Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nuggets, WWE Hit a Rocky Mountain Low

Nuggets, WWE Hit a Rocky Mountain Low

By Martin Smith, 05/19/2009

Owner’s apparent lack of faith leads to scheduling conflict with pro wrestling show.

Vince McMahon couldn’t have scripted this if he tried.

World Wrestling Entertainment’s colorful owner issued an unusual challenge today. He has offered to “go toe to toe” with Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke.

Considering that Kroenke made his fortune (Estimated at 3.5 Billion dollars) in real estate, it’s unfathomable why McMahon would want to challenge Kroenke to such a fa├žade. That is, until you look at the schedule for the Pepsi Arena on May 25th.

On this day, there is a scheduled WWE Raw event that has already sold out, as most WWE events tend to do. However, despite the fact that the event has been scheduled since August 2008, there is a minor conflict of interest here. The Denver Nuggets are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference finals at the Pepsi Center on the same date.

Now, this raises several questions within itself, but one that stands out in my mind is this: How in the world does Stan Kroenke schedule use of the arena to the WWE when there is a good chance his Nuggets could be playing a home playoff game at this time. One of two answers is plausible:

1. Kroenke had little faith in his team’s ability to make it this far into the playoffs despite the presence of such starts as Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony, among others.
2. Vince McMahon is correct when he says Kroenke should be arrested for being a “bad businessman”, because in my personal view, this is felony stupid.

Neither scenario looks good for Kroenke.

If I was Vince McMahon, I would make the Nuggets honor the contract. It would be refreshing to see the big, bad NBA turned on its ear for once. It would border on hilarity to see it done by a man who runs what is paramount to men’s soap opera.

Good luck, Nuggets fans. Here’s to hoping that your team can perform without the circus sideshow. That, and the WWE event thing too.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Harrison Shunning the White House another step in the wrong Direction

Harrison Shunning the White House another step in the wrong Direction

By Martin Smith

May 16th, 2009

Winning the Super Bowl is by far the greatest accomplishment of any football player’s career. Being the best is the greatest goal for any player in a team sport. With a Super Bowl victory comes fame, fortune, marketing deals, national exposure and an opportunity (and honor) of going to the White House and meeting with the President of the United States.
However, it was brought to my attention Saturday that James Harrison, The NFL Defensive Player of the Year and current owner of the longest play in Super Bowl history has decided, for the second time in his career, to shun the President of the United States.

In announcing his decision, Harrison was quoted as saying "This is how I feel — if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don't win the Super Bowl. As far as I'm concerned, he [Obama] would've invited Arizona if they had won." Mr. Harrison, That’s the point. As stated before, winning the Super Bowl (Or the World Series or the NBA Finals or the Stanley Cup, for that matter) is the greatest single feat in all of sports. Great accomplishments deserve great honors, and being honored by the President of the United States is one of the greatest honors any American can aspire to. Your decision, Mr. Harrison, is at best a poor example of sportsman’s folly and at worst a disgusting display of arrogance not seen this side of Brian Bosworth circa 1986.

What you do not seem to understand, Mr. Harrison, is that you are turning down an opportunity and an honor that far exceeds any accomplish on a sports field, even winning the Super Bowl.
This display of false bravado is disgusting on a level far exceeding anything I have seen in all my years watching, following, and covering sports. I cannot recall any player showing this level of disrespect to the President of the United States, the NFL, his team, and the fans.
Of course, given Mr. Harrison’s track record, this may not be as much of a shock as it first seems to me. In 2006, after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, Harrison, just a reserve at the time, made the same decision. Of course, Mr. Harrison was not, at the time, a household name by any means, so his shunning of then President Bush was not called to notice.

This was not the only instance to raise cause for alarm. In a 2009 interview, fellow Steelers Linebacker said that, early in his career, Harrison would quit on plays and ask the coaches not to play him when he was struggling.

In March 2008, Harrison was arrested for striking the mother of his child over a disagreement about the baptism of the child. Despite the fact that former teammate Cedric Wilson was arrested around the same time for the same offense, Steelers owner Dan Rooney decided to cut Wilson and retain Harrison. The charges were dismissed after Harrison completed anger management classes.

The thing I find most disheartening about all of this is that Mr. Harrison is someone that is looked up to as an icon by young football players and adults alike, as well as people in the African American community, yet Mr. Harrison has the nerve to blow off the President because of some kind of petty turf war between teams. It also must be pointed out that by doing this; Mr. Harrison is feeding into the unfair stereotype that all black athletes are uneducated, me first arrogant street thugs who have no honor or respect for anyone but themselves and the almighty dollar. One would hope that great men like Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, and Muhammad Ali have narrowed the racial divide too far for someone like James Harrison to bring this issue festering to the surface once again. Unfortunately, there is a race divide that still exists in this country, and in doing this, Mr. Harrison is not doing those of us that wish to kill such stereotypes any favors.

It is my feeling that if Mr. Harrison cannot leave the competition on the field and show some respect for the country that has afforded him the right to play a game that is watched by millions, while at the same time allowing him income beyond most of our wildest dreams, then he should retire. Leave the NFL. Hang’ em up. Because by doing this, Mr. Harrison, you are spitting in the face of every African American that fought against prejudice and hatred in this country long before you ever decided to lace up a pair of cleats. By doing this, Mr. Harrison, you are spitting in the face of every American solider that has ever sacrificed his live, his well being, and his personal safety that was earned by Patriots far braver than you, sir. By doing this, Mr. Harrison, you are defecating on everything that is supposed to be honorable about the NFL: The spirit of honest competition and the comradely that is in every locker room, from the Super Bowl Champions to the worst team in the league.

I also implore to you, Mr. Rooney. You are a firm supporter of President Obama. In fact, you’ve been recently appointed to be the Ambassador of Ireland by the President himself. The Steelers are YOUR team and it is up to YOU to make sure that that are reflected in the community as a team that holds itself to the HIGHEST level in terms of sportsmanship, honor, and patriotism. Mr. Rooney, if Mr. Harrison is unable or unwilling to renege on his commitment to skip meeting the President over something as petty as other teams having been invited in the past, you should release him. Terminate his contract. Pay whatever price you may have to grievances brought forth by the NFLPA or by the league itself. In a league where arrests are a daily occurrence, be the owner that shows some honor.

Your country has called you to service, Mr. Harrison. How long will you turn a deaf ear?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bengals 53 Man Roster Projections

Martin Smith
It’s that time of year, Bengals Fans: Time to speculate who is in, who is out, and who is barely hanging on. Without further delay, here are my picks for the Bengals opening day roster.

QB (Currently on Roster: Carson Palmer, J.T. O’Sullivan, Jordan Palmer, Billy Farris
1. Carson Palmer- The franchise and really a no brainer.
2. J.T. O’Sullivan- JT was brought in to play a similar role that Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not a guy you want starting long term, but a serviceable backup
3. Jordan Palmer- If little brother is happy, then Carson is happy. Jordan seems more than content to hold a clipboard and collect a pay check

HB/TB (Cedric Benson, James Johnson, Brian Leonard, Bernard Scott, Kenny Watson, DeDe Dorsey, Marlon Lucky)
1. Cedric Benson- By his play over the last eight games, he’s earned it. If you stretch his production out over 16 games, he would have had almost 1,000 yards. For a guy off the street playing behind a patchwork line, it was a tremendous effort
2. James Johnson- Bit of a shocker here, but Johnson impressed coaches dating back to last year’s training camp, and he showed some flashes down the stretch. Look for him to see a few more snaps
3. Brian Leonard- the Bengals new third down back arriving via a trade with the Rams for DT Orien Harris. Will see some snaps on the goal line and on 3rd down.

FB (Jeremi Johnson, Fui Vakapuna, Chris Pressley, JD Runnels)
1. Fui Vakapuna- Fui reminds the Bengals a lot of Naufahu Tahi, whom they signed to an offer sheet that the Vikings matched (As an aside, Tahi and Vakapuna are cousins). Look for Fui to make the roster and to be brought along Gradually

WR (Chad Ocho Cinco, Laveranues Coles, Chris Henry, Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, Maurice Purify, Freddie Brown, Antonio Chatman, Quan Cosby, Mario Urrutia, David Richmond, Greg Orton)
1. Chad Ocho Cinco- Stop the speculation, the Ocho is going nowhere. Not even Drew Rosenhaus is as hard headed as Mike Brown.
2. Laveranues Coles- Coles is TJ Houshmandzadeh with better career stats, a better attitude, and a cheaper contract and oh, he’s two years younger.
3. Chris Henry- This guy could be the next coming of Randy Moss. He could also be the next Rae Carruth. In speaking t Henry, it seems like he finally “Gets it”. Let’s hope that’s true
4. Jerome Simpson- You will not cut a second round pick after one year. The chatter is that Simpson is vastly improved. If so, he gives another option to an already deep WR Corps
5. Andre Caldwell- Last year’s third rounder is said to be a poor man’s TJ. Let’s hope Caldwell is more of a team player and less of a "me first" type of guy.
6. Quan Cosby- Rumor has it the Undrafted free agent can return punts. If he’s even marginally better that other options, look for him to land the job.

TE (Chase Coffman, Reggie Kelly, Ben Utecht, Matt Sherry, Darius Hill, Daniel Coats)
1. Reggie Kelly- A tenacious blocker in the run game, Kelly was brought back at the bequest of Carson Palmer back in 2006. He’s getting a little older, but don’t look for him to go anywhere in 2009
2. Chase Coffman- Chase is a rookie out of Missouri that should give Bob Bratowski another option in what could be a lethal Bengals Passing game.
3. Ben Utecht- Ben was supposed to come in and make a difference in the Bengals passing game, but was limited due to injuries and quarterback play. He’ll need to make a difference this year to hold on to his job for 2009

T (Anthony Collins, Andre Smith, Dennis Roland, Scott Kooistra)
1. Anthony Collins- last year’s 4th round pick was a pleasant surprise, starting six games down the stretch and playing quite well. Look for Collins to start at RT
2. Andre Smith- despite ongoing agent issues, Smith is a LT in the mold of Levi Jones, except that he is less injury prone and a better run blocker
3. Scott Kooistra- Kooistra is a 7 year vet that has spent his entire career in Cincinnati. A situational starter, Kooistra can move inside to play G as well
4. Dennis Roland- at 6’9, 325 pounds, Roland is an imposing figure. A former undrafted free agent, Roland is a nice situational blocker that can provide the occasional start.

G (Andrew Whitworth, Bobbie Williams, Nate Livings, Evan Mathias, Colin Dow, Digger Bujnoch)
1. Andrew Whitworth- at 6’7, 330, Whitworth is a mauler in the classic sense. He is the heart and soul of the Bengals O-Line, and a team leader as well. Look for Whit to push for his 1st Pro Bowl in 2009. Can also slide out to T.
2. Bobbie Williams- The veteran presence on the O-Line, Williams is heading into his 10thyear, but still has some tread on the tires. Look for him to start at RG
3. Nate Livings- Another guard out of LSU, Livings came on strong last season, starting the last 6 games and filling in nicely for Whitworth. Looks to be the eventual replacement for Bobbie Williams
4. Digger Bujnoch- a bit of a wild card here, but Digger is a Cincinnati product whose father Glen was a member of the 1981 Super Bowl team. Digger played T in college and has also seen several snaps at C for the Bengals. One of the last guys that will make the cut.

C (Kyle Cook, Jonathan Lugis, Dan Santucci, Andrew Crummey)
1. Kyle Cook- the (gulp) incumbent going into 2009. Cook was slated to make is first start on October 5th against Dallas last year, but dislocated his toe and went on injured reserve. A stop-gap, nothing more
2. Jonathan Lugis- The future at C for the Bengals. Lugis is smart, athletic and talented. Look for the 2007 Rimington award winner to push for the starting job from day one.

K (Shayne Graham)
1. Shayne Graham- The team’s franchise player, Graham will be the Bengals kicker in 2009, barring injury

P (Kevin Huber)
1. Kevin Huber- the Bengals were elated that Huber was available in round 5, and Huber goes into TC as the only punter on the Bengals roster.

LS (Brad St. Louis, James Smith)
1. James Smith- Another surprise here, Smith will be the third rookie LS to come to camp to take Brad St Louis’s job. Look for Smith to be the one to do it

DE (Antwan Odom, Robert Geathers, Frostee Rucker, Jonathan Fanene, Chris Harrington, Michael Johnson, Clinton McDonald)
1. Antwan Odom- the Bengals biggest FA coup in 2008 turned out to be a bust in 2008. Several injuries derailed Odom, who showed flashes of playmaking ability. Rumor has it that Odom is packed another 35 pounds of muscle on his 6’5 frame, which he’ll need in the AFC North
2. Robert Geathers- Since his 10.5 sack season in 2006, Geathers has been beset by injuries to himself and the LB core that have forced him to move around. The window is closing quickly for Geathers, who must perform in 2009 to hold Michael Johnson off
3. Michael Johnson- At points a consensus top 10 pick in the 2009 draft, Johnson fell into the Bengals lap in the third round. One of the most physically gifted players to come to Cincinnati in years; it’ll be up to Marvin Lewis to light a fire under Johnson.
4. Jonathan Fanene- Fanene had worked his way into the starting lineup after injuries forced Odom and Geathers out. He responded with a pair of 10 tackle games. Fanene can also move inside on passing downs.

DT (Domata Peko, Pat Sims, Tank Johnson, Jason Shirley, Pernell Phillips)
1. Domata Peko- An unquestioned leader of the defense, Peko has been all the Bengals have hoped for and more since drafting him. Will start at DT
2. Pat Sims- A pleasant surprise out of last year’s third round, Sims goes in as the starter in the other DT slot. Look for Sims to become an every down DT
3. Tank Johnson- This was the move that brought attention to the Bengals for all the wrong reasons. Tank failed as a 3-4 NT/DE in Dallas, so it will be interesting to see how he does in Cincy’s 4-3
4. Jason Shirley- Shirley was a developmental prospect taken in the 5th round of last year’s draft. It remains to be seen if the 6’5, 338 pound Shirley, who has 4.9 speed, can crack the lineup

LB (Dhani Jones, Keith Rivers, Brandon Johnson, Darryl Blackstock, Jim Maxwell, Rey Maualuga, Abdul Hodge, Dan Stuka)

1. Dhani Jones- Dhani was another waiver wire gem for the Bengals. All he has done since his arrival is lead the team in tackles, play all three LB spots, and host his own show on the Discovery Channel.
2. Keith Rivers- Last year’s first round pick, Rivers was showing flashes of greatness until what many have said was a chap shot by Steelers WR Hines Ward Broke his jaw and ended his season.
3. Rey Maualuga- By far the steal of the 2009 Draft, Maualuga is a two-time All American and Bednarik award winner who brings instant hitting power and swagger to a defense that sorely needs it.
4. Brandon Johnson- Johnson filled in nicely for the injured rivers, Inking 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2 picks in just 9 starts. Johnson is a key to the depth of the Bengals defense.
5. Darryl Blackstock- Despite missing 4 games to suspension last year, Blackstock proved himself to be the ultimate team player and jack of all trades when he moved to DE after a rash of injuries. Strong special teams play ensures him a roster spot.
6. Rashad Jeanty- Jeanty is another one of the CFL starts the Bengals seem to covet. In taking to Jeanty's agent David Canter, Jeanty is not happy with the fact that he was not given a long term contract. Look for this to be Jeanty's last season in Cincinnati.
CB (Leon Hall, Jonathan Joseph, Morgan Trent, David Jones, Geoffrey Pope, Rico Murray, Simeon Castille)

1. Leon Hall- Hall’s coverage skills in Mike Zimmer’s defense improved drastically in a season which saw him with the duty of covering each opponent’s top receiver. Look for his ball skills to improve in 2009
2. Jonathan Joseph- Since entering the league, Joseph is top in passes defended. With Hall on the opposite side, teams are not going to have any choice but to throw at Joseph, and he can make them pay
3. Morgan Trent- Trent is a 6th round pick out of Michigan. With an apparent lack of depth behind Hall and Joseph, look for Trent to earn playing time right away
4. Simeon Castille- The former Alabama CB started last season on the 53 man roster, and should start there again in 2009 as a key special teams player
5. Rico Murray- a mid major CB out of Kent State, Murray looks to pull a Simeon Castille and make the 53 man roster for opening day. This could change if the Bengals sign a veteran corner such as Rod Hood

FS/SS (Chris Crocker, Chinedum Ndukwe, Roy Williams, Marvin White, Corey Lynch, Tom Nelson, Kyries Herbert)
1. Chris Crocker- after being signed off the street, Crocker was the leader of the Bengals defensive backfield. He seems to be a great fit for Zimmer’s defensive scheme, and should make a big impact in 2009
2. Chinedum Ndukwe- Ndukwe has become famous for his big hits and timely, game changing plays. Look for him to share time with Crocker and Williams
3. Roy Williams. The former 1st round pick was cut by Dallas because they did not think he could cut it. Williams joins the Bengals with a chip on his shoulder, and a lot to prove.
4. Corey Lynch- Lynch reminds many Bengals fans of Kevin Kaesviharn. He’s not the most physically gifted player, put he plays smart and at full throttle. Look for him to contribute heavily, especially on special teams
5. Marvin White- White is known as a fierce hitter that does not shy away from contact. A knee injury will likely start his season on the PUP, but he should come back and contribute

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Far is Too Far?

May 12th, 2009

How Far is Too Far?

By Martin Smith

Cuban, Mavericks owner, forced to apologize to KMart, family

As far as officiating goes, it was a terrible call. Down 105-103, Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets drained a three pointer that gave the Nuggets an improbable 106-105 win over the Dallas Mavericks, and at the same time sending the Nuggets to a 3-0 series lead. The shot itself was dramatic enough, but it was the circumstances leading up to, and those immediately after, which will mar what should have been an astounding finish to an instant classic.

Before Anthony took the shot, Mavs G/F Antoine Wright attempted twice to commit an intentional foul in order to send Anthony to the free throw line. Had the foul been called correctly, the worst case scenario would have been a trip to the free throw line for Anthony with a chance to sink two free throws to force overtime. With Anthony only being a 79% free throw shooter, making both shots was not a given. Instead, Anthony drains the shot, and the Nuggets win the game.

The next day, the NBA was forced to admit that the refs had missed the call. Per ESPN, "At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony's three-point basket," Joel Litvin, NBA president of league and basketball operations, said in a statement issued by the league about two hours after the game. While it’s refreshing to hear the NBA admit that its officials were wrong, at the same time there should be no way a playoff game is allowed to be decided on a call that , admittedly, should have been made.

With that being said, the actions of Mavericks fans and especially of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are inexcusable. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Mark Cuban. If all team owners were as engaged and passionate about their teams as Cuban was, sports would be a LOT more entertaining. Despite that, Cuban was party to a verbal altercation with Lydia Moore (the mother of UC alum Kenyon Martin) that should have never happened.

There are several accounts of how the altercation took place. According to Cuban, a fan called the Nuggets "thugs" and he looked at Moore and said, "That includes your son." However, Martin's agent told the Denver Post that Cuban said, "Your son is a punk." Martin, to his credit, was not willing to have a smear fest with Cuban though the media. "It's a little personal, and I'm going to take care of it," he said, according to CBS Sports. "I'm not going to do the whole media thing, back and forth. That's his thing. I'm more of a face-to-face type of dude."

Had Cuban said this to a player, a coach, or even another owner, it would not have registered a blip on the media radar. Cuban is known for his wild statements to the media from things ranging from players on his own teams, officials and even NBA commissioner David Stern. However, with Cuban being in a place of power, he should have NEVER brought a player’s mother into the debate. Mrs. Moore has no control over how the Nuggets play, and as a private figure, she should not have had to suffer the terrible consequences that were bestowed upon her during game four, where she was doused with alcohol, and forced to leave the game for fear of her own safety.

To Cuban’s credit, he has manned up and apologized. “So at this point I would like to apologize to you and your mom KMart for my comment. I should have not said anything and I was wrong. Hopefully you will accept the apology and we can move on. When the series comes back to Dallas, your family, and the family of other Nuggets players are welcome to stay in my suite, with my family. Its amazing how tempers mellow when real people talk to each other and realize that it’s still just a game. If that isn’t acceptable, I’m happy to provide a suite, free of charge to them as well and place whatever security is needed to make them feel comfortable. We tried to have enough additional security for them tonight as well, but I know your family and friends didn’t feel as comfortable as they should. I apologize for that as well. This arena is my responsibility, we could and should do a better job. So if we can put this behind us, I will make sure when the series comes back to Dallas, your family and friends, and that of your teammates are very comfortable at our Arena. Then I hope we both take the advice of your coach and can get together this summer. Dinner for you and your family is on me.”. (To read the full context of Cuban’s post, visit his blog at BlogMaverick.com)

With all the excitement that goes into the NBA playoffs, emotions run high and unfortunately, ugly incidents like this can and will happen. However, as an NBA owner, it’s Cuban’s job to find ways to defuse things like this from happening, not for him to be the catalyst. Cuban is good for the NBA and for the Mavericks as well. Let’s hope he keeps it in check a little more from here on out.


Henry Focused, Ready for Season

May 8, 2009

Henry Focused, Ready for Season

By Martin Smith

Oft-troubled WR sounds relaxed, enthused about Bengals chances in 2009

This season is supposed to be the season for redemption for the Cincinnati Bengals. After a 4-11-1 finish in 2009, the Bengals were due for a major overhaul. After a solid draft class along with the signings of such free agents such as Tank Johnson, Roy Williams and Laveranues Coles and a trade sending fringe roster DT Orien Harris to St. Louis for hard nosed RB Brian Leonard, many of the Bengals I have communicated with are excited. One of those players happens to be Chris Henry, whom I sat down with for a brief chat.

If there’s anyone who should be optimistic, it’s Henry. Known more for his exploits off the field as opposed to those on it, Henry has truly enjoyed a quiet offseason. Henry has also watched intently as Mike Brown and the Bengals war room signed, drafted, and traded the franchise into a team that, on paper, looks vastly improved over last year’s 4-11-1 squad. Add in the re appearance of a healthy Chad Ocho Cinco, along with the return of quarterback Carson Palmer, and Henry has a lot to be excited about as the third receiver in a Bengals offense that has become known for lighting up the scoreboard, when healthy.

In speaking with Henry, I was given the sense that he is relaxed and quietly preparing for what could be his last chance to earn a big payday on sport’s biggest stage. Signed to a two year contract last year, it stands reason to think that his loyalty would lie with Mike Brown and the Bengals, who have given Henry several chances to right the ship. However, this is the NFL, and players come and go between teams at lightning speed. At the same time, I was also given a sense of the overabundance of confidence that it takes to play the wide receiver position in the NFL. When asked if one of the team’s roster spots was a lock for him, Henry replied “Oh, one of those spots is definitely mine…I plan on doing some big things this season.”

When asked about quarterback Carson Palmer, Henry replied: “Yea, he’s 100%. You know, he’s smiling everyday and he’s just excited to get back out there, you know.” Of course, if anyone should be excited about the return of Palmer, it’s Henry. Dating back to 2005, when he was drafted, all but two of Henry’s 19 career touchdown catches have come from Palmer. Adding Carson Palmer to any offense makes it better. However, adding Palmer back to a Bengals offense with the likes of Coles, Ocho Cinco, and Henry, and its lethal.

The most refreshing thing about the time I spoke with Henry was a sense of modesty and a knowing that great things are expected of him. When asked about the prospects of a ten touchdown season, he replied “Aw, man, I’m working towards that, you know? Hopefully I can get the chance to make that happen.” When asked about prospects for his first 1,000 yard season, Henry replied “Oh, yea, well with Carson back and with (Laveranues) Coles and Chad (Ocho Cinco) and myself and with all the younger receivers, man, it could be that type of year.”
At the end of the conversation, I could sense that Henry is much more relaxed heading into the 2009 campaign. He answered all of questions, taking time to give a measured and sensible response. He seemed to be enjoying himself through our entire conversation, and you could hear his children talking in the background throughout. It seems that Henry has his focus firmly on football and doing what he can to help the Bengals have a successful 2009 season.

Extra Points:
· Bengals K Shayne Graham signed his franchise tender this week. It is a one year, $2.483 million dollar deal.

· Practice squad member Maurice Purify seems ready to do anything he can to make the team this year. Except for returning kickoffs and punts “Aw, man, that’s not my spot” said Purify to me this week, “I’m too big for that. I’m 6’4; I’m too big for that. I’ll leave that to the little fast people. I’ll block for ‘em though.” Isn’t that a refreshing thought? A Bengals receiver that will block.

· Counting draft picks, the Bengals currently have 86 players on the roster. That number has to be down to 80 by the time the team heads to training camp on July 30th. Look for names such as Kenny Watson, Daniel Coats, and Brad St Louis to hit the waiver wire before then.

This articale can be found previously here: