Cincinnati Bengals: Counting Our USC Busts


Dec 13, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Bengals defeated the Eagles 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After my last article on the success that the Bengals have had from the University of Georgia, I think it’s only fair that I speak on the busts that we’ve experienced from USC.

Because we all know there’s been quite a few of them.

To start with the most notable, Carson Palmer.

As the first overall selection of the 2003 Draft, Cincinnati had high expectations for the quarterback out of USC, following an illustrious college career.

The potential was there, but the luck wasn’t.

Palmer had a sub-par year in 2004, but followed with a stellar performance in 2005, leading the Bengals to a playoff appearance and giving hope to Cincinnati fans for the first time in 15 years.

However, on the first play, in his first playoff game, even as Chris Henry hauled in a 66-yard pass from his sophomore quarterback, Steelers DT Kimo Von Oelhoffen drove hard into Palmer’s left knee, severely injuring him.

The Bengals lost the game 31-17.

Palmer returned from the injury to start the 2006 season, but the team really never had the same success. Though it wasn’t always the quarterback’s fault, because of injury, off-field issues, and a plethora of just about anything else that could happen culminated in a poor decade for the Bengals and a fall-out between Palmer and management for Cincinnati.

As we vividly recall, he was traded to Oakland the year that Andy Dalton was selected in the second round of the 2011 Draft.

There was Frostee Rucker as well; a defensive end for Cincinnati. He makes this list because he was with the Bengals for a few years, but frankly, didn’t do much. After a year with the Browns, he finds himself without a job.

And then we find ourselves left with the infamous pair of linebackers. Keith Rivers, and Rey Maualuga. The former was one of the more highly recruited players that year from USC, but never amounted to anything on the Bengals while he was here, and is now hanging on for dear life to a job with the Giants.

The latter is, unfortunately, still on the team. And as he continues his tenure as the Bengals middle linebacker, we will be forced to watch a man that can’t tackle well, can’t pursue the run, and can’t defend the pass, lead our team’s defense.