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Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham calls himself the villain

Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham has had an uneasy relationship with Bengals fans. Instead of dealing with the constant criticism, he embraces it like a villain in Gotham city.

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Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the thing about Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham: If the Bengals re-sign Gresham to a long-term deal, I'd be alright with that. He's talented and has the physical attributes. Gresham is one touchdown away from being only the fourth tight end in franchise history with 20 or more touchdowns. His numbers are comparable to names like Bob Trumpy, Dan Ross and Rodney Holman.

"For me to go for like 1,300 yards, 20 touchdowns and all the fans and people love me," Gresham said when asked what he thinks people want of him.

There's some obvious frustrations on his production... usually relative in comparison with guys like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Yet those frustrations are often applied to the play-calling from former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden... and Bob Bratkowski before that... that seemed to disregard tight end production.

But is Gresham feeling sorry for himself and is it growing into an irritation? As the team approached training camp, Gresham sent the tweet:

On Monday, he tweeted:

Of course everyone thought... "oh no, there was an arrest." There are some "friends" on Facebook who send status updates that are entirely too ambiguous, written with the hope that you'll feel sorry for them. It just places you into a state of "rolling your eyes". Or something. I don't know. We're adults here.

Is this to us? Maybe Andy Dalton.

Now we have to wonder... is Gresham becoming a problem. Or is he just having some fun? Is he playing the villain because that's what fans have made him?

"I would like to do a lot of things," Gresham said in a rare interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I would like to be loved by a lot more people, but it's just the nature of the sport. It comes and goes. I'm paid very well and I have no complaints about it. It comes with the nature of the game."

Richard Skinner asked if that perception will ever change, and Gresham said "no".

"I kind of accept the villain role, and try to be a leader to guys like Tyler who are learning on the way and make sure I'm good for them. As long as my teammates love me, I'm good."

Gresham provides good response in the interview. He thinks that fans hate him, but it's probably a loud few rather than the quiet majority. Either way, there appears to be some tongue-in-cheek references here.

Now that tight end Tyler Eifert is placed on the the Injured Reserve Recall list, and Marvin Jones out for several weeks, Gresham, who opened the season with two receptions for 16 yards receiving in Baltimore, will have the opportunity to piece together a breakout season while on a contract year.