Bengals prime to camp

Posted: 7:05 p.m.

With a week before they take the field for the first time this season, the Bengals continued to talk to their draft picks as well as veteran offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth.

Also Monday, Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson said his ankle feels better than it did last week and he plans to be in Cincinnati on Tuesday to get some rehab in preparation for Monday morning's first practice at Georgetown College.

On Tuesday, Bengals president Mike Brown and head coach Marvin Lewis greet the media for the annual kickoff luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium even as the club mulls its final pre-camp moves.

The Bengals, who list 82 signed and unsigned players on their roster, must be at 80 when they open camp. The unsigned draft picks, which number six, don't count. Three (defensive tackle Jason Shirley, tight end Matt Sherry, and defensive end Angelo Craig) have signed while wide receiver Mario Urrutia has agreed to terms.

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Whitworth

The Bengals also appear to be interested in getting something done with Whitworth in extending his deal beyond 2009. Steve Colson, his Mississippi-based agent, said Monday that he continues to have talks with the club.

Last month the Bengals extended the contract of Whitworth's '06 draft classmate, defensive tackle Domata Peko. Peko, at 23 with 17 NFL starts, and Whitworth at 26 with 28 NFL starts at two different spots, are seen as solid performers and emerging leaders out into the future.

With the roster size stuck at 80, the first camp without NFL Europe exemptions, the two positions the Bengals probably won't cut from once all their picks are signed are wide receiver and cornerback.

Those are spots that do the most running during camp and one cornerback, Blue Adams, hasn't practiced at all this spring and summer with an unknown ailment, and one receiver, Johnson, probably won't be 100 percent right out of the gate as he continues to rehab from his June 18 arthroscopic ankle surgery.

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Johnson

Johnson reiterated Monday what he said last week: He's not going to rush the ankle during the early portion of camp. But while he also said it's not ready, he also said it's feeling better than it has.

"I've got just one tender spot on that thing and once that clears up, watch out," Johnson said.

Johnson said even if he backs off reps early in camp, he'll make up for lost time once he's healthy. Which means he's going to do what he does every camp and try to talk the coaches into giving him every snap.

"I'll be behind so I'll be looking to get as much work as I can get," he said.

Johnson also did an interview with the Cincinnati-based Joe Kay of the Associated Press on Monday in conjunction with the release of the DVD, "NFL: In Just One Play," a video he hosts that documents the pro playmakers. Of which he is one.

"I haven't seen it in full," he said, "but you figure I have to be on there a couple of times, right?"

Johnson also did a chat with ESPN.com and offered what he did last month in a sitdown with Bengals.com.

"Everyone, I love you. I am sorry for what went on this offseason, but please understand this is a business," he said in the chat." You will get 100 percent from me this year, as you do every year ... actually, make it 200 percent this year. Cincinnati I love you; to all the fans I love you, and enjoy the show this year!"

Asked if he would finish his career as a Bengal, the man who rocked the offseason with trade demands said, "Cincinnati has been good to me and I have been good to Cincinnati and I would love to finish my career there."

It sounds like a Johnson interview is going to be rare. He said Monday he plans to talk to only ESPN and Bengals.com during the upcoming season.

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