The Bengals are dealing with issues this off-season that's taken the attention off some serious positives (umm, duh). Thankfully Levi Jones redirected the attention of NFL observers to the team we are going to put on the field; which will be better than last season.
Some of the positives this off-season.
- Cincinnati and Levi Jones agree to a six-year extension.
- Bengals sign free agents Sam Adams and Dexter Jackson.
- Carson Palmer's rehab way faster than expected; a driving hope that he'll be ready for week one.
- Cincinnati gives Bobbie Williams an extension that keeps him with the Bengals through 2009.
Carson Palmer signed through 2014.
Rudi Johnson signed through 2009.
Chris Perry signed through 2009.
Chad Johnson signed through 2010, with an option for 2011.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh signed through 2008.
Jeremi Johnson signed through 2011.
Levi Jones signed through 2012.
Bobbie Williams signed through 2009.
That leaves three starters that are free agents after the 2006 season; Willie Anderson, Eric Steinbach, and Rich Braham.
I WAS IMPRESSED with Jones in his press conference that made his 6-year deal official.
"What it all comes down to is loyalty. They've been loyal to me in 2002 when they selected me 10th overall. I want to be loyal to them and get this done and not have this lingering over our season. We've still got two or three guys that have to get signed. The sooner they got it done, the owner can try to get everyone else done."
About the fans?
"I want to thank the Brown (family), Coach Lewis, Coach (Paul) Alexander for selecting me back in 2002 and believing in me," Jones said. "I want to thank my teammates and the fans. We saw our fans back in that 2-14 season. We saw the pain they were going through. They were going through it with us. They were out there not venting their anger, they actually had pain.
"We saw it. We wanted to change that. Coach Lewis has made the necessary changes that we need to turn this program around. I thank him for the situation I'm in. Exciting times."
For all the talk of negative "character", there better be the same talk from the local and national media in regards to Jones. We have quality people, brought in by Marvin Lewis, that do many things, unprompted, to help the community. Most of these guys are selfless. John Thornton runs an annual Bowling for Autism event. Carson Palmer hosts the Carson Palmer Open and Cornhole Tournament. Madieu Williams runs a free football camp for young kids. Shayne Graham was named an Honorary Chair for 2006 Walk America (March of Dimes event). For all the talk about the Bengals running a "state pen", I'd like to know how many of the critics put in a fraction of the time most of the players on this team do. I suspect the number is "surprisingly" low.
But that doesn't deter the Bob Hunter's of the world who said "The Bengals brought this on themselves". He falsely, for the purpose of increasing his point of "character", mentioned Ahmad Brooks as one who has had a run-in with the law. That's news to me. The only thing Brooks is guilty of is a media's determination to criminalize the entire team; he's had no dealings with the law. He's had some baggage, sure. But he's unfairly characterized because a select few have brought this attention to the team. I wonder if apologizes will come from the critics if Brooks turns out to become a superstar that has shows exemplarity "character". Somehow I doubt it. Columnists are quick to jump the gun but are horrible to admit their false characterizations. We're talking about character, right? That would be the honorable thing to do: but some in the press have zero regard for opinion that's not spun for their benefit. You see that with all political opinion.
Then you have the failed comedy of John Clay who says:
Listen up, Georgetown. Lock those doors. Bolt those deadbolts. Put all valuables in a safe place. Keep off the street. These next two weeks, be vigilant, be very vigilant.
Cincinnati's crime wave reached the point where three days before the team opens training camp at Georgetown College, head coach Marvin Lewis was forced yesterday to talk about the one thing he absolutely, positively did not want to talk about: The character issue.
After all, the Bengals have plenty of characters.
"At this point," said Lewis, "these are allegations."
Yeah, right. That stat that says wide-out Chris Henry has broken the law four times in seven months? Mere allegation. That deal where rookie linebacker A.J. Nicholson committed grand theft? Another allegation. The one where rookie defensive end Frostee Rucker committed spousal battery? Yet another allegation.
Clay reminds me of the type of person that will complain "we should help others" (you know, character), but won't stop on the highway to help someone change their tire. In the media, critics are a plenty; "character" is not. But we know that already, don't we.
Take note of Clay's e-mail address at the bottom of the page -- so when most of the charges are dropped, you can remind him that he should do a follow up story discussing the good "character" that exists on this team.
Finally, I'd like to welcome Chris who will head the new Arrowhead Pride (Kansas City Chiefs) website. The Sports Blog Network is expanding and the NFL teams represented are by awesome and skilled people.
Jones quote taken from Bengals.com.