Fisher faces rust

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals cornerback Charles Fisher, who likes to surf the web, said Wednesday's practice felt like he was sitting down at a computer for the first time in more than a year and discovering there was new technology.

That's because he hadn't covered a receiver in pads for 414 days, or ever since he tore three ligaments in his left knee against Tennessee last season.

"The first half hour was bad. Bad. Rusty," Fisher said. "Then it got better as the practice went. By the end, I felt good and it's going to get better each day. I hadn't backpedaled or reacted in a long time. It's like taking the training wheels off."

Fisher said he won't try to rush impressing the Bengals. The club has three weeks to decide if they will put him on the 53-man roster, cut him or, shelve him for the year on injured reserve. Fisher knows it won't come overnight.

"For the first part of practice, he looked like a guy who hadn't played in 414 days," said trainer Paul Sparling. "It's going to take a couple of weeks to get a good perspective on it."

DILLON TRIAL SET: Bengals running back Corey Dillon won't have to worry about his legal problems during the season. On Wednesday, a judge in Federal Way, Wash. set Jan. 22 for his trial on a fourth-degree assault charge against his wife that was filed by the city.

Dillon has denied hitting his wife in an August incident and Desiree Dillon has since requested the court drop a no-contact order. She and the couple's year-old daughter were at Paul Brown Stadium two weeks ago when Dillon set the NFL single-game rushing record.

"This gives them a chance to work through some things and for Corey to concentrate on the season," said Jesse Franklin, Dillon's lawyer. **

MORE DILLON:** The record for most yards in three straight NFL games? Walter Payton's 604 in 1977. Sweetness sandwiched 192 yards against the Chiefs and 137 yards against Detroit around his record 275 against Minnesota.

That means Dillon has to rack up 190 yards this Sunday for the record. Against Baltimore's top-ranked rush defense yielding just 68 yards per game. But then again, Dillon got his 278 against a Denver defense that was giving up 65 yards rushing per game.

By the way, Dillon is one 100-yard game shy of tying James Brooks for the club record of 17 100-yard games. Dillon trails the Colts' Edgerrin James by 183 yards for the AFC rushing title. Plus, his 5.2 yards per carry average is the only one among the AFC's top 13 rushers that's in the 5s.

THIS AND THAT: C Rich Braham (knee) has been cleared to play Sunday, but if he does it will only be sparingly. . . With LT John Jackson out with a pulled hamstring, Rod Jones comes back off the bench with Jamain Stephens possibly in the wings in a move from backup right tackle if something happens to Jones. . .

RT Willie Anderson is expected to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a lower back strain. . .So is DE Vaughn Booker, out Wednesday with lingering soreness from Sunday's game. . .FB Clif Groce (knee) practiced Wednesday and is probable. . .S/LB JoJuan Armour (toe) is doubtful. . .

MLB Brian Simmons (knee) said he won't be back until the last three or four games after getting hurt in the opener. Asked if it was worth coming back so late, Simmons said, "You're a writer, you want to write. I'm a football player. I want to play football."

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