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Bengals defensive backfield limping into Cleveland

The Bengals are dealing with a rise in injuries in the secondary.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The signing of Chris Crocker hardly comes as a surprise. For the second time in as many years, Crocker spent the offseason without a team only to answer the call when the Bengals needed him. In consecutive years, Crocker signed with Cincinnati prior to the fourth week into the regular season. Not only could Crocker play against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, he may actually start.

"It is amazing," said safety Reggie Nelson via "Last year he came in and got a pick. That tells you what type of veteran he is and how seriously he takes it; it's great to have him back around the locker room. You can't lose that. When you're intelligent, you're intelligent."

And his return couldn't have been more timely.

Nelson and cornerback Leon Hall sat during practice on Wednesday and Thursday with hamstring issues. If Nelson and Hall are unable to go, it theoretically promotes Adam Jones to the starting lineup alongside Terence Newman.

Now you're looking at Taylor Mays and Chris Crocker playing some combination of safety and nickel. Most likely Crocker plays the slot, where he has experience while Taylor lines up at safety. On the other hand, Taylor played nickel during the final series against the Packers when Hall was off the field. Crocker's versatility actually gives the team options.

How about the unlikely Brandon Ghee? After suffering a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons, and giving it another go against the Tennessee Titans, Ghee sat during the final two preseason games and the first three regular season games this year.

"I hope they throw me in the slot," Ghee said via "It's more opportunity means more plays. I am not the type of person to be all nervous and stuff. I like the pressure. I am just glad I got the opportunity and now I am healthy."

Talent and athleticism has never been an issue for Ghee; it's a matter of staying on the field.

During his rookie season, Ghee suffered a preseason head injury that kept him out until October. After playing six games, he was placed on IR with a groin injury. He didn't even make the 53-man roster in 2011, but was eventually promoted from the practice squad primarily in a special teams role. Ghee was placed on IR in August after suffering a training camp wrist injury.

At least he's keeping the positive attitude.

"I am not out for a whole year. I look at the bright side, cup is half full not half empty," Ghee said. "Things happen. This ain't the worst one. Last year I dislocated my wrist and was out for a whole year. To me, this is just a small stepping stone. This is not going to affect me very much."

At least he'll get work in Friday and Sunday.

"(Crocker) looked all right," said defensive backs coach Mark Carrier. "He's not in football shape. I think he's in better shape this year. I remember last year his legs were burning. He knows conditioning-wise he's not there yet, but I think his legs are in better shape."

In that scenario, Ghee becomes the team's nickel back while Mays plays safety and Crocker rotates in.

Bengals cornerback Adam Jones is scheduled to appear in court on Friday after being cited for disorderly conduct Monday morning. According to reports, Jones was the passenger when police pulled over the vehicle after doing 60 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. The driver, identified as Tishana Holmes, refused a breathalyzer test and was subsequently arrested. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Jones said something "likely to be offensive or to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to persons of ordinary sensibilities."

The hearing is reportedly scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and the team concludes practice at 12:45 p.m. on Friday which only promotes Ghee receiving much needed work.

So will Crocker, but not just on the field but with his teammates as well.

"I'm just very confident in my abilities and I know that I'm an asset," Crocker said. "I know that. I think that people around me know that also. There's always some place for me, whether it is helping another guy, whether it is being a player on the field. There's always a place for a guy who has been good and played well and smart. There are places for people like that.