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Bengals hit offseason

Posted: 6 a.m.



The Bengals offseason, already in full gear with the signing of defensive end Robert Geathers, steps it up this week with preparations for the Senior Bowl.

Head coach Marvin Lewis is also expected to fill the vacancy of wide receivers coach Hue Jackson, as well as continue to formulate his players' program that culminates with their April 2 return to Paul Brown Stadium.

The Senior Bowl is set for Saturday, Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala., with the coaching staff headed down to Willie Anderson's hometown the previous Monday to join the personnel department in scouting the first couple days of practice.

While the Super Bowl is played Feb. 4 and the Pro Bowl Feb. 10, the staff is going to be preparing for the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis later in the month as well as the free agency season that begins the first week of March.

As coaches and scouts hit the road to finish their evaluation of college players, the Bengals should find out their schedule that same first week of April the players report for offseason workouts. After the April 28-29 draft, Lewis figures to hold the rookie camp two weekends later and then hold the veterans' first on-field camp a few days later.

But he indicated a few days after the season that he could tweak his usual schedule.

The Senior Bowl usually serves as a job fair for assistant coaches, but Lewis is expected to name his receivers coach this week with the hot name continuing to be long-time NFL assistant Mike Sheppard.

The name of former Browns receivers coach and offensive coordinator Terry Robiske has also surfaced.

Sheppard, 55, served as Lewis' head coach twice in the college ranks and would certainly bring the NFL experience the club seeks at that position. He has worked with six NFL teams on the offensive side of the ball, including Bill Belichick's Cleveland Browns of 1993-95 and Mike Holmgrem's first two staffs in Seattle that secured his first playoff berth with the Seahawks.

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