a couple years ago, at halftime of a Bengals vs. Steelers playoff game, rumors
spread that there was a violent incident between Chad Johnson and one or two
Bengals coaches at halftime?
Pro Football Talk (or, as they're
known in the mainstream media, "internet reports") reported at the
time that Chad Johnson took a swing at Marvin Lewis. Boomer Esiason said he
heard something similar, but Johnson, Lewis, and everyone else involved denied
And now, Shaun Smith, currently a defensive tackle with the Browns, and former
occupant of the same position with the Bengals, says
that the punch did happen.
PFT had a YouTube video of the interview that's since been taken down.
Fortunately, they did jot down some quotes before it magically disappeared.
Here's what Smith said of Johnson:
“He swung on Marvin. . . . [Johnson] shattered the training room glass. . . . He swung on
Marvin [and] hit Marvin in the eye. . . . Then he tried to swing on wide receivers coach Hue Jackson, who’s now in
I don't know what reason Shaun Smith would have to lie, but I suppose it is
possible. Let's pretend it's true, though.
Now, it is possible for a man to punch another man, and in time (perhaps even a
short period of time), for those two men to go on with their relationship as if
the punch never happened. Men are meatheads and often consider a punch to the
face to honestly be the best way to problem-solve.
But here's what I don't think is possible: I don't think it's possible for you
to be a head coach, have a player punch you at halftime, let that player suffer
absolutely zero consequences, and continue to have the respect of your team.
Now I can't think of Marvin Lewis without picturing him walking around Bengals
offices like a battered wife. "No, Chad didn't hit me. Chad loves me. I ...
I walked into a door. I fell down some steps. Okay, fine, yes, he did hit me,
but I deserved it! I provoked him! We still love each other!"
You could understand why neither man would want this to get out. It makes Marvin
Lewis look like someone who can't control his team (something I had a hunch was
true anyway), and it makes Chad Johnson look like ... well, a guy who would
punch his head coach. Say what you want about Terrell Owens
, Randy Moss
, or any
other high-maintenance receiver, but they've never ventured into coach-punching
• More than two years later, vindication
/ Pro Football Talk