No Distractions

The Bengals are a week away from opening the training camp portion of 2008, the prelude to the regular season opener at Baltimore on Sept. 7. Leading up to next Sunday's reporting date to Georgetown College JungleInsider.com will take a look at some of the issues facing the team as it seeks to rebound from last season's 7-9 disappointment. Today: Off the field distractions.

The Bengals have been poster boys in the NFL the past couple of seasons when it comes to making news for all of the wrong reasons. While their reputation precedes them the Bengals are not at the forefront of commotion this year.

Let's face it, the biggest offseason drama in the league this offseason has been in Green Bay with the retirement/comeback controversy of quarterback Brett Favre. Miami has had to deal with the playing status of defensive end/Dancing With the Stars phenom Jason Taylor. Dallas worked out deal to bring cornerback Adam Jones to Texas even though he has yet to be fully reinstated by the NFL from his year-long suspension.

The Bengals ridded themselves of linebacker Odell Thurman and wide receiver Chris Henry, releasing both. Thurman has since incurred the wrath of commissioner Roger Goodell once again and has been suspended. Goodell also suspended Henry following charges stemming from an incident in which Henry was accused of assaulting a University of Cincinnati student but with those charges since dropped it is possible Henry's suspension could be lifted.

That doesn't mean he will be returning to the Bengals, however. Marvin Frazier, Henry's agent, said last week that several teams have contacted him regarding Henry, including the Bengals, but it would make little sense for the Bengals to bring him back. They spent three draft picks on wide receivers this year, including taking Jerome Simpson in the second round and Andre Caldwell in the third round.

As far as Henry is concerned, the Bengals have moved on.

Not all has been quiet on the Bengals front but compared to seasons past it is a whisper.

Chad Johnson certainly did his best to stir up the airwaves and headlines by telling anyone who would listen from late January to early June that he wanted out of town but those troubles seem to be in the past. Johnson's biggest concern is healing as quickly as he can from the ankle surgery he had following the team's minicamp last month. How quickly he is able to repair his damaged relationship with fans remains to be seen but there was little evidence of any strained feelings between Johnson and his teammates during the minicamp.

Johnson and quarterback Carson Palmer were seen talking pleasantly with each other and going about their business in normal fashion when last the Bengals were on the practice field. Johnson and team management seem to have come back to seeing eye-to-eye… for the most part at least.

The only player who has said anything amounting to controversial in the six weeks since minicamp ended has been Palmer. In a recent interview with a Los Angeles radio station Palmer shared his disdain for the Ohio State football program and its fans. The Buckeyes travel to L.A. to play Palmer's alma mater U.S.C. on Sept. 13.

(Thanks to Scout.com reader Buddha039 for posting Palmer's interview. To hear Palmer's comments go to: http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=117&f=1756&t=2697321.)

If that is the worst situation facing the Bengals away from the field, then they're doing just fine.


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