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Bengals sign free agent tight end


The Cincinnati Bengals added their third free agent from outside the organization Tuesday when they signed veteran tight end Alex Smith to a one-year deal.

A ninth-year player, Smith spent his first four seasons in Tampa Bay, where he got to know Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who was an offensive assistant for his brother, head coach Jon Gruden.

Asked about the similarities between the two offenses, Smith said, “There is a lot of the same terminology. A lot of it looks the same to me. He may have changed some different concepts here, some different wording, but for the most part it all looks exactly like the same blueprint.”

Smith has 160 receptions for 1,461 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career, which also includes one year in Philadelphia and the last three in Cleveland.

He caught 129 passes for 1,252 yards with 11 TDs during his four seasons with the Buccaneers. The last four years he has been more of a blocking tight end, occasionally lining up at H-back.

“Whatever is asked of me to do, I’m comfortable doing, whether it be the blocking guy, whether it be a motion guy coming out of the backfield, anything,” Smith said. “I just want to be a positive influence for the guys and hopefully I can contribute.”

Smith is one of four tight ends on the roster, joining Jermaine Gresham, Orson Charles and Richard Quinn. Those four have combined for the same number of years in the league as Smith — eight.

“We have a fairly young room in the tight end room, and with my experience and from the years I’ve played, I can at least come in here and be a good leader and a good role model and show the guys the ropes,” Smith said.

When asked what he thought of two-time Pro Bowler Gresham, Smith said, “I haven’t had a chance to meet him, but everything I’ve watched on film, I think he’s a great talent. Very athletic. Great size. I definitely think he has a whole lot more potential he can tap into, but he’s been a tremendous talent to this point and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”

Preseason finalized: The Bengals announced the dates and kickoff times for their final three preseason games Tuesday.

Following the Thursday, Aug. 8 opener at Atlanta, which was previously announced as an 8 p.m. national televised game on ESPN, the Bengals will play their first Saturday night preseason home opener since 2008 when they welcome the Tennessee Titans for a 7 p.m. kickoff Aug. 17.

The final two games will be at Dallas at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, and home against Indianapolis on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.

Schedule release: The NFL announced Tuesday that the entire regular-season schedule will be released at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The Bengals already know who their eight home and road opponents will be. Thursday night they will find out when each of those games will be played and how many will be in prime time.

In addition to home-and-home series with AFC North Division rivals Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the Bengals will play Indianapolis, Minnesota, Green Bay, New England and the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium. And they will travel for road games at Buffalo, Miami, Chicago, Detroit and San Diego.


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