CINCINNATI, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The increasingly shaky linebacker depth of the Cincinnati Bengals has gotten a little worse with the news that veteran Steve Foley will not play in the 2002 regular campaign because of a dislocated right shoulder.
Foley suffered the injury in last Thursday's preseason contest against Atlanta when he tried to breakup a pass by the Falcons' Michael Vick and landed awkwardly on the shoulder. Team trainer Paul Sparling expects Foley to recover in time for next season after undergoing reconstructive surgery.
Foley's spot in the starting defensive lineup will be taken by six-year veteran Canute Curtis, who signed a new contract Thursday. Foley had been hampered by old, nagging injuries in the preseason (hip flexor, groin strain), and was making his first game appearance in the Atlanta game.
"I look forward to it," Curtis said. "Of course, there's more pressure because you're going to be in there and guys are going to be counting on you, and you're going to be counting on yourself. You just don't want to let anyone down."
Adrian Ross will be the backup to Curtis.
"Since both Canute and I play special teams, we have to figure out how to work that," Ross said. "Losing a guy like Foley is hard because he's a 6-4, 260-pound guy who can run like the wind. He's also a good pass rusher and he can cover the tight end. (But) I don't think our depth is going to be a problem. We just have to figure out how to arrange it."
Curtis, a 6-2, 257-pound native of Amityville, N.Y., was dubbed the "Amityville Horror" collegiately at West Virginia, where he shattered a school record with 34 1/2 career sacks.
He averaged five tackles per game last season at linebacker, and is also the Bengals' leading special teams tackler with 31 over the last three seasons.
The Bengals open the new season on Sunday at home against the San Diego Chargers.