Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  By KEVIN GOHEEN  |  Last updated 7/23/13
CINCINNATI Mike Brown remembers walking into his fathers office full of confidence. This was back in the 1980s when he was just starting to take over some of the day-to-day operations from his dad, Hall of Fame coach and Bengals team founder Paul Brown. Mike Brown liked Stanley Wilson. He wanted the best for Stanley Wilson. And, yes, Mike Brown believed Stanley Wilson could help the Bengals win. Paul Brown might not have agreed with his son but he neither was he going to stop Mike from doing what he felt was right. Stanley Wilsons repeated falls from grace are well known around these parts. The NFL suspended Wilson twice because of his drug problems, specifically his addiction to cocaine. Everyone remembers the story of how running backs coach Jim Anderson found Stanley Wilson in a drug-induced stupor at the team hotel the night before the Bengals were to play San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIII. Stanley Wilson was my great cause and I tried like blazes to get him right, said Mike Brown Tuesday afternoon as he spoke with reporters at the Bengals annual pre-training camp media luncheon. This was my first experience dealing with someone who had what I would call an addiction. I found out that there is such a thing as addiction. Over the years the Bengals developed the reputation of a renegade team, a franchise that took chances on players with questionable pasts and questionable character. The Oakland Raiders got away with those sorts of gambles mainly because they won. The Bengals didnt do a lot of winning after that Super Bowl appearance. Justified or not, the reputation stuck with the franchise. Mike Brown doesnt think its justified. No one in the organization does. Its one of the reasons the Bengals are again being featured on HBOs acclaimed Hard Knocks series this year. The NFL Films crew will document training camp this year as it did in 2009 when the Bengals were putting a start to a season that would culminate in an AFC North division title. The organization believes this years team has the potential to do great things. It also believes it has great people that dont deserve to be labeled with that past reputation. We have made a conscience effort to draft and bring in guys that we think are well-behaving people, good people and, I think, with (Andy) Dalton and (A.J.) Green as examples, with (Andrew) Whitworth as an example, we have lots of others that this is how we want to be perceived, said Brown. Over the years we dug ourselves into a hole, and Im probably the one who did it. We would bring in guys and work with them. Sometimes they came around, sometimes they didnt. Yet, I think we did the right thing. Certainly it was good for them. We gave them opportunity when some of them didnt have opportunity and a lot of them proved that they deserved that opportunity. These Bengals, as with every other NFL team and the majority of society, are not angels. Nor are they (or the majority of us) devils. Their transgressions are, however, highly public. Cornerback Adam Jones is facing an Aug. 19 hearing on an assault charge and has a sordid history of legal troubles from before he joined the Bengals in 2010 and since. Right tackle Andre Smith was charged with attempting to carry a loaded firearm into the Atlanta airport in January. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga was cited for misdemeanor assault in February 2012 at a downtown bar, although the charge was later dropped following mediation. Brown says he has shifted his philosophy on players over the years, particularly the recent past. The old rationale was Let us step in here. We can help. We can make it better for this guy and, who knows, maybe hell make us a better team. Well, that had repercussions, said Brown. In later years Ive gone back to the way my dad did it. If you crossed a line on him, your can is out the door before you could count to 10. Boom. What were doing now, and what weve been doing for a few years, is try to sign on guys who are solid people. We may have to worry about things and we may have to worry about how they play but were not going to have to worry so much about how they are off the field. Head coach Marvin Lewis told Clark Judge of CBS Sports this spring: I think Mike's changed in the fact that he realizes we're not going to save them all. Some of Browns gambles on players have worked out over the years. Many pro athletes come from childhoods that were disadvantaged in one way or another. The lifestyle change of going from a college player to someone getting paid hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of dollars to play a sport for a living is not as easy of a transition as some of us might believe. It catches up to some players. It catches up to some organizations. The Bengals are in the process of trying to change their image. It takes time, said Brown. It takes time to get a unit of guys that are solid people and it takes longer than that to make the public see you in that light. Were still dealing with a reputation that is well dated but we have to deal with it.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
2017 NFL Mock Draft
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Chiefs win game with incredible special teams play

WATCH: Jeff Fisher lost his challenge flag vs. Patriots

Colin Kaepernick benched for Blaine Gabbert in Chicago

Gronkowski releases statement, has no plans to retire

Sean Payton unhappy about Brandin Cooks trade rumors

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: A 2015 investigation led to Kevin Wilson’s departure from Indiana

Houston denies report that Art Briles is candidate for coaching position

Draymond Green defends himself again after kicking Harden

WATCH: Video of Pirates Jung Ho Kang car crash that led to arrest

Rob Gronkowski placed on IR, ending his season

Everything you need to know for CFB Championship Week

Final College Football Playoff rankings: Alabama reigns

Best of Yardbarker: CFB Championship Week chaos

Five teams on upset alert in NFL Week 13

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/2: High-kicking it into the weekend

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Eugene Monroe opens up about NFL’s drug policy

Ideal MLB offseason blueprint for every team

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Final College Football Playoff rankings: Alabama reigns

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Everything you need to know for CFB Championship Week

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Porzingis reshapes Knicks by elevating his game

TailGreater: Your championship week playlist is set

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker