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 Clint Boling, has the same type of acumen, the Faine visit indicates the Bengals don't want to make two moves if they have to replace Cook. Boling, they believe, is the team's best guard at the moment and rookie right guard Kevin Zeitler has a chance to be an elite guard.
Lewis said that free agent rookie Trevor Robinson gets the start Thursday against the Colts (7 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) and while he has been impressive and may be able to contribute in the next year or so, he's not an immediate answer.
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.