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2007 Bengals Rookie Class Reported 60% Tougher to Pronounce

By Sarah Leugers, DERF Sports Columnist 
I’ve had only a few compelling observations during the preseason. The Bengals’ performance—even our legendary offense—has been decidedly underwhelming. It makes me nervous when one of the only interesting issues is the increase in rookie foreign nationals.

Side note: I’m watching the Bengals-Falcons game right now and Joey Harrington just threw his second touchdown in the first half, just as Chris Mortensen and Suzy Kolber lament the loss of Michael Vick. What’s going on in this world? We’re in trouble.

What happened to the good old days when we drafted only guys named Johnson? From Rudi to Landon, from Jeremi to Doug, and even my sweet Chad, we love our Johnsons here in Cincinnati. OK, throw in a couple Jacksons for good measure. But just as in baseball (I just learned there’s also now a Japanese kicker on the Falcons), American football is being infiltrated by players of Samoan and African descent. Take a look:

Matt Toeania

Tackle, American Samoa

Chinedum Ndukwe
Safety, Powell, Ohio

Harrison Nikolao
Guard, Tacoma, Washington


Dane Uperesa
Tackle, Hauula (Oaju), Hawaii

Xzavie Jackson
Defensive End, Vacaville, California

Jonathan Fanene
Defensive End, American Samoa


With the swell in polysyllabic last names, I would set an over/under for the number of times the Monday Night Football announcers stumble on Bengal rookie names. But with Ron Jaworski replacing Joe Theismann, there are now three bright, articulate, and insightful guys in the booth. They may handle it, whereas Theismann surely would have asked to buy a vowel.