While losing some key players during free agency is an inevitable part of the process, one thing you don’t want to see is some of those former players having negative things on their way out the door. And former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson III became one such player recently, though his comments seemed directed more at the city and fanbase than the team.
Of course, they’re interrelated. Jackson lamented that the Bengals, having been a bad team since he arrived, rarely ever got in the national spotlight, and so he wasn’t very well known on that stage. He also suggested the team’s losing is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Nobody knows how good I am. Over time, they kind of get to you because you’re putting in all the work”, he said on 106.7 The Fan on D.C. Sports Talk. “I’m over here balling with no d-line. At the end of the day, I was just on a team that’s not a big market. A lot of people around the world don’t know what I can do and what I did”.
It likely is true that he would have had more name recognition by now had he been on a more successful and popular team. Though he was never a big interception guy (he only has three in his career), he has pretty consistently been a strong coverage player.
Playing for a bad team for so long, though can wear on you. And rooting for one can, too. It’s created a fan base that, apparently, at least some people don’t want to play for, and Jackson was quite open about the fact that he’s glad to be away from Bengals fans.
“They’re definitely supportive and excited. Cincinnati, they got some crude fans, man. Misery loves company”, he said. “The Bengals, on the other hand, them dudes, they wonder why they’re not winning. I’m happy I’m out of that thing man. It’s a blessing to get away and I wish them the best, but Washington let’s go from here”.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Nick Vannett didn’t exactly talk about his brief time in the city with rose-colored glasses, but it wasn’t anything close to this. Of course, the team has had some former players go off the handle, namely Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, though their credibility on that topic is questionable at best.
It’s certainly not something you ever want to come across your desk, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson’s comments will be presented to Bengals head coach Zac Taylor for comment the next time he faces the media. While one man’s opinion is little more than that, it’s a major problem if you’re a team people don’t want to play for.