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Making The Case For Former Bengals Defensive Back Greg Bright

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While we've examined the best players to wear certain numbers throughout the team's history, we're often reminded that we're just as limited with the context of this teams history. It's an effort on our part to explore the team's history, hopefully prompting our readers to do the same. Expanding our overall knowledge of the team, becoming expert aficionados. Our posts nominating players for a poll, with extensive research, still fall short sometimes because we're not given the context of that history. It's no different than generalizing a Cedric Benson one-yard run. Was it on third-and-two on the Bengals side of the field? Or was it on the one-yard line with three seconds left in the game, down by four points? Context is important in most of our discussions and history-based analysis of this team is no different.

Case in point is our poll for the best Bengals player to wear No. 47. We listed five players and the information provided with those players is gathered through a collection of newspaper clippings found during the period they played, as well as the more routine statistical sites.

Charlie King (1968-1969): Spent two seasons with the Bengals as a backup cornerback. He posted one interception with the Bengals that was returned for a touchdown in 1968. He also returned a punt for three yards in 1969.

Greg Bright (1980-1981): Also spent two seasons with the Bengals as a backup safety, posting an interception in 1980 and punt return that gained no yards.

Steve Maidlow (1983-1984): Two seasons with the Bengals as a linebacker, starting two games in 1984.

David Frisch (1993-1994): Frisch wore No. 47 in 1993, changing it to No. 83 during his second season with the Bengals.

Corey Lynch (2008): Probably the most recognizable name on the list because he was the most recent to wear No. 47, Lynch posted an interception during only seven games he played with the Bengals as a backup safety.

While we feel the comprehensive information we provide helps make an informed decision on these polls, we're also completely aware that there's always more, once we're given some context.

Lynch, who only played seven games in his Bengals career as a backup safety, overwhelmingly won the poll, most likely because he was the most recent player to sport the number (and that's a completely different discussion). And because we didn't offer context on the selections.

However, former Bengals defensive back Greg Bright recently reached out to us, giving us a quick update on his two-year career with the Bengals. First of all, Bright wasn't a backup safety during his rookie season; he was actually the only defensive back that started every game during the 1980 season. As we pointed out in the original post, Bright also posted an interception and three fumble recoveries that year.

Now onto that context.

Against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 30, 1980, the 244-pound Chiefs fullback James Hadnot took a first quarter handoff when Bright "buried his helmet deep in Hadnot's chest". The impact resulted in a fumble that linebacker Bo Harris recovered while Hadnot "sprawled on the Arrowhead Stadium floor for several minutes".

Former Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer Tim Sullivan wrote after the game:

The word intimidation is an overused word in football, but it is also a factor that should not be overlooked. Bengals head coach Forrest Gregg said Monday that Bright's hit set the tone Sunday for his defense, the first defense to hold Kansas City without a touchdown this season.

In hindsight it would be the only game that the Chiefs didn't score a touchdown. Sullivan went on to feature Bright, who was nicknamed Macho and appeared destined for a productive career in the NFL, building a physique that Sullivan writes was only rivaled by linebacker Reggie Williams.

The best quote in the piece? Bright's definition of Macho:

"My definition is being able to take are of yourself, being an aggressive person," Bright said. "It's the opposite of being a wimp."

If Bright played for the Bengals today, he'd easily start. Anyone that wants to punish ball carriers should.

Bright's career would end prematurely with a knee issue. But apparently he wasn't finished with his punishment of the enemy, so Bright jointed the United States Army and became an officer for 20 years, with tours throughout the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

Oh, what could have been.