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Utecht joins Bengals as Colts decline to match offer

The Bengals acquired TE Ben Utecht, a restricted free agent from Indianapolis, when the Colts failed to meet a midnight deadline on matching Cincinnati's contract offer to Utecht on Saturday. The Bengals signed Utecht to an offer sheet for a three-year contract on March 14.

"Ben is a fine addition to our team, and he'll be a great complement to (TE) Reggie Kelly," said Bengals tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes.

Utecht, a 6-foot-6, 251-pounder out of the University of Minnesota, is a fourth-year NFL player in 2008. He played in 41 games with 30 starts for Indianapolis over the past three seasons. He also played in six postseason games with five starts, including a start in Indianapolis' victory in Super Bowl XLI following the 2006 season. He has 71 catches for 800 yards (11.3 avg.) in regular season play, with three touchdowns. He has six catches for 61 yards in postseason play.

Utecht played in 14 games with 13 starts during the 2007 regular season, with 31 catches for 364 yards and one TD.

The signing does not require the Bengals to compensate Indianapolis with a draft choice, because Utecht entered the NFL as a college free agent and was not tendered by the Colts beyond draft-status level.

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