When the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Chris Perry in 2004, I was shocked. Rudi Johnson's awesome 2003 season convinced management that they could trade the disgruntled Corey Dillon and see little, if no, drop-off in production. There would be a shortage of running backs but no one expected that spot to be filled by the team's first draft pick. I was so shocked, I made the point that the Bengals drafted Perry to strong-arm Rudi Johnson into a long-term contract -- he was a restricted free agent. Don't worry, I don't believe that now.
In the last game of the 2004 pre-season (ironically, against Indianapolis), Chris Perry suffered a hamstring injury and missed the season opener against the New York Jets. He suited and played against Pittsburgh (week 4) and Cleveland (week 6) but that was it. During practice on October 20th, Perry suffered a sports hernia and he was eventually shut down for the season.
His 2005 season showed promise and the dynamics Perry brings to this offense was exciting. His quickness to dodge open field tackles and hands out of the backfield were convincing attributes justifying him as the first round pick in 2004.
Against the Colts, Perry finished with a career high 123 yards from scrimmage (82 rushing, 41 receiving). On the Bengals third drive in the second quarter, Perry had three consecutive runs of 5, 16 and 30. Indy, by far, was his best showing as a Bengal. Perry's 51 receptions fell four short of the franchise record 55 receptions by a running back (55, James Brooks, 1985).
The '05 season wasn't void of injury though. On December 11th -- against Cleveland -- Perry would be carted off the field on the last play of the first quarter with an ankle injury (sprain). He finally returned for the last game of the season against Kansas City. He was very ineffective after returning against the Cheifs and the Steelers in the Wild Card game.
During this off-season, Perry had arthroscopic knee surgery on April 28 arthroscopic ankle soon after. The surgeries came after Perry sought an opinion outside the organization because still wasn't recovering but the team said he was fine. Needless to say, Perry is frustrated with the team's medical staff because now he's on the PUP and will miss the first five games of the season -- six weeks including bye week.
As a result, the team's future with Perry is one of broken glass. Is he just a player that's run into a series of bad-luck or is he truly injury prone? There's no question, this offense is better with Perry on the field, but is there a point where his questionable durability just isn't worth it? Should the team fill the roster spot with soemone we know will be there? The team continues to struggle with the Chris Perry dilemma.