Sulfsted returns to homestead

9-4-01, 11:30 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The other draft picks cut by the Chiefs in Kansas City the other day just shook their heads.

They told Alex Sulfsted, the Miami of Ohio tackle the Chiefs took in the sixth round, that he was crazy. He had just told the guys he would stay and go on Kansas City's practice squad.

Unless one team called.

His hometown Bengals. The Dolphins had called, but he didn't bite.

"They said, 'You're crazy,' " Sulfsted said with a laugh Tuesday after signing on with the Bengals practice squad.

In a day of moves (Sulfsted and Mario Monds signed, Tom Barndt cut), the Bengals also released wide receiver Damon Griffin after reaching an injury settlement and he was headed for a tryout next Tuesday in St. Louis.

After Sulfsted signed, he looked out a window of an office overlooking Paul Brown Stadium, pointed, and said, "I mean, isn't this great?"

The kid's got a future in public relations if this tackle thing doesn't work out. But the enthusiasm is genuine from a guy who was 10 years old living in the Cincinnati suburbs when the Bengals went to the Super Bowl and played at Mariemont High School.

"I know exactly where I was watching that game," Sulfsted said. "On a bus

coming back from a ski trip."

Here's a guy who still has a six-pack of Who-Dey beer. Here's a guy who worked out with Bengals Hall-of Famer Anthony Munoz and son Michael the past few years at Mason High School. Here's a guy who for the last few summers would phone director of pro/college personnel Jim Lippincott to get a pass to the Bengals training camp for a few days

"I sat up in the top row last year at the Jacksonville game," said Sulfsted, pointing again, this time to where he spent one of the coldest days in Bengals history. "It was miserable. . .From Day One I've been a Bengals' fan"

Oh yes, here is a guy they think also has a chance. Lippincott says Sulfsted has "dancing beer feet." Offensive line coach Paul Alexander sees some versatility in the 317-pounder and will try him at both tackle and guard.

"You look at his body and you think he's an inside player," Alexander said. "But his feet are quick and you think he might be able to play some tackle."

Alexander worked him out on one of his scouting trips and liked his athleticism, balance and feet.

"He's got good change of direction and he was a good athlete in high school. He was a basketball player of some renown and Miami recruited him as a tight end," Lippincott said.

Bengals President Mike Brown seems to have heard about his hands.

"Mr. Brown mentioned something about tight end," Sulfsted said with a smile after meeting the boss. "I know as a young guy I've got to learn as many spots as I can so I can do as many things as I can."

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