The Bengals are one of the few NFL teams that have one or no numbers retired.
That means the one guy who did have his number retired after his career in Cincinnati must be a good, no, great one.
Bob Johnson was that and then some, and he's the only Bengal to wear No. 54 in Cincinnati. Drafted by the Bengals in the first round (2nd overall) of the 1968 NFL Draft, Johnson became the franchise's first draft pick after a standout career at Tennessee.
After graduating with honors in engineering, Johnson entered the 1968 NFL Draft and was selected second overall behind Hall of Fame offensive tackle Ron Yary. He is the second highest-drafted center ever selected in an NFL Draft (Ki Aldrich went No. 1 in 1939).
From there, Johnson became the starting Bengals center, a job he held for 10 straight seasons. He went on to make the Pro Bowl in 1968, and during the course of his career, was named to All-Pro teams (five times to the 2nd team and two times to the 1st team) in seven of his 11 seasons of pro football.
It wasn't until 1978 that Johnson was unseated as the starting center, losing the job to first-round selection Blair Bush (who went on to start in 161 career NFL games). Johnson ended his career with 108 starts, all at center, and 154 games played.
During the final game of the 1978 regular season against the Browns, the Bengals honored Johnson as the "original" Bengal. The team presented Johnson with a silver service set and his own uniform to keep. Most importantly, they retired his number after the game. To this day, Johnson is the only Bengal with a retired number.
However, about a year after Johnson's retirement, Bush suffered a knee injury in 1979, leading the Bengals to coax Johnson to come out of retirement to be their a long-snapper on punts, field goals and extra points. He played in five games that year before finally hanging up the cleats for good.