Jan 1, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) avoids the tackle of the Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Jameel McClain (53) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
A three-year average of 57 receptions, 601 yards, and five touchdowns doesn’t sound too bad. Two trips to the Pro Bowl in three professional seasons is phenomenal. Most tight ends around the NFL would be thrilled with those numbers. For Jermaine Gresham, though, it might not even be good enough to save his job.
The Cincinnati Bengals made Gresham a first round draft pick in 2010 out of the University of Oklahoma in spite of the fact that he missed his last collegiate season due to a knee injury. An athletic 6’5″ and 260 lbs, his physical tools gave him the look of the next big star at the tight end position, something the Bengals sorely needed. He got his chance right away, starting 15 games in his rookie season.
With a solid performance in his first year, expectations soared, especially from fans, and though he had solid seasons in 2011 and 2012, he didn’t quite live up to those lofty expectations and fan support began to waver. A really bad game to end their 2012 season, one that saw him drop a crucial pass, was the last straw for many, and an indelible black mark was left on his resume.
The use of Cincinnati’s first round draft pick on tight end Tyler Eifert could be a signal that the team has the same feelings.