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Move on, move out: Time for Bengals to cut ties with Johnson


bossFALCON™
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CINCINNATI -- For each of the Cincinnati Bengals' 40 seasons, Mike Brown has been a part of it all in some way. First it was at the knees of his father and the franchises' founder, Paul Brown. Since his father's death in 1991, it is Brown who has been the organization's final voice and conscience.

Thus, when Brown says he does not know where things are going with disgruntled, brooding and restless receiver Chad Johnson, that means something.

"The only person who can really answer why he didn't practice today is Chad," Brown said. "I don't understand. But I do understand and he understands that the market will not allow us to just give up and give him away or trade him away. I can't tell you I have a clear roadmap in my mind where this all leads. We want him. He gets told that and told that and told that. At some point he has to know that.

"He made a commitment to us when he signed his contract. We relied on it. He is not someone you can replace quickly. It is not easily done. We are counting on him being here. We are."

And therein lies the crux of the dilemma for the Bengals.

They are counting on a player they cannot count on.

If it were only about the snappy routes and snappy moves and quick hands and quick feet and big-play scores, then you could not find a more dynamic receiver than Chad Johnson to count on. But it is not. It is about much more with Johnson. Especially now, in this town. Especially now, with this team.

On the inside, his Bengals teammates and coaches dealt with his disruptiveness for most of last season. Once the season was done, he made a spectacle for weeks about the franchise's shortcomings and about what he would do to force the team to trade him.

But he showed up to Thursday's mandatory minicamp only to tell the team's doctors he had an "ailment" and could not practice. He told the team it was his back. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told the media it was his ankle.

And then to punctuate the point, Johnson showed up 12 minutes late to the practice field.

Coach Marvin Lewis had told Johnson that if he was not going to practice, do not come on the field. But Johnson loves the cameras. The attention. He came. Everyone saw.

Then in the afternoon practice, Johnson amazingly felt better. He ran some reps with the first team. A new Chad in a matter of minutes.

Quarterback Carson Palmer said he did not talk to Johnson before or immediately after the morning practice.

Johnson believes he has been burned by all parties in Cincinnati, a scapegoat, he says, for the team's recent on-field failures. He omits in the discussion his lack of production in some of his team's biggest moments and how he makes himself a can't-miss target with his sideline and end zone skits and shows. Not to mention his off-color, confrontational interviews when the vibe strikes him.

This is a push-come-to-shove fiasco for the Bengals that will likely grow toward an ugly crescendo. If I were the Bengals, I would explore and keep every option open in finding a way to move Johnson out.

They cannot rely on him.

They cannot count on him.

"I'm focusing on the players here who I can count on," Palmer said, with piercing eyes, in a manner that clearly indicated he has reached his zenith with the Johnson escapade.

The Bengals have built too much and come too far from their days and seasons of complete dysfunction and disrepair to allow this situation to fester. Lewis enters his sixth season as Bengals coach. Consecutive 8-8 seasons were followed by an 11-5, division-winning year in 2005. Since, the Bengals have slipped back to 8-8 and 7-9 records.

"Middling" is how Lewis described it.

The Bengals spent part of their draft resources on receivers and they have a third-year receiver emerging, Marcus Maxwell, who shows excellent promise.

"He works hard," Brown said. "I think he can play in this league. We'll see what comes of it. The tendency out there is to talk us down. Internally, we do not feel that way. We'll see. With all the talk in the offseason, I'd prefer they talk us down."

Actually, the talk now, the focus now, is on Johnson.

Not the Bengals.

Not good.

The Bengals must find a way to get him on board. Or get him out.

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I totally disagree with the columnist that they must get rid of him, otherwise

you encourage the same type of behavior from others. Also, if I were a GM,

there would be no way that I would draft or sign a Drew Rosenhaus client.

Seems too many of his clients assume if they cause turmoil, they'll get released

or traded and get out of the contract they signed.

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Wow. Drew Rosenhaus, despite the fact that he's doing his job so well by getting these ridiculous lucrative contracts, is a complete and total #####. Plaxico Burress. Chad Johnson. Kellen Winslow Jr. Jeremy Shockey. Anquan Boldin. All have created some kind of complete distraction for their teams this season. The only common denominator is Rosenhaus. What a #####.

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People act like he's a bad apple. He's got some on the field antics with his celebrations, which are entertaining and not really nasty. He has never been arrested (A BIG plus for the Bengals) and has given them top level production. I don't know what he's like in the locker room, but he can't be worse than about 50% of the other wide receivers out there and their big egos.

Unfortunately, though, he's not going to get the contract he wants because he had a down year last year. Houshmandzadeh was their top receiver last season and he needs to realize that and just play. A big part of his success has been because he's had Carson Palmer throwing him the ball, so don't alienate your QB.

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bronn83 (6/14/2008)
People act like he's a bad apple. He's got some on the field antics with his celebrations, which are entertaining and not really nasty. He has never been arrested (A BIG plus for the Bengals) and has given them top level production. I don't know what he's like in the locker room, but he can't be worse than about 50% of the other wide receivers out there and their big egos.

Unfortunately, though, he's not going to get the contract he wants because he had a down year last year. Houshmandzadeh was their top receiver last season and he needs to realize that and just play. A big part of his success has been because he's had Carson Palmer throwing him the ball, so don't alienate your QB.

chad had 300 more yards than housh (1,440) but housh had more catches and 4 more TDs. chad had been performing on a high level 3 years before carson started. i think they should have traded chad back before the draft and got at least 2 1sts, im sure a team would have given that up for him. or at least a 1st and a 2nd. or i would have paid him, one or the other. he doesnt deserve for marvin to be giving him a hard time. marvin hasnt done anything to improve their defense (except for that top pick this year, whom of which was probably their 2nd or 3rd choice) and he is just making it harder on chad, housh and carson.

trade him, cut him, or pay him.

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bossFALCON"! (6/14/2008)
bronn83 (6/14/2008)
People act like he's a bad apple. He's got some on the field antics with his celebrations, which are entertaining and not really nasty. He has never been arrested (A BIG plus for the Bengals) and has given them top level production. I don't know what he's like in the locker room, but he can't be worse than about 50% of the other wide receivers out there and their big egos.

Unfortunately, though, he's not going to get the contract he wants because he had a down year last year. Houshmandzadeh was their top receiver last season and he needs to realize that and just play. A big part of his success has been because he's had Carson Palmer throwing him the ball, so don't alienate your QB.

chad had 300 more yards than housh (1,440) but housh had more catches and 4 more TDs. chad had been performing on a high level 3 years before carson started. i think they should have traded chad back before the draft and got at least 2 1sts, im sure a team would have given that up for him. or at least a 1st and a 2nd. or i would have paid him, one or the other. he doesnt deserve for marvin to be giving him a hard time. marvin hasnt done anything to improve their defense (except for that top pick this year, whom of which was probably their 2nd or 3rd choice) and he is just making it harder on chad, housh and carson.

trade him, cut him, or pay him.

Bleh. I got caught by remembering something instead of looking it up. Thanks for the correction.

For some reason I thought he was down in terms of yardage last year. I must have had someone else in mind-I've always associated him with Steve Smith since they came out of the same draft. But I really don't know who I was thinking about when that got fixed into my head.

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