Everyone is well aware that over the years Brown has employed a number of players who collectively might push the cell capacity of Shawshank. This past Spring, there were hints that the Bengals had finally seen and heard enough when the Mike Brown issued this statement on April 3:
"Chris Henry has forfeited his opportunity to pursue a career with the Bengals. His conduct can no longer be tolerated.
"The Bengals tried for an extended period of time to support Chris and his potentially bright career. We had hoped to guide him toward an appropriate standard of personal responsibility that this community would support and that would allow him to play in the NFL. We acknowledge those fans who had concerns about Chris; at the same time we tried to help a young man.
"But those efforts end today, as we move on with what is best for our team."
Just prior to the start of Bengals training camp this summer, the subject of Chris Henry was brought up again. The media questioned Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis on the possibility of Henry, a player labeled a “one man crime wave” by a Hamilton County judge, returning to Cincinnati.
"I'm not interested," Lewis told reporters. "I don't think it would be productive for our football team. You have to be a productive part to be an NFL player, and there's responsibilities to being an NFL player. It's a privilege, it's not a right. There's a lot that comes with being an NFL football player."
Less than a month later with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh both ailing, the team is now singing a new tune.
"I guess the world is divided up between redeemers and non-redeemers," said owner Mike Brown. “I happen to be a redeemer. I think people can be made better and right. If that's a fault, so be it. These guys mis-stepped, they made mistakes and they paid prices for it verging on ruinous, but that doesn't mean I don't like them personally, I like them as people. I regret what's happened to them and I regret they're no longer here. As far as going forward, we don't want that kind of behavior."
So Brown is turning the other cheek—AGAIN! ESPN.com and Henry's agent Marvin Frazier (hey, is he the son of Smokin' Joe?) claim that the troubled receiver will be reunited with the Bengals.
Let’s just call this Brown's version of Shawshank Redemption.
Now even if you buy into this philosophy of forgiveness and the Bengals extending Henry yet another lifeline giving still more credence to the belief that cats have nine lives (Henry has used six but who’s counting), does Brown realize that Henry can’t help them until week 5? The one-man crime wave has to first serve another four-game suspension before he takes the field again.
The Bengals aren’t really that dumb, are they?
Apparently so and we should be thankful that this bungling organization calls the AFC North home.
Where would they be without Carson Palmer, who by the way has to be crawling out of his skin. He’s caught in a purgatory called Cincinnati, Ohio and there’s absolutely no relief in sight.
And as long as Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis remain at the helm, there never will be.
Don't worry fans of Cincinnati. Opening day for the Reds is just 8 months away.