Notes: Brown's high hopes

Posted: 5:55 a.m.

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Thurman

Wednesday marks two weeks since Odell Thurman was first eligible for reinstatement but there has been no word from the NFL even though the original timeline had been seven to 10 days.

But that was before Michael Vick's federal indictment in dog fighting submerged the NFL last week. The thinking is that commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff have been dealing with little else. Still, there's time even though the Bengals are scheduled to report to training camp by 3 p.m. Thursday and hold their first practice Friday afternoon. It's believed Thurman won't suit up for camp right away, anyway, because the Bengals would have to make sure that he's in the proper shape. He's not even listed on the depth chart.

"No one is telling me, but I would guess the delay is because of the Vick thing," said Safarrah Lawson, one of Thurman's representatives. "We haven't heard anything from the league. We're just waiting and there's really nothing you can say until there's a decision."

Both Lawson and the Bengals were careful to say that they don't feel squeezed by the lateness of the hour.

"I don't think we're in that position," said Bengals director of business development Troy Blackburn. "We're just waiting for the league to do what it has to do."

HIGH HOPES: During his annual meeting with the media at the training camp luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium, Bengals president Mike Brown made no bones about his "high hopes" for the upcoming season and his belief the Bengals can win it all.

"Every year in the NFL there is a group of teams very close and they're the very best teams and they can compete at the end to be champions. I think we have a chance to be in that group," Brown said. "We have some fine players. We think of ourselves as a very competitive team and if we get to where I think we'll get, we'll be in the group at the end and then we'll see if we're the one that bubbles up on top."

If you think the last two games of last year took it out of you, what about Brown? Twice he thought the Bengals had stayed alive in the playoff chase just seconds before disaster with the blown extra-point snap following the tying touchdown in Denver and Carson Palmer's 47-yard fling to Chris Henry before Shayne Graham's missed 39-yard field goal for the win against the Steelers.

Everyone, it seems, is taking up head coach Marvin Lewis' bigger-margin-of-error mantra.

"I'm sitting up there when we throw the ball way downfield against Pittsburgh and I turn to my brother (senior vice president for player personnel Pete Brown) and I said, 'My God, we've won this game.' Well, I guess not," said Brown, still grimacing.

"The week before I have to get up when we scored the touchdown and it was to make a potty call," Brown said. "When I came back out I couldn't figure out why no one was rejoicing. These things are close run things. Little miscues. You don't kick the ball straight. You drop the ball. It's one play in a game. Our fate hinged on one play or two in a game, or we would have been where we wanted to be. Well, this year we hope we don't have to worry about things like that. We'll have a bigger margin of error and make it."

SUPPORT AT TOP: Brown expressed support for Thurman as well as other players that have run afoul of off the field. Looking through a prism of seven decades in the NFL, what has Brown not seen?

"Standards are different," Brown said. "Let's face it. In the old days when guys got in a fight it was, 'Boys will be boys.' The question then was, 'Who won?' Now it's, "Is he in jail?' Being around these guys, they're good guys. They are people I'm proud to be associated with. Even those that misstep. I like them too. Almost all. I like them, too. I just want to work to get them back on the right path so they can help themselves and help us."

Brown admitted the Bengals' problems since December of 2005 (10 players arrested, three league suspensions) were "more than ever." But even though he believes it was "an aberration," he feels the club has responded, indicating they've added some consulting.

"We have to answer to it," he said. "We've tried to bring in new people that are high character people, reliable people. Internally we've hired some people to help with matters and have people consult with the players and to let them (deal with) their issues.

"Hopefully we won't be talking about it this time next year," he said.

As for Vick, Brown will also let Goodell deal with that.

"(Vick) is a great player. He's just one guy. With him or without him this league will go on. And quite well," Brown said. "I don't know the details. ... We're not going to be involved in figuring it out."

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NO SIGNAGE:** A little more than 24 hours to report and the Bengals still haven't signed any draft picks. Still, all indications are none of the second-day guys are going to hold out. But there hasn't been much conversation between the club and No. 1 pick Leon Hall and there probably won't be until more picks get signed around his No. 18 spot. The closest deal is Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons at No. 15. All other completed first-round contracts are at the bottom of the round.

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