Newman: I'm here for the ring

Terence Newman

Terence Newman has already shipped his golf clubs to Cincinnati and that's just one of the many signs that the newest Bengal feels right at home at Paul Brown Stadium.

Two of his fellow cornerbacks, Nate Clements and Leon Hall, are also big-time golf enthusiasts.

"That's what I hear," Newman said Friday after his one-year deal was declared official. "I haven't talked to them yet it but it sounds like we're going to get along. ... I have a lot of respect for every guy there."

And the respect from head coach Marvin Lewis to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to a team waiting to welcome its fifth first-round cornerback from nine seasons in Dallas is flowing mutually.  They know Newman isn't here for the green fees after the Cowboys unceremoniously cut him this past winter.

"I have the utmost confidence in Zim that he can get me back to playing where I was," Newman said of his superb play early last season for the Cowboys. "I take full responsibility for what happened to me at the end of last season in Dallas. I didn't play as well is I should have ... but I think if you look at some of those games last year, like against Buffalo, you'll see I've got plenty left in the tank."

If he had to do 2011 over again, Newman wouldn't have played all those 829 snaps he took. Not after suffering a hamstring injury early in the year.

"I'm a rockhead about some things and I tried to play through it," he said. "I wanted to be there for my teammates and I ended up probably hurting them."

If Newman sounds like a stand-up guy that has been populating the Bengals locker room lately, you're right. Zimmer, who was the Cowboys defensive coordinator in 2003 when Dallas made Newman the fifth pick in the draft, swears by him as a guy and as a player.

This is the kind of guy the Bengals are getting: One of the Bengals assistant coaches who hosted Newman during his visit last month was stunned to get a longish thank you text from him once he got home.

"Never happened to me before," the coach said.

Newman, who went to his two Pro Bowls after Zimmer left in 2007 and 2009, maintains he played his best under Zimmer and he can't wait for the technician to have at him. Even if it is Zimmer's demanding brand of tough love.

"I had tough coaching at Kansas State and Bill Parcells coached the Cowboys, so I'm used to it. I like tough coaching," Newman said. "It's my fault that I got away from the technique and the footwork Zim did with me."

And Newman has high regard for technique. It's why he has watched Hall on tape down through the years.

"Leon's a great technician; I love the way he plays," Newman said. "He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played."

Newman also likes what's going on up front, another reason the Bengals attracted him. He turns 34 the third week of the season and while he wants a chance to play in a secondary that already has two starters, he also wants to win.

"Being a first-rounder and all that, that's over with. That stuff doesn't matter anymore," Newman said. "There are guys that play 12, 15 years and don't have a ring. I want the ring. That's all that matters right now.

"These guys have a good line and linebackers. They're a playoff team. They can help me and I can help them."

Newman, by the way, needs no help on the golf course if he's looking for strokes. He's coming off two fresh 78s, one on the Cowboys course. And he's only been playing six years.

"We're all good athletes and we're pretty good at whatever we try to do," Newman said. "So when I couldn't hit that little ball, that was frustrating, and I just kept trying.

"Yeah, you could say I'm avid."

But there is no question where football stands.

"I'm married to football," he said.

Lewis, Zimmer and the gallery are glad the Bengals are at the altar.

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