A day before they figure to look for defensive line help in free agency, the Bengals cut veteran defensive end Duane Clemons with a year left on his contract.
Clemons, who turns 32 in May, played 10 games last season after missing the first four because of a suspension stemming from a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Clemons, who had 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the Bengals, worked mostly on third down last year with two sacks.
He didn't start a game after making 27 starts in 2003 and 2004, and became expendable when rookie Jonathan Fanene emerged late in the year as a promising pass rusher even though both were inactive for the Wild Card playoff game.
The move clears about $1 million in salary cap room with Clemons' $1.35 million salary gone. A former first-round pick of the Vikings in 1996, Clemons signed with the Bengals in 2003 and started 13 games that year in tying tackle John Thornton for the sack lead with six.
Clemons not only leaves with 14.5 sacks in 40 games (Reinard Wilson had 24 in six seasons), but also with a special niche in Bengals history. He was the driving force behind the Bootsy Collins "Fear Da Tiger," video that premiered in Paul Brown Stadium last Nov. 20.