Sunday, August 8, 2004

Bengals notebook: Ross signs contract with Steelers


LB ready to join college teammates

By Mark Curnutte
Enquirer staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Scratch Adrian Ross off the list of linebackers the Bengals could sign.

The former Bengal told the Enquirer on Saturday afternoon that he has signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

INSIDE CAMP
Today's schedule

Camp closed; no practice

Directions

From downtown: Take I-75 South about 70 miles to Exit 126 (Georgetown, Ky.). Turn right off ramp onto U.S. 460 West. Stay on 460 for about 2 miles. Turn right at light onto Lemons Mill Road (1962 West). Turn right into driveway flanked with Georgetown College/Bengals signs.

Coming up

After an off day today, the Bengals return to practice twice Monday: 8:45-11 a.m. and 4-5:30 p.m.

Injury report

• Tackle Levi Jones (car accident), wide receiver Patrick Johnson (unknown) and cornerbacks Reggie Myles (groin) and Greg Brooks (intestinal virus) might be back Monday.

• Guard Eric Steinbach (elbow) and wide receiver Maurice Mann (ankle) could be back by the middle of the week.

• Offensive lineman Scott Kooistra (knee) could be back late this week or early the following week.

Palmer watch

Second-year quarterback Carson Palmer was 16-for-28 passing for 282 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Today is an off day, and Palmer said he would resist the temptation to play golf.

"We're all on overload right now," he said after the mock game Saturday. "We've had so much thrown at us these six, seven days; it's going to be nice to not think about football. It's also a day to stay off your feet."

Saturday's highlights

Chad Johnson had six receptions for 191 yards in the mock game. His most impressive catch was a dive and roll into the end zone on a 43-yard pass from Palmer.

Rookie cornerback Keiwan Ratliff had two interceptions of Palmer.

Linebacker Nate Webster had nine tackles and looked impressive shooting through gaps to get to running backs.

Preseason schedule
Aug. 14 - at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Aug. 21 - NEW ENGLAND, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 28 - at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 3 - INDIANAPOLIS, 7:30 p.m.

Ross, whose contract was terminated by the Bengals on July 23, said Pittsburgh was a better fit for him than returning to Cincinnati.

"My boys from college are there," Ross said of Steelers linebackers Clark Haggans and Joey Porter, both of whom attended Colorado State with Ross.

The Steelers also play a 3-4 defense that features four linebackers. "Plus, Coach LeBeau is there," Ross said of Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, the Bengals' former coach and coordinator.

The Bengals held their second annual Orange-Black mock game Saturday before an estimated crowd of 9,100 at Georgetown College. The Black team, consisting primarily of first-team players, defeated the Orange team 50-48 in a heavily manipulated event. It is basically touch football played in shorts with shoulder pads and helmets.

Coach Marvin Lewis said afterward the team might be in need of another linebacker.

Second-year backup linebacker Khalid Abdullah had surgery on his dislocated right ankle Friday and said he will know Monday if he is out for the season. Back spasms have forced starting strong-side linebacker Kevin Hardy to miss some practices.

Rookie backup linebacker Landon Johnson has a partial dislocation of his shoulder joint.

"The shoulder pops in and out," Lewis said of Johnson. "He dealt with that before on the other side. We're going to try to aggressively treat that if we can and get him stronger."

Johnson will not play in the preseason opener Saturday at Tampa Bay. He aggravated the shoulder in the intrasquad scrimmage Friday night and did not dress for the mock game.

Ross said he had weighed offers from the Bengals and Steelers and the Steelers were paying him more than the veteran minimum of $660,000 for a player with four to six credited seasons.

PICKS: Rookie cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, who ended a five-day holdout Thursday, showed again Saturday why the Bengals drafted him in the second round.

Ratliff, who led the Southeastern Conference with nine interceptions last season, picked off Palmer twice in the mock game.

"The first one was just being in the right place at the right time," Ratliff said of a Palmer overthrow. "The second one, the receiver lined up a little bit tighter than normal, so I got an outside alignment and got a good jump on the ball.

"To come out and play the way I did in college and the way the coaches expect me to play, it's just exciting."

FURTHER REVIEW: After watching film of the scrimmage, Lewis had this analysis of his defense: "I thought we did some good things; there were some things defensively, missed a couple of tackles, and flushed a couple of blocks early. But other than that, it was several things very correctable."

MORE D: Ends Justin Smith and Duane Clemons and linebacker LaDairis Jackson each had a sack in the mock game. Safety Kim Herring, playing with a wrap on his left wrist, had an interception. Linebacker Larry Stevens recovered a Palmer fumble in the end zone.

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E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com




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