Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga pleaded not guilty yesterday in court to a misdemeanour assault charge. The charge is stemming form a downtown Cincinnati bar incident in which Rey reportedly punched the manager in the face. Because this is Maualuga’s second court case in two years, its widely believed in NFL circles that he will be suspended for at least part of the 2012 NFL season.
Maualuga is in deep trouble right now. The Bengals have made a drastic effort over the past few seasons to not tolerate players with off the field problems. With two alcohol-related incidents that have resulted in court cases, Rey is certain to face some sort off suspension when the 2012 season opens. So now the Bengals already have to plan on having at least a descent back-up who is capable of starting. Then there’s the fact that Maualuga simply wasn’t the greatest middle linebacker ever. Pro Football Focus rated Maualuga 30th out of 31 inside linebackers who played 60 percent or more of their team’s snaps. Maualuga had one missed tackle per 8 attempts. Only the Colts’ Pat Angerer was worse at one missed tackle per 7.4 attempts.