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Smith Gets the Call From Bengals Again

September 24, 2002|From Associated Press

Akili Smith is back as the Cincinnati Bengals' starting quarterback.

Coach Dick LeBeau, whose team has scored 16 points in an 0-3 start, said the third overall pick in the 1998 draft will start against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Smith, the Bengal starter in 2000, had been languishing as the third-stringer.

He has the ability to scramble for yardage if his receivers are covered, an element that the Bengals' other two quarterbacks--Gus Frerotte and Jon Kitna--lack.

"I was a little bit shocked," Smith said of his reaction when LeBeau told him of the promotion. "Thank God for the opportunity. That's all I've ever wanted, was the opportunity.

"My season begins now. I'm not even thinking about being 0-3."

LeBeau said he is making no promises beyond Sunday as he tries to right his team. He said Kitna will be the No. 2 quarterback and Frerotte will be demoted from No. 1 to No. 3 to rest his right thumb, injured earlier this season.

LeBeau said he also expects to announce other lineup changes on Wednesday, including promoting Levi Jones, the No. 1 draft pick, at left tackle ahead of veteran Richmond Webb.

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Center Cory Raymer had surgery on his ruptured left Achilles' tendon and will be out for the season, the first major injury suffered by the unbeaten San Diego Chargers this year.

Raymer was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's 23-15 win at Arizona. Rookie Jason Ball, an undrafted free agent out of New Hampshire, replaced Raymer and will start Sunday when the Chargers play host to New England in a matchup of 3-0 teams.

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Staring guard Dave Fiore probably is out for the rest of the San Francisco 49ers' season after tearing a ligament in his right knee.

Starting linebacker Jamie Winborn will miss five to eight weeks because of a knee injury. Both players were hurt during the 49ers' 20-10 victory over Washington on Sunday.

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Green Bay defensive end Vonnie Holliday will miss six to eight weeks because of a torn chest muscle and starting safety Antuan Edwards is out for three to four weeks because of a broken arm.

Holliday was hurt Sunday during the Packers' 37-31 win at Detroit. Coach Mike Sherman said fifth-round pick Aaron Kampman will take Holliday's place. Matt Bowen or Marques Anderson will replace Edwards

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The Houston Texans, allowed to begin the season with three extra players under NFL expansion rules, cut their roster to the league norm of 53 players.

The Texans waived offensive lineman Chad Overhauser, free safety Kevin Williams and linebacker Troy Evans.

The team also cut fullback Ed Stansbury from the practice squad.

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