Steussie mulls visit

3-19-01, 6:15 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

While former Pro Bowl left tackle Todd Steussie toured Paul Brown Stadium Monday, the Bengals and his agent worked on some contract numbers before deciding to talk again Tuesday.

"They've been talking with my agent and they're going to talk again tomorrow," said Steussie, who planned to fly out Monday night for a meeting with the Broncos. "I'm going to Denver, but that doesn't change how I feel about this visit. It's been positive."

Scout Duke Tobin plans to meet with David Dunn, one of Steussie's agents, during Tuesday's NFL workout at Florida State.

The Broncos are formidable foes. It's believed they began the week as one of the three teams with the most room under the NFL's salary cap in jockeying with Cincinnati and Cleveland, according to national sources. They lost their left tackle when they released Tony Jones March 1 over a $1.5 million roster bonus, and their best prospect, Trey Teague, is coming off reconstructive knee surgery.

Steussie, 30, is attractive to the Bengals for a variety of reasons as they search for an answer at left tackle that could make Rod Jones expendable. He's a bright, talented, durable guy who has been named to two Pro Bowls while starting 111 of 112 games during seven seasons in Minnesota.

"It makes Winter Park, the Vikings complex, pale in comparison in a lot of ways," said Steussie of the Bengals' stadium. "Being outdoors is quite a neat opportunity compared to playing indoors for the last seven years. The facilities are top notch. I got a chance to talk with a lot of the coaches. I've really had a great impression. . .It seems like it's an organization that has every opportunity in the world to do a lot of good things."

The Broncos, who have a four-year, $9 million deal pending with defensive tackle Leon Lett, signed Titans cornerback Denard Walker Monday. The Walker deal most likely took a minimal hit against the salary cap because the bonus pro-ration is stretched over a six-year deal.

Steussie has no bitterness against a Vikings' club that decided he was a salary cap liability after a season he counted an affordable $3.24 million against the cap.

Steussie has indicated he would take a one-year deal with a contender and he told the Cincinnati media Monday that appearing in a Super Bowl is, "definitely on my checklist," before he retires.

One reason Steussie finds the Bengals intriguing is because he's a native of the Los Angeles region who played at the University of California. He knows plenty about the last left tackle the Bengals had who held up consistently and well.

(In the span of Steussie's 111 starts, the Bengals have started seven different left tackles.)

Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz is a native of Ontario,
about an hour's drive from LA and a product of the University of Southern California.

"Actually, that's something I thought about when the Bengals called," Steussie said. "You hear plenty about him growing up in California."

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