Updated: 2-10-11, 8:25 p.m.
Bengals safety Chinedum Ndukwe, one of the projected dozen Bengals unrestricted free agents who have been regulars, doesn't know where he'll be playing this season. But he believes whenever and wherever it is he'll be able to do it by May 1.
Ndukwe is in the midst of rehab following surgery for a damaged medial collateral knee ligament tackling Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall back on Dec. 12 at Heinz Field. He says he has yet to see the footage. But he knows exactly what happened.
"Pittsburgh's damn grass," Ndukwe said. "My foot stuck and somebody got pushed into my knee. It was either let Mendenhall keep going or save the knee. I didn't think of it like that at that point. I knew I had to tackle him, but I really couldn't get my leg out of there."
Like the rest of the NFL, Ndukwe doesn't know if he'll be a free agent come March 3 or even if the Paul Brown Stadium training room will be open for him. But he says he is certain he will be back running around by May.
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» News that quarterback
If he is serious about retirement, he didn't tell Bengals president Mike Brown that was an option when they met Jan. 18. That's when Brown told him they're not in position to trade him and that hasn't changed in the wake of a change at offensive coordinator.
» Sources said Thursday morning that the Cardinals have sought permission to interview Bengals assistant secondary coach Louie Cioffi for secondary coach under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who was previously Steelers secondary coach. Cioffi has been with the Bengals since 1997, when he joined Dick LeBeau's defensive staff with Horton as the secondary coach. An interview has been set for the next 24 hours.
» Horton's appointment as Arizona's defensive coordinator continues a good run for the Bengals who played in Super Bowl XXIII even 22 years later. Horton, a cornerback/safety, is the second reserve in that game to become an NFL coordinator. Backup quarterback Turk Schonert is a former Bills offensive coordinator.
Left tackle Anthony Muñoz is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and nose tackle Tim Krumrie coached in the NFL for 15 seasons before leaving the Chiefs last year. Three Bengals from that game worked this Super Bowl in various network positions: Starting quarterback Boomer Esiason (CBS), free safety Solomon Wilcots (NFL Network) and backup wide receiver Cris Collinsworth (NBC).
» The info Bengals NFL Players Association rep
"It's discouraging," Whitworth said. "It seems like they want to go down the road that the NHL went down. A lockout and no communication allowed between the teams and players. If you don't want to meet, that would seem to say you want a lockout. There have been two years of hard stances. Now's the time to talk. There's no reason not to talk."
The NFL released a statement on Thursday that said reports characterizing the negotiations were "inaccurate."
"Despite the inaccurate characterizations of yesterday’s meeting, out of respect to the collective bargaining process and our negotiating partner, we are going to continue to conduct negotiations with the union in private and not engage in a point-counterpoint on the specifics of either side’s proposals or the meeting process," the league said via ProFootballTalk.com. “Instead, we will work as hard as possible to reach a fair agreement by March 4. We are fully focused on that goal.”