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Bengals sign former first-round linebacker

The Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent linebacker Aaron Maybin to a Reserve/Future contract Friday.

A first-round draft pick in 2009 out of Penn State, Maybin has played in 47 games with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. He will count on the Bengals’ active list beginning Feb. 4, the day after the Super Bowl.

“It is a great opportunity to play for Marvin Lewis,” said Maybin, a Baltimore native who grew up cheering for the Ravens when Lewis was their defensive coordinator.

Selected 11th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft by Buffalo, Maybin played two seasons with the Bills before getting cut during the 2011 preseason. He signed with the Jets a few days later and ended up playing in 13 games while leading the team in sacks (six) and forced fumbles (four).

But Maybin was on the field for just 119 snaps in the team’s first nine games in 2012, and he was released Nov. 14. The move came two weeks after he made headlines when he told reporters he was going after Miami running back Reggie Bush.

“We want to knock him out, but we want to do it legally,” Maybin said.

He played just five snaps against the Dolphins and was inactive the following week before being released.

“I don’t want to get into that,” he said Friday when asked about the circumstances surrounding his release. “It was a business decision that was best for them. There were a couple teams I wanted to talk to. I wanted to feel like I would have an opportunity to contribute wherever I played next.”

Maybin will become the 10th Bengals linebacker on the active roster, four of whom are unrestricted free agents – Rey Maualuga, Thomas Howard, Manny Lawson and Dan Skuta.

Asked where he thinks he fits among the group, Maybin said, “Predominantly SAM. On some spots I would be more of a stand-up guy on first and second downs, and more of an outside rusher on third.”

While it’s not clear if Maybin can make the 53-man roster, the move poses little risk for the Bengals, who are hoping they can kickstart Maybin’s career the way they did with rookie Vontaze Burfict this past season.

Like Maybin, Burfict came with some baggage, but the Bengals assumed little risk in offering him a free-agent contract minutes after the draft. Burfict ended up starting 14 games while leading the team in tackles.

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