Thursday, November 04, 1999

Kresser returns for chance to play


BENGALS NOTEBOOK

BY GEOFF HOBSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Bengals and quarterback Eric Kresser made an odd couple Wednesday when he signed a two-year deal and rejoined the team that cut him during training camp.

        Kresser has a grievance pending against the club, claiming he pulled a back muscle before the Bengals cut him. But Kresser needs to play and the Bengals need an emergency third quarterback with Akili Smith possibly out a month with a sprained right big toe.

        “I'm not too happy about it, but I'm happy I'm playing again,” Kresser said. “I'm not worried (about the grievance) and I hope they're not either. That's in the past.”

        Kresser wasn't happy with his lack of snaps in training camp after solid exhibition seasons in 1997 and '98 put him on the practice squad and later on the active roster. He tried out for Jacksonville, the only team that showed interest.

        “I'm not surprised,” Kresser said. “I was let go at the end of training camp and everybody pretty much had their team set. I'm one of those guys that doesn't have a lot of experience playing, so if somebody went down, teams weren't really looking for somebody like me.”

        Kresser figures to be the third quarterback behind Jeff Blake and rookie Scott Covington: “I haven't been under center for about two months. I'm not saying I forgot everything, but I know there's a lot of new plays I haven't seen yet.” SECONDARY WOES: Right cornerback Artrell Hawkins, a second-year player, has started all his NFL games, but separated left shoulder will keep him out of Sunday's game. Left corner Roosevelt Blackmon may not play for a few weeks because of an injured ankle, meaning waiver wire pickups Ty Howard and Rico Clark will make their first Bengals starts — and their third NFL starts — in Sunday in Seattle.

        “It's like my first start for the Colts when I was a rookie,” said Clark of the 41-0 win over Miami in 1997. “I've held up against good receivers. The next game (Vikings receiver Jake Reed) had one catch. When I played nickel against the Jets that year, I had an interception over Keyshawn Johnson, so I've gone against quality guys.”

        INJURY UPDATE: Trainer Paul Sparling isn't optimistic right tackle Willie Anderson can play with his strained right foot. Tight end/long snapper Steve Bush (knee) returned to practice, meaning rookie linebacker Ben Peterson may be headed back to the practice squad.

       



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