John Conner was “shocked” when the Bengals cut him

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.

62 responses to “John Conner was “shocked” when the Bengals cut him

  1. 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.”

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

  3. 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.

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

    Conner blocking for Forte would be bone inducing.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. “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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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