Loyalty factor with Bengals' Newman

April, 1, 2013
4/01/13
11:05
AM ET
Free-agent cornerback Terence Newman posted on Twitter that he chose the Bengals over the Raiders because of loyalty. Newman made sure everyone knew the Raiders were offering more money.

Newman
Newman
“I came in with [Bengals defensive coordinator] Mike Zimmer and feel it’s only right that I leave as him coaching me," Newman tweeted.

Zimmer, who was Newman’s defensive coordinator from 2003-06 with the Cowboys, pushed for the Bengals to sign Newman last season and it paid off for Cincinnati. First-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick was never healthy, and Newman ended up starting 15 games. Newman led the Bengals with 14 passes defenses and finished second among defensive backs with 75 tackles.

Still, how much loyalty will the Bengals show Newman? He turns 35 just before the season, and the team probably wants Kirkpatrick to get into the starting lineup this year, based on the recent history of Cincinnati cornerbacks.

When Johnathan Joseph was drafted in the first round in 2006, he was a full-time starter for the Bengals by Week 11 of his rookie season. When Leon Hall was selected in the first round in 2007, he was a full-time starter by Week 10 as a rookie.

The Bengals, who officially announced the re-signing of Newman on Monday, may move him to nickel back either during training camp or some time in 2013, although they've learned not to take anything for granted with Kirkpatrick. Last season, Kirkpatrick didn't instill confidence after a preseason fracture in his knee and Week 13 concussion essentially led to a redshirt season. That's why the Bengals paid for an insurance policy. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals are spending $3 million on Newman this year.

“Terence has always had great talent, and he’s become a smarter player every year of his career,” Zimmer said in a statement. “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.”

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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