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Bengals to decide on camp site

The Associated Press

CINCINNATI — The Bengals will decide by Friday whether to hold the first few weeks of training camp in Georgetown, Ky.

The staff at Georgetown College has made most of the preparations to host the Bengals for the 15th year in a row, athletic director Brian Evans told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The original schedule calls for players to report on July 28th, and hold their first workout the next day.

“We talk fairly regularly,” Evans said, in a phone interview. “We’re hoping to hear something by Friday to make a decision about training camp, a mutual decision at that point.”

The Bengals could hold camp at Paul Brown Stadium, where they have adjacent practice fields, but prefer to go out of town. Before moving to Georgetown in 1997, they held camp at Wilmington College north of Cincinnati.

Before the NFL locked out the players, the Bengals planned to hold the first three weeks of camp in Georgetown, which is about 90 miles south of Cincinnati. The staff at Georgetown has prepared the dormitories where players stay, getting ready in case the players and owners reach a labor agreement.

“We went on and prepared as though they’re coming, so we could mobilize pretty quickly,” Evans said. “We’re just getting prepared. We’ll make the adjustments we need to make when we get the word.”

The Bengals are waiting to see if players and owners reach a labor agreement in the next two days, ending the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987. Player representatives from the 32 teams met in Washington on Wednesday, with owners scheduled to meet Thursday in Atlanta, where they could approve a deal if one is reached.

If negotiations fall through and the Bengals have to postpone camp, Georgetown will move its football team into the dormitories and meeting rooms that would have been used by the Bengals. Georgetown’s team practices on the other side of campus while the Bengals are in town.

The school keeps income from fan parking, which averages around $100,000 a year, Evans said. If the Bengals call off camp, the school would be protected from loss under its agreement with the team.

“The Bengals have already done things to protect us in the agreement, so it wouldn’t be a huge adjustment for us from the standpoint of budgetary numbers,” he said. “We don’t make a ton of money off the Bengals, anyway.”

The city of Georgetown likes hosting the Bengals’ camp because it brings fans and publicity. The city doesn’t have an estimate for how much money the camp adds to the local economy.