ORLANDO, Fla. - As the NFL owners went into their first full-scale meeting Monday morning here at the league’s annual meeting, Bengals president Mike Brown offered no surprises when he dropped by to chat with Bengals.com and The Cincinnati Enquirer in a hallway of the Ritz-Carlton.
He’s against changing the overtime format or his franchise quarterback. And he had no comment on the contract status of head coach Marvin Lewis or the negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement. Lewis has said on the former he wants to keep it personal and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has threatened a six-figure fine on the latter if any owner discusses it publicly.
But Brown has no problem talking about issues with the game or his team in one of the two forums he talks to the media during the year. The other is at the training camp luncheon a few days before the team reports. On overtime, he agrees with his coach and it sounds like he’ll vote against a proposal that is supposed to go before the ownership Wednesday that would change postseason overtime to a system that could give both teams the ball.
“I’ve looked at it for many years and I like it the way it is,” Brown said. “I think it’s dramatic. Everything is on the line from the start. That’s exciting and I don’t think it needs tinkering.”
The proposal looks to be in trouble. The Bengals, Ravens and Jets seem to be against it and the Broncos look to be wavering and only nine votes will block it.
The guy who paved the way for Lewis’ lone overtime win in five tries, kicker Shayne Graham, a free agent, could return. But Brown also says he’s comfortable with journeyman
“I don’t think (Graham has) gone by the wayside. I don’t know how that will play out,” Brown said. “ There is going to have to be some adjusting done to have that make sense to us. We’ll see if we can get that done.
“Rayner will do all right. He was with us before. We had a chance to look at him then. And Darrin (special teams coach Simmons) will give him an opportunity to work with him on an everyday basis and that will improve him. He’ll be able to hold up. I don’t foreclose doing something else but if we don’t I think we’ll be OK.”
Brown on other topics:
THE OFFSEASON MOVES: “We’ve done all right. We’ve signed two UFAs, one of our own and one from another team. Tank is important to us. He solidifies our defensive line. We needed to get that done. Bryant gives us a good receiver; one that will balance Chad. And (Matt) Jones is going to be an interesting player for us as well. He’s very fast. He’s had times at Jacksonville when he was extremely productive. We got into a bind when we lost Chris Henry. They just took Chad away and then we seemed to be hamstrung. Our passing yards went from about 230 to 170, which wasn’t enough. And we had to do something to shore that up and I think we have.”
ON CARSON PALMER: Carson’s our guy. (Any plans to draft one?) Not to replace Carson, no. But what comes behind him is an annual issue. We have two guys who were with us last year. I thought they did well enough. I’m not going to say no, never on that one on making some change behind him.
ON SIGNING RIGHT GUARD BOBBIE WILLIAMS: “We’ll talk with Bobbie and see what can be done. He has been a good guy and a good player and we like him a lot. He fits us. He knows the Bengals. He’s been an important player for us for a half dozen years and it would be OK by me if he comes back.”