Cincinnati Bengals: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati Bengals
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

T.J. Houshmandzadeh. 27. player. 56. . WR. (2001-08)

  • Cincinnati Bengals 40th Anniversary Team
  • 1x Pro Bowl w/Bengals (2007)
  • NFL leader in receptions in 2007
  • 2x 1,000-yard receiver (2006-07)
  • 507 receptions for 5,782 yards and 37 touchdowns w/Bengals

Despite dropping out of high school, wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh would go on to have a highly productive NFL career, predominantly with the Bengals in the 2000s. Houshmandzadeh had to go the junior college route before playing one season in the then Pac-10 for the Oregon State Beavers.

Playing for head coach Dennis Erickson and alongside former Bengals star wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, the Beavers throttled the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. While Johnson would be a second-round pick by the Bengals in 2001, Houshmandzadeh would have to settle for being a seventh-round pick by Cincinnati in the same NFL Draft.

Houshmandzadeh’s first three years with the Bengals were uneventful. He managed just 62 catches for 720 yards and a touchdown in those three years combined. After succumbing to a nasty hamstring injury that kept him out of most of the 2003 NFL season, Houshmandzadeh would bounce back with five outstanding seasons with the Bengals from 2004 to 2008.

Houshmandzadeh never had fewer than 73 catches for 904 yards and four touchdowns each year during that stretch. Alongside Johnson, the Bengals had arguably the best wide receiving tandem in all of football. Quarterback Carson Palmer would certainly attest to that.

Twice did Houshmandzadeh have over 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He led the NFL in receptions in 2007 with an impressive 112. His 2007 campaign proved to be a career year for Houshmandzadeh, as he set career highs in catches, receiving yards (1,143) and touchdown catches (12).

Despite having Palmer out for the bulk of 2008, Houshmandzadeh put together one last solid season with the Bengals before leaving in free agency with 92 catches for 904 yards and four touchdowns. One would think Houshmandzadeh would have gone over 1,000 yards had Palmer played more than four games that season for the Bengals.

While he would sign a five-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks in 2009 NFL free agency, he became a journeyman the rest of his NFL career. Houshmandzadeh played a year each with the Seahawks, the Baltimore Ravens and the Oakland Raiders before retiring in 2011 at age 34.

Overall, Houshmandzadeh amassed 507 receptions for 5,782 yards and 37 touchdowns in his eight seasons with the Bengals. Though not a hall of fame player, Houshmandzadeh’s on-field contributions as a member of the Bengals are unquestioned. He made the Bengals 40th Anniversary Team in 2007. You can now see him star on FS1 as a football analyst.