You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Bengals LB Maualuga vows to thrive under scrutiny

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga would like a mulligan for the 2012 NFL season. Not because he failed to produce (second on the team in tackles with 122), but more for missed opportunities in critical situations.

Maualuga was made to look like Texas toast on defense in Cincinnati’s playoff loss to the Houston Texans. Scapegoat? Maybe, but he quickly became the villain in the eyes of fans for the outcome, a 19-13  loss.

“I’ve received all the criticism, hate, tweets, Facebook posts and shrugged it off,” Maualuga said during a one-on-one interview. “To concentrate on that would make me less of a player. If I’d let that stuff affect me I wouldn’t have came back. Moving forward, I’m not focused on what they say here and there. It’s a new season and everyone gets a fresh start. They can still talk. It will go in one ear and out the other.

“I want my play to speak for itself so everyone can forget about what happened last season. I want them to see a different Rey. Hopefully, I can persuade my critics to like what they see on the field.”

The former USC Trojan drew plenty of interest during free agency but opted to re-sign with Cincinnati this offseason. The linebacker said he wanted to return because it was the best situation for him and his family. Another reason is to prove himself to head coach Marvin Lewis and the team that drafted him.

“Obviously, I want to get better,” he said. “My main focus is go in there and see what I can improve off of last year -- like the things I haven’t done so well and the things I get criticized for. I eat all that up and turn it into focus to improve my playing ability to get better.

“I’m focused, determined and ready to wash out the nasty taste in my mouth from last year. I can sit here and talk all I want, but it’s all about putting in the work and showing it on the field. That’s what I am determined to do and that’s what I’m going to do.”

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Maualuga struggled to make plays last season, particularly in pass defense. He had some trouble shedding blocks and would play himself out of position at times. His inconsistency led Cincinnati to bring in serious competition, signing former Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro James Harrison to compete at strongside linebacker.

The organization’s Jedi-mind trick could bring out the fierce competitor in Maualuga. The coaches want to see the fiery impact performer that impressed them in training camp his rookie season. But for now, Maualuga’s role on defense appears hazy in his fifth year with the Bengals. 

“I don’t know how much I’ll play,” he said. “That’s football, the best 11 players on the field. Whatever my title is this year I will play that role to the best of my ability. As of now, I have to focus on the basics and what I need to do to help the team. No matter the circumstances, I’m ready to ball.

“We have all the pieces to be a championship team. We all have to hone in and put everything into perspective. We practice that way and just have to go out there and execute. We’re hungrier than we were last year. Close isn’t the word. We’re there.” 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

40 percent of the NFL Rookie of the Year candidates are from Ohio State
40 percent of the NFL Rookie of the Year candidates are from Ohio State

Ohio State alumni Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys and Joey Bosa of the Chargers are among the five players nominated for the NFL’s Rookie of the Year Award.  Elliott is joined by Dallas teammate Dak Prescott.  No Ohio State players have won the award from the NFL since it began in 2002.  Eddie George was the Associated Press Offensive...
H.S. Results for 1/16: Troy girls win Pioneer Classic

The Troy girls bowling team’s baker game totals pushed them ahead of Centerville by four pins in the 24-team Pioneer Classic on Monday. Troy tallied a 3,763. Centerville had a 3,759. Bellefontaine finished third, followed by Vandalia, Coldwater and Versailles. Tacey Ballen of Centerville rolled the highest score in the tournament. The boys had...
Ohio State commits shine at Flyin’ to the Hoop
Ohio State commits shine at Flyin’ to the Hoop

Two future Ohio State basketball players who took the floor Monday at Trent Arena had different outcomes, but they both came out smiling. For Versailles junior wing Justin Ahrens, it was a matter of pride, scoring 26 points in a 61-56 win for the Tigers over Tri-Village at Day 4 of the 15th annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop. “They&rsquo...
Alter rallies to beat Middletown at Flyin’
Alter rallies to beat Middletown at Flyin’

Alter played its third game in four days and rallied in the fourth quarter to edge Middletown 48-44 in the Day 4 finale of the Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop at Trent Arena. Dominic Laravie had 21 points to lead the Knights (10-2), who beat Fenwick on Friday and lost to unbeaten and top-ranked Moeller (Division I) on Saturday. “It&rsquo...
Girls Basketball: Top-ranked Alter beats Tecumseh
Girls Basketball: Top-ranked Alter beats Tecumseh

Tecumseh found out early in a nonconference girls basketball game on Tuesday night that Alter is deserving of the No. 1 ranking in Division II. The Knights likely solidified their spot with a 66-52 win over Tecumseh. “We knew what we were getting into, and that’s why we wanted to play them,” Tecumseh coach Danielle Thomas said. &ldquo...
More Stories