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Aaron Mueller: The circus has officially arrived in Cincinnati

Published 9:56pm Monday, August 9, 2010

If the Bengals didn’t have enough trouble with keeping Cedric Benson out of jail and getting Chad Ocho Cinco to just keep his mouth shut, the organization opened a whole new can of worms in signing Terrell Owens.

The Bengals have always been willing to take risks on these type of high-risk/high-reward players, but it usually blows up in their faces (as evidenced by their mere three playoff appearances since Super Bowl XXIII in 1990).

The Ocho Cinco/T.O. tandem is the ultimate risk but could also move the offense up yet another level if the two can stay buddy-buddy like they have appeared in training camp. And if the two of them can stay away from their twitter feeds, watching their reality TV shows and working on their i-phone applications long enough to focus on their real job — football.

Owens’ numbers have been on the decline in recent years. After making 81 catches for 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2007, T.O. has seen his number of catches decline to 69 in 2008 and 55 in 2009. Despite having the perfect frame to be a touchdown scoring machine, his trips to the end zone have been on the decline as well — 10 in 2008 and just five in 2009. Part of that has to be attributed to the lackluster Buffalo offense he was in last year, but still there is no doubt Owens is on the decline of his career.

Sure, the Bengals’ monetary investment was minimal, giving T.O. a one-year $2 million deal. But the real risk is what Owens will do to team chemistry.

Remember, Cincinnati is a team that finished 10-6 and made the playoffs in a crowded AFC North last season. It’s a team looking to make a jump to be a Super Bowl contender and it put that all on the line by gambling on Owens.

But if T.O. and Ocho Cinco can somehow feed off each other and develop an on-field chemistry as good as it is off the field so far, the offense could carry this team pretty far.

And if the Bengals are winning, the self-praising antics of the dynamic duo will be endearing to the city of Cincinnati. If the Bengals are losing, T.O. and Ocho Cinco will be nothing more than two clowns in a circus more obnoxious than their reality shows.

Aaron Mueller is a reporter for the Niles Daily Star. He can be reached at

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