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Bengals Sign QB Eric Kresser

November 4, 1999

CINCINNATI (AP) _ The Cincinnati Bengals, suddenly in need of an emergency quarterback, signed free agent Eric Kresser, who was with the team in parts of 1997, ’98 and ’99.

To make room, the Bengals waived linebacker Ben Peterson on Thursday.

With Akili Smith hurt and Jeff Blake starting, that left only rookie Scott Covington as a backup. Kresser played in two games last year, completing 10 of 21 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown, and he was intercepted twice.

``I haven’t been under center for about two months,″ Kresser said. ``I’m not saying I forgot everything, but I know there’s a lot of new plays I haven’t seen yet.″

The Bengals ended last season with an excess of quarterbacks: Neil O’Donnell, Paul Justin and Blake, along with Kresser on the practice squad. They dumped O’Donnell and Justin, drafted Smith and Covington and released Kresser during training camp.

Smith was supposed to be the backup, but missed almost all of training camp in a contract dispute. When Blake was hurt in the season opener, neither Smith nor Covington was able to move the Bengals.

When the Bengals got to 0-4, Smith became the starter and led the Bengals to an 18-17 victory over Cleveland. But Cincinnati hasn’t won since then, Smith hurt his toe, Blake is back as starter and the Bengals still didn’t have an experienced backup.

``I think I’ll be here until Akili is back,″ Kresser said. ``Beyond that, I don’t know. I’ll just take it week by week and see what happens.″

Kresser still has a grievance pending against the Bengals. He contends he pulled a back muscle before the Bengals cut him on Aug. 30.

``I’m not too happy about it, but I’m happy I’m playing again,″ Kresser said. ``I’m not worried (about the grievance) and I hope they’re not either. That’s in the past.″

Kresser tried out with Jacksonville, the only team that showed interest when the Bengals waived him.

``I’m not surprised,″ Kresser said. ``I was let go at the end of training camp and everybody pretty much had their team set. I’m one of those guys that doesn’t have a lot of experience playing, so if somebody went down, teams weren’t really looking for somebody like me.″

Peterson, a rookie from Pittsburg State, spent the first five weeks of the season on the Bengals’ practice squad and played on special teams in the past three games.