The Bengals on Monday re-signed CB Terence Newman as an unrestricted free agent. Newman is an 11th-year NFL player in 2013, entering his second Bengals season. He played his first nine seasons with Dallas after being drafted in the first round in 2003.
Newman led the Bengals last season in passes defensed (14). He was fifth on the team and second among defensive backs in tackles (75), and his two interceptions raised his career total to 34. He played and started 15 games, and for his 10 completed NFL seasons, he has averaged 14.8 games and 14.6 starts. He also has played and started six postseason games, including last year's Wild Card playoff for the Bengals.
In a Monday afternoon conference call with the Cincinnati media, Newman said he nearly chose to sign with Oakland. "I honestly was very, very, very, very close to going to Oakland," he said.
"For what I wanted and how I would expect my career to end—if it is to end in two years—(Cincinnati) is a football team that has made the playoffs the last two years. The defense played well. Looking at those things, I thought this was probably the best place for me."
Count Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as pleased with Newman's decision to stay. Zimmer was defensive coordinator in Dallas from 2000-06, covering Newman's first four NFL seasons ('03-06), and he played a role in Newman coming to the Bengals last offseason.
"Terence has always had great talent, and he's become a smarter player every year of his career," Zimmer said. "He sees things well and he challenges receivers. He's tough. He takes care of his body and doesn't miss reps. He's the kind of guy we want back as we work to keep our defense together."
Newman, who will be 35 when the NFL season begins, is the oldest Bengal currently under contract. He showed a resurgence in his play last year, as he was graded 19th-best cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
Newman credited his solid play to Zimmer. "Last year it was more trying to get back and doing things that (Zimmer) coached me to do when I first got to Dallas," he said.
"I think technique is important. Zim is one of the best technique coaches for corners and safeties in the league. Having him is probably the biggest asset that any secondary player can have, and I lean on him and suck up his knowledge and try to get better every day."
Newman originally announced his decision Friday night via Twitter, saying, "I came in with Mike Zimmer and feel it's only right that I leave as him coaching me." He reinforced that thought on Monday, saying "I think Zim being here was the main factor."
When asked about the "leaving" portion of Friday's tweet, however, Newman stopped short of saying he would call it quits at the end of his contract. "I couldn't answer that question yet," he said. "We'll have to see exactly where I'm at in two years and how that situation is going.
"I always said that I would like to play until I lost passion for the game or my body tells me to shut it down. Two years out, I don't know what is going to happen this year. Injuries are part of the game. We'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it."
Newman also drew attention last week for a post on Twitter that some understood as an APB for agent Ben Dogra. Asked Monday about the tweet, Newman laughed it off, instead crediting his agent.
"It wasn't exactly that," he said with a laugh. "I got a lot of tweets from people asking about what my decision was, and I didn't have a decision. I was kind of putting it on my agent. That was the easy way to deflect it. ... I was just using him (for fun), and he was all good with it."
Newman is the sixth Bengals defensive player who had been eligible for free agency to re-sign for '13. Re-signing previously were DE Robert Geathers, DE Wallace Gilberry, CB Adam Jones, LB Rey Maualuga and DE Michael Johnson. (Johnson was designated as the club's franchise player and has signed a one-year tender offer, with negotiation of a longer deal still an option.) The Bengals finished seventh in the NFL last season in fewest yards allowed and eighth in fewest points allowed.
Cincinnati has also re-signed six players from offense or special teams who had been eligible for unrestricted free agency. They are LS Clark Harris, P Kevin Huber, K Mike Nugent, TE Richard Quinn, T Dennis Roland and WR Brandon Tate.
The Bengals have signed one UFA from another club, QB Josh Johnson (last with Cleveland).