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Marvin won the locker room back?


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Posted by Mike Florio on April 24, 2008, 6:48 p.m.

As the tug-o-war between the Cincinnati Bengals and receiver Chad Johnson continues with the piece of the rope with the strip of an old T-shirt tied around it not moving from the midpoint between the two sides, the Bengals have scored a major victory among the other players on the team.

Per a league source, coach Marvin Lewis won back the locker room with his Tuesday verbal bitch-slapping of Johnson.

“He’s stated without an opportunity to go to a different team and a new contract, he wasn’t going to play,” Lewis said to the media two days ago. “I think he’s a man of his word. He says he’s not going to play, so don’t play.”

It’s a significant development for Lewis, who had gradually squandered the support of the other players by coddling Chad. The low point came in January 2006, when Lewis did nothing in response to Johnson’s halftime meltdown in the locker room.

Regardless of whether Johnson punched Lewis or receivers coach Hue Jackson or Johnson had Jackson in a headlock or Jackson had Johnson in a headlock or the Iron Sheik had Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a sleeper hold, the incident marred the twelve-minute intermission of a playoff game that the Bengals were leading at the end of the second quarter, preventing the team from maximizing the available time to make adjustments aimed at also leading the game at the end of the fourth.

Per the source, one player’s reaction was that Lewis should have gone even farther. “He should have told Chad that he’d pack up his stuff and send it to him,” the player said, “or that he’d just go ahead and send it all to Canton.”

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Maybe, maybe not. PFT is basically trying to pat itself on the back by showing that Marvin's toughness now shows what a big problem there was before and, coincidentally, how right PFT has been all along about it. I tend to discount a lot of this because the "locker room" thing is a little overblown in the offseason. There may be some guys working out, etc., but I don't think that constitutes the whole team agreeing that everything's so great now. In every story there's probably some grain of truth, but whatever "player" they're talking to no doubt has his own agenda and may be trying to play it out through a self-described internet hack.

Constantly looking back to the alleged playoff "incident" is, to me, rather myopic in the sense that a whole season has played out since then and I doubt that many current Bengals (several of whom weren't even here then) spend a lot of time sitting around pondering the "incident" as the moment when everything went oh-so-wrong. Nah, IMO this is Florio trying to make himself appear correct more than anything else. Finally, I highly doubt that Marvin's most recent comments, which are only a shade harsher than what he has been saying for more than a month, have all-the-sudden "won back" the support of the players.

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I was glad to see him do that even if it means angering CJohnson even more...MLewis is correct, CJohnson has a valid contract that he signed a couple of years ago if you want more $ go about it the right way, CJohnson's action of the field is self explanatory so who knows they might have given him a raise...But the way he is going about it, is not beneficial to anyone, so I agree with MLewis if you don't want to play then don't but you will not be playing for anyone else either...

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If that wasn't enough, here's Florio's article on Sporting News in praise (mostly) of Mike Brown...

A remarkably fair article, but I still wouldn't walk to the end of my driveway for a chance to talk to Mike Florio.

BTW, the one thing that stands out to me is the dramatic way Florio changes his writing style when working for The Sporting News. None of the "We think this and we think that." No mention of the turd word. No unnamed sources making outrageous claims that are almost immediately recanted, sometimes in the same day.

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