Chris Henry practices with winless Bengals for first time since suspension
Both were watching.
Owner Mike Brown crossed a downtown street to the team's practice field -- part of his daily routine -- for Henry's first workout since he served a four-game, league-imposed suspension for misconduct. Brown released Henry after his fifth arrest last April, then made a stunning about-face and brought him back over the objections of coach Marvin Lewis.
They're all together again, trying to get an 0-4 team its first win.
Henry had to sit out the first four games because of his latest violation of the NFL's conduct policy. The Bengals have a one-week roster waiver allowing Henry to practice without being added to the active roster. He worked out with the scout team on Wednesday, playing the part of Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens against the Bengals' starting defense.
"Everyone seems like they're real happy to see me back and ready for me to be back out there, making plays like I do," Henry said. "It feels good to be out there working with my team and trying to get my stuff together. I felt real good out there. I'm just trying to show the coaches that I'm ready to go as soon as they give me a call."
Lewis said the team will decide later in the week whether Henry plays Sunday in Dallas, a move that would reunite him with another troubled player from West Virginia. Henry and cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones were drafted in 2005 and got into so much trouble individually that they were a catalyst behind commissioner Roger Goodell's crackdown.
The former Mountaineers teammates have talked about their potential reunion.
"Just a little competition thing, you know," Henry said. "That's all."
Henry has been arrested five times since the Bengals drafted them, though the latest charges were dropped during the summer when his assault trial ended in a hung jury. Jones, acquired by Dallas in April, has been arrested six times and involved in a dozen incidents requiring police intervention since Tennessee drafted him in the first round in 2005.
Jones was suspended for all of last season. Henry was suspended for the first eight games last season, then the first four this season.
"I've talked to Chris several times," Jones said. "I know he's happy to be back on the field. I know he was kind of down. I told him to keep his head up. Me and Chris have been talking since.
"When I was suspended my whole year, I talked to him a lot. Me and Chris are best of friends. He made some bad decisions, he had to deal with the consequences, same that I did."
Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski was impressed with how Henry looked in practice Wednesday. The receiver wasn't allowed to work out with the team for the past four weeks, but stayed in shape by catching passes from former University of Cincinnati quarterback Gino Guidugli.
"Chris looked like he was in excellent shape and he's been working extremely hard," Bratkowski said. "You can always tell with Chris where he's at when you watch him, because it usually takes him awhile. You can tell he's been working very hard because he looked very good today."
Both Bratkowski and Lewis said it's likely that running back Cedric Benson will play in a reserve role against the Cowboys. The Bengals signed Benson to a one-year contract on Tuesday because they didn't have a fully healthy running back.
Starter Chris Perry was limited in practice Wednesday because of a sore hamstring, which the team hadn't previously revealed. Reserve Kenny Watson sat out practice with an injured hamstring. DeDe Dorsey went on the injured reserve list Tuesday with a hamstring injury.
Benson was released by the Bears following two offseason arrests in Texas involving alcohol, but the cases were dropped when grand juries chose not to indict last week.
"It probably helped a lot," Benson said. "I don't know if it was the deciding factor. I think when push really came to shove, some team would make a move. I'm sure it [the dropped charges] eased a lot of teams' minds."
The Bengals were getting him ready to play at least part of the game on Sunday.
"You can't get him ready to do everything, but you can give him set things and say, 'OK, if something happens to Chris, here's what we're going to do with you,' " Bratkowski said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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