11-11-01, 12:00 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. _ Fred Taylor is down. Robert Bean is up.
Such was the good news that greeted the Bengals before kickoff here Sunday at ALTELL Stadium. Taylor, the Jaguars running back who has three 100-yard games against the Bengals, is sitting out his sixth straight game with a groin injury. Bean, the Bengals cornerback who missed the last game with a hamstring problem, responded well in pre-game warmups and will start the game as the nickel cornerback.
The Bengals shelved veteran cornerback Tom Carter for the season on injured reserve Saturday after he re-aggravated his injured knee in Friday's practice.
His spot is taken on the roster by rookie Kevin Kaesviharn, whose journey from arena ball to the XFL to the NFL is now complete. With Carter gone, the Bengals are left with two rookie free agents in Kaesviharn and Bo Jennings and two second-year players in Bean and Mark Roman out of the five cornerbacks who face Jacksonville's Pro Bowl passing game Sunday. Four-year veteran Artrell Hawkins is the senior statesman with 53 NFL games compared to the combined 25 games from the other four.
Carter, a nine-year veteran, missed the last game with a partial tear of his posterior cruciate ligament, joins Rodney Heath on IR, where the Bengals now find their Opening Day starting left cornerback and nickel back.
"It's the kind of injury that's very difficult because of the position he plays," said Bengals trainer Paul Sparling. "There's a lot of running backwards and stopping and starting and there just wouldn't be any consistency of when he'd be available. He looked fine Wednesday and Thursday, but one break Friday put him right back where he was."
It marks the second straight Saturday before a game that Kaesviharn has been activated from the practice squad. Kaesviharn, 25, who was teaching high school gym in Sioux Falls, S.D., the week before his NFL debut against the Lions, has been on a whirlwind. He used last weekend's bye to go home and get clothes that he hadn't been able to pack because of his quick signing to the practice squad.
The Bengals took note of Kaesviharn's 23 interceptions in two years in the Arena Football League and three last year for the Los Angeles Demons in the XFL. He signed with the Packers after the XFL, but got cut at the end of training camp.
He didn't take a snap against Detroit, but played on special teams.