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Cincinnati Bengals release defensive end Robert Geathers and wide receiver Greg Little

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Robert Geathers was released by the team on Friday, concluding an 11-year career that began as a former fourth-round pick in the 2004 NFL draft.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals announced that they've released defensive end Robert Geathers on Friday, concluding an 11-year career that began as with a fourth-round pick during the 2004 NFL Draft.

"Robert has been with us for all my seasons except the first one," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis on Friday, "and he has been a team leader as well as a very productive player. He’s an incredible teammate and a true professional, a big part of the winning seasons we've achieved. If Robert elects to pursue an opportunity with another NFL team, the timing of this move will allow him the best possible chance at that."

Cincinnati avoided incurring any penalties (dead money) on Robert Geathers' $3.05 million cap number in 2015 -- the final year of a three-year contract that was signed in 2013. Geathers has generated 34 quarterback sacks in his career, including six forced fumbles and 183 tackles -- all with Cincinnati. After suffering a season-ending elbow injury during the second week of the season in 2013, Geathers went on to have a disappointing year in 2014 with 21 tackles, a sack and three batted passes.

A two-time Bengals team leader in sacks, Geathers is one of eight Cincinnati players to have logged double-digit sacks in a season, registering 10.5 in 2006. His Bengals career totals include 473 tackles, 34.0 sacks, three INTs, 16 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He scored two touchdowns (one fumble return and one INT return), and he holds the Bengals record for most fumble return yards in a season (113). He shares the team record for longest single fumble return (75 yards).

Geathers, who ranks third in franchise history with games played (behind Tim Krumrie and Eddie Edwards), is also a former Bengals team selection for the NFL’s Ed Block Courage Award, having earned that designation in 2013 for his work in rehabbing from a torn triceps. He came back in 2014 to play in all 16 regular-season games, plus the Wild Card playoff. In 2014, he logged 21 regular-season tackles, one sack, one INT and three passes defensed.

The team also announced that Greg Little has been released. Little was signed midway through last season after a slew of injuries at wide receiver decimated the team. Little caught six passes for 69 yards last season.