NFL players are constantly finding ways to get extra motivation.
This can come in many ways, but one of the most common is to feel slighted by a bunch of teams via the draft or free agency. This push to prove their doubters wrong is very common.
What isn’t common is a divisional rival talking about using the Bengals as motivation. That is what Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee told The Lounge podcast.
“When you catch whoever you catch, and there’s going to be a time when I catch whoever I catch — I guess that’s going to be the Cincinnati Bengals — snatch one of their souls out their chest.”
McPhee obviously didn’t find the market he planned when he hit free agency. The 31-year-old was a solid player in his second stint with Baltimore. He had 19 tackle, seven for a loss and three sacks, but he was in no way what Cincinnati was looking for when they set out to remake their linebacking group.
The only holdover from 2019 will likely be Germaine Pratt, and the clear theme was athletic linebackers who can cover. The Bengals drafted Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither and Markus Bailey. One thing that makes Cincinnati passing up McPhee string more is that they opted to sign Josh Bynes — McPhee’s teammate in Baltimore last season — to be the the veteran who helps bring along these young players.
It is nice to know the McPhee is circling the Ravens’ two matchups with the Bengals. It is also nice to know Cincinnati is set at linebacker for the foreseeable future with a plethora of athletic linebackers. This could be used as bulletin board material for Cincinnati, but honestly making a statement against the best team in the AFC North from last season should be motivation enough. Players will likely be far more concerned with players like Lamar Jackson or Earl Thomas come game day.
Best of luck to McPhee in a contract season. Maybe this will make the rivalry a little more interesting. It is hard to feel like the Bengals made the wrong choice though.