The 31-year-old was released by the Bengals in March and was still waiting to get picked up by a team in free agency.
Former #Bengals C Kyle Cook is retiring, I'm told. He was clearly the best available center left in free agency.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 21, 2014
Cook spent part of the last seven seasons with the Bengals, signing on as part of the club's practice squad during the 2007 season, following a brief stint on Minnesota's offseason roster. After a year on the practice squad, he earned a spot on the Bengals' 53-man roster in 2008. The next year, he started at center and remained in that role until his release earlier this year.
Cook was part of one top 10 total offense (2013) and a top 10 rushing (2009). He was valued by the Bengals for his intelligence and ability to recognize defensive fronts and to switch the offensive line protections accordingly.
Around the time the Bengals let go of Cook near the start of free agency, they also re-signed veteran interior lineman Mike Pollak to a two-year deal. A guard who had center experience, Pollak was viewed until the draft in May as Cook's likely replacement. When the Bengals selected Russell Bodine in the fourth round of the draft, they signaled they were officially moving into a new phase of their center play.
With Pollak sidelined with a knee injury during organized team activities (OTAs), minicamp and the first few days of training camp, Bodine has been given starting reps at center. Earlier this week, offensive line coach Paul Alexander said all signs point to Bodine starting at the position. Football Outsiders also predicted Bodine would be a top 10 impact rookie this season.
Earlier this year, Cook began transitioning into his post-football life when he became part owner of a winery near Traverse City, Michigan. A native of Macomb, Michigan, Cook played at Michigan State before he went undrafted.