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Bengals DE Geathers gets extension

CINCINNATI (Jan. 11, 2007) -- Defensive end Robert Geathers signed a six-year contract extension with the Cincinnati Bengals, who are trying to solidify their defensive line.

Geathers, a fourth-round draft pick in 2004, led the team with 10 1/2 sacks last season, the most by a Bengals player since Eddie Edwards had 13 in 1983. No Cincinnati player had finished with a double-digit sacks total since Alfred Williams had 10 in 1992.

Geathers played in every game last season, then became a restricted free agent.

The Bengals also have to decide whether to sign defensive end Justin Smith, who is a free agent. Smith has led the line in tackles in each of the last five seasons, and finished second to Geathers with 7 1/2 sacks last season.

The Bengals have been below-average in defense during coach Marvin Lewis' four seasons in Cincinnati. He listed the defense's fade as one of the main disappointments during the Bengals' recent 8-8 finish, which left them out of the playoffs for the third time in his four years.

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