Bengals sign DT Smith to fill void left by Peko, who has knee injury

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals signed defensive tackle Shaun Smith on Wednesday, two days after run-stopping lineman Domata Peko had surgery on his right knee that will sideline him for a few weeks.

Smith played for the Bengals from 2004 to 2006, starting in six games. He played for the Cleveland Browns the last two years and had been out of the NFL since the Detroit Lions released him on Sept. 5. Smith played in two games for Las Vegas of the United Football League.

"I was training in Arizona every day, but there's nothing like conditioning with pads on and playing the game," Smith said. "I never thought my career was over, it was just a matter of opportunity. If I get thrown right in, I know the defense so far."

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Smith has to get into playing shape.

"He's a big guy and a strong man who understands what we do a little bit," Lewis said. "He was here long enough. We know him, he knows us. It's just a matter of what he can do, and can he help us?"

Peko was in the locker room Wednesday with a protective sleeve on his right leg. He had the knee cleaned out Monday and said he's aiming to return for the regular-season finale against the New York Jets.

"I just want to get it strong again," Peko said. "I can't wait to get back."

The Bengals put rookie tight end Chase Coffman on season-ending injured reserve with bone spurs in his left ankle. The third-round draft pick has been inactive for all 12 games.

The Bengals also signed second-year cornerback Antonio Smith to the practice squad.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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