Sunday, July 29, 2001

Bengals Notebook

Kickers 0-for-2 on field goals

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Neil Rackers (52 yards) and Richie Cunningham (46 yards) each missed field goals on a wet field in the rain in Saturday's scrimmage.

        Both kicks had enough length.

        “We have to make those kicks,” LeBeau said. “Again, that's nothing that will weigh against you, but it would have been a nice chance for someone to say, "Hey, Coach, I can kick it in from here no matter what the conditions are.'”

        DILLON OUT: Franchise running back Corey Dillon, who's not injured and is in excellent physical condition, didn't play in the scrimmage.

        LeBeau made the decision to keep Dillon out because he didn't want Dillon to start taking his annual pounding in a scrimmage.

        LeBeau did, however, give Dillon an honor. The team was introduced in numerical order before the scrimmage. Dillon, who wears No.28, was introduced last after No.99 Oliver Gibson.

        Dillon received a standing ovation from the estimated crowd of 5,100 at Rawlings Stadium and did a shuffle dance before slapping hands with his teammates.

        NO WILLIE: Right tackle Willie Anderson was excused from the scrimmage to attend his grandmother's funeral in Mobile, Ala.

        PICK: Cornerback Artrell Hawkins intercepted Jon Kitna inside the 10-yard line and easily would have had a 95-yard touchdown return in a game. In the scrimmage, play is dead after a turnover.

        Hawkins, the fourth-year pro from UC, had three interceptions as a rookie but none the past two seasons. He recently was promoted to first on the depth chart by LeBeau.

        “I'm hungry for a real one,” said Hawkins, who lost his starting job after Game 4. “Two years without one. I guarantee it's going to be (a good year) for Artrell Hawkins and the Cincinnati Bengals.”

        GOOD SHOWINGS: Rookie wide receiver Chad Johnson made two leaping receptions for 10 yards. Darnay Scott had two for 24. Chad Plummer, another UC product, had a 20-yard catch from Scott Covington on third down.

        With Dillon out, second-year player Curtis Keaton ran with the second offense behind Brandon Bennett.

        Keaton led the team with seven carries for 33 yards, with a long of 8 that almost went for a 59-yard touchdown had Takeo Spikes not tripped him up.

        INJURY REPORT: The Bengals open the preseason Saturday night in Chicago. The following players (all knee injuries) are out: tight end Marco Battaglia, guard Freddie Moore and fullback Nick Williams.

        Defensive end Kevin Henry (elbow) is doubtful. Wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Danny Farmer and Ron Dugans (all hamstrings) and wide receiver Malcolm Johnson (knee) are questionable. Cornerback Rodney Heath (knee) is probable.

        NO. 1: There was no news Saturday on any further talks between the Bengals and Jim Steiner, agent for first-round pick Justin Smith. Smith missed his ninth day of camp.

        UP NEXT: Camp is closed today but will open at 10 a.m. Monday for the 11 a.m. skills session and 3-5 p.m. practice.


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