Updated: 10:20 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Marvin Lewis not only confirmed that Bengals first-round pick Jermaine Gresham is going to practice in Tuesday's 3 p.m. session after he inks what is reportedly a five-year deal, he is going to do it as the No. 1 tight end. Lewis also said after Monday night's practice that drew 2,800 that he'll play Gresham this Sunday in the Hall of Fame Game against the Cowboys.
That's a pretty significant move in the world of Lewis, where rookies are supposed to be seen and not heard. But the 6-5, 260-pound Gresham wowed the club during the spring workouts and Lewis likes to say he's one of the only reasons the Bengals are holding camp because their roster is dominated by returning veterans.
"So it's a good thing he's here," Lewis said. "I expect big things from him and I think he's up to the task. He's got a good group around him how it ends up shaking down."
"He has an opportunity for a good four weeks of football and be ready to go that first week," Lewis said of Sunday's NFL preseason opener against the Cowboys. "Knowing what I know now, yes (he'll play). … He's going to take about 50 percent of the snaps in practice as we get going."
Lewis says Gresham's absence in the first seven practices shouldn't inhibit his ability to start his NFL debut in New England Sept 12. Not after playing in five preseason games and practicing for a month. Plus, he was at most of the spring on-field work.
"This is the third or fourth time we've been through this," Lewis said. "A lot of the things we're doing he'll get right back into the swing of things and go. We're setting it up to teach him. This is what training camp is designed around. Your first-round pick and now that he's here, we'll stay on track."
Gresham is going to arrive with the heat with temperatures hovering near 100 degrees the next few days. But Lewis doesn't expect a problem because he's been practicing in Oklahoma.
The Bengals have to make a move to make room for Gresham on the roster, and one of the two kickers probably won't get whacked. Mike Nugent, No. 1 on the depth chart, has to take a few days off because of some soreness. Dave Rayner made all six of his field-goal tries Sunday (longest from 51) after he started camp 6-for-11.
MONDAY NIGHT WRAP: SAM linebacker Rey Maualuga tweaked his hamstring and didn't work in the last part of practice, earning a "knucklehead" from Lewis because the coach thinks he tweaked because he didn't run a drill correctly.
Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco was all over the place. After making the catch of camp in a red-zone 7-on-7 drill (he corralled a clothesline pass from Carson Palmer with a one-handed leaping snag at the goal line), he made a sliding, diving catch on the sideline against cornerback David Jones before running past Jones two snaps later and grabbing a pretty over-the-shoulder bomb from Palmer for a touchdown.
SMITH GRINDING: You remember Camp Chrock from a few years ago?
That's when Chip Morton and Rock Oliver revived the career of fullback Jeremi Johnson with an all-out training camp blitz to get him ready for the regular season with legendary three-a-days.
Oliver is now running the strength and conditioning program at nearby University of Kentucky, but Morton has teamed with new assistant coach Jeff Friday to give right tackle Andre Smith the Mort and Jeff treatment as he tries to stay in shape and get his foot right at the same time with three daily workouts of about an hour each.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports reported that Smith's weight is in the 370-pound range and Peter King of Sports Illustrated documented Marvin Lewis' frustration with his first-round pick. But Morton has been pleased with Smith's response to his program, "not only emotionally, but physiologically the numbers we're getting (show) his conditioning level is pretty good."
"Since we started Thursday, I admire his effort," Morton said. "The other day, he even beat me with one of the drills I designed. I had to come in and sit down."
No one is talking about Smith's weight, but it's clear from what has been reported that he needs to get down to 350. His return from foot surgery is also a reason he has yet to practice. Indications are the club doesn't want to put him out there after not being able to work on the field following the February procedure that attempted to heal the foot he broke just before last season began.
So he is rising at 5:30 a.m. for his first workout of the day. Then while his mates are practicing in the morning, he'll have a conditioning session. If there is no practice, he'll also lift. Then for the afternoon or night practice, Morton focuses on football skills with a variety of drills.
One is where Morton simulates a touchdown drive with a blocking sled as Smith attacks the bag for 10-15-20 yards a whistle. The other day at the end of the drill they were about 40 yards short of the goal line, but Morton was going to call it off because Smith had reached his timed goal.
"But he wanted to keep pushing it into the end zone," Morton said. "He wants go that extra. He's taking it upon himself."
Last week Smith said he's shooting to play in the last two preseason games, Aug. 28 in Buffalo and Sept. 2 in Indianapolis.
BRYANT CAUTIOUS: After practice broke Monday morning, quarterback Carson Palmer made sure he talked to wide receiver Antonio Bryant following his sixth straight practice sidelined with his nagging knee issue. Basically, Palmer told him he knew he was working his butt off to get back and that, in the end, only he knew how his knee feels.
"That's another reason you see me and him talking a lot," Bryant said. "He had a (knee) injury. I ask him a lot. Guys relate with injuries. You ask him and compare your progress to where they were in the process. It seems like the end of the tunnel is where everybody is looking."
Ever since a report surfaced last month that Bryant's problem is bone-on-bone, people inside and outside the Bengals have been looking glumly at his prospects. Everybody but Bryant. Especially Monday.
"There's a lot of progress. Everything is on the up and up. There's (been no setback) in what I've been doing," he said after talking to Palmer. "I feel very encouraged by that. I've been able to do some things with my legs drill-wise that I haven't done ever in my rehab."
Bryant said the knee felt good and he thought he moved around all right when he took the field for the first Bengals practice Thursday morning. But he hasn't been back and no one knows when he will be. Fresh in his mind is why he is here, which he believes is because he came back too soon last training camp when he tore his meniscus.
"I don't want to be in a situation where I just throw the pads on. I want to come back gradually," he said. "I'm an anxious player. I've never been hurt. I know there are things you have to battle through and I'm willing to do that. But if I'm given time I can probably heal a lot better and last a lot longer and be more effective. That's what it's all about. It's a 17-week season."
Bryant had his knee drained Sunday and he's adjusted the rehab the last few days to emphasize strengthening the quad muscles.
"It's a runner's injury," Bryant said. "The best way to get back into is the (running) motion, stretching, and making the muscles stronger."
HALL-ING IT IN: Starting cornerbacks Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph made their first appearances of the season together Monday after Hall tweaked his back working out the Monday before camp and Joseph hasn't worked since Friday after bruising his thigh Thursday.
It's like they never left last season, when they shared the club's interception lead with six, the first time any two Bengals corners had at least five in a season. Hall jumped on Carson Palmer's out route headed to wide receiver Terrell Owens, leaped, and looked like he would have had a pretty good return.
While he was missing his first six practices since college, Hall was still watching tape.
"It was man-to-man coverage and I saw the receiver start his break, so I started mine," Hall said. "The out route gave me a little more time to get there."
Hall's first injury to keep him out of a pro practice came a week ago at Paul Brown Stadium when he was doing his drills and tweaked his back.
"It was a little weird being separated from everybody," he said.
Also Monday morning:
» Dave Rayner bounced back from a bad Thursday night and hit all six of his shots, the longest a 51-yarder.
Rookie defensive end Carlos Dunlap missed his second straight practice after getting dinged Saturday night. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who had his knee rolled up Saturday night, and has missed the last two practices, is expected to work Monday night. Left guard Evan Mathis returned for the first time since straining his calf in late June. Running back Cedric Benson had the morning off and comes back Monday night.
» Bryant is wearing No. 19 after allowing Terrell Owens to take No. 81, but he says he'll have a different number in the next day or two. He says he's getting heat to take a number in the 80s. Look for No. 83. It's the only 80s number left.