Bengals sign Roy Williams

The Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent S Roy Williams, the team announced on Thursday.

Williams (6-0, 221; Oklahoma) is an eighth-year NFL player in 2009. He was a first-round draft selection by Dallas in 2002, the eighth pick overall, and from the '03-07 seasons, he earned Pro Bowl selections. Last season, Williams played in only three games, due to a forearm fracture, and he was released by the Cowboys this past March 5.

In Cincinnati, Williams will be reunited with Mike Zimmer, who joined the Bengals last season as defensive coordinator. Zimmer was defensive coordinator in Dallas from 2000-06, covering Williams' first five seasons with the Cowboys and four of Williams' Pro Bowl nods.

"Roy had his best years when we were together in Dallas," Zimmer said, "and I think we can take advantage of all his strengths in our (4-3) scheme. I don't think the scheme in Dallas fit him quite as well when they switched to a 3-4, but he still went to the Pro Bowl in 2007. Roy is a big hitter, a very tough player who lends a physical presence to a defense, and he makes plays. He has also been very durable, with just the one injury that cost him last year, and that was a broken bone that's healed now."

In his first six seasons with the Cowboys, Williams missed only one game, and that was not injury related, as he served a one-game suspension in 2007 for a horse-collar tackle. He started 96 of the 98 games he played through 2007, including three postseason games.

Williams has 19 career regular-season interceptions, including a team-leading five in 2006, and he has 10 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. He also has an interception and a forced fumble in postseason play. He was credited in Dallas with three seasons of more than 100 tackles, and he has 6.5 career sacks.

In 2008, Williams suffered a forearm fracture in Game 2, Sept. 15 vs. Philadelphia. He missed the next four games, and reinjured the forearm when he attempted to return to action on Oct. 19 at St. Louis. He was placed on Dallas' Reserve/Injured list on Oct. 22, ending his season.

Williams is known as a big hitter, but his poor coverage skills usually bring him off the field on third downs or in passing situations. He's primarily known as a box player and could be used as an extra linebacker in some formations.

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