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Esiason: "A Great Time To Be A Bengals Fan"

"Hey're the man!"
"Hey're the man!"

Former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason still bleeds orange and black. Even though he hasn't played a snap for the team in nearly fifteen years, his passion for his old team is sometimes painfully obvious during his many stints as an NFL media personality. And, like many other former Bengal greats, his take on the state of the franchise isn't always positive.

Remember at the beginning of this season when Esiason said, tongue-in-cheek: "Let me be the first to welcome Andrew Luck to the dysfunctional family that is the Cincinnati Bengals"? Boy, is he singing a different tune these days. During this week's media frenzy associated with the Super Bowl, Esiason praised the Bengals and had a rosy outlook for their 2012 season.

Like usual, Esiason didn't pull any punches and let his opinion be known on the state of the Bengals:

"Great time to be a Bengals fan," Esiason said as he headed into a taping in a room opposite the Madonna press conference. "What is there not to like about these young players?

A.J. Green is a freak, man. What a great player he is. They had a great year, now they have to follow it up with a good offseason, a good training camp, use the draft picks for Carson Palmer the right way."

"I think you have an active defense, but they can be a better defense; they can add a couple of guys here and there," Esiason said. "If it wasn’t for this Jerome Simpson issue, you’re fine from a playmaker standpoint. You need another running back or two and you’d always love to have an extra solid offensive lineman.

"But when you think you have the quarterback, the tight end, and the one wide receiver ready to go, now it's adding things piecemeal. It’s not missing the biggest thing you need like the quarterback. Now you’ve got a good opportunity to start adding some pretty good players."

Esiason continued by saying that the AFC North could have a "passing of the torch", of sorts, with the Bengals and Browns having the possibility of taking control of the division in future seasons. He already loves Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and if the Browns end up taking Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (as many mock drafts have projected), the once-mighty Steelers and Ravens could be unseated as the division powerhouses.

Boomer echoes what we here at Cincy Jungle have been stating since the 2011 Bengals campaign ended: the 2012 offseason is critical to the future success of the franchise. They must make the right decisions in free agency and the draft in order to build on the momentum that they created last season.

It's refreshing to hear a positive take from one of the most well-known and outspoken figures in Bengals history--especially given his comments early in the year. Let's just hope that Boomer isn't as wrong about his feelings about the team's status now as he was back in September.