Aug. 10, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports

GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- The Cincinnati Bengals signed first-round draft pick Chris Perry on Tuesday, ending the running back's 11-day holdout.

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Perry, the 26th overall selection in April's draft, said he hoped to play Saturday night in the team's preseason opener at Tampa Bay. His signing leaves four first-rounders unsigned, including quarterback Philip Rivers of San Diego and tight end Kellen Winslow of Cleveland, the fourth and sixth picks overall.

Winslow was reported close to a deal on Tuesday.

"We're just excited to have him here," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said of Perry. "It's a process that's taken a little time, but that's part of it."

The former Michigan star arrived at the team's training camp at Georgetown College to sign the deal and appear with Lewis.

"I'm just going to go in, work hard and get ready for the first preseason game," Perry said. "You're never going to be in perfect football condition unless you're playing football.

"I'm really happy that it's all over with and taken care of. Now I can just play football," he said.

Lewis didn't say whether he thinks Perry will have enough time to be ready to play against the Buccaneers.

The Bengals did not disclose contract terms. The Bengals' Web site reported it as a $7 million deal.

Perry's agent, Eugene Parker, did not return a call to his office Tuesday.

Rudi Johnson is the Bengals' No. 1 running back, and backup Kenny Watson drew praise from Lewis for his play Friday in the Bengals' intrasquad scrimmage.

At Michigan, Perry gained a school-record 2,041 yards from scrimmage last season while scoring 20 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,674 yards, an average of 5 yards per carry, and caught 44 passes for an additional 367 yards.

He became the first Michigan player to win the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back and finished fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

In four seasons at Michigan, Perry rushed for 3,696 yards, fifth in school history, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. His other career totals were 66 receptions for 572 yards, and he scored 41 touchdowns - 39 rushing and two receiving.



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