I love when professional or college teams are more than just a unit of guys with one goal in mind: to win the championship. What made Butler's run so special was that the team's goals and style of play transcended their ultimate of goal of winning a championship. My other favorite sports teams is the Cincinnati Bengals. And for the longest time I hated and loved th
em for the sole reason that they were MY hometown team. I rooted for them yea
r after year even amongst little success. Now, I have another reason to root for the Bengals. They also have become a team that is out to do more than just win games.
They have become a team of second chances. A haven where players desperately seeking a second chance can get redemption. Numerous players that were at the end of the road because of not living up to potential, off field issues, drug violations, or a combination of all those, have made there way to the Bengals hoping to get a fresh start playing the game they love.
Recently, the Bengals have picked up one of the most infamous NFL players of this decade: Adam "Pacman" Jones.
Adam was drafted as a freak athlete with freak speed. But his NFL resume has been plagued with off field violations that led him to be completely suspended for t
he 2007 season and half of the 2008 season. Thought to be a lost cause, the Begnals will be giving him a contract in the hopes that he can contribute to their success. He was quoted saying to Bengal's defensive coach Zimmer, " Coach, I just want to play."
So lets look at the some of the players that have been given second chances with the Bengals:
Cedric Benson: Was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round and was never able to become the running back he thought he could be. Attitude problems and confrontation with players and coaches of the Chicago Bears. When he was arrested 2 times in just five weeks for alcohol related charges he was finally released for the B
ears. Last year with the Bengals we had an all pro season and was the 8th leading rusher in the NFL (playing in only 13 games). He was the Bengals work horse and heart soul of an offense that lead the Bengals to the playoffs.
Chris Henry had numerous personality issues and was suspended numerous times. But Mike Brown kept giving him second chances. Teammates, family, coaches and management all proclaimed the Chris had turned his life around last season, until he died tragically.
Others include: Larry Johnson, Tank Johnson, Cedric Benson, and Chris Henry. This are all players that succeeded and redeeming their lives and football careers.
Matt Jones is another player that was picked up this year. He came out of the draft as 6 foot 6 inches athlete that was fast, really fast. But he was sidelined then eventually cut for drug related violations. He will now have a second chance with the Bengals.
I might be forgetting some people? So if I am help me out.
Either way I think I have proved the point that the Bengals have really become a beacon in the NFL for players that have serious talent but that have made bad choices to come and get a second chance.
Think about in the movies when there is the character who goes on a rampage because his family, wife, children or whatever have been taken away from him. He will always say at some point in the movie something to the tune of, "Ive got nothing to lose, so stay at of my way." Well, that is what the Bengals are full of, a bunch of guys who have lost everything (as far as football careers go) and who have everything to gain with a second chance. I think that coupled with the success we are building off last year could mean huge things for the Bengals in this upcoming season.