AFC North News: Bengals ink Geno Atkins to five-year extension

Joe Robbins

One of the game's best interior defensive linemen, the Bengals locked Atkins up for five long and painful years for their opponents.

It didn't seem reasonable to hope Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins would retire.

Turns out, it wasn't.

Atkins reportedly signed a five-year extension with Cincinnati, making him the second-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL, behind Baltimore's Haloti Ngata. He will get $22 million in the next six months, and $36 million in new money.

He will likely continue to destroy offensive lines around the NFL, including the Steelers - Cincinnati's Week 2 opponent.

Pittsburgh has struggled with Atkins over the last two seasons, to put it mildly. One of the lesser-known outstanding players of the league, Atkins put up a legitimate claim to the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and looks to be in the running for the award again this year.

Atkins, a 2010 4th round pick out of Georgia, played high school and college football against Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey.

The Gators center was taken by the Steelers in the first round of that same draft. Pouncey and Atkins will continue to do battle in the AFC North - even if we think Atkins just should have retired.

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