Updated: 5:30 p.m.
Looking for some playoff experience to help a depleted defense heading into Saturday's Wild Card game at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals didn't have to look very far Monday in signing 2004 draft pick Keiwan Ratliff.
The 5-11, 188-pound Ratliff, who takes the roster spot of injured defensive tackle Pat Sims, can play safety for a club that has two banged up in Chris Crocker (ankle) and Tom Nelson (knee) and one on injured reserve (Roy Williams). Crocker, who has missed the last three games, says he can play Saturday. Nelson, who struggled Sunday night in a game the Jets rushed for 257 yards, also didn't get helped by tweaking his knee.
Ratliff, 28, a second-rounder, played eight games for Pittsburgh this season before the Steelers cut him Nov. 24.
After drafting Ratliff as a cornerback, the Bengals then went back-to-back in the first round for corners Johnathan Joseph (2006) and Leon Hall (2007) before cutting Ratliff on Sept. 27, 2007.
Ratliff finished 2007 with Indianapolis and played 13 games there in 2008. He was signed by the Steelers for 2009 as an unrestricted free agent and has 73 career NFL games with 12 starts, 128 tackles, five interceptions and 17 passes defensed. He has played in two postseason games, one with the Bengals in 2005 and one with Indianapolis in 2007.
When he was here Ratliff was known for being smart and having the good hands of a high school wide receiver in Columbus, Ohio who briefly played receiver at Florida, but his speed was suspect. He can also play corner in a pinch.
Sims broke his forearm in the first quarter Sunday night against the Jets.
Also Monday, via Twitter, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said he had an MRI Monday and while it's too early to know what the results are, all indications point to what the club said Sunday night after he tweaked it in warmups. It is a bruise and there is no structural damage.
"MRI went well," The Ocho tweeted after saying he couldn't extend the knee Monday morning.
And while he may not practice Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's Wild Card game against the Jets, it doesn't seem like at the moment he's got a major problem. As head coach Marvin Lewis said after the game, "He'll be fine. His pride got bruised."