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Notes: Shuler waived; Coffman to practice squad

Posted Sep 5, 2011


Chase Coffman

Updated: 9:30 p.m.

That didn't take very long for Chase Coffman.

Coffman, cut for the second straight Cutdown weekend, also surfaced on the practice squad again for the second straight opening week Monday when he cleared waivers and the Bengals signed him to complete the eight-man squad. The man they claimed to replace Coffman, Dolphins tight end Mickey Shuler, failed the club's physical and was waived injured.

The Bengals still have only two tight ends and one spot to fill on the roster, but they are apparently keeping their options open at all spots (what about cornerback?) and could still be looking for a blocking tight end. After Monday's practice head coach Marvin Lewis said the club could suit up just two tight ends in Cleveland on Sunday.

The two on the roster—Jermaine Gresham and Colin Cochart—have a combined 15 NFL games.

TATE TO RETURN PUNTS: Lewis also said newly-claimed wide receiver Brandon Tate is going to return punts as well as kicks, but said the major reason Tate interested him is the 600 snaps he played at receiver for the Patriots and showed big-play potential with an 18-yard per catch average and three touchdowns.

Lewis said it was a tough cut in exchanging Tate for Quan Cosby, but "we went to another relaible player who has tremendous hands and ability to make big plays. Quan's been very steady and strong and is a great person but this kid is a player we know on Sundays offensively gives us a little more of a threat."

Lewis admitted he saw the name Saturday night on the waiver wire and felt Tate hit the Bengals right where they need it.

“Vertical speed. Tremendous hands. Great ability to cut. That’s why he’s been such a great returner over his collegiate and NFL career,” he said.

WHITWORTH TAKES ON PROGRAM: In the wake of teammate Bobbie Williams’ four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy for performance enhancing substances, Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth took after the league’s program before Monday’s practice.

Whitworth, the club’s player rep to the NFL Players Association, hopes it is addressed soon. No one is saying what Williams tested positive for, but agent Tony Agnone has said his client didn’t take steroids or recreational drugs, and Whitworth says the problem is equating steroids with other substances.

Whitworth argues if a player takes steroids and comes back after being suspended for missing four games, he’s “still genetically freaky strong and fast,” while a player that tests positive for, say, a diuretic, has it flushed out of his system.

“That’s not fair,” Whitworth said. “To me if you get busted for steroids you should be banned for the season because you’ve cheated to get an athletic advantage. If you get busted for other minor things, there should be a minor offense.”

Whitworth had hoped it would be cleared up in the latest collective bargaining agreement, but it “got put on the sideburner with all the other issues in the CBA," he said. "I really wish people would look at that and say there needs to be a level system.”

BENSON RETURNS: If there’s one guy the Bengals want for the Browns this week, it is running back Cedric Benson taking in an average of 114 yards per in four games against Cleveland. On Monday he returned from a five-day stay in an Austin, Texas jail that stemmed from two incidents the last two summers in the city where he spends his offseasons.

He believes his legal commitments are done.

"When it’s done it’s done. Time served," said Benson, who says as far as he knows he’s available for the Bengals this Sunday.

“I’m not fit for jail; no one for that matter,” Benson said. “When you experience that, you realize how much you don’t want to experience that again. It was a nIce little wake-up call so to speak."

Benson says he knows new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wants to pound it and that he likes the power running game. But he’s already used to banging it against Cleveland. In those four games, Benson has averaged 26 carries.

INJURY UPDATE: The Bengals appear to be monitoring their injury situation in the secondary before filling their last roster spot. They were down to three healthy cornerbacks at Monday's practice with Kelly Jennings still nursing a hamstring on the side and he has yet to practice as a Bengal since coming over in the trade with Seatttle last week.

The Bengals have Leon Hall, Nate Clements and Morgan Trent up, and safety Chris Crocker can also move inside to play cornerback on passing downs.

Safety Taylor Mays (knee) rode the exercise bike and was out. Also not working was backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, but it doesn't seem to be anything that would keep him from playing.

Cornerback Adam Jones (neck) on PUP, worked on the side in shoulder pads and a helmet.

SLANTS AND SCREENS

» Everyone is assuming rookie Clint Boling gets the start at right guard in place of Williams on Sunday even though head Marvin Lewis hasn’t announced it. If he does, it won’t be the first time Boling has been thrown into the fray. As a true freshman at Georgia, Boling made his first road start at Alabama in the Bulldogs’ OT win.

» Speaking of Georgia alums, Bengals rookie wide receiver A.J. Green has a rematch with Browns cornerback Joe Haden of Florida.

“He’s one of the best cornerbacks I’ve ever faced,” said Green, who recalled Haden jumped a short route on him during his freshman year for an interception.

» Undrafted rookie tight end Colin Cochart got the word from the man himself that he had made the team on Saturday. He said the phone call from Lewis was “one of the most exciting moments of my life.”

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