Bengals pursue Palmer

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals head coach Dick LeBeau plans to talk to former Browns head coach Chris Palmer about the job of Bengals offensive coordinator and hopes to interview him next week.

Palmer, fired Thursday, had been an avid fan of Bengals quarterback Akili Smith in the days leading up to the 1999 NFL Draft. Palmer had been impressed with Smith's workouts, but the Browns opted to take Tim Couch instead with the No. 1 pick in a call Palmer has always said was close.

LeBeau is attracted to Palmer because of his track record as Tom Coughlin's offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, when the Jaguars had back-to-back 11-win seasons. He was also Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe's position coach when New England won the 1996 AFC title.

LeBeau also said Friday that he had several conversations with former Redskins head coach Norv Turner before Turner took the coordinator's job in San Diego.

"He and his wife come from California," LeBeau said. "His family situation had a lot to with it, but we did discuss the job with him. I got to know him pretty well when I was with Pittsburgh and we scrimmaged Washington every (training camp).

In other news, left tackle John Jackson remained unsigned despite agent Richard Katz's face-to-face meeting with Bengals scout Duke Tobin Friday morning.

"We're still close, but we have to work through some issues," Katz said. "John wants to retire here and the Bengals want him here and feel he's a valuable player, so we'll just keep at it."

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