The future of Orson Charles is murky, at best.
Having spent most last year's training camp on the proverbial roster bubble, Charles was "saved" for the 53-man roster because the coaches viewed him as being the more versatile. He could catch the football, block defensive linemen and play special teams. For a team that desires versatility on their roster, the educated on Cincinnati's historical thought-process saw Cincinnati selecting Charles over fullback John Conner a mile away.
Charles, the team's fourth-round selection in the 2012 NFL draft, played 67 offensive snaps in 12 games played last year -- of which 37 were against the Baltimore Ravens in week 17 when Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert rested with injuries.
On Monday night, the third-year H-Back was arrested and charged for wanton endangerment after brandishing a firearm during a road rage incident.
According to a copy of the incident report obtained Tuesday morning by ESPN.com, Charles was stopped by Richmond police on Interstate 75 after a complaint was called in by another driver. The other driver indicated to police that Charles brandished a firearm in his direction several times while driving down the highway sometime just before 8 p.m. Monday. At some point, Charles allegedly cut off the other driver. When police arrived and did a search of Charles' car, a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun was found in a purse.
Even before losing his cool (and mind) on the I-75, Charles wasn't guaranteed a spot on the team's 2014 roster. Specific to the team's failure to embrace him as a contributor, Charles path for opportunity isn't as enthusiastic as it once was. Because this is his first violation of the league's personnel conduct policy (had a DUI a week before the NFL draft), he may escape any suspensions.
Cincinnati may look to acquire a natural fullback for Hue Jackson, who desires an effective running game that theoretically should feature a good fullback -- rather than using displaced tight ends. If Cincinnati wants to re-acquire Conner, a seventh-round pick to the New York Giants may do it. There are still free agency options, along with Chris Pressley, who hasn't played a down since 2012 when he tore an ACL against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Either way, Charles' Cincinnati career is precarious. The Bengals have publicly admitted a desire to stave off players with character issues but once they're on the team, they're far more forgiving (read: Jones, Adam). It wouldn't be surprising if he's on the roster during training camp this year, but don't write his name into the team's final 2014 roster until early September (if at all).
At least Charles wasn't this guy.