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Miffed Lewis challenges Smith; Leonard to return

Updated: 2:45 p.m.

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is no longer hiding the fact that he is furious with right tackle Andre Smith's failure to be ready for training camp.

Smith, fighting foot and conditioning problems, has yet to practice and at a news conference Wednesday, Lewis said that Smith starting the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) is "a viable option."

Lewis did indicate that running back Brian Leonard won't miss the season with his foot injured Sunday night.

"He'll be a couple of weeks before he's back to healthy. When it heals he'll be back out here ready to go," Lewis said. "I can't look into the future and go beyond that. There's nothing that says he would be out for the year or he would be on IR today."

He was much clearer about Smith.

"If he doesn't get to where I want him to get in the time frame I want him to get there," said Lewis of the list that would knock Smith out of the first six weeks of the regular season.

"Andre is going to figure out how to become a pro and do things the way it's asked to do all the time. Hopefully he continues to do it in a timely fashion. Otherwise, I'm not going to go through this year in and year out."

National reports have put Smith's weight in the 370-pound range, but strength coach Chip Morton reported last week that he had been reacting well to three-a-day workouts. Part of Lewis' frustration is that he knows Smith, last year's first-round pick, can be a factor at a spot now manned by Dennis Roland.

"He's doing OK. That's not a 'well.' It's not a jumping jack. That's not a back flip. He's doing OK," Lewis said. "He's being monitored hourly. I know he could help our offense had he been in here competing with Dennis to play. But I'm not going to let the offense get held back waiting for Andre to figure it out."

At least there is a time frame for Smith. He would have to either be on the 53-man roster or PUP by Sept. 4.

But Lewis doesn't seem to have one for wide receiver Antonio Bryant and his troubled knee that has kept him out of all but one practice.

"He's doing well. I wish I could tell you tomorrow is the day, but we're not quite there yet," he said. "It's a tough thing because you're working through a lot of pain and coming back day-to-day when you're working hard on the joint to strengthen everything around it. But he's doing the work and he's doing other treatments we wish would have been done on the leg and they weren't. It's part of the process and we're going to let it take time and see how it comes out and hopefully it comes out positive for the kid."

Unlike Smith, Bryant isn't eligible for PUP because he has already practiced.


» Mike Nugent (groin) still isn't ready to kick, so Dave Rayner had another shot Wednesday at a round of field goals and he went 6-for-8, including two from 49 yards. And his one miss from 49 came when the field-goal team wasn't aware it was being called on and he had to try it in his sneakers. It was a bad miss left.

But Rayner showed some resiliency when he came back in his cleats and snuck the next 49-yarder inside the left post after tight ends coach Jon Hayes stepped into the play and blew the whistle to ice him like a timeout. Rayner's other miss was a 42-yarder right and the makes inside 49 were from 32 and 38.

» Hayes ended up getting his when the team broke the huddle at the end of practice and quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Cedric Benson came charging at his back with a cooler of water and baby powder to celebrate his 48th birthday. With their wingman, tight end Reggie Kelly, immersing Hayes in a serious conversation, Hayes never had a chance and he ended up with wet caked powder from head to foot.

"Of all the people to deceive me," said Hayes as he looked at Kelly, the man known in the locker room as "The Reverend." Then he shook his head at the Palmer brothers, the two biggest pranksters on the team, and said, "I should have known." The word is it came right out of the Jon Kitna playbook.

"Reggie was talking like there was a crisis at home and I was hanging on every word and they blasted me good," Hayes said. "They got me. They got me good."

» Defensive end Robert Geathers is having a much mellower birthday. He turned 27 Wednesday and spent time after practice with his son, Robert III. Hard to believe, but this is the same place he turned 21 back as a rookie.

"Time flies, doesn't it?" he asked.

» Wide receiver Terrell Owens, soon to be a USA Today cover story, again stood in the sweltering heat (Lewis said the heat index was 105 at the end of practice) for about 10 minutes and took on an all media comers. The best exchange came when he was asked how much longer he'll play:

"Maybe I'll take the Brett Favre route. Tell you guys I'll retire and then ponder it. See if they offer me $4 million to come back."

» Converted linebacker Dan Skuta got a good look at fullback when the Bengals went semi-live on the goal line and in a run drill. He caught a touchdown pass on the goal line in the middle of three straight TDs for the No. 1 offense. And in the run drill he took on WILL backer Keith Rivers and while he got knocked over he did get a good enough piece of Rivers that Lewis clapped, "That's the way to hit."   

» Linebackers Rey Maualuga and Roddrick Muckelroy left practice early when the heat seemed to do them in.

» Owens got taped in the middle of practice for an arm he originally scraped Sunday. He's chewing it up with Carson Palmer in red-zone drills against defenders, hitting him in the back of the end zone on one play and getting him a fade in the corner when Owens turned early on cornerback Johnathan Joseph.

» But the passing game struggled a bit in the final 11-on-11 of the morning. Owens and The Ocho dropped slants from Palmer and when Palmer tried to go to Owens on the right sideline, Joseph cut in front for what would have been a coast-to-coast TD. Palmer's only completion in the set went to rookie receiver Jordan Shipley.

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