Rudi: Stay tuned

Updated: 11:30 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS - The Bengals certainly didn't showcase running back Rudi Johnson Thursday night by mysteriously icing him here in the preseason finale.

But while Marvin Lewis suggested he was resting him for the opener, Johnson said he could be gone by then and didn't rule out getting cut.

"Anybody can get cut, right?" Johnson asked when asked if he thought it could happen. "Keep your TVs and your cell phones on and all that good stuff and see what happens."

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Johnson

Johnson, who hasn't played in a preseason game yet after last year's season was marred by a hamstring injury, was miffed about a report earlier in the week that said he was getting shopped in trade deals.

Lewis, in turn, hasn't been pleased that he has been unable to gauge how far Johnson has come from his '07 hamstring problems because he hurt the other hamstring in the first week of camp and basically didn't practice until this past Monday and Tuesday.

Although Lewis said that Johnson and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh could have played Thursday night, he hinted he was keeping them fresh for Sept. 7 in Baltimore.

"We wanted to make sure they were at full strength. They only had a week of practice, which is not exactly what you had hoped to have had," Lewis said. "Actually two days of practice. That's not as though we had a full week. So now we have a chance to get everybody with a full week under their belt. Particularly coming off what they were coming off. You don't want to overstress the muscles."

Johnson seemed stress free, but he's also still expecting a move.

"If that's what he said, that's what he said," Johnson said. "The season starts Sept. 7, right?"

On Tuesday he said he thought a trade was imminent. On Thursday, he said, "You never know what is going to happen."

"We'll see. It's out of my control, you know. You're asking the wrong one, bro," when asked if he expects to be a Bengal.

Johnson looked like was close to full speed cutting and moving laterally. He said he wasn't surprised he didn't play, but at that point it gets a little murky.

"I felt good," Johnson said. "That was the plan. They stuck with the plan ... I'm not going to tell you if I knew the plan."

What the Bengals have planned is hard to guess. Johnson is set to make about $4 million this season and they haven't seen him carry the ball yet after two years his yards per carry has dipped to 3.5.

The other side of it is when healthy, he's been one of the most durable backs in team history and from 2004-2006 he had the best three-year run of any Bengals running back with 4,221 yards and 36 touchdowns.

None of the other three veteran running backs have carried more than 178 times in season. Only Kenny Watson has carried double-digits in a game while Chris Perry has done it nine times and DeDe Dorsey seven. Perry and Dorsey have a combined 94 NFL carries. In November 2003, when Johnson staked his claim as the heir to Corey Dillon, he had 100 rushes in five games.

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