Players Sign With Bengals To Win Now

There once was a time, in the annals of football lore, when being in Orange and Black was a crime. Playing for the Cincinnati Bengals organization meant you were either nobody, a has-been, or all washed up. Wearing the stripes was a prison sentence that just happened to pay you a nice salary. But, those days are gone. Being a Bengals player has become tres chic.

Love him or hate him, Marvin Lewis has changed the culture of Bengals football. When he was handed the baton after a decade of Queen City futility, he inherited a team that had gone 2-14 the previous year. He guided the Bengals to two 8-8 seasons before making the playoffs. Yet, there were still whispers about the franchise.

Fast forward 10 years.

The rumors of a cheap and controlling Mike Brown are gone. Players are willingly coming to Cincinnati. Not only are the contracts desirable, the opportunity to win now is foremost on the list.

Players Sign
[Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]

The Bengals are still searching for that elusive playoff victory. Twenty-five years have passed since the Bengals defeated the Houston Oilers in 1991. That team is now known as the Texans. But, the franchise has found consistency. A five-year playoff run has put Cincinnati in elite company. Only the Broncos, Packers, and Patriots have done the same.

During the Lost Decade of the 90s, players wanted out. Corey Dillon is regarded as one of the best Bengals running backs in franchise history. But, he wanted to get out of Cincinnati, as soon as possible. The memory of a frustrated Dillon tossing his equipment into the stands still haunts lifer fans.

Per SB Nation, Dillon was ready to do anything besides play for the Bengals.

“I’ll be flipping burgers or something. I’ll sit. They can take their $1.3 million and they know what they can do with it. I’ll play for 50 bucks somewhere else.”

Times have changed. Bengals brass has made the banks of Cincinnati a place to call home for talented free agents. To hear recently-signed veterans talk in terms of championships when speaking of the Bengals is an amazing turnaround.

Being part of the Bengals franchise is now a player’s desired move to have a chance at hoisting a Lombardi. When Karlos Dansby was released from the Cleveland Browns, he immediately thought of Cincinnati as his next stop. Having been previously exposed to defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and the Bengals system, he’s ready to get going.

Dansby was straightforward and stoked, via ESPN.

“With what I bring to the table myself, I think it can be very, very dynamic here, and it’ll cause some problems for a lot of teams that weren’t expecting this kind of move, or weren’t expecting to have to deal with this kind of talent that we have on this defense.”

Bengals Lure
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

Bringing a franchise from the depths of helplessness is no easy chore. Bengals fans should truly be rejoicing. Although the men in Orange and Black are still hunting for a playoff victory, Bengals brass is bringing in players who are willing to make the sacrifice to win. In other words, they want to defend the turf at Paul Brown Stadium.

Brandon LaFell is equally as excited to get the year going. He knows that going to a culture of winning will be what he needs to reclaim his 2014 form. Choosing the Bengals was a step forward.

“Once you get a taste of winning, you don’t want to take a step back and go somewhere where they’re trying to rebuild. If you have options to pick and choose where you want to go, you pick and choose a team that still is winning, has a good quarterback, good system and good opportunity to win.”

LaFell is already trying to build chemistry with Andy Dalton. After the signing, they exchanged texts. Things are truly different in Bengals Land. Fans can finally exhale.

[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]

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