Henry ready for game

8-7-01, 8:40 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

GEORGETOWN, Ky. _

Defensive end Kevin Henry thinks he can take some snaps Friday against the Lions after practicing for the first time Tuesday.

Henry, 32, the nine-year free agent from the Steelers, practiced with a heavily wrapped elbow three weeks after he had bone chips removed via arthroscopic surgery. He knows he starts out behind in what looks to be a joust with veterans Glen Steele, Jevon Langford and Reinard Wilson for the eighth and final spot on the line.

"I've got time. I don't think they're going to cut me tomorrow," Henry said. "I know those guys aren't going

to lay down and let me have the job."

With starting left end Vaughn Booker resting his knees Tuesday, Henry was surprised he got half the plays in the team snaps.

"But that's good," Henry said. "I felt pretty good, but I'm a little rusty. That's to be expected. It's the first time in nearly a year I've had the pads on.

"My footwork was a little off," Henry said. "My timing was a little off. I think my hand placement was good, but your hands and your feet have to be coordinated."

Head coach Dick LeBeau is hoping this Henry is the same old pro that played for him in Pittsburgh. He's even hoping he's just the Henry from last year. That's when he missed all preseason after arthroscopic knee surgery and then had to be an emergency starter at the new position of nose tackle against Baltimore He responded by playing 58 snaps and recording a career-high nine tackles.

"I'll play anywhere they want me, but I think I'll be more effective at end," Henry said.

Talk about a crowd. Bernard Whittington has looked good at end backing up Booker and John Copeland has been solid on the right side, which is where No. 1 pick Justin Smith is headed when he signs.

By the way, there was no reported progress Tuesday on the Smith negotiations.

INJURY UPDATE: OLB Takeo Spikes (ankle) was downgraded to questionable for Friday's game in Detroit, but he thinks he'll make the trip. . .TE Sean Brewer (hamstring), TE Marco Battaglia (knee), FB Nick Williams (knee) and T Freddie Moore (knee) are out. . .

RT Willie Anderson jammed his foot and was hobbled after practice, but he'll probably be able to go in the game.

DOUGHTY WARNED: The Bengals have Federal Expressed tackle Mike Doughty a letter that gives him five days to return to training camp or else.

Or else, he'll be done for the rest of the year and ineligible to play for another team.

Doughty left Georgetown College Monday after the Bengals refused to release him. On Tuesday, the club insisted on its right to keep Doughty's rights even though it appears their four tackles on the final 53-man roster are already set in starters Richmond Webb and Willie Anderson and backups Jamain Stephens and John Jackson.

"You have to worry about yourself. You can't worry about supplying other teams with your guy," said Jim Lippincott, director or pro/college personnel. "You've trained that guy. We've invested three years in

that guy and we wanted him to come back here or if he's not, then he sits out."

Frank Murtha, Doughty's Chicago-based agent, went over the consequences of a walkout with his client Monday night. But Murtha didn't hear back from Doughty until late Tuesday afternoon and he was still trying to reach him Tuesday night to tell him about the letter.

"He knows that could happen and it would mean he would be thinking about retiring," Murtha said. "But he wants to continue playing football."

For the first time in his three seasons with the club, Doughty didn't play in a pre-season game on Saturday. Jackson played the second half and overtime backing up Webb.

Murtha said Tuesday Doughty had been told he would get playing time this Friday.

"That's not the problem," Murtha said. "Except as injury protection, we don't think they have Mike in their plans. I was hopeful they would release him now so he could hook on with another team. He walked out of camp knowing the consequences. He doesn't want his spot to hinge on one of his teammates getting seriously hurt."

Doughty, 26, a free agent out of Notre Dame, has shuttled between the practice squad and roster since he signed with the team in 1998, but has yet to play in a regular-season game.

Lippincott was stunned Doughty left and left Lippincott citing one of his favorite lines: The key to survival is to never eliminate yourself.

"If he had been waived (after playing in the last few preseason games) he'd been on tape for other (teams) to see," Lippincott said. "If he stayed and someone got hurt, he would have made it. I don't agree with a lot of things he did. But he's an adult and made the choice."

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