The Bengals today re-signed unrestricted free agent safety Reggie Nelson and signed UFA cornerback Jason Allen. Nelson led the Bengals in interceptions (four) last season and was a powerful tackler (ranked third with 102). Allen tied for the Houston Texans’ INT lead with four, and he played in all 18 games as the Texans advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
“These signings are obviously a huge plus for our secondary,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “Reggie and Jason are physical players who have had success and are entering the prime years of their careers. Reggie helped us get to the playoffs last year, and Jason helped Houston get there and advance beyond us. They are good players who have the opportunity to keep improving."
Both players entered the NFL as first-round draft choices, and both are sixth-year pros in 2012.
Nelson (5-11, 206; Florida) is entering his third season with Cincinnati, after beginning his career with Jacksonville (21st overall draft choice). He started every Bengals game last season, and his tackle total included two sacks. He tied for second on the team in forced fumbles (two) and he was third in passes defensed (eight).
Nelson’s team-leading INT total last season included a 75-yarder for a touchdown in a victory at Seattle. He also had key picks in home wins over Cleveland and Arizona, and he forced a fumble that produced a game-sealing touchdown at Indianapolis.
Allen (6-1, 200; Tennessee) was a first-round draft choice (16th overall) by Miami in 2006. He joined Houston during the 2010 season. He had seven interceptions over 23 total regular season games with Houston, tops on the team for that span and also tied for second among all AFC cornerbacks.
In addition to leading the 2011 Texans in interceptions, Allen was third on the team in passes defensed (11) and tied for second in special teams tackles (eight). He started four games and was 10th on the team in tackles (37).
Allen has 15 career interceptions, 10 of those over the last two seasons. He had a career-best six INTs combined with Miami and Houston in 2010. He posted another team INT lead (three) with Miami in 2007.