Chris Crocker returns to Bengals

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With several defensive backs dealing with injuries, the Bengals have looked to a familiar face to give them a bit more depth in the secondary.

The team has re-signed safety Chris Crocker, who they released in April. Crocker, originally a third-round pick by the Browns in 2003, started all 16 games at safety for the Bengals last season and made 44 total starts for the team over the last four years. Crocker had 61 tackles and 3.5 sacks for the team last season, production that, even with the caveat of a history of knee issues, somewhat surprisingly wasn’t enough to get him a look with another team over the summer

Crocker played some nickel corner for the Bengals over the years, which could be a role he fills in the short term as well. Cornerbacks Nate Clements, who started at safety last week, and Leon Hall both missed practice on Wednesday, rookie Dre Kirkpatrick hasn’t been on the field yet this year and safety Reggie Nelson was limited in practice. Crocker told Geoff Hobson of the Bengals website that he thinks he’s ready to start right away, something cornerback Adam Jones also thinks is possible.

“I’m a Crock fan,” Jones said. “He can definitely come in (and start) if he watches tape. You know he knows the defense. He’s a great add.”

The Bengals haven’t yet announced a corresponding move to create space on the roster.

UPDATE 1:49 p.m. ET: The Bengals announced that they have released tight end Donald Lee.