CINCINNATI -- Bengals owner Mike Brown wanted to do another “Hard Knocks” training camp series with HBO because he thinks it will change his franchise’s image as a place where troubled players are welcomed.
Things are much different now, Brown said Tuesday at the team’s annual preseason luncheon.
“We have a different team now than we had a few years ago,” Brown said. “We want the public to see them. We think they’re good people. We think the public will be taken by them, will like them. It gives us a boost.”
When the Bengals agreed to do “Hard Knocks” for the first time in 2009, Brown hoped that troubled receiver Chris Henry -- arrested five times -- would get a lot of air time so fans could see beyond his criminal record. Then, Brown had a reputation for drafting and signing troubled players. Ten different Bengals players had been arrested during a 14-month span.
The club has been more careful in the last few years. The only currently player on a court docket is cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, scheduled for trial Aug. 19 on an assault charge.
At one point during the run of arrests, Brown referred to himself as a “redeemer.” He said he’s now taking an approach more like his father, franchise founder Paul Brown, who didn’t put up with bad conduct.
“The thing I do regret is how it came to make us, or put on us an image that I don’t think was ever anything but a very small part of what we were and sometimes not a part at all,” Brown said. “But if you want to blame somebody for it, blame me.
“In recent years, I’ve tried to go the other way. I’ve just thought it’s too heavy a price to pay and we were going to go back to square one and bring in here guys that were sound people.”