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TDBH: NFL Lockout begins as Bengals’ re-boot shuts down

Posted Mar 10, 2018

This Day in Bengals History - March 11, 2011


The Iron Curtain has fallen. More than two decades of labor peace is shattered today when the NFL Players Association hits the button after 11th-hour negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement fail and opts to apply for decertification. In the hour after the CBA expires at midnight, the NFL Network announces the league has locked out the players as the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987 careens into the courts. The clock also ticks for the Bengals and they're hoping it's not a time bomb. Is there any team impacted more than the Bengals, strapped by franchise quarterback Carson Palmer’s trade demand while new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden tries to implement his offense? There is no free agency, no team activities, and no contact with players and clubs. The Bengals’ off-season workouts that are to begin in 10 days are no more. The only roster moves that can be made are in the April 28-30 draft and there is no college free agency if the lockout continues after the draft. The nuclear codes have been called the fallout is dropping on Paul Brown Stadium.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the club's rep to the NFLPA, knows what's at stake. "We want to work; we want to play," Whitworth says after decertification. "But we have to do what's best for the guys coming after us." Today begins peacefully with the hope for a CBA extension as players wait for NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith to give them the word. On Deadline Day, Bengals backup quarterback Jordan Palmer goes to the beach in San Diego to see if he can see any waves from a tsunami. "My wife didn't want me to go in the water, so we walked the dog and not much happened," Palmer reports. Palmer, who won’t comment on his brother’s situation, is headed to work out at his old high school with former NFL quarterbacks Ken O'Brien and Rob Johnson and his long-time coach, Bob Johnson. "All you can do is wait," Palmer says. "I just want to get back to work in Cincinnati. It's not because of the money. We've got a new offense and I need to learn it and we all need to learn it. Talking about it on the phone can only do so much. I just need to practice. I need to be on the field." Palmer can no longer talk to the coaches, or anyone else with the club during a lockout, but he reiterates he's setting up a passing camp with Bengals receivers and some running backs for late April either in Scottsdale. Ariz. or San Diego.

It is the beginning of one of the most improbable seasons in Bengals’ history. Carson Palmer will sit out until an October trade. Jordan Palmer and Whitworth will organize the workouts for the offense during the Lockout and Jordan gets cut the day after it ends in late July. The Bengals will draft wide receiver A.J. Green in the first round, quarterback Andy Dalton in the second and they will go 9-7 to make the playoffs. But today? Running back Cedric Benson, who along with cornerback Johnathan Joseph is the club's top priority to retain in free agency, has no comment on the labor situation. He's "not even thinking about football."

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