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Notes: Fan friendly camp sked

Posted: 5:35 p.m.

In the end, Georgetown College athletic director Eric Ward gladly takes the trade as he scans the Bengals training camp schedule.

There are only 13 dates stretching from July 31-Aug. 17, but the first three are on a weekend.

"We've had more days, like 17 and 18 and we've had fewer with 12," Ward said last week. "But the fact that we open on a weekend should really help us with attendance. It really gives us an extra weekend."

Also anticipated in the weeks before the opening of training camp is an announcement that the Bengals return to Georgetown for 2010.

"Both sides are interested in another year, but nothing is signed yet," Ward said. "We know how important that is to get that done before camp starts so everyone isn't asking about next year."

The college suffered its worst attendance in years during 2008 when the off year (7-9) combined with the even worse economy. Throw in a Monday start and there was no recovery.

But this year the first double session of the camp is Saturday, Aug. 1 with morning and night practices sandwiched by 3 p.m. practices on Friday and Sunday. Then the college gets another weekend with the annual intrasquad scrimmage the next Friday night and the Mock Game Saturday afternoon.

Now throw in a universally acclaimed draft and some veteran pickups on defense and the vibe is a lot more positive than it was last July, when it seemed both the fans and Carson Palmer sensed the season was doomed.

After that first week at Georgetown the Bengals have only four days left and the last one is on Monday, Aug. 17 after a four-day hiatus for the preseason opener in New Orleans Aug. 14.

"We're not sure why they did that, but our job is to make sure they've got whatever they need to prepare for the season," Ward said. "It's all business and that's the way we've approached it. Marvin (Lewis) has to do what's best for the team's preparations."

There are no fireworks displays after the night practices, but there will be  autograph sessions after the scrimmage and Mock Game.

Ward also said the three fields remain natural grass and have all had extensive work in preparation for the Bengals 13th summer on campus. The main field in Toyota Stadium has been re-sodded and the auxiliary fields have had more than half their surfaces reworked.


» The Bengals have apparently been in touch with the agents for all of their draft choices and with four of the 11 in the fold that may be the count going into the Fourth of July weekend later this week. If one does get in before then, the most likely candidate is fullback Fui Vakapuna, a seventh-rounder from BYU.

» The one veteran to keep an eye on is franchise player Shayne Graham. The Bengals basically have two weeks to reach a long-term deal with him if they want to use '09 salary cap. After July 15 Graham can only sign a one-year tender for the next season.

That might be a hard one to crack. Graham's agent, Rob Roche, prefers not to discuss his contract negotiations publicly and Graham very rarely comments.

But Graham is picking up where left off as the Bengals 2008 Man of the Year for his work in the community. On July 11 he'll host the Kickoff Wine Tasting and Celebration at June Jim's in Fairfield, Ohio. Then on July 24 he'll hold the second annual Shayne Graham Race-Off at the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati in Batavia, Ohio. Both events benefit his foundation.

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