Sunday, November 10, 2002

Levi: Life as a Rookie



Each Sunday, Bengals first-round draft pick Levi Jones talks about life as an NFL rookie.

It felt good to get our first win at Houston, but it's just a steppingstone. We have to feed off that to get more of them. Everybody's happy about this win, but then people knock us because it was an expansion team. We exploited a good defense and got some things done against them.

It was the team going through the experience of coming up a few inches short against Tennessee (that was key). We pulled together after the close game. The media stirred up a lot of stuff with the guarantee story, but the players just wanted to get it done.

I feel more comfortable and confident each week. I've gained more knowledge of the game. My goal is to keep improving on a steady line and not make the same mistakes twice.

After four starts, I don't feel like a rookie. You can't carry yourself like a rookie on the field. The defense will try to test you and attack any weaknesses they see. Your mental state has to be that of a veteran. You can't get lost. You have to know what's going on with every play. You've got to play like you've been playing for 10 years.

I firmly believe you get out what you put in. If I hadn't been studying, I wouldn't be able to do the things I'm doing.

People keep talking about me having room to grow. I don't think they were talking about my size. I think they were talking about growing mentally and being able to grasp the concept of the game.

We're going to face a team that probably won't have Ray Lewis, but it's not a team that's going to be without Ray Lewis. Their defense has been playing well in his absence. Every play, there are a whole lot of purple jerseys around the ball.

I didn't get to watch the Bengals and Jeff Blake much when I was growing up on the West Coast. I'm sure our defensive line will want to get to Blake.

Our quarterback is Jon Kitna. ... I've started my four games with Jon in there. But if you look back, you get stuck in the past. People are talking about the what-if question, what if Jon had started all year. He's playing great ball right now, and, hopefully, the offensive line can keep providing the time for him to make the throws. We want to help him in any way possible. He's a good man, a good player, a guy who's always looking to help somebody out, a good Christian guy.

As told to Mark Curnutte



BENGALS / NFL
Ravens 38, Bengals 27
Blake empathizes with former mates
Bengals' defense will need to step up once again
The Edge
Isolation booth: Johnson vs. Demps
Levi: Life as a Rookie
Bengals, Ravens stats
Bengals-Ravens by the numbers
NFL notebook, standings
Are you ready for some Monday Night Football history?
Curnutte's NFL power rankings


UC BEARCATS
Sloppy UC still slams NKU
Daugherty: Wrath - not grapes - seems more Huggins' style
Center position still work in progress
UC women win C-USA soccer crown

XAVIER HOOPS
Cole ponders redshirt season
XU women win exhibition

REDS / BASEBALL
Bowden mum regarding free agent wish list
Reds Q & A
Phils set to spend on Thome

OHIO FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Elder, Colerain at Nippert Saturday
Where to buy football tickets
Elder 31, Wayne 3
Colerain 28, Lebanon 7
Ohio scores | Ohio pairings
Fans enjoy atmosphere at Paul Brown Stadium
Kings 36, Edgewood 19
Reading 41, Coldwater 38

KENTUCKY FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Kentucky scores | Kentucky pairings
CovCath 54, Harrison Co. 6
Beechwood 55, Fairview 7
Boone Co. 34, Oldham Co. 28
Dixie Heights 43, Lou. Ballard 41
Eastern 22, Conner 7
Highlands 56, Anderson Co. 0
Holy Cross 35, Nicholas Co. 14
Lex. Catholic 52, Holmes 20
Lloyd 51, East Carter 20
Louisville Trinity 48, Ryle 9
NewCath 57, Paris 14
Russell 31, Newport 14
Scott 53, Bourbon Co. 22

INDIANA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
East Central 38, Whiteland 30


OHIO VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ursuline unseats St. Ursula as Div. I champs
GGCL players rule all-state team

OHIO SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Ursula loses soccer final
Wyoming girls denied soccer title
Madeira boys win state title

KENTUCKY CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Henry boys take cross country title
Highlands girls run to state title

PREP INSIDER COLUMN
Prep Insider: Late coach was ahead of his time


COLLEGE FOOTBALL
With backs to wall, Buckeyes battle to 11-0
Hail Mary heave halts fun for UK
Bowen corners market at Miami
Huskies stun BGSU, take first in division
Mount St. Joseph thumped by undefeated Hanover 49-14
Miami crushes Vols
Texas shows Baylor some attitude
Texas A&M ruins party for Sooners
Irish escape Navy
Syracuse topples No. 8 Virginia Tech in 3OT
Big Ten roundup
Top 25 roundup
How the Top 25 fared
College Football Today

COLLEGE HOOPS
Hoops: Big matchups come early, often
Dayton player's parents don't believe son lied

REGIONAL INTERESTS
MSJ football finally growling
Five questions with Brandon Miree
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

NATIONAL HEADLINES
Dredge leads Volvo Masters
Mighty Ducks blank Barons
Kolzig slams door on Flyers
Second-half scoring surge lifts Pacers over Raptors
Women's soccer: U.S. 2, Canada 1
Serena Williams, Capriati advance to WTA semis
Will Fittipaldi be first of new wave of drivers?
Stewart on cusp of Cup title

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