T.J. Houshmandzadeh joins Cincinnati Bengals reunion in Oakland
T.J. Houshmandzadeh's signing with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday further cemented the team's transformation into Bengals West, reuniting the former Cincinnati wide receiver with quarterback Carson Palmer and Coach Hue Jackson.
The question is: Why on earth would any NFL team want to become the Bengals?
Houshmandzadeh played with Cincinnati from 2001 to 2008, then with the Seattle Seahawks in 2009 and Baltimore Ravens in 2010. Palmer was the Bengals' quarterback five of those years (although he was injured most of 2008) and Jackson was receivers coach for three.
And the truth is, the Bengals actually had some success -- though "success" is definitely a relative term when speaking of the Bengals -- during the three seasons the trio's paths crossed, from 2004 to 2006.
The Bengals did not have a losing season during that span. OK, they went 8-8 two of those years, but in 2005 they went 11-5 (their best record since 1988) and won the AFC North. If Palmer hadn't suffered a season-ending knee injury on the second play of their wild-card playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who knows what might have happened?
Plus, we're comparing them to the Raiders, a team that hasn't sniffed the playoffs, let alone had a winning season, in a decade. Jackson needed a quarterback after an injury to starter Jason Campbell a couple weeks ago, so he went out and got Palmer.
Palmer apparently needed another target, so the team signed Houshmandzadeh, who had 241 catches for 3,015 yards and 20 touchdowns in his three seasons with Jackson and had a career year with Palmer as his quarterback in 2007 (112 receptions for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns).
Sounds like an experiment worth trying for the Raiders.
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2006. Credit: David Maxwell / Getty Images