Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DOH-Mer Of The Week- Tiger Stripes

Be on the look out for a white Ford Bronco, traveling south on Interstate 5 and carrying a large man by the name of Odell Thurman. Eh…That’s not going to work, so let’s make it a bit more modern, and put him in a Black Escalade or an energy saving Hybrid. Another Bengal f*cked up. Is that news? Not even close. “FU’s” can probably be found on Cincinnati stat sheets. Bengals 4 Opponents 1, and Cincinnati wins again.

But honestly, this isn’t even about Odell Thurman, because that’s too damn easy. I could give him the award, end this entry right here, and just call it a day. But I can’t, because this is bigger than Odell and any single player. This is about my petition to update prison attire to the black and orange stripes of Cincinnati. Unfortunately, my petition isn’t even original, because the actions of Bengals management put theirs on the table first.

Teams go into the off-season trying to determine their necessities and fill those holes. You make a list, and you check them off, then head into the new season as a much improved unit. After viewing the Bengals draft, and signings to this date, I’ll assume their checklist appeared as:

Wide Receiver
Defensive End
F*ck Up

The Bengals recently signed their fifth round draft selection, Jason Shirley, from Fresno State. In case you planned on viewing his 2007 college statistics, don’t bother, because you’ll find very little. In August of ‘07, he was suspended by Coach Pat Hill for “conduct detrimental to the team”. Following reinstatement, he was again suspended, 2 months later, and this time for “driving under the influence” and “hit and run”. Only 5 weeks passed, and he was then given a third chance. And in November, he was dismissed permanently, after being cited for “driving with a suspended license” and “expired registration”. This came just “2 days” after his reinstatement. In less than a year, Shirley has gone from citations, arrests, and suspensions to the stripes and payroll of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The off-season philosophy appears to be finding replacements for Odell Thurman and Chris Henry, and I’m not talking about the talents of those players. One player down (check), and just one more to go. While other GMs were evaluating players at the NFL scouting combine, it's obvious that Cincinnati GMs took in another viewing of "The longest yard".

I’m usually the person defending a player and preaching for second chances. Hell, life has given me second and third chances, maybe even a fourth. But I also know that the betterment of a person doesn’t come with grouping bad characters together. I had to separate myself from the bad influences, before I could become the model citizen that I am today. That’s why I feel prison is a horrible method of rehabilitation, because any prisoner in general population isn’t going to learn to change his or her ways, as much as they’re going to learn more dirty sh*t they can do when they get out. One of the best things that ever happened to the Federal Penitentiary was having Martha Stewart as an inmate. Those women didn’t only learn to poison husbands, shoplift, and locate the most productive street corners for selling ass. Thanks to Martha, they also learned to bake cookies. Charles Manson would be a new man, if Emeril ever got arrested.

Team chemistry is very important to team success. And you may even see less talented teams overachieving, because they work well as a unit. The Bengals have failed to have (or be) a unit for the past few years. They have tigers changing their stripes and disrupting the flow. Key players are here today and gone tomorrow, just to start all over again. And though I may seem a bit harsh on Jason Shirley, he’s not my target. He can go on to have an amazing NFL career, maybe even pick up a Nobel Peace prize to add to future MVP trophies. But an organization that is so torn, and still taking chances, is reason enough for me to give the Bengals a DOH-mer.

People can say what they want about the Cowboys picking up Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, etc, but that’s still a team in Dallas. The Bengals haven’t resembled one, despite having a talented roster. And instead of selecting wisely, bringing in more character to provide leadership, and begin a mending process, they’ve taken another chance on something that can blow up in their face. Victories come in the locker room, before you ever run from that tunnel. New Bengals will run onto a field in 2008, while old Bengals are running from the law. Either way, the organization has made no attempt to run from their image.

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