More recently, as posted on NFL.com, Coach Lewis told Gregg Rosenthal that Maualuga is “One of the guys you gotta get back in the fold.” Lewis called him “young” and “coachable” and cited the value of his leadership and experience. Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer predicts alot of remorse should he get away calling Maualuga “alot better than people give him credit for.” Perhaps with this kind of support from his coaches, we might hope that the team is able to make the necessary arrangements to keep him in Cincinnati.
It’s hard to think of a suitable substitute for experience, particularly in the form of young, home-grown talent that knows Cincinnati football and tasted Bengals’ hunger for play-off success. When Justin Smith left Cincinnati for San Francisco, the Bengals saw a pricey defensive free agent get away and end up making a huge impact elsewhere. Clearly, with Maualuga, they have an opportunity to make the same mistake this time though, not so far away.
For the 2013 season ahead, the Bengals will face the Superbowl champions twice. Should Maualuga end up on the opponent’s sidelines, those games start looking pretty ugly.