Friday, July 28, 2006

CSI: Cincinnati

While all may not be so well with Cleveland sports teams at the moment, any self-respecting Browns fan had to revel at least a bit in the troubles in Cincinnati as it looks like Marvin Lewis has become the new Bobby Huggins, satisfied to bring in guys of low character but high talent in order to win the big prize.

As chronicled by the Akron Beacon Journal, the recent suspension of linebacker Odell Thurman for four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse is just the latest blow in the last two months. Four others have been arrested during that span, including second-year receiver Chris Henry, who has been arrested four (that's not a misprint) times since last December. Henry's recent arrest was for providing alcohol to minors. He is scheduled for trial during the middle of training camp on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. Linebacker A.J. Nicholson was charged with burglarizing the apartment of a former Florida State teammate and another draft pick, the wonderfully named Frostee Rucker was recently charged in Los Angeles with two counts of spousal battery and vandalism. I know the O.J. Simpson thing was 10 years ago and Rucker was just a kid then, but he had to know the spousal battery in Los Angeles is a pretty touchy subject.

This is the kind of thing that ultimately makes the Bengals the Bengals. They finally enjoy some modest, if not overwhelming, success and they turn into the '84 Mets, or, more accurately, the Huggins-coached Bearcats. Well, relying on criminals to accomplish your goals never did work for the Bearcats and it isn't going to work for the Bengals, either. It's at crunch time, when all you may have left to rely on is your inner strength, where championships ultimately are won. Everyone in Cleveland new, for example, that Jose Mesa was, shall we say, of questionable character and integrity. When the Tribe needed him most to close out the final game of the World Series and bring this town it's first pennant since 1948, Mesa failed. Only a fool would ignore the connection. But then again, no one ever accused Bengals owner and president Mike Brown as a Mensa member.

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