The linebacker position in Cincinnati has been quite the adventure:
Odell Thurman played well in his rookie season of 2005 ... but has sat out the last two seasons for violating the league's substance abuse policy. David Pollack broke his neck in his second game of his second season and was forced to retire. A.J. Nicholson's career didn't last too long after off-field issues. Ahmad Brooks has barely seen the field due to injuries.
This was a team that had to bring Dhani Jones off the scrap heap ... and he turned into one of their best defensive players. At one point last year, the Bengals couldn't field a linebacking corps at all. Keith Rivers will be a big, big help there.
There have been rumblings that the Bengals could move to the 3-4 defense and Rivers would be a great fit if they do. He has the ability to rush the passer as well as cover backs and tight ends. Right now, the Bengals will have Brooks and Jones seemingly as starters with Thurman, Rashad Jeanty and Eric Henderson as other options.
Adding Rivers allows the Bengals to bring him on a bit slower, add some depth and could allow them to move into a 3-4 defense.
Oh, and he's a good kid and a vocal team leader, too. Guys like Thurman, Nicholson and Brooks have had huge red flags attached to their careers (and those are just the linebackers) so bringing in a great character guy who will be a positive locker room presence is huge. He's got a great work ethic and is one of those guys that plays bigger than his skills indicate.
This is quite a good moment for a franchise that needed one right about now.
Previously on FanHouse:
FanHouse Mock Draft: Bengals Select Sedrick Ellis No. 9
Bengals Might Not Win Many Games in '08, but They're Awesome at Being Vindictive
Thanks to Chad Henry and Ocho Cinco the Bengals Might Draft a WR in the First Round
Bengals Reject Redskins Offer of Two Draft Picks for Chad Johnson