Browns game sold out

9-25-01, 3:00 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The Bengals announced Tuesday they have sold out the Oct. 14 game against the Cleveland Browns for Paul Brown Stadium's third sellout and first of this season.

It will be the first home game since their 21-10 victory over defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore. They play at San Diego this Sunday before going to Pittsburgh to play the first game ever at Heinz Field.

Tim Kelly of the Bengals ticket office said Tuesday that the next two homes games Oct. 21 against Chicago and Nov. 18 against Tennessee are selling well in response to Sunday's victory.

HOMETOWN HUDDLE: A group of 13 Bengals joined with volunteers from Motorola to paint the gym Tuesday morning at LeBlond Boys & Girls Club in a rapid 45 minutes.

The event is part of the NFL's Hometown Huddle program in which a group of players from every team did some type of community work Tuesday.

Eric Ball, the club's director of player relations, headed a contingent that included JoJuan Armour, Marco Battaglia, Vaughn Booker, Jeff Boyle, Chris Carter, Danny Farmer, Nick Harris, Malcolm Johnson, Tony McGee, Kirk McMullen, Brad St. Louis, Brian Simmons and Justin Smith. The club, located at 1620 Central Parkway, is in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

SAD DUTY: Bengals fullback Lorenzo Neal won't be at practice Thursday. He'll be at Arlington National Cemetery serving as a pallbearer for his close friend, Lt. Commander Otis "Vince" Tolbert when the victim of the Pentagon attack is buried. Like Neal, Tolbert played at Lemoore High School in Fresno, Caif., (where Neal broke his rushing record) and Fresno State.

FOLEY CASHING IN?: Todd Newman, the agent for Bengals outside linebacker Steve Foley, hasn't talked to the club since turning down a three-year contract extension about three weeks ago.

The Bengals did sign defensive tackle/end Glen Steele to a two-year contract extension through 2003 Tuesday after re-doing his deal for this year. ESPN.com reported it's a $1.85 million package with a $400,000 salary hike this year. Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn said the Steele move wouldn't deter their efforts to explore extensions with Foley or other potential free agents such as cornerback Artrell Hawkins and free safety Chris Carter.

Even though Foley is headed to free agency after this season and is playing

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well, Newman will continue to talk to the Bengals. But he knows he might not have to be quick about it.

"I think we both took a step back since the season began. It's been pretty busy," Newman said. "I understand where the Bengals are coming from on their offer. But they're basing it on his production over the last few years. We think Steve is going to have a break-out kind of season."

Foley looks headed that way after a Game Ball type of game against the Ravens. He forced two fumbles and had six tackles. He was also offsides on what would have been linebacker Takeo Spikes' second interception of the game, but it couldn't take away from a solid effort rushing the passer as an end in the pass-rush package.

"I'm thinking, 'Ch-ching,'" said Foley with a smile as he imitated a cash register. "But they know I want to be here. I don't know what else I can say to them. My heart is here and I want to be here."

Foley, part of the Great '98 class of Spikes, middle linebacker Brian Simmons and Adrian Ross, very nearly signed a deal back in training camp.

"We've got a good thing going with the backers we have," said Foley, who thinks a few wins will get the unit mentioned with the NFL elite. "Definitely. We make plays. But the wins have to come first."

Spikes, Simmons and Hawkins got game balls for Sunday's interceptions. Left guard Matt O'Dwyer and tackles Richmond Webb and Willie Anderson got the offense's game balls. Linebacker Canute Curtis got the special teams ball for stripping the ball from Baltimore's Patrick Johnson on the second half's opening kickoff.

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