Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Bengals' backfield gets additions, subtractions



By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Four personnel changes Tuesday put the Bengals' backfield in motion.

The Bengals released fullback Chris Edmonds, the preseason starter, from the 53-man roster. They also cut former UC star Ray Jackson from the practice squad.

The Bengals signed former Washington Redskins tailback Kenny Watson to a two-year contract to take Edmonds' spot on the active roster. Watson, 25, is a second-year pro from Penn State who rushed for 534 yards and one touchdown last season, when Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was the Redskins' defensive coordinator.

Released during final roster cuts Aug. 31, Watson also caught 32 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown for Washington in 2002. He had 23 kickoff returns for a 21.6-yard average and made four starts at tailback.

Watson is 5 feet 11, 218 pounds and was signed by the Redskins as a rookie free agent in April 2001. He should provide immediate help in the backfield, where Corey Dillon is likely to miss his first game Sunday at Buffalo after 52 consecutive starts. Dillon aggravated a groin strain Sunday at Cleveland.

Rudi Johnson ran 15 times against the Browns for 51 yards and could get the bulk of the carries against the Bills, who are ranked No. 26 against the rush. Brandon Bennett also is available.

Edmonds was a converted linebacker and tight end. He lost the starting fullback job to rookie Jeremi Johnson and had five special teams tackles in four games.

The Bengals also signed rookie free agent James Lynch, a 276-pound fullback from Maryland, to the practice squad. He had two receptions for 13 yards for the Vikings in the preseason.

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E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com




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