Originally with the 17th overall selection in the 2004 draft, the Bengals engineered a trade that swapped first-round picks with the Denver Broncos, while Cincinnati also received a Pro Bowl cornerback. Cincinnati acquired the Broncos' first round pick (24th overall), the Broncos fourth round pick (117th overall) and cornerback Deltha O'Neal. Enjoying the idea of acquiring additional picks via draft-day trades, Cincinnati swapped first-round picks with the St. Louis for the Rams 26th overall selection and fourth round pick (123rd overall).
After all was said and done, the Bengals picked up two fourth round picks and cornerback Deltha O'Neal -- a 2006 Pro Bowler. All things considered, this wasn't a bad idea. Cincinnati finally used their first-round pick on running back Chris Perry. During his senior year at the University of Michigan, Perry posted 1,674 yards rushing and scored 18 rushing touchdowns. In college, Perry finished fourth in the 2003 Heisman Trophy voting and won the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's best running back. Perry was named the Big Ten MVP, won the Jim Brown trophy winner in 2003 and First-Team All-American all in the same season.
As we've pointed out throughout this entire process, we do believe it's unfair that injured players could be featured as busts, like David Pollack or Ki-Jana Carter. Regardless, being a bust isn't a complex science. And injuries killed his career. During his rookie season, Perry suffered a hamstring strain in the preseason and his season abruptly ended with a sports hernia during practice in late October. He had two carries that year -- hence, two-carry Perry. Brilliant, govena'. Thanks, Turkish.
Perry began the 2006 season on the PUP list (Players Unable to Perform) with knee and ankle injuries, finally returning to practice in mid-October. His season lasted a month before suffering a right ankle dislocation against the Cleveland Browns in late November. Perry was never medically cleared at the start of the 2007 season and his roster exemption expired by late November. Perry never played a down that season.
After Rudi Johnson was cut before the 2008 season, Perry was finally handed the keys as the team's feature back. After six starts, in which he averaged 2.6 yards/rush and fumbled five times, the Bengals shifted focus on the newly acquired Cedric Benson for the rest of the season.
Unquestionably, Perry's career-year came in 2005 when the running back nearly broke a franchise record for most receptions by a running back with 51 grabs. He also scored two receiving touchdowns that year and averaged 4.6 yards/rush on 61 carries. It was also the most games he played in a single year (14).
Perry was finally released on April 27, 2009 at which point he became a journeyman for two United Football League teams, the Florida Tuskers and the Sacramento Mountain Lions.