Bengals Send Jones Packing

The Cincinnati Bengals have released left tackle Levi Jones.

Jones had the [starting left tackle] job since the second month of his NFL career, which began when he was the 10th pick in the 2002 draft. He started 89 games and emerged as one of the top left tackles in the game during a 2005 season he was voted a Pro Bowl second alternate. But knee and leg problems limited him to 31 games in the last three seasons and he played in only the first 10 last season when he suffered a leg injury against the Eagles.

Cincinnati tried to trade Jones before the draft, but found no takers. For his part, Jones claims his injury problems are behind him.

If Jones is healthy, the move could backfire badly on the Bengals, who now look to start as-yet-unsigned first round pick Andre Smith and second-year man Anthony Collins, who started six games at LT last season, at the tackle spots. Who plays where hasn’t been determined, but based on last weekend’s rookie minicamp, where coaches had Smith playing LT, Smith has the inside track on the left side.

While the Bengals couldn’t find a trade partner for Jones, that doesn’t mean there isn’t interest in him around the league. Muckraker Mike expects the Bills, who are short of tackles after trading Jason Peters to Philadelphia, to make a run at Levi.

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