The Bengals, T.O. and Antonio Bryant’s knee

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18: Terrell Owens #81 of the Buffalo Bills stands on the sideline during the game against the New York Jets on October 18, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Bengals signed Terrell Owens to a one-year, $2 million contract on Tuesday according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In other news, Marvin Lewis also became the spokesperson for Excedrin Migraine.

I like the signing. Actually to be more specific, I like the fit. T.O. could have been toxic to Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez’s development had the Rams or Jets (two teams that had shown interest in the receiver over the last couple of days) signed him. But in Cincinnati he’ll play for a veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer who won’t take his guff and with Pacman Jones, Matt Jones and Tank Johnson already on the roster, there’s no way Owens could pollute the Bengals’ locker room more than it has been over the last couple of years.

But the biggest issue stemming from this signing is what it means to Antonio Bryant. Obviously the knee injury that slowed him in spring practices is still a major concern or else they wouldn’t have signed T.O. Think about it, if they were seriously interested in Owens then why didn’t they sign him before now? What has changed since March (or April, or June, or the first 26 days in July) other than Bryant’s injury worsening?

The other issue is that the Bengals signed Bryant to a four-year, $28 million contract despite there being concerns about his health. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee last August and it continued to bother him throughout the season. Yet Cincinnati still gave him a multi-year deal and he’s likely to slide to No. 3 on their depth chart with the signing of Owens.

Considering the Bengals will pound the ball on the ground again this year, they should be fine with Chad Ochocinco, T.O. and a hobbled Bryant in the passing game. (I’m also high on rookie Jordan Shipley, who was nothing short of outstanding as Colt McCoy’s top target at Texas.) But the signing of Owens raises major questions about why the Bengals decided to pay Bryant $7 million a year without being more cautious about his knee injury.

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Judge calls Tank Johnson a coward

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 30:  Tank Johnson #99 of the Chicago Bears answers questions during Media Day at Dolphin Stadium on January 30, 2007 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

A Cook County judge in Illinois called former Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson a coward for not helping his best friend after he was shot inside a River North nightclub in 2006.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Associate Judge Joseph M. Claps blasted Johnson for not helping his dying friend and bodyguard, Willie B. Posey, inside the Ice Bar nightclub and for later lying to investigators, telling them he hadn’t been in the club on that December 2006 night.

“He has to live with that for the rest of his life,” Claps said, referring to Johnson’s “cowardice.”

Johnson, who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, was not in the courtroom during the 38-year-old Michael Selvie’s sentencing.

In the hours before the shooting, Johnson was inside the Ice Bar with a female friend and Posey. Selvie, another patron, had been repeatedly bumping Johnson and his female friend on the dance floor, when Posey approached and the argument began, prosecutors said. The argument escalated into a fistfight and ended with Selvie pulling out a handgun and shooting Posey once. The shooting was one of a series of events involving Johnson that led the team to cut him a few months later.

During Selvie’s trial, Johnson acknowledged on the witness stand that he’d initially lied to police about being in the club the night his friend was shot. Johnson testified he was scared and concerned about his career.

I would say “coward” is an appropriate word to describe Johnson, although I’d also add “selfish.”

Bengals’ Hall arrested and charged with DUI

Fearing that his team’s bad reputation would be questioned if they didn’t have another legal issue again soon, Bengals’ cornerback Leon Hall was arrested and charged with driving under the influence while traveling in Ohio on Sunday.

Leon HallThe Ohio State Patrol said Hall’s blood-alcohol level was .149, nearly twice the legal limit. Hall was charged with driving under the influence and driving left of center.

“You would think they would get someone to drive them with the cash they got. Why not?” witness Brian Rogers said.

Neither the team nor Hall have commented about the issue, but fans are already chiming in.

“It’s unbelievable how people can keep getting in trouble there — it really, it blows my mind,” Brett Mentzel said.

This news comes just one day after the Bengals signed defensive tackle Tank Johnson, so it’s clear that the team is committed to having plenty of off field incidents in 2009.

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