Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp Preview: Offensive Centers

May 22, 2012; Cincinnati, OH USA; Cincinnati Bengals center Kyle Cook (64) talks with guard Travelle Wharton (70) during organized team activities at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-US PRESSWIRE

After firing up our training camp preview with the offensive tackles, we continue the day for our loveable offensive line, this time redirecting our focusing on the team's offensive centers. Perhaps the shortest preview of any, due to the overall breakdown of the position, the Bengals currently have two centers entering training camp with the possibility of a third in Trevor Robinson (who we'll bring up during our offensive guards preview).

Player Age Season Acquired School
Kyle Cook 28 5th Free Agent ('07) Michigan State
'11 PFF Overall '11 PFF Pass '11 PFF Rush '11 QB Sacks / Hits / Hurries '12 Salary*
-5.8 -4.8 0.0 2 / 4 / 15 $2.5 million

Being a starting center in the AFC North isn't an enviable task. For his part, Kyle Cook has generally stabilized a position that was rather fractious during Eric Ghiaciuc's reign, and produced as well as we can expect. Cook, originally an undrafted free agent signing by the Minnesota Vikings, signed onto Cincinnati's practice squad in 2007, remaining there for the entire season. Cook, who played some special teams in 2008, suffered a dislocated toe during pregame warm ups against the Cowboys, landing on Injured Reserve and thus prematurely ending his season.

Cook, who generally calls the offensive line's blocking schemes, points out blitzing linebackers while faced with the daunting task of taking on players like Baltimore's Haloti Ngata and Pittsburgh's Casey Hampton. Not an easy task. Cook, a far superior run blocker than pass blocker, is entering his fourth year as the Bengals starting center, playing and starting every game since the regular season opener in 2009.

Player Age Season Acquired School
Reggie Stephens 24 2nd '10 Draft (7th) Iowa State
'11 PFF Overall '11 PFF Pass '11 PFF Rush '11 QB Sacks / Hits / Hurries '12 Salary*
N/A N/A N/A N/A $540,000

After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL draft, Stephens spent his entire rookie season on the 53-man roster, but was never activated throughout the regular season. Eventually the Bengals waived him during final cuts last season, where he was out of the league until the Chicago Bears signed him to their offseason roster to backup Roberto Garza earlier this year. Following the Bears' rookie minicamp, Chicago released him and the Bengals reacquired Stephens on May 21.

The Bengals generally don't like keeping a backup center who is isolated only to that position -- rather they prefer a player that can backup multiple spots on the offensive line.

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