ShareThis Page
Bengals’ Johnson sits out |

Bengals’ Johnson sits out

Joe Kay
| Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:00 a.m

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson didn’t participate in the Cincinnati Bengals’ first practice of training camp because his right ankle hasn’t fully recovered from surgery.

Johnson spent time Monday rehabilitating the ankle, which was surgically cleaned out last month. The ankle is still sore and he runs with a pronounced limp. He warmed up with the team on the field, then went into the trainer’s room.

“I know he wanted to be out here,” receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. “But what he’s got going on right now with his ankle is tough. But it will be cool. He’ll get better and we’ll win some games.”

Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said Johnson is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

“We knew when he came in to do his physical that he was not quite where he needs to be,” Bratkowski said. “He’ll go through certain phases of rehabilitation and conditioning and when they feel he’s at a point where he’s strong enough and back to where he can go full-speed, he’ll be on the field.”

The Bengals held their opening practice without top draft pick Keith Rivers, a linebacker from Southern California who was projected as a starter. Rivers, the ninth overall pick, is the Bengals’ last unsigned rookie.

The defense suffered a setback when Antwan Odom hurt his left foot and rode off the field on a cart. The defensive end was taken for tests that indicated he had a sprained foot. Odom was the team’s top defensive acquisition in the offseason, signing a five-year deal. Coach Marvin Lewis said there was no timetable for his return.

The opening practice also represented a major change for the franchise: Willie Anderson lined up at right tackle with the second-string offense.

The 33-year-old lineman is entering his 13th season, making him the most tenured Bengals player. He had his first significant injuries last season, when foot and knee problems limited him to seven games. Anderson made the Pro Bowl in each of the four previous seasons.

Concerned about his leg problems, the Bengals have installed Stacy Andrews as the starting right guard. Andrews filled in at right tackle for 11 games last season.

Anderson initially balked at the demotion, but has accepted it because he doesn’t want to cause a rift.

“I’ve kind of changed my stance on that,” Anderson said. “My thing now is: I want Stacy to be the starting tackle. I’m not going to fight it. I don’t want it to be a competitive situation because I’m 13 years in (the NFL) right now and I don’t have the energy to try to compete. I know that there are some things physically that in training camp, I’m not going to be able to do full-speed all the time.”

Anderson looked good in the opening practice, moving much better than he did at any point last season. The Bengals plan to limit his participation in practice to keep him healthy.

“With Willie’s situation, it’s not just an issue with one practice and how did he look,” Bratkowski said. “It’s how over a two-week period is he going to hold up• Time will be the only thing that will tell that.”

Lewis said Anderson has a chance to regain his starting job if he stays healthy and plays at his customary level.

“A lot of places, you don’t get that opportunity, but he’s earned the opportunity,” Lewis said. “Willie, when healthy, has been a great football player.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.