The Cincinnati Bengals are mourning the loss of one of their former teammates in linebacker Thomas Howard. He, along with another passenger, were killed in a car crash Monday, and while his time in Cincinnati was short, his impact on this team was significant.
In remembering Howard, the team hung a No. 53 jersey in the defense’s meeting room.
“He did a great job of always having a smile on his face. It seemed like he knew he was blessed with what he got to do,” offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said.
Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis didn’t get to coach Howard for but more than two seasons, but even that was enough for Howard to leave a lasting impression on him:
“It really affects our football team because this is someone who everyone had a great relationship with and felt for when he got hurt. This is their profession, job and livelihood. No one thinks how special it is when you don’t have that and it affects them.”
Howard helped the Bengals linebackers become one of the better units in the NFL, and he showed them how to about their business in the league:
“I’m lost for words. My heart dropped as I read it on my phone,” Rey Maualuga said. “He always had that smile. And he was so passionate on and off the field. I bet you find no one who has a bad word to say about Thomas.”
“He didn’t know how it was all going to play out. You just need an opportunity and a chance and he made the most of it. What he did good on the field he also did off of it. He was always happy and never frustrated about anything. He didn’t let it get to him.”