Updated: 7:30 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - With Jermaine Gresham slotted at No. 21 in the first round, there was some buzz after Sunday's practice that the Bengals were hoping they could get something done in the next 24 hours and get him to Georgetown College in time for Monday's 7 p.m. practice.
It would fit in with what is becoming a feel-good training camp. The 4,800 that streamed into campus made the Friday-Sunday figure nearly 18,000, a figure comparable to an intrasquad scrimmage-Mock Game weekend. Georgetown College athletic director Eric Ward said that $27,000 was generated during last year's opening weekend while $23,000 came in this Saturday alone.
Plus, about 30 to 40 percent of the Terrell Owens T-shirts and black game jerseys that are in stock here went in the first three hours they went on sale.
Bengaldom seems to be back at a full moon after last year's disappointing crowds. And the players are noticing. Owens stayed out to work the rope line again and quarterback Carson Palmer was one of the last to come in after signing autographs non-stop for about 45 minutes in another Central Kentucky scorcher.
"I signed arms. I signed a towel I had on. Shoes," Palmer said. "I did see an awesome mullet. A Kentucky mullet. I wanted to get a picture with him, but he high-fived me and took off."
Palmer has always been impressed by the intensity in every nook and cranny of Bengaldom and this weekend it was on full Who Dey display.
"The crowds have been great. The crowd was great last night. A lot of excitement, you know?" Palmer said. "I think the fans are as excited about the season as we are and they should be. We're putting in a lot of good work and we have a lot of expectations this year. It's just good to see the love we get from them. The love they show the players. Not just T.O. Chad, me and Cedric. All of us. It's fun to be out here with rookies that think no one knows them and they're calling out their names. Our fans are phenomenal. They're into it. They're vested, they're excited and they should be."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» It sounds like Gresham has been grinding it. At least according to what his quarterback at Oklahoma said recently. Sam Bradford told the St. Louis media, "Our tight end Jermaine Gresham was back in Norman, so we got together literally about every day and if he couldn't be there I would just grab either some freshman wide receivers at OU or some managers and just make sure I had someone to throw to."
» Less than 24 hours after he left the field on a cart with cramps, SAM linebacker Rey Maualuga was back on the field and provided the hit of the camp Sunday during the Bengals' second practice in pads. He got running back Bernard Scott on the sidelines at the end of a sweep, lowered his shoulder, and sent Scott flying through the air with not exactly the greatest of ease.
» After lighting up the place Saturday with some scintillating runs that had people murmuring how Scott needs to touch it more, he picked up where he left off on his first carry of 11-on-11 Sunday and made a nice cutback against the grain behind center.
But he also got bowled over in a pass-protection drill when he got planted on his back by linebacker Dan Skuta. Tight end Chase Coffman struggled in the same drill (he looked to play too high), and linebacker Michael Johnson had some nice rushes.
» The Bengals worked on their red-zone and goal-line packages and looked to have an even take offensively and defensively. Palmer hooked up on a nice floating touchdown pass to wide receiver Chad Ochocinco for about 15 yards on a flag route and the Ocho finding space between rookie cornerback Johnny Sears and veteran safety Gibril Wilson before landing on the right pylon. A few snaps later The Ocho had cornerback David Jones beat inside down the middle, but Jones was still able to pick it off. Then a few plays later Palmer was forced out of the pocket and had to hurry a throw to Owens in the left corner and cornerback Adam Jones cut underneath on the sidelines and intercepted it.
» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth said he was resting bruises and it looks like he'll be back for Monday's two-a-days. Rookie end Carlos Dunlap was out with an unknown ailment. Both starting corners, Johnathan Joseph (thigh) and Leon Hall (back) were out and could be back Monday. Wide receiver Antonio Bryant (knee) missed his fifth straight practice, but did surface wearing No. 19. There was some hope he could return next week.