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Bengals' LB shopping spree wasn't in original plans

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Posted Aug. 05, 2011 @ 3:45 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Bengals didn't set out to make significant additions to their LB corps in free agency, but two injuries changed those plans, we're told. In addition to starting WLB Keith Rivers undergoing wrist surgery before camp, reserve Roddrick Muckelroy ruptured an Achilles tendon early in camp. Forced to change gears, Cincinnati first added Raiders LB Thomas Howard and later re-signed Brandon Johnson, both of whom can play on the weak side. Howard signed a two-year deal, with Johnson signing for one year. The Bengals also added a starting strong-side linebacker with upside in Manny Lawson (one-year deal), who played his first five NFL seasons with San Francisco. With Lawson on the strong side, Rey Maualuga in the middle and either Johnson or Howard at the other outside spot, the Bengals have the makings of a solid LB corps even with Rivers out of the lineup for the time being.

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