Gilbride to meet Bengals

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Former Steelers offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is expected to interview in Cincinnati next week for the same job with the Bengals.

Bengals coach Dick LeBeau said Thursday he'll talk with Gilbride, "in a first interview," after Gilbride returns from vacation following his unexpected firing in Pittsburgh.

LeBeau said it's the only interview he has set up in his search to replace Ken Anderson.

Since the Bengals can't get permission to talk with other NFL assistant coaches who have yet to lose their jobs until Jan. 9 and their college prospects are in bowl games, LeBeau said he's mainly researching candidates instead of talking to them.

"Believe me," LeBeau said, "I didn't know it meant so many phone calls. That's where I've spent most of my time."

The volatile Gilbride, who has clashed with players and coaches on his own team during his career, strikes a deep contrast to LeBeau.

But LeBeau has high regard for his accomplishments. Plus, LeBeau is close to Tom Donahoe, the former director of football operations in Pittsburgh when the Steelers brought Gilbride on board.

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THIS AND THAT:** Thursday's MRI had backup linebacker and special teamer Billy Granville breathing easier when it showed he had only a sprained ligament in his knee. The Bengals feared torn ligaments right after last Sunday's game in Philadelphia. He won't need surgery and is expected back next week for rehab. . .

The Bengals and left tackle John Jackson have hit a snag over their views on his market value. The Bengals think a 36-year-old situational player is worth a one-year deal less than $1 million. Jackson thinks a player who played solid at a key spot as a starter over the second half of the season is worth more than that with a mutli-year deal that can pro-rate the signing bonus.

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