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John Conner was “shocked” when the Bengals cut him

John Conner AP

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.

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62 Responses to “John Conner was “shocked” when the Bengals cut him”
  1. chemicaltoilet says: Sep 3, 2013 10:56 PM

    He is better than Charles..

  2. green41563 says: Sep 3, 2013 10:59 PM

    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. “I’m also happy to be dating your girlfriend and moving into your old apartment.”

  3. sc49ers says: Sep 3, 2013 10:59 PM

    Keep your head you’ll find something…..

  4. mariorat says: Sep 3, 2013 11:00 PM

    Come on BB, sign this guy!

  5. bryany99 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:01 PM

    Hopefully he will end up with the Giants and as Hynoski’s replacement/fill-in.

  6. r8dernation says: Sep 3, 2013 11:03 PM

    Are you telling me John Conner had a visit from the Terminator?

  7. primetimewr9 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:03 PM

    Vikings should scoop him up to pave the way for Adrian Peterson’s next 2,000 yard season.

  8. maxkingpin says: Sep 3, 2013 11:04 PM

    John Conner was “Terminated”.

  9. billbrasky72 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:06 PM

    So does that make Marvin Lewis the Terminator?

  10. stairwaytoharvin says: Sep 3, 2013 11:09 PM

    Headline should read “was shocked when his employment was terminated”

  11. beerbudsnbevo says: Sep 3, 2013 11:10 PM

    Terminator jokes in 3,2,1….

  12. eightandeightlions says: Sep 3, 2013 11:10 PM

    In the immortal words of Sarah Connor: “You’re terminated #!@!.”

  13. Smarterthanyou says: Sep 3, 2013 11:10 PM

    He certainly looks shocked in the photo

  14. cletusvandam says: Sep 3, 2013 11:11 PM

    It’s to bad be plays a position that has almost been phased out in the NFL. He sounds like a real good guy.

  15. crubenst says: Sep 3, 2013 11:12 PM

    It also shows the politics of football. Hue Jackson the running backs coach made Orson his pet project so of course he was going to keep Orson. He couldn’t fail at his own pet project could he? Now when the Bengals get stopped on 4th and 1 in a crucial situation in a big game because Orson couldn’t give enough space, we’ll all know why the Bengals failed to win the super bowl again.

  16. steelerdynasty2010 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:20 PM

    why didnt they just ask him to play special teams?

  17. realfootballfan says: Sep 3, 2013 11:21 PM

    I knew he wasn’t making the team during the first episode when Lewis said “I thought he would have done better with the Jets.”

  18. rjkilla says: Sep 3, 2013 11:23 PM

    fullbacks are a dying breed

  19. kane337 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:23 PM

    I would take him on my team. No doubt about it.

  20. 00reo says: Sep 3, 2013 11:25 PM

    Come on Titans! He’s better than QJ and fits the power running game.

  21. bharr170 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:27 PM

    Jay Gruden didn’t seem too happy about it either. Looked like Marvin listened to what Hue wanted.

  22. Waffle 2.0 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:27 PM

    I would love to see this guy replace Tony Fiammetta at FB on the Bears.

    Conner blocking for Forte would be bone inducing.

  23. brownsfanincali says: Sep 3, 2013 11:31 PM

    He’d look good blocking for Trent Richardson..

  24. tattooit says: Sep 3, 2013 11:32 PM

    It also shows the politics of football. Hue Jackson the running backs coach made Orson his pet project so of course he was going to keep Orson. He couldn’t fail at his own pet project could he? Now when the Bengals get stopped on 4th and 1 in a crucial situation in a big game because Orson couldn’t give enough space, we’ll all know why the Bengals failed to win the super bowl again.

    ###########################

    Dead on. Jackson is an idiot Orson is a scrub. He’s gonna get swatted out of the way like a mosquito.

  25. adamleestevens says: Sep 3, 2013 11:48 PM

    I hope he gets picked up. He is a hell of a fullback.

    As a sign of solidarity towards Conner, I’m gonna pick him up in my fantasy league.

  26. aljack88 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:54 PM

    Terminator jokes in 3,2,1….

    ….and Connor turned and said to Lewis:

    “I’ll be baaaack”

    just couldn’t resist.

  27. nevd83 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:55 PM

    Lesson for all up and coming college FB’s – get onto your colleges special team units so you have that skillset when you land in the NFL you have more than 1 string to your bow

  28. sweetnlow44 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:57 PM

    Watching Hard Knocks, it’s pretty apparent that Marvin Lewis is pretty disengaged from his players. They go to his office to talk to him and ask for feedback and he never gives constructive feedback or criticism. Just an insincere proverbial pat on the butt and a get out of my office and stop wasting my time like I care about you or your development kinda pep talk. They need a coach with some personality and who cares.

  29. packerfan12 says: Sep 4, 2013 12:09 AM

    Wow, it’s obvious i’m not a Bengal fan, but when you’re a fullback and your nickname is “the punisher” and you’ve seen his aggressive play and downright nasty blocks, it’s a little weird to think he would be cut for Orson Charles.

  30. chrispin53 says: Sep 4, 2013 12:10 AM

    I’m a huge fan of this guy. I’m a lifelong bengals fan who grew up in New Jersey. I’ve seen him on two hard knocks, and a lot of Sundays playing for the jets. I read an earlier comment about blocking for Adrian Peterson, great idea. AP would break the record with this kid blocking.

    Here’s why the Bengals kept Orson over him.

    To maximize Andy Dalton’s strengths. He is great with intermediate throws, slants, and quick screens out of the backfield. Conner is a better blocker, but Orson and Gio out of the backfield is scary. Picture AJ green, Sanu, and Eifert, with Gio and Orson in the backfield. That’s 6 legitimate receiving threats in a running formation. Enjoy 3rd and 4 next years opposing defensive coordinators.

  31. granadafan says: Sep 4, 2013 12:19 AM

    PFT readers did not disappoint with the Terminator comments. Well done.

  32. granadafan says: Sep 4, 2013 12:20 AM

    Tiki is flabbergasted
    Brees wants an explanation
    John Conner is terminated

  33. natijim235 says: Sep 4, 2013 12:33 AM

    connor nice player but charles besides fullback/special teams can play TE his position in with the G dawgs – this guy is athletic – team has some studs this year!

  34. tangysizzl says: Sep 4, 2013 12:49 AM

    I think this guy is the perfect signing for the Packers if they are really serious about running the ball more this year.

    Somebody, #makeithappen.

  35. truths4all says: Sep 4, 2013 1:10 AM

    The Bengals are really gambling that they won’t need those few feet that Connor would have gotten them by his better blocking to win a game.

    This is the same as Gruden making Josh Johnson his pet project to be Dalton’s back-up QB. The problem will come to fruition if Dalton gets injured and cannot play which means the Bengals go with Johnson who is a 50% passer when he is at his best and a horrible passer at his average. Johnson’s strength is running the football and if he does that when Dalton is injured, who are the Bengals going to play when Johnson gets knocked out of a game by doing what he does best, running?

    Looks like the Bengals will lose a couple of extra games by releasing Connor and perhaps a lot more games if Dalton gets hurt and Johnson has to face first team defenses who will do their best to make him throw bad passes as well as run so they can punish him. Somehow seeing pet projects of Hue Jackson and Gruden make the team only tells us the Bengals are not ready to really contend, but they have only set themselves up for a really bad 2013 season.

  36. blackbeard43 says: Sep 4, 2013 1:20 AM

    I guess the lesson here to all you NFL hopefuls is the more positions you learn to play the better your chances at making the roster.

    Can’t help but think about Tebow.

  37. dstep24 says: Sep 4, 2013 2:05 AM

    Connor: “But coach Lewis, what if Orson gets hurt?”.

    Coach: “The Me-1000 will surely be waiting to re-acquire you there.”

  38. vr30 says: Sep 4, 2013 2:34 AM

    He missed his opportunity to say “I’ll be back”

  39. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Sep 4, 2013 4:12 AM

    Now when the cyborgs from Cyberdyne systems succeed in exterminating the human race, history will show that the Bengals are to blame.

  40. petedutcherjr says: Sep 4, 2013 6:22 AM

    Bucs need this guy to pave the road for Muscle Hamster.

  41. kcflake says: Sep 4, 2013 7:04 AM

    I don’t see how a fullback like conner doesn;t have a job in the league. He kills people with his blocks. Definitely better than Orson Charles. Not even close. Wouldn’t mind seeing my Chiefs pick him up.

  42. therealtrenches says: Sep 4, 2013 7:15 AM

    Steelerdynasty2010 writes: why didnt they just ask him to play special teams?

    ^^^ this.

    Coaches pigeonhole these guys so fast, that they shrink the realm of possibility.

    It stands to reason that if the guy is a better fullback, he might also be better at doing the things you need a guy to do on kickoffs, punts, etc..

    Versatility is only good if the player performs at a high level at all positions,

    You never trade talent AND polish on the field for versatility and youth.

    When Lewis was using film of the guy he cut in order to demonstrate how he wants the guy he’s keeping to play, something in his mind should’ve told him he was doing the wrong thing.

  43. steelbydesign says: Sep 4, 2013 7:24 AM

    I think this has a lot more to do with the direction the NFL is going. Conner is in the mold of Lorenzo Neil and Dan Kreider… And those guys just don’t make teams anymore.

    Orson Charles is a TE playing FB, meaning he can catch the ball out of the backfield… In a passing league that’s important.

    Vontae Leach is a battering ram but he has some soft hands too, which is why he’s managed to make all-pro so many times.

  44. pdmjr says: Sep 4, 2013 7:39 AM

    Stupid Bengals had the wrong John Connor terminated. Looks like another sequel, cue Arnold, again

  45. joeflaccosunibrow says: Sep 4, 2013 8:00 AM

    He’ll get picked up after week 1

  46. psj3809 says: Sep 4, 2013 8:33 AM

    The players wanted free agency and this is one of the downsides. With the cap, teams have to go sometimes for younger cheaper players/

    In an ideal world every team would sign the best player they can, but with the cap and high money wanted by FA’s teams have to go for a fair few ‘cheaper’ players and ones who can also play a few roles.

  47. dburgoyne says: Sep 4, 2013 8:42 AM

    John made a quick statement, “I’ll be back!”

  48. canetic says: Sep 4, 2013 9:42 AM

    The Dolphins have been looking for a FB. Why not Conner. Also, he played special teams for the Jets. I remember watching their Hard Knocks when he destroyed a guy with a block on a kick return.

  49. ckualii says: Sep 4, 2013 9:49 AM

    Would love to see this guy leading the way for Doug Martin.

  50. harry1941 says: Sep 4, 2013 10:34 AM

    He’ll go back to the Jets

  51. gdeli says: Sep 4, 2013 10:38 AM

    and he was “shocked” to find out that he is the son of the TERMINATOR! HAHA

  52. chazzmon says: Sep 4, 2013 10:46 AM

    He’ll have a job by week 2.

  53. bigsmack247 says: Sep 4, 2013 10:49 AM

    Man, I have never seen such a hard hitting, in on every play, beast like Conner get so little respect.

    I remember watching him get cut on Hard Knocks Jets too, and that was after Rex Ryan and his coaching staff were practically drooling on themselves watching tape of him knocking people flat in preseason games.

    If ever there was an example of talent not meeting opportunity, this is it. I sincerely hope he catches on with another team and gets a real shot.

    If he wants to come down and keep Gabbert off his ass and open some holes for MJD, the weather in Jax is amazing.

    Good Luck T-1000

  54. i10east says: Sep 4, 2013 10:55 AM

    Hasta la Vista contract!

  55. rodrazavi says: Sep 4, 2013 11:20 AM

    I’m pretty sure they said Conner was playing Special Teams too, but that Orson was playing better on Special Teams.

  56. howiehandles says: Sep 4, 2013 11:50 AM

    “Watching Hard Knocks, it’s pretty apparent that Marvin Lewis is pretty disengaged from his players. They go to his office to talk to him and ask for feedback and he never gives constructive feedback or criticism. Just an insincere proverbial pat on the butt and a get out of my office and stop wasting my time like I care about you or your development kinda pep talk. They need a coach with some personality and who cares.”

    I understand what you’re saying, but I thought Marvin handled it well. He gets right to the point, and let’s them know how they stand.

    What is he supposed to do, say that he wanted the guy but the other coaches did not? I’m sure this isn’t easy for coaches who might have wanted to keep a particular player, but they have a business to run, and can’t make it personal.

    That being said, I’d like Connor on my team.

  57. stlhomeboy says: Sep 4, 2013 12:21 PM

    Should have cut TE Smith and kept both Charles and Connor. This will cost them points this season. A fullback like Connor makes the difference between scoring short yardage TDs and settling for FGs.

  58. hitdog042 says: Sep 4, 2013 12:55 PM

    Ok people. Relax. The bengals employ a fb around 15 percent of snaps. Lets not make this a big deal. Most teams don’t even use fb anymore hence he hasn’t been picked up. Charles can play TE and ST as well. I love Connor don’t get me wrong. But he’s better suited for a power running team that needs a Fb. Bengals tried to trade him. No takers. Nobody claimed him. That’s all we need to know. He will catch on as soon as someone has an injury.

  59. namaths5thofwhiskey says: Sep 4, 2013 1:21 PM

    Conner is a great blocker. Horrible runner though. Dude would get stuffed on 3rd & 1s all day. Got stuffed on over 3 4th and shorts as well.

  60. namaths5thofwhiskey says: Sep 4, 2013 1:21 PM

    With that said he’s a great blocker and deserves to be on a team.

  61. realfootballfan says: Sep 4, 2013 7:42 PM

    For those saying Hue’s an idiot for vouching for Charles, I think he’s envisioning what he did for Marcell Reese in Oakland. He improved his blocking tremendously the two seasons Jackson was there and became a passing game X factor. I think Marvin Lewis listened because Connor kind of sucked when he was with the Jets once the real games started. Hard working guy, but he wasn’t exactly Lorenzo Neal back there himself in New York.

  62. bearsareone says: Sep 5, 2013 2:08 PM

    Conner was CLEARLY the better of the two. Another Bengals mistake. You ALWAYS take the best player available and they didn’t. 8-8 anyone?

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