The Bengals terminated the contract of veteran defensive end Robert Geathers Friday afternoon, releasing him to free agency.
Geathers played his 11th NFL and Bengals season in 2014, closing the year with the most regular-season Bengals games played (152) of any player on the roster.
He ranks third in Bengals history in games played by a defensive lineman, trailing only Tim Krumrie (188) and Eddie Edwards (170). He also has played in five Bengals postseason games.
Geathers was a Bengals fourth-round draft choice in 2004, and he is among only 19 players to have played 11 or more seasons with Cincinnati.
“Robert has been with us for all my seasons except the first one,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “And he has been a team leader as well as a very productive player. He’s an incredible teammate and a true professional, a big part of the winning seasons we’ve achieved. If Robert elects to pursue an opportunity with another NFL team, the timing of this move will allow him the best possible chance at that.”
A two-time Bengals team leader in sacks, Geathers is one of eight Cincinnati players to have logged double-digit sacks in a season, registering 10.5 in 2006. His Bengals career totals include 473 tackles, 34.0 sacks, three interceptions, 16 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
He scored two touchdowns (one fumble return and one interception return), and he holds the Bengals record for most fumble return yards in a season (113). He shares the team record for longest single fumble return (75 yards).
Geathers is also a former Bengals team selection for the NFL’s Ed Block Courage Award, having earned that designation for 2013 for his work in rehabbing from a torn triceps. He came back in 2014 to play in all 16 regular-season games, plus the Wild Card playoff. He logged 21 regular-season tackles, one sack, one INT and three passes defensed.