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Bengals Sign College Free Agent Cornerback Johnny Sears

After the official announcement that the Bengals signed Reggie Kelly for the upcoming season -- a season that's brimming with tons of excitement and anticipation -- the Bengals also signed college free agent cornerback Johnny Sears.

Sears participated in the Bengals rookie minicamp two weeks ago as an unsigned tryout player. He played and started nine games for Eastern Michigan last season. He ranked seventh on the Eagles defense with 37 total tackles (23 solo), and he led the team with seven passes defensed. He also was the Eagles No. 1 kickoff returner with 33 returns for 755 yards (22.9-yard average; long of 53).

Sears was kicked off the Michigan Wolverines squad in 2007. The reason is mostly unknown. One Michigan site claims it was multiple failed drug tests. Sears has his background of tragedy too. Don Hoekwater wrote on August 2005 that two of Sears' friends were killed in a car accident. One of those friends was actually a close cousin of his.

Sears moved on to Eastern Michigan where he got his life in order and performed well.

"Going back, I had a lot of time to think and change my ways and to change my life," Sears said. "I just had to find myself - everybody makes mistakes in life, and from where I come from, there's a whole lot of people who have made mistakes.

"It was just a matter of how I was going to bounce back."

Now Sears is on a crowded roster of defensive backs. If he performs well from now until the regular season, he could be a candidate for the team's practice squad.