This was originally published in The Athletic.
It’s the middle of June, so there aren’t many substantive developments happening around the NFL right now.
Oh, there are mini-camps, and around here there’s the definition of a player getting “dinged up” to obsess over, which I’m not doing, at least until I have to.The New York Jets hired a general manager who I have a hard time caring about, and the Houston Texans fired a GM who wasn’t around long enough for me to not even care about. The announcement came that the Oakland Raiders will be on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer, which I guess will be fun.
We’ve also reached the point of the year when franchises announce which former players will get the treatment deserving of their legends. Just in the past two weeks, the Titans revealed that the numbers of Eddie George and Steve McNair will be retired this September while the Falcons, Vikings, Ravens and Cardinals announced their 2019 ring of honor inductees.
The Bengals made no such announcement because, as you’re likely very well aware, they don’t do things like that. There’s no ring of honor at Paul Brown Stadium, no team-sponsored hall of fame for us to visit, and the team’s one official jersey retirement took place more than four decades ago. The Bengals did bring back a bunch of players throughout the season to celebrate the team’s 50th season in 2017, and for last year’s home opener, most of the 1988 AFC title team was given a halftime introduction. But, as Mike Brown himself said nearly four years ago, the Bengals don’t “trade on nostalgia.” It’s an odd thing to say for a guy whose wardrobe often looks like it was purchased at Shillito’s, but fine. As much as those of us who care deeply about the franchise and its history want them to, celebrating the past is just not something that Brown and the Bengals are that much interested in, so we should all just move on.
Except, well, two things…
One is the fact that the ex-player the Cardinals are putting into their ring of honor this fall is Carson Palmer. His five seasons in Arizona included 38 wins in 60 starts, his lone career playoff victory and stats in 2015 that might have eclipsed even those of his best year as a Bengal.
The other is that the whole “New Dey” thing the Bengals have used as a selling point for the first post-Marvin Lewis season seems like something that could include more than just rolling out the same team with some new coaches.
I’ll try to connect the two.
To read more, go to The Athletic.
(Photo: Getty Images)