Dennis Weathersby makes appearance at the Bengals' Stadium

June 14, 2004

Cincinnati, Ohio - -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Mark CurnutteThe Cincinnati Enquirer

Dennis Weathersby made a surprise visit to teammates this morning at Paul Brown Stadium.

The second-year Bengals cornerback suffered a serious head injury in a single-car crash on April 12 in Springdale and was unconscious for 10 days.

'I'm feeling much better than I did two months ago,' Weathersby said after this morning's practice at the team's mandatory minicamp.

The comments were his first in public since the accident.

Weathersby will not play football this season, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said, but he will be evaluated in the future to determine if he can come back in 2005.

Weathersby said he wants to play again - 'Of course, I want to play again,' he said - and teammate and close friend T.J. Houshmandzadeh said he has seen more determination in Weathersby to play professionally.

'He wants to prove to people he can play on this level,' said Houshmandzadeh, a Bengals wide receiver and Weathersby teammate in college at Oregon State.

Weathersby said he was discharged from the hospital about three weeks ago.

Weathersby, who will turn 24 on Wednesday, has had two major setbacks in consecutive Aprils.

On April 20, 2003 - Easter - he was shot through the back as an innocent bystander in a drive-by shooting in his hometown of Duarte, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb.

Then this year, on the day after Easter, he was involved in the single-car accident on an interstate ramp. He smacked his head against the post between the windshield and the driver's side window.

He was asked if he felt snake-bitten.

'I don't think like that, `Why me?'' he said. 'What I went through last year and this year and to still be living, I feel blessed.'

Weathersby acknowledged the prayers and good wishes of people who don't know him.

'I'd like to thank them for their concern and their prayers,' he said. 'I'd like to thank them for believing in me. I'd just like to say, `Thanks,' you know.' E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com

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