Joe Mixon wept.
The Oklahoma running back, who was chosen by the Bengals with the 48th overall pick last night, was emotional during his conference call with reporters in Cincinnati.
“You know, I am still sitting here crying. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it,” he said, via Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. “You know, I am thankful and very honored to be a part of — to be a Cincinnati Bengal.”
For many, it was the perfect destination for a player who punched a woman in the face. The Bengals have a history of taking in players with off-field problems, and owner Mike Brown has admitted he may have been “overly tolerant” in the past. But Mixon was a special case, with the video of him punching a woman in the face as stark a piece of video as any of his football plays, and one which will be remembered far longer.
And he knows he can’t run from it.
“It changed me a lot as a person, the way you think, the way you carry yourself, go about things,” Mixon said. “I’m going to continue to keep doing the right thing around the community, on and off the field. And I’m going to prove to them why they kept me. Leaving from Oklahoma, I still have their name, at the end of the day. I’m going to do whatever I can to make them proud and make them happy. I’m looking forward to doing that with the Cincinnati Bengals as well.”
The Bengals brought him in for a private visit before the draft — “I was very straight up,” Mixon said — and coach Marvin Lewis said they were comfortable moving forward with him.
Mixon accepted a plea deal in the criminal case, and reached a civil settlement with the woman, who suffered four broken bones in the incident. But the incident will never be far from his name, or his from the Bengals’ as they add to a legacy of giving second chances.