Munoz - Pickens

By GEOFF HOBSON

* Radio gig interests Munoz*

If Clear Channel is interested, Bengals Hall of Fame tackle Anthony Munoz would consider joining the club's new radio team this upcoming season as an analyst. Officials are mulling a three-man team, but there doesn't appear to be a final decision on the number or makeup of the booth.

"Nobody has called, but I'd love to talk about it," Munoz said today. "I've done some things with them the last couple of years and there's been talk of expanding my role, but it hasn't gone beyond that."

Dave Lapham, the former Bengals guard who has been an analyst since 1986, is a leading candidate to return for a 15th season. Brad Johansen, the WKRC-TV sports anchor who has worked the Bengals' pre-season games in the TV booth with Munoz the last two years, has been mentioned as the frontrunner to replace Pete Arbogast as play-by-play man.

Munoz, 41, a fixture at left tackle for the Bengals from 1980-92, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame two years ago. He has worked in the ESPN studio for the past few seasons after a stint as a Fox analyst. He has also done work for WLW-AM the past few seasons. Munoz's plan is to attend every University of Tennessee game at home and on the road so he can watch son Michael's freshman season, which has made ESPN hesitant to hire him this year.

But, "I've compared Michael's schedule to the Bengals' schedule and it looks doable," Munoz said. "It would obviously mean doing some flying, but Knoxville isn't all that far of a drive from Cincinnati. It something I would definitely take a look at if they were interested."

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PICKENS IN LIMBO:

**

The Bengals heard nothing today on the status of the NFL Players Association's grievance against the club involving the franchise player tag. Which means wide receiver Carl Pickens is still a Bengal and will be until the issue is resolved.

The club still expects to release Pickens, but there are blueprints in which the disgruntled receiver could stay on the roster. Still, the Bengals are anticipating cutting him before training camp, which means $700,000 of his bonus counts against this year's salary cap and the final $2.1 million next year.

Which means the Bengals pick up an extra $1 million more than they originally planned. But don't look for them to run at Deion Sanders or any other veteran free agent lopped from a team during the first few days of this month. Yet. The club will use whatever salary cap room it has left to sign running back Corey Dillon at a June 12 meeting. If they can't get Dillon, they will shoot for some free agents.

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