AFC North: Martellus Bennett
Very soon, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco won’t be the only NFL player with his own iPhone application.
"Wide receivers are very interesting," Shahidi said. "Larry is not as wild as Chad and Terrell. But at the same time, a lot of people look up to Larry. He’s just a really stand-up guy, and his is going to be based more on that, more inspirational. We like that personality part with Larry."
Ochocinco was the first athlete to put a phone application on the market this year. It includes features such as a question-and-answer session with Ochocinco, and a GPS device where you can track the receiver's whereabouts.
Shahidi is partners with Bengals backup quarterback Jordan Palmer. The idea began in training camp when Ochocinco learn Palmer was working on various phone applications and thought it would be interesting to create one for himself.
Consider Ochocinco a trailblazer in this department. Other NFL athletes who recently signed deals include San Diego Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips and Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett. NBA All-Star and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard also is in negotiations and expects to have a deal in place soon.
"Everyone is recognizing that technology is moving towards the cell phone," Shahidi said. "People are now associating computers with work, and now phones are the fun part."
When asked what an ESPN.com AFC North blog phone application would look like, Shahidi had some interesting ideas.
"I would make it a trash-talking app," Shahidi said. "It’s between four teams with four crazy groups of fans. That’s the first thing I would do. And then you have some interesting characters with Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu and Chad, so it would be some stuff built around them as well."
Sounds good to me. Where do I sign up?
October, 22, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
There was a mystery team connected to the Dallas Cowboys before Tuesday’s trade deadline, and according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, that team was the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters a team put forth a "significant" offer for one of his players this week that Jones turned down. Mortensen reports the player was Cowboys backup tight end Martellus Bennett and the team was the first-place Bengals (4-2).
It makes sense. Cincinnati has been banged up at tight end as Reggie Kelly (Achilles) and Ben Utecht (concussion) both went down early with season-ending injuries. Daniel Coats, a tight end/fullback hybrid, has struggled catching the ball. The Bengals also have a pair of young, developing tight ends on their roster in J.P. Foschi and Chase Coffman.
Cincinnati rarely makes many splashes in the trade market. But at least the reported attempt this week shows the Bengals are trying to win now and hold onto the AFC North division lead.
August, 13, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
HBO's much-anticipated "Hard Knocks" series featuring the Cincinnati Bengals made its debut Wednesday night. Every week the AFC North blog we will break down highlights of the show for ESPN.com readers.
Here is a recap of the first episode:
Synopsis: After a 4-11-1 season that Bengals owner Mike Brown deemed "an embarrassment," the team is trying to fight back from the bottom to the top of the NFL. The series starts with the Olympics-style competition that the team held during minicamp, which displayed an attempt to build unity and a willingness to compete. Once arriving in Georgetown, Ky., the Oklahoma drill serves as an early highlight. The injury bug also strikes the tight end position, where starter Reggie Kelly (Achilles) is lost for the season and Ben Utecht suffers a severe concussion.
Next tight end up: Last year, then-rookie tight end Martellus Bennett of the Dallas Cowboys was the "Hard Knocks" goat early in training camp. This season Bengals rookie tight end Chase Coffman filled the same void in the debut episode. The show displayed all of Coffman's early mistakes in camp, such as poor routes and sloppy footwork. Ironically, I detailed many of those same initial struggles during my visit to Georgetown. But Coffman has actually improved since and is challenging for first-team reps.
Funny moment No. 1: In a welcome-to-Bengaldom moment, new safety Roy Williams -- who had spent his entire career in Dallas -- is shocked that players have to pay money to rent televisions for their dorm rooms. "There's no TV?" a startled Williams asked. The prices range from $93 to $266 depending on the size. The Bengals are notorious for their cost-cutting ways and this was yet another example.
Funny moment No. 2: Fullback Jeremi Johnson entered training camp 11 pounds overweight. And with team trainers working with Johnson every day, he somehow gained three additional pounds in the first week. Weight has always been an issue for Johnson since he arrived to Cincinnati in 2003. But lately he's gotten it together and is getting work with the first team.
Brown vs. the media: The Bengals have been a running joke in the media for quite some time and Brown acknowledged that in his address to the team.
"We exposed ourselves to the media, which criticized us and mocked us," the Bengals owner said. "This is a hard business. It can be a tough, bottom-line business where all that matters is did you win or did you lose? Now is the time for us to answer back, and the place for us to answer back is on the playing field. From there, our critics will hear us loud and clear."
The Ocho Show: In somewhat of an upset, entertaining receiver Chad Ochocinco didn't get his own segment until about 40 minutes into the hour-long program. At that time Ochocinco explained one of his favorite sayings: "Child please!"
"Child please is a nice way to say [expletive] you," said Ochocinco, who recommends that everyone try his new catchphrase.
Ochocinco also explains why Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo split up with Jessica Simpson.
"She bought him a $100,000 boat and now her birthday is coming up. That's a lot of pressure," Ochocinco said to laughing teammates. "As an athlete, we got money. But we don't got money like they [entertainers] got money, so pressure caused the breakup."
Spin control: Executive vice president Katie Blackburn displayed a perfect example of the Bengals being able to control the message. Wednesday's episode briefly touched on Cincinnati first-round pick Andre Smith being the lone absentee because of a contract dispute. But instead of being fair to both sides and pointing out Cincinnati's awful track record with rookie holdouts, Blackburn had an open forum.
"It's extremely frustrating," Blackburn said. "You're offering them so much money, and yet for some reason they're saying it's not enough."
Why: I'm intrigued by the potential of this show, but I thought the first episode was just good, not great. It focused mostly on the players, where I believe the most-compelling stories and mystery surrounding the Bengals involves ownership and the family-run business. I want to see more of Mike Brown, who is a polarizing figure in Cincinnati and rarely in the public eye. I want to see more of the Bengals' football operation, which is scant compared to other NFL teams and has been criticized tremendously over the years. Although I cover the Bengals regularly, I'm still eager to learn something new about the organization with its doors completely open this summer. The debut episode failed to accomplish that goal.