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TDBH: Bengals ink a Super Bowl MVP

Posted Mar 12, 2018

This Day in Bengals History - March 13, 2006


For the first time in history the Bengals have a Super Bowl MVP on their roster today when they introduce veteran safety Dexter Jackson as their first free-agent signing in the wake of last season’s AFC North title.  At 29 and in his eighth NFL season, Jackson looks to be the quintessential Bengals/Marvin Lewis signing as a veteran player with skins on the wall and good locker-room demeanor. “I'll do my part. I'm going to help the young guys and show them what it takes to get over the hump," Jackson says. "How to watch film and what the tendencies are on down and distance." Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan says the Bengals make no bones about the safeties they like in free agency. While Marlon McCree might be the best fit before he signs in San Diego, Jackson is right there with Lawyer Milloy and Will Demps, the other safeties invited to visit.

 

Given what the Bengals need off the field as much as on it, Jackson's savvy and spice might be the best fit. "After spending (the last) 24 hours with him," Bresnahan says, "and his background (one can tell) he's not going to settle for average. He wants to be better than average. That's critical. He's an outspoken guy. He's not a quiet guy. He's the total package."  Bresnahan and Jackson have been admiring each other from afar. As the Raiders defensive coordinator in the Super Bowl three years ago, Bresnahan sees Jackson's ability to play big in big games with two interceptions that make him MVP of the Buccaneers' 48-21 win.  Jackson has been at the center of the NFL's top-ranked defense half of the last four seasons, brings five post-season starts, and he likes what he sees here. "Take away a play here and a play there and we're in the hunt for a championship," Jackson says. "Hopefully I come in and take away the big runs and big passes, and get us lined up again. That's the main thing. Get lined up again and play another down of defense."

 

It’s an example of how free agency can impact the draft. Lewis says the Jackson move means the Bengals aren't forced to take a safety "and we can take the best player available." It opens up arguably their best draft ever the next month when their first four picks are cornerback Johnathan Joseph, left tackle Andrew Whitworth and defensive linemen Frostee Rucker and Domata Peko. All four play in the NFL 11 years later.

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