Sunday, July 28, 2002

Bengals Q&A


The word on Akili: Third string

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Ask Mark
        GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- Akili Smith might be third on the Bengals depth chart at quarterback, but he still is the focus of some fans' attention.

        Question, from Jordan in University Heights: What's going on with this team and Akili Smith? The kid has never, and I emphasize never, been given a chance by this club. He has been set up to fail. I was impressed with his play in the Jets game. He is by far the most talented quarterback on this team, with an arm that rivals any in the league.

        Q, from Richard in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Just wondering if Akili Smith will ever get the chance to show that he is the man the team needs to lead them to the playoffs?

        Answer: Coach Dick LeBeau said he will give Smith a chance, once Smith shows coaches that his hamstring can handle the physical demands of training camp.

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Akili Smith flexes a muscle during practice.
(AP photo)
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        Smith did play with one of the worst offenses in Bengals history in 2000. The receivers were young. Former left tackle Rod Jones didn't adequately protect Smith's back. His head coach and de facto offensive coordinator, Bruce Coslet, resigned.

        The Bengals would like to see Smith deliver on the promise. But, this year, at least, Jon Kitna and Gus Frerotte are going to have to lose the job before Smith gets an extended look.

        But Smith isn't going anywhere. After this season, the Bengals will still take a $1.54 million hit on their salary cap for the next three years to work off the remainder of Smith's $10.8 million signing bonus. They can't afford to release him any time soon and take the cap hit in one year.

        Q, from Perry:Who do you think will handle punt and kickoff returns this year?

        A: I think Peter Warrick will be the punt returner, and Curtis Keaton will return kickoffs.

        Q, from Mike in Loveland: All we keep hearing is how the Bengals are bent on re-signing Brian Simmons and Takeo Spikes. Well, for once, why doesnt' Mike Brown just “go for it now” and pay too much for Sam Adams instead of worrying about saving it for the linebackers? If the Bengals make the playoffs, they can walk the walk instead of just talking the talk, and Simmons and Spikes won't want to leave.

        A: Your wish is exactly what Mike Brown tried to do. He was willing to give Adams more than he's really worth, at almost $9 million over three years. Brown said Spikes and Simmons could wait until after the season.

        But Adams turned down the Bengals, and he's hoping the Broncos or Seahawks up their offers.

       



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