Thursday, March 09, 2000

Bengals wait on Mitchell

Jets may want to trade for No. 4 pick

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Bengals spent another day waiting for an answer from quarterback Scott Mitchell on Wednesday. The team also fielded questions from a New York media buzzing about Cincinnati's fourth pick in the draft.

        Nobody can believe the Jets will trade wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson straight up for Baltimore's fifth pick in what is a four-player draft. So, the next move should be the Jets calling the Bengals about trading their Nos. 16 and 18 picks for the fourth pick, particularly if it's Penn State defensive end Courtney Brown.

        Bengals President Mike Brown won't rule out talking to the Jets or any other team that wants to trade up. But Cincinnati hasn't heard from the Jets, and Brown is very impressed with the Big Four of Courtney Brown, Florida State receiver Peter Warrick, Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington and Alabama left tackle Chris Samuels.

        “By staying right there,” Mike Brown said, “we're going to get a player who breaks right into our starting lineup and helps us right away. You have to consider that.”

        As for Mitchell, Mike Brown said the club has been told the free agent quarterback and his agent are expected to send signed contracts their way. But the Bengals didn't have it after the close of business Wednesday, when the Cowboys had also yet to hear a definitive decision from him.

        Also, the Bengals apparently have made an informal inquiry about former Patriots Pro Bowl tight end Ben Coates. Coates' agent, Michael George, said the Bengals didn't make an offer when they called. In a space of five months last season, the Bengals agreed to three-year extensions for their top two tight ends, Tony McGee and Marco Battaglia.

        DILFER TO RAVENS: Baltimore signed free agent quarterback Trent Dilfer to a one-year, $1 million contract Wednesday.

        The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback lost his starting job to rookie Shaun King in an injury riddled 1999 season. He became expendable after King led the Bucs to the NFC championship game.

        MARINO UPDATE: Former Miami quarterback Dan Marino is expected to decide within a week whether to accept a contract offer from the Minnesota Vikings, who have offered him the chance to become their starter for one season.

        YOUNG AND RESTLESS: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young will decide whether to return to the National Football League after his wedding next week and honeymoon, his agent said.

        Young, 38, suffered his fourth concussion in the past three years Sept. 27 against the Arizona Cardinals and had to sit out the rest of the season.

        Now Young probably will make a decision by the first week of April, said Leigh Steinberg, his agent.

        “This is a very special time in Steve's life, and he's deferring any discussion about his future plans until the beginning of the month,” Steinberg said.

        Young is marrying Phoenix model Barbara Graham, 30, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Arizona who works for the Ford Robert Black Agency in Phoenix.

        Neither Steinberg nor Young's publicist would comment on the date or location of the nuptials.


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