Updated: 9:40 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. — A tough, smart, phsycal player at the cornerback position during the past decade, Nate Clements opted to take his AFC North game home to Ohio and the Bengals, a league source confirmed Saturday night.
Cincinnati reached a deal in principle with the 31-year-old Clements to replace Johnathan Joseph and work opposite Leon Hall, a move that spilled out as the Bengals were in the middle of their first practice.
Clements, an Ohio State product via Cleveland, was the 21st pick in the 2001 draft by the Bills and becomes the most senior man on the club. His 19 career forced fumbles is seven fewer than the combined interception totals of the corners on the Bengals roster. His 33 career picks has the total beat.
The 6-0, 209-pound Clements signed a groundbreaking $80 million deal in San Francisco in 2007 and was released this week for salary cap reasons. It's believed the Bengals moved close to the deal Friday night and closed in Saturday morning.
MUCKELROY RUPTURES ACHILLES:The depleted Bengals linebacking corps took a major hit Saturday when promising second-year player Roddrick Muckelroy ruptured his Achilles tendon in the first 15 minutes of practice. He appeared to be just shuffling through a drill when he went down. With WILL linebacker Keith Rivers in a cast after wrist surgery and WILL backup Brandon Johnson unsigned, Muckelroy may have been ticketed for a starting spot. One alternative could be going after Dhani Jones.
SMITH AGENT UPBEAT: With the Bengals' first practice of the season washed out in a torrential thunderstorm Saturday afternoon here at Georgetown College that shut down power for nearly two hours (insert metaphor here), head coach Marvin Lewis is gearing up for an approximate 6:30 p.m. start Saturday night.
Right tackle Andre Smith wasn't dressed for the workout, but agent Jimmy Gould said Smith's twice-broken foot is OK and that the Bengals have decided to go slowly with him. Gould said the team is looking to get Smith into football shape after an offseason of successful rehab that has him at his NFL-low 338 pounds.
"He'll play every game this year," Gould said. "But it's been a long road to get to this point and they just want to make sure he's ready on the football end of it and they don't want to rush him."
With Smith out, it's believed the Bengals have expressed an interest in one of their former right tackles after Stacy Andrews was released by Seattle. Andrews started every game but the last one in 2008 when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament before he became an unrestricted free agent. He joined his brother in free agency in Philadelphia in a move that sparked the drafting of Smith and then the Eagles traded him to Seattle. The Bengals would have to check out Andrews before signing him. He started 12 games for Seattle last year at right guard.
DALTON SNAPS: Right now it is Camp Change, but in a couple of hours it officially becomes the Dalton Gang when the Bengals second-round pick makes his debut at quarterback in a Bengals practice at 3 p.m. at Georgetown College. And he'll be getting 65 to 70 percent of the snaps while the other quarterback, Dan LeFevour, takes the rest.
It looks like you'll get used to it, even when veterans Jordan Palmer and Bruce Gradkowski are allowed to return on or about Thursday.
"Coach Lewis and I will talk about it and he has the final say and we'll go with the quarterback he wants to see," said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. "But I think right now we have every intention of seeing what our second-round pick can do."
Gruden said the next three to four days are important for both young quarterbacks, but this is clearly going to be Dalton's show.
"It's good. They both need the reps," Gruden said. "We'll see what we think of Andy and his progress in the first three or four days and we'll go from there."
The Bengals officially announced the signings of Dalton and third-round pick Dontay Moch to complete their rookie signings. They also announced running back Brian Leonard and Gradkowski, as well as safety Gibril Wilson.
The 6-0, 210-pound Wilson signed with the Bengals a year ago in the spring, and it was his ACL injury in the Aug. 20 preseason game that helped spur the Cutdown Day trade for Reggie Nelson. Nelson is starting with Chris Crocker and Wilson is now in the mix with fifth-rounder Robert Sands and second-year college free agent Jeromy Miles. Wilson, 29, brings his 80 NFL starts.
CB SEARCH: ProFootballTalk.com reported that Ravens nickel back Chris Carr signed back with the Ravens, citing the Bengals as one of the teams interested. But they're looking more for an every down corner to replace Johnathan Joseph, so the available guys that qualify are guys like Carlos Rogers and Nate Clements.