Bengals agree with Henry

4-06-01, 9:00 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals head coach Dick LeBeau didn't get Levon Kirkland, but he ended up getting another one of his Steelers Friday night.

The agent for Pittsburgh defensive end Kevin Henry said his client had agreed to terms with the Bengals and is headed for a reunion with LeBeau, the former Steelers defensive coordinator.

At the urging of LeBeau, the Bengals pursued the 6-4, 285-pound Henry. He turns 33 midway through the season and is primarily a run player who has one sack in the past two seasons.

Henry has spent his eight-year career in Pittsburgh since the Steelers took him in the fourth round of the 1993 NFL Draft and has started the past three seasons at right end.

Agent Gil Thompson wouldn't divulge terms and the Bengals won't comment until the contract is signed. But it figures to be a salary cap hit for this season of less than $1 million.

So it won't preclude the Bengals from pursuing former Redskins defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield, or force the release of incumbent starting right end John Copeland.

The release of Copeland would count $1.6 million against the Bengals cap. Copeland was the fifth pick in the same draft that Henry came out of Mississippi State.

Thompson said the Steelers wanted to re-sign Henry, but LeBeau and money were the final factors.

Plus, Henry also talks frequently with former Steeler teammate and Bengals defensive tackle Oliver Gibson.

"The idea of reuniting with Coach LeBeau really appealed to Kevin," Thompson said. "He feels the scheme is something he can really flourish in. The Steelers were caught without making as serious a run as the Bengals. It didn't hurt that he has some old teammates there. I know he talks to OG all the time."

Henry is the Bengals' third pickup in this free-agency period, joining defensive tackle Tony Williams and quarterback Jon Kitna.

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