By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
Throughout their history, cornerback is one position the Bengals have always seemed to have a shining star at. They may not have had many career long greats, but they have been known to have some pretty good ones.
None will ever top the great Ken Riley who’s non presences in the NFL Hall of Fame after 65 career interceptions is “criminal.” Others flash Bengal great corners such as Eric Thomas, Delta O’Neal, Ashley Ambrose, Jonathan Joseph and William Jackson III have all held down the corner spot with authority for the stripes.
The team has a corner now who many consider one of the best in the game. Chidobe Awuzie has consistently come out on top in his many battles with some of the leagues best wide receivers. Maybe it’s the intelligent mind Awuzie possesses. The former Colorado football player is a master of chess.
Cincinnati has long had a reputation of getting it wrong when going after free agents. Lately, the tide has started to turn. A string of free agent signings over the past two seasons have panned out for the Bengals. One such pick was Awuzie. He would play his first four seasons in Dallas. Drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft, the former Colorado Buffalo would have a solid career in Dallas. It was in March of 2021 the Bengals came knocking and were able to sign the former Cowboy. Almost immediately Awuzie payed dividends for the Bengals. He would lead a stout Bengal defense all the way to the Super Bowl in his first season as a Bengal. Even in the Super Bowl game, Awuzie was able to pick off Matt Stafford.
The name Chidobe and Awuzie are not common names you hear every day. Awuzie is the son of Nigerian immigrants.
It became obvious in high school the Bengal corner was destined for greatness. He played both cornerback on defense and wide receiver on offense at Oak Grove High school in San Jose, California. In addition to football, Awuzie excelled at track and played basketball. After three games into the NFL season, Awuzie is amongst the team leaders in tackles with 16. He also has three passes defended, along with one forced fumble.
The Bengals were able to get their first victory of the season over the New York Jets this past Sunday, 27-12. The victory broke a three-game losing streak going back into last season when Cincy lost Super Bowl 56.
Awuzie and his mates are finding the going tough in the early part of the season, as being the hunted instead of the hunter. The turnaround to week 4 games will be really fast as the undefeated Miami Dolphins come to town to attempt to start another Bengal losing streak.
For the Bengal star corner, he will have one of his stiffest test of the year as Awuzie will try and slow down speedsters Tyrek Hill and Jalen Waddle. Awuzie has proven to be at his best when he is challenged. The challenge wont get any bigger this Thursday as a 4-day turnaround and a duo of Hill and Waddle will be more than enough.