With Williams gone, defense could be key

Originally Published: September 1, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Miami Dolphins: In anticipation of low-scoring games after the surprising retirement of running back Ricky Williams, the Dolphins bolstered their already strong defense Wednesday.

The Dolphins signed veteran defensive end Chidi Ahanotu to a one-year contract that ESPN.com's John Clayton has learned is worth $785,000, including a $25,000 roster bonus.

Last season, Ahanotu appeared in all 16 games with the San Francisco 49ers, recording 30 tackles and four sacks. Over his 11-year career, the 33-year-old has amassed 535 tackles and 42 sacks in 161 games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and the 49ers.

  • Miami also waived long snapper William Delahoussaye.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Already beset by injuries on the offensive line, the Bengals took another hit when starting center Rich Braham underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, placing in question his availability for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the Jets.

    Braham, 33, is known for his toughness and played nearly the entire 2001 season with a herniated neck disc, and much of the 2000 campaign after arthroscopic surgery on both his knees. But expecting that the 11th-year veteran can rehabilitate in the 11 days left until the opener might be wishful thinking.

    Cincinnati is already without the starting left side of its offensive line, as tackle Levi Jones continues to rest a sprained knee and guard Eric Steinbach tries to fight through the aftereffects of offseason elbow surgery. One of the NFL's top rookies at any position in 2003, Steinbach underwent so-called "Tommy John" surgery in the offseason and lasted only one series in last Friday's preseason game at Atlanta.

    Injuries have also sidelined two backups and the Bengals, who conclude preseason play on Friday night against Indianapolis, are down to just seven healthy linemen.

    -- Len Pasquarelli

    Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals placed running back Marcel Shipp and fullback James Hodgins on injured reserve and claimed running back Aveion Cason and defensive tackle Shaun Smith off waivers.

    Shipp broke his left leg and ankle in an Aug. 6 training camp scrimmage in Flagstaff and will miss the entire season. He played in all 16 games for the Cardinals last year, starting 11, and rushed for 830 yards.

    Hodgins has been sidelined all preseason by a shoulder injury.

    Both Cason and Smith were waived Tuesday by Dallas.

    Cason played in 10 games last season for the Cowboys and rushed 40 times for 220 yards with two touchdowns.

    Smith, an undrafted rookie free agent, spent all of last season on Dallas' practice squad.

    Kansas City Chiefs: The Texans traded punter Steve Cheek to the Chiefs for a conditional seventh-round selection next year.

    Cheek has spent time in four NFL training camps and played for the past two seasons in NFL Europe.

    He was not going to make the Texans as Chad Stanley has a firm grip on the job in Houston. However, he had looked impressive in camp and had the second-best preseason average among AFC punters at 46.2 yards.

    Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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