Updated: 11:40 a.m.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis indicated Tuesday that it's going to be business as usual in Thursday's preseason finale in Indianapolis (7 p.m. Cincinnati's Channel 12) and that most of his starters won't play very much. Figure two series at most and probably one.
He's already ruled out cornerback Adam Jones (neck) and the guy needs a break. He been playing nickel corner with the first group, playing in the base defense with the backups, and returning kicks and punts.
"We probably wore him out a little bit," Lewis said. "He's due a little rest. He's had a very good camp."
Lewis indicated Jones would be OK for the opener.
Lewis's news conference came amid a firestorm surrounding the team's medical staff. In the wake of Antonio Bryant's release, the agent for SAM linebacker Rashad Jeanty ripped the Bengals for waiving him injured Monday and said they misdiagnosed the broken leg he suffered on the opening kickoff in the playoff game against the Jets.
"It's tremendously disappointing on the way this has been handled," Canter told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "We don't see how the Cincinnati Bengals can do this without any inclination that this was even a possibility. It's a tad shocking how he was released and was done in a disheartening, callous and unfair manner. The only reason why he isn't healthy and wasn't able to pass the physical is because they failed to fully diagnose and mistreated the injury."
Canter said his client failed a physical when he went to visit the Dolphins in a free-agent visit in March and was told he needed surgery on his ankle, a procedure he had and kept him out of the spring camps and training camp until they waived him.
Lewis defended the staff, saying Bengals president Mike Brown's priority is the player's future on and off the field.
"That's unfortunate," Lewis said. "Their agents are going to react the way they're going to react. If I was in that position I'd probably react, too. I've had complete confidence … the track record and body of work proves it out that way. I think we've taken great strides since I came here to give our guys the very best medical care. I'm very forthright with our players. I'm pushing them every day. But the medical staff is worried about their longevity and their career because that's the most important thing to Mike.
"No. 1 is that the guy be able to walk away from the game of professional football and have a productive life and secondly he's able to play not just this year, but the next year and the year after that. But I'm going to push and they know that until they tell me to back down."
Lewis wouldn't elaborate on the decision to sign Bryant after it ended so badly. After one training camp practice on the troubled left knee he originally hurt playing for Tampa in the 2009 preseason, Bryant never got back on the field. Lewis said he made the call Saturday while the team was in Buffalo
"Because it was going to be such a bone of contention and speculation and all the things that it stirred up, (it was best) to get it over this week … I spoke with Mike about it. I think the timing would be right to put it behind us."
Lewis has high regard for Bryant's toughness and commitment to football ("I love the guy," he said) and even left the door open for him to return down the road even though it seems highly unlikely.
As for Thursday's game, Lewis said he wanted to see more "calm and confidence," from backup quarterbacks J.T. O'Sullivan and Jordan Palmer. With fullback Fui Vakapuna (shoulder) yet to play in a game, Lewis said they've given more fullback snaps in practice to tight end Dan Coats. Coats played the spot in '08 and it is looking more and more like four tight ends could make it instead of a fullback.
Facing their second game in five days, Lewis sent out to the Paul Brown Stadium field for what was a scheduled workout for one hour and 40 minutes. Also sidelined along with Jones were center Kyle Cook (ankle), and defensive linemen Frostee Rucker (hamstring), Carlos Dunlap (knee), and Jon Fanene (unknown), as well as safety Chinedum Ndukwe (unknown). Ndukwe appeared to get hurt in the Aug. 20 game against the Eagles but it doesn't look to be serious enough to keep him out of the opener.