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Friday, February 17, 2012
Bengals return favor in hiring Hue Jackson

By Jamison Hensley

The Bengals announced they've hired former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson as an assistant coach.

Call it returning a favor.

It was Jackson's personal relationship with Bengals owner Mike Brown that proved to be integral in the Raiders shipping a first-round selection in 2012 and a second-round selection in 2013 for quarterback Carson Palmer. Four months later, Jackson couldn't find a job after being fired by the Raiders.

He met with the St. Louis Rams for their offensive coordinator job. He interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals to be their quarterbacks coach. He talked with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin about the vacant offensive coordinator position.

It was three strikes, but he wasn't going to be out of a job. Jackson still had the Bengals, a team whose future was helped immensely by his generosity. Do you think Jackson even had to interview this time? I can picture Jackson walking into Marvin Lewis' office with a resume that had nine words: 2012 first-round pick and 2013 second-round pick.

Even Jackson's job title sounds strange. He'll serve as an assistant coach helping the secondary and special teams. By my interpretation, he's an assistant to an assistant. And Jackson, whose background is on the offensive side of the ball, is coaching defense and special teams.

The hiring of Jackson could make more sense over the next few years. Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is already getting head coaching offers after one season with the team. If the Bengals' offense continues to have success, Gruden is only going to be here for the short term. Lewis would then have an in-house successor with Jackson already on staff.