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Old friends start new season

Updated: 2:35 p.m.

The Bengals get to see plenty of old friends during this year's preseason schedule that includes another Monday night game and a Cincinnati visit by the Super Bowl champions.

After the opener in Detroit on probably either Aug. 10 or Aug. 11, the Bengals open their home season on probably either Aug. 17 or 18 against the NFC runnerup Saints with former Bengals Brian Simmons and Kevin Kaesviharn returning on the New Orleans defense.

Then the Bengals make their first of two national television appearances in two weeks when they travel to Atlanta to play the Falcons on Aug. 27 in an 8 p.m. ESPN game that marks the second straight season they've made it to a Monday night in the preseason.

In Cincinnati, the ESPN telecast will also be aired by a non-cable station yet to be announced. All four games will be televised live regionally on the Bengals Preseason Network.

Last year Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer made his stunning '06 debut following reconstructive knee surgery when he engineered a 48-17 win over Green Bay on a preseason Monday night at PBS.

The game also pits Hue Jackson against his old team. Jackson, coach of the Bengals record-breaking receivers the last three seasons, has been chosen to revive Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's career as new head coach Bobby Petrino's offensive coordinator.

Then the Bengals play their first-ever regular season prime-time opener on ESPN two Mondays later against the Ravens on Sept. 10. Before that, on Friday, Aug. 31, they close the preseason against the defending NFL champion Colts at PBS in a kickoff that has yet to be announced.

For the third preseason in the last four the Bengals have hosted the Super Bowl winner. They routed the Patriots in 2004, 31-3, and lost the next year, 23-13.

With training camp traditionally opening 15 days before the first preseason game, it looks like the Bengals will open at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., on either July 26 or July 27.

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