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Guard Mike Pollak sticks with Cincy

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed offensive guard Mike Pollak on Saturday, officially beginning their efforts to stabilize the team's roster through free agency.

A knee injury kept Pollak out for about half the 2013 regular season, putting into doubt his ability to contribute when he returned.

But when he did, his efforts were key in helping keep quarterback Andy Dalton mostly off the ground. Pro Football Focus rates Pollak as the 29th offensive guard in the league, right behind teammates Clint Boling (27) and Kevin Zeitler (28).

Pollak impressed near the end of last season when he was inserted into the lineup following Zeitler's foot injury at Baltimore in Week 10. It was the plan for Pollak simply to replace Zeitler until the starter got healthy. But even when Zeitler was cleared to play, Pollak remained in the starting lineup, taking the bulk of snaps at right guard from Week 11 forward.

Versatility has been a hallmark of Pollak's identity as a player since he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008. He also has played center.

The signing was the first of what the Bengals hope will be many this offseason. They have 14 players entering the free agency period that officially begins Tuesday (teams were permitted to formally begin speaking with unrestricted and restricted free agents at noon ET on Saturday).

Defensive end Michael Johnson and offensive tackle Anthony Collins will be the two biggest names to watch when it comes to Bengals free agents. Cincinnati hopes to convince at least one of the two to stay.

Offensive line depth has been a big offseason concern for the Bengals, particularly with the possibility that Collins could leave. By making their first move one on offense, the Bengals have made it known that getting solid in the trenches is a priority.

The Bengals are also expected to attempt to re-sign receiver A.J. Green, Dalton and linebacker Vontaze Burfict this offseason. All three are eligible for new contracts now, but are on contract through next February.