9-17-01, 5:25 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
In response to the NFL's eight-page memo sent to each club Monday, the Bengals have begun implementing Super Bowl-like security for this Sunday's game against the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.
"The guidelines are pretty much what the league does at a Super Bowl, but on a team-by-team, stadium-by-stadium basis," said Bill Connelly, the Bengals business manager, after Monday's 90-minute staff meeting to discuss procedures. "It's going to be a safe environment for fans and players alike."
The players are calling for safety after last week's attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. have left some edgy about large gatherings.
"Damn right it's a concern," said Bengals Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon. "When you've got stadiums filled with 70 to 100,000 people, sports is a prime target. You just have to hope that they do whatever they can to make it safe."
Connelly couldn't be specific on many items, but said there will be a visible sign of a heightened uniform police presence. He also
said fans will be under comparable rules that apply to Major League Baseball starting Monday night.
"Fans won't be allowed to carry in coolers and there'll be no fanny packs or back packs," Connelly said. "All diaper bags will undergo a visual inspection as will most likely large purses."
Connelly is also relying on the 34 video cameras stationed at all gates and all field access points in the bowl. Plus, there will be a tighter than usual lock down 24 hours before the 1 p.m. game.
"There are going to be more meetings and we'll probably have more to say later in the week," Connelly said. "Clearly it's a top priority of the club and the league."
Cornerback Tom Carter, the Bengals' representative to the NFL Player Association, said the players haven't sat down with management about safety issues.
"I know we have concerns, but we expect the league and the team to address them," Carter said.
But there are some players who aren't sure what can be done to prevent an incident.
"If it's going to happen, it's going to happen," said middle linebacker Brian Simmons. "If someone is willing to die, there's not much you can do about it."
The Bengals have also started planing to honor the victims and heroes of the attack before and during Sunday's game. But no plans were set yet by the end of business Monday.