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Mike Zimmer On Rey Maualuga: Takes Everything To Heart, Holds Him Back

Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator reacts to Rey Maualuga's comments.

© Frank Victores

Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga is feeling a little sorry for himself. Believing that Saturday's game would determine if the Cincinnati Bengals would retain their starting linebacker and now he's not sure if they'll have him back, writes Geoff Hobson with

"I felt as if the playoff game was sort of like, if I perform well, they would want me. I don’t know if they want me, but I do know I didn’t perform well. If I did well, good results will happen," Maualuga said. "I felt as if those plays cost our defense due to my actions and where I was and how I didn’t execute it. So who knows? I really don’t know if they want me back."

In fairness to Maualuga, he's owning up to the performance with two plays that he stick out in his mind. A 13-yard Arian Foster draw after Cincinnati took a 7-6 lead and Owen Daniels 18-yard reception that moved Houston out of their own endzone.

That's the systemic problem with Maualuga, according to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Bad plays affect him too much.

"He takes everything very hard, takes everything to heart and sometimes that holds him back. We were talking about it today," Zimmer said. "That was two days ago that we played the game. I said, ‘You’ve got to let that go.’ That’s not doing him any good to harbor all those thoughts that he let this guy down or me down or the team down. Because he didn’t.

"He’s very conscientious about not making a mistake, and if he does, it stays with him a little bit, yeah. He made some good plays in that game, too. Some real good plays. But because he’s the middle linebacker, he’s like the quarterback," Zimmer said. "A lot of people probably don’t see the plays where the defensive line messed up, and there was enough of those, too. Or they don’t see what the corner or safety did if the ball’s not thrown to them. Know what I mean? There were others where he just happened to be there and for some reason he’s kind of a lightning rod for people."