Darryl Williams shelved

8-13-01, 6:00 P.M.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

GEORGETOWN, Ky. _ The Bengals fear they have lost backup free safety Darryl Williams with a broken left ankle for at least six weeks and possibly for the season.

Williams got hurt here at Georgetown College in Monday's afternoon practice without pads during the Bengals' pre-season bye week. A linebacker apparently rolled up his ankle during team drills.

But Bengals trainer Paul Sparling would only call Williams' injury "significant," and sent Williams to Cincinnati for more conclusive X-Rays with associate team doctor Angelo Colosimo.

If the ankle is broken and Williams is out six weeks or longer, it is doubtful the club

would keep open a roster spot for him and would be forced to put him on season-ending injured reserve.

Williams, 31, has never played less than 13 games in his nine-year NFL career that began when the Bengals drafted him in the first round in 1992.

And he's played in all 16 games for all but one season. He returned to the Bengals last season after spending four years in Seattle and started all 16 games before Chris Carter was moved ahead of him on the depth chart back in the spring.

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