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Hobson's Choice: Another ruling

*More of a positive note. I would like to thank the players that went to see Cody Shivley at Children's Hospital (Tuesday). I helped coach Cody in soccer and he was such a great player and it shows on the way he went through recovery since the bus accident.

We need more of that behavior printed than the other. Thank you. YOU'RE THE TEAM !* Marc D., Crittenden, KY MARC:
Kennesaw Mountain Goodell has spoken and he had to do it. But listen also to the ruling of Lisa Hall, administrator for child life at Children's Hospital: "The Bengals are awesome. I've even seen guys pray with families."

The NFL is no different than where you work or live. Good deeds, which are performed much more often, rarely get a pat on the back or a headline. The bad stuff always gets noticed, ever since man discovered he could burn himself.

What you probably don't know is Chris Henry would have been on that Children's visit if that wasn't the day he was suspended.

Don't get it wrong. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did the right thing.

You could make an argument that Henry didn't deserve eight games because, except for some traffic stuff, he appears to have turned it around the last half year. Plus, Goodell already whacked him for two games last year, the two cases that hadn't been ruled upon were misdemeanors, and the Bengals had also punished him with fines and deactivations.

Yes, Henry probably played a higher price than he should have, but he put himself in this position. Which is being at the front end of what sure seems to be the longest crime spree in the history of professional sports and at the start of a new commissioner's run.

Hey, you have to applaud Goodell. He did what he had to do in the current climate and Henry has only himself to blame.

But there are always many more Bengals doing good in the community than bad.

Just look at the Community page on this site put together by web master Andy Ware. There are football camps run by Chad Johnson and Madieu Williams, a national award in recognition of the team's annual blood drive, a plug for a local magazine story on long snapper Brad St. Louis and what his young family brings to the community.

And there was Tuesday's visit to Children's Hospital coordinated by the club's director of player development Eric Ball in one of the events that happens more than once a week when the players are in town.

Henry, who has been out and about doing his community service as well as being one of the top draws when the Bengals basketball team goes on the road, had planned to go on the visit Tuesday. But Goodell's ruling apparently crushed him, so he and Ball felt like Henry wouldn't be in the right frame of mind for what is always an emotional visit, anyway.

The players that did attend were Dexter Jackson, A.J. Nicholson, Skyler Green, Glenn Holt, Tab Perry, Ethan Kilmer, Herana-Daze Jones, and John Busing.

There were two TV stations covering, but it wasn't the lead story.

And it shouldn't have been.

On that day and in this city, Goodell was the story.

But, you're right.

There's usually always more good than bad.

"We sent out the press release, not the players. We wanted to show the outside what they've done for us," Hall said. "They come up here all the time in groups, but some times they come by themselves when a family makes a request, or they just drop by on their own. We've had players call up and say they dropped by Toys-R-Us and they're bringing $5,000 worth of toys.

"You see a guy like Chad Johnson and what he does on the field and he's just completely different with the kids here. He's tremendous. Willie Anderson. They're just so good with these kids. Caleb Miller. David Pollack came in here when he was still wearing his halo (for a broken neck). Jeff Blake, the old quarterback, always visited every other week. I remember last year a little girl told a player she liked his hat and he took it off and gave it to her. Their generosity is overwhelming."

And one player who wants to remain nameless has bought toys the past two years for the entire hospital and handed them out at Christmas.

Yeah, you're right.

There's usually always more good than bad.

*The all-knowing, all-powerful Oz, I mean Mel Kiper, has the Bengals taking an Arkansas defensive end in the first round.

What kind of sense would this make when you have just committed a huge amount of money to Geathers, franchised Smith, and have basically a third-round pick in Frostee Rucker who hasn't played yet?*Matt A., Hamilton, OH MATT:
Ask Mel how Phillip Buchanon is doing. But Mel's OK. He works hard. It's not all that nuts if you figure Smith is here for just this year, you don't know what you've got in Rucker, Bryan Robinson is in the last year of his deal, and the end is the best defensive player on the board.

But I can't believe he will be at No. 18. It would seem to me that your higher impact guy at that point is going to be in the secondary. Last year the cornerback run started at No. 15 with Tye Hill. Anything similar and the Bengals are looking at one of the top cornerbacks and given the state of the secondary, that's the way to go because you'd think they need a guy pretty quickly there.

If they do it like they have done it in the past with Marvin Lewis here, they take the best player regardless of position. But this year seems to be the first time since he's been here that they go into the draft desperately needing a starter on one side of the ball.

Before Lewis arrived, they did it all the time, starting 10 years ago with Reinard Wilson, Artrell Hawkins in the second round in 1998, on through Peter Warrick in 2000 in the wake of cutting Carl Pickens, on to Justin Smith in 2001 and, yes, Levi Jones at left tackle in 2002, when Mel's friends at ESPN said it should have been Buchanon.

But with Lewis it's been largely backups in waiting, although Eric Steinbach, Madieu Williams, and Odell Thurman, came in and started right off. Yet they weren't penciled in right away like the old days.

But you get the sense that this year the first two guys they pick need to help this defense immediately, and maybe that will turn their attention away from positions they already have.

Does the salary that Chris Henry loses with his eight-game suspension come off the salary cap numbers and is it enough to make any difference? Rich F., Springfield, OH RICH:
No. He doesn't get paid, but his cap charge still counts. By the way, the NFL got Henry for another 25 grand or so with the schedule. Since the Bengals' bye week falls in the first eight weeks of the season, he'll miss nine weeks of pay for a total of $230,294.12. If the bye week was after Week 8, he would have been paid for nine weeks and lost only about $205,000.

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