Chris Henry and the Bengals: Showtime for HBO

Wayne BakerContributor IMay 14, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - AUGUST 28:  Receiver Chris Henry #15 of the Cincinnati Bengals watches from the bench as they face the Indianapolis Colts during a pre-season game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 28, 2008 in Indianpolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Developing a desire to cover the Bengals is like feasting on Oreo cheesecake.  In other words, it is a guilty pleasure.

And please do not let the word "guilty" get lost in this conversation. It is a word that can be aptly applied to some Bengals players quite easily.

How can one not want to cover the team which features the great all-jailhouse wide receiver, Chris Henry.

Henry will be turning 26 on Sunday, and one can only hope that adding another year will bring some much needed maturity. The Bengals drafted Henry in the third round in 2005 out of West Virginia and felt that the kid who majored in athletic coaching could contribute right away.

But, after getting busted for an alleged string of assorted misdemeanors and possible felony violations, the Bengals let him go in 2008.  Head coach Marvin Lewis said that the team had no interest in resigning him. "Grow up and get a life" seemed like a reasonable message to give to the struggling wideout.

But, lo and behold, team President Mike Brown stepped in and gave Henry that all important second chance.  How can you not love a team that continues to embrace players like Henry and his co-conspirator, Odell Thurman? Thurman is now out of the league because he could not keep himself out of trouble.

The Bengals are officially now the team HBO will feature in its Hard Knocks series. They will cover the Bengals from the time the players leave their families until the final whistle of the season. 

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HBO used to produce a great prison drama called OZ.  It was dark, sullen, and full of the nastiest criminals one could imagine.  Maybe the producers of Hard Knocks had that show in mind when deciding to highlight the Bengals.