Bengals sign former Browns kicker

Cleveland Browns place kicker Austin Seibert (4) attempts an extra point in the first half during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Baltimore. The Browns are replacing kicker Austin Seibert after he missed an extra point and field goal in Sunday's opener, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press. Seibert, who clanged his extra point off the left upright and pushed a 41-yard field-goal try to the right, will be replaced by Cody Parkey, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made the move official. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams, File)
Cleveland Browns place kicker Austin Seibert (4) attempts an extra point in the first half during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Baltimore. The Browns are replacing kicker Austin Seibert after he missed an extra point and field goal in Sunday's opener, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press. Seibert, who clanged his extra point off the left upright and pushed a 41-yard field-goal try to the right, will be replaced by Cody Parkey, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made the move official. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams, File)

Credit: Terrance Williams

Credit: Terrance Williams

Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said he wasn’t worried about the secrets the team’s former kicker might bring to the Cincinnati Bengals ahead of their Battle of Ohio matchup.

The Bengals just might be playing some mind games by signing kicker Austin Seibert off waivers Tuesday, a day after the Browns waived him in favor of practice squad kicker Cody Parkey.

It’s possible Seibert could be lining up to kick against his old team Thursday when the Bengals play at Cleveland, but Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said Randy Bullock is still his kicker and Seibert was more of an insurance move. Regardless if he plays or not, there could be some benefits to adding a player with inside knowledge of the opponent on a short week.

“I don’t have any concerns,” Stefanski said in a conference call with local media Tuesday. “… I would say that would be weird (to see him on the other sideline so soon). But it also was really weird walking in the stadium with cardboard cutouts the other day.”

According to Taylor, Bullock was still working through some soreness Monday, after his calves cramped up Sunday when he planted to kick a 31-yard field goal that went wide right to seal a 16-13 win for the L.A. Chargers.

Taylor had said in his Monday press conference he didn’t think the team needed to go look for another kicker.

“We expect Randy to kick this Thursday, but as he kind of worked through his tightness yesterday, we just wanted to make sure,” Taylor said Tuesday. “But he’s gonna be in good shape after cramping up. It’s not a big deal. Randy’s our kicker.”

Taylor was not scheduled to speak Tuesday but jumped onto a brief Zoom news conference ahead of Joe Burrow so he could address the kicker topic “before it became a bigger story than it needs to be.”

Outside of speculation the Bengals might want to use the Browns' former kicker against them, the main buzz around the Battle of Ohio has been the quarterback matchup between rookie Joe Burrow and the Browns' Baker Mayfield, who was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018.

Bengals free safety Jessie Bates said they are both similar players in the level of confidence they bring to the field, although Mayfield is known to draw more attention to himself than Burrow, whose “swagger” shows up more in his actions than words.

“It’s something that I talked about with you guys with Joe Burrow -- Baker is kind of a similar type of guy,” Bates said. “He’s a very swaggy and confident type of guy. You hate to be playing against him, you love him if he’s on your team. I feel like there’s always that chippy type of game when we’re playing against Baker and those guys because they have a lot of confidence in themselves, which is fine. I’m sure they’re going to have a lot to prove after getting whooped the other night as well.”

Burrow called Mayfield “a great player” and said he looks forward to competing against him. Both quarterbacks will have something to prove after losses Sunday.

Mayfield especially struggled to get a connection going with Odell Beckham, who was targeted 10 times but caught just three passes for 22 yards, in a 38-6 loss to the Ravens. Burrow threw a bad interception and went 0 for 5 on deep shots in his team’s 16-13 loss to L.A., but he gave the Bengals a chance to rally on the final drive only to see his game-winning touchdown negated by a penalty and the game-tying field goal to go wide.

“I’m fired up about it,” Burrow said of the chance to redeem himself. “I said after Sunday I’m glad we’re playing in four days so we can get this taste out of our mouth and move on to the next week. I’m excited to play. I know our guys are excited to get out there and compete.”

Burrow said he hasn’t thought about trying to break Mayfield’s rookie touchdown pass record, which Mayfield set at 27 touchdown passes over 13 games in 2018. He’s more concerned about winning games, he said, and the more touchdowns he throws the more games the team can win.

Taylor wants to see those wins coming, too. Getting on Thursday in the Bengals' first AFC North game would be a good time to start.

“(It’s) important -- we want to win,” Taylor said when asked how important wins are when developing a first-year quarterback. “You need that winning feeling, just the difference you feel in the locker room and going through your week of preparation. That’s all it comes down to, that’s all that matters to us. Certainly, we want to improve from week to week, but we’ve got to find ways to win football games.”