Marvin Lewis: Benson Got Sucker-Punched

Marvin Lewis is aware of the reputation his team has built when it comes to legal trouble. As the Bengals’ head coach, it’s in his best interest to try to clear the air on some of the issues surrounding his players when he has an opportunity. According to ProFootballTalk, Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquirer that his running back, Cedric Benson, was not responsible for the bar fight that lead to his arrest back in May. Here are Lewis’ comments about the incident, via ProFootballTalk:

The truth about Cedric is that he got sucker-punched in a bar,” said Lewis, who’s overwhelmingly confident that he’s accurately received all the facts from Benson’s late-May assault charge. “Cedric got attacked in a bar. Only because it was Cedric Benson does it become news. I think that’s something you have to understand.”

“I don’t know why we’re even talking about Cedric being suspended a game,” Lewis added. “I don’t even know why we’re bringing it up. To me it’s unbelievable. It wouldn’t be brought up in 31 other cities in the country I think.”

Maybe Benson really wasn’t at fault, but let’s not play dumb here. Saying it wouldn’t be brought up in 31 other cities is an exaggeration since the media feasts upon these types of stories. We’re talking about him being suspended because the bar fight arrest marked the fifth time he’s been booked in his life. Forgive everyone for assuming he’s guilty until proven innocent. I like Marvin Lewis and I have no problem with a coach going to bat for his players, but don’t act like the media is blowing things out of proportion when one of those players averages about an arrest per year.

Marvin Lewis goes to bat for Benson [ProFootballTalk]

Bengals Disgrace Themselves by Signing Pacman Jones, Have Lost Me as a Fan

Three years ago I mocked the Bengals because their players couldn’t stay out of trouble by ranking their players’ arrests based on the crime. After bad boys Chris Henry and Odell Thurman were heavily suspended by the NFL, I figured the Bengals would learn not to harbor poor character guys for fear they wouldn’t be able to make it onto the field. Clearly that was nothing more than a hope, because the Bengals proceeded to take players with major character issues in each of the past three drafts. 2008 pick Jason Shirley was kicked off his college team and arrested for DUI, 2009 pick Bernard Scott had been arrested five times, and 2010 second-round pick Carlos Dunlap got popped for DUI the week of the SEC Championship game. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bengals brought on Cowboys castoff and firearms dealer Tank Johnson who’s managed to stay out of trouble, Larry Johnson who had several assault arrests in Kansas City, and Cedric Benson who worked out nicely for the club.

Cincinnati must have been convinced that they were doing the Lord’s work, because the recent success of the team got to their head and they decided to do the stupidest thing I could imagine this off-season. The Bengals brought in cocaine user and all-around idiot Matt Jones and strip club addict and trouble magnet Pacman Jones for workouts. They signed Jones but were initially unimpressed with Pacman. A few months later, they agreed on a two-year deal with Pacman Jones who’s set to sign this week.

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Bengals Once Again Appear to be Out of Touch with Reality

andre-smithAs we approach week 2 of the preseason, three first-round picks remain unsigned: Michael Crabtree for the 49ers, Aaron Maybin of the Bills, and none other than Andre Smith of the Bengals. Even though Smith had said he wanted to get into camp early so he could begin learning immediately, the Bengals don’t seem to be helping matters. In fact, they anticipated a holdout all along, probably because they know they low-ball their draft picks. Check out the latest, disturbing information:

According to those familiar with the negotiations, the Bengals last offer to Smith was five years at the base at $28 million and a maximum of $33 million. That’s lower than what the Jets’ Vernon Gholston received last year as the sixth pick (base of $32.5 million) and way lower than what Oakland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey received as this year’s seventh pick (base of $38.25 million).

Now I won’t fault the Bengals for Oakland’s incompetence, but given their history, I have no reason to doubt those figures. Honestly, who offers almost five million less than what the guy got the previous year? Between this and having a barebones scouting department, it’s painfully obvious that Cincinnati’s chief concern is being frugal, not winning. I’m truly surprised they found the money in their budget to sign Laveranues Coles in the offseason.

It Wouldn’t Be a Bengals Draft Without a Few Ex-Cons

By most accounts, the Bengals are getting high grades for their draft this weekend. In the first round, they bit on Alabama OT Andre Smith who bounced out of the scouting combine early, causing scouts to be concerned that he was irresponsible. Sure, he may be dumb for doing that, but he’s still a good football player. Rather, he’s a good run blocker — in the footage NFL Network showed when he got drafted, Smith was burnt on almost every passing play. Anyway, with Rey Maualuga shockingly still around in the second round, the Bengals snatched him up making it the second straight year they drafted a top USC linebacker (Keith Rivers was the other). Maualuga may have fallen because of questions regarding his character — in 2005, he initiated an off-campus fight, and in 2006 he was disciplined by Pete Carroll for “unruly behavior” at a party.

While Maualuga and Smith had “character concerns,” nobody compared to the team’s sixth round pick, Bernard Scott, who truly would fit the ex-con billing. Scott is a running back out of D-II Abilene Christian, by way of about three other colleges. He’s had a theft problem at one school, supposedly struck a coach at another school, and he didn’t play his senior season because of an off-field fight. He has been arrested five times and is finishing up his 18 month term of probation for giving false information to an officer during a traffic stop. But the guy supposedly is a talented running back and the Bengals are convinced the problems are in his past. Whatever. I’m guessing they’re just looking to pad their all-arrest team. What else would make sense?

Bengals Sign Tank Johnson … of Course

If you’re a badboy and have been cast off by the Dallas Cowboys (of all teams), where in the world would you go? Perhaps you’d turn to the Raiders, but even they haven’t been holding true to their reputation lately. So if arrests are your thing yet you have some talent, you know you’ll always have a home with the Cincinnati Bengals. They of course did the logical thing, signing defensive lineman Tank Johnson on Tuesday. Tank was suspended eight games in the ’07 season when he was caught with half the Iraqi military’s arsenal stashed in his home. It was that arrest that required him to have the court’s permission to play in the Super Bowl for the Bears. Tank was supposed to be let off his punishment after six games but his Man of the Year campaign didn’t quite go as planned, so the Bears released him.

Naturally Tank was picked up by the Cowboys despite his personal conduct violation issues and the eight-game suspension. After a few non-productive seasons in Dallas, the Tank was let go. The Bengals, feeling a need to recharge their bad-boy image, signed him. Just in case you thought the Bengals had lost their touch, they still have Fresno St. delinquent Jason Shirley on their squad. They also made sure to re-sign Cedric “the drunken boater” Benson. And of course they reinstated Chris Henry after his suspensions. Now I’m wondering when Odell Thurman will be brought back. Maybe Tanks can crack the Bengals’ top 10 arrests lists.

Apparently Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown’s Word Doesn’t Mean Crap

Criticizing the Bengals for their off-field problems? Check. Criticizing Marvin Lewis for having no control of the team? Check. Calling coach Marvin Lewis and Owner Mike Brown for going back on their words and being full of crap? Here to come. In April the Bengals released Chris Henry, deciding they had enough of his shenanigans. Last month Marvin Lewis reinforced this notion to the media even after Chris Henry was re-instated by commissioner Roger Goodell:

“I’m not interested. I don’t think it would be productive for our football team. You have to be a productive part to be an NFL player, and there’s responsibilities to being an NFL player. It’s a privilege, it’s not a right. There’s a lot that comes with being an NFL football player.”

If you thought that was persuasive, wait til you hear what Mike Brown had to say:

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Odell Thurman Could be Worse than Ricky

Aside from being a Bengals fan, what disappoints me most about Odell Thurman is that he’s such a talented player. In his rookie season in 2005, Thurman was the stud on the Bengals defense (yes, I realize that’s like an oxymoron), racking up well over 100 tackles, five interceptions, and five forced fumbles. The guy clearly had tremendous talent. But then he was suspended the first four games of ’06, and that was extended the entire season after he was caught driving drunk. The one thing I never quite understood was why Thurman didn’t get reinstated for ’07 when he applied. I guess there was more going on with Odell we never found out about that caused Roger Goodell to keep him out of the league. And now that he’s been reinstated for ’08, the Bengals finally cut Thurman. And get this, SI says Thurman failed yet another drug test.

Apparently Thurman has admitted to being an alcoholic. I’m guessing pothead must be mixed in there as well. I just don’t get how guys can flush entire careers down the toilet over a matter of drugs and or booze. Sticky Ricky walked away from the game so he could travel the world smoking dope whenever he pleased. Koren Robinson saw his career tailspin due to alcohol and drunken driving. Josh Hamilton was a disaster as a crack addict until he made his way back. Hopefully Odell can do the same, cuz man, did he have talent. And all along I saw what LT did and figured there was an upside to linebackers on drugs … maybe not.