Sunday, May 05, 2002

First-year players impress on first day

Rookies Schobel, Jones see action; Thompson still out

By Mark Curnutte,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Dick LeBeau liked the look of his 2002 Bengals on the first day of minicamp.

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        He was especially impressed with the tempo of practice, the overall team speed and the preparation of first-year players.

        First-round draft choice Levi Jones made only one error in practice on a blocking assignment.

        “We'll have to look at the video,” LeBeau said after practice. “I commend all the first-year players. They obviously applied themselves. Now, we'll see the next couple days, when we expand the defenses and offenses, but today they did very well.”

        Third-round pick Matt Schobel worked as the first tight end because of a hamstring injury suffered by first-stringer Sean Brewer.

        Second-round pick Lamont Thompson, free safety from Washington State, was not at minicamp. He is skipping it because of a disagreement between the Bengals and his agent, Michael Sullivan, over a written guarantee against injury in contract talks.

        “The collective bargaining agreement has a provision that gives these guys a specific amount of protection when they come, and that amount is the tender offer,” Bengals president Mike Brown said. “We think that's what the deal should be, and we're prepared to stand on the collectively bargained deal.”

        The tender offer for a rookie is $225,000.

        INJURY REPORT: Defensive tackle Glen Steele twisted his right knee early in Saturday afternoon's practice, and an MRI showed a torn meniscus that will require surgery Monday. Dr. Angelo Colosimo will operate. Steele is expected back in two to three weeks.

        Fullback/tight end Nick Williams strained his right hip flexor running the 40-yard dash and probably will miss the rest of the weekend.

        APPOINTMENT: Wide receiver Darnay Scott will see Dr. Kevin Reilly early next week about the sore shin that is keeping him out of minicamp.

        A CT scan essentially has ruled out a stress fracture, trainer Paul Sparling said.

        “We're going to get (Reilly's) take on it,” Sparling said. “Now we're just going to let it rest and rehab. There's nothing that's urgent in terms of treatment right now that we see.”

        Scott saw his doctor in St.Louis last week after suffering pain in the leg he broke in August 2000. One option could be removing a 14-inch rod from Scott's lower leg. Surgery would have to be performed before the end of May for Scott to be ready for the start of training camp in July.

        Reilly performed surgery on Scott and inserted the rod.

        “But it very well could be a case of inflammation because of excessive sprinting in the last couple weeks without gradually working up to it,” Sparling said.

        BEEFED UP: Chad Johnson put on about 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, up from his 2001 playing weight of 180 pounds.

        “I'm faster than I was, too,” the second-year wide receiver said.

        EXCUSED: Veteran left tackle John Jackson missed Saturday's medical examinations and practice because of the death of his father, Samuel Jackson. The elder Jackson was 62 and died of an apparent heart attack. Services are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday at J.C. Battle and Sons Funeral Home in Avondale.

        RELEASED: Three rookie free agents were waived Saturday after they failed their physicals. Released were defensive end Nate Krill of Duke, defensive tackle Bob Dzvonick of Buffalo and wide receiver Jim Jones of Widener.

        OUT: Rookie free agent wide receiver Darcey Levy of Pittsburgh has a slight fracture in his right foot, which the Bengals knew about before signing him. He missed practice after undergoing surgery.


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And, they're off! Race for quarterback is on
- First-year players impress on first day
Bengals Q&A w/Mark Curnutte
Spurrier already making mark

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