In just three short seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Geno Atkins has generated 23 quarterback sacks, forced six fumbles, earned two Pro Bowls and named to the 2012 First-Team All-Pro team. Atkins has the potential to become a Hall of Fame player if these trends continue -- and we hope it's with the Bengals.
But you might as well expect him to keep getting better. His secret? Training, training, and more training.
"Training is very important if I want to maintain a high level of play," Atkins told Carlos Holmes with the Dayton Daily news. "Clif (Marshall with Ignition) puts you through an intense workout that is not for everyone. In preparation for the training, you have to make sure you get eight hours of sleep and eat right. You have to come in with your mind right because Clif is going to bring it. He’s basically going to try and kill your body."
Marshall, the Performance Director at Ignition in Mason, told Holmes that the player that trains the most is easily Atkins.
"What you need to know about Geno is when I look at my attendance sheet over the past three years his name is at the top," Marshall said. "He’s been here more than any other NFL player we have in the program. Geno is consistent and has a blue-collar approach every day he comes in to work out."
Atkins will enter his fourth season in the NFL, which is also a contract year. Rated as one of the best tackles in the league today, there's a feeling that Atkins could command record money in respect to his position.
Ndamukong Suh signed a five-year deal worth $65.4 million with $38.3 million as the second overall draft pick during the 2010 NFL draft. Haloti Ngata signed a five-year extension worth $48.5 million with $27.9 million guaranteed. It's not hard to imagine Atkins crushing those numbers.
However, even if the Bengals are unable to sign Atkins to a long-term deal by next March, expect Cincinnati to slap the franchise tag on Atkins. We don't see a scenario where he's not in a Bengals uniform in 2014.