Earlier this week we learned that Mike Brown, the Bengals owner, took Aaron Hernandez off the Bengals draft board in 2010. That doesn't seem like a big deal, especially considering Hernandez's current circumstances, but it does make us wonder. How often does Brown intervene in football decisions?
According to Cris Carter, this isn't the first instance in which Brown has taken a player off the draft board because of character concerns. Carter said yesterday on ESPN that Brown told him the Bengals took him off the board because of similar concerns regarding Hernandez.
"Coming out of college from Ohio State, I was a first-team All-American," Carter said. "Mike Brown, I’ve talked to him in the last several years. He took me off their list, too. He said he regretted it because I was a local talent and he wished they hadn’t, but he told me, 'Cris, I took you off our board based on the information we had.'"
Sports are a strange business when it comes to owner involvement. Some owners know how to evaluate talent, while others prefer to hire football people and let them do their jobs. The owners that have stuck to the latter strategy tend to have more success, at least in recent years.
Since Mike Brown took over as the owner of the Bengals, the team has struggled to stay relevant most seasons. Under Marvin Lewis, they've had little success combined with many disappointments, but of late, the Bengals' arrow has been pointing up.
As the team's de-facto general manager, Brown has his hands on many team decisions that most owners don't get involved in. Like Jerry Jones in Dallas, Brown has been heavily criticized for his hands-on ownership of the team.
The problem with being an owner/GM is that the owner can't fire a bad general manager if that person is himself. The Bengals have struggled to put together talented rosters under Brown, leading us to believe that Brown should consider hiring a personnel man. Right now, the Bengals look to be in good shape, but considering the stories of Hernandez and Carter, it's hard to say how many other players were overlooked by the Bengals based on character issues.