A fourth-round draft pick in 2011, Boling started 109 games for the Bengals, including every game for the past two seasons. While Boling played mostly guard, he was asked to move to tackle at times during the past two years due to injuries or struggles along the rest of the offensive line.
Boling said doctors discovered a blood clot in his right leg just days after the 2018 season ended. The issues didn't subside, and shortly after that, a pulmonary embolism was discovered during another hospital stay, meaning another clot had found its way to his lungs.
"This whole spring I was on medication, meeting with different specialists, trying to figure out the best plan moving forward and just talking about the risk, learning as much as I could about what had just happened," Boling said. "When it comes down to it, having a family to take care, my wife and two little girls, at some point you have to make a decision that's not about you. That's ultimately what it came down to, my family ...
"I was trying to wrap my head around it this spring, but at the end of the day I just couldn't pull the trigger. I'm excited this fall to chase some kids around."
While Boling couldn't pinpoint a specific incident that led to the formation of the clot, he said it was likely it stemmed from football.
"Through the course of learning about blood clots, one of the doctors told me it can start forming three months in advance before you start getting symptoms. When you're suffering some trauma and some hits like we had, ultimately I think it was related to football," he said.
Boling's retirement ends speculation about his future that had persisted since the Bengals drafted offensive lineman Jonah Williams in the first round. Williams was immediately put into the lineup at left tackle, prompting the team to move left tackle Cordy Glenn to left guard.
Considering Boling was counting $5.75 million against the salary cap, it seemed likely he could be a potential cap casualty.
However, it looked like Boling might be back in his usual spot after Williams tore his labrum during OTAs and was declared out for the season. The only concern was Boling's health.
He did not participate in organized team activities or minicamp this summer but instead worked with athletic trainers on a separate field due to an undisclosed injury. Boling said there was a potential window of opportunity that could allow him to play again, but after some soul-searching, he realized it wasn't worth the risk to him or his family.
With Boling retiring, the Bengals will enter training camp with a hole on an offensive line that has struggled as a unit for the past several seasons.
"Clint is a first-rate person, someone we all counted on and looked up to," Bengals owner Mike Brown said in a news release. "As a lineman, he never got the credit he deserved. That is often the case with good players who do their jobs well, but around the team, he was highly respected and appreciated beyond his playing abilities."
Said Boling: "Not every guy gets to play their whole career with one team. Very rarely does that happen. I think to be able to do it was something special. The team that drafts you, that takes a chance on you, that really gives you an opportunity, it means a lot to continue your career there. To get another contract with that team, for them to take that leap of faith with you again, it's something that's special."