This episode of Hard Knocks opened with free agent linebacker Aaron Maybin showing off his painting skills and the theme was revisited several times. However, artistic talent doesn't matter when there are 90 men on the roster and that number has to come down soon. Maybin needed to prove himself on the field in order to remain with the Bengals, no matter how interesting a person he is.
Maybin, who was drafted 11th overall by the Buffalo Bills in 2009, was released by the Bills and then the New York Jets. He joined the Bengals as a linebacker after playing defensive end for his previous teams, giving him a steeper learning curve on a team that is rife with defensive talent.
Maybin's biggest problem was limited playing time. Maybin saw only nine snaps in the team's two preseason contests. Once the Bengals realized he hadn't seen the field in their defeat of the Tennessee Titans, he was given time late in the fourth quarter, where he only struggled.
Maybin, who said earlier in the episode that "you'll never be able to create something that pleases everyone," was later released from the team, with the Bengals currently having four strong-side linebackers on the roster who can play in nickel defense.
Along with Maybin, the Bengals also released rookie wide receiver Tyrone Goard and cornerback Troy Stoudermire. They need to pare their roster down to 75 players after next week's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys and then to 53 four days later, so the cuts were simply a necessary (albeit highly unpleasant) part of the game.
Catch an encore presentation of "Hard Knocks" tonight at 11 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.