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Bengals interest Adams

7-10-02, 3:00 p.m.


With a little bit of extra cash, the Bengals are back in the hunt for Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sam Adams.

The 6-3, 330-pound Adams, who would fit into a formidable rotation with Oliver Gibson and Tony Williams in the middle of the NFL's No. 9 defense, has agreed to visit Cincinnati this Tuesday in a free-agent derby that also involves Denver and Oakland. The Ravens are also interested in re-signing their run-stopper supreme who in 2000 helped them win the Super Bowl in his lone Pro Bowl season.

The salary cap-strapped Ravens are reportedly looking to give Adams a multi-year deal while the Raiders and Broncos are supposedly looking at a one-year contract. But the Bengals, who just saved about $1.5 million in the Michael Westbrook-Darnay Scott trade, have more cap room than any of those teams and are looking to do more than a one-year deal with Adams.

The Falcons, who have no deep threat for quarterback Michael Vick, are trying to set up a visit with Scott. San Diego, where Scott played in college, could also be another option for him.

The Bengals have spent this week talking to linebackers Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons about signing contract extensions before training camp in two weeks, but a deal with the 29-year-old Adams might adjust the timetable.

"We've got some room and one of our options is to help our team right now for this season," said Bengals executive vice president

Katie Blackburn. "A player like Sam Adams would certainly do that, so we want to take a look at that. We also would like to do something with Takeo and Brian and we would have to work around some things depending on what happens."

Adams told the Bengals several weeks ago the club wasn't on his list for a one-year deal and the Bengals weren't prepared to give him an $8 million bonus for a multi-year contract.

But with two weeks until most of the camps open, things have apparently changed because Adams, the son of former Patriots guard Sam Adams, is coming for a visit.

"Back in March, we were calling his agent pretty much every other day," said Jim Lippincott, the club's director of pro/college personnel, of the Fort Wayne-based Eugene Parker. "And we've always stayed in touch and kept the interest.

"One of the things you judge a guy on is how he plays against you and we've always had a tough time blocking him," Lippincott said. "He's a big man, a strong man and he's a better pass rusher than you think. You put him on our line, and it would make us very difficult to run the ball against. Very difficult."

The Bengals seek another pure tackle besides Gibson and Williams because they think Bernard Whittington is better suited to end and Glen Steele doesn't have great tackle size. Last month they signed 336-pound Pernell Davis, rated the top free-agent tackle in NFL Europe by one of the league's scouting services.

Adams, who turned 29 only last month, was the eighth pick in the 1994 draft by Seattle. He signed with the Ravens just before their championship season, but became a cap casualty back on March 1.

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