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Unlike Oakland, character not an issue for the Cincinnati Bengals

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GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 15: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Oakland Raiders adjusts his helmet before the NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 15: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Oakland Raiders adjusts his helmet before the NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Whatever issues the Cincinnati Bengals may have in 2019, “character” is not one of them, as it is with the Oakland Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders are a lot of things. They are interesting, attention-grabbing, big on potential this season, and an absolute mess. With Antonio Brown leading the exit from the clown car parked in the East Bay, fans of the Cincinnati Bengals should be pleased that character is not an issue in the Queen City.

Yes, even in the NFL, “character” still means something. The Silver and Black decided to roll the dice on a low character player, and without a single snap yet played in the regular season, are already regretting it. And if they are not, they should be.

I like the Raiders this season. I think AB is worth a few more wins than the 4-12 record of 2018. I think Oakland, a team playing their last season in the Black Hole will be a surprise in the AFC West and win 8 games. While they won’t make the playoffs, fans will easily point to Brown and say it was likely all worth it.

It’s not. At least not entirely from this point of view.

Brown is the worst kind of player forced into a team sport like football. He’s a diva who is only about AB. He bullied his way out of Pittsburgh who don’t mind hinting that they ecstatic that whole mess is over. For Oakland, he’ll be a season-long headache that never, ever goes away.

Say want you will about the 2019 edition of the Bengals but don’t say they struggle with low character anything. Former player Vontaze Burfict, who was no choir boy in Cincinnati, is also now in the Silver and Black. Cincinnati remembers Burfict all too well. In Oakland, he’s the adult in the room whenever AB is around. Imagine that for a moment.

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I don’t think the Bengals win a lot of games this season. But one thing they aren’t is a team hoping they don’t have to apologize for their star player embarrassing the organization. Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock, both good guys, will have to own the waiting disaster at some point in 2019 as this latest incident with AB won’t be the last.

As good as the Raiders may be in 2019, fans will always be waiting for the other shoe to drop, and hope it doesn’t all blow up in the collective face of the franchise. Problem is, that likelihood is high.

As not so good as it’s predicted in Cincinnati, it won’t be because of the kind of tire fire AB has shown himself, the NFL community, and his teammates to be. Rest assured, he’ll cost his team a game somewhere down the line THIS SEASON with a tantrum that will probably turn a win into a loss.

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Rookie head coach Zac Taylor has good NFL citizens on his team. As tempting as a player like AB can be for a franchise, the inevitable downside is worth remembering. That may yet be a hard lesson learned for the Raiders. As for Cincinnati, despite the final win/loss record, it’s not likely a player on Taylor’s roster will have embarrassed himself, teammates, or the Bengals organization. Don’t count on Gruden being able to say the same when all is said in done in Oakland.

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