Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who spent the first 10 1/2 seasons of his National League Football career with the Bengals, talked about his departure from Cincinnati and shared his thoughts about the organization in an interview with CBS Sports Radio's Zach Gelb.
Dunlap was asked whether he knows how much longer he wants to play:
"No. I mean, in Cincinnati it seemed like that window was closing in on me fast. But in Seattle, I got new life. And I feel lighter and healthier than I ever felt so I feel like I can play as long as they'll have me - the way that they take care of their guys. ... I'm grateful for the opportunity (in Cincinnati). It definitely made me appreciate what I have now even more. Had I not gone through that, I might've probably took for granted the opportunity I had with Seattle. ... Now, the times have changed. They got new coaches. And the coaches didn't see me in their future business. As a businessman, I had to do what was best for my business. And that was to move forward. Adapt and adjust ... Definitely a blessing."
Dunlap talked about whether his reaction - an Instagram post - to his position on the Bengals' depth chart was "the nail in the coffin" for his stint as a Bengal:
"I had a million and one fans asking me why I wasn't playing and this, that and the third. One of my friends made me aware of an article that just came out where the coaches said I was frustrated and not handling the demotion and/or new role properly, and I just wanted to give people a clear picture of what they were asking me to do. Because I don't think they understood how low I was on the depth chart. I just said, 'Listen, this is what they're asking me to do. I don't know what y'all want me to do. I want to play, too. I'm not asking to stand on the sideline.' That was just me letting the fans know the depth chart update that was given to me because it wasn't on Bengals.com. I showed it to them the same way that I got it. ... I can't tell you how many people reached out and had their comments and thoughts about that. But obviously it had a negative impact with the team. They expressed their frustrations with it. ... That wasn't the nail in the coffin. I think that was just awareness of my frustration. Obviously I didn't communicate and I didn't go through or make everyone aware in the media. ... I was trying to figure out a way to make something happen with what they were giving me. And what they kept giving me was less and less. So obviously I became more and more frustrated. And then the worst part was having to answer all the questions to the fans, family and everyone who was like, 'Can't you help us win? Why are you not playing more?' As a competitor and a player that I am, I felt like I could. But that's not what I was asked to do. ... When I actually fully accepted the new role and the changing of the guard was when I posted that advertisement saying I was consolidating assets and I put my house up for sale. That was the probably nail in the coffin was when I did that. That's when I finally came to realize and accept that this was the first time in my career that it was a real thing that I would no longer wear black and orange, that I would be wearing different colors to finish my career and that was coming ... sooner than I expected or anticipated."
Dunlap said his final half-season in Cincinnati wasn't what he had envisioned:
"Obviously it's not the way I would have liked to go about things, but there's a lot of love and respect still for Cincinnati. And the front-office team, they still communicate and reach out from time to time as well. I always think I'll be welcome back hopefully one day in like the ring of honor or whatever it is that they might invite me for - possibly for holding the records."
Dunlap was asked about the Bengals' coaching staff and the direction the team is headed:
"I can't answer that question. ... I just know that they're committed to whatever their vision is, and it's clear that I was not one of those pieces. And it seems like A.J. (Green's) and Geno (Atkins') time is coming, too. I guess it's a changing of the guard. They want new faces. ... That is what it is at this point. I just control what I can."
Dunlap did say he's been very impressed with Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow:
"I believe Joe Burrow is definitely going to be the future of the NFL. He has a lot of potential. He has a lot of heart. He cares. He's very passionate about what he does and getting better at what he does. ... It's clear what the Bengals' organization saw, and I think the world got to see in him in the games that he was able to play in. It just sucks that he got hurt the way that he did and now he's got to tackle the rehab process to get back to who he was. But I believe he has more than enough ability and mental toughness to get through that. ... I just can't wait to see him getting back. Obviously, I'm still a Bengals fan until I play them. And I support my guys on the team. But now, it's go 'Hawks."
Dunlap had one sack in seven games for the Bengals last season. He had five sacks in nine games for In November, Dunlap sealed the Seahawks' win against the Arizona Cardinals with a sack of Kyler Murray.
The Bengals traded Dunlap last October to the Seahawks for a seventh-round pick and offensive lineman B.J. Finney.
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