Updated: 5:15 p.m.
The Bengals have agreed to terms with veteran linebacker Ed Hartwell on a one-year deal, according to his agent, Harold Lewis.
Hartwell's reunion with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, one of the men who drafted him in Baltimore in 2001, has been five years in the making. Speculation is he'll get a shot at the starter's spot at the right outside spot as the club's most experienced backer in the wake of Brian Simmons' release.
Hartwell has played in 77 NFL games, virtually two seasons more than the next linebacker on the roster, Landon Johnson with 48 games.
The Bengals don't comment on player additions until they receive a signed contract.
In Hartwell, the Bengals now have one of the free agents people were clamoring for them to get before the 2005 season. But after Hartwell signed a mega deal in Atlanta to play middle backer, he played only 13 games for the Falcons. As he struggled with injuries, Atlanta responded by putting Keith Brooking back in the middle and the club ended up cutting Hartwell last month.
Marvin Lewis wouldn't comment earlier this week when asked where Hartwell would play. The Bengals have penciled in second-year man Ahmad Brooks in the middle.
Hartwell, who turns 29 in three weeks, had a big year for the Ravens in 2002 when Ray Lewis played just five games. He logged 105 tackles and 39 assists the season after Baltimore took him in the fourth round out of Western Illinois during Marvin Lewis' last year in Baltimore.
"Marvin is one of his favorites," Harold Lewis said last month. "We were hoping that the Bengals would show interest after the 2004 season, but other teams showed more."
Hartwell blew out his Achilles in the fifth game of the '05 season and had knees cleaned out before last season, but Harold Lewis said he's recovered, and he must have passed the Bengals' physical when he visited last month.