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Taylor Mays coming off NFL suspension; Bengals may have interest

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Taylor Mays is close to being reinstated by the NFL. Does that mean Cincinnati is an option for the veteran safety?

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Bengals actually considering another reunion with Taylor Mays?

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Bengals are keeping tabs on Mays, who spent several weeks in a rehab facility and is eligible to play in the NFL starting next Monday when his eight week suspension ends.

Mays was originally suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL regular season for a violation in March. The Bengals signed him during the offseason knowing he’d be suspended for the first four weeks of the year. Then, an additional four games were added for another violation. That was why the Bengals cut Mays, on a Saturday, not long after signing him to a free agent deal.

It’s great to see he’s seemingly gotten his life together and may be ready for an NFL comeback, but it’s hard to see why the Bengals would have a need for him. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect with Mays is his potential as a nickel coverage linebacker.

That experiment started in 2013 in Cincinnati, but he only played eight games that year. While attempting to fit into the role in 2014, the coaching staff became enamored with Emmanuel Lamur and Mays took a backseat to Lamur’s development.

A former second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Mays quickly went from starting safety for the San Francisco 49ers to trade bait as the hard-hitter was a major liability against the pass. He was later traded to Cincinnati for a seventh-round pick, and went on to play 50 games for the Bengals, including an eight-game stretch in 2013 where he played a linebacker/safety hybrid role, filling in for the injured Lamur.

Mays later suffered a season-ending injury at the mid-season point that year, and then rarely saw the field in 2014, making just nine tackles in 16 games. The Bengals still wanted to bring Mays back once the offseason began and he became a free agent in 2015, but he left to be with his former defensive coordinator in Mike Zimmer in Minnesota.

Mays had little to no shot of playing in Cincy last year with Reggie Nelson, Shawn Williams and George Iloka ahead of him on the depth chart, not to mention Derron Smith looking like a promising defensive back when picked up in the draft.

Mays was eventually cut by the Vikings, had brief stints with the Raiders and Lions and then ended up back with the Raiders before hitting free agency in 2016, at which point he signed with Cincinnati, even though it was known he was suspended for the first four games of 2016.

Once Mays got hit with an additional four-game suspension, the Bengals cut him. Since then, Mays has been a ghost, and it sounds like the reason was he was trying to work through his problems in rehab.

Unless Cincinnati suffers an injury that requires someone to go on I.R., it wouldn’t be worth cutting someone on the current roster to sign Mays... unless he learned how to kick (or return kicks) this offseason.

We kid...maybe.