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Cincinnati Criminals

Posted by Matt on May 23, 2007


Our “Loveable Losers” in Cincinnati are all growns up and it should be to nobody’s surprise that they have morphed in to the next coming of the Whole Nine Yards squad in their elder years. I liken it to the kid in the neighborhood who would steal other kids’ toys, would torture neighborhood rodents, and would cuss at an early age, a real loser, and you just knew he would grow up to beat his wife; and he did. Now he is a three-time offender for various items such as spousal abuse, drug possession, and resisting arrest, and now he appears in his mug shots with “Joe Dirt” facial hair while sporting a wife-beater. This is what the Bengals have become.

To delve a little further in to the issues within the Bengal organization, let us look back at their rap sheet since late-2005:

December 15, 2005: WR Chris Henry is arrested in Covington, Kentucky for Possession of Marijuana after being pulled over for Speeding.

January 28, 2006: WR Chris Henry is arrested in Orlando, Florida for Possession of a Concealed Firearm, Improper Exhibition of a Firearm, and Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, Henry was seen wearing his won number 15 Bengals jersey. Henry pleads guilty to avoid jail time.

June 3, 2006: WR Chris Henry is arrested in Covington, Kentucky and charge with Driving Under the Influence after registering a Breathalyzer of .092.

June 3, 2006: LB A.J. Nicholson is arrested in Tallahassee, Florida and charged with Burglary, Grand Theft, and Vandalism after he and former teammate Fred Rouse broke in to former Florida State teammate Lorenzo Booker’s apartment, stealing $1,700 worth of goods.

June 14, 2006: WR Chris Henry is arrested in Covington, Kentucky on counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor after allegedly providing alcohol to three underage females.

June 21, 2006: DE Frostee Rucker is arrested in Los Angeles, California and charged with two counts of Spousal Battery and two counts of Vandalism after an altercation with then girlfriend at a party Rucker was hosting.

July 13, 2006: LB Odell Thurman either fails the league’s mandatory drug test or refuses to take it and is suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violation of the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy.

July 22, 2006: DT Matthias Askew is arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Failure to Comply with a Police Officer’s Order, and Obstructing Justice in an altercation with police over his arrest regarding a parking violation. Askew is acquitted of these charges on August 24, 2006 but had already been released by the Cincinnati Bengals on August 15, 2006. Askew is currently suing the City of Cincinnati for using excessive force in his arrest.

August 5, 2006: OG Eric Steinbach is arrested on the Ohio River for charges of Boating Under the Influence.

September 25, 2006: LB Odell Thurman is arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio for Driving Under the Influence after registering a Breathalyzer of .17; Chris Henry and Reggie McNeal were also in the vehicle but not charged, although Henry was witnessed puking out of the stopped vehicle. Thurman is suspended by the NFL for the remainder of the 2006-2007 season after already being out four games for a prior violation of the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy.

December 3, 2006: QB/WR Reggie McNeal is arrested in Houston, Texas on a count of Resisting Arrest after becoming belligerent at being refused admittance in to a Houston-area night club.

December 9, 2006: CB Deltha O’Neal is arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio and charged with Driving Under the Influence a charge that is later negotiated down to Reckless Driving, a count O’Neal pleads guilty to on March 9, 2007.

January 22, 2007: CB Johnathan Joseph is arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio and charged with Possession of Marijuana, he pleaded not guilty to these charges on February 5, 2007.

May 18, 2007: LB A. J. Nicholson is arrested in Covington, Kentucky on Misdemeanor Assault charges, Nicholson pleads not guilty to those charges on May 21, 2007 but is waived by the Cincinnati Bengals shortly after the hearing.

May 21, 2007: The Cincinnati Enquirer reports WR Chris Henry allegedly failed a court-ordered drug test by testing positive for opiates, charges his agent later denies on May 22, 2007 and the state of Kentucky later confirms the agent’s denials. The real outcome is still in question.

It is really hard to appreciate the magnitude of this situation for the Bengals until you seen the entire list compiled in one place. As the coach of these problems, I honestly do not know how Marvin Lewis can keep his sanity and looking at the number of times Chris Henry’s name appears on this list, there is not enough talent in the world to keep him on the payroll if I am running the Bengals. It is easy, looking back, to see what has been the demise of this franchise since their 11-5 season in 2005 and if the organization cannot fix the off the field issues, the team will continue to be preoccupied with problems. Until the legal issues are resolved and prevented, the Bengals’ play on the field will remain adversely affected by the problems off of the field.


*Of the nine different names that appear on this list, A.J. Nicholson and Matthias Askew have been released and Eric Steinbach has signed with the Cleveland Browns, leaving six on the current roster. This is not a comprehensive list as the outcomes of each case were not added to the list and everyone is obviously innocent until proven guilty.


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