May 2, 2007
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Wednesday that former Bobcat defensive standouts Matt Muncy (Miamisburg, Ohio) and T.J. Wright (Beaumont, Texas) have both signed free agent contracts with the team. The pair of 2006 first-team All-MAC selections are the first Bobcats to officially be announced as part of this year's NFL free agent class.
Muncy started all 14 games in 2006 and finished his career with a streak of 38 straight starts. A two-time first-team All-MAC pick by the league's coaches, Muncy was also an All-MAC selection by Collegefootballnews.com, which rated him as the league's second-best linebacker and fifth-best player regardless of position. Muncy ranked second on the team with 87 tackles as a senior and led the Bobcats with a career-high 17.0 tackles for loss which marked the third-best season total in school history. He was fourth in the MAC and tied for 27th in the nation with 1.21 tackles for loss per game. Prior to the 2006 campaign, Muncy was named to the preliminary watch list for the 2006 Lombardi Award, was on the Butkus Award watch list and was nominated for the 2006 Lott Trophy as the Defensive IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity) Player of the Year.
For his career, Muncy finished second all-time at Ohio with 203 solo tackles. He also ranked fourth with 39.5 career tackles for loss and tied for seventh with 11.5 career sacks.
Wright was also a regular in the lineup, starting all 14 games for the Bobcats. He earned first-team All-MAC honors from the league's coaches and was named All-MAC by Collegefootballnews.com, which rated him as the second-best defensive back in the league. Wright led all Ohio defensive backs, and ranked third on the team overall, with 59 tackles and paced the team with four interceptions. He became the first Bobcat since Bop White (1999-2002) to notch four straight seasons with at least three interceptions. Wright set school records with 18 pass break-ups and 22 passes defended. He led the MAC and ranked sixth in the nation with 1.57 passes defended per game.
Wright finished his Bobcat career as the program's all-time leader in both pass break-ups (44) and passes defended (57). His 13 career interceptions put him in a third-place tie on the Ohio all-time ledger.
Muncy and Wright are now two of five former Bobcats currently on NFL rosters. Ohio's All-America punter Dave Zastudil plays with the Cleveland Browns, while 2005 All-American Dion Byrum is a cornerback with the Carolina Panthers. Chip Cox, who finished his Bobcat career in 2004, is a safety with the Washington Redskins.