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Dhani ties up May 8 for JDRF

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 29, 2010 – 4:04 pm

Bengals middle linebacker Dhani Jones is currently starring in his second season on the Travel Channel’s Dhani Tackles The Globe, but he’s working his way back to Cincinnati for the spring workouts. Before the Bengals make their 2010 on-field debut May 11, the man who started his own bow ties company has business with some friends.

Here’s a press release from the Jones’ juggernaut:

Dhani Jones and Chiquita Brands International CEO Fernando Aguirre are teaming up to increase awareness and raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  Through a new project called, Bow Ties for a Cause, Dhani has designed a signature line exclusively for the JDRF Annual Gala in Cincinnati May 8.  All proceeds benefit JDR.

Their unique friendship began in December 2009, when Fernando was a guest on the Bengals Weekly segment, “In the Zone with Dhani Jones.”  Shortly after the interview, Fernando sent a letter to Dhani, inviting him to be his guest at this year’s event where he and his wife, Citlali, will be honored as Cincinnatians of the Year.

“I was honored to be invited, and in return I wanted to do something meaningful for the event,” said Dhani.   “Bow Ties for a Cause was an idea I had after meeting with Fernando and I actually collaborated with his son, Fabrizio, to design the bow tie.  I’m known as the ‘bow tie guy’, so this was a perfect way for me to give back in the Cincinnati community.”

Fernando and Citlali became tireless advocates for JDRF when Fabrizio was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes eight years ago.

“When Dhani came to me with the idea, I thought it was great,” said Fernando.  “To include my son in the process is a testament to Dhani’s character.  What a class act for the NFL and Cincinnati.”

Dhani believes this signature bow tie will create increased awareness of type 1 diabetes while generating essential funding for JDRF.  The bow ties will be $57, significant of Dhani’s jersey number, and all proceeds will benefit JDRF.  With nearly 100 JDRF galas each year, Bow Ties for a Cause will provide a new avenue for outreach.

Dhani and Fernando continue their friendship outside of JDRF as well.  Dhani received some travel advice while recently filming an episode of Dhani Tackles the Globe.

“I gave him some tips for his episode in my hometown of Mexico City” said Fernando.  “With his love of local culture, I told him to visit the Aztec Pyramids and also gave him some restaurant recommendations.”

To purchase a bow tie, attend the gala or to support JDRF contact The Greater Cincinnati Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at 513.793.3223, or email Jen Trokhan at jtrokhan@jdrf.org.

JDRF’s mission is to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications through the support of research.  For more information about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, please visit jdrf.org.


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Vet watch begins

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 27, 2010 – 8:26 pm

With the Ken Hamlin visit on Wednesday, the post-draft veteran watch begins.

But the Bengals wasted no time claiming a kid Tuesday when they plucked Cedric Peerman from waivers from the Lions. The Bengals eyed the 5-9, 210-pound Peerman before the Ravens drafted him in the sixth round last year and hopped all over him when Detroit cut him Monday.

They are looking for a backup that can go behind Cedric Benson, Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott, and be able to tote it 20 times in a game if Benson has to miss any length of time.

Here’s a prediction: The Bengals will find that guy when he gets cut in the preseason, and the guess is that it will be a guy with some pretty good experience.


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Hamlin tweets visit

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 27, 2010 – 7:03 pm

Ken Hamlin, a free safety who has started 96 NFL games, has tweeted he’s visiting Cincinnati with the Bengals looking for some depth that they didn’t get in the draft.

Hamlin, 29, started 12 games for the Cowboys last season but Dallas wasn’t looking to pay him the $5.6 million he had due this upcoming season. He had started every game for three straight seasons before a high ankle sprain took him out of four games last year.

A second-round draft pick of Seattle in 2003, Hamlin joined the Cowboys in ’06 and when he came up with a career-high five interceptions the next season they gave him a big deal. In that ’07 season he teamed with Bengals starting strong safety Roy Williams, but Hamlin has had just one pick since Williams left.

The Bengals are looking for a backup to join Chinedum Ndukwe behind Williams and free safety Chris Crocker.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys guaranteed Hamlin about $1 million of the $5.6 and that they’ll pay him the difference of his salary if there is a gap.


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Three Ochos for Chad

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 26, 2010 – 9:19 pm

 

Ochocinco

Chad Ochocinco’s trip back to Cincinnati last week must have revived his dancing because he came up with his highest score of the competition with three 8s Monday night on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars doing the Argentine Tango.

Then he came back and got seven extra points when they finished fourth in the swing dance marathon. He ended up with some good lifts and leaped over partner Cheryl Burke’s head a few times. 

Call it eight catches for 143 yards.

The Ocho and Burke came to Paul Brown Stadium last Friday to shoot a segment for Tuesday’s 8 p.m. results show as well as take in the Bengals draft party  Thursday night while also getting in some rehearsals at a downtown studio. Bengals strength coach Chip Morton said Burke tried a few stations in the weight room and while she told The Ocho she’s “no athlete, I’m a dancer,” Morton said she was “a good sport.” Morton got a particular charge out of her request to put The Ocho’s head on the spot where she was bringing down a sledge-hammer coontraption.

Word is Burke and The Ocho took a football out to the field after she checked out his locker and tried on a couple of helmets. They also apparenlty signed a couple of footballs for a Marvin Lewis Community Fund auction.


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Next up…

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 26, 2010 – 5:02 pm

Look for the Bengals to look for a few things between now and training camp:

  • A contract with veteran tight end Reggie Kelly. Not taking USC’s Anthony McCoy in the fifth round seemed to indicate that.
  • A veteran running back in the Larry Johnson mold who can lug it 25 times if Cedric Benson has to sit out a few games. Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott are perfect spot players, but the Bengals need a backup bellcow. Which would seem to suggest they’ll go with four running backs and one fullback.
  • The fullback is Fui Vakapuna and while the Bengals have had interest in re-signing Jeremi Johnson, it doesn’t look to be mutual or they would have got it done before the draft.
  • They’re probably in the market for a fourth safety. Tom Nelson was a different player after he got hurt.

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Lewis wraps up draft

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 24, 2010 – 5:37 pm

Lewis

A few quick hits from head coach Marvin Lewis’  news conference after Cincinnati’s last pick in this year’s NFL Draft on Saturday.

Referring to the selections of Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham, Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley and Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Brisco, “Our No. 1 goal this offseason has been to give Carson (Palmer) threats, weapons and put people in place to enhance our passing game and get us back to where we were.”

The defensve players, Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee, Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins and Texas linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy, enthused him: “They all have great physical tools. Intellectually they’re all very intelligent and give us an opportunity to take them and improve them on their upside potential. They obviously look the part and that’s big.”

The drafting of Illinois State guard Otis Hudson in the fifth round and Iowa State center Reggie Stephens in the seventh round:  “Improving the depth on our interior offensive line was one of our goals. We left the draft room feeling really good about filling a lot of the needs of the team and my perceived goals at the end of the season as we’ve tried to improve and I think we’ve done it.”

The Bengals didn’t get a safety after they explored trading up to get USC’s Taylor Mays in the second round and Lewis said they stayed true to the draft board rather than make a pick for a need.

“We have a couple of guys here who we’ve trained to be safeties,” Lewis said. “It’s like the apprenticeship program we had on the offensive line. We feel like we have some people already that hit us better than some other guys maybe would. (Rico Murray? Keiwan Ratliff? Tom Nelson?) We didn’t feel like there was anybody that would hit us that would upgrade where we were.”

With the signing of kicker Mike Nugent and Shayne Graham apparently waiting for a better offer (maybe the Jets with the top eight rule), Lewis indicated he’s ready to go on to other matters.

“We’ll see,” said Lewis when asked if Graham returning is an option. “We’ve got to get ready to move on. I can’t determine what Shayne wants to do or his representation. We’re getting ready to play football the way the team is at this point.”


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Nugent kicks back at home

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 24, 2010 – 10:53 am

Nugent

Mike Nugent has been close to a Super Bowl a few times.

He kicked for the Jets in the playoffs a few years back. And when he was six years old his parents decided to leave him and his siblings home in Centerville nearby Cincinnati while they went to Super Bowl XXIII as Bengals season-ticket holders.

So you can imagine the jolt that went through his family Friday when he signed with the Bengals as the Bengals continue to wait word from Shayne Graham about their offer. The Nugents haven’t had season tickets since the last days of Cinergy Field/Riverfront Stadium, but Nugent knows if Graham moves on in free agency and he beats out Dave Rayner, the tickets situation is going to change suddenly.

“That was about the time the Ohio State tickets became the focus, but I would think there would be a move back,”  Nugent said Saturday morning from Columbus, Ohio. “My brother and his girlfriend are really fired up. She’s from Cincinnati. They’re diehard Bengals fans. Yeah, they love Carson and Chad. I think those guys are a given.”

Nugent fell out of the league almost as quickly as the Jets took him out of Ohio State in the second round of the 2005 draft. He hit on 80 percent of his field-goal tries in his first three seasons, but since he injured one of his quadriceps kicking off early in 2008 and missed the rest of the season, he has tried just eight field goals and made half of them for Tampa Bay and then Arizona at the end of last year pinch-hitting for the injured Neil Rackers.

“I went two for two in Arizona, hit them really good, and I think my leg is stronger than at any point,” Nugent said. “I think I can build on that. The (injury) is something I figured was just one of those things you can’t worry about anything you can’t control. I’ve been in the weight room working hard on building up my leg and trying to improve on kickoffs. If you can help your defense by putting the offense in a hole, you’ve helped yourself.”

Nugent has had trouble kicking off in the past, but he felt he did it pretty well when he worked out for the Bengals in January at PBS.  He can’t worry about what Graham does because he agreed that, “I’m just happy to have a chance again to make a team.”

And it is the hometown team. That year his parents went to Miami he was like every other Cincy kid and was a big Ickey Woods fan. Later in the ‘90s he became a follower of kicker Doug Pelfrey when he began going to the games regularly. From 1994-96, Pelfrey won six of the Bengals’ 18 victories on the game’s last snap.

“He was so successful and he was just the kind of guy that was so solid and had a lot of confidence when he took the field,” Nugent recalled.

Nugent won the job in Tampa Bay during the last preseason, but he had a curious run. His first kick there got blocked and then he missed one. He didn’t get a chance for a game or two, and although he made two field goals the Bucs cut him when he missed tries from 48 and 49.

“They were long, but I’ve got to make those,” Nugent said. “I think that’s just a rough stretch that every kicker seems to go through and that I can get back and be better than I was.”

By the way, he’s one-for-one at PBS. He kicked a 24-yarder for the Buckeyes in their win in 2002 when the field was not as nice as it is now.

“The Bengals did a great job with it,” said Nugent of the FieldTurf that was installed in 2004.


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Gresham: I hate to lose

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 23, 2010 – 6:26 pm

Bengals tight ends coach Jon Hayes was right.

Jermaine Gresham is a big man. The 6-5, 265-pounder towered over head coach Marvin Lewis for the obligatory jersey photo at Thursday’s news conference at Paul Brown Stadium.

As he sat down at the news conference table, someone said, “The center of attention.” He said, “No, I’m just a piece of it.”

After a meet and greet with a VIP draft party of team sponsors and suite holders, a relaxed Gresham met the media in a dress shirt, powder blue tie, and a Bengals baseball cap.

“I hate to lose,” he said.

Asked if he’s talked to quarterback Carson Palmer yet, Gresham said he hadn’t but he could know why Palmer will like him.

“Easy to find. Big target,” he said. “A catching machine.”


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Gresham changed Sooners

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 23, 2010 – 5:21 pm

 Jay Norvell says we’re going to be surprised when we get our first look at Bengals No. 1 pick Jermaine Gresham, the Oklahoma tight end expected to meet the Cincinnati media for the first time at about 5:30 p.m. Friday at Paul Brown Stadium.

“He always surprises people when they meet him in person. He’s a big, big man,” said Norvell, the Sooners passing game coordinator. “When he got back from the combine, I asked him, ‘They were surprised at how big you were, weren’t they?’ He just smiled and said they were. He’s easily 265 pounds and 6-5 and he’s got those big rangy arms.”

The Sooners may have had three of the top four players taken in Thursday night’s first round and two of them were quarterback Sam Bradford and tackle Trent Williams, but it was Gresham that Norvell says “changed us as an offense.”

“We were a spread offense and he gave us the flexibility to go double tight ends and run the ball more,” Norvell said. “Yeah, we had the quarterback and some great linemen, but Jermaine’s versatility allowed us to be so flexible and yes, no question, we were able to go more no-huddle because of his ability to give us heavy formations and he could also split out and be dominant in the matchups with linebackers and safeties.”

Norvell should know. He coached NFL tight ends for six seasons, four with the Colts and two with the then AFC champion Raiders from 1998-2003. He is not comparing Gresham to future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, but only comparing his style since he saw Gonzalez for two years in the AFC West.

“He’s a classic power forward type of athlete,” Norvell said. “He can run the two routes that separate tight ends in that league. The down-the-field seam routes and deep corner routes. There aren’t many guys that can do that and in-line block.”


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Kelly welcomes Gresham

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 23, 2010 – 11:28 am

Kelly

This is why Reggie Kelly is so admired around these parts.

After finishing a workout on a field near his Northern Kentucky home Friday morning, he returned a phone call and immediately praised the selection of the guy that at some point is going to end up taking his job as the Bengals No. 1 tight end.

“It was a smart move, honestly, and I applaud the Bengals for making it,” Kelly said of Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham. “It was a sound business decision and I wish the young kid nothing but the best.  I don’t know much about him, but from what I’ve heard he plays tough.”

That doesn’t mean Kelly is ready to hang them up. At 33 and coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, he believes he’s got something left to give and he wants to give it to the Bengals. After the draft, the plan is to talk with Jimmy Sexton, his agent, to see what the next step is. He has had some feelers from other teams (“I don’t want to give the number,” he says), but his first choice is to return to a locker room where he has been held in high regard for the last seven seasons as their spiritual leader.

On Friday, “The Reverend”  acknowledged that Sexton and the Bengals are talking and said that money and length of the deal are probably the two things that have to get hammered out.

“When you get long in the tooth and coming off a crucial injury like this one, teams are going to be hesitant,” he said. “I realize that. They’re not sure if you can hold up for an entire season. I think if I can get my foot in the door, I think I can show people that I can still play.”

Kelly has said he worked out for the club the first week of April and felt he showed his repaired Achilles is stronger than his healthy one.

“Money isn’t my main thing,” Kelly said. “If I were to leave Cincinnati, it would have to be the right fit because I’m comfortable here and my family is comfortable here.”

Gresham couldn’t have a better mentor for his first year or two in Kelly, a deeply religious man who plays with the heart of a gladiator. Kelly’s physicality as a blocker has always been an X factor in protecting quarterback Carson Palmer and springing the running game.

“There’s the fun side of football and then there’s what I do. The dirty work,” Kelly said with a laugh. “But I like the excitement, too.  I watch SportsCenter, too, and I like to watch guys catch touchdown passes and make big plays like this kid. I would play a backup role and be a mentor, but my mindset would be that I can still start. I’ll always have that mindset that I can start.”


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