Saturday, August 18, 2001

Smith's agent coming Sunday

Direct talks often seal deal

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Jim Steiner, agent for holdout rookie Justin Smith, will meet Sunday in Cincinnati with Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn.

        By that time, Smith's contract holdout will have reached one month — 31 days.

        “Usually, (agents) come in with a mindset of trying to get something done,” Blackburn said Friday. “If that's his mindset, I don't know. It's worth the try.”

        The Bengals have a history of success when agents come to town to hammer out agreements. Face-to-face visits with agents for Akili Smith, Willie Anderson, Peter Warrick and Corey Dillon in Cincinnati have all resulted in settlements.

        Smith is not expected to accompany Steiner.

        Steiner couldn't be reached for comment Friday, but he and the Bengals rejected each others' proposals Wednesday, a day that ended with Steiner meeting with Smith and his parents at their central Missouri home.

        The sides are still divided by a clause that would guarantee a second signing bonus payment to be made in March.

        With Smith missing from camp, veterans Vaughn Booker and John Copeland have been the starting defensive ends, and veterans Reinard Wilson, Bernard Whittington and Jevon Langford have played well in the rotation.

        Defensive line coach Tim Krumrie has said he is confident Smith will come to camp in shape and should be able to contribute quickly on third-down pass plays.


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