Bengals readying for break

6-21-04, 3:25 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The Bengals are still talking with former Steelers linebacker Jason Gildon as they begin to move inexorably into their month-long break before training camp.

Peter Schaffer, Gildon's agent, wouldn't get into specifics but said Monday he is involved in negotiations. It's believed his client is looking at an offer from the Bengals, as well as interest from the Bills, Packers, and Bears, but not his old team in Pittsburgh.

As the Gildon situation plays out and the Bengals eye a month-long break, the team made a move Tuesday when they signed local product Alex Sulfsted for the fourth time. Sulfsted, waived 18 days ago, replaces injured tackle Belton Johnson. Johnson, a first-year player from Mississippi, suffered a torn quad

muscle in workouts June 17 and underwent surgery Monday. If Johnson is not claimed by another NFL team within 10 days, he will be assigned to the Bengals' Injured Reserve List.

The 6-3, 320-pound Sulfsted, a third-year NFL player, signed a two-year contract. He was on the Bengals roster for the final three games of the 2003 season, but did not play before the June 4 release. He first joined the Bengals on the practice squad at the start of the 2001 season. After the Redskins signed him off the squad during the season, he rejoined the Bengals on waivers July 28, 2003 and was waived at the end of training camp before returning Dec. 9, when left tackle Levi Jones underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.

Sulfsted attended Mariemont High School in suburban Cincinnati before going on to play collegiately at Miami of Ohio.

There is some spate of activity before the club reports to training camp July 30 at Kentucky's Georgetown College.

Head coach Marvin Lewis set the stage for training camp Monday when he did an encore of last year's visit. Accompanied by the team's camp coordinator, business manager Bill Connelly, Lewis served as the June guest speaker at a meeting of the Georgetown and Scott County Chamber of Commerce.

While Lewis broke ground in Georgetown, the FieldTurf crew back home at Paul Brown Stadium continued to cover ground in Cincinnati.

The crew is putting the finishing color touches on PBS' new synthetic field in the orange and black end zones and at midfield with the orange and black leaping tiger as the project remains on schedule for the June 30 completion date. The greensward between the end zones, complete with yard lines and hash marks, is already in place.

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