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Bengals were interested in signing Geno Atkins, but he’s still recovering from injury

The Bengals needed help at defensive tackle, but Atkins wasn’t ready to go.

NFL: NOV 01 Titans at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the Cincinnati Bengals kicked off their Super Bowl run by beating the Las Vegas Raiders, it came at a cost.

By the time that game ended, Cincinnati had lost Larry Ogunjobi to a season-ending foot injury, and Mike Daniels went down with a groin injury, all while Josh Tupou was still out with an MCL sprain.

Thankfully, the Bengals were able to keep their playoff run going, but not before they had interest in former All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

According to Geoff Hobson of, the Bengals were interested in signing Atkins amid the injuries at that position, but he still has lingering shoulder issues that could keep him from fully returning to 100% health until later this spring.

Bengals safety Jessie Bates added to the speculation by saying he wanted to see the team sign Atkins during the playoffs.

“The Bengals love Geno, a first ballot Hall of Famer, and did think about that when Ogunjobi got hurt last month, but Geno has continued to have shoulder issues and doesn’t think he can play until the spring,” Hobson wrote.

That’s really unfortunate to hear, as Atkins was one of the biggest reasons the Bengals went to five straight playoffs from 2011-15. During that time, he was easily one of the NFL’s best defensive linemen and looked well on his way to a Pro Football Hall of Fame selection someday. Getting to see him suit up in Bengals stripes during this incredible playoff run would have been really special.

Unfortunately, Atkins’ play took a steep drop in 2020 while battling a shoulder injury, which led to surgery in the 2021 offseason. He has yet to sign with a team since then. He was limited to eight games (zero starts) in 2020 and recorded just tackle and one QB hit, so he’s effectively been out for the last two seasons.

Here’s to hoping Atkins is able to make his return to game action next season.