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Relieved Kirkpatrick savors quick deal

Posted May 18, 2012

Updated: 2:40 p.m.

A sign of the times.

Dre Kirkpatrick grew up reading about first-round holdouts and now he's relieved he won't have to read about himself.

"They've got everybody slotted so you've got to earn it," Kirkpatrick said after the Alabama cornerback agreed to his four-year deal Friday. "You get that second contract and hopefully you will have played up to the expectations everybody has for you. It's a relief. It's something that is a new chapter in my life. A new beginning."

It marked the first time since 2003 that the Bengals No. 1 pick was in the fold before he went on the field for the voluntary workouts with the veterans. USC quarterback Carson Palmer, the overall No. 1 pick in '03, reached a pre-draft deal, so he was signed even at the rookie minicamp.

In the second year of the new rookie wage scale, ProFootballTalk.com reports Kirkpatrick has the standard four-year deal with an option for a fifth year as well as guaranteed money at $7.84 million. The '03 media reports put Palmer's option bonus at $14 million.

According to PFT, 147 draft picks had been signed as of Thursday night. Two years ago in the last season of the old collective bargaining agreement 13 had signed through May.

Kirkpatrick, 22, says he's just thinking about getting on the field and not about purchases or investments. He'll get the shot Tuesday at the first day of voluntaries, 10 days after his rookie camp debut with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and his staff.

"Football is football and there are a lot of similarities to where I'm coming from," Kirkpatrick said. "But I also have to learn how they want me to do it and Coach Zimmer is showing me step by step. I'm following him around like a little kid."

Six of the 10 Bengals draft picks are under contract and more are expected when the players gather again.

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