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Bengals agree to 3-year deal with Vincent Rey

Linebacker Vincent Rey will return to the Cincinnati Bengals after agreeing to a three-year deal worth $11.5 million.

Rey becomes the third key member of the Bengals' defense to re-sign with the team. Safety George Iloka and cornerback Adam Jones also have agreed to return to the Bengals.

Although he has been a reserve linebacker his entire six-year career in Cincinnati, Rey has led the team in tackles each of the past two seasons. Injuries forced him into a larger role, and he excelled in it.

"Vinny is a strong guy and a tough guy, and he's like a sponge," coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. "If you say something to him, he gets it right the first time, and then he goes out and does it right. That's why he gets so many tackles. It is great to retain him as we look for an even better defense going forward."

Rey had 121 tackles in 2014 and 98 this past season. The bulk of his playing time came after Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict missed extensive time both years. Head, neck and knee injuries led to Burfict missing 11 games in 2014. Rehab from a microfracture surgery to Burfict's left knee forced Rey to start the first six games of 2015 at the Will linebacker position. Rey's solid play both years ensured there was no dropoff.

During a three-game stretch during the 2013 season the former undrafted free agent started making a name for himself on defense. While filling in for middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, Rey recorded 30 tackles and three sacks in the relief role. Since then, he has proved capable of taking extended starters reps.

Bengals coaches have lauded the Duke product for his football intelligence. Much like Burfict -- who will miss three games in 2016 due to a suspension -- Rey regularly barked out pre-snap line calls.