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Bengals get four more picks

Updated: 8:45 p.m.

DANA POINT, Calif. - The Bengals now have 11 picks in next month's draft after receiving the maximum four compensatory picks Monday and the extra third-rounder gives them five picks in the first 106 selections.

The Bengals and the Titans led the way with four with Cincinnati picking up a third-rounder that is the 98th pick, a sixth that is the 209th and two seventh-rounders that are the 249th and 252nd picks.

"We thought for sure we would get three picks and we weren't sure we would get four and we got four barely," said Bengals president Mike Brown. "The third-round pick is a valuable pick."

The Bengals can't trade that third-rounder, but they could trade the 70th pick early in the third round if they wanted to trade up, knowing they've got something at the bottom of the round.

"We'll have to see what is there to trade up for," Brown said.

The Bengals got the picks in exchange for losing in free agency last year defensive end Justin Smith, linebacker Landon Johnson, defensive lineman Bryan Robinson, and center Alex Stepanovich. The Bengals also lost safety Madieu Williams, but in the complicated formula based largely on playing time and pay, his loss appeared to be canceled out by the Bengals acquisition of Titans defensive end Antwan Odom.

The last two extra third-rounders have meant a lot on the depth chart. Last year the Bengals picked up Florida wide receiver Andre Caldwell with the 97th pick they got for losing Eric Steinbach and he's being groomed for a major role this year with the loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

In 2004 they got linebacker Landon Johnson at No. 96 in exchange for Takeo Spikes and Johnson ended up leading the team in tackles his final two seasons.

Some notable late picks in those areas:

Houshmandzadeh, the club's third all-time receiver, was the 204th pick in 2001. Long-time long snapper Brad St. Louis was 210th in 2000 and safety Ethan Kilmer was 209th in 2006 before injuries ended his Bengals career.

Starting safety Chinedum Ndukwe was 253rd in 2007.

BIG CLARIFICATION: Three years ago Bengals fans called it "The Carson Rule," even though it officially didn't apply.

Now, Patriots fans are calling it "The Brady Rule," as the NFL reacts Monday during the first full day of the league's annual meeting to another low hit against one of the league's marquee players.

But there's not a rule change or even a point of emphasis. A note has been added to the language in the rulebook that a player can't lunge or roll into the quarterback's lower leg and is now specifically prohibited.

"It's just a clarification and doesn't need a vote (of ownership)," said NFL competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay in a Monday afternoon news conference.

The other co-chairman, Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, said a second note has been added describing "the proper way" to do it. He says the proper way to do it means there can't be a second act.

"If a (defender) is on his way down and is at the knee or below, he can swipe or wrap up," Fisher said. "We don't want that forcible contact with the head or shoulder."

Blitzing Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard used his shoulder in last year's opener when he reached out and hit Brady's left knee after running back Sammy Morris blocked him to the ground. Brady tore his anterior cruciate ligament, just like Palmer did on the second snap of the 2005 Wild Card game when Steelers defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen hit him in the left knee as he unleashed a 66-yard completion.

After that season, the low hit rule was changed to read, "a rushing defender is prohibited from forcibly hitting a passer who has one or both feet on the ground ... even if the defender is blocked (or fouled) into the passer and has no opportunity to avoid him," which would result in a 15-yard penalty and fine.

The competition committee, of which Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was and still is a member, said the Palmer hit and two others didn't come under the new language. But you could never convince Bengals president Mike Brown.

He still thinks it was a lethal hit and Monday he thought these new notes also applied to the Palmer play. Von Oelhoffen appeared to half scramble, half-dive at Palmer after left guard Eric Steinbach's initial block.

"It depends who you're listening to and how they explain the rule," Brown said. "(The NFL says) what happened to Carson was just part of unfolding action and they're trying to prevent a further action. How you draw that line is tough. To me (the Palmer hit) was more than one, but that's just me.

"I'm for this. We need to protect the quarterback. We need to preserve our quarterbacks. It not only hurts the team, but the league when you lose people like Brady and what happened to us."

EXPANDNG SKED: Brown is all for expanding the regular season from 16 games to 18, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday not to look for it until after the 2010 season.

"I think those are better games than preseason games. It's time to do that," Brown said.

Brown favors the higher number in the debate between 17 and 18 games in what will still remain a 20-game schedule with either two or three preseason games.

Goodell sounds like he's all for it, too, because it doesn't expand those 20 games that the league likes because it doesn't get them into overexposure.

"It is still roughly two-and-a-half months less than any other professional league," he said. "We keep our content tightly presented and continue to be attractive to all the people who want our agreement."

But the move is going to take time because "we need to address it with (the NFL Players Association) and (the networks)," Goodell said. Plus, the owners and players have yet to begin discussions about a new collective bargaining agreement and the league is indicating that an expanded schedule would be part of a new CBA and not an issue that would be resolved separately. Brown said he's still looking at the issue if the league has to expand rosters to keep pace with the extra games. Another byproduct of an 18-game schedule could be a developmental minor league, an idea Goodell supports. **

WARNING SHOTS:** Goodell has forbidden the owners to talk about the CBA situation, but at Monday's news conference he seemed to be laying the foundation for the league's position of controlling player costs against the backdrop of recession-riddled economics.

He cited a decline in revenue for sponsorships and licensing and said that three-fourths of the teams (including the Bengals) didn't raise ticket prices.

"That's a very strong signal of the market," Goodell said. "It's definitely hitting us on the revenue side and, meanwhile, our costs are going up. Half a billion dollars have gone into increased player costs in 2008 and 2009, new stadiums are being constructed, and the cost to operate those stadiums. And those costs aren't going down.

"There's a lot of risk out there and that risk is falling on the owners."

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