Opener can’t get here fast enough for Bengals’ Gresham


The longest eight months of tight end Jermaine Gresham’s life will finally come to an end Sunday when he and his Cincinnati Bengals teammates walk into Soldier Field to play the Chicago Bears in their first meaningful football game in 246 days.

“It couldn’t get here fast enough,” Gresham said Thursday in his first comments to local media in 401 days.

While it has been a long offseason for all of the Bengals in wake of the 19-13 Wild Card loss at Houston, it has been especially difficult for Gresham, who dropped three passes in the game.

“I can still remember the play calls,” he said. “It was a rough game, and it cost my team a chance to win the game. I let a lot of people down, the organization, fans, the people that still doubt me. I gave them a reason to keep doubting me.

“It was tough,” Gresham continued. “I’ve got no one to blame but myself. It was definitely eye-opening. I did that. Every bit of that, I did. My team, they were there for me. They didn’t feel like I let them down, but I want to be held to a higher standard. I don’t want to be a guy who lets his teammates down.”

The Bengals tried to take some pressure off A.J. Green in that game by throwing to Gresham early, but the drops kept the offense from moving the ball and forced offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and quarterback Andy Dalton to answer a lot of questions about the gameplan.

While neither of them pointed fingers at Gresham, he has saddled himself with all of the blame for eight long months.

Speaking earlier in training camp, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Gresham was being too hard on himself. But he added that Gresham seems to have used the experience as motivation.

“I think it had a huge impact on him,” Lewis said. “Jermaine has grown up so much over the last two seasons and this last offseason he continues to take another step. He really has done a great job of stepping up his leadership on this football team, doing everything that’s asked of him.

“He’s been trying to get better, get better physically,” Lewis continued. “He’s got such a big heart and is such a good kid. It’s fun to watch it come out of him the more comfortable he’s gotten.”

Despite his past aversion to interviews, Gresham certainly seemed comfortable Thursday in what ended up being an extensive 14-minute interview that touched on a number of subjects.

On the Bengals drafting another tight end, Tyler Eifert, in the first round:

“Dude is a freak. He’s that good. I’m not lying to you. He’s going to bring so much to the team that it’s big. We’re definitely a better team. I’m excited. At the end of the day we’re all here to win games. You can’t control what they do up top. They made a decision to better the team, and they’ve done that.”

On whether he thinks about his next contract after teammates Geno Atkins (five years, $55 million) and Carlos Dunlap (six years, $40) got huge extensions this offseason:

“I haven’t earned an extension. Those guys, more so Geno, but those guys definitely earned what they got and they’re very deserving. I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t deserve it. Not right now.”

When it was pointed out that he has gone to two Pro Bowls and become the first tight end in franchise history with three successive seasons of 50 or more catches:

“Man, you made it sound good. Out of everything you said, the only thing I can hear right now is that I had three dropped passes in the playoff game.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

HS Results 8/23: Spees leads CJ over Urbana

Emsley Spees knocked in the game-winning goal to lead Chaminade Julienne to a 2-1 win over Urbana in girls soccer action on Wednesday. Katie Baird got CJ on the board first off an assist from Brooke House, but Urbana’s Samantha Tracy answered with a goal of her own. Spees put in the final goal off another assist from House. Chaminade Julienne...
Dragons keep hitting as win streak reaches five

If hitting is contagious, the Dayton Dragons should be under quarantine. Bowling Green was without hazmat suits and got an up-close view of the Dragons’ infectious play Wednesday night, falling 11–1 at Fifth Third Field. The victory continued an impressive stretch for the Dragons, who have scored 46 runs and collected 57 hits on their five-game...
Middletown’s Schwarber helps Cubs rout Reds
Middletown’s Schwarber helps Cubs rout Reds

All-or-nothing Adam Dunn, who hit home runs with as much regularity as he struck out in his nearly eight full seasons as the Cincinnati Reds left fielder, recently was announced as one of six candidates for election by fans to the Reds Hall of Fame. Middletown’s Kyle Schwarber isn’t Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame material yet, but he is having...
High School Football: Dunbar, Belmont back together again
High School Football: Dunbar, Belmont back together again

It’s fitting that Dunbar and Belmont will open the high school football season playing each other. The Dayton City League rivals will kick off their seasons at 7 p.m. Thursday at Welcome Stadium. Like all five City League teams, Belmont and Dunbar are second-year members of the Southwest Ohio Public League, although in different divisions, Dunbar...
H.S. football: Experienced Braves seek playoff return
H.S. football: Experienced Braves seek playoff return

Shawnee football coach Rick Meeks has faced a season many times with lots of good, experienced players. It’s often meant playoffs. But a couple of recent seasons have been derailed by injuries. You won’t see Meeks standing on the sideline in Saturday’s opener at Welcome Stadium against Thurgood Marshall with his fingers crossed behind...
More Stories