How did Chinedum Ndukwe react; who starts at TE this Friday; the NFL beat MLB's last Sunday

A little unknown fact. When I put together my links and notes -- which I don't call links and notes anymore -- I typically accumulate them into a single saved file throughout the day. So you'll understand this. I'm watching the Reds nearly blow the game against St. Louis. By the eighth inning the Reds have a 5-1 lead. They give up two runs in the eighth. Then in the ninth, with Francisco Cordero pitching, Brendan Ryan singles and steals second. Schumaker grounds out to third, which was nearly thrown away. Colby Rasmus singles and Ryan scores. Reds lead 5-4. Albert Pujols (or as George Grande calls him, Prince Albert) grounds into a force play to Alex Gonzalez, which was nearly thrown away. Cordero throws a wild pitch on an 0-2 count. Prince Albert, the tying run, goes to second. Then Cordero throws a 97 MPH four-seam fastball for a called strike and a Reds win. If I can go the rest of my life without remembering the days of Danny Graves pitching the ninth, it can't be soon enough.

+ We really never wondered Chinedum Ndukwe's reaction after Roy Williams was named the team's starting strong safety. Why should we? Ndukwe is all about class, all the way. But he's also a competitive football player. He wants to start. He wants to be on the field and knock out certain wide receivers from the Steelers that take shots at unsuspecting Bengals linebackers. The question was finally asked. How did he take it?

"I tried not to worry about it because all of those decisions are out of my hands," he said. "A lot of people come up to you and are like, 'What about Roy Williams?' But ... my approach hasn't changed. I'm just going about my business and taking care of me.

"I want to be the starter. There's no doubt in my mind. So I just go out and work hard in practice every day to get that spot."

"We're all on the same team," Ndukwe said. "The more solid players we have on the field, the better we're going to be overall. But I want to be on the field."

Did you expect anything else?

+ Daniel Coats finally made it back to the practice field on Tuesday after hurting his ankle last week. He was one of three Bengals tight ends that went down in the span of two days. Considering he's listed as the backup tight end, if he's able to go, he would be the team's starting tight end against the New Orleans Saints on Friday. If not, then Chase Coffman figures to start.

+ Battle Red Blog (the SB Nation blog for the Houston Texans) writes that Kevin Walter -- remember him? -- will likely play his final season with the Texans and command decent #2 money. With Cincinnati, Walter never had the opportunity for much playing time. But in the past two seasons with the Texans, Walter is averaging 63 receptions, 850 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

After the 2006 season, Kevin Walter became a restricted free agent with the Bengals. The Houston Texans signed Walter to a four-year, $6.4 million offer sheet, with a $2 million signing bonus and $500,000 in guarantees. The Bengals said, "oh, hell no" and signed Antonio Chatman instead.

Other links and notes.

NFL Network's Thomas George visited Georgetown and writes that the Bengals "certainly looked like a team that is bigger, stronger, faster and deeper."

Carson Palmer on Cedric Benson:

“Ced has been the ultimate teammate,” says Palmer, the team’s star quarterback and unquestioned leader. “He’s fun to play with, studies hard, wants to win, helps young guys and is a leader – what’s not to love? It makes me mad when I think about what I heard out of Chicago, because now I know the guy and have spent a lot of time with him, and he’s a model teammate.”

Sunday's preseason game between the Titans and Bills drew "approximately 7.9 million viewers". At the same time slot on ESPN, the Boston Red Sox played the New York Yankees. That game drew 4.7 million viewers. I would normally say that this is evidence that the NFL is kicking baseball's ass. A preseason game beats out one of the most popular rivalries in sports? Are you kidding me? However, the NFL game was also the first live action game that anyone has seen in months. We've kind of been eager to see live NFL action.

Andre Smith isn't the only holdout among first round picks. There's a lot of finger pointing going on in Buffalo with Aaron Maybin and B.J. Raji decided to just leave Green Bay.

One of Peter King's predictions to make the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame is Dick LeBeau. While it's true, he's the Steelers defensive coordinator, he also has plenty of ties with Cincinnati. You can include a dreadful stint as the team's head coach if you want. Either way. It's a good prediction.

Andre Smith has missed 12 days of Training Camp. Joe Reedy writes that Smith "is the fourth Bengals’ draft pick since 2004 to miss more than 10 days of training camp."

When the Cowboys were on Hard Knocks last year, it was about the glamour and celebrity. This year it's going to be more about football, says Tank Johnson.

“It’s more realistic here,” Johnson said. “Camp doesn’t necessarily have all the glitz and glamour that Dallas had. They had celebrities on the sideline every day and this and that going on. Here it’s just basic football. That may work for them and this may work for us.”

By the way, it premieres on HBO at 10 PM tonight (as if you already didn't know).

Arizona, Washington, San Francisco, Kansas City and Seattle have a higher percentage of first-round holdouts than the Bengals since 1995.

The performance on the entire defensive line will entirely boil down to the health of Antwan Odom and Robert Geathers.

Roy Williams lost 18 pound this offseason and "has his swagger" back:

"With him being down (in weight), he's running better," Coyle said. "But the thing that separates him is his anticipation. It's really good. He continues to get good breaks and he's able to close on the ball in the air. He reads the quarterback well, but he doesn't over-commit. He's a step or two ahead of other guys because of his ability to read the quarterback and move.

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