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Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity

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Contrary to what you'll hear some say, sometimes it's -not- good to be in the news. And while Pittsburgh isn't perfect, the organization has a reputation for drafting, and retaining, high character players. It's one reason why Santonio Holmes will need to avoid any further off-field problems. Any more, and his on-field time will be diminished greatly.

I bring this up today in reference to Michael Clayton's recent ESPN.com column, in which he asks, "Are the Cincinnati Bengals thew new Jail Blazers?"

Wide receiver Chris Henry, drafted in 2005, has been arrested four times in the past year. Middle linebacker Odell Thurman, also an '05 draftee, was suspended for four games last week because of violations of the substance abuse policy. Their third-round choice this year, defensive end Frostee Rucker, was charged last month with two counts of spousal battery and vandalism. Fifth-round choice A.J. Nicholson, who had a history of off-field problems at Florida State, was charged last month with burglarizing the apartment of a former teammate.

On Thursday, the Bengals used next year's third-round choice on linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who had three reported marijuana incidents and other problems at Virginia. Though considered a first-round talent, Brooks was available because Virginia kicked him off the team.

Not since the heyday of the NBA's Portland Jail Blazers has a franchise defied the character questions this much.

Football's a funny sport - one in which unquantifiable variables have a larger impact than in other sports (baseball, for instance). This recent trend doesn't bode well for their upcoming season... There's no question that there's plenty of talent in Cincinnati these days. Will they pull together the problems to get the most out of it?

--PB--