Former Bengals center Kyle Cook has decided to end his NFL playing career, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). The veteran lineman had been a free agent since being released by Cincinnati back in March.
Cook, 31, was one of the best interior lineman still available on the free agent market, as I noted when I examined notable veteran free agents earlier in the week. The Michigan State product had been the Bengals’ regular starter at center for the last five years, missing most of 2012 with a foot injury but playing all 16 games in each of the season from 2009-11 and in 2013.
Although Cook only played out half of the four-year extension he signed with Cincinnati back in 2011, he made out fairly well on that deal, earning base salaries of $2.5MM in 2012 and 2013 to go along with a $2.56MM signing bonus and $400K in workout bonuses. His release left the Bengals with $1.28MM in dead money on their cap for 2014.
With Cook no longer in the picture, the Bengals appear ready to hand the starting center job to fourth-round rookie Russell Bodine.