Names interest Bengals

2-22-2001 BY GEOFF HOBSON

INDIANAPOLIS _ After the NFL's "Bloody Thursday," the Bengals plan to discuss some of the players released as teams scramble to get under the salary cap a week before free agency opens.

The free-agent boards in the NFL war rooms looking for pass rushers and run stuffers on defense went through major changes Thursday when the Rams put Ray Agnew and D'Marco Farr on the market and the Bears took defensive end Bryan Robinson semi-off by making him a transition free agent. As expected, defensive ends Kevin Carter and Jason Taylor are now untouchable free agents because of the franchise tag.

The Bengals are intrigued by defensive tackle Ted Washington, cut by Buffalo, but they want to discuss his age of 33 and other factors before deciding if they want to pursue him. And no calls to agents will most likely be made until the Bengals return early next week from the NFL scouting combine held here this weekend.

"Some of the names interest us," said Bengals President Mike Brown, who expected the raft of releases because so many teams are bumping against the cap.

"What you're seeing is the older, oft-injured players who are getting released," Brown said. "But we'll talk about some of these guys."

One of them will be Washington, a University of Louisville product who could suddenly make the Bengals stingy against the run teamed with tackle Oliver Gibson if Cincinnati decides he has something left.

Angelo Wright, Washington's agent, said Thursday he also doesn't plan to get on the horn until all teams return from Indy.

Wright said his failure to get a deal with the Bengals last year for defensive tackle Sam Adams wouldn't be an obstacle.

"They thought they

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** could get some players at a better price, but that's fine," Wright said of Adams, a key member of the Ravens' Super Bowl defense.

"Ted's at the point in his career where he'd like a Super Bowl, but he knows if a team goes out and gets three guys, any team can win," Wright said. "He likes the Mid West and at this point a grass field is going to be preferred. (If the money were right), he would look at a team like Cincinnati. He's the kind of guy who can help push a team to the next level. Help a team like the Bengals go to something like 9-7."

Tom Donahoe, the Bills' new general manager, said Thursday the club had no choice but to release Washington. He would have counted $7.66 million against this year's cap, far too much for a player on the field for 52 percent of the snaps.

But Wright said Washington has at least two solid years and left and probably more.

"He's going to immediately help the defense of any team he goes to," Wright said.

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