Bengals fashion change

4-22-04, 5:10 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The Bengals unveiled their new uniforms and field redesign Thursday during a draft warmup gathering in Paul Brown Stadium's East Club Lounge.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is overseeing the second major uniform redesign in franchise history, highlighted by:

The addition of orange-topped socks as an option to the current black.

Lewis hosted what amounted to a New York fashion show Thursday, complete with a 30-foot long runway lined with wooden statues of life-sized tigers. Defensive end Justin Smith emerged first out of the fog-shrouded jungle motif in his white No. 90 jersey with black pants to the Guns 'N Roses song, "Welcome to the Jungle."

Also modeling different variations of the uniform in front of 400 suite holders, club seat patrons, and sponsors were wide receiver Chad Johnson, quarterback Carson Palmer, right tackle Willie Anderson, running back Rudi Johnson, defensive tackle John Thornton, and linebacker Brian Simmons.

With Lewis seeking the same, "movement, speed and energy," in the design as symbols of how he wants the Bengals to play, the club is making wholesale changes in dress for the first time since 1981. That's when they inaugurated the striped helmet, which is one of the NFL's most distinctive and won't change.

The orange jersey can be used to replace the traditional black home jersey up to twice a year and is considered a dark jersey, so the Bengals can't go with orange when the other team is in dark colors.

Also Thursday, the team revealed the markings for the new FieldTurf. The field continues to feature the "leaping tiger" logo at midfield, while the orange end zones are tiger-striped with BENGALS in the team's new official type font.

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