The Cincinnati Bengals started the 2009-10 season on HBO’s Hard Knocks and, against all odds, became one of the NFL’s most likable teams. From Carson Palmer’s subtle humor, Jordan Palmer’s runpee.com and Chad Johnson’s additions to our vocabulary (child, please) to Marvin Lewis’ nice-guy-who’s-super-intense persona, everyone was loving them some Bengals.
When Chris Henry tragically passed away midseason it only expanded Cincinnati’s bandwagon. Then last week when Rey Maualuga announced he was going to enter a 30-day rehab facility following his recent DUI arrest, I thought “Wow, that’s responsible of him.” For almost a year now it has seemed the Bengals’ PR department wasn’t asleep at the wheel. They were doing everything in their power to make the team they represent look good in the public eye, after years of embarrassment. Then owner Mike Brown started doing what he does worst: trying to add players to the roster.
Brown, who has long been criticized for not employing a general manager, just signed chronic problem child Matt Jones to a contract and is reportedly also interested in getting Adam “Pacman” Jones into a Bengals uniform. You have got to be freaking kidding me.
Despite a wealth of physical ability, Matt Jones has had numerous run-ins with the law, been arrested for cocaine possession and has violated his probation as well. The guy just can’t stay out of trouble. He’s a 6’6 receiver with sub-4.4 speed who had 65 catches in 12 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008, but was such a disruption that they didn’t bother to bring him back. That should tell you something.
Frankly I don’t think I need to go over the litany of issues surrounding Pacman Jones. Marvin Lewis is a big proponent of giving guys second chances, but Pacman has burned people more than twice. Pacman was a close friend of Henry, who happened to be another problem child for much of his career. But that’s not reason enough for the Bengals to take on the risk that Adam Jones would pose to the team.
The issue here is that Mike Brown is looking at talent and not personality. He did the same thing with mammoth offensive tackle Andre Smith in last year’s draft. While Smith may turn out to be a Pro Bowl anchor for years, the Bengals seemed completely blindsided when Smith held out for most of training camp and showed up out of shape when he did report. Everyone on the planet those things would happen. Yet somehow Brown was completely shocked at Smith’s immature attitude towards the NFL.
So should Mike Brown even be considering adding two problem children like the Jones boys?