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Coslet lays down law

3-19-02, 9:00 p.m.


ORLANDO, Fla. _ One of the knocks on Bruce Coslet at the end of his term as head coach of the Bengals was his failure to put his foot on the pedal and get tough with his players. Like he did when he took over for Dave Shula in the middle of the 1996 season and led Cincinnati to a 7-2 finish.

But Cowboys head coach Dave Campo is loving the firmness in which his new offensive coordinator has taken over in Dallas. Campo came here to the NFL meetings raving about Coslet's laying down of the law to second-year quarterback Quincy Carter.

"Bruce made it quite clear to him who was in charge and it was quite impressive to me," said Campo, who hired Coslet in January to revive the NFL's worst pass offense in 2001.

It seems that the Cowboys have been filming their throwing sessions because coaches can't start working

with individual players until March 25. After watching tape, Coslet bumped into Carter at the Valley Ranch facility and praised him for the passes out of his three-step drops.

"But why didn't you do any five-step drops?" Coslet asked him.

When Carter said something about it being cold and windy, Coslet cut him short and basically said, "We either do it my way or not at all."

"And Quincy said, 'You're right, Coach,'" Campo said. "That's all it took. You see something like that, and it gets you excited."

THIS AND THAT: The Bengals are looking for a veteran tight end, but one of their old ones, Marco Battaglia, is currently the Buccaneers starter after signing a three-year, $3 million deal earlier this week.

Tampa Bay General Manager Rich McKay says he's still looking for a blocking tight end to complement Battaglia's receiving skills, but he's quite satisfied with the pickup.

"We like his age (29), he's a young guy, he hasn't played all that much and we liked his affordability," McKay said. "We like the upside. He's got good hands. We liked him in college He's a good fit for us as an H-Back." . . .

David Dunn, Drew Bledsoe's agent, doesn't seem to be getting a lot of action yet for a possible trade. But he did talk to the Bengals Tuesday about setting up a visit for one of his clients in this year's draft, Texas tackle Mike Williams. The Bengals

have indicated they would like Williams to take a MRI on the draft's most talked about knee. On Tuesday, Dunn produced a letter from Dr. Carey Windler of Austin Sports Medicine that said Williams suffered a hyperextension-type injury to the right knee and "he missed no practices and missed no games. . .both knees demonstrated stable knees with no pathologic ligaments laxity. . .His current status would indicate that both knees are at a normal functional level with intact functional anterior cruciate ligaments."

Dunn, the agent for Corey Dillon and Akili Smith, could only shake his head at the rumors about Williams' knee that surfaced at the NFL scouting combine a few weeks ago.

"I've dealt with a lot of issues heading up to drafts and this is relatively easy because its black and white," Dunn said. "The combine is a cesspool of information and misinformation."

Williams, who works out at Texas Wednesday, probably won't be there at No. 10 when the Bengals pick. Best bet? The Bills at No. 4. Buffalo GM Tom Donahoe left the meetings here to check out the workout in Austin. . .

David Levine, the agent for Bengals sack leader Reinard Wilson, says his client will make a decision by the end of next week on which club he'll join. He drove over here from Miami and spoke with Bengals vice president Katie Blackburn. With teams taking a hiatus until they get back from the meeting, Levine expects things to heat up next week. Levine said the Colts told him they are still interested and he has spoken to the Bears. A high Vikings source said Minnesota isn't interested.

SUPER BOWL SITES: Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn sat in on her first meeting as a member of the Super Bowl Policy Committee, but whether games should be played in the big markets and northern climates in Washington D.C. or New York in 2007, 2008, or 2009 wasn't discussed. Blackburn said she thinks it will be close to a six-month process as the league gathers bids from cities.

The six-member committee won't recommend what the owners should do, but they will set up guidelines. Blackburn was 16 when she sat in the yellow seats at Cinergy Field on Jan. 10, 1982 in the AFC Championship "Freezer Bowl," and then made the trek to snow-stricken Detroit two weeks later for the Bengals' first Super Bowl appearance. Those experiences have left an impression and she is wary of the cold-weather sites.

"Clearly we had the advantage over the Chargers

and that has to be a consideration when you play a game like the Super Bowl," Blackburn said. "I had a great experience in Detroit. I'll always remember it. But when the game goes outside in weather like that, you have to take it all into consideration. I just think the warm weather is such a nice setting."

Steelers owner Dan Rooney flat out thinks the owner will never vote for New York or D.C. One reason is that it could open a Pandora's Box and cities like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh may want to get into the act, although the league would never go for it.

"I don't know that people would succumb to that," Rooney said. "I don't think it has much of a chance because of the weather. The biggest complaint is when we went to Detroit was from the media saying it didn't make sense.

"You have so many southern teams and they're all going to vote against it because they thin k that will take a (Super Bowl) away from them."

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