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NAIA standout makes solid run at job with Bengals

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bill Rabinowitz


DeDe Dorsey has a simple running philosophy.

"Run from the bad guys," he said with a smile.

The bad guys the Cincinnati Bengals running back is running from these days are a lot bigger, faster and stronger than he’s used to.

It’s a big jump from even the Ohio States of the college world to the NFL. Imagine the leap Dorsey is trying to make coming from an NAIA school, Lindenwood (Mo.) University.

So far, Dorsey has adjusted well. He is Cincinnati’s leading rusher through two exhibition games with 12 carries for 90 yards, including a 46-yarder on his first carry in the opener against Washington.

"It was kind of a relief," Dorsey said. "There’s always the question, ‘Can I play? Am I going to do it?’ To come in and your first run to break one, it was off my back and then it was just playing."

He also is the Bengals’ thirdleading receiver thanks to a 59-yard gain on a short pass against Buffalo.

"He’s making plays, and that’s what this game is about," running backs coach Jim Anderson said.

A native of Broken Arrow, Okla., Dorsey said Big 12 colleges recruited him until he suffered a broken ankle and dislocated shoulder as a high school senior. He enrolled at Ottawa (Kan.) University and followed coach Patrick Ross to Lindenwood.

Dorsey played his first three seasons at safety, earning NAIA All-America honors as a junior. Late that season, he switched to running back when injuries hit the offensive backfield. As a senior, Dorsey ran for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns to earn All-America honors again.

"He’s got height, weight and quickness," Anderson said of the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Dorsey, who has run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. "All the things he’s showing us on the field he showed at the workout. He’s just young and inexperienced at our level. But every week he gets better and better."

Dorsey remains a long shot to make the team. The Bengals will likely keep three halfbacks. Rudi Johnson is the starter and Chris Perry the backup, though Perry could land on the physicallyunable-to-perform list. If that happens, Dorsey would have to beat out third-down back Kenny Watson or Quincy Wilson, who has also been impressive. If Dorsey doesn’t make the final 53-man roster, he would be a strong candidate for the practice squad.


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Dorsey was highly impressive once again. He runs a little too straight up but his footwork is real good and he absorbs hits wells while usually continuing to move forward after contact. There's no nonsense with him hitting holes and cutting once to get upfield. As a receiver, he looks more than solid. If he's anything at safety like he is at RB, they need to keep looking at him and maybe keep him, especially if he can return punts and prove he can blitz block.

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I'm still skeptical since we haven't seen him against 1st stringers, but his bio on .com is impressive....All-American DB and RB...16 blocked kicks over his entire college career....once returned a kickoff 98 yards for a TD...once ran a 4.41 40.

Which makes me wonder why he's only getting time at RB. Sounds like he might be better suited for Ethan Kilmer or Reggie McNeal's intended roles.

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