Now

Updated: 5 p.m.

Only Sam Wyche (132) and Paul Brown (115) have coached more Bengals games than Marvin Lewis (81). Among the Cincinnati coaches who have coached three full seasons, only Forrest Gregg (.545) has a better winning percentage than Lewis (.519).

But while those three took the Bengals to multiple playoff berths and Wyche and Gregg went to Super Bowls, Lewis still seeks a second playoff game and his first playoff victory. And heading into his sixth season, his urgency is as plain as the huge white word on the back of shocking orange T-shirts he just gave his team.

"NOW."

"No reason for me to elaborate on it right now," Lewis said after Wednesday's practice.

The man who gave you the "Do Your Job" T-shirts in the 2005 AFC North title season has made it even more brief.

NOW.

"He said in the first meeting we had that we've got enough talent in this room right now to win the Super Bowl," said quarterback Carson Palmer. "I think his point is don't wait for things to happen. Don't think we're going to be a good team in years to come. ... We need to be aggressive, we need to want it, we need to go for it. Now's the time."

Dhani Jones, the newly installed middle linebacker drawing praise from new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as a leader, senses the whiff of urgency even though the pads don't come on for another two months.

"We're right here right now. We're starting off now," Jones said. "We're going to move to the ball now. We're going to make plays, we're going to make interceptions now. We're going to win games now. We''re going to bond now. We're going to forge ahead. Because last year many people, including myself, thought it was unacceptable."

Chinedum Ndukwe, the second-year safety who started the final two games of last year, was ready to edit.

"I think it's great. I think if they put, 'The Future Is Now,' on top of it, it would be even better," Ndukwe said. "I think it should be for everybody's message. If we keep losing, there won't be too many of us around here for very long. I think there's a sense of urgency for both players and coaches."

But for the umpteenth time, the 28-year-old Palmer said he doesn't sense windows closing.

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Palmer

"If you look at Tennessee a couple of years ago when they had all those salary cap issues. The 49ers for the last couple of years. We currently don't have any issues," he said. "We're not strung out in a bunch of contracts like the New York Knicks. Everybody has a window in their own career, but we have a young team.

"I don't think our window is closing any time soon."

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Lewis refuted reports that he told one of Odell Thurman's representatives that Thurman's offseason absences from Paul Brown Stadium led to Monday's release. Safarrah Lawson has indicated that he believes the Bengals cut him because he didn't return to voluntary workouts after his grandmother's May 12 funeral.

"His grandmother has been buried quite awhile," Lewis said. "Don't get into his whole family structure (as) an issue. We've been patient enough with Odell. He's no longer here."

Lawson responded with, "My only comment is that Betty Thurman was buried May 12th at 1 p.m. (Camp) started May 13th and he was released May 19th. I stand by what I was told."

But the Bengals' issue appears to be Thurman's overall attendance from the time NFL commissioner Roger Goodell allowed him to return to the facility in late January.

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Zimmer

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Last week before the Bengals began their voluntary workouts, Zimmer made it clear that he wouldn't tolerate mistakes, would hound on technique, and that he would not be a beloved figure.

After the fifth workout Wednesday, you could safely say he'd come as advertised.

"He's aggressive. He'll bark at you. He'll let you know that he's around. He'll let you know what he thought you did right and what you did wrong," Jones said. "He's going to be a harsh critic. He's the type of guy that's not going to hold back. He calls himself the "Hustle Coach," where he's not going to let anybody slack off, not let anybody rest on their laurels or become complacent. He's going to make sure there is a certain level of expectation. Accountability is around everybody."

To use a phrase made famous by Bengals special teams coach and Kansan Darrin Simmons, this isn't his first rodeo. Zimmer, retained by Bill Parcells in Dallas and considered for a couple of head coaching jobs, is hard boiled and he wants to make it hard for the offense.

"No easy catches. No easy runs. No yards after catch," Zimmer said as he walked off the practice field Wednesday. "Make tackles when you're supposed to make tackles."

Zimmer's favorite defense in Dallas was the faceless unit in 2001 that finished fourth in the NFL after the 19th-ranked unit the year before finished dead last against the run.

"Nobody respects us," Zimmer said. "We have to outwork everyone else."

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Eight of the 10 Bengals draft picks were on the field Wednesday, including No. 1 pick Keith Rivers, one of the starting outside linebackers. Not on the field were fifth-rounder Jason Shirley and seventh-rounder Angelo Craig. Craig and his fellow University of Cincinnati rookies can't practice until June 11 because of the school's calendar.

Shirley had a court date in Fresno, Calif. to face charges from last Oct. 8 that include DUI, driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, and hit and run.

Lewis looked to be giving a few veterans days off during the voluntary workouts. Not dressed Wednesday were running backs Chris Perry and Kenny Watson, safety Dexter Jackson and linebacker Corey Mays. Perry, coming off a dislocated ankle, looked sharp in the last week's workouts and it is believed he is just getting a rest, but Lewis had no comment after practice.

Coming off the field, Perry said he worked Tuesday and is just getting a rest but he doesn't know if they'll let hm work Thursday.

Wide receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, along with starting tackles Willie Anderson and Levi Jones weren't at the practice, which is the fifth voluntary workout of the spring.

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One of the observers at practice was Florida coach Urban Meyer and his father. He watched his old wide receiver, third-round pick Andre Caldwell, run by cornerback Leon Hall for a long ball from Palmer.

Safety Ethan Kilmer, tryng to come back from a knee injury that wiped out all last season, had an ice bag on his knee before he left practice early.

Andrew Whitworth, at left tackle for Jones, and Stacy Andrews, for Anderson at right tackle manned the offensive line.

No changes looked to be in the offing at backer in the wake of the Thurman release. With Mays not practicing, Jim Maxwell backed up Dhani Jones at middle linebacker. Ahmad Brooks and Darryl Blackstock worked behind Rashad Jeanty at SAM.

Also working with the second unit, cornerback David Jones picked off a ball two snaps after he collided with a teammate and was slow to get up.

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With Perry and Watson shelved and Rudi Johnson not at Wednesday's session, free-agent rookie James Johnson out of Kansas State got a ton of carries in the running periods.

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