Tuesday, August 19, 2008
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Agent says Bengals close to signing WR Chris Henry

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[August 19, 2008]  COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Cincinnati Bengals are close to signing Chris Henry, four months after they released the wide receiver following his fifth arrest since 2005, Henry's agent said Monday.

The Bengals suddenly have a need for experienced receivers with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh slowed by injuries. Cincinnati began showing interest in Henry last month when an assault charge stemming from an incident March 31 was dropped, agent Marvin Frazier said. A deal could be completed by Tuesday, he added.

HardwareThe 25-year-old Henry is traveling from Charlotte, N.C., to Cincinnati to sign a contract with the Bengals, according to ESPN.com, which first reported that discussions were taking place.

"We're in talks and we're real close," Frazier said. "I'm just glad they're willing to let the past be the past and give him a chance. I just hope that the Cincinnati fans will give him the same type of chance."

Henry recently told ESPN.com that he would stay out of trouble if given another chance by an NFL team.

"I just have to be smart and handle myself like a professional at all times," he told the Web site.


A telephone message left by The Associated Press for a Bengals spokesman Monday night was not immediately returned.

Henry still must serve a four-game suspension imposed by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Henry was suspended for the first eight games last season, also for violating the league's conduct policies. He played in the last eight games, but had only 21 catches for 343 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the No. 3 receiver.

The Bengals released him in April after he was accused of punching a University of Cincinnati student and breaking his car window with a beer bottle.


The jury couldn't reach a verdict on an assault charge, resulting in a mistrial. Prosecutors decided to drop the case after a judge ruled against them on several motions just before the retrial was scheduled to start in July.

When asked last month about the possibility of Henry rejoining the Bengals, coach Marvin Lewis said he wasn't interested.

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"I don't think it would be productive for our football team," he said. "There's responsibilities to being an NFL player. It's a privilege, it's not a right."

Johnson sprained his left shoulder Sunday night in a 27-10 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions. Pro Bowl receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been sidelined with hamstring injuries in recent weeks.

The Bengals drafted three receivers in April as they look toward overhauling their receiving corps. Second-round pick Jerome Simpson had a team-high 114 yards on five catches against the Lions' backups on Sunday, and third-round pick Andre Caldwell had a pair of catches for 11 yards. But the Bengals may not want to rush them in their rookie years.

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Frazier said the recent injuries to Johnson and Houshmandzadeh were likely a factor in the renewed interest in Henry.

"I think that's one of the reasons," he said. "But also, the boy can play."

[Associated Press; By MATT REED]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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