Sometimes, a Bengals player leaves Cincinnati and has negative things to say about the franchise and city. Just think back to Jonathan Joseph’s ugly exit when he complained, “In Cincy, we’re told how much Gatorade we could take home,” in calling the Bengals cheap. But, former Bengals kicker Shayne Graham has only had positive things to say in recent weeks when reflecting on his time in Cincinnati. A few weeks ago, he detailed the mistakes he made in leaving Cincinnati and this week, he signed a one-day deal to retire as a Bengals player.
Graham, with the help of the Bengals’ organization, penned a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, informing him of Graham’s ceremonious retirement in Cincinnati. Here’s the heartfelt letter, via Bengals.com:
Dear Commissioner Goodell,
My decision to retire from football was not really my own, as I have found that time is undefeated.
But I have made the decision to “retire as a Bengal,” and that decision is all my own, and a very easy one to make.
Mike Brown and the Bengals organization have supported my desire to be recognized as a Bengal for life, opening their arms just as they did in 2003, when they brought me into this organization. I didn't know it at the time, but I became a part of a family. I made a relationship with a team and a community.
The value of these relationships has been priceless. There is no contract that can ever put a dollar figure on the bond that was created with my time here. I leave playing professional football as a better man than when I started. I made mistakes and I grew from them, and together with this city I found that my purpose was not to play a game, but to be a part of something bigger.
The Bengals are a family that I will always be grateful for. To all the coaches, employees, teammates, fans, and friends I made in my time in Cincinnati, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget the smiles from children, the hearts of those that cared more for their community than themselves, and the organizations that welcomed me to being a part of their outreach.
Cincinnati will forever be the lasting cornerstone of my NFL career.