Bengals owner Mike Brown is an elusive interview. For the most part, he does one Bengals on-the-record session per year. It occurs at the Bengals media preseason luncheon, and it’s there that reporters gather to ask all the questions they’ve saved up for the year. This season, we had plenty of fodder to discuss: Terrell Owens (this was before Owens actually signed), the potential for a lockout, and a possible Marvin Lewis contract extension.
The following is part of the exchange that reporters, including CBSSports.com, had with Brown.
1. Reporters: What are you most excited about coming into the season?
Mike Brown: I thought last year we had a successful season. We just didn’t end on the note we wanted to end on. And that rankles. We’ve proved we have a good team. If we’re healthy, we’re a team that can play with anyone. We have ambitions to have that one golden year. This year, more than most in recent times, I think we have a better shot at it.
2. Reporters (after talking with Brown about why he likes Owens so much): Are you one of those guys who always sees the good in people? You saw good in other people that maybe other people didn’t.
MB: I don’t profess to do anything but judge people the way I see them. I’m not going to defend that. I have the right to do it, and I choose to do it. Do I see good in people? I think most people have good in them. I don’t think there are many that don’t. Our job is to get that out of them.
3. Reporters: How are things progressing with Marvin? Do you guys hope to have an extension by the end of the season?
MB: The deal with Marvin is an internal matter. We’ve had discussions. He knows I hold him in the highest regard. I’m not going to get in a public conversation about that. He’s done an excellent job here. When we have something to say about it, I’ll be pleased to do it. That isn’t now.
4. CBSSports.com: With the CBA coming to an end, where do you see that going? The probability of a lockout, do you see that happening?
MB: Things will be unsettled for the league once (the CBA expires). I just think we have to be patient. Both sides want the same thing. They want an agreement. I think there will be an agreement. But those are hands other than mine. I have to be just like you – sit and watch and wait.
Reporters: In what ways has the potential for a work stoppage affected the way you do business?
MB: We’re aware there’s a threat. We have tailored certain things to meet that possibility. In my heart of hearts, I just think we’re going to be out there playing. I will believe it when I see if we aren’t.
5. Reporters: Is there any need for a first-round draft pick to have an agent? A lawyer, yes. An accountant, maybe.
MB: In my position, I don’t know why we pay two or three percent – whatever it is – to somebody who tells players it’s ok to sign. That never made a lot of sense to me. I’ve been in this business when there were no agents. I’ve been in this business where there have been different systems. The people who are skeptical may doubt it, but I can tell you my honest belief is, no matter if there are agents or not, we paid out as much as we could afford to the players.
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