Updated: 10:25 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. – For once a mid-game diagnosis held up and running back
A very relieved Leonard watched Wednesday night’s practice at Georgetown College on crutches, a few hours after the final battery of tests had ruled out torn ligaments and a broken bone. It was a complete reversal of what he thought Sunday night as he glumly sat on a golf cart in the final moments of the Hall of Fame Game.
It was thought he had torn ligaments and the dreaded career-threatening Lisfranc injury.
But now it looks like he’ll be back early this season.
“They have a time frame set, but you can never really follow a time frame,” Leonard said after practice. “It’s how you feel. That’s how I’m going to base it off. You really don’t know. It’s how your body reacts to it. If I feel good and in shape and don’t have any pain cutting off it, I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
He says he will be back after the first couple of regular-season games, which is why the Bengals didn’t put him on season-injured reserve. But it will cost them another roster spot at the 53-man cutdown because they’ll have to go with an extra running back.
“Really, it came out the best way possible,” Leonard said.
Also after practice Wednesday night, offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said that
“We sit around and talk about women and smoke cigarettes,” he joked with a laugh after Wednesday morning’s practice.
The laugh is that they are talking football, among other things, and
“He’s a big, cool dude,” Caldwell said. “We hang out. We talk a little bit about everything. He’s a good friend. We kid with him all day. We talk about how it was playing with Jerry Rice. How he became who he is. Some of his situations in the league. Some of the times they misread stuff on TV with him and Donovan (McNabb). He said he and Donovan are real cool … that’s not what we got on TV.”
Caldwell says the hang-out sessions extend to the film room, where Owens has offered advice to the younger receivers. He did it to Caldwell on the field Tuesday. Careful not to tip his hand, Caldwell outlined it generally.
“I ran a go route down the seam against certain coverage,” he said. “And (Owens) was telling me about what used to work for him. He said, ‘When we were with the 49ers, Jerry would run it like this.’ ”
Told it sounded like he was learning from two generations, Caldwell nodded.
“I’m learning from all generations,” he said. “Put in my time.”
OCHO SOLDIERS MARCH: The Ochocinco Soldiers for Giving of Cincinnati and Dayton are marching on Bengals training camp.
They are hosting their first Give Back event at Thursday’s 3 p.m. practice at Georgetown College that closes camp. According to a Bengals release, Ochocinco Soldiers plan to collect canned goods, gift cards and cash donations to benefit the A.M.E.N. House of Georgetown. The A.M.E.N. House is a Scott County charitable organization that serves more than 400 families per month. All donations collected at the gates Thursday go directly to A.M.E.N. House.
The Ochocinco Soldiers for Giving group grew out of Bengals wide receiver
He missed Tuesday’s practice after dealing with some nicks and a family matter and he was back in it Wednesday morning. He thought he came out of the Cowboys’ foray to the goal line pretty well on the first drive, when quarterback Tony Romo took a few touchdown shots his way and didn’t get it.
“There was one play, a slant, that if I could have played better technique, that would have put me in a better place,” he said after Wednesday morning’s workout. “I’m going to be the spitting image of whatever the coaches want to put out.”
USA Today and The Sporting News were in camp and they wanted to know all about the new Adam Jones. This was it. The kid who they said was as undisciplined on the field as he was off it, is trying to become an extension of the coaching staff. He knew exactly what happened on the kickoff he bobbled in the end zone before he ripped off a 31-yard return.
“I was looking up in the hole trying to see where I could run first when I should have caught the ball first,” he said.
He wasn’t nervous before kickoff. Not against these Cowboys, his teammates in his last game. He called it anticipation.
“I was eager to get out there,’’ he said. “Everybody in this (secondary) is trying to get better. If someone’s not looking to get better, they shouldn’t be out there.”
The best part of it, he said, was just being a part of it. “With the lights on,” he said. He got a chance to speak with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, but spent more time talking to his sons. “I talked to everybody,” he said. “It went pretty good.”
Jones thought the best thing he did Sunday was tackle. He says he likes to do it, but he admitted in Dallas he shied away from it. He told the national guys, “Ask anybody around here how hard I’ve worked,” and they don’t have to ask. They can look at his washboard stomach.
A miniscule 4.2. Up from 3.8 just before camp. One-celled animals are fatter. They brought up his year-long suspension and asked him if he benefited.
“The work I’ve put in, where I’m going, I feel really good,” he said. “The past is the past. There is no use to keep bringing it up and keep talking about it. The year I had to myself, I benefited. Do I agree with it? No. Do I accept it? Yes. But the past is the past. I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m looking to the future.”
And right now the future is dealing with a few nicks on the ankle.
“I’m playing Sunday,” he said.
ZIMMER HONORED: Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will be presented with the George Halas Award before Sunday’s 7 p.m. game against the Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. The Pro Football Writers of America voted him the award for overcoming adversity during the 2009 season and PFWA chapter president Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer plans to make the presentation.