Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Pro Bowler Washington to visit Bengals

Lineman was cut by Bills

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ted Washington, released last week in a salary cap move by the Buffalo Bills, will meet with Bengals coaches and officials Monday at Paul Brown Stadium.

        “Size, strength, the way he ties up blockers,” is what Jim Lippincott, Bengals director of pro/college personnel, likes about Washington. “He's somebody who improves your defense. With Oliver Gibson and Tom Barndt, you have a force inside.”

        Washington (6-5, 350 pounds) made his third Pro Bowl last season. He will visit Seattle on Thursday.

        A former University of Louisville player who will be 33 before the season starts, Washington joined the Bills in 1995 and helped them finish in the top six against the run the past three seasons.

        “Cincinnati is interested in a guy who could help them get better up front,” said Angelo Wright, Washington's agent. “Ted is the kind of guy who can hold up (offensive) linemen and let the linebackers make plays.”

        Washington, who was to make $7.66 million next season in Buffalo, is a strong run stopper but rarely plays on third downs, because he doesn't rush the passer.

        HEATH SIGNS: Cornerback Rodney Heath (Western Hills High School) signed a three-year, $2.1 million deal Tuesday. He is a former Arena League player who played college ball at Minnesota.

        If veteran cornerback Tom Carter, who is supposed to make $2.4 million this season, is released as expected, Heath will be the Bengals' highest-paid cor nerback.

        Heath signed as a free agent in 1999 and led the team with three interceptions. He started 10 games in 2000, taking over at right cornerback when Artrell Hawkins was benched.

        “It takes the stigma away from Rodney of being a free agent Arena guy,” said David Levine, Heath's agent. “The important thing is the Bengals recognized Rodney for what he has done to date.”


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