End of the Line?: Chris Henry Arrested, Released by Cincinnati Bengals

aSenior Analyst IApril 3, 2008

Chris Henry was given chance after chance with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The team stuck with him when he encountered legal trouble early in his career. He remained a Bengal after Roger Goodell imposed an eight-game suspension on the wide receiver last season.

He was a constant distraction to the team and had been involved in all kinds of legal issues; from aggravated assault with a firearm to providing alcohol to three underage females in a hotel room.

It wasn't until Thursday, when Henry was arrested for assault and criminal damaging charges, that the Bengals finally gave up.

The Louisiana native was released by the team shortly after he surrendered to police, who had a warrant for his arrest. On Wednesday, the former Bengal was accused of punching an 18-year-old man in the face and then throwing a beer bottle at the man's car, breaking the back passenger window.

Bengals' president Mike Brown released a statement saying, "Chris Henry has forfeited his opportunity to pursue a career with the Bengals. His conduct can no longer be tolerated. We tried to help a young man. But those efforts end today, as we move on with what is best for our team."

Since being drafted in 2005, Henry has had five run-ins with the law. While several of these incidents have been dropped, they were still reported by the media and put the Bengals in a bad light.

Right now, a lot of attention has been put on Pacman Jones, who may be a member of the Dallas Cowboys come September. But what about his former teammate at West Virginia University? Will any team take a chance and sign Chris Henry?

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If you don't look at his off-field troubles, he is a remarkable athlete with an upside.

He averaged more than 20 yards per catch in college, had the second most receiving touchdowns in school history with 22, as well as the second most receiving yards in a season with 1,006.

But even his college career ended on an unpleasant note.

He was kicked off the team in 2004 by head coach Rich Rodriguez for personal conduct, but the Bengals still decided to select him in the third round of the 2005 draft.

He averaged 16.8 yards per catch in his second season with Cincinnati and finished the year with 605 yards and nine touchdown receptions in only 11 games. He excelled as a slot receiver alongside Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

But is he worth it?

This is a man who has received multiple warnings and punishments, yet he continues to break the law. At what point do general managers just stop trying to correct a player's behavior?

The Cowboys took defensive lineman Tank Johnson, who was also suspended for eight games last season, under their wing, and he hasn't had any problems since. But the difference with Johnson was that he cared enough to change and let it be known he was done causing trouble.

At this point, you have to question whether Henry cares enough to stay out of trouble. He knew he was on thin ice, yet, he still assaulted a man. Would someone who desperately wants to remain in the league do this? I don't think so.

Whether he'll change and get another chance remains to be seen. In the past, Henry's future has been in his hands and whether he could stay out of trouble.

Now, his career is in the hands of general managers across the league who must decide whether he deserves yet another chance with a new team.


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