Shutdown Corner - NFL

Remember 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 it.

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 Baltimore.”
My goodness. 

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 territory..

More than two years later, vindication / Pro Football Talk

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