Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Notes: Burris' concussion second of season

More on his status expected when results released today

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cornerback Jeff Burris left Sunday's game at Arizona after suffering his second concussion this season - the fifth of his career - and he will be evaluated further this week to determine his future.

Burris has had four concussions in the past three seasons, after suffering his first in 1995.

"At this point in my career, I'm enjoying the game," said the 10th-year pro. "I'm having a good time. But, obviously, there are more serious things you have to be concerned about. I have another test ahead of me, and I take my medical advice and go from there."

Burris said he is aware of the concussions that have sidelined Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski this season and incidents that ended the career of former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.

Burris had an MRI on Monday and will discuss the results today with doctors. He has had neurological examinations earlier after suffering a Grade 3 concussion - characterized by the loss of consciousness - at Buffalo.

He was taken off the field at Buffalo on a stretcher after tackling Bills fullback Sam Gash. On Sunday, Burris tackled Arizona's Josh Scobey after a 19-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.

"I had an excruciating pain coming out of my temple, and it was sharp pain, nothing like I had experienced before," Burris said.

Since the Buffalo game, Burris said, he has changed the style of helmet he wears to try to reduce the threat of head injury. He wants to keep playing and is having a solid season. He has 35 tackles, six passes broken up, two interceptions and one forced fumble.

NOT THIS TIME: Chad Johnson will make no guarantee this season.

A year ago, the Bengals defeated the Texans 38-3, a victory Johnson had promised before the Bengals flew to Houston.

The Texans will play Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, and Johnson said no guarantee is necessary because the landscape has changed.

"Remember, we were doing real bad," Johnson said. "We were 0-7. Things weren't going well at all. I did that guarantee as a stir up, in here, to get us motivated in a way. I knew they (teammates) wouldn't leave me hanging.

"I just put us out there on a limb, and we didn't have a choice but to go and play."

The Bengals were winless. The first-year Texans were 2-5. This season, both teams are 3-5.

The Texans defeated Carolina 14-10 on Sunday. The Bengals lost 17-14 at Arizona.

"This year, we're going in the right direction," Johnson said Monday. "That was a setback yesterday, and we have eight games to correct those things and get back on track. (Houston) is a lot better this year. They're not a pushover. No need for a guarantee."

TEST IT: Tight end Reggie Kelly, who suffered a broken bone in his foot against Seattle, will have the cast cut off today to determine how much weight he can bear.

ACHES AND PAINS: Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who has missed all eight games with a hamstring injury, will be evaluated today to determine if he can play against the Texans.

Cornerback Artrell Hawkins, who played in Burris' spot, also was "a little sore," coach Marvin Lewis said, and would be checked later this week.

Heading into the Arizona game, Lewis said, tailback Corey Dillon felt "as good as he had in weeks. I wouldn't say he's 100 percent. We have to do a better job of providing Corey some area to run in." Dillon ran seven times for five yards.

LATE NIGHT: The Bengals' charter flight from Phoenix arrived at 12:20 a.m. Monday.


E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com

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