Sunday, August 27, 2000

Bengals must cut 11 today

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The 2000 Bengals will take shape today when the team cuts down to its 53-man roster.

        “We're not going to talk about who is and who is not on the bubble,” coach Bruce Coslet said Saturday. “We have to release 11 people. They're football players, but they're people.”

  The Bengals have to waive 11 players today to get down to the league-mandated 53-man roster   Up to five of the waived players could end up on the practice squad, where they remain free agents and eligible to sign with another NFL team.
  Here is one possible outcome, say some Bengals insiders:
  • Waived: Safety JoJuan Armour, linebacker Billy Granville, cornerback Sirr Parker, defensive lineman Andre Purvis, running back Sedrick Shaw and offensive lineman Jamain Stephens.
  Veterans Granville and Stephens are salary-cap casualties.
  But if running back Michael Basnight, who has a broken wrist, is placed on injured reserve, Granville could get the roster spot because he is a good special teams player.
  • Waived and put on practice squad: Wide receivers LaVell Boyd and Marvin Chalmers, offensive linemen Mike Doughty and Roger Roesler and defensive lineman Chad Pegues.
  The Bengals have liked to keep receivers and offensive linemen on the practice squad.
        The biggest name from the 1999 team, kicker Doug Pelfrey, was released Monday. The biggest names who could go today are veteran linebacker Billy Granville and offensive tackle Jamain Stephens, a former No.1 Pittsburgh draft pick.

        If the Bengals put running back Michael Basnight on injured reserve, Granville could stick as the seventh linebacker. With Basnight out for the year, the team would have five running backs — Corey Dillon, Brandon Bennett, Curtis Keaton, Clif Groce and Nick Williams.

        Defensive players are the glue of special teams.

        The team will keep all seven of its 2000 draft picks, and two undrafted free agents — cornerback/safety Brian Gray and linebacker Armegis Spearman — probably will make the roster because they're likely to be grabbed by another team.

        A five-man practice squad will be established Monday; 45 players, plus the third-string quarterback, dress for regular-season games.

        Of the cutting process, Coslet said: “There's a three-prong thing here: Who is eligible and worthy to be on our practice squad. Who we would not want to lose for the future. And keeping the right guys to get ready for the first game.”

        Even after it's set, the 53-man roster will change.

        “It always does,” Coslet said. “We will also, after we select our 53, identify who is the last guy at each position on our 53.

        “If somebody becomes available from another team's waivers that we think is better than that last guy, we will make that change.”

        The Bengals are expected to look at the waiver wire for a veteran wide receiver.

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