Notes: Akili returns

8 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Former Bengals quarterback Akili Smith, who last threw an NFL pass in 2002, has been assigned to the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe. Smith, a free agent, and current Bengals No. 3 quarterback Casey Bramlet hope to follow in the footsteps of the 27 quarterbacks that have gone on to start games in the NFL after playing in Europe.

Bramlet, the club's seventh-rounder last season out of Wyoming, has been allocated to the new team in Hamburg, where he will play for Jack Bicknell, the man who coached Bengals backup quarterback Jon Kitna to the MVP in the World Bowl game for Barcelona in 1997. Bramlet is a teammate of former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, but the former Nebraska quarterback is going as a defensive back.

Trade Talk

As in none. The Broncos are shopping defensive lineman Trevor Pryce, but the Bengals would have to reach a contract with him first because he counts in excess of $9 million against the salary cap. Pryce's agent is Peter Schaffer, the man that represents Bengals running back Rudi Johnson, and there looks to be no progress there, either, with the Bengals expected to put the one-year, $6.3 million franchise tag on Johnson by the Feb. 22 deadline.

All indications are the Bengals have no desire to trade backup quarterback Jon Kitna. They have him for a good price at $1 million for 2005, the last year of his contract, and the club would have to scramble to find a veteran who could play for any extended length of time in order to fit the role of the No. 2. Plus, second-year man Casey Bramlet won't be around the offense for the majority of the spring workouts because he's playing in NFL Europe.

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