T.J. Houshmandzadeh recounts embarrassing details from his early Bengals career

Remember the bad old days of the Cincinnati Bengals?

T.J. Houshmandzadeh does, and this week he offered up a reminder during a visit with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd.

The former Bengals receiver recounted a few ways the franchise was dysfunctional at the turn of the century.

Turns out when he first got there, players’ access to water and Gatorade was strictly limited.

While most (if not all) teams stay at a hotel the night before games — even when they are playing at home — the Bengals did not.

As a result, Houshmandzadeh said some players felt like it was OK to spend Saturday night out on the town, especially if they didn’t think they would be suiting up on Sunday.

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On top of that, he also said he was told not long before he arrived the team gave players “used jockstraps,” but apparently that had been taken care of by Willie Anderson and Ki-Jana Carter by the time Houshmandzadeh was drafted in 2001.

“They were the guys who had been first-round picks, so they had money so they went out and bought a bunch and gave them to guys,” Houshmandzadeh said.

He didn’t have to put up with those indignities throughout his whole career, however.

Houshmandzadeh credited Marvin Lewis with making changes once he became head coach of the Bengals in 2003, the receiver’s third year in the pros.

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“Once Marvin got there, he brought a level of professionalism and structure,” Houshmandzadeh said.

Houshmandzadeh ended up staying with the Bengals through the 2008 campaign.

He had a pair of 1,000-yard seasons and finished his career with 627 catches for 7,237 yards and 44 touchdowns.

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