John Clayton is beating a dead horse with the Bengals. The worst part about this whole thing is that it really takes away from the off-season gains this team made. But we all know the mainstream sports media loves beating this drum because demonizing professional athletes, or teams, that go one step outside the Gattaca line, is what they do best.
Not since the heyday of the NBA's Portland Jail Blazers has a franchise defied the character questions this much. The Trail Blazers kept drafting lottery picks with character problems. Fans became outraged at the constant headlines of arrests and misdeeds and turned on the team. You remember the jokes. Their team charter was ConAir.I'm convinced, if you remove Henry's headlines this off-season, it would receive the same attention as a burp after dinner; noticeable, but it's not the main course.
Sports Illustrated's Don Banks previews the AFC North. Believe it or not, character issues didn't saturate the piece as we see all outlets do with the Bengals (perhaps not enough space).
Potential land mine
Every updated prognosis of Palmer's surgically repaired left knee has declared his rehabilitation to be ahead of schedule, and there's optimism that he'll be right from the start of the season. But for the defending division champions' sake he'd better be, because no other team in the AFC North will live or die more with the fate of its No. 1 quarterback. As Palmer goes, so goes Cincinnati. If new backup QB Anthony Wright has to play much this season, the Bengals could quickly slip right back to the middle of the pack. The season's opening month could tell the story. Looming before a Week 5 bye will be trips to Kansas City and Pittsburgh and home games against New England and Cleveland. Without Palmer playing at his usual high level, that's got a confidence-sapping 1-3 start written all over it.