed multiple drug tests"? Or did Marvin merely keep his mouth shut and let nature take its course?
Our Internet gambling money is on the latter.
And the irony here is that Brooks became a necessity for the team because Thurman, also a linebacker, has been suspended for four games to start the season due to violation of the league's substance abuse policy. (Despite reports raising the possibility that the suspension is the result of a missed test, the substance abuse policy doesn't require a four-game suspension for a first strike; to reach the level of having to sit four games, there must have been prior positives and/or skipped tests -- and likewise a four-game fine without a suspension.)
So what's next? Drafting a receiver with a bad reputation in 2007 to replace Henry? A defensive end who likes to smack around the ladies in 2008 to replace Rucker? A linebacker with a taste for other people's stuff in 2009 to replace Nicholson?
Really, the situation in Cincinnati is beyond amazing. And as one league source mentioned to us on Thursday, few if any members of the "real" media have anything to say about it.
Meanwhile, Bengals fans generally are tolerant because they're starved for a winner[that's factually incorrect; most fans are questioning these decisions]. But as we suggested on Thursday after word broke of Brooks' selection, the locals will turn on Lewis quickly if/when the team with too many turd returns to its pre-2005 form.