Ratliff in fold
8/5/2004 - 12:05 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
Ratliff and the Bengals have reached agreement on a contract. (AP Photo)
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - The Bengals reached a deal with second-round draft pick Keiwan Ratliff Thursday here at Georgetown College and the former University of Florida cornerback is expected to be here in time to attend some of the afternoon practice.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed the four-year deal after meeting with Bengals vice president Paul Brown Thursday morning to finalize numbers that had apparently been hung up because of a contract the Cowboys had struck with tackle Jacob Rogers, three spots behind Ratliff at No. 52.
“I knew if we could meet face-to-face, we could get it done because we’ve got a good relationship with Paul and the Bengals,” said the Miami-based Rosenhaus.
** Continued from Homepage **
Ratliff had a standout collegiate career at the University of Florida. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The deal leaves first-rounder Chris Perry as the only unsigned rookie of the club’s 11 draft picks. He’ll become the first top pick not to appear at the intrasquad scrimmage since Justin Smith three years ago if he doesn’t sign by Friday night.
Rosenhaus acknowledged that the Rogers contract, a raise of about 10 percent over last year, was one of the sticking points in a contract in which the signing bonus is in the area of $1.2-1.5 million.
"Neither side was rigid and tried to be as flexible as possible," Rosenhaus said. "I hate a player missing camp, and we gave a little, and they gave a little and that's how you get deals done. I respect that this team is very disciplined and is not going to allow one deal to affect the way they do business, which is admirable. So we found some other ways to get it done."
Ratliff, a Columbus, Ohio product, had been the clubhouse favorite after the draft to be the nickel cornerback. But head coach Marvin Lewis indicated Wednesday that Ratliff’s seven-day holdout has put him third in a derby with fellow second-rounder Madieu Williams and Terrell Roberts.
Williams, a safety from Maryland taken seven spots behind Ratliff at No. 56, has emerged as the top rookie of camp and could assume that corner slot job ever before the Sept. 12 opener in New Jersey against the Jets.
Still, they think the 5-10, 190-pound Ratliff is going to be a solid pro who has excellent versatility.
He led the SEC and with nine interceptions last year, holds the school record with three interception returns for touchdowns, and the school career-record for punt return yards. Ratliff was also the only player in NCAA Division I-A to catch a touchdown pass and return an interception for a score during a 2002 season he also played some receiver.
”More than you could imagine,” said Ratliff on Draft Day, when asked if playing offense helped him. “As a wide receiver, I got a chance to see the game plans of the offense, what zones receivers like to get to, and where quarterbacks were looking with their first, second, and third reads. That all helped me to study film as a defensive back.”
Rosenhaus said he didn't have a problem with Ratliff's bonus being attached to a 100 percent offseason workout participation clause. The Bengals have used it in all their rookie contracts through the fifth round and it hasn't led to any holdouts.
"Coach Lewis told me that this was something he really wants," Rosenhaus said. "I accept the fact that this organization won't try to cheat guys out of money. If the player makes the effort and has good participation, I'm sure he's going to get his bonus. I'm sure Coach Lewis is going to be fair about it."
Maybe I gave them a little Karma to get him signed in the Medieu thread. Come on Perry, get your ass signed!