clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Not blaming Thurman and Henry on ownership

Anytime anyone talks about the Bengals, I feel this obsessive need to chime in, agreeing with the post or simply breaking it down. "Pigskin Podcast" decided to take a swing questioning the Bengals commitment (mostly ownership and coaching staff). I can't say that I quite understand the 2005 NFL draft example as to questioning their commitment. If anything, picking up players that develop "character issues" should prove that the team will acquire anyone, at any cost, to win.

...the Bengals missed on five of the seven draft picks in 2005, four out of seven if you want to be generous and give them a free pass on the Kieft injury

In truth, I can't see how we blame ownership and the coaching staff for the 2005 draft class. Pollack's broken neck is a freak accident; I can't put that on the coaches and front office. Odell Thurman and Chris Henry, their rookie seasons, were awesome (like we have two potential Pro Bowl superstars, awesome). Thurman lost his mind and Chris Henry is, well, he's Chris Henry. I know there's momentum for the demand that owners and coaches turn into nannies, calling their players to check in with them, etc... In truth, they spend countless hours developing game plans, scouting opponents, free agents and rookies. They shouldn't be responsible for them like nannies (is your employer any more suffocating or intrusive?) that takes time away from the thing that truly matters in sports -- winning. Eric Ghiaciuc is a starter, Jonathan Fanene could prove as vital among a defensive line rotation that shows promise (that's my insufferable optimism). Adam Kieft and Tab Perry could out of the NFL because of injuries suffered while IN the NFL.

Let's recap. You can't say that Pollack, Kieft or Perry were misses (injuries shouldn't be blamed on coaches and front office failures... ha, though there is the point of questionable medical staff issues, another time). Fanene and Ghiaciuc are still playing -- one of which is a starter. And depending on your point of view, Henry and Thurman may or may not be "misses". But they were huge contributors for the Bengals 2005 playoff run. Huh?

Odell Thurman was nominated (along with Shawne Merriman, Lofa Tatupu, DeMarcus Ware and Cadillac Williams) for the Diet Pepsi NFL rookie of the year. Like Merriman (primary reason why suspended players for violating drug policy are no longer eligible for the Pro Bowl), Thurman failed a drug test (by missing the test). Like Tatupu, Thurman was charged with a DUI (it should be noted that Tatupu pled not guilty). Thurman was also a finalist for Defensive Rookie of the Year. In 2005, when Thurman played, he was by far the team's best defensive player. If you want to blame the coaching staff -- the hope for a nanny-like lockerroom -- then go for it. Again, this is totally based on perspective. Mine is that I believe the "miss" is from Thurman's own actions; he has no one to blame but himself (he's suspended indefinitely now). The coaching staff did nothing wrong here; they drafted a hell of a defensive talent, he betrayed them. When the Bengals drafted and started Thurman, no one called up the radio shows, wrote in their respective blogs about the horrible selection that Thurman would become. Thurman IS a bust; but blame should hardly be given to the Bengals. Unless that's your thing, just to rip the team. If so, go to town. I won't stop you.

In his first two seasons, Chris Henry recorded 15 touchdowns receiving. T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson thrived with him in the lineup; another "major" reason why the Bengals made the playoffs their rookie season. Three years later, his house and car were repossessed and potentially faces another year-long suspension. Again, if you want to blame the team for Henry's five arrests (I think that's what it's up to, I lost count), then go for it. Based on my own perspective, I can't. Henry is a man grown that was easily persuaded by less-than-reputable people making his own decisions that now faces consequences far more than he can pay.

The only logical argument to make, regarding commitment and the 2005 draft, was keeping Thurman and Henry around -- though the CBA made it awfully difficult to simply dump them. So the Bengals tried to rehab them. And it never worked out. But the point can be made that the Bengals tried to keep two stellar talents at the risk of looking foolish in the media and among the NFL community -- even putting up with pissed off Bengals fans -- proves that they do, in fact, commit.

I do have to give Pigskin Podcast credit. They hit the nail on the head with the team's lack of scouts, horrible defensive progress (or great defensive regress) during the Marvin Lewis era. Lacking an indoor facility, making questionable contract decisions, having a family run the front office stubbornly refusing a General Manager, etc... As for answering the call for "commitment", the only that truly makes sense in the piece is the scouting department. It's actually a good read, though I personally don't agree with their points (but that's alright, we can all be cool by disagreeing, right?)

Moving on (with a twist of irony).

Since Jason Shirley's re-trial doesn't begin until August 27, the defensive tackle will be able to work through all of training camp. The problem could be this: if he's found guilty, he'll likely miss time on a Chancellor Roger Goodell suspension -- along with the time missed while in trial (which could be kickoff weekend). You can read all of Shirley's updates here.

As per's Adam Schefter, the Bengals have either expressed, or still show, a limited interest with LeCharles Bentley. Expects a "decision" to be made after July 4 and it wouldn't him if it were "one of the AFC North teams".

The Bengals waived long-snapper Tim Bugg.