The Bengals signed quarterback Jason Campbell to be Andy Dalton’s backup Thursday, a move that brings the franchise full circle in several ways.
Campbell’s broken collarbone with the Raiders midway through the 2011 season had deep reverberations in Cincinnati.
The injury prompted then-Raiders coach Hue Jackson to lobby for a trade with the Bengals, who sent them Carson Palmer for a first-round pick and a conditional second-round pick. Palmer was holding out, saying he’d never play again for the Bengals.
Bengals owner Mike Brown was inclined to keep Palmer and make him sit out. The generous offer from Oakland forced him to reconsider.
The Raiders got the trade but failed to reach the playoffs, Jackson was fired and Campbell moved on to Chicago. Jackson was rehired as an assistant in Cincinnati and was elevated to offensive coordinator when Jay Gruden left for Washington after last season.
Hester to Atlanta: The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with return specialist Devin Hester.
The team announced the deal Thursday. The 31-year-old Hester is a three-time Pro-Bowler who last year tied an NFL record with his 19th scoring return in eight seasons with the Chicago Bears. Coming off a dismal 4-12 season, the Falcons are hoping he can bolster a unit that ranked 28th in the league in kickoff return yards and 21st in punt return yards.
Hester has scored on 13 punt returns, five kickoff returns and off a missed field goal. In 2013, he led the NFL in kickoff return yards (1,436) and total return yards (1,692).
In addition, Hester has 217 receptions for 2,807 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career.
Cromartie, Arizona reach deal: The Arizona Cardinals agreed on the terms of a one-year contract with free agent cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Cromartie spent the past four seasons with the New York Jets. He led the Jets last season with three interceptions. He also had eight passes defensed and one forced fumble. He was released by the Jets March 9.
For his career, Cromartie, the No. 19 overall pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 2006 draft, has 28 interceptions, 97 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He has had two interceptions in the playoffs.