Ex-Bengals draw looks

9-2-03, 12:20 a.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Except for the release of kicker Neil Rackers and the claiming of his replacement in Shayne Graham, the Bengals didn't tear up the waiver wire as expected Monday even though they had first dibs at the league's leftovers.

In a departure from the usual Day-After Cutdown Day activities, more players the Bengals released had interest around the league than came to Cincinnati.

After turning down several offers for practice squads, tight end Sean Brewer was the only former Bengal to get claimed on waivers and went to a Falcons team, ironically, trying to replace Reggie Kelly after the arrival of Kelly helped end Brewer's run here.

Linebackers Armegis Spearman and Steve Foley are headed to Houston for workouts Tuesday, and defensive end Reinard Wilson has drawn some

feelers but most likely won't sign with a club until after Opening Day.

On Tuesday, the only other Bengals' move besides Rackers was the addition of rookie linebacker Keyon Whiteside, a fifth-round draft pick of the Colts out of Tennessee. They waived defensive lineman Greg Scott to make room, giving the Bengals eight linemen, seven linebackers and 10 backs on defense as head coach Marvin Lewis tries to bolster the special teams. He's keeping one more backer and one more DB than they kept last season, and on offense he cut back from the Bengals' usual complement of 10 linemen to nine. They go with three tight ends, five receivers, five backs, and three quarterbacks.

The 6-foot, 229-pound Whiteside looks to be in the mold of a Lewis linebacker: Fast. Versatile. A guy who makes plays. A former running back and punt returner in high school, Whiteside had six tackles against the Bengals Friday night two weeks after he had a team-high seven against Seattle. He had 18 tackles for the preseason after leading the Volunteers with 119 at two different spots during his senior year. He made eight starts at middle linebacker and five at right outside linebacker.

The Bengals also formed a four-man practice squad Monday, leaving a slot open. University of Cincinnati rookie running back Ray Jackson made it, as did sixth-round pick Langston Moore, a defensive tackle from South Carolina, and wide receiver Kevin Walter, a seventh-round draft pick of the Giants picked up on waivers last week. Second-year center Thatcher Szalay is also on the squad.

Foley visited Pittsburgh Monday as the Steelers seek a solution after Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter got shot in the buttocks this past weekend. Both the Steelers and the Texans play a 3-4 alignment and they like the fact that he started 11 games in that type of scheme until the Bengals switched to a 4-3 defense late in the 1999 season.

Spearman, who signed an offer sheet with Green Bay back in March, has apparently heard from the Packers but is first checking out the Texans.

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