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Chad Johnson has been more hassle than anything else for the Cincinnati Bengals this off season. His repeated trade request and rants, and then retractions in the media contributed to what was already an insanely busy couple of months for the Bengals. Last week CJ made his appearance at mini-camp, and well let’s just say Cincinnati would have been better off if he had just stayed at home.
Johnson was in camp in body, and that was it. He spent the day walking around the field and sulking about anything and everything. CJ never laced his cleats up, or strapped his helmet on. He claimed he had an ankle injury, but there were no signs that he had a limp or any other pain. He was just being a pain in Marvin Lewis’ backside.
Chad has three years left on his contract, so releasing him just is not an option especially when you are one of the cheapest clubs in the NFL. Marvin Lewis took a hard line insisting he would not trade the star player and now he is catching the backlash for his tactics. It is very obvious that CJ is going to a pain and a distraction just by being at the Bengals facility. Allowing him to walk around and cry and soak up all that camera time cannot be good for building a team that has plenty of holes work with.
Cincinnati is currently at a major crossroads. Since Lewis came aboard as head coach he has taken the team to the playoffs once and has put together several average seasons, but his teams have never lived up to their potential. The off the field problems of this team are so numerous that it is difficult to name them all. However, despite all that there is still some good there.
Carson Palmer is without a doubt a talented quarterback with the ability to lead a team. The Bengals best receiver is not Ocho Cinco, but rather T.J. Houshmandzadeh. T.J. is entering the last year on his contract, and it is doubtful that Cincinnati will pay him and Johnson big time money. With the numbers T.J. has put up in recent years he has every right to want #1 receiver money, and he deserves is. While Ocho Cinco has the best highlights and big stats, it was T.J. who was the glue that held the Bengals offense together by moving the chains and making the tough catches over the middle.
If the Bengals want to right their ship and get back into the winning column they should listen to Chad Johnson trade him away. Try to get a solid running back to accompany Rudi Johnson. Perhaps try to get a third or a second receiver as well, or a middle round draft pick. Then reward T.J. Houshmanzadeh and give him a big extension and allow him be the top wideouts on the club.
If the Bengals don’t address this situation very soon, they will continue to have the media circus they experienced at mini-camp last week. They will also have another lackluster season where they fall short of the playoffs again.