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Bengals HC Zac Taylor on safety Vonn Bell's return: 'He's the ultimate standard-setter'

Last offseason, safety Vonn Bell was one of several veterans the Cincinnati Bengals let walk in free agency to go younger on defense. After one season in Carolina, the veteran returns to Cincy to pursue unfinished business.

Bell inked a one-year deal in Cincinnati to provide veteran leadership to a group that went through growing pains a year ago.

"You guys have heard me talk about Vonn a million times, and he's the ultimate standard-setter. His process is always positive in the locker room; tremendous presence," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said, via the Dayton Daily News. "He's been a part of some of the biggest plays in Bengals history and we're happy to get him back here. We've got to create many more of the greatest plays in Bengals history. Very happy that Vonn's back here."

In three seasons with the Bengals, Bell generated five interceptions, 21 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles and 288 tackles. He was part of Lou Anarumo's stellar defense, which helped get Cincy to the Super Bowl in 2021.

The 29-year-old dealt with shoulder and quad injuries that kept him to just 13 games this past year, putting up his worst statistical season.

After last year's struggles in Carolina, Bell is ready to show he still has juice left in the tank.

"I still feel young, I'm ready to run around and make plays and help lead and contribute any way I can," Bell said. "I'm just happy for the opportunity."

With the Panthers eating $6 million in guaranteed money this year, Bell signed with the Bengals for the league minimum.

"Amazing, amazing," Bell said of returning to Cincy. "I'm at peace. Glad to be back. I feel warm. Glad to see a lot of familiar faces with the coaches. A lot of guys hit me up, and it's just great to be back for sure.

"I think the connection with the people here, especially with the coaching staff and the guys in the locker room (was important). That locker room is very special, just going to war with your brothers. You don't feel by yourself and that's the No. 1 thing. I'm glad to be back. It feels like home and ready to get to it."

Bell's return and the addition of Baltimore free agent safety Geno Stone give the Bengals more depth on the back end that experienced ups and downs last season.

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