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Bengals Banter: Mike Zimmer Wins Halas Award

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One of several yearly Pro Football Writer's of America awards is the Halas Award; awarded to the person that has overcome the most adversity from the previous season. In early May, Mike Zimmer was one of several players and coaches nominated for the award. Players and personnel included Tom Brady (torn ACL and MCL in 2008), O.J. Brigance (director of player development for Baltimore and having Lou Gehrig's disease), Cadillac Williams after tearing a tendon in his right knee in 2007 and left knee in 2008) and Joe DeCamillas and Rich Behm (injuries suffered during the Dallas Cowboys' collapse of their practice facility).

This week, Zimmer won the award, suffering the impossible passing of his wife and still putting together the league's fourth best total defense.

Said Zimmer about the award: “Anytime your name is mentioned with George Halas, and all the other people who have won this award in the past, it’s a terrific honor. It’s a credit to our players and coaches, (head coach) Marvin (Lewis), and my kids. They helped me hang in through the adversity. If I hadn’t had them, it would have been harder to continue on. Our veteran core group of players really helped me in a number of ways. They were a strength for me.”

While every nomination was worthy and maybe the PR thing is to say that everyone should win, Zimmer most definitely deserved to win the award. Not to degrade what others have gone through, Zimmer could have just as easily suffered any sort of mental breakdown at any point after his wife's passing. Instead, the defense rallied behind their leader, who of all things kept them focused and the Bengals put together one of their best season-long defensive performances in franchise history.

+ About last night: Jason talks about the new Madden game with released rankings, the release of four-game ticket packs that went on sale Monday and the team's "cool down" of their OTAs.

+ If Marvin Lewis leaves after this season because he wants a little more organizational restructuring (could we get any more generalized?), he'll be the quickest coach to leave his team after winning NFL Coach of the Year.

+ The anticipated return of Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker surprises the wide receiver. The first team he'll play in the regular season? The Cincinnati Bengals.

+ The Old Spice Marvin Lewis Football Camp kicks off Tuesday.

+ The Baltimore Ravens were forced to cancel their final week of OTAs (scheduled for next week) by the NFL because they "violated the rules concerning the intensity and tempo of drills conducted on the club's organized team activity days."

+ Clark Judge writes about ten things that should change in the NFL, which includes a rant on Warren Sapp.

There is a difference between a difficult interview and a difficult guy. Dan Fouts could be a difficult interview. He was not a bad guy. Warren Sapp could be a bad interview, but he's a worse guy. I can't tolerate him, and that's based on numerous visits inside the Tampa Bay locker room when he was one of the so-called "leaders" of the defense. Some leader. I saw him bully reporters. I saw him humiliate a teammate after a tough loss. I saw him bump into an official, get fined and then get threatened with a suspension. I saw him behave in such a boorish and churlish manner that I wondered why anyone would spend two seconds trying to get to know a guy you couldn't wait to get away from. Then he retired, and the NFL Network hired him. Huh? Sapp isn't the "laughable, loveable Warren Sapp" he's made out to be; he's a self-absorbed jerk who treats people the way he treated quarterbacks. He doesn't need a timeout. He needs people to do unto him as he does unto others, and that should start with the NFL Network.

+ Open competition in Denver leaves the Broncos with a quarterback controversy that could see Tim Tebow or Brady Quinn the team's starting field general over last year's starter Kyle Orton.

+ Even though the Reds lost 6-5 to the San Francisco 49ers Giants, Cincinnati drafted University of Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal.