With starting center Kyle Cook set to miss a significant amount of time with an ankle injury, the Bengals have already signed his potential replacement in former Buccaneers center Jeff Faine a 10th-year NFL veteran who has started 117 career games for the, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his 9 seasons in the NFL.
His most significant achievement came when he was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2007. Despite coming into camp so late, there is some familairity with Faine and the west-coast offense that offensive coordiantor Jay Gruden runs. In 2008, Faine started all 16 games for a Bucs offense that was assisted by Gruden, so there is some familiarity there, which help make it an easier transition for Faine to come in and learn his offense in under two weeks before he has to block the likes of All-Pro DT Haloti Ngata when the Bengals open their season in Baltimore against the Ravens.
Faineactually came very close to becoming a Bengal when they had the opportunity to draft him in 2003:
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.
To make room on the roster for Jeff Faine, the Bengals have released WR Justin Hilton, who has looked impressive this preseason, and may make it onto the practice squad.