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Bengals looking at McFadden

We spoke about this briefly Friday (it's the post right below this one). Cincinnati is unsure as unsure gets with running backs. Two extremes present themselves. Rather than the optimistic mind set in which everyone returns healthy and Rudi Johnson returns in 2003-4 shape, we're going pessimistic with this intriguing piece that Chick Ludwig wrote about the Bengals being interested in Darren McFadden.

Rudi Johnson keeps degrading with a mixture of age and lowering his lower body strength. Chris Perry's career as an NFL running back remains the same as 2004, 2006 and 2007. Kenny Irons struggles to get his knee healthy. Blah, blah, we all know the issues at that position. Long story short, could the Bengals go after a running back in the draft?

So it wasn't surprising when Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Feb. 22, that he'd consider the Arkansas tailback (Darren McFadden) if he's available with the No. 9 overall pick.

Teams are starting to show concern about McFadden's character which could mean he'll fall in the draft -- especially in an era that the NFL is concerned with character.

McFadden, widely regarded as the best back in this year’s draft class, has raised some serious concerns among NFL people with his off-field behavior. That includes at least two reported altercations – the first occurring at a nightclub in Little Rock in July 2006 believed to have resulted in surgery on his left big toe; the second allegedly following an argument at a piano bar in Little Rock early last month.

There were also reports by The Morning News in Springdale, Ark., and KARK-TV in Little Rock in late December regarding allegations that an agent helped McFadden buy a Cadillac Escalade. KARK retracted its report the following day and apologized to the agent, Mike Conley Sr. The university investigated the allegations and ultimately determined there was no wrongdoing, allowing McFadden to play in The Cotton Bowl against Missouri.

"There’s going to be some stuff that comes out on that kid, I’m telling you," one NFL head coach said. "Just watch. People are going to project him going way up here (among the first two or three picks) and then you going to hear about his behavior and then about this and that and whatever."

I just don't see the Bengals going after McFadden with character concerns and a jam at running back. On the other hand, if McFadden is the type of player that could help the Bengals win, wouldn't you take the chance?