Former Cincinnati quarterback Greg Cook, a second-team All-American in 1968 and first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1969, passed away in Cincinnati Friday. He was 65.
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Cook was one of the top quarterbacks in school history, setting or holding 17 school records during his career from 1966-68. During that time, he went 332-of-655 for 4,906 yards and 34 touchdowns. His top season with the Bearcats came in 1968, when he led the NCAA in total offense and ranked second in passing.
He finished 219-of-411 for 3,272 yards and 25 touchdowns and had a school-record eight-straight games passing for 250 or more yards. His 3,272 passing yards that season stood as the school standard from 1968-2002.
Cook was a first-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals with the fifth overall pick in the 1969 American Football League/National Football League draft. He led the Bengals to a 3-0 start, passed for 1,854 yards and 15 touchdowns and was named AP and UPI’s AFL Rookie of the Year. Cook averaged 9.411 yards per pass and 17.5 yards per completion, marks that still stands today.
Cook suffered a shoulder injury during his rookie season that kept him off the field for the next three seasons. He returned briefly in 1973 and then retired.
“Greg was the single most talented player we’ve ever had with the Bengals,” said Bengals president Mike Brown. “His career was tragically short due to the injury. Had he been able to stay healthy, I believe he would have been the player of his era in the NFL."
At the time the Bengals drafted Cook, general manager and head coach Paul Brown said, “We believe this young man is the best quarterback prospect in the country.”