When you chronicle the past 15 years of Marvin Lewis’ tenure as the Cincinnati Bengals’ head coach, there are major ebbs and flows. Whether it’s the joys of the rebuilding projects from 2003, 2009 and 2011, or the heartbreak of seven first round playoff losses, Lewis remains a polarizing character.
So, when you get an inside look at the team from a player who had first-hand experience with Lewis and the Bengals, it brings about interesting discussion. On this week’s Orange and Black Insider, we hosted former Bengals tight end, Nate Lawrie, who spent parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons in Cincinnati. And, aside from telling us about his exciting new business venture (www.brazyn.com), Nate recalled a number of different aspects of his two-year stint with the club.
At the risk of sounding unprofessional, Nate is, in short, a pretty chill dude. He was quite candid about his personal experiences with the Bengals.
We asked him about the recent departures of two longtime locker room leaders in Domata Peko and Andrew Whitworth—two guys he had the pleasure of playing with—and his respect level of both guys was obvious.
“I have the utmost respect for both of those players,” Lawrie told us. “Andrew (Whitworth) was a younger player when I was there, but just dominated on the line. He was a guy that everyone in the locker room respected and got along with really well. Sometimes you get guys who are great on the field and not in the locker room, but Andrew wasn’t one of those.”
“Domata (Peko) I feel the same way,” Lawrie continued. “A big hunk of mass in the middle of the defense who got the job done and soft-spoken off-the-field. I don’t know what it is about the Samoan players, but kind of soft-spoken off-the-field, very respectful, but very dominant on-the-field.”
Scott Schulze also asked him about his transition from a small Catholic high school in Indiana to becoming a Yale University tight end. He expressed it was a long road from high school to the pros, and you have to respect his eight-year NFL career and newfound entrepreneurial spirit.
When we asked Lawrie about some specifics in his time with the Bengals, he noted that the front office definitely operated differently from the other four professional franchises he spent time with. Additionally, he noted that the late-2000s had the drama we all had heard about for years.
“There was always a decent amount of drama in the locker room when I was with the Bengals,” Lawrie told us. “You had Chad Johnson, who, shall we say, fit the NFL receiver personality. He was a loud personality on-the-field, but he wasn’t as loud in the locker room.”
Lawrie also noted his respect for Carson Palmer, both in the midst of what he faced in Cincinnati and the success he has had since joining the Cardinals. Lawrie said that sometimes being “a fly on the wall” in the locker room toward the late-2000s was quite the experience.
Aside from his Bengals experiences, Lawrie also told us about his new business venture with www.brazyn.com. He noted his football injuries and recovery processes as the catalysts to his business. If you’re into fitness, recovery, physical therapy and the like, be sure to have a look at the products Brazyn offers.
Thanks to Nate for joining the program and for his candid demeanor. We’re hopeful he’ll join us on the program in the future, as Brazyn continues to grow.
You can also listen to the interview on SoundCloud.
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