Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Warrick promises more TDs

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Six receptions a game and the NFL record for punt returns for touchdowns in one season are the goals Peter Warrick has set for himself in 2001. The Bengals' second-year wide receiver came back to work Monday to begin offseason drills and study with new offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski.

        Warrick was undaunted by the first losing football season of his career (4-12) and enthused by the team's outlook.

        “Losing makes you love winning,” said the Bengals' first-round draft pick in 2000. “If we get all the right guys, if we get nice draft picks, I think we're going to be a better team.”

        The Bengals' new offense could find Warrick moving inside to the slot, where he would be matched against nickel backs and linebackers. “Better for me,” he said.

        He's anticipating the return of outside receiver Darnay Scott and another year of maturity for fellow rookie classmates Ron Dugans and Danny Farmer.

        Warrick was one of the team's few productive offensive players last year, when he became the first Bengals player to score touchdowns receiving, rushing and on a kick return in one season. And he promised Monday to deliver more TDs in 2001, especially when the other team punts.

        “I've got to have that. I got a knack for it,” said Warrick, who averaged 17.6 yards on seven punt returns, including an 82-yard touchdown against Jacksonville.

        The NFL record for punt returns for touchdowns in one season is four, shared by Jack Christiansen (Detroit, 1951) and Rick Upchurch (Denver, 1976). Six players have three.

        The Bengals' record for punt returns for touchdowns in a season is two, shared by Craig Yeast (1999) and Lemar Parrish (1974).

        Warrick has been watching the team's activity in free agency. Former Seattle quarterback Jon Kitna was one of two players signed by the Bengals last week.

        “I don't know Kitna,” Warrick said. “I know (Seattle wide receiver) Darrell Jackson. He says (Kitna) is a great quarterback and a spiritual person.”

        Kitna will compete with Akili Smith in training camp for the starting job. Smith also arrived Monday in Cincinnati and went into meetings with offensive coaches, but was off limits to reporters.


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