BY GEOFF HOBSON
The Bengals dropped out of the running for John Jackson after left tackle Rod Jones worked out today and his right knee performed well. If anything happens to Jones, the Bengals are inclined to move Willie Anderson from right to left tackle and put right guard Brian DeMarco or backup right tackle Jamain Stephens in Anderson's spot.
Plus, the Bengals are looking at re-tooling their offer to Pro Bowl
running back Corey Dillon in an effort to get him into training camp when it opens July 21 and they are trying to save as much money as possible to get a long-term deal. But it's doubtful Dillon will dispatch agent Marvin Demoff to Cincinnati if the Bengals don't up their offer of $5 million to sign and $4.3 million per year for the next five seasons.
Meanwhile, the Bengals heard nothing today from the NFL about the
league's potential settlement with the NFL Players Association that will decide the fate of wide receiver Carl Pickens.
Continued from Homepage
"After Rod Jones worked out, our trainers thought he looked good. The
report was good enough that we felt we would drop out on John Jackson," said Bengals President Mike Brown. "Our people are prepared to go with who we have if Rod isn't ready, but the trainers liked what he did."
Jones has had a slow recovery from Jan. 7 arthroscopic surgery that
repaired a small cartilage tear and has been battling tendinitis that limited his rehab. Last week, Jones said he would be ready for the first day of training camp.
"I don't like to say anything about injuries. That's the way I've always
been," Jones said. "I don't want to make a big deal about it, so what happens is I might not come in to get treatment until it's really bothering me. But I'm going to be ready."
Richard Katz, the Cincinnati-based agent for the Cincinnati-bred Jackson,
said he found the club's actions "disconcerting," after urging his client to visit Paul Brown Stadium ten days ago.
"We've put off teams because of the Bengals interest and to suddenly say
today they've withdrawn their interest is disconcerting," Katz said. "There is other interest in John out there and this time there will be playoff money involved ."
The word is that the Super Bowl champion Rams are pursuing Jackson
because they aren't altogether sure they've found an answer for the departure of Fred Miller via free agency. Jackson, who turns 36 the last week of the season, is a Woodward High School product who has played a dozen years in the league in Pittsburgh and San Diego and has won the respect of the Bengal brass.
But after paying Jones $9 million for the next three years and having to
deal with big numbers for Dillon, the Bengals couldn't get the salary cap to bend for them with Jackson. They were prepared to spend more than the $440,000 minimum, but not much more.