10-21-01, 1:00 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
With the Bengals preparing for the Bears' multiple receiver sets, their pass rush took a hit before Sunday's first snap at Paul Brown Stadium.
Left end Vaughn Booker couldn't answer the bell with a nagging sprained ankle and went on the inactive list to become the second defensive line starter on the shelf.
Bernard Whittington, who started in place of tackle Tony Williams last Sunday, moved over to replace Booker. Glen Steele comes off the bench to make his third NFL start in Williams' spot.
The Bengals came into Sunday's game with 13 sacks, already half of last year's total, with a strategy of rolling all their linemen through a rotation to keep them fresh. But the Booker and Williams injuries could
impact the plan on a day temperatures were to reach the 70s.
They activated end Jevon Langford for the first time since the opener and dressed rookie tackle Mario Monds for the second straight week. Monds, the 330-pounder out of the University of Cincinnati, has yet to take a snap.
Steele, a fourth-year player, is coming off last week's 24-14 win against Cleveland in which he got a game ball for recovering a fumble and making a stop on third-and-one.
Like Steele, cornerback Mark Roman made his third career start and first this season in wake of last week's season-ending injury to Rodney Heath.
The Bengals' defense expected to get an emotional lift with the return of linebacker Takeo Spikes. Spikes, who missed last week's game because of his father's death, prepared for the game by taping a picture of his father on the side of his locker.
Wide receiver Chad Johnson (collarbone) was also on the inactive list with Ron Dugans now expected to get the bulk of the snaps as the third receiver. Danny Farmer, looking for his first catch of the season, also expects to see time opposite Darnay Scott on the outside when Peter Warrick slides into the slot.
The Bengals appeared to be flirting with a second straight sellout as long lines stretched from the ticket office about an hour before the game.