Cincinnati Ohio – WR Brandon Lafell was released today per his request. He and his agent sensing that he may not even have made the squad have lobbied since Rookie Camp for his release. Coach Tony D’Amato ” I only want guys that want to be here to be part of something special. We have plenty of young talent in that locker room to fill his role. Brandon was professional and the organization appreciates his contribution. We wish him well with his future career.”
Brandon LaFell’s sudden departure from the Bengals’ roster was not only surprising to his fans, but his teammates as well.
“It was shocking you know,” Tyler Boyd told reporters before Thursday’s practice. “None of us knew. None of us had an idea, didn’t have a feeling so it was just mind-blowing.” LaFell was a seasoned veteran who had a major impact on the team’s young wide receivers.
“I’ve learned a lot from him.” Explained Alex Erickson. “Obviously the foundation, the way he works every day at practice, comes out along with A.J., you know those two guys were the vets in the room the guys that us young players coming in we watched everything that they did we learned everything, tried to learn as much as they were teaching us and all that stuff. Just the selflessness he had to always help me out, that’s something I’ll always remember, and just the person that he is and the character he has.”
The news didn’t sit well with the team’s remaining veteran wide receiver, A.J. Green, but Green understands where the move came from.
“It’s gonna be tough but you know like I said man the business side sucks ‘cause you form these relationships, and the next day, it could be gone like I said the young guys, they’re ready to play right now,” Green said about the situation.
When asked about being the old man in the room and if the young guys helped him keep his edge Green replied, “Nah I ain’t an old man.” Green added, “I’ve had the juice for a long time it ain’t going nowhere no time soon I intended to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
The group admits that it will not be easy to replace LaFell. “He knew every spot on the offense and you could plug him in anywhere,” said Green.
Not many players can handle such an all-encompassing role on an offense physically or mentally. “You don’t replace Brandon LaFell with one guy,” said Erickson.
Boyd knows they all need to do their jobs and stated that, “Everybody wants to do their role, and guys definitely need to step up.”
Although the young wide receivers hate to see LaFell go, they are not concerned about a lack of leadership in the group. “Obviously A.J. is still the cornerstone the guy that sets the tempo for us the guy that we all follow, and I don’t… that’s obviously not going to change,” Erickson said. Green is ready to step up, but knows that LaFell had some different strengths than he does.
“He’s more vocal than I am,” Green said. “I’m more of a quiet guy so he was talking to the young guys more just taking them under his wing because you know he’s a very friendly guy, and he wanted the young guys to learn, so we’re gonna miss that about him.”