Best Of 2017

Best Quiet Hall of Fame Career in the Making: Geno Atkins

The Bengals’ offensive stars in recent years have enjoyed much of the team’s limelight — wide receiver A.J. Green is one of the best in the game, and quarterback Andy Dalton and running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill get to score all the touchdowns. But there are some pretty legit dudes on the other side of the ball, too, starting with defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The 29-year-old has made the Pro Bowl in five out of his seven years in the league, the most ever for a Bengals defensive lineman and just one behind the record for any Bengals defensive player. Atkins has twice led the NFL in interior-line sacks and shared the accolade twice. Defensive tackle is one of the toughest gigs in the game, and Atkins’ dominance allows the freaky defensive ends to really get after the quarterback. The team smartly locked up the former fourth-round pick with a five-year, $52 million contract in 2013, retaining his services through 2019. If he stays healthy, he’s likely looking at another extension in the near future and could potentially be a Bengal for life.