Hobson's Choice: Hold out hope

Q: With training camp right around the corner is there any concern that we haven't signed a draft pick yet. Also is it possible that we don't even bother signing Rucker and Nicholson due to their legal issues at hand. I also believe that Henry will be cut due to "SKILL" reason as to avoid his ongoing legal problems. Is there a hint to this?
**--JAMIE, Columbus, OH

JAMIE:** They usually have at least someone signed by now. But since they don't report until Saturday morning, only two teams have all their picks signed, and none of the nine Bengals picks are projected as starters, there doesn't seem to be a fear there are going to be a lot of holdouts, if any. Plus, it also suggests they are working just as hard on a Levi Jones extension.

Don't look for them to cut loose Rucker and Nicholson just yet. Marvin Lewis has said all these guys, Henry included, are far from roster locks.

There's a shot Henry (like anyone) could get cut because of skill if Antonio Chatman and Tab Perry play as advertised and Henry can't run by people because of his knee injury, which is what makes him scary good.

But that's a lot of ifs. When healthy, Henry is terrific. Another way to cut him is because of "conduct detrimental to the team," and that probably can't happen until the legal system makes some decisions.

There have been no signs of the Bengals getting ready to jettison Henry because his situation is so up in the air. First, he has two court dates to get through (Wednesday and Aug. 21 in two separate cases) and second, he has to get his knee healthy.

Lewis has said Henry will be ready for camp, which means he won't be a candidate for the physically unable to perform list (PUP). A player can only go on PUP and miss the first six weeks of the season if he doesn't take a snap of practice before the season starts. But, he's also got at least a four-game suspension hanging over his head, so his knee and legal situation could take him out of things for awhile.

There are also no signs of letting Rucker and Nicholson go, although you have to believe the Bengals have plenty of leverage in getting something in those contracts to protect themselves from the pair's legal snafus.

It's believed deals for the third-rounders are just a pen away.

The club has a great relationship with Rucker's agent, David Dunn, also the agent for Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deltha O'Neal, and John Thornton. Ahmad Brooks, freshly arrived in the supplemental draft, needs snaps more than anyone on the roster after not participating in spring workouts, and would seem to be the last guy in the NFL likely to hold out. Particularly after impressing people here in his first week around some of the coaches before he heads back to Virginia to get ready for Georgetown.

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