Updated: 5:40 p.m.
Bengals running back Bernard Scott, five and a half months out of surgery for a torn ACL, is confident he'll be back in time to fight for snaps in the backfield with BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Scott said he signed a one-year deal Friday and is upbeat about rehab progress. The Bengals must be, too, after they brought him in on Thursday to check him out following his visit to Oakland earlier in the week.
Also Friday, it appeared that the heavy lifting for former Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison had yet to begin but both sides look like they're ready to talk about a deal. Agent Bill Parise confirmed his client's tweet that he had a good visit with the Bengals on Thursday. And the Bengals looked to be pleased at how Harrison responsed to his potenial position at SAM backer.
The Bengals also appeared to be closing in on a deal Friday night with nine-year veteran tight end Alex Smith, one of the other free agents who visited Thursday. All signs point to Smith's experience (102 NFL games, four years in offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's type of system) giving him an edge to back up Jermaine Gresham as the No. 2 tight end. Last year's backup, rookie Orson Charles, is also in the mix.
Scott appeared to also get a good look from the Bengals on Thursday.
"My doctor says I'm ahead of schedule and I've had no setbacks with swelling or anything like that," said Scott, who was the speed back in the tandem with BJGE until the Oct. 7 injury against Miami that came in the second game of his injury-riddled season. "I'm already back to running and cutting. I feel like the way my rehab is going, I feel like, yeah, I can get back to being the old Bernard. Even better."
Scott, a sixth-round pick in 2009, used his cutting and elusiveness to give the Bengals some speed options in his first three seasons and put up a 100-yard game as a rookie while averaging 4.6 yards on his first 135 NFL carries. He says Adrian Peterson's 2,000-yard outing last year coming off the same injury has inspired him.
"I use that and all kinds of things to motivate me," Scott said. "You see other guys do it. They come back even stronger and I think I can do that."
Scott said it was an easy call once the deal was offered.
"I'm comfortable here. I'm happy here," he said. "I know the system. I've got a great relationship with a lot of my teammates and the coaches know what I can do. It's going to be easier than making a move."
Scott says he's not sure when he'll be able to start practicing, but even though the Bengals figure to draft a running back early to pair with Green-Ellis, he's not going to rush it.
"I'm going to continue to work hard. I know camp doesn't start for three to four months, so I have to keep that in mind. That's going to be up to the coaches. I'm not going to worry about (the draft). They're going to play the best people and I'm going to fight and do what I have to do to be one of the best guys."
Also Friday, the Bengals finished up their deal with backup guard Mike Pollak, a second-round pick of the Colts. After he started 41 games for Indianapolis, he signed with the Panthers last year, but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during practice the week after he played in the opener. In 2010 he played in every game and started 13 for a Colts team that was AFC South champion and ranked first in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed per passing play. He'll be contending with nine-year veteran Travelle Wharton and probably a draft pick to back up starting guards Clint Boling and Kevin Zeitler.
Also Friday the Bengals waived wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei under the Non-Football Injury category. Tuinei had been signed to the Bengals offseason roster Jan. 1. He entered the NFL in 2012 as a college free agent with Seattle and spent time during the ’12 season on the Seattle practice squad.