PBS in spotlight

5-17-02, 7:55 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Paul Brown Stadium is no longer the NFL's newest facility. But as the building heads into its third season, you wouldn't know it from its press clippings.

In an industry rarity, the design has been singled out by the nation's two premier architecture magazines. In this month's issue of "Architectural Record," and the April edition of "Architecture," PBS has been able to push sports stadiums on to pages usually reserved for the design elite of office buildings, museums and universities.

The "Record," named PBS as one of the four best stadiums in the world that, "help prove that traditional architecture needn't be the answer to the problem of how to design sports stadiums that can provide iconic imagery to help revitalize cities."

Designed by the Los Angeles firm of NBBJ, PBS finished third behind Japan's Sapporo Dome and American Airlines Arena in Miami and ahead of the renovated Indianapolis Speedway with what the

magazine calls "a good neighbor," design.

"We're thrilled to be featured in these two publications because in the past these types of buildings hardly have been recognized," said Teena A. Videriksen, NBBJ's director of marketing. "Usually they have been large, concrete ovals in the middle of nowhere with very little emphasis in design, but now this shows sports stadiums are going to another level."

In April's "Architecture," the story "Touchdown Cincinnati," is in the table of contents with "Resistance is Futile," and "Architecture That Shreds." A quote from NBBJ design principal Dan Meis regarding the Bengals ends the story with, "Here was a potentially conservative client who was asking us constantly to push this into something new, something contemporary, and that it be forward thinking and not in any way retro."

Both magazines emphasized the skill in which NBBJ integrated the design with the city.

According to "Architecture," PBS is "sliced open at the corners to reveal dramatic views of the skyline and the river. Opening the corners of the stadium was both good urban design and good business."

The stories come on the heels of PBS receiving the 2001 Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects (California Council), the first time a NFL Stadium has received the award from the prestigious AIA. The stadium also received the 2001 National Merit Award I.D.E.A.S. Awards for Innovative Design and Excellence in Architecture using Structural Steel.

"When we sat down with NBBJ to tell them what we wanted, our goal was to have the best stadium in not only the NFL, but anywhere," said Troy Blackburn, the Bengals director of business development who headed up the stadium effort. "This kind of recognition certainly backs up what we're trying to do."

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THE BRAT:** Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski left Friday night to attend Monday's 11th annual "The Brat," celebrity golf tournament in Memphis, Tenn. The tourney honors Bratkowski's late brother, killed in a 1990 jet ski accident, and raises money for St. Jude's Children Hospital and other children's charities in Memphis.

The tournament, which is overseen by Bratkowski's father, Zeke, a 16-year NFL veteran, has raised more than $1 million. The field at the Colonial Country Club includes a slew of Super Bowl quarterbacks such as Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, and MVP of the first two Super Bowls, Bart Starr, the man Zeke Bratkowski backed up in Green Bay. Also on the list is MAS*H star Wayne Rogers.

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SCREENS AND DRAWS:** The Bengals and the agent for second-round pick Lamont Thompson got nowhere Friday in contract talks and there is no indication Thompson is going to be here Tuesday when the Bengals start their third week of voluntary workouts.

Thompson missed the mandatory minicamp because of a dispute over injury protection and while the coaches say he is still in the hunt for the starting free safety job the club gave him after the draft, Bengals President Mike Brown sees a changing landscape.

"The burden of proof now shifts to him and that's the result of not being here at the minicamp," Brown said Friday.

With the amount of the NFL rookie pool the same as last year, the Bengals aren't looking to give

Thompson a bigger bonus than the $1.39 million last year's ninth pick in the second round received. The size of the bonus has snagged the deal because both sides are apparently in the ballpark on length of the deal and the amount it will take out of the Bengals' rookie pool.

Agent Mike Sullivan still doesn't want Thompson going into workouts without the same injury protection agreement the Bengals gave first-rounder Levi Jones and the Bengals still don't think they have to give Sullivan something in writing when they have given their word about bargaining in good faith even with an injury.

In Thompson's absence, defensive coordinator Mark Duffner moved strong safety Cory Hall back to free safety and has been giving a bunch of snaps to Mark Roman and some to sixth-rounder Marquand Manuel.

Manuel has been impressive at safety, but the Bengals think he can also play free and he'll have to because the safeties are virtually interchangeable in the Bengals' scheme.

Sideline talk Friday alluded to the David Verser-Cris Collinsworth draft of 1981, when the second-rounder Collinsworth beat out the first-rounder Verser at wide receiver.

But Duffner has high regard for Thompson and tolerates no depth-chart talk in May.

"You can't tell anything in shorts," Duffner said. "Especially with a position like free safety. You only find out when guys start tackling. We're not playing chess out there. It's way too early to talk about if we'll stick with Cory (as the No. 1 free safety) heading into camp. I've been impressed with all the guys, but it's only May. . .

Linebacker Chris Edmonds made his debut at tight end Friday and was promptly given the No. 82 jersey of the recently released Tony McGee. It was not lost on Edmonds that the man has caught 299 balls in the NFL while he's trying to learn offense. Not the offense. Just offense. He ran two plays and didn't get a ball.

"I felt funny because when I lined up, I knew the defense," said Edmonds, who spent most of his rookie year last season on the practice squad. "But I couldn't take advantage of it because I didn't know the offense." . . .

Head coach Dick LeBeau got all the team's work in Friday by doing some drills inside and then working outside in the rain for a brisk 45 minutes late in the morning in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. . . .

Don't look for wide receiver Darnay Scott to be back on the field Tuesday. Trainer Paul Sparling said he'll have to do some rehab running for his sore shin and get cleared by doctors before getting in some work. . .

Hall sat out Friday with his sore shoulder he sprained Thursday, but he can probably go next week. . .

The Bengals have eight more voluntary workouts with four next week (May 21-24) and four the week after (May 28-31). . .

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