Continued from page 1

A lot of attention will go to Smith the rest of the way. He left practice early on Wednesday after someone stepped on his foot, but was still listed as the starter for a game Sunday in Indianapolis.

“He’s just making progress each and every week in the way he plays,” Lewis said before practice. “That’s what we’re evaluating _ how he plays, how he gets it done on Sundays _ and I think he’s making a lot of progress.”

Quarterback Carson Palmer agreed that Smith has improved since the start of the season.

“You have to remember he’s still young,” Palmer said. “He really didn’t play last year, so this is essentially his rookie year. Just a couple weeks ago, he started for the first time. Just like any young guy, it’s a process and it takes time.”

The Bengals have to make a decision on his contract after the season. Smith got a four-year deal that included $21 million guaranteed. The team has an option after this season that would extend it to a six-year deal with $29.5 million guaranteed. If he doesn’t play much better in the second half of the season, he won’t get the extra time.

Notes: QB Carson Palmer sat out practice with a sore passing shoulder. He was sacked four times by the Steelers. Lewis said he’ll play against the Colts. … Ochocinco also sat out practice with a sore ankle but is expected to play as well. Five others were sidelined by illness or injury, including DT Tank Johnson, who missed the Steelers game with an injured knee.