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Will you watch 'Hard Knocks'?

7/3/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

When it comes to respect and popularity on a nationwide scale, the Cincinnati Bengals are very low on the NFL totem pole.

With that said, will a national audience tune in this summer to watch HBO's "Hard Knocks" series when it records the ups and downs of Bengals training camp?

Former NFL cornerback and ESPN analyst James Hasty has his doubts.

"I just want to know why we would even want to watch the Cincinnati Bengals?" Hasty said this week on ESPN's NFL Live. "I think we're going to watch them for one reason and one reason alone: How not to run a professional franchise."

Ouch!

Many league observers agreed with Hasty and felt Cincinnati was a curious choice by HBO, especially coming off last summer when the network filmed the Dallas Cowboys, also known as "America's Team."

The Bengals are anything but America's Team. But they do have an interesting mix of personalities led by top receiver Chad Ochocinco, who should be in rare form.

Besides actually living it this summer during my time in Georgetown, Ky., I will be curiously watching "Hard Knocks" on a regular basis when visiting the AFC North's other three camps.

But will that make me the exception or the rule?