Slim Pickins

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Bengals wide-out Chris Henry may have been foolish a half-dozen or so times, but he’s no dummy. He’s well aware that his contract runs out after this year, and as it is for every player in that situation, big plays can translate into big bucks.

“I’m planning on coming in and dominating this season and really show all my fans in the world I’m a ballplayer and I belong in the NFL,” Slim told Sporting News Radio in an interview.

He should also know that another legal incident would almost definitely be his last while in the NFL. The man whose name is synonymous with adjectives like oft-troubled and tumultuous, has been regularly endorsed by the more-reputable Carson Palmer as working hard and keeping his nose clean all off-season.

Palmer has always raved about the abilities and talent that Henry has demonstrated in practices. We’ve certainly all seen flashes of his greatness on Sunday’s as well.

He’s the only Bengal receiver with some real size that can create match-up issues on smallish corners. Others rely on their speed and quickness, but Henry can get high (stop snickering) on jump-ball passes in the corner of the end-zone or even on bombs.

It seems to me that in today’s NFL, players who provide unique resources to the team are more valuable than a versatile guy that can do a lot of things pretty well. Henry is very tall, also quite talented, but he’s more valuable to the Bengals because he’s very tall.

If they had another tall player like Roy Williams (the receiver) than they would need Henry a lot less. This is the kind of philosophy that leads me to believe that Andre Caldwell serves the same function as did T.J. Houshmandzadeh., and both of them were not necessary. Henry serves the very-tall-guy function for this team, and because of that, the Bengals need him more.

Two things must fall into place for Chris Henry to solidify a once precarious place in the NFL.

First, as momma say, he must mind his p’s & q’s. Drive the speed limit, keep illegal things at home, or probably more advisable, away altogether, and surround yourself with unarmed people behaving in a socially acceptable manor.

Slim doesn’t seem like much of a talker. Those are the kind of guys who are the one’s to look out for during a confrontation. Those guys are doers, not talkers or even thinkers. It’s vital that Chris think before he does.

The second thing he must do is stay healthy. It isn’t a matter of playing well; when he plays, he does it well. It’s a matter of playing. He’s been suspended 17 games by my count, and one knee injury–the less dramatic knee injury that occurred on the play when Carson also went down in the Playoffs.

Once he did return, after the entire organization lined up to say he wouldn’t, he didn’t exactly wow anyone who was forced to watch that suicide channel of a season last year. But in fairness, he did have Ol’ Fitzpatrick flinging the ball at random in self-defense, and it’s probably hard to get up on Sunday mornings if you’re Ol’ Fitzy’s receiver for the day.

He will still be listed as the third-receiver on the current depth-chart, but Carson looks for him on plenty of designed plays to at least show the world that he’s dangerous (on the field! On the field! Look, you really have to take this seriously, if I’m to continue. Thank you. Now, where was I? Ah, yes).

It seems like we can’t have a blog-post these days without talking about the loss of the salary-cap, but it’s a real thing that appears imminent and teams will plan their futures accordingly. It’s because of this that the Bengals would do well to lock-up Chris Henry for at least three more years, before the rest of the league has the chance to get their grubby paws on him.

Once Chad’s contract is up in 2011, the team could have the upper-hand in bargaining position if Henry excels in the way that he’s capable. “We already have a star,” they could tell the man with two numbers in a swanky, movie-producer voice, “and he talks a lot less than you do. Ha!” Ocho would becomes flummoxed and vanish in a puff of pink smoke, finally with nothing to say.

Even If Chris were to relapse into the shadowy underbelly of drugs, guns and women of the night, than the world could collectively shrug and decide that there’s just no helping some people. But those around him are convinced that those days are behind him, and so what if they aren’t?

The man has used up his nine lives and is working on credit at this point. The Bengals are something of a fallout shelter for Henry. He’d be wise just to move in for good.


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