Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Washington wants to be Bengal

Contract may be sticking point

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ted Washington appeared at a press conference with Dick LeBeau.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        The Bengals are on the verge of landing their biggest name of the free-agent era, but he's not a quarterback.

        Club executives and the agent for former Buffalo defensive tackle Ted Washington exchanged contract proposals Monday, and agent Angelo Wright said he is awaiting a counter offer from the Bengals. The Ben gals initially offered two years and Wright wanted four.

        “I'm not out in left field. I'm really not,” Wright said. “The Bengals can't believe this guy's 32 with the body of a 29-year-old.”

        Bengals officials don't comment on specific negotiations.

        Washington, coming off a Pro Bowl season for the Bills, was the third free agent to visit Cincinnati, fol lowing quarterbacks Gus Frerotte and Elvis Grbac. But Washington is the first one who appears close to signing with the Bengals, and he would be their biggest signing since the NFL began unfettered free agency in 1993.

        At a mid-afternoon news conference Monday, delayed by a lengthy physical and MRI exam, Washington expressed his desire to play in Cincinnati.

        “I don't want to go to any other scheduled cities,” Washington said before leaving to have lunch with coach Dick LeBeau and defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. “If we get something done, this will be my last stop. I will let (Mike) Brown know I am highly interested in being here.”

        Washington, who also made a free-agent visit to Seattle, has played 10 NFL seasons and would like to end his career with the Bengals, if a deal can be worked out, said his agent. Washington played collegiately at Louisville.

        “I've watched film on the Bengals,” Washington said. “They're only a couple of players away from being a good playoff contender or championship team. I've played 10 years, and after hearing all the negative stuff about the Bengals, I don't see it. The coaches, players, the city itself, I feel comfortable here.”

        LeBeau would welcome three-time Pro Bowler Washington to the defense.

        “He'd look very good in stripes,” LeBeau said. “I think his name would add a presence in our future negotiations with other free agents.” “I'd love to get this done and get the Bengals back on the map,” Washington said.


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