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Sunday update: Ced in; Deuce out: Hall already Clements fan; LBs search

Posted Jul 31, 2011

Updated: 6:25 p.m.

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — The agent for Bengals running back Cedric Benson on Sunday confirmed a one-year contract for his client to return to Cincinnati and left room for talks about a longer deal.

Meanwhile at Camp Turnstile, guard Deuce Lutui failed his physical and went back to Arizona on a one-year deal as Benson signed up with the Bengals. In classic 21st century fashion, head coach Marvin Lewis was expouding on the virtues of the young running backs after Sunday's practice when the cell phone of ESPN 1530 producer Lindsay Patterson tweeted NFL Network's news of Benson's deal. ESPN reported Lutui failed the exam because he was overweight.

"Cedric has a good relationship with the Bengals. The Bengals have a good relationship with Cedric," said Eugene Parker. "It has been mutually beneficial. Cedric wanted to get this done and get in there. We'll leave the door open and keep monitoring the situation."

The signing came amid reports that Ahmad Bradshaw was headed here for a visit. Reports put Benson's deal at potentially $5 million with $2 million in incentives.

There are no indications the Bengals are going to sign another veteran to join Benson and Lewis seems to have no concerns about the durability of backup running back Bernard Scott. Scott sat out Sunday with a tight hamstring and Lewis said he'll miss some time, but he also plans to get Scott more touches.

Also sitting out Sunday with only soreness was defensive tackle Tank Johnson and fullback Fui Vakapuna. Cornerback Morgan Trent (knee), defensive tackle Pat Sims (knee), and right tackle Andre Smith (foot) continued to sit out. Cornerback Jonathan Wade (shoulder) left after diving on the ground for a ball. 

HALL ALREADY BIG CLEMENTS FAN: Michigan's Leon Hall isn't going to ask Ohio State's Nate Clements for his autograph or anything like that when the newest Bengal gets here Sunday night.

But when Hall was in high school and the Bills took Clements with the 21st pick 10 years ago, Clements became one of his favorite players. Then when Hall was coming out in the 2007 draft, Clements signed with the 49ers. That just happened to be Hall's favorite team growing up.

"Obviously I've watched him quite a bit," Hall said Sunday, the morning after the Clements move broke. "I'm a fan of anybody who plays my position in the NFL and plays it well."

Hall watched Clements as recently as last season when he was scouting offenses on tape against the 49ers, a reminder why he liked him in the first place.

"He does a lot of good things at the nickel position," Hall said. "Good to get another guy in here that can help this team and is proven. He can (play the slot) and played it very well, too. He made quite a few big plays last year intercepting the ball and making plays on the ball in the slot. ... You can tell he plays smart, he's always in good position and when he makes great plays it's making great reads on the quarterback."

If it's beginning to sound a little familiar … Hall is 5-11, 195. Clements is 6-0, 205.

"He's probably a little bigger than I am," Hall said. "When I think of him I think physical, smart, probably a little savvy."

Then a small smile.

"We could be a little similar. We'll see," he said. Anytime you get a good player like him you're happy to have him."

Recalling the tape from last season, Hall, 26, thinks the 31-year-old Clements has something left.

"I think he does. Sometimes being 30 is overhyped," he said. "It's all relative. You can be 28 and lose a step."

ZIM LOOKING AT OPTIONS: Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is officially out of the Johnathan Joseph tank thanks to Clements, but Sunday morning he had moved on to another huge problem. With backup middle linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy (Achilles) done for the year and starting WILL linebacker Keith Rivers (wrist) shelved indefinitely, Zimmer says the team is on the prowl for starters in free agency.

"I'm looking for guys that can come in and start and whoever wins the job, wins the job," Zimmer said. "If they can start I assume they can play special teams. I'm not looking for special teams guys that can't play defense. That's always been a pet peeve of mine."

Zimmer said he plans to play the newly-signed Thomas Howard at WILL and in nickel, but the SAM spot is in play with Dan Skuta, rookie Dontay Moch, or that free agent the Bengals seek. He couldn't talk about Seattle middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu because he had not been officially released.

Zimmer did say he's not inclined to move guys out of position because the camp is so truncated, so look for him to keep Michael Johnson at right end.

"We're not done looking. I think what's on the field is not our final team," he said. "It may be, but I don't think this is done."

 

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