Sports Today: Cincinnati Bengals ready to get started for real

Sept 05, 2017
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Cornerback William Jackson intercepts a pass intended for Cody Core during the first day of Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp Friday, July 28 at the practice fields beside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Welcome back from a long holiday weekend. What did you miss on the local sports scene? 

The Cincinnati Bengals made their final cuts, set their practice squad then made a few more moves

They kept seven receivers, and they got a lot younger

The Bengals also got a little smaller on the defensive front, trading high-potential, low-yield Wille Clarke for short-but-productive offseason acquisition Chris Smith. 

Four of the players drafted in April didn’t make the active roster, which seems like a lot until you remember they had 11 picks. 

›› 6 things to know about 2017 Bengals roster

Two undrafted free agents made it: Hardy Nickerson Jr. and Cethan Carter. 

Nickerson is the son of a Hall of Fame NFL linebacker who was the subject of an awesome Nike commercial in the 1990s.  

They are also keeping around third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel, who suffered a hand injury 

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That means they really like Driskel, a former five-star recruit who endured something of a college odyssey that began with verbally committing to Urban Meyer at Florida, suffering through the debacle of Will Muschamp era with the Gators then finished at Louisiana Tech, where he threw for over 4,000 yards in 2015. 

What does it all mean? Well, he must have a lot of physical talent to have been rated where he was coming out of high school, and the Bengals must really like him after keeping him last year and not only doing so this year but designating him as someone who could return to at least practice later in the season… 

The Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association and the Cleveland Association of Rescue Employees Local 1975 announced they will not take part in anthem ceremonies prior to the Browns’ season opener after a dozen or so Browns players staged an anthem protest during one of their preseason games. 

If only someone had warned them such a demonstration might have unintended consequences while stirring little, if any, talk about their actual cause. 

Oh yeah, that’s exactly what Hue Jackson and Jim Brown said would happen

Crazy… 

The Cincinnati Reds won in dramatic fashion yesterday as Billy Hamilton smacked a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. 

Homer Bailey didn’t get a decision, but he pitched well over six innings. 

Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano both had solid starts of the weekend, too, but did not get much run support. 

In what was bigger news, Bryan Price confirmed he will be back as the Reds manager in 2018. That’s probably going to require some closer inspection later today or later this week… 

The first weekend of college football was awesome, as expected. 

Tennessee closed it out last night with a 42-41 win over Georgia Tech, whose triple-option offense is still fun to watch. 

Ohio State got work started on a top 10 matchup with Oklahoma, who will challenge the Buckeye secondary that had some ups and downs against Indiana. 

Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano pointed out yesterday the Sooners receiving corps is also fairly callow, so that could be the area that turns the game. 

Ohio State’s defensive line, featuring should-be short-yardage back Robert Landers, will be in a strength-on-strength matchup against an experienced, talented group from Oklahoma... 

On the high school scene, longtime Dunbar coach Peter Pullen won’t be brought back to lead the Wolverines boys basketball team

He told Marc Pendleton he feels like there is a vendetta against him after a scandal engulfed the football team late last season. 

The four-time state champion also applied for the head coaching position at Wayne when it was open in the offseason, and he said there was a dispute about some legal issues involved with a summer basketball tournament Dunbar hosts annually. 

The Wolverines lost two talented players to a northeast Ohio prep school in the offseason. 

In other high school news, Springfield, Trotwood-Madison, Beavercreek, Centerville and Fairmont are among the football programs who are 2-0 on the season

So is Belmont, which hasn’t allowed a point yet, while Northmont stunned a Fairfield team loaded with talent but still looking for its first win of 2017. 

Wayne got into the win column by shutting out Olentangy Liberty one week after being humiliated on national television by a powerhouse from Pennsylvania.