Saturday, July 21, 2001

Bengals Notebook

Smith only holdout

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Justin Smith was the only holdout when Bengals camp opened Friday.

        Smith was home in Missouri while his agent, Jim Steiner, and Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn continued to negotiate.

        Only one of 31 first-round picks has signed, Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, and Steiner is believed to be pursuing a similar deal from the Bengals for Smith.

        Vick signed a six-year, $62 million deal that included an $11 million bonus that paid some money up front and deferred some of the bonus.

        Steiner is believed to be asking for a bonus of between $9 million and $10 million for the defensive lineman.

        EXCUSED: Linebacker Takeo Spikes was excused from the start of camp because of an illness in his family. His father, Jimmy Spikes, has brain cancer.

        Running back Corey Dil lon arrived at 6:30 p.m. with linebacker Adrian Ross, just in time to attend a team meeting during which coach Dick LeBeau and president Mike Brown addressed players.

        HEALING: Defensive tackle Tom Barndt, rendered ineffective last season because of a pectoral injury, tested the muscle Friday with line coach Tim Krumrie.

        Barndt performed several drills opposite Krumrie and threw his position coach with both his right and left sides.

        HAPPY HOME: Among the more interesting room assignments at training camp is the quad shared by the Bengals' four quarterbacks.

        Three of them — Jon Kitna, Scott Mitchell and Akili Smith — are in an open competition to start. The fourth quarterback is Scott Covington.

        “It's good to keep them all together because they sometimes operate on a little different schedule, have different meeting times and gives them a chance to not disturb the people around them,” offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said. “They'll get in there and talk. Most quarterbacks have a tendency to be very good about helping each other out, and I see these guys being this way.”

        SNAP HAPPY: Kitna, Mitchell and Smith will share practice snaps until one or two of them separate from the group.

        “It's not the ideal situation, but it's best for us right now,” Bratkowski said. “The ideal situation would be to settle on someone (as the starter) fairly early, so that they can get the snaps, and settle on a No.2 guy and a three guy.”

        INJURY REPORT: Four players were placed on the physically unable to perform list — defensive tackle Glen Steele (ankle), defensive lineman Kevin Henry (elbow), offensive lineman Jeff Chase (upper respiratory infection) and fullback Nick Williams (torn knee ligaments). Williams will report to camp Monday.

        Steele, Henry and Chase did not pass their physicals and cannot practice until they do, but can attend meetings.

        Safety Jared Lee was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list because of a non-football hamstring injury.


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