Of Gil Brandt's top 100 undrafted free agents in NFL history, none were ever signed by the Cincinnati Bengals. Listed 17th, Coy Bacon, signed by the St. Louis Rams in 1968, did play for the Cincinnati Bengals for two seasons, even posting 22 quarterback sacks in 1976 before it became an official statistic in 1982. Bacon's two seasons in Cincinnati resulted in Pro Bowl performances in 1976 and 1977.
But he wasn't a happy defensive end in Cincinnati. Along with denouncing the franchise, Bacon's dislike for the Bengals' conversion to a 3-4 defense led to him demanding a trade. And he wasn't the only one. Defensive back Lemar Parrish, a cornerback many grade higher than Ken Riley who posted 65 career interceptions, also demanded a traded while complaining for several seasons that he wasn't being fairly compensated while hating on Paul Brown because the head coach never complimented his players. Some quotes from Parrish in 1976.
"Paul never showed any affection for the guys," he added. "I don't care how good you are or how good you play, a guy likes to hear something from the coach."
"No cornerback in the league is better than I am, but a lot are getting paid better than I am."
"If they can't meet my salary standards, I got to move. I can't spend glory."
The Bengals traded Bacon and defensive back Lemar Parrish to Washington for the Redskins first round pick in 1979 before the start of the 1978 season. Paul Brown said at the time that Bacon "became expendable" after the team drafted Notre Dame's Ross Browner as the eighth overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft. And Brown was right. Browner, the team's elected Most Valuable Player in 1978, set a Super Bowl record for most tackles by a defensive lineman in Super Bowl XVI, finishing with 59 quarterback sacks -- third in franchise history.
The Bacon/Parrish trade to Washington resulted in the Bengals selecting 12th overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft. Louisiana State running back Charles Alexander became their choice. Seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Alexander posted 2,645 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns and a 3.5 yard/rush average, never leading the team in rushing.