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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason criticized club management Thursday...

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason criticized club management Thursday for releasing five-year veteran center Dave Rimington.

Rimington, the Bengals' first-round draft choice in 1983, was cut earlier this week after team officials said he failed a physical examination. Just one day after failing Cincinnati's physical, Rimington passed a Philadelphia Eagles medical exam and was signed Thursday by the Eagles.

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Esiason, who regularly wears No. 7, wore Rimington's No. 50 during a practice this week. 'It was a memorial to an extremely great person who may be a victim of vindictiveness,' Esiason said.

Rimington, who with Esiason was a team leader during last year's NFL players' strike, held out five weeks this summer during training camp.

'They (Bengals management) say he failed his physical, but that's a cop-out,' Esiason said. 'If that was the case they could have given him a physical six weeks ago. They could have said, 'Come on in, Dave. Let's get a look at you while we're negotiating.''

Rimington, who missed several games the past two seasons with knee, ankle and elbow injuries, was told by Cincinnati management he risked a career-ending injury by continuing to play.

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'Seven teams called (Rimington) last night,' Esiason said. 'He said, 'Boomer, it's the first time in five years I've felt like I've been given due credit as a ballplayer.'

'Now, at least he'll be going to a place where he's treated like he should be, where he'll get the respect a five-year veteran deserves.'

Among the individuals criticized by Esiason was Bengals offensive line coach Jim McNally.

'When I say this team didn't treat Dave Rimington fairly, I don't mean just (Bengals general manager) Paul and (assistant general manager) Mike Brown,' Esiason said. 'Go talk to Dave's line coach and see what he thinks of Dave. Dave wasn't one of his boys.'

Mike Brown said he wasn't surprised by Esiason's complaints.

'It's not unusual for a player to feel bad and get angry when he sees a close friend released,' Brown said. 'It's understandable, yet that's the way of the NFL. Players come and go and the show goes on.'

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