COMMENTARY | The internet exploded recently when it was revealed that HBO had targeted the Cincinnati Bengals for its latest edition of Hard Knocks.
Soon after the internet was ablaze with debate as to whether it was the right decision and if the filming process would have a negative or positive impact on the team in what is a very critical 2013 campaign.
Mark the Bengals players themselves down as individuals who are not concerned with the show's impact on the team.
According to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com there are a variety of veterans such as cornerback Leon Hall and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth who are not worried about the presence of extra cameras. Said Whitworth:
"I don't think anybody on this team is real worried about it," Whitworth says. "That team handled it well and this team doesn't have anybody that worried about the camera at all, even though we might have had a couple then. I don't think many guys are affected by it. I think our ultimate goal is way more important than being on camera and I think that's what guys are focused on."
"Sometimes with shows like that they can spin things and put things in perspective maybe a little differently than you want," Whitworth says. "So you just have to make sure you get out the message you want people to know about your team. We live in a smaller market, so I don't think we worry about things as much as the big markets do.
"Maybe some of your bigger market teams, it can have a worse effect on because they're kind of used to those things and they're used to being on TV and they're making sure they worry about their image. But in Cincinnati it's very rare that we have a marketing deal or those kinds of things. I don't think we're all that concerned being on TV and being on camera and all that good stuff."
It makes sense Whitworth is not concerned. He is one of the remaining members of the team that were fortunate enough to be around back in 2009 when the team was featured the first time on the show and proceeded to sweep the AFC North on the way to the playoffs.
We're sure Whitworth remembers that year fondly. Outrageous personalities such as Chad Johnson took to the cameras to further their own agendas both on and off the field.
This time things sound like they will be different.
It's true the Bengals have a more mature cast of players this time around despite being younger than the 2009 squad. That's a testament to how well head coach Marvin Lewis and Co. have been doing when it comes to player personnel decisions, especially in the character department.
The funny thing about the current roster in Cincinnati is that it contains some of the mature characters from the 2009 roster as the cornerstone veteran players to guide the youngsters.
Perhaps HBO's Hard Knocks won't be a bad thing.
It sounds as if Whitworth, Hall and a host of other veterans such as defensive end Robert Geathers are ready to guide the roster through another grueling training camp. The roster will need as much guidance as possible if the team is to take the next step.
For all the hoopla the HBO announcement caused, it seems to be an afterthought in the minds of Bengals players.
Chris Roling is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report, Fansided, The Cincinnati Enquirer and more. He is the co-host of a Cincinnati Bengals podcast, @BengalsCentral
You can follow Chris on Twitter @Chris_Roling
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