Tag:Cincinnati Bengals
Posted on: July 27, 2010 9:24 pm
 

Bengals organization reacts to T.O. signing

T. Owens is set to join his new Cincinnati teammates at training camp Thursday (Getty). Chris Crocker doesn’t sugarcoat his comments. If he has a problem with somebody and a reporter asks him about it, he’ll say whatever comes to mind. He’s a reporter’s dream, because he doesn’t use a filter to water down his opinions. You never have to go off the record with the Bengals free safety.

After reports surfaced that Terrell Owens and the Bengals had reached an agreement on a one-year contract that will pay him a $2 million base salary and could give him as much as $2 million in roster bonuses, I wanted to touch base with Crocker. I knew if Crocker was unsure about his newest teammate – be it because Owens has lost some of his elite play-making ability or because Owens still has a crappy reputation – he’d let it be known.

I’d already raised my confusion about why Cincinnati would sign Owens, but to Crocker, it was clear. And not only does Crocker not have a problem with Owens joining the squad, he’s really, really excited about it.

“I think it’s great,” Crocker said. “It just shows we’re trying to do everything, and it will add another piece to get us to the Super Bowl in Dallas in February. We have so many other guys on the team that have had question marks beside them as far as character is concerned, but our locker room is as strong as it gets. If T.O. is half of the player he was before he went to Buffalo, that’s going to be a great thing for us.”

The Bengals, as has been well documented, have become a paradise for players needing second and third chances. The term “Betty Ford Clinic for the NFL” has been bandied about quite often. Cedric Benson needed another chance. Chris Henry needed one. Larry Johnson needed one. Tank Johnson, Adam Jones, Matt Jones, Dezmon Briscoe, they all needed one. The list goes on to ridiculous lengths.

But in the past couple seasons, the questionable character signings haven’t affected the team chemistry.

“There’s one common goal, and there’s not one person or one man who can divide our locker room,” Crocker said. “That’s to get to the Super Bowl. There’s enough strong personalities and we have enough strong leadership that we won’t allow a bunch of dissension. As long as you’re a good person and willing to show you’ll do right, that’s all that matters.

“There are enough guys in the locker room where we police each other. Everybody has egos and strong personalities but we have guys who know how to take somebody to the side and talk to them about what’s going on. We don’t let things go. We handle issues in house and we take care of it and move on.”

I still wonder, though. How will the Bengals split touches between Ochocinco, Bryant, Owens, Benson, first-round pick TE Jermaine Gresham and everybody else on the roster?

“That’s a good problem to have,” said Dave Lapham, former Bengals OL and the team’s radio color commentator. “It’s going to have to be a case of unselfishness. You can’t double-team everybody. It’s kind of like pick your poison. It’s always better to have that problem than not have any weapons at all. But it’ll be interesting halfway through this season if T.O. is tracking low and not on track to make his incentives. Will he get in Carson’s face? That will be interesting to monitor."

Not everyone was so impressed with the Bengals signing. Browns CB Brandon McDonald wrote on his Twitter page in what only could be considered a classy status update: “TO to da Bengals huh??? Yessss, another piece of (fill in the blank here) fa da Browns secondary to run a train on...”

But if you discount the words of a player whose teams have gone 9-23 the past two years, it still seems like it’ll tough for everybody to get along, especially if Chad Ochocinco or Owens or Antonio Bryant aren’t getting the desired number of passes Carson Palmer throws their way.

“At the end of the day day, Carson controls who gets the ball,” Crocker said. “He’s going to throw the ball to whoever is open. He’s not going to play favorites. We don’t play favorites on this team. Chad is always open. From his standpoint, he’s always open and he’s always going to bitch if he doesn't get the ball. That’s what receivers do. But I know T.O. is going to come in and make plays. I’m excited, I really am. It’s going to be a hell of a year.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 27, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 5:48 pm
 

Why do the Bengals want Owens?

T. Owens at the ESPY Awards (Getty). I’m still a little confused about the interest shown to Terrell Owens by the Bengals. I wrote Monday about why owner Mike Brown likes him – Owens is still a good receiver and Brown considers himself a redeemer – and the Cincinnati Enquirer has reported that originally, Owens wanted $6 million of guaranteed money.

Today, TMZ tracked down Owens, and he said, “I know what I made last year ($6.5 million), so we’re trying to maybe cut that half and see what I can work with. I’m flexible.”

But even if Owens – who, at this point, isn’t going to the Rams or the Jets – makes $3 million of guaranteed money and gets an incentive-laden contract, I don’t quite see how he fits in with the Bengals.

There had been speculation that No. 2 WR Antonio Bryant – who signed a four-year, $28 million contract in the offseason – continues to have knee problems, but when I asked coach Marvin Lewis about that Monday, he said, “It has nothing to do with Antonio. We took steps in the spring to put Antonio into different spots, so he could play inside and play different spots. It’s not reflective of Antonio at all.”

So, say Bryant is healthy. With Chad Ochocinco as the No. 1 receiver and Bryant as No. 2, would Owens be content as the No. 3? Considering Andre Caldwell played the No. 3 spot relatively well last year and considering rookie Jordan Shipley will see plenty of playing time, how much is left over for Owens?

One positive in Owens’ favor: the Bengals don’t have much of a deep threat, and the coaches feel Owens showed last year in Buffalo that he still has the speed to be effective on go routes. Perhaps, that’s one option for him.

But remember this, it’s not like the Bengals were flinging the ball all over the field last year. Before he was injured, RB Cedric Benson was near the top of the league leaderboard in rushing attempts. There might be more passing plays added to the playbook this year, but this still won’t be the Bengals of a few years ago when it was the Carson Palmer-T.J. Houshmandzadeh-Chad Johnson show.

If the Bengals sign Owens, he’s sure to make the roster. That would leave Quan Cosby, Matt Jones and Jerome Simpson fighting for the final spot. Is Owens better than the three of them? Yes, probably. But is he worth a new contract? I’m just not sure I see the point.

UPDATE (5:34 p.m.): Pro Football Talk is reporting that Owens has signed with the Bengals.

UPDATE (5:46 p.m.): The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy reports it's a one-year deal for $2 million base pay and with $2 million worth of incentives.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 27, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Is Jets' interest in T.O. Rosenhaus hardball?

The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero is one of the best sportswriters in the business. Salguero is familiar with Owens’s Miami-based agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and he makes a very shrewd observation/hypothesis:

I talk to a lot of agents who hate Drew Rosenhaus. But they all recognize Rosenhaus works his tail off for his clients and there really is little he wouldn't do to get them signed with an NFL team.

I've watched and reported on Rosenhaus since 1989. So I think I know small portions of his playbook.

(...)

On Monday the Cincinnati Bengals stepped up and said they have made an offer to Owens. The Bengals have made an offer and are in negotiations with Rosenhaus. But the offer is not what Owens and Rosenhaus are looking for yet.
 
So how does an agent get a team to raise its offer?

Find another suitor and get a bidding war going. Short of that, the next best way is to have the first team think there's a chance of losing the player. Thus, it was no surprise today when the report of Owens getting interest from another team -- the Jets -- made its way to ESPN, the nation's go-to sports media outlet.

I'm not saying Rosenhaus is among the "league sources," floating the idea the Jets might be serious about signing him. But, well, it does suit his agenda, doesn't it?

Salguero also digresses into an entertaining bit about Owens’s reality show. Salguero’s article deserves good traffic, so we’ll recommend you click here to read the digression.

-- Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 26, 2010 10:26 pm
 

Is Owens's price tag an issue?

All summer there have been rumors that part of the reason Terrell Owens has remained unsigned is simply that his asking price is too high. Owens has denied that he’s pricing himself out of the market.

However, Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that a hefty price tag is what prompted the Rams to drop their interest in Owens. The Bengals have similar concerns, though they’ve still made an offer to T.O. and expect an answer within 48 hours.
As Reedy explains, the iffy status of Antonio Bryant’s knee is what has rekindled Cincinnati’s hope in Owens:

The Bengals have already done their due diligence with Owens after his visit here March 9-10. Lewis, the assistant coaches and Brown have always indicated that the visit went well but that the team decided to go in another direction by signing Antonio Bryant to a four-year, $28 million deal. However with questions about Bryant’s health resurfacing late in OTAs and minicamp, the thought of bringing back Owens resurfaced the past couple weeks.

-- Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 26, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Bengals serious about signing Terrell Owens

CINCINNATI – Bengals owner Mike Brown and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis haven’t always agreed when personnel issues arise.

Brown fancies himself a redeemer – which is why the Bengals always seem to bring in players of ill repute – while Lewis is constantly trying to keep a harmonious locker room with no single individual who feels he can run amok. The most infamous disagreement occurred in 2007 when Brown re-signed WR Chris Henry over Lewis’ public objections.

Today at the annual Bengals media preseason luncheon, Brown seemed excited about the possibility of adding Terrell Owens, saying he looked into Owens’ eyes when the two met earlier this year and came away convinced Owens could add to the team without taking anything away. Lewis, at least in months past, hasn’t seemed keen on the idea of bringing on another receiver that attempts to hijack all the attention of the locker room.

But perhaps QB Carson Palmer changed his coach’s perception last week when he worked out with Owens in California and called to give Lewis his positive report.

“Carson’s comments to me … let’s just say … they resonate well,” Lewis said. “I know when Carson has something on his mind when he calls me and I call him back from an unknown number and he answers. I know something serious was on his mind.”

The Bengals, it turns out, are serious about wanting to sign Owens – who also is attracting strong interest from the Rams.

“We’re talking with his representatives and with him,” Brown said. “When he was here, I met with him personally. Privately, he’s not the same as his public image is depicted. He’s a pleasant person. He’s a quiet person. I found him engaging. I do trust my own eyes on this sort of thing. If he chooses to come here, he could help our team. We’ll see how that plays out. It’s his decision.

“I judge him by what I see. There’s a lot of commentary about people who are in the public eye. Some of it is way overboard. Some it is because people don’t know the whole situation. Yes, people can make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they go on the rest of their lives making mistakes. They can get their ship pointed in the right direction. This is a 36-year old man. He’s been through a lot. He’s proven as a player.”

The Bengals, from a personnel stance, don’t really need to make this move. Owens wasn’t great in Buffalo last year – though, to be fair, Ryan Fitzpatrick was the one throwing passes his way – and the Bengals have plenty of depth in their receivers room.

Chad Ochocinco is No. 1 and free agent acquisition Antonio Bryant – who the Bengals signed instead of Owens – is the No. 2 receiver. At best, Owens would be the No. 3 threat, but it’s clear Andre Caldwell would try to stake his claim there. Plus, rookie Jordan Shipley, an inside receiver, was impressive in offseason workouts and is a lock to make the roster. Cincinnati also has youth at the position with third-year player Jerome Simpson and second-year player Quan Cosby fighting with Matt Jones for the final roster spots.

“Somebody is going to get stifled,” Lewis said. “There’s no way around that. It’s one of the difficulties of professional sports is that balance. What is the best thing for 2010 and long-range and trying to fit that balance together.”

So, why bring in Owens? Simple, Brown said. He’s still a good player.

“He changes field position,” Brown said. “He makes a lot of long plays, plays that win games. I’d rather have him line up on our side of the ball than the other side of the ball.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 26, 2010 8:58 am
 

Chad Ochocinco decides to pick on 'other' Jets CB

Chad Ochocinco made a habit last year of trying to smack talk Darrelle Revis, only Revis decided that instead of running his mouth back, he'd just buy Chad a month-long vacation at a secluded island during January 2009 (two games, two catches, 28 yards, no TDs, one knee injury).

Since then, Ochocinco hasn't had as much to say about Revis; understandably so. Now it appears he's turning to Antonio Cromartie to run his mouth. Mercifully, they are both on Twitter .
Ochocinco: @A_Cromartie31 wake up, you can fake an injury when we play or get your ass routed up, which one?

Cromartie: u talkin a lil bit to early. U betta worry abt self b4 talking to me like that. Cause I will baptize u any day and time

Ochocinco: baptized huh? Man i got the keys to #Alcrotraz, i like that nickname by the way

Cromartie: this not a zone d I was in b4 I'm in ur face the whole game. On alCROtraz u will b thrown into solitary confinement with no food. u betta worry abt who u elimating tonight then me cause this is far from what u want.

Ochocinco: lmao, good come back.
The only thing that's LMAO worthy about this situation is that, if Cro is spending a lot of his time guarding Ochocinco, it probably means that Antonio Bryant -- or Terrell Owens! -- has surpassed 85 as the top target on the Bengals.

And while that might mean more open coverage and better stats for the wideout, it also means the awkward scenario of not picking them up against the game's best corner.

-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: July 24, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 5:38 pm
 

Rams in 'serious pursuit' of Terrell Owens?

Suddenly, Terrell Owens it seems, is quite popular. With at least one team (and maybe a second!) anyway; according to multiple reports -- beginning with ESPN's Chris Mortensen and followed by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio -- the St. Louis Rams are in "serious pursuit" of Owens' services.

Of course, the rumors that the Bengals are interested in Owens continue despite the fact that reports to the contrary have emerged from Cincy. (Quick caveat: this is the Bengals we're talking about, and Owens has caused trouble before, so ruling them out is technically almost impossible until he actually signs elsewhere.)

We addressed the plus/minus situation with the Bengals earlier: Upside is Carson Palmer's been working out with Owens and Ochocinco loves him, downside is forcing TO into a slot role, not to mention the old axiom of "not enough passes to go around."

The Rams would pose no such problems, with Donnie Avery currently occupying the No. 1 wide receiver role. However, they wouldn't fit with his desire to play for a contender and there would be some concerns about adding a potentially poisonous Owens to a young, rebuilding team that won't likely be competing for a playoff spot.

Then again, both Steve Spagnuolo and Pat Shurmer worked with Owens in Philadelphia, so maybe they believe that bringing in Owens would be a benefit to the team overall.

Update (5:34): Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com has a Rams source who "scoffed" at the report of the Rams' interest in Owens and called it "overzealous."

-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: July 23, 2010 11:53 pm
 

Owens to the Bengals?

There have been rumors swirling around that Terrell Owens is close to signing with the Cincinnati Bengals. (It’s odd Bengals owner Mike Brown would even consider this given that Owens, while a head case, has never been arrested.) But a source tells Pro Football Talk said the rumors are unfounded.

However, Adam Schefter of ESPN says that Owens and Carson Palmer have been working out regularly together in California, and that the quarterback would welcome the idea of T.O. coming aboard.

Imagine Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Bryant and Terrell Owens all in the same huddle. Palmer would have to throw 1,000 passes on the season just to keep every star happy.


--Andy Benoit 

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