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Notes: Tez, Geno looking at Sept. 7; Schaffer, Scott waived;Lewis mum on Thursday starters

Posted Aug 26, 2014

Updated: 2:45 p.m.

Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict won’t talk about his contract (“No comment”), but before Tuesday’s practice he echoed head coach Marvin Lewis and said he’ll be ready to play the regular-season opener in Baltimore Sept. 7.

After not practicing last week with a stomach virus, Burfict played just six snaps in the Bengals’ 19-13 victory Sunday night in Arizona before leaving with a hamstring injury.

“I’m good. Solid,” said Burfict when asked about his health. “I’ll be ready. It’s around the corner. I’ll be ready.”

Cornerback Terence Newman, Burfict’s locker neighbor,  provided some levity for the media as he conjured up Teddy’s line from the 1998 move “Rounders.”:

“He beat me... Pay that man his money.”

The Bengals thought they did and the four-year extension was announced last week but has apparently yet to be signed.

GENO READY, TOO: When asked if he’s ready for the opener, two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins said he felt “comfortable,’ after his 13-snap debut Sunday night. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said Atkins looked good enough that he'd feel fine about playing him in the opener even if he doesn't go Thursday. He didn't think Atkins looked tentative after 10 months off from scrimmage.

“He’s been practicing, which is different than real live football,” Guenther said. “From my eye he looks fine. As he continues to take more reps with the team, he’ll grow more confident.”

SIX RELEASED:  The Bengals got down to 75 players for Thursday’s 7 p.m. preseason finale at Paul Brown Stadium (11:35  p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) against the Colts by cutting a list of six players headed by quarterback Matt Scott.

Also axed were a pair of rookie free agents in wide receiver Jasper Collins and linebacker James Davidson, as well as veteran tight end Kevin Brock. Veteran linebacker JK Schaffer (head) and seventh-round pick Lavelle Westbooks (thumb), a cornerback, were waived injured.

If they clear waivers, they’ll end up on the Bengals season-ending injured reserve list. It’s a tough day for Schaffer, one of only four Bengals to play high school, college, and pro football in Cincinnati. He suffered two blows to the head this preseason and has played in just one game. He played in nine games last season and had three tackles on defense and six on special teams.

Scott didn’t play Sunday night in the Bengals’ 19-13 victory in Arizona and his exit indicates that Tyler Wilson has recovered from a concussion and can play Thursday.

INJURY ROUNDUP: It’s a virtual lock that Burfict and a lot of other top players won’t play in Thursday.  If not, then very little. Lewis left it vague. Asked if he expected his starters to play, he said, "We want our players to always expect they're going to play."

Lewis said he expects the injured players from Sunday night to return at some point. 

After arriving back at PBS from Arizona at 5 a.m. Monday, Tuesday morning’s practice on the grass fields turned into a glorified walk-through.

Burfict, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (hip), cornerback Darqueze Dennard (hip), and quarterback A.J. McCarron (still on PUP working through his shoulder problem) worked on the side. Cornerback Adam Jones (unknown) looked to be taking a rest day but still caught a Kevin Huber punt wearing a T-shirt and no No. 24.

Defensive tackle Devon Still (hamstring), running back Cedric Peerman (hip), wide receiver James Wright (concussion), and left guard Trey Hopkins (shin) were all out after injuries they suffered Sunday night. Also out was rookie cornerback Lavelle Westbrooks (hip).

Guard-center T.J. Johnson, who went down in the fourth quarter, surfaced at practice. Word on Hopkins is it's a serious injury but not a season-ender and if he makes it they have to figure out how to carry him.

JONES RETURNS: Adam Jones had an eventful night as a punt returner. He ripped off a 24-yarder, but it got called back for a hold and he had a rare fair catch. He also said he should have come up and fair caught the punt that hit the 10 and bounced to the Bengals 4.

Here’s a guy that has had just one fair catch on his 44 Bengals returns and 11 in his career. But he said he had no choice but to catch this one on his seven.

“There’s nothing I could do with it,” Jones said. “It was end-over-end and it was plus-50. There’s nothing I could do with it.”

It's hard to know just exactly who that holding call was on. The original call was on No. 43 and the play-by-play sheet said No. 23, but safety George Iloka and cornerback Terence Newman weren't on the field.

Special teams coach Darrin Simmons did absolve Wright of being offsides on a kickoff, but it was too late. That was only after he saw the film. Simmons benched Wright after the call to make his point about avoiding penalties.

TRAVEL TIME: Lewis like the way his club responded to the three-hour trip to Arizona. Because the most anyone played (Dre Kirkpatrick's 50 snaps) was less than a regular-season game, Lewis knows it's not quite like a real game out west. He indicated he would have had a more "aggressive," practice if Thursday was for real. But he felt it was good for the rookies to go through a trip "with different circumstances." 

 

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