Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Term 'Draft Steal' Confuses Bengals Owner Brown, Almost Costs Team Maualuga
By John Breech/Staff
The pick of Ray Maualuga seemed like a pretty obvious one for Cincinnati to make Saturday, but according to one team source, the former USC star almost wasn't taken by the Bengals.
The anonymous assistant coach, who was in the Bengals war room on draft day, says that team owner Mike Brown had issues with the term 'draft steal.'
"He thought it was something illegal," says the source. "When we told him we were getting a steal with Maualuga, he actually called up the league office and asked if a 'draft day steal' meant a fine for the organization. Coach Lewis and the team's three scouts did the best they could to keep a straight face."
Most football fans and NFL owners know that the term 'draft steal' is generally given to a prospect that falls below their initial projection. In Maualuga's case, he was widely considered to be a first round choice, but he fell to the second round.
"He's been the head of this franchise for 18 years," the anonymous assistant said of Brown. "And he doesn't know what a draft day steal is, Jesus F. Christ, my fricking four-year-old daughter knows more about football than Mike Brown. I tell you, I almost quit on the spot."
The source went on to say that draft day took an even more embarassing turn when Brown's choice for the Bengals second round pick was not available. "So Mike calls up the league draft offices in New York and announces that the Bengals would like to select Mark Sanchez with the 38th pick," explained the source. "After laughing for at least eight minutes, they informed Mr. Brown that Sanchez had been drafted 33 picks earlier, you know, at pick number five, right before us. Then, to make matters worse, Brown tells them that the Bengals would like to draft Ray Finkle instead. This would have been the funniest thing ever if it was a joke, but he was dead serious."
After team employees explained to Brown that Finkle was a fictional character in a comedic movie, the owner finally relented and OK'd the Maualuga pick.
Three other independent sources confirmed this story to Its Never Sunny in Cincinnati, however, Mike Brown was unavailable for comment.