Posted: 4:50 p.m.
At 28 and with his 300-pound body absorbing six years of maturity, defensive tackle Langston Moore isn't the same player the Bengals drafted in the sixth round out of South Carolina in 2003. Especially after his stint the last two seasons under former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli, a defensive line guru before he made the jump.
"It was like being in a graduate school for defensive linemen," Moore said Tuesday, back in the fold to help the nicked Bengals defensive line after being on the market all offseason. "There's so much stuff that you learn from him and the pressure he puts on you to be a great defensive lineman and not just be out there taking up space.
"I see the game so differently just from being around him. I would think I am (a different player). Just knowing how to use my athletic ability where I can just see the field, what I can do. Not being a bonehead and just running my head into a brick wall. Doing things that make sense. Being with Marinelli was a cerebral part of the game, but also using the tools that you had. He wouldn't ask you to be a (Albert) Haynesworth if you were a different player. He knew how to use you and motivate you."
Moore is a self-starter. Named after his school-teacher mother for the great American poet of the early 20th century, Langston Hughes, Moore is still reading. Although he's read it "about a thousand times," he's currently going through As A Man Thinketh, a 107-year-old book by James Allen that has a title based on a Biblical verse and deals with self-responsibility.
"As you go through transitions in life, there are things you think about," said Moore, who didn't think his career was done even though no one had called. "I tried not to think about it. I was preparing like I always do in the preseason. It's so weird for a guy since you were 13 years old you haven't had an August to yourself, so when August came around I felt a little crazy out there. But I just worked a little harder."
With rookie defensive tackles Clinton McDonald (ankle) and Pernell Phillips (leg) banged up and Antwan Odom (Achilles) and Frostee Rucker (hip) not practicing, it's not out of the realm Moore makes the 53-man roster.
"A lot of his body composition has changed as he's matured and he brings a lot of energy and spirit," head coach Marvin Lewis said after Tuesday's practice. "I thought he'd be a good candidate to bring in here and give us some depth."
Lewis said Moore would play right out of the box at some point on Thursday night, even though his only practice was pad-less on Tuesday. Even two hours before Lewis made the call, Moore, now the veteran, knew it could happen.
"I've seen teams do it and teams not do it. I'll just prepare for anything and that way I won't be surprised," he said. "There's nothing that can replicate playing football. You can work out all day and be in the weight room. But until you put pads on and run in the heat and put the sweat in, it's kind of hard."
Moore walked back into the locker room where his NFL career started, but there weren't many people around from his last Bengals team in 2004 to greet him. Try fellow defensive linemen Robert Geathers and Jon Fanene on defense and that's it.
"That's crazy, but that's the league," said Moore, now wearing the No. 97 of John Thornton, the veteran he played next to in his seven starts in '04. "John had a great career here and hopefully I can live up to it."
Moore thinks some of the reasons he didn't hook on with a team after the Lions let him go as a free agent earlier this year were the arthroscopic surgery on his knee, a torn thumb tendon, and age.
"The price tag is going up there, teams probably want a younger guy," Moore said. "It's kind of like coming home, Marvin and a group of great guys."
In another effort to restock their defensive line for the rest of the preseason, the Bengals later Tuesday signed rookie end and tackle Ventrell Jenkins of Kentucky.
The 6-1, 286-pound Jenkins signed as a college free agent with Buffalo, was waived/injured Aug. 1 with a knee sprain, reverted to Buffalo's injured reserve after clearing waivers, and was released by the Bills last Friday after completing his rehab. Jenkins played four seasons at Kentucky with 92 career tackles, 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss.
The Bengals now have a full roster of 80 players with the cut to 75 on Sept. 1.