First, the press release (h/t C. Trent)
The Bengals today signed free agent WR Chris Henry.
Henry (6-4, 200; West Virginia) is a fourth-year NFL player. He rejoins the Bengals after being released by Cincinnati on April 3 of this year. He played in 35 games with 11 starts for Cincinnati over the 2005-07 seasons, with 88 receptions for 1370 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Henry will be on a four-week NFL suspension to open the 2008 regular season, due to violation of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Henry is eligible as of today to join whatever team preseason activities are assigned to him by the coaching staff. He is eligible to play in the final two preseason games. His suspension will begin on Mon., Sept. 1, the start of the practice week for Cincinnati’s Sept. 7 regular season opener. During the suspension, he will be held out of practices as well as Games 1-4. He may resume full activities on Mon., Sept. 29, the start of the practice week for Game 5, on Oct. 5 at Dallas.
A player with a history of off-field problems, Henry was released by the Bengals this spring after being charged with assault following an incident in Cincinnati. But charges against Henry were dropped after a trial resulted in a hung jury, with six of eight jurors voting to acquit him. Henry has no further matters pending in the courts.
The NFL placed Henry on indefinite suspension following the assault charge, but the suspension was subsequently revised to four games.
The Bengals today waived rookie CB Jerrid Gaines of Miami (Ohio). Gaines had been signed as a free agent on Aug. 5.
For the most part, writers and responders from other sites are generally the same. They're optimistically cautious that Henry will help this team, but aren't sold that signing Henry was the wisest of choices. First off, the publicity is something the team wants to avoid. Surely, people are questioning the Bengals decision.
When the Bengals hit the stretch of arrests in 2006 and 2007, I argued that it was small potatoes in that talent will always outweigh character. Henry was that type of risk. At any point he could be arrested, and has been, but when he's on the field, the Bengals have a .600 winning percentage (21-14). You can't argue against success.
Pragmatic doesn't like the Henry signing, but isn't surprised.
Chick Ludwig writes that the Bengals have a lot of explaining to do. "They’re about to do the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the incomprehensible and, yes, even the impossible."
Kevin Goheen wonders if the team is signing Henry because of the unknown time table for T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson's return. Or if the team isn't sold on Andre Caldwell (another health issue) and Jerome Simpson -- which should bring into question the Bengals efforts to draft two guys that aren't ready to play in the NFL.
Eric Edholm thinks that Bengals are walking a dangerous line.
The Bengals are taking a huge risk in bringing Henry aboard again, because they know they will have to sever ties with him again if anything happens. Speeding ticket, jaywalking … if Henry isn’t on strike 2 1/2, then the Bengals just aren’t on the same page as Roger Goodell.
Daugherty calls it a steep price.
Hugging Harold Reynolds (love that name), highlights Henry's Cincinnati stay.
All Dave can manage is a "sigh".
And no, I'm not quitting. I totally lied.