Saturday, September 27, 2003

Dillon ready to run against Browns, but Schobel doubtful



By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tailback Corey Dillon practiced Friday and was declared "fine" by coach Marvin Lewis. Dillon is recovering from a strained groin suffered Sunday against the Steelers. He also hyperextended a knee the previous week at Oakland. Tight end Matt Schobel (hamstring) practiced, too, but remains doubtful for Sunday's game at Cleveland.

QB OK WITH LEWIS: Lewis also continues to stick with quarterback Jon Kitna, in spite of the team's 0-3 start and rumblings among some fans to see rookie Carson Palmer.

Asked this week if Kitna were "on a short leash," Lewis said, "No."

Kitna remains an exemplary leader. He stayed after Friday's practice to work with rookie wide receivers Kelley Washington and Lawrence Hamilton.

Wide receivers coach Alex Wood and the three players were the last to leave the practice field by 15 minutes.

FIELD WOES: Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher is echoing many Bengals players in commenting on the poor conditioning of the Paul Brown Stadium grass.

Speaking to reporters in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Cowher said it was the Steelers - not the Bengals - who lost a touchdown on a kickoff return.

Cowher became agitated when he saw it written that Peter Warrick's 31-yard punt return in the fourth quarter ended when he slipped on the grass and fell, and that it would have gone for a TD otherwise. Cowher made note of the 40-yard return Ike Taylor had on the opening kickoff for the Steelers that ended in similar fashion. The Bengals' Brandon Bennett also slipped and fell after returning a kickoff 33 yards.

"Of all three returns, that was the one," Cowher said. "Those other guys were going to get tackled. He was not going to get tackled. So that turf did save them a touchdown."

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E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com




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