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Minicamp: O'Neal's Redemption, Keiwan's Impression and Cincinnati's Forgiveness

I believe that people that get sour after not getting a raise, are examples of Carson Palmer's described selfishness. More importantly, Cincinnati fans, who are examples of fans that demand blue-collar workman-like attitudes, will quickly turn on a player that pouts for being underpaid.

We would love to have Deltha back in the lineup playing to his 2005 form. However, for the past year, the fire has been lit on his bridge and he came close to burning it down. Even though he doesn't admit it, his play was mediocre compared to talent -- or proven results. Marvin Lewis, a guy that historically has always kept quiet, has publicly soured on O'Neal.

Yes, he admitted frustration the Bengals didn’t come to him after his big 10-pick year in ’05 and give him a big-time contract extension to match other top cornerbacks. He indicated Friday that he had talked with the front office then and now, and it just isn’t happening after he took what can be viewed as a generous five-year, $10ish million deal because he was trying to get out of Denver before the 2004 season. (Bengals.com)

So while Odell Thurman and Chris Henry are trying to walk a path of redemption, Deltha O'Neal, in very different scenarios, is walking that same path. As O'Neal said, perhaps as fans and media, we never really gave him credit for playing hurt. After all, our club was so decimated with injury that we needed guys to play hurt to stay afloat -- which we ended up sinking anyway. He sat three games because of a shoulder injury suffered against San Diego.

"I was just trying to fight for my team. I always want to do best for my team…You could say I came back too early. Just trying to make that run for the playoffs," O’Neal said. "After I got hurt I wasn’t 100 percent. But I’m not going to put that out in my excuse because I got out there. If I wasn’t 100 percent, it’s up to me to either to go out or sit down." (Bengals.com)

I liked O'Neal for a time. Then reports came out that his head wasn't into the game. That he and Tory James took Johnathan Joseph away during training camp lunches whereas the team remained together. Denver folks slightly soured on O'Neal for many of the same reasons we have soured on him.

"I hope you all have mercy on me. That's what I hope," the normally reticent O'Neal said in a long interview Friday between minicamp practices. "I know if I was in top shape, my performance would have been quite better than it was last year.

"I played well, up until that San Diego game where I got hurt." (Enquirer)

As Cincinnatians, we may be rough bunch. But we're also very forgiving.

HOBSON continues in his "action on the corner" article with Keiwan Ratliff.

Keiwan Ratliff, the second-rounder from 2004 who has never been able to convince the coaches he can be a solid nickel corner, has them raving this spring and he lined up opposite Joseph with the first defense Friday.

Coyle, always impressed with his smarts and presence, has noticed he’s playing "with a little more burst," and praised Ratliff for how fiercely he’s competed against both run and pass.

"Keiwan is one of the smartest defensive players I’ve been around in college and the NFL," Palmer said. "He just understands the game. He understands concepts of offenses, not just a certain route. He’s been kind of waiting for his opportunity. He’s had Tory James and Deltha in front of him, so it’s been tough for him. He plays well against Chad (Johnson), he’s played well against T.J. (Houshmandzadeh). He just really hasn’t had his opportunity yet and he’s just waiting for it."

As for Ratliff, he shrugged. When asked what he’s done differently, he offered, "Nothing. I’m just getting a lot more opportunity to do it now. When Deltha didn’t show up, I’m next in line as far as experience so they threw me in that spot." (Bengals.com)

Updating the injury at minicamp file: (Bengals.com)

  • Rudi Johnson returned to practice after battling a stomach virus. However, Reggie Kelly is still working on pancaking one. (OK, that was horrible, I know)
  • Levi Jones and Jeremi Johnson still haven't practiced rehabbing respective injuries.
  • Antonio Chatman left practice after suffering from dehydration. It's been crazy hot in Cincinnati the past week.

Most of the players on yesterday's injury list were still out.

Best Quote came from Ahmad Brooks in response to the potential return of Odell Thurman:

"It just steps the competition up even more, and that's what we need as a group — somebody with a good motor," linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. "He brings a lot of intensity to the team. He wreaks havoc out there, and I do the same." (DDN)

Finally, Mark Curnutte recanted on a recent story about Chris Henry's "failed drug test". Of course, you have the embarrassing comments from idiot readers that feel the need to shred the guy's work -- you know, it's that anonymity that gives some of these people that overwhelming sense of protectionism... and cowardice. After Curnutte admited fault, he was shreded. Makes me rethink the whole forgiveness in Cincinnati idea.