- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2009

From combined dispatches

Offensive tackle Andre Smith signed a contract with Cincinnati on Sunday, ending an impasse that dragged on a month into the preseason.

The Bengals originally planned to have Smith start at right tackle, but he has missed all three preseason games. He was in Cincinnati and agreed to the deal shortly before the start of a late afternoon practice.

The Bengals finish their preseason schedule with a home game against Indianapolis on Thursday. It’s unclear whether the rookie will be ready to play in that game.

“We’ll ease him into practice, see where his conditioning level is and see where he is this week,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “We haven’t made a decision about Thursday and won’t know until after Wednesday.”

CHIEFS: Winless, worried and wounded Kansas City launched a short work week while awaiting medical tests on quarterback Matt Cassel and cornerback Brandon Flowers.

Cassel limped off the field and out of sight after he was sacked on the third play of Saturday night’s dismal 14-10 loss to Seattle, and the extent of his injury was uncertain. The same was true for Flowers, who returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown before hurting his shoulder early in the first half.

VIKINGS: Brett Favre had just three days to prepare for his first start this preseason. This one should be a better indicator of how the comeback from his second retirement is going.

Favre is expected to play the entire first half when the Minnesota Vikings face the Houston Texans in an exhibition game on Monday night.

RAMS: Quarterback Marc Bulger took the first step toward returning to the playing field.

Bulger, out since Aug. 17 after fracturing the pinky on his throwing hand, threw 21 passes in a side session at the morning practice. Coach Steve Spagnuolo didn’t watch the session, but said offensive coordinator Dick Curl was pleased with the performance.

EAGLES: Philadelphia is changing its starting middle linebacker two weeks before the start of the regular season.

Omar Gaither is taking over for Joe Mays. Mays had replaced Stewart Bradley, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Gaither was the starter in 2007.

49ERS: San Francisco strong safety Michael Lewis suffered his second concussion in 11 days after taking a knee to the helmet in the Giants’ 20-13 win at Dallas on Saturday night. He and will be evaluated this week before he can return to the field.

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