The Green Bay Packers Wednesday signed unrestricted free agent safety Mark Roman and re-signed exclusive-rights free agent tackle Kevin Barry, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced.
Roman, 26, gives the Packers a young, gritty veteran with 27 career starts and the versatility to play safety and cornerback.
A speedy, low-profile defender, Roman started all 16 games in Cincinnati's secondary last season. On the field for 92.5 percent of the Bengals' defensive plays, he posted 83 tackles (51 solo), with one-half sack and one interception.
He made two significant plays in Cincinnati wins. In the Bengals' victory over 9-0 Kansas City, Nov. 16, Roman broke up a third-down pass in the third quarter. The play forced the Chiefs to settle for an unsuccessful field-goal attempt. Then, in Cincinnati's Dec. 14 win over San Francisco, he forced a Kevan Barlow fumble, ending a 49ers drive deep in Bengals territory.
Roman, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound player out of Louisiana State, has primarily played safety the last two seasons, although he has seen action at nickel cornerback. The four-year veteran played mostly at cornerback his first two seasons (2000-01). All told, he has started 17 games at safety and 10 at cornerback. He played much of the 2002 season with torn cartilage in his right knee.
Originally selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2000 draft, Roman was talented enough to start four years (1996-99) at LSU in the highly competitive Southeastern Conference. A cornerback as a senior, he started at safety his first three seasons. All told, he returned interceptions for touchdowns on three occasions. A running back in high school, Roman earned Louisiana's Class 5A offensive player of the year honors.
Roman will wear No. 23 for the Packers.
Barry, 24, enters his third NFL season in 2004. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound offensive tackle out of Arizona, became renowned last year for his role as the Packers' "eligible" offensive lineman. He made significant contributions toward the team's franchise-record 2,558 yards rushing, making key blocks on at least three of Ahman Green's long touchdown runs, including a Packers-record 98-yard dash vs. Denver, Dec. 28. Barry was also a force on Green Bay's kickoff-return unit, springing long Najeh Davenport returns at San Diego Dec. 14 and at Oakland Dec. 22.