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Johnson expected to compete for starting RB job eventually

9/2/2008 - NFL Rudi Johnson Detroit Lions + more

Running back Rudi Johnson reached a one-year agreement with the Detroit Lions, the team confirmed Monday.

The former Bengal flew to Detroit after being released and impressed the Lions with his workout and conditioning. Following Johnson's visit, there was a buzz in the Lions' locker room among players who saw Johnson's workout.

Johnson had one of his best offseasons, trainingwise, but he missed a good portion of training camp due to a hamstring injury.

Because the move was made after 4 p.m. ET Monday, the Lions didn't have to make a roster move until Tuesday. Tatum Bell, who lost the starting job to rookie Kevin Smith, was released on Tuesday to make room for Johnson.

The 5-foot-10, 225-pound Johnson rushed for 5,742 yards in seven seasons with the Bengals. He ran for a team-record 1,458 yards in 2005 and 1,300-plus yards in '06.

Smith is expected to begin the season as the Lions' every-down starter, but Johnson will compete for the job once he learns the offense.

The Lions shouldn't have any problems accommodating a two-back system -- they plan to run the ball a lot this season.

Bell came to Detroit before last season in a trade with the Broncos. He had 44 carries for 182 yards in five games for the Lions.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was included.