Bengals' Binns could become other starting receiver

Jun 15, 2012 | by Jay Morrison, Springfield News-Sun

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Armon Binns earns his paycheck by running, but the highlight of his year thus far has been a slow, deliberate walk.

It came Friday night when the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Binns strolled across the stage at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena to pick up his diploma and become the first member of his family to graduate college.

“It was really important to me,” Binns said Thursday afternoon following the Bengals’ final practice of their three-day minicamp. “I was mad I couldn’t graduate before I left, but it was something I made sure I came back and did.”

As important as it was for Binns to complete his criminal justice degree, it was even more important to his mother, Othella, who flew in from Pasadena, Calif., for the ceremony.

“She was in the front row,” Binns said, noting that his wife Lauren, brother Marques and other family members were in attendance as well. “I know it’s something that’s always been real big for my mom. She was never going to question me because she understands football and the way it works, but I knew it would mean the world to her if I could get my degree.”

Binns left UC early in 2011 to begin preparing for that year’s draft. And while he wasn’t selected, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars and made it all the way through training camp before getting cut.

The Bengals snatched him up Sept. 20, and put him on the practice squad, where he quickly earned a reputation.

“He was a star on the scout team,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said.

“He was always making a big catch, big play. He kept improving, and by the end of the year he was on the roster. It just shows that when you put in the hard work, good things will happen to you.”
Despite being promoted to the 53-man roster Dec. 27, Binns was inactive for the regular-season finale and playoff game. But he’s continued to impress, and he will head into training camp as one of the favorites to win the starting receiver job opposite A.J. Green.

“The problem for him was, when you come in when he came in, all he does is run scout team (plays), so anything as far as learning our offense and running our plays, he was just catching it as he goes, like osmosis,” receivers coach James Urban said. “He came in in tremendous shape this spring, and he’s continued to make plays. We’re very pleased with where he is.”

Regardless of where he ends up on the depth chart, he said he’s thrilled to be back in Cincinnati.

“God knew I wanted to get my degree and he knew of all the teams, the Bengals knew the most about me being right here in Cincinnati where I played, so it was the perfect situation,” Binns said.

Tags: Armon Binns , Cincinnati Bengals