Bengals sign Eric Winston

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals, in dire need of help at right offensive tackle, signed veteran lineman and acting NFL Players Association president Eric Winston on Tuesday.

Winston's addition comes one week after the Bengals placed starter Andre Smith on season-ending injured reserve after he tore his left triceps while trying to block Texans defensive end J.J. Watt during a pass Watt ended up knocking down at the line.

In Smith's absence Sunday at Tampa Bay, the Bengals rotated a pair of players at the position. Backup Marshall Newhouse started at right tackle, taking 44 snaps there. Across two drives in the second quarter, he was replaced by starting left guard Clint Boling, who moved over for more than a dozen snaps on the right edge. Boling played more snaps at the position than he had in more than five years, when he was a versatile offensive lineman in college at Georgia.

Winston hasn't played in a game this season, but he was a 16-game starter last season for Arizona. He was on Seattle's roster in training camp before getting released. The 31-year-old also has played with Houston and Kansas City.

Winston took to Twitter on Tuesday and already seems familiar with the Bengals' fan base.

According to Werder, Winston had workouts this season with multiple teams, including the Eagles, Falcons and Vikings, before ultimately signing with the AFC North-leading Bengals. Winston previously told Werder he thought it was important as president of the players' union to be an active player so that he's more aware of the experiences players are having and better understands their concerns.

Winston joins an offensive line that already features Bengals player rep and left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Winston's addition gives the line another smart, high-character veteran.

In October, Winston made headlines when he posted a series of tweets reacting to comments Bengals coach Marvin Lewis made in reference to the attention concussions receive these days.

During a news conference, Lewis said concussions "linger longer" in players now because of the enhanced media attention they receive.

That prompted Winston, in his role as NFLPA head, to rattle off a series of tweets.

"Always good to see the NFL educating their HCs on health/safety. Glad they are taking the lead on serious issues like concussions. #sarcasm," Winston tweeted. "Perpetuating the idea that it's the medias fault that concussions ["linger"] longer just shows how far we still have to go in educating every1."

Lewis didn't respond to the criticism from Winston and others at the time.

Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson hinted Monday that the team may explore options outside of Newhouse, Boling and backup Tanner Hawkinson. The Bengals went into Sunday's game carrying Whitworth and Newhouse as their only true tackles on the active game-day roster.

"I'm trying to find the five best guys that can play at a high level," Jackson said. "Whoever they are, we have to put them out there and play."

Along with signing Winston, the Bengals announced they waived offensive tackle Jamon Meredith, who was signed last week. Linebacker J.K. Schaffer also was waived off the IR with his rehab from a concussion complete. That leaves the Bengals with one vacancy on the 53-man roster.

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