By Josh Kramer
Now I want you all to think back to the Bengal days before Big Red and A.J. Green arrived at Paul Brown Stadium and took the city of Cincinnati by storm. A time where flashiness seemed to outweigh heart, and the name on the back of the jersey seemed more important than the name on the front. It is October 26, 2008. Ryan Fitzpatrick (alumnus of the same fine academic institution as Jeremy Lin) was filling in for an injured Carson Palmer. Cincinnati has just lost for the third straight week by 20+ points. On this particular day, the Who Deys took one on the head at Reliant Stadium to those pesky Houston Texans (sound familiar?). Cincinnati now finds themselves 0 for 8 on the year and in the midst of another lost season. People in Cincinnati are already done with NFL football, and their focus has shifted to college football and the upcoming college hoops season. Any city that is fortunate enough to have a professional football team shouldn’t be finished with America’s most popular sport by the end of October. It just isn’t right. It is a major problem.
I reached out to Paul a little more than three years ago on a whim in regards to a school project. My group was tasked with discussing a major problem in Cincinnati. So naturally, as Cincinnati sports fans, we chose the Bengals as our problem. I figured who would be better to talk to than Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty (mind you, we had never spoken). Within 24 hours, Paul and I had struck up a friendship. Not only was he an immense help on the project, but he provided some great insight that has stuck with me to this day, guiding me as I pursue my aspirations of one day hosting my own sports talk show.
Paul didn’t owe me anything- not an email, not a phone call. But his willingness to talk to a student about a project says everything about his character. Paul is not only a great writer, but he is a great person. I realize many of his countless readers know him strictly as the opinionated guy who they don’t always agree with. Well that is his job in essence. To provide opinion and provoke thought. In his absence, I hope to do the same.
It was truly an honor to fill in for one of the best sports writers in the game, Paul Daugherty.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.