It’s February, and Super Bowl XLI is in the books.
I love the NFL off-season.
As soon as the last second ticks off the clock of the Biggest Game in the World, discussions begin as to the upcoming draft, the free-agency period, and which Cincinnati Bengal is likely to be arrested next.
To say the 2006 Bengals season was surreal would be an understatement.
Over seventeen weeks, fans saw David Pollack almost paralyzed; Chris Henry arrested again; the offensive line redefine itself through injury; and the Bengals give up every opportunity they had at making the post season a second consecutive season.
Johnathon Joseph becomes the ninth Cincinnati Bengal arrested in nine months.
This adds yet more questions to a team that has become the enigma of the NFL.
For 2007, the Bengals are going to have to snap themselves back into shape.
Carson Palmer, following Joseph’s arrest, finally came to the forefront Super Bowl week and decried the antics of his teammates.
He stated these things must come to an end.
He was right.
The Bengals have a lot of retooling to do in 2007.
Eric Steinbach is leaving to free agency.
Brian Simmons, one of the mature team leaders, has been released.
Tory James can’t move quick enough to leave town.
Odell Thurman is most likely a memory.
David Pollack’s career has probably ended, becoming a memory that never got to be.
The draft will be crucial for the Bengals.
The team, with T.J. Houshmandzadeh acting as representative to the NFL’s committee on sociologic reform, cannot afford to disrupt the team dynamic and moral any further by drafting any more Frostee Ruckers and Chris Henrys.
They will have to walk the fine line of rebuilding a struggling defense while cleansing itself of the stigma of thug-otry.
Will Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown be able to solidify a team that proudly won its division in 2005, only to see its success stare at it from inside a cell?
Will the Bengals fans grow tired of having to wait for visiting day to see their beloved Bengals play?
Time will tell.