Seven legends complete Bengals Mythical Ring of Honor series

James Rapien

The Bengals need a Ring of Honor. Ken Riley’s passing restarted the conversation. It’s time to push it forward.

Riley was one of the six players that were inducted into the Bengals mythical Ring of Honor last week.

Paul Brown, Anthony Munoz, Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, Chad Johnson and Riley were all included in the inaugural class.

This is the second and final part of the series. Six players and one coach make the cut. There are plenty worthy players that make the honorable mentions.

Here are the next seven inductees to the Bengals mythical Ring of Honor.

Isaac Curtis (1973-1984)

Curtis is arguably the greatest wide receiver in team history. He averaged 18.7 yards-per-catch as a rookie in 1973. His world class speed and great hands were a lethal combination.

Curtis is the sole reason that wide receivers have freedom at the line of scrimmage. The Dolphins tackled him at the line during their playoff game against the Bengals in 1973. Miami completely neutralized him, which led to the ‘Isaac Curtis Rule.’ Paul Brown pushed for that rule change and it’s the sole reason why defenders can’t come in contact with receivers within five yards of the line of scrimmage.

“Everybody is desperate for a guy to take the top off the defense. Everybody is. And he was the best at that,” Cris Collinsworth said a few years ago. “He changed the game. There’s no question because no one could keep up with him. They put in the five-yard bump rules and all that crazy stuff that it all eventually became.”

Curtis finished his career with 416 receptions for 7,101 yards and 53 touchdowns. He was a four-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro. His numbers look minuscule compared to today’s players, but they stack up well with other wide receivers from the same generation that are in the Hall of Fame.

Curtis had more catches (416 to 336) and touchdowns (53 to 51) than Lynn Swann. He also averaged more yards-per-catch than John Stallworth (17.1 to 16.2).

Curtis is a no-brainer selection for the Bengals Ring of Honor.

Reggie Williams (1976-89)

Much like Riley and Curtis, Williams is another player that current Bengals fans may not remember. He deserves to be honored by the organization.

The Dartmouth product played in 206 games, which is the second most in team history. Williams is fourth in Bengals history with 62.5 sacks. Only Geno Atkins (75.5), Carlos Dunlap (81.5) and Eddie Edwards (83.5) have more.

He made 196 starts at linebacker and was the 1986 Walter Payton Man of the Year. He played in both Bengals Super Bowl appearances.

His longevity was one of his best attributes. He appeared in at least 15 games in each of his final seven seasons.

Willie Anderson (1996-2007)

Anderson is arguably the best right tackle in team history. The Auburn alum dominated in the trenches for the Bengals for more than a decade. He was a bright spot on some bad teams. Anderson also helped usher in the new era of Bengals football.

He played in 181 games, making 173 starts. Anderson was a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. He was called for holding just 13 times in 12 seasons and was only penalized 36 times over that span.

Cincinnati took Anderson with the tenth pick in the 1996 NFL Draft. He helped block for nine 1,000-yard rushers in 12 seasons with the Bengals.

The 6-5, 340 pounder is one of the best tackles in team history and deserves serious consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

James Brooks (1984-91)

Some believe Brooks is the best running back in franchise history. He had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons and went to the Pro Bowl four times.

Brooks averaged over 80 yards from scrimmage during his Bengals tenure. He was electric as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He finished with 37 rushing touchdowns and 27 receiving scores. He helped the Bengals reach Super Bowl XXIII in 1988. He averaged 5.1 yards-per-carry and 9.9 yards-per-reception during that magical season.

Brooks was drafted by the Chargers in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He was on the losing side in the Freezer Bowl and only had one 100-yard rushing game for San Diego. The Bengals traded Pete Johnson for Brooks in 1984. It was one of the best trades in team history. Johnson only played three games for the Chargers before they dealt him to Miami. Brooks took advantage of his opportunity to become arguably the best running back in team history.

Brooks is second in team history with 6,447 rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns (37). He also has the most receiving yards by a running back in Bengals history (3,012).

Tim Krumrie (1983-1994)

Krumrie has to be the best tenth-round pick in franchise history. He made 161 starts and played in 188 games in 12 seasons with the Bengals.

Krumrie was a two-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro. He finished his career with 1,018 career tackles and 34.5 sacks.

Most will remember Krumrie’s devastating leg injury that he suffered in Super Bowl XXIII. He had four breaks in his lower left leg and doctors had to insert a 15-inch steel rod to hold his leg together.

Krumrie played for six more seasons and led the Bengals in tackles in 1992. There are plenty of people that believe Super Bowl XXIII would’ve had a different result if Krumrie hadn’t gotten hurt. He never missed a start in 1989 despite the injury. He appeared in all 16 games in 11 of his 12 seasons.

Corey Dillon (1997-03)

Dillon is the other candidate for best running back in Bengals history. He topped the 1,000 yard rushing mark in each of his first six NFL seasons. He averaged 4.3 yards-per-attempt during his Cincinnati tenure, despite playing with below average quarterbacks. Dillon carried the Bengals’ offense on most Sunday’s.

He ran for an NFL record 278 yards in a Week 8 win over the Broncos in 2000. He averaged 12.6 yards-per-carry and scored two touchdowns. He topped the 200-yard mark three times with the Bengals, including a 246-yard performance against the Titans during his rookie season.

Dillon is the Bengals’ all-time leader in career rushing yards with 8,061 yards. He averaged 75 yards per game, which is the most by any running back in team history.

Forrest Gregg (1979-83 — head coach)

Gregg led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in team history. He holds the best winning percentage in team history (.561).

Gregg posted a 32-25 record in four seasons with Cincinnati. He went 2-2 in the playoffs. He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1981. The Bengals appeared in Super Bowl XVI later that season. 

Gregg led Cincinnati to playoffs twice in four years. He left Cincinnati to coach Green Bay after the 1983 season. Gregg won five Super Bowls with the Packers and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a player.

Honorable mentions: LeMar Parrish, David Fulcher, Jim Breech, Cris Collinsworth, Max Montoya, Marvin Lewis, Bob Johnson, Sam Wyche

Active players that will be inducted: A.J. Green, Geno Atkins, Andrew Whitworth

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