April 27, 2005
Less than a month after losing the only public address announcer they ever had, Bengals president Mike Brown doesn’t go very far to replace Tom Kinder Sr. Tom Kinder Jr. gets the call to replace his father after Senior passed away April 10 at age 78 and he’s still manning the mike with an assist from his brother Bob. "This should make for an almost seamless transition in a job that is very important to our fans," Brown says. "The Kinder brothers have been involved with this position since they were young boys. They sound a good bit like their father. Our fans may be hard-pressed to notice a difference, and that's the way Tom Sr. would have wanted it to be."
April 26, 2003
The Bengals make the No. 1 pick official. But their first pre-draft deal in history has been done for nearly 48 hours after the wife and husband negotiating team of Bengals vice presidents Katie and Troy Blackburn craft a six-year, $40 million package that can max out at $49 million with incentives to secure USC quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer, the strong-armed Heisman Trophy winner, is clearly the best player in the draft and buys into rookie head coach Marvin Lewis’ re-building project. Before the marriage ends seven years later with Palmer’s trade demand, Palmer and Lewis are the faces of the Bengals renaissance with Palmer going to back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2005 and 2006 and leading Cincinnati to AFC North titles in 2005 and 2009.
April 25, 1998
Bengals execs join with officials from Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati at a ground-breaking ceremony on the site of the new Paul Brown Stadium that is to be ready for the start of the 2000 season. Doug Pelfrey kicked off, Ickey Woods shuffled and about a thousand fans held an improptu pep rally. Bengals president Mike Brown presides over his second such ceremony in welcoming the successor to Riverfront Stadium and kick-starts stunning riverfront development that includes the Reds’ Great American Ball Park and a sprawling space of parks, restaurants, businesses, condos, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
April 24, 2010
In the first edition of the three day draft that begins Thursday night, the Bengals wait until the last day on Saturday to select one of their greatest players of all-time with the 120th pick in the fourth round. Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins has lasted that long despite a solid college career (11 sacks) and NFL pedigree as the son of 10-year NFL safety Gene Atkins because he’s barely 6-1 at 300 pounds. “A lot of people think I’m undersized and not a prototypical defensive tackle. Coming into the NFL, I think that I have a little chip on my shoulder,” Atkins says in his first news conference as a Bengal. Defensive line coach Jay Hayes is all in: ""He's a little on the shorter side, but that can be an advantage because he's always going to be under people's pads. And then the size and speed ratio of this guy is phenomenal compared to most defensive tackles. For a defensive tackle to run 4.8 at the combine is very unusual. Very unusual for a 298-pound person." Five Pro Bowls later, Atkins’ 52 sacks is fifth on the Bengals’ all-time list.
April 23, 1989
The Bengals trade out of the first round of the NFL Draft and take home a second-round pick at No. 35, a fourth-round pick at No. 89, and a 10th-round pick at No. 256, and emerge with UCLA running back Eric Ball on their first pick of the day. Ball is best known as one of the first hires they make when they move to Paul Brown Stadium in 2000 and appoint him their director of player development, a key job as local point man for the NFL’s player programs and comforting figure for rookies during the transition from college. Ball, a Rose Bowl MVP, plays running back and fullback and returns kicks during six seasons with Cincinnati while gaining 576 yards and scoring eight touchdowns on 156 carries and adding 22 catches. One of them, a 48-yard wheel route from quarterback Boomer Esiason, snaps a 14-14 game with 6:20 left against Cleveland and gives the Bengals the 1990 AFC Central title at 9-7 in the season finale at Riverfront Stadium.
April 22, 1995
Against the backdrop of a 3-13 season and a one-month-old stalemate with the city of Cincinnati over the need for a new facility in the NFL’s beckoning Stadium Wars, they produce their boldest Draft Day move ever when president Mike Brown swaps the draft’s fifth and 36th selections to expansion Carolina for the No. 1 pick and chooses Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter. Brown makes the move with Panthers exec Bill Polian two days before and they sit on it until the morning of the draft. Brown doesn’t even tell his wife. The marriage of the consensus best player in the draft with a team that hasn’t had a 100-yard rusher since late in the 1992 season is widely hailed by fans and players alike. But on the third carry of his career in a pre-season game in Detroit, the star-crossed Carter’s season ends when he tears his ACL, just like his 1998 and 1999 seasons end with September injuries. When he’s released before the 2000 season, he has 747 yards and is between Fred Willis and Eric Bieniemy on the club’s all-time rushing list.
April 21, 2001
Although he’s two years removed from drafting quarterback Akili Smith at No. 3 and his coaches want nothing to do with Drew Brees at No. 4, Bengals president Mike Brown begins the day musing to the draft room that if he was in the room by himself he’d take the Purdue quarterback that high. They don’t get a Hall-of-Fame quarterback but they emerge with two of the game’s best players over the next decade in the first 36 picks. At No. 4, Missouri right end Justin Smith sets the Bengals rookie sack record on the way to racking up the fourth most sacks in club history before going to five Pro Bowls with the 49ers. With Brown adamant at taking Brees if he’s there at No. 36, the Chargers swipe him at No. 32 and the Bengals take Oregon State wide receiver Chad Johnson, their future six-time Pro Bowler and all-time leading receiver.
April 20, 1996
As he crosses an Indianapolis street two months before at the NFL Scouting Combine, Bengals president Mike Brown says his wish in the upcoming draft at No. 10 is Auburn right tackle Willie Anderson. After the Ravens take Hall-of-Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden at No. 4, the Bengals get their own Canton candidate in the massive but velvety athletic Anderson. In 12 seasons with Cincinnati he goes to four straight Pro Bowls and becomes the locker room leader bridging the struggles of the ‘90s with the respectability that comes at the turn of the century. In becoming the franchise’s all-time right tackle, he plays in 181 games (sixth most on the Bengals’ all-time list) while facing nine of the NFL’s 11 current leading all-time sackers and it’s believed he allows only one sack.