The season finale of Hard Knocks showed fullback John Conner losing his job. He wasn’t happy about it.
As Conner sat down with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis to hear the bad news that he was cut, Conner asked what he could have done differently. Lewis answered that the hard-working Conner did everything asked of him, but that second-year player Orson Charles is younger, plays more special teams and was ultimately the only fullback the Bengals had room for on the roster.
“This is a hard one. I know you’ve put your heart and soul into this,” Lewis told Conner. “You didn’t do anything wrong. You have done everything. It’s more just maybe the versatility of Orson, not necessarily what you didn’t do. Orson’s contribution on special teams may be more.”
Conner said he didn’t see it coming, even though he’s been around the NFL long enough to know that fullbacks are an endangered species.
“I’m shocked,” Conner said. “But it’s a business.”
Conner’s departure came even though the Bengals’ coaches all agree that he’s a better fullback than Charles. In fact, when Lewis sat Charles down to show him what was expected of him, it was film of Conner that he put on the TV in his office. But Charles is younger and plays better on special teams, and that’s why he’s still a Bengal and Conner is not.
In a classy move, Charles called Conner to thank him for their friendship.
“I’m happy that we had a chance to meet and become great friends,” Charles told Conner.
Lewis told Conner he should expect some other team to pick him up, but that conversation was taped on Saturday, and as of Tuesday Conner hasn’t caught on anywhere else.