No Benson decision today as Bengals mull; Stat leaders collide; Red number; No local TV

Posted Sep 27, 2011

Larry Johnson

Updated: 6 :15 p.m.

An NFL spokesman said the league won't announce a ruling in the case of running back Cedric Benson on Tuesday, the same day he went to New York to appeal his three-game suspension. He also said there's no timetable for an announcement, leaving it open that Benson could be available Sunday but there has been no official word either way from the NFL or the club.

Meanwhile, the Bengals kicked the tires on two veteran running backs. NFL Network reported former Redskin Clinton Portis, 30, worked out for the Bengals and an NFL source said that 31-year-old Larry Johnson would also work out. But in this season of youth, the moves would seem unlikely and reports said the duo left without a contract.

The Bengals, the youngest team in the AFC, could very well decide they are staying pat with the three backs already on the roster if Benson gets disciplined: Bernard Scott (27), Brian Leonard (27) and Cedric Peerman (24).

There may or may not have been a move because there was no decision on Benson. Texans running back Steve Slaton, a fourth-year player that has never come close to his spectacular rookie season in 2008, was cut loose Tuesday and is subject to waivers.

The 5-9, 206-pound Slaton had nearly 1,300 yards rushing and 50 catches in '08, but he's an undersized guy that isn't a 20-25-carry masher in the Benson mold a la Portis and Johnson. If Slaton is more like a third-down back he'd have to become familiar with the intricacies of the pass offense and just where that would fit into a timeline is diffcult to say since there's no timeline. Scott, Leonard and Peerman have all had snaps in the preseason or regular season as a third-down back. 

Also Tuesday, the Bengals announced in their weekly news release that Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Bills at Paul Brown Stadium isn’t sold out and won’t be on local TV.

Other items of note from the news release available on the Web site:

» Sunday’s matchup pits the Bengals No. 3 defense against Buffalo’s NFL-leading offense averaging 37.7 points and 431 yards per game.

» The last time the Bengals beat the Bills was in the 1988 AFC championship game during a 10-0 skein the Bills have beaten five different starting quarterbacks (Boomer Esiason, Jeff Blake, Neil O’Donnell, Jon Kitna and Carson Palmer) with six of their own in Jim Kelly, Doug Flutie, Drew Bledsoe, Kelly Holcomb, J.P. Losman and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

» Major reason the Bills are 3-0 and the Bengals 1-2? Buffalo is third in the NFL in touchdown percentage in the red zone (11 out of 14 trips) and the Bengals are tied for 23rd at 3-for-8.


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