|Bengals sign kicker Aaron Elling with Shayne Graham sidelined by bruised hip|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 29 August 2007 10:36|
CINCINNATI (AP) -Shayne Graham walked with a slight limp on Wednesday, leaving the Cincinnati Bengals unsure whether they will have one of the NFL's most accurate kickers available for the season opener.|
The Bengals signed Aaron Elling as his replacement on Wednesday, giving them someone to kick in the final preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts - and beyond, if needed.
Graham bruised his right hip while helping make a tackle on a kickoff during a preseason game Monday night in Atlanta. He hasn't kicked since.
``They're telling me to sit out this week, and hopefully things will be fine and I'll be able to play the first game,'' Graham said. ``So I don't see there's anything to worry about.''
If he doesn't heal fast, the Bengals will have a concern going into the Sept. 10 opener against the Baltimore Ravens. Graham made the Pro Bowl in 2005 and was 25-of-30 on field goals last season.
The seventh-year kicker is No. 2 on the NFL's career accuracy list behind Mike Vanderjagt, making 84 percent of his field goal attempts.
At least for one game, he's being replaced by a former head-to-head competitor. Elling and Graham competed for the job in Seattle in 2002. Graham wound up going to Carolina later that season, and Elling failed to get a job in the NFL.
Elling kicked for Minnesota in 2003, going 18-of-25 on field goal attempts. He was primarily a kickoff specialist the next two years with Minnesota, Tennessee and Baltimore.
Jacksonville waived him on Sunday. Elling watched the Bengals' game Monday night on television and noted that Graham had to leave because of the hip injury.
He glanced through newspaper ads for job openings on Tuesday, figuring it might be a while before some team called with an offer.
``I was looking at some marketing jobs, some different things,'' he said.
He was at a mall with his wife and daughter later Tuesday when the Bengals called his cell phone. He'll handle kickoffs and field goals against Indianapolis on Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium.
``It all depends on him,'' Elling said, turning his head toward Graham. ``I know my role is just to get the team through this week and see how Shayne is doing.
``I think they wanted someone with little bit of experience in case he's not ready for the season opener. I can provide that for them. We have a game this weekend and if I do good and maybe Shayne is not ready, they feel comfortable.''
The Bengals had several developments Wednesday involving injured players.
Right tackle Willie Anderson, who has missed all of training camp with a chronic condition in his right foot, returned to practice on a limited basis. He doubts that he'll play Friday night against the Colts, but is hopeful of starting the season opener.
Anderson said the foot will bother him all season.
``I played with a similar knee injury in '04, and it's going to be the same scenario again, just me toughing it out,'' Anderson said.
Coach Marvin Lewis was encouraged by the progress running back Chris Perry has made in practice recently. Perry broke his right leg in a game against Cleveland last November and hasn't fully recovered.
Lewis has expected Perry to start the season on an injury list, but was more optimistic on Wednesday.
``He's made good progress,'' Lewis said. ``He had a great workout yesterday, and it's just a matter of where he is. He came in this morning and he wasn't as sore, but that's not football. You have to keep pushing and going forward. We have a couple of more days before we have to make that decision.''
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