Saturday, March 23, 2002

Burris receptive to overtures

Ex-Colts corner visits stadium, pursues contract

By Mark Curnutte,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Less than a week after re-signing one of their projected starting cornerbacks for next season, Artrell Hawkins, the Bengals entertained the defensive back they hope will be lining up opposite Hawkins.

        Former Colts and Bills cornerback Jeff Burris visited Paul Brown Stadium late Friday afternoon, and four years after almost signing with the Bengals, Burris said he hopes a deal can be reached this time around.

        Burris signed with Indianapolis in 1998 and had eight interceptions in four seasons with the Colts before his release earlier this month.

        “It was very close,” said Burris, who will be 30 in June. “This is a new opportunity, and I'm very optimistic how things are going. I wanted to come down and make sure things were still on track.”

        “It is an organization that can win,” said Burris, who just returned from NFL Players Association meetings in Hawaii, where he talked with current Bengals Darryl Williams and Tony McGee and former Bengals cornerback Tom Carter. Carter and Burris were teammates at Notre Dame.

        “They all spoke highly of the organization,” Burris said. “They spoke from their hearts.”

        Burris also said he would fit in with the Bengals' defense.

        “What are my assets?” he said. “I play the game with enthusiasm. I play the game with my heart, and when I say my heart, I mean my mind. I know what I need to do.”

        Bengals officials said not to expect a signing over the weekend.


        Defensive lineman Mario Monds, who tore knee ligaments during NFL Europe training camp in Florida, had successful surgery Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala. Monds, who played in two games in 2001, is expected to be available to the Bengals by October, trainer Paul Sparling said Friday.

        Starting defensive tackle Oliver Gibson will have minor surgery on his left shoulder next week to relieve lingering soreness, Sparling said.

        McGee and running back Brandon Bennett are expected to be cleared next week after offseason surgeries. McGee had knee surgery, and Bennett had a minor hand operation.


        Dave Lapham's Big Man Football Camp will be held April 2, 3 and 4 at the University of Cincinnati and will feature several former Bengals linemen offering instruction to middle school and high school linemen.

        The former Bengals working the camp will be: Lapham, an offensive lineman and current radio analyst; Hall of Fame tackle Anthony Munoz; offensive lineman Bruce Kozerski, and tackle Joe Walter. Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander also might attend for one day, depending on his travel and scouting schedule.

        “It's non-contact, instruction-oriented,” Lapham said. “We'll work on hand placement and footwork.”

        The camp will be held during the morning each day.

        For more information, call (859) 331-7529 or sign on to Lapham is vice president of the Corey Dillon Foundation, and all camp proceeds will be donated to the foundation to benefit inner city children in Cincinnati ages 12-18.


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- Burris receptive to overtures
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