Booker mulls future

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals defensive end Vaughn Booker is apparently pondering his football future, but agent Richard Katz said Sunday night he thinks his client will return to practice this Wednesday.

The Bengals told Booker Sunday he has been medically cleared to play after a battery of tests spurred by his fainting episode three weeks ago failed to reveal any abnormalities.

Trainer Paul Sparling said the spell was apparently caused by a sudden reduction in blood pressure. While not dangerous, Sparling said it is , "unsettling."

Booker, the Taft High School product who signed a five-year, $11 million deal with his hometown team in February, didn't tell the team his plans Sunday night.

"I think he'll be back. He said today he felt like putting on the helmet," Katz said. "I think he's just stepping back and looking at all his options . That's understandable considering what he went through. Given the circumstances, you can see why he would want to take some time to think, but I think he'll be back."

Booker, 32, fainted on his way back to the huddle in the fourth quarter of the 13-0 loss in Jacksonville Sept. 17. He hasn't practiced, lifted weights, or done any running since while doctors have examined him .

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