In ranking the 50 greatest Cincinnati Bengals players of all time, the first 10 players featured many of the individuals who helped make the Bengals into one of the more consistent programs in the National Football League since the team’s inception in 1967. Now, we start to move into the present and see how the times they are changing. Without further ado, here are the next five players on the list, ranked 40-36 among the all-time greats of the franchise.
40. Tyler Eifert, Tight end
When healthy, there is no doubt Tyler Eifert is one of the top tight ends in the National Football League. As a rookie in 2013, Eifert played in 15 games and had 39 receptions for 445 yards and two touchdowns. He was injured in Week 1 of the 2014 season and appeared in only that game. In only 13 games in 2015, Eifert caught 52 passes for 615 yards and led all tight ends with 13 touchdown receptions, making his case as one of the league’s best and a scary weapon for the Bengals.
Let’s look back on some of the highlight’s from Eifert’s stand-out 2015 season...
- On September 13, 2015 Eifert had a career day with nine receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Oakland Raiders.
- The following week, he scored his third touchdown of the season against San Diego. In Week 5, Eifert was Andy Dalton’s favorite target with eight receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-24 comeback victory against Seattle.
- On November 5, 2015, Eifert had five catches for 53 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-10 win over the Browns, tying him with Rodney Holman (1989) and Bob Trumpy (1969) for the franchise record for single-season touchdowns by a tight end with nine.
- On November 22, 2015, Eifert caught only three passes for 22 yards against the Arizona Cardinals, but two of those receptions went for touchdowns.
- On November 29, 2015, he caught a touchdown pass in the Bengals' 31-7 win over the St. Louis Rams.
- On January 3, 2016, Eifert finished the regular season with a touchdown reception in the Bengals' 24-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
For his efforts, Eifert earned a trip to the 2016 Pro Bowl and was ranked 44th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016. That Pro Bowl caused some major issues for the Bengals though, as Eifert got injured, causing him to miss the first six games of the season.
Once recovered from his injury (and a back injury that followed) Eifert appeared in eight games (he missed another two due to a second back injury) and had 29 receptions for 394 yards and five touchdowns. Eifert has a bright future in the NFL, if he can stay healthy, and hopefully his future will be with the Bengals as he helps the team get back to the Super Bowl for the third time in franchise history.
39. Ickey Woods, Running back
Woods was drafted by the Bengals in the second round (31st overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. He was a star right away, setting franchise rookie records for rushing with 1,066 yards (since broken by Cedric Benson), 15 touchdowns and an NFL-leading 5.3 yards per carry. Woods also managed 228 yards and three touchdowns as he helped the Bengals advance to Super Bowl XXIII, where Cincinnati lost to the 49ers by a score of 20-16. Even so, he finished as the game's leading rusher with 79 yards.
Woods tore his left ACL in the second game of the 1989 season and missed more than a year while recovering. In 1991, he injured his right knee in the preseason and, although he returned at midseason, he ran for just 97 yards on 36 carries. He was out of football by age 26, cutting short an unforgettable career. His career statistics include 332 carries for 1,525 yards and 27 touchdowns, along with 47 receptions for 397 yards.
As of the 2017 NFL offseason, Woods held at least 30 Bengals franchise records, including:
- Rushing attempts in the playoffs (89), playoff season (72 in 1988), playoff game (29 on 1989-01-08 BUF)
- Rushing yards: playoffs (391), playoff season (307 in 1988)
- Rushing yards per attempt: playoffs (4.39), rookie season (5.25 in 1988)
- Rushing touchdowns: season/rookie season (15 in 1988), playoffs (4), playoff season (3 in 1988), playoff game (2 on 1989-01-08 BUF)
- Rushing yards per game: playoffs (78.2)
- Total touchdowns: playoffs (4), playoff season (3 in 1988), playoff game (2 on 1989-01-08 BUF), rookie season (15 in 1988)
- Yards from scrimmage: playoffs (409), playoff season (307 in 1988)
- All purpose yards: playoffs (409), playoff season (307 in 1988)
- 100+ yard rushing games: season (7 in 1988, shared record with Cedric Benson), playoffs (2), rookie season (7)
- Games with 1+ touchdown scored: playoffs (3), rookie season (11)
- Games with 2+ touchdowns scored: season/rookie season (6 in 1988), playoff game (1; with Charles Alexander, Dan Ross, Stanley Wilson)
- Games with 3+ touchdowns scored: rookie season (1; shared record with three others)
38. Pete Johnson, Running back
A superb rusher and blocker, Johnson excelled as a running back for the Bengals. He was the team's leading rusher for all seven seasons for which he played for the team, and scored 12 or more rushing touchdowns three times. His best season came in 1981, when he received his only Pro Bowl selection. During that season, Johnson set career marks in rushing (1,077 yards), receptions (46), receiving yards (320) and total touchdowns (16), and helped lead the team to a 12-4 record.
In the postseason, Johnson helped the Bengals record their first ever playoff win by rushing for 45 yards, catching three passes for 23 yards, and scoring one touchdown in the team's 28-21 victory over the Buffalo Bills. In the AFC championship game against the Chargers, Johnson rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown, and caught a 14-yard reception in a 27-7 victory that earned Cincinnati its first-ever Super Bowl appearance. The Bengals eventually lost Super Bowl XVI 26-21 to the 49ers and Johnson was limited to 36 yards rushing and eight yards receiving.
In 1984, Johnson was traded to the Chargers for running back James Brooks. He left Cincinnati as the team’s all-time leader in rushing yards (5,421) and touchdowns (70), and was the Bengals’ second-leading scorer with 420 points. Interestingly, Brooks went on to also become of the greatest Bengals of all time (more on him later)!
37. Mike Reid, Defensive line
Reid was the Bengals’ first-round selection (No. 7 overall) in the 1970 NFL Draft. In the team's third season, Cincinnati won the AFC Central Division title and made the playoffs. In 1971, Reid established himself as one of the league’s best pass rushers by recording 12 sacks, a figure he repeated in 1972. Reid was a consensus All-AFC selection in 1971 and 1972 and was a consensus All-Pro in 1972.
In 1973, Reid recorded 13 sacks and was named All-Pro by the Newspaper Enterprise Association and second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers Association. He was also consensus All-AFC for the third consecutive season.
Reid was limited by injuries in 1974 and recorded only seven sacks, bringing his career total to 49. He was again an All-AFC selection in his final season and retired as the leading sacker in the team's short history.
He made trips to the Pro Bowl in 1972 and 1973 before knee and hand injuries forced his retirement following the 1974 season
36. Leon Hall, Defensive back
The Bengals drafted Hall, who posted an impressive 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds at the NFL Combine, in the first round (18th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Hall finished his rookie campaign as the Bengals' interception leader with five, tying a team record for most interceptions in a rookie season.
In 2008, Hall tallied 75 tackles (61 solo), 24 pass break-ups, three interceptions and a touchdown. He tied the franchise record by intercepting three passes in a game against the Cleveland Brown, and returned one for a 50-yard touchdown.
Hall recorded 71 tackles (58 solo), forced two fumbles, broke up 24 passes and recorded a career-high six interceptions in 2009. After the season, USA Today named Hall to its annual “All-Joe” team. In 2010, Hall started all 16 games for the third consecutive year, recording 29 tackles, 11 assists, and four interceptions.
On November 13, 2011, Hall injured his achilles’ tendon in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the following day he was placed on Injured Reserve. He ended the season with 29 tackles and two interceptions in nine games.
In 2012, Hall returned and started and played in 14 games. He recorded 23 solo tackles, 14 assists and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. A second torn achilles’ forced the Bengals to place him back on IR on October 29, 2013.
On December 2, 2015, after a 31–7 Week 12 win over the St. Louis Rams, Hall was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. He had six tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown. After nine seasons with the Bengals, Hall became a free agent and signed with the New York Giants on August 4, 2016 to a one-year contract. When the Bengals faced the Giants in the 2016 season, Hall didn’t even get a chance to play as he was a healthy scratch. Hall currently is a free agent and it remains unclear if he’s played his last game of football. If he has, he finished his NFL career having played 133 games (107 starts) and recording 27 interceptions, 3 pick sixes, 114 passes defended, 6 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 2.0 sacks in the process.