As an avid Cincinnati Bengals fan, I know disappointment. I know loss, I know why to hate the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I also know that the Bengals are correct in their decision to be the “Second Chance Giver” of the NFL. Though many have scoffed at the Bengals’ judgment in signing players who have been in legal trouble, in 2009, there is no doubt they made the right decision. Here are three valuable players for the Bengals that have bounced back from legal problems:
Cedric Benson was selected by the Chicago Bears as a fourth-overall pick in 2005. While he had some good games and rushed for 100 yards on more than one occasion, his career in Chicago was overshadowed by legal problems. In 2008, he was arrested twice in one week for DUI-related incidents.
The Bengals signed Benson in 2008. His breakout season in 2009 has proven him to be one of the best running backs in the league, with a career high 189 yards and a touchdown against his former team in Week 7. Benson has greatly improved the running game and impresses with his ability to always get a few extra yards beyond a first down.
. Perhaps known as the most notorious Bengal, Chris Henry was arrested four times in less than a year and subsequently released. With an offense suffering from injuries, however, Henry was resigned. Henry finished the 2008 season with 19 receptions for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. Though suffering a broken forearm midway through the 2009 season, Henry has kept his promise of turning it around and has not been in any legal trouble since. Quarterback Carson Palmer says, “He’s had an offseason like no other; he’s worked here every single day. He has a great attitude. I’m just really proud of the guy. I’m happy for him. He’s at a good place in his life, a good place for his family. He’s showed up to work here and he will all year long. There’s not a doubt about that”.
Larry Johnson, the Bengals’ newest prodigy, was recently released by the Kansas City Chiefs following violation of an undisclosed team rule. He had previously been arrested for assault against women. Though Johnson has only been with the Bengals for a couple of weeks and was meant to be a backup RB, he has put up some impressive numbers, rushing for over a hundred yards in just his second start with Cincinnati.
The 2009 Bengals have proven with these three selections that giving players a second chance really can pay off, by sweeping the AFC North for the first time ever and being well on their way to the 2009 Playoffs.