Curtis re-ups

9-4-02, 5:00 a.m. Updated:
9-4-02, 4:25 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

It is turning into quite a week for Bengals linebacker Canute Curtis. Four days away from making his first NFL Opening Day start, Curtis signed a contract extension Wednesday that keeps him in Cincinnati through the 2004 season.

Curtis gets the nod at left outside linebacker after Steve Foley suffered a season-ending dislocated shoulder in Thursday night's pre-season finale. Curtis joins fellow linebacker Brian Simmons, offensive linemen Brock Gutierrez and Scott Rehberg, and strong safety JoJuan Armour in a group of players who have agreed to extensions since the start of training camp.

QUICK SELLOUT UNLIKELY: Bengals President Mike Brown said Tuesday it is unlikely the club will sell out Sunday's regular-season opener at Paul Brown Stadium in time for it to be televised locally.

He also said the Bengals are short enough that they will have to do brisk business between now and the 1 p.m. game time to hit the magic number of between 65-66,000.

Brown knows what that means for the rest of September, which includes back-to-back games in Cleveland and Atlanta on the 15th and 22nd before the second home game of the season Sept. 29 against Tampa Bay at 4:05 p.m.

"There is only one way to fill the stadium and that's to win," Brown said. "That's on the team. It's up to us to show our that we're worthy of

filling the seats. This gives us a chance, starting on Sunday, to see if we can get them and the town enthused. Our fans are anxious for us to do well and we have to come through with a better record."

Brown admits there is a certain amount of tension this week around PBS simply because no one knows how the season is going to unfold.

"Every year in the NFL, you really don't know until you start playing the real games because you really can't tell from the preseason," Brown said. "That's why you've got people around here this week who are anxious. They're up in the bit. We think we're going to be good on defense and we think we're farther along on offense than we were at this time last year."

Brown would no doubt put himself in the "up-in-the-bit," category. Asked if he felt the next three games could make or break the club's standing with the public, Brown couldn't be so general.

"Every game in the NFL," he said, "is a big game."

The Bengals would have to sell out by 1 p.m. Thursday to get the game on Channel 12 in Cincinnati.

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DARNAY SIGHTING:** It was bound to happen. Wide receiver Darnay Scott, who just may have been Bruce Coslet's favorite player when the two were in Cincinnati together for nearly seven years, worked out and had a physical with the Cowboys Tuesday and figures to get a minimum deal done soon. Coslet, now the offensive coordinator in Dallas, said they aren't concerned about the leg he broke two years, but wanted to check the shoulder he hurt in Jacksonville before the Jaguars cut him this week.

"I know he can still run down field and although he hasn't been in the offense for the last two years, I think he'll be able to pick it up again," Coslet said.

The Cowboys lost Rocket Ismail for the season and all they have behind Joey Galloway is three NFL catches in second-round draft pick Antonio Bryant and second-year man Ken-Yon Rambo.

BRATKOWSKI SENTENCED: Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski was levied a $560.50 charge last week for a fine and court costs in Scott County and must serve four days in jail after he pleaded no contest to a first-offense DUI he received last month while the club was at training camp in Georgetown, Ky.

Bratkowski, 46, released a statement Tuesday through the Bengals' public relations department in which he expressed remorse.

"I experienced bad judgment for which I have no excuses but only remorse," Bratkowski said. "I

apologize sincerely to the fans and those affected by my actions. I am grateful this matter is behind me and I thank the Scott County Sheriff Department for handling the situation professionally."

Bratkowski must serve the four days in jail before Jan. 31, 2003 because his breathalyzer reading was .18. Bratkowski's lawyers explained that in Kentucky there are certain circumstances that require jail time and one of them is registering .18 or higher on a breathalyzer test. They also said Bratkowski could probably get that deadline extended if the Bengals make the playoffs. He can serve the four days in either Scott County or facilities in Northern Kentucky.

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