Eric Swann, the Cardinals' standout defensive tackle recovering from major surgery on his arthritic right knee, said he hopes to be playing football again in six to eight weeks.

Breaking his long silence, Swann spoke on a telephone conference call from his home. What he said had to disappoint the Cardinals, who had hoped the two-time Pro Bowl performer would be ready for the Sept. 12 opener in Philadelphia. But the rehabilitation is taking longer than originally expected.

If Swann's timetable is accurate, he would be back, at the earliest, Oct. 17 against Washington.

BILLS: Bruce Smith will miss Buffalo's final preseason game to be with his sick father, the veteran defensive end said.

Smith has decided not to play Saturday against Pittsburgh, and instead will spend the weekend with his father, George, in the family's home town in Norfolk. Smith plans to return next week to prepare for the regular season opener at Indianapolis on Sept. 12.

BENGALS: Center Jay Leeuwenburg signed a one-year contract, two days after he was released by the Colts.

The Bengals also brought back fullback Clif Groce, who they waived on Monday, by agreeing to a three-year contract. Fullback Nicky Sualua, who's been hampered by a strained knee ligament, agreed to an injury settlement and was waived.

GIANTS: Cornerback Jason Sehorn will miss the first game of the regular season. His status is week-to-week after an MRI exam showed a continued strain in his left hamstring.

PACKERS: Rookie punter Josh Bidwell needs further treatment for testicular cancer and will miss the 1999 season, GM Ron Wolf said.