Larson launches long one

Posted: 4:30 p.m.

The Bengals struck a long-term deal with one of their most reliable players Tuesday when punter Kyle Larson reached a five-year deal to take him off the free-agency market.

The club also confirmed linebacker Dhani Jones' three-year contract.

Larson has averaged 42.8 yards on 279 punts for his career, with a net average of 36.3 yards. He has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line on nearly one-third of his punts (81), and he has allowed only 29 touchbacks. In 2005 at Jacksonville, he launched a team-record 75-yard punt.

Last season, Larson averaged 41.3 yards and 35.2 net, and he had 21 inside-20s against just three touchbacks.

Larson, 27, is heading into his fifth season and now may be able to run at Lee Johnson's club-record for punting longevity at 11 seasons. He has been the club's best punter since Johnson was cut late in the 1998 season.

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Larson

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Jones

Larson, a free agent out of Nebraska, won the job right out of college and has averaged 42.8 yards on 279 punts for his career, with a net average of 36.3 yards. He has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line on nearly one-third of his punts (81), and he has allowed only 29 touchbacks. In 2005 at Jacksonville, he had a club-record 75-yard punt.

Last season, Larson averaged 41.3 yards and 35.2 net, and he had 21 inside-20s against just three touchbacks.

"I set goals at the start of every season, and I want to just keep getting better every year," Larson said in a news release. "Cincinnati has been so good to me and my wife, I feel very fortunate to be staying here and getting the chance to keep playing in front of our fans."

It also means that kicker Shayne Graham now has his holder that he's used in four of the five seasons he has become the NFL's most accurate active field-goal kicker.

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