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Bengals rookie minicamp wraps up

The most interesting, and developing, off-season story is accruing personnel at linebacker. Marvin Lewis is accumulating talented linebackers from free agency and the large pool of undrafted free agents. Case in point, Earl Everett:

Bengals rookie linebacker Earl Everett pulled his right hamstring at his Pro Day workout at the University of Florida. Then he had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle three weeks ago.

Now you know why he wasn't drafted. But the Bengals looked past the injuries, saw great potential and lured him to Cincinnati.

"I went back upstairs (on Sunday) and said, 'Oh, Everett didn't get drafted,' " Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. "So I called him, and he was making his decision right there. He kind of changed his mind and said he would come be a Bengal. I thought he played very sudden and very productive in college. I think he has the ability to play at this level."

Everett admits it was the phone call from Marvin Lewis himself that convinced him to join the Bengals.

"We were talking to Atlanta and Seattle, we were trying to get through to Seattle when he called," Everett said. "When the head coach called I figured they must have seen something they liked so I decided right then. I know he’s defensive-minded. I’ve been keeping up with the Bengals. They’re a great team on the rise. They get better and better every year. They have an ex-Gator player, (cornerback) Keiwan Ratliff, so I’ve been following them a little."

Kenny Irons
The Bengals staff came away after Saturday's rookie minicamp impressed with Kenny Irons. Chick Ludwig said Irons "put his dazzling speed on display". Improvement? "That's one thing coach stressed a lot — catching the ball," Irons said. "We didn't really do that much of it at Auburn. Our quarterback really didn't check the ball down to us. I know I'll be doing a lot of catching." Jim Anderson, the 23-year Bengals running back coach, compared Irons to James Brooks.

Irons isn't expected to replace Rudi Johnson anytime soon. Johnson is signed through 2009 with upcoming base salaries of: $3,550,000 in 2007, $3,200,000 in 2008 and $3,600,000 in 2009. Then again, that was similar to Rudi Johnson's uprising over Corey Dillon -- who was traded for a draft pick later to become Madieu Williams.

But it does appear my theory could be in jeopardy. I said that the Bengals could use Irons as the primary backup until Chris Perry returns from injury. But it appears that Irons is being groomed as Chris Perry's permanent replacement.

Marvin Lewis has done a tremendous job bringing in veterans of Cincinnati to address the team. The Bengals lone Hall of Famer, Anthony Munoz, still lives North of Cincinnati and joins the team anytime he's asked from Lewis. Munoz still does television broadcasts as the color commenter during pre-season games for channel 12 with Paul Keels -- the play-by-play guy on the radio for the Ohio State Buckeyes (football).

The point of Friday's alumni dinner was for veterans of Cincinnati to provide a message to the rookie class in attendance -- keep you head clean, do well for the community and sprint through the door of opportunity that's being provided for you now.

"Stay in your playbooks," said cornerback Louis Breeden while safety Solomon Wilcots warned, "There are so many different ways to lose it and so few ways to do it right," as they spoke to a group of players that may end up being part of the best secondary since they played.

Other notes

  • Chinedum Ndukwe, the Bengals final draft pick, is long-time friends with Brady Quinn. Ndukwe was ready to join Quinn after the quarterback was drafted in the first round, "when the seventh round of the draft wrapped up."

  • It took something like that to separate two players who have been close since their high school days in suburban Columbus. They have played together, hung out together, roomed together, and dreamed of making the pros together.

  • Here's something. Maurice Anderson, wide receiver from Auburn, has #14 (Kenny Anderson) on his locker. He's also the nephew of Willie Anderson. "He told me to work and listen and do what I can do," said Maurice Anderson on his first trip into the Bengals locker room. "I went to some games here when I was in college, but I never came down here."
  • Marvin White picked off a sailing Jeff Rowe pass.
  • Frostee Rucker's case has finally been resolved. His "two counts of two counts of spousal battery and vandalism" were reduced to "false imprisonment and vandalism". Rucker was placed on three years probation, "750 hours of community labor and one year of domestic violence counseling."
  • Leon Hall threw out the first pitch in Saturday's game between the Reds and Rockies. "I practiced throwing the ball around a little bit today," Hall said. "But [Bengals] coach [Marvin] Lewis blew the whistle, and we had to get going. I didn't get too much time to practice." The Reds lost.
  • Make sure you check out Mark Curnutte's day 1 observations.