The Cincinnati Bengals' reputation has improved in recent years, having less troubled players on the roster and emerging as a viable playoff team.
Now, a once-downtrodden franchise is going to be on display again as they'll be featured on HBO's “Hard Knocks” program for the second time.
This time, there's no Chad Johnson to clown for the cameras, which begin their weekly look at the Bengals starting Aug. 6.
Bengals owner Mike Brown told FOX Sports that the last exposure on HBO has upgraded the perception of the AFC North club.
“What we found when we did that show was people saw us differently,” Brown said. “They saw us more positively. They saw us as just people. We would like our new guys to be seen that way by Bengals fans and develop a bond with our players. That’s a good reason why we did this.”
The Bengals, who do employ oft-troubled cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, are taking less character risks now and have increased their scouting budget. They're regarded as a more progressive organization than the past in NFL circles.
“We sometimes are portrayed as almost villainous,” Brown said. “The players are sometimes thought to be selfish or even criminal. I’m going to the far end of the spectrum there, but we get some very difficult criticism. I’d like to think we aren’t that way. It isn’t that we’re anything so special but we’re just ordinary folks if you will. If people would come and look, I think that’s what they would see. I think for the most part that’s what they did see. We surprised people a little bit.”
Winning and staying out of trouble tends to spawn that kind of reaction.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun