Former Bengals QB Greg Cook passed away today at the age of 65 following a battle with pneumonia. Cook played with the Bengals from 1969-1973, and set several AFL rookie passing records, including 9.411 yards per pass attempt and 17.5 yard per completion. These are rookie records that still stand today. Cook was voted as the AFL Rookie of the year. After discovering he’d suffered a torn labrum earlier in the season, surgeries and further shoulder problems prevented Cook from ever playing significantly again. He returned briefly in 1973 before he retired.
Bengals President Mike Brown had this to say on Cook:
Greg was the single most talented player we’ve ever had with the Bengals. He was a good person whose company I enjoyed over all his years as a player and after that. I feel a great loss at his passing.
Cook is often looked at as the QB who changed the way NFL passing offenses were run. His epic 1969 season is also viewed as one of the greatest one-hit wonders, and one of the greatest rookie seasons ever. When the Bengals drafted Cook, Paul Brown was the team’s general manager and head coach, and he knew that the Bengals had a special player in Cook:
We believe this young man is the best quarterback prospect in the country.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Cook and his family and friends.