7-29-04, 4:25 p.m.
7-30-04, 1:10 p.m. Updated:
7-30-04, 1:55 p.m. Updated:
7-30-04, 2:35 p.m. Updated:
7-30-04, 6:50 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Let it be duly recorded that Carson Palmer checked in as one of the first Bengals to report to training camp Friday morning, 37 minutes early. He signed up for his TV, wheeled in a suitcase, and went to work as the No. 1 quarterback.
"Pretty much only clothes. You can never have enough clothes. I just threw in all the T-Shirts and shorts I had," Palmer said. "No books. Your playbook is all you need."
The Bengals confirmed that nine of their 11 draft picks are following Palmer into camp in preparation for Saturday's first practice at 8:45 a.m. at Georgetown College. Missing were first-rounder Chris Perry and second-rounder Keiwan Ratliff and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he expected Ratliff in time for Saturday. But on Friday night, agent Drew Rosenhaus said he was trying to get Raliff there but still didn't have a deal.
"Eugene is never in a hurry," said Lewis, referring to Perry agent Eugene Parker. "I don't think that surprises anyone standing here."
Three signed before Thursday, and on Thursday the agents for second-rounder Madieu Williams, third-rounders Caleb Miller and Landon Johnson, and fourth-rounders Stacy Andrews and Robert Geathers said their clients have signed or are expected to sign Friday. The club also confirmed Matthias Askew, also represented by Rosenhaus.
The major reason the signings took a little longer is that the Bengals are attaching clauses to off-season workouts in the early-to-mid rounds that amount to a payback of the signing bonus to the club if they don't have 100 percent participation. Other teams have similar arrangements, but the numbers vary between 80 and 90 percent.
"I don't think it's as Draconian as some are making it out to be," said Kyle Rote Jr., Miller's agent. "I have faith that Marvin is going to administer the program fairly. If it had been a different head coach, it might be another story, but I trust him."
Rich Moran, the agent for Andrews, said he signed the deal after making sure there was language that workouts could be made up because of emergencies or special circumstances.
"Once we were clear on that, the 100 percent didn't bother me," Moran said. "We encourage all clients to be there all the time."
Lewis said the club adopted the language for rookie deals this season after watching other teams do it through the years.
"The question was put to me do we want to put it at 80 percent, 90 percent or 100 percent," Lewis said. "I said 100 percent because it is still up to me if we have a guy who has a legitimate issue or problem to allow him to do what he has to do to complete that. If it's 80 percent and the guy has the same problems, you still have to make a judgment and it's easier for me to make a judgment on 100 percent than 80 percent.
"If a guy has an issue, he has one stop. He comes to me and it's easy and that's kept it very, very clean," Lewis said.
Also Friday, former Cowboys tight end James Whalen passed his physical and signed a one-year deal.
Casey Bramlet, the Wyoming quarterback taken in the seventh round who has the edge on the No. 3 job, is in the fold for three years and joins fifth-rounder Maurice Mann and sixth-rounder Greg Brooks with signed deals.
The Bengals also dipped into the college free-agent ranks Thursday when they signed Brigham Young cornerback James Allen to a one-year deal.The 5-10, 175-pound Allen was a BYU junior in 2003 and ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 57. He had four sacks and also returned nine kickoffs for an average of 18.1 yards.
Bramlet, who set school records for completions, passing yards, and touchdown passes during three seasons, looked impressive in the spring camps with more snaps than free agent rookie Scott Rislov. One intriguing note is that former Cowboys quarterback Chad Hutchinson has apparently cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
Bengals personnel consultant Bruce Coslet had been impressed by Hutchinson during the 2002 season as the Dallas offensive coordinator, but there is no word if Cincinnati is interested. Scott Boras, Hutchinson's agent, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday. The Coslet and Greg Seamon connection (Coslet's tight ends coach in Dallas who is now a Bengals scout) may have had a hand in the one-year agreement tight end James Whalen agreed to Wednesday.
It's believed that former Bengals linebacker Adrian Ross has an offer from the Steelers, as well as some possible interest from Cincinnati and another team.
Earlier in the day, Andy Simms, the agent for Johnson, the third-round linebacker from Purdue, said Thursday he was at an unspecified standoff with the club. But Thursday night, Simms said he and the club had reached financial terms and all that remained for Friday morning was to hammer out some language he wouldn't disclose.
On Friday, Simms said he thought the NFL Players Association should file a grievance on the Bengals' 100 percent clause.
"I know they're good people there. I have faith in them," Simms said. "But the language is such that it gives so much power to the team that I think any agent would be hesitant about signing it. But after yelling about it for weeks, they made clear they weren't going to change it."
Also, there are no indications the Bengals are pursuing safety Rod Woodson, the 39-year-old favorite of head coach Marvin Lewis. Given Woodson's age and health issues, as well as Lewis' swing toward youth, it doesn't apear to be a match.