With published reports surfacing Monday night that the Bengals are bringing in NFL veteran center Jeff Faine for a look, it's believed the club spent the day preparing for all kinds of scenarios involving center Kyle Cook after he visited a foot specialist Monday.
In 2008, Faine, 31, played all 16 games for a Tampa Bay offense staffed by current Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
But there appeared to be no resolution yet on the severity of Cook's injury. After Cook injured the foot against the Packers on Thursday night, initial exams over the next few days didn't show a major problem and he said he was wearing a boot strictly for precautionary reasons. But head coach Marvin Lewis indicated after Monday's practice that the Bengals were trying to determine the extent of the injury.
Losing Cook would take away a player that the offensive line has relied on for the past three seasons in all 50 games with what line coach Paul Alexander has repeatedly called his high football IQ.
While Cook's immediate backup, left guard
Lewis said that free agent rookie
Faine almost seems fated to join the Bengals. When he came out of Notre Dame in the 2003 draft, it was thought the Bengals would take him with the first pick in the second round and that Cleveland would take Iowa guard Eric Steinbach with their first pick at No. 21.
But the Browns took Faine instead and the Bengals grabbed Steinbach at No. 33. Cleveland later traded Faine to the Saints (where he was a 2007 Pro Bowl alternate) and signed Steinbach in free agency. Faine has struggled with injuries himself, but after missing 12 games in '09 and '10 in Tampa bay he played 15 games for the Bucs last year.