Weathersby recovering

5-6-03, 6:45 p.m.

Updated: 5-9-03, 5:05 a.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

In a quick procedure Thursday, Bengals rookie cornerback Dennis Weathersby had a bullet removed from his arm as he continues to improve from Easter Sunday's drive-by-shooting.

Weathersby, who police are calling the innocent victim of a random act of gang violence, continues to improve enough to be ready for the July 27 start of training camp. The first pick in the fourth round out of Oregon State, Weathersby looks to be close to hosting a visit by Bengals secondary coaches Kevin Coyle and Louie Cioffi in suburban Los Angeles.

Steve Cairic, one of Weathersby's representatives, said doctors are pleased with his client's recovery. He said that Weathersby has 25 percent of his blood restored and that an exam of his stomach looked particularly promising.

BENGALS SALUTE TROOPS: Head coach Marvin Lewis takes cornerback Jeff Burris and right guard Matt O'Dwyer with him Friday for a goodwill visit to Marines and sailors recovering from wounds suffered in Operation Iraqi Freedom. When the Bengals arrive at the National Naval Medical Center, they will be the first non-local professional sports team to visit the Bethesda, Md., facility.

Bengals President Mike Brown has admired the military ever since he spent two years of his youth during World War II at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where his father coached football.

"It's something that Mike thought would be great for the team to do and I agree," Lewis said. "It's an honor to be involved in even a small way to pay tribute for what they've done for our country."

Lewis has lived the past seven years in Maryland and the proximity to Washington D.C., "helps you realize what goes on there and how significant it is."

In a statement released by the Bengals, Lewis said, "We are honored to play a small part in welcoming these young men and women back home, and in honoring their service to our country. We thank the Navy and Marines for providing us this opportunity, and we look forward to what will be a very rewarding day."

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VISIT RE-SCHEDULED:** Peppi Zellner's visit to Cincinnati has been re-scheduled for Monday. One of Zellner's agents, Frank Murtha, said high winds, tornado warnings, and local flooding prevented his client from making it to the Atlanta airport Wednesday. Zellner had planned to arrive in the morning and leave in the evening, and will do the same thing Monday in a visit that could end in a deal.

Murtha has said the Redskins are also very much involved in the pursuit of Zellner, a defensive end who has played his four seasons in Dallas. One of the Redskins defensive coaches worked with Zellner when he played at Georgia Military Institute, and Redskins defensive coordinator George Edwards coached the Dallas defense when the Cowboys took Zellner in the fourth round in 1999 out of Fort Valley State. But it was believed Washington didn't have a deal with Zellner late Wednesday night.

Zellner has a reputation as a good run stopper, and the Bengals are apparently still looking for a tag-team partner with Carl Powell at left end. But Zellner came into the league with pass-rush potential, and he had three of his six career quarterback sacks in 2001 to go along with 22 quarterback pressures.

The Bengals are also apparently still interested in Chiefs defensive end Duane Clemons. Clemons visited the Bengals back in March, but it seems the Cardinals and Cincinnati have yet to match his price in negotiations.

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