Thursday, October 30, 2003
Updated: October 31, 10:17 AM ET
Arizona quarterback would like to forget Bengal years
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona quarterback Jeff Blake tries not to
think about his six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
"It was bad, man," Blake said after Thursday's practice. "But
it's over with and done for me. I don't ever have to go back there
When the Cardinals face Cincinnati on Sunday, it will be the
first time Blake has placed the Bengals since he left them
following the 1999 season. He is pleased to see what new coach
Marvin Lewis has done with the team, which has won three of four
and is 3-4 overall.
"Coach Lewis has done a good job there, and hopefully they'll
continue to let him do the things he's doing to help the
organization turn around," Blake said, "because when I was there,
that wasn't going to happen. It's finally giving those guys an
opportunity to go out and win some football games."
Blake was chosen in the sixth round by the New York Jets out of
East Carolina in 1992 and was waived after two seasons. The Bengals
signed him, and he became the starter halfway through the 1994
His biggest statistical seasons in 11 years as a pro came with
Cincinnati. He was chosen for the Pro Bowl in 1995 when he threw
for 3,822 yards and 28 touchdowns. In 1996, he threw for 3,624
yards and 24 scores.
But the franchise made it difficult to succeed because of its
penny-pinching ways, Blake said, especially on the little things
that other teams do without question.
"We didn't have nothin', period," he said. "No per diem, no
food, no breakfast. Nothin'."
Unlike every other NFL franchise, the Bengals didn't stay in a
hotel together the Saturday night before a home game.
In such a situation, it was every man for himself, Blake said.
"You just try to do your own thing," he said, "try to make
yourself better, and hopefully a team will like you good enough
that they trade for your."
That didn't happen. Blake had to wait for his contract to
expire, then signed with New Orleans as a free agent in 2000. After
two seasons with the Saints and one with Baltimore, he landed in
The Cardinals' history is as bleak as that of the Bengals, maybe
worse. But the working conditions are much better, Blake said.
"It's nice here. It's real nice," he said. "I've seen the
worst, so I ain't complaining at all."