Bengals acquire 49ers’ Mays to bolster secondary

Published 2:17 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Safety Taylor Mays is getting a chance to start over with a team that’s been interested in him since his college days.

The Cincinnati Bengals acquired the second-year player from the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday in a trade for an undisclosed draft pick.

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Mays spent the morning trying to learn the playbook, then practiced with the team in the afternoon. The pass defense has been a problem in preseason drubbings against the Lions and the Jets. The Bengals tried to upgrade the safety position through free agency, but Donte Whitner signed with the 49ers instead.

Mays was San Francisco’s second-round pick last year out of Southern California. He started six games early in the season, but played less as it went along. He played sparingly in the preseason, and the 49ers made it known they were interested in trading him.

“It’s good not just for us, but for Taylor,” San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said.

“I think it was a positive thing for Taylor. We’ve got a lot of respect for Taylor. I’ve been around him for three or four weeks now and I understand he’s a good football player. I respect him as a person. He’s a hardworking guy. I think it’s a better fit for him in Cincinnati, and I think he feels the same thing.”

Mays knew the 49ers wanted to get rid of him.

“It was tough at first,” Mays said. “It didn’t affect my confidence. I like to say I feel confident in the potential I had. That’s the mentality I had every day, and it didn’t change. I have that mindset and figure everything would work out, and I’m just fortunate that it did at this point.”

The Bengals were interested in Mays coming out of college, meeting with him before the draft.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to work with Taylor,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “He’s somebody that coming out of college, we did extensive work on and really felt like he was a good prospect. It gives us a younger player.”

Safety Chris Crocker wasn’t sure what to make of the move and how it would affect the rest of the safeties.

“I don’t know yet,” Crocker said. “He’s a new guy. He has a lot of catching up to do. It’s going to be a new playbook. He’ll have to establish his role. Who knows what that’s going to be.”