Updated: 7:45 p.m.
It doesn't look like Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme (ankle) is going to be able to start Sunday. He was limited Thursday after not practicing for two weeks. Return man Josh Cribbs (ankle) and running back Jerome Harrison (thigh) were also limited and are expected to play.
The Browns are banged up on both fronts. Nose tacke Shaun Rogers (hip, ankle), ends Robaire Smith (back) and Kenyon Coleman (knee), and right tackle John St. Clair (back), all starters, haven't practiced this week.
PLAYERS VOTE: The Bengals joined the growing list of NFL teams to approve de-certification if the NFL Players Association decides to go that route during a potential lockout next year. It was a unanimous vote during the meeting attended by NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith. Smith declined comment after the meeting in which the Bengals also re-elected left tackle
According to various media reports, if the NFLPA were to decertify it would no longer be a union. If the NFL locked out players, the NFLPA could sue the league according to antitrust laws based on an illegal boycott. It legally can’t sue the league as a collective-bargaining union.
“Guys realize we have to look at what our options are and if this is going to be an option down the road we want everybody to be behind it 100 percent,” said Whitworth after the post-practice meeting broke around dinnertime Thursday.
Whitworth admitted that for the first time it is beginning to sink in that the 2011 season may not get off the ground. Although there was some optimism after the league and union met Tuesday, Whitworth said there have been no indications that the owners have relented from their stance of taking a larger share of the revenue. Whitworth said Smith updated them on the meeting and an 18-game schedule has been proposed.
“It’s hard to be upbeat when they’re asking for an 18-percent pay cut and adding two games to your schedule,” Whitworth said. “There’s not a lot of positive in that. You’re going to get paid less and play more. But it’s like any negotiation. You have to find the happy medium.”
At the moment, the players are convinced the owners want a lockout.
“There really hasn’t been any bending by the owners. It seems like this is what they’ve been headed toward with all the movement that’s happened,” Whitworth said. “Having the lockout fund that they have with the TV contract. It’s obvious this is a plan of theirs. It’s becoming more real this is going to happen.
“This is really going to affect a lot of people. Not just football players,” he said. “Coaches are talking about what’s going to happen to them…The people that work here, that work around town, that work at the stadium at games…”
Whitworth said the 18-game schedule concerns him from a heath standpoint and that the issue can’t really be discussed until there is a year-round framework of a schedule in which the players will probably want less practice time during the spring.
“How is it going to be done? How are we going to there?” Whitworth asked. “Are we going to do something to help guys have less hits? It’s going to be\something that has to be toyed with. (The owners) realize you have to figure out a way to make it productive. It’s not conducive for them to have a bunch of players that are hurt that they are paying and can’t play. They don’t want that either.”
The first possible day of a lockout is March 3, the start of the business year and the opening day of free agency. But Whitworth fears a late resolution that cuts into training camp puts players at risk.
“That has to be realized by both sides,” Whitworth said. “The longer this thing goes, the more chances there are going to be for injuries next year.”
BLAME GAME: For the second straight day Bengals wide receiver
On Wednesday, he took the blame for the struggling offense. On Thursday, he took the blame for the snafu involving his cereal Ochocincos that is a fundraiser for Feed The Children.
Because of a clerical error, a phone number for a sex line was put on the box instead of the number for Feed The Children.
“l take the blame and apologize to everyone affected,” The Ocho said before Thursday’s practice. “It’s almost like it was supposed to happen.”
Because now everyone knows about the organization that The Ocho has been with for about four years and held a fundraiser for when he beat a horse in a foot race at River Downs.
“It’s for a good cause. I hope people do understand. It’s something good,” he said.
Then he couldn’t resist.
“It’s made in Pittsburgh. It makes you think that somebody playing for the Steelers had something to do with it,” he said, breaking into a smile. “But on a serious note, I truly do apologize ... it’s an honest mistake ... I’m the one endorsing the cereal.”
Robert Bailey, president of Rosenhaus Sports, the firm that represents The Ocho, issued this statement.
“Feed the Children inadvertently provided the producers of the cereal box with an ‘800’ number instead of the correct number with an ‘888’ exchange. We greatly regret the mistake and the trouble it has caused, but Chad himself was in no way involved in this error. We look forward to the flawed cereal boxes being recalled and replaced with boxes with the correct number, so that Chad’s true plan of aiding Feed the Children can proceed.”
FOOTBALL 101: If it is the bye week, it must mean Football 101.
The Marvin Lewis Community Fund and the Bengals are putting on this season’s version of Football 101 presented by Pure Romance on Thursday, Oct. 14, from 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium for 450 women looking to get a quick education in the game.
The event recognizes The Sixth Annual Pink Football “Survivor of the Year” that goes to a breast cancer survivor. There is a silent auction, Chinese raffle, dinner, drinks, door prizes as well as hands-on demonstrations, tours of the locker rooms and weight rooms, video presentations and on-field drills.
Special guest is Andrea Kremer, sideline reporter for NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football. Kremer also contributes to the “Football Night in America” studio show, in addition to reporting for NBC at the Olympics and periodically reporting on football for the Today Show. Kremer is also a correspondent for HBO’s Emmy Award-winning Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.