Warrick/Dillon/FA Signings/Kresser

By GEOFF HOBSON

Warrick in numbers crunch

It's a numbers game for Peter Warrick.

When he arrives for mini-camp Friday, Bengals equipment manager Rob Recker will give Warrick No. 80. Warrick wanted No. 19 (no, not for Keyshawn Johnson, just because), but Recker has to adhere to an April 4 NFL memo sent to all equipment managers, head coaches and general managers that said, "Numbers 10-19 may be utilized by wide receivers new to the League in 1995 ONLY when there are no jersey numbers available from 80-89. Players currently in the League are not permitted to change their jersey numbers from an 80s number to a 10-19 number.

Johnson came into the NFL in 1996, but his No. 19 has been "grandfathered," and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are prepared to give it to him. When Johnson joined the Jets, he wanted No. 13 because his college number was 3, but the Jets weren't going to give him the number of Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Don Maynard.

Warrick wore No. 9 at Florida State, but complicating the Bengals' number crunch is that new backup quarterback Scott Mitchell has No. 19 and Warrick's college and Bengal teammate, Ron Dugans, wore No. 80 at Florida State and would like it in the NFL.

Warrick said he'd give Dugans No. 80, but that doesn't solve his crisis. He'd like No. 88, but that's taken by tight end Steve Bush. With Warrick at No. 80, all the Bengals' 80s are spoken for at the moment. Dugans took former quarterback Jeff Blake's illegal No. 8 for mini-camp, but with six receivers wearing 80s, at least one figures to open up for Dugans before the season starts.

Other new numbers: cornerback Mark Roman, the No. 2 pick, is 38, fourth-rounder Curtis Keaton, a running back, has 29, cornerback Robert Bean, the fifth pick, is 49, kicker Neil Rackers, the sixth pick, is No. 5, and seventh-rounder Brad St. Louis, a long snapper, has a tight end's number of 48.

THIS AND THAT:

The Bengals are still trying to secure a meeting with running back Corey Dillon and agent Marvin Demoff at Spinney Field before Friday's mini-camp. . .The Bengals signed three free-agent wide receivers today

  • Louisville's Lavell BoydC.W. Post's Eddie HardawayTony Hartley, Akili Smith's Oregon teammate.

VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY:

Bengals quarterback Eric Kresser lit it up in NFL Europe this morning, leading Berlin to a 28-21 victory in Barcelona. Kresser threw for 292 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions and the Bengals were delighted with his 20-for-33 passing.

Tight end Damian Vaughn had his second straight eight-catch game, gaining 47 yards that included a one-yard touchdown. Barcelona coach Jack Bicknell sent the following scouting report to Bengals director of college/pro personnel Jim Lippincott on Vaughn: "Excellent player, good hands. Athletic enough to be split out in four-receiver set."

There is no next year for Vaughn, a seventh-round pick out of Miami of Ohio who has spent two seasons on the Bengals practice squad.

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