Updated: 2:05 p.m.
After Thursday's big day at the box office, the Bengals are optimistic they can sell out Sunday's game by Friday at 1 p.m., but Andrew Brown, ticket sales manager, said "It is going to come down to the wire."
But in what they hoped was the first of a series of announcements that would end with a sellout, the Bengals have distributed 500 complimentary tickets to the game. The tickets have been distributed through a partnership with Armed Forces Ticket Association (AFTA) and through direct requests to the club. The Bengals have worked with AFTA in the past and distributed 450 tickets to local military for the opening game against the Broncos, the team said in a news release.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to reach out and thank the men and women of the armed forces who protect us every day," said Katie Blackburn, Bengals executive vice president. "It is especially timely since we are having an induction ceremony at halftime for the U.S. Marine Corps."
In the same release, Joyce Elkus, founder and director of AFTA said, "I wish you could hear the leaps of joy from the recipients when I tell them they are going to the Bengals game this weekend."
The Bengals previously announced a partnership with the United States Marines Corps that will bring more than 200 future Marines to Sunday's game. During a halftime ceremony, fans will have the rare opportunity to see hometown men and women enlist in the Marine Corps. The ceremony will honor those who are making the commitment. The ceremony will also include a video of active-duty Cincinnati Marines currently serving in Iraq.
Prior to kickoff, a special display in the Jungle Zone (located on the east side of the stadium) will allow fans to meet guests from the Marine Corps and participate in a number of special activities.
Tickets for Sunday's game are available through the Bengals ticket hotline at 513-621-8383 (TDTD). They are also available online or in person at the Bengals ticket office at PBS.
PRACTICE UPDATE:On the game field inside PBS Friday, running back Brian Leonard (groin) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (ankle) worked on the side as they have all week. Defensive tackle Tank Johnson (foot), who hasn't played the last two weeks, could take the place of Rucker on the active list. Johnson went full go Wednesday and the club backed him off Thursday and Friday with hopes he'll be ready for Sunday. Leonard is a key weapon to lose because of his blocking and receiving on third down and the Bengals may have to go with a team effort of starter Cedric Benson, fullback Jeremi Johnson and backup running back Bernard Scott.
Leonard and Rucker were listed as doubtful. Johnson, who didn't practice Friday, and safety Roy Williams, who was limited with a forearm injury, are questionable. Everyone else went full go Friday.
POSTCARD: The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for a postcard of a fall day at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday when the first-place Bengals and their four-game winning streak face the 2-3 Texans. The forecast for 1 p.m. calls for mostly sunny skies with no chance of rain and game-time temperatures in the low 50s rising to the mid 50s while a wind flutters out of the north and west at five to 10 miles per hour.