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With Loss of Henry, Bengals Could Go Two Different Ways

For the third time this season, the Cincinnati Bengals have been devastated and rocked to the core. The first tragedy came in the form of an earthquake in the nation of Samoa which triggered a tsunami. The Bengals have four players on their roster that are from Samoa or have family ties to Samoa. They are Domata Peko, Jonathan Fanene, Fui Vakapuna and Rey Maualuga. The second tragedy occurred early in the season, when Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer’s wife Vicki passed away. The third tragedy, the one that will and has hit the hardest, is the sudden loss of wide receiver Chris “Slim” Henry.

With the ups and downs of an NFL season, players sometimes become on edge and fatigued. Towards the end of a season, when tragedy strikes, sometimes players become overcome with everything that has happened, and are unable to stand firm under the pressure. They become physically and mentally exhausted and struggle to complete what is left of the season. That is the one thing that I’m worried about with the three remaining games, especially Sunday’s. One of two teams will show up in orange and black on Sunday, and it’ll either be the “burnt out, emotionally and physically unable” Bengals, or the “filled-up with emotion, jacked up to beat the San Diego Chargers for Slim and Vicki” Bengals.

After the loss to the Brett Favre-led Minnesota Vikings, the Bengals have been up and down answering questions about what the problem on offense was and if Carson Palmer’s elbow was healthy. Now they have to answer questions about what type of person Chris Henry was and how much he had changed. I’m positive they’d rather be answering questions about they’re performance than who Slim was.

Hopefully the Bengals will ride the emotional high this season has been to the end. A win against the Chargers would greatly increase their chances of winning the second seed in the AFC and receiving a first round bye. The win could utterly continue to Paul Brown Stadium next week when the Bengals face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. The last game on the schedule is against the New York Jets, and two straight wins heading into that game against a game desperately trying to make the playoffs would definitely help with momentum. What the Bengals will do, or who they’ll sign/draft/trade for, to replace Henry remains to be seen. That is something that needs to, and will be addressed in the off season by Head Coach Marvin Lewis and Owner Mike Brown & Co.

The task at hand is more important than finding his replacement. It’s finishing what he helped start. After a 7-2 start, the Bengals have lost two of their last four games and are now struggling to win that first round bye. Bengals wide receiver Chad OchoCinco has asked for permission for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to wear Henry’s jersey Sunday. This has since been rejected, but “Jungle” fans know Chad, and it sounds as if Chad may break the rules, AGAIN! What should happen is that Goodell should allow it to happen, auction off the jersey, and then take the proceeds and put it towards Slim’s kid’s college funds.

With the loss of Henry, the rest of the Bengals season could go in two different directions. This season will either up in flames, or straight to the bye week. We will see where they go starting Sunday, but a bye week in the first round of the playoffs would definitely help this team heal up and ready themselves for the biggest fight since Marvin Lewis’ tenure began.

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