Geno Atkins says it's important to finish career with Bengals

CINCINNATI -- Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins has never hit the open market, but he plans to keep it that way.

Atkins, 30, signed a four-year contract extension on Tuesday that could keep him in Cincinnati into retirement if he doesn't play past age 34. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the $16.3 million yearly average is the highest given to a non-quarterback who is 30 or older.

Atkins, with 61 career sacks, is second behind only defensive end Carlos Dunlap in all-time sacks for the Bengals. Dunlap, who has 64.5 career sacks, received a three-year, $45 million extension on Tuesday.

Atkins said the entire process has been "business as usual," although he feels it's important to finish his career in Cincinnati, whenever that may be.

"They were the team that drafted me. I love it here. I love the city. I love the organization," Atkins said. "It's something to cement my legacy here, and I think that's important to finish where I started. We've got unfinished business, this whole team, and me and 'Los are trying to bring a Super Bowl to Cincinnati."

Atkins, who rarely does interviews, hasn't discussed his contract publicly prior to this week, only to say it shows the franchise "takes care of its own."

"I mean honestly, you do it the right away, show up, go to OTAs, training camp, do all the stuff. Don't make big hoopla or talk to the media about it," he said of his approach.

If Dunlap and Atkins play out the entirety of their new contracts, the team will have invested more than $110 million in new money for the pair.

"We've got to get there first," Atkins said.

Said Dunlap: "It is a yearly renewal in the NFL, as we all know, but for me personally we don't look at the total number. We look at the business being done so we can focus on football and win that Super Bowl for this city and this organization -- everybody will win and we'll win again. That's our main focus. ... We're going to get after it and it's going to be a special season."

Atkins is currently No. 115 on the career sack list and Dunlap ranks No. 99. They would have to play out their new contracts and more to get near Bruce Smith's record of 200.

Dunlap acknowledged the career sack record is one of his long term goals.

"It would take more than 100 for us to move up that list. Me and Geno are on that list, but we've got a lot of people to surpass before we get into that top 10," he said.

As for Atkins, he hasn't given it much thought. He has piled up the sack numbers since he came back from an ACL tear in 2013, with 30 sacks over the past three seasons. He just hopes to keep that up.

"What's important to me is trying to have a good season this year," Atkins said. "Make the playoffs and try to win the Super Bowl."