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Bengals keep kicker Mike Nugent with 2-year deal on eve of free agency

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CINCINNATI — The Bengals kept record-setting kicker Mike Nugent by signing him to a two-year deal on Monday, the eve of the NFL's free agency.

Nugent has been Cincinnati's kicker for the past five seasons. He holds team records for the most field goals and points in a season, making 33 kicks for 132 points in 2011. He kicked a 57-yard field goal — the longest in Bengals history — during their playoff loss at Indianapolis last season.

By signing Nugent, the Bengals kept the core of their kicking teams intact.

"Mike dealt with some tough issues last season," special teams coach Darrin Simmons said, referring to the death of Nugent's father. "But he finished the year strong, and we're looking for him to pick up where he left off.

"Also this means we'll have our specialist trio back, with (long snapper) Clark Harris and (punter) Kevin Huber. And keeping the continuity with those guys working as a unit is a big asset for us."

Nugent is the second potential free agent to stay with Cincinnati. The Bengals signed linebacker Rey Maualuga to a three-year deal last week.

Nugent scored 117 points last season, the second-highest total of his career. He was 26 of 33 on field goal attempts, making 15 of his last 16. He tied an NFL record by making five field goals in the first half of a 23-16 season-opening win over Baltimore.


Online: AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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