Friday, November 19, 1999

Langford wants to stay a Bengal


The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The last time a Bengals starter faced free agency and said he wanted to return, they let him go to the Washington Redskins.

        Defensive end Jevon Langford hopes he's not another Sam Shade. He said Thursday he'd like to return to Cincinnati next season with a new multi-year deal, but first he's thinking about getting over his sprained knee ligament so he can get back in the lineup next week against the Steelers.

        Langford, a fourth-year player who finally won a starting job this season, is a quick healer and the Bengals are glad. Since he got hurt against Jacksonville Oct. 31, when Jags running back Fred Taylor ran for more than 100 yards in the first half, the Bengals have surrendered 100-yard days to Ricky Watters and Eddie George.

        “We liked it when (Langford) was the starter and (Michael) Bankston was the reliver at all spots.,” coach Bruce Coslet said. “Now Mike is playing all the time, not to say he's doing a bad job because he's not. But (Langford's) absence is more of a factor than you might think.”

        Which is music to the enthusiastic Langford's ears.

        “I want to get back to my starting job. I worked hard to get it, and I just don't want to walk away from it,” Langford said. “I believe it's going to turn around here. We're going into the new stadium, and I want to be a part of something new. How many stadiums are going to open in my lifetime? We've got talent here. I want to be here when we get that feeling again like my second year when we won all those games at the end. I've moved all my life, but I feel like I'm settled over in Northern Kentucky.”

        But that said, a deal isn't assured. Peter Schaffer, Langford's agent, has given Bengals negotiator Paul Brown a list of comparable defensive ends and their salaries and is waiting for a reply.

        “Paul and I have a positive relationship, and I enjoy working with him,” Schaffer said. “As long as the team treats Jevon fairly, he'd love to be back. But we're not going to settle for a lower than market number because he wants to stay.”

        STREAKING: The Paul Brown Stadium opener could be historic, and not just for the building. If the Bengals lose their remaining home games this season, it will be 13 straight home losses, tying the 1972-73 Houston Oilers, the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 1995-97 New York Jets. A loss in the PB opener would be the Bengals' 14th straight home loss, tying the NFL record of the 1988-89 Dallas Cowboys.

        So there can be no surprise Sunday's game wasn't sold out in time Thursday to televise the game locally.

        INJURY UPDATE: Cornerback Artrell Hawkins (shoulder) looked better than expected and looks ready to at least play on passing downs. ... Right tackle Willie Anderson aggravated his right foot strain and will be limited today. ... Fullback Nick Williams didn't practice because of food poisoning.


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