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TGS AMERICAN RETROSPECTIVE...NIPPERT MEMORIES AND THE CINCY COMET
                                                      by Bruce Marshall, Goldsheet.com Editor


Rest
easy, college football historians, Cincinnati is going to be re-opening Nippert Stadium this fall. After nearly $100 million worth of renovations, the Bearcats return to their traditional home surroundings this fall after spending a season on the riverfront at the NFL Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium.


Not long ago, Nippert’s future was in some doubt, as some influential Cincy alums were pushing the school to emulate the University of Pittsburgh, which moved to the NFL Steelers’ Heinz Field over a decade ago after its longtime on-campus Pitt Stadium was demolished to make room for the Panthers’ new basketball arena on the same site. We recall a conversation a few years ago with former Bearcat basketball G Larry Shingleton, a member of the 1961 and ‘62 Cincy NCAA title winners and an influential alum, who strongly suggested the school follow the lead of Pittsburgh. “We should do everything for football the way they’re doing it at Pitt,” said Shingleton. “We have a beautiful NFL stadium just waiting for us. If it’s good enough for Pitt, it should be good enough for us.”

Shingleton was not alone in his views, but not in the majority, as the school would instead decide upon an upgrade of the cozy Nippert, which will seat approximately 37.035 when the renovations are complete. Included are new seats in the 300, 4000, 5000, and 600 levels, many of those of the “club” or “lounge” variety, and seats in the new West Pavilion structure. While Nippert will only be adding approximately 2000 seats and still fall short of 40,000 capacity, there should be revenue increases generated by the new club, loge box, and full-size suites.

Nonetheless, critics remain, many of those who believe a stadium with only 37,000 seats does not exactly shout “big-time,” a designation which the Bearcats have long desired. The possibility of future expansion to 40,000+ seats could be accomplished with an upper deck added to the East side, but at best that remains well down the road, and there is no talk of further upgrades beyond the current renovation.

Still, the fact the Bearcats will remain at Nippert for the foreseeable future is good news for traditionalists who like some link to bygone eras. And, in a league such as the American, which includes several start-up programs from recent decades, any connection to the past is going to be embraced.

Nippert sits nestled in the middle of campus as the showcase of an upgraded Cincy athletic facility that includes a modern administration building and the Fifth Third Arena, the noisy home of Mick Cronin’s Bearcat hoopsters. Some tasteful architecture has added to the visual appeal of the entire complex and gives Nippert a more modern look than its 91-year age would suggest.

Construction on the stadium site would begin 100 years ago, in 1915, but it would take almost ten years before the stadium would be completed after a $250,000 donation from James N. Gamble, better known as the man who invented Ivory soap during a period in which he modernized the local family company...Procter and Gamble, co-founded in 1837 by his father James along with William Procter, an in-law married to Olivia Norris, the sister of James’ wife Elizabeth. Their son, James N. Gamble, would eventually run the company and eventually have a grandson, James Gamble Nippert, who played football at Cincy in the early 1920s. In the 1923 season-ender vs. nearby rival Miami-Ohio, the young Nippert would suffer a spike injury that became infected, due, as the story goes, to droppings left on the field from a pre-game chicken race. The young Nippert would sadly pass away from blood poisoning the next month, prompting his grandfather to honor his grandson with a bequeath that would allow completion of the stadium that would be named after his grandson.

Nippert would originally boast of 12.,000 seats before undergoing more facelifts than the late Joan Rivers, with the current renovation merely the latest. (A previous remodel in 1990 forced the Bearcats into the Reds’ and Bengals’ old Riverfront Stadium in 1990.) Along the way Cincy’s football teams would mostly struggle to forge an identity beyond the region, although the Bearcats did gain notice in the late 1940s and early 1950s under the legendary HC Sid Gillman, who introduced one of the first modern passing offenses into college football. While the basketball team would challenge for, and win, national championships in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the gridiron program continued to lag behind. Competing in the lower-profile Mid-American and Missouri Valley Conferences did not much enhance national profile, nor did extended stints as an independent entry, the last covering a quarter-century through 1995. The creation of Conference USA in the late ‘90s, however, would provide a landing spot for the Bearcats and various football indies who could finally have a league of their own.

Eventually Cincy would move to the Big East, where it would enjoy its greatest successes of the modern era, first under Mark Dantonio, then Brian Kelly. Having tasted the big-time for a few years, the Bearcats would unfortunately be one of the “odd men out” when the Big East morphed into a basketball-only league a couple of years ago, sending the football-playing schools scurrying to find new homes. While some would land in the ACC, the majority would form a new alliance called the American Athletic, though many Bearcat backers continue to hope this is just a temporary parking spot, hoping for a call from the ACC or Big 12 that would get the Bearcats back into the big-time.

(The latter is one reason the Larry Shingleton wing of Cincy boosters would urge for a permanent move to the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium and its near-70,000 seats, a much more enticing element for the ACC or Big 12 than having the Bearcats stay camped at small-capacity Nippert.)

Whatever, there were a couple of brief eras that intersected at Nippert in the late ‘60s that still shine brightly in Cincinnati football annals. One would involve a record-setting QB who would briefly turn the pro football world on its ear in 1969. The other would involve the introduction of pro football to the region when the AFL Bengals would make Nippert their first home before the new Riverfront Stadium would open in 1970.

And there would be a connection between those two elements that they still talk about today along the banks of the Ohio River.

If the name of Greg Cook does not resonate with modern football fans, we are not surprised, because his comet-like appearance on the scene in the late ‘60s would end almost before it began. But the repercussions of Cook’s brief pro football career would be felt for decades after his injury-shortened career would conclude.

And the reason Cook’s name is still such a part of regional lore is because his greatest accomplishments came while performing at Nippert, both for the Bearcats and the AFL Bengals in their second season of 1969.

And if there were ever a comet that flashed across the pro football sky, only to disappear almost as quickly as he would appear, it would be Greg Cook.

Cook’s significance in pro football lore, however, cannot be underestimated. Not when his Bengals coach, the legendary Paul Brown, did not hesitate to put Cook into the starting lineup from the poutset of his rookie year. Not when Brown’s then offensive coordinator, a chap named Bill Walsh (heard of him, right?), would say that without a doubt, Cook could have been the best-ever pro QB...better even than Joe Montana or Steve Young, a couple with whom “The Genius” was familiar. "He would've been the best ever," Walsh said. "Better than Montana, better than Young."

Cook first caught the attention of the sports media while in college at Cincinnati, playing his home games at Nippert Stadium. Though the Bearcats were not a powerhouse in those days, word began filtering out of the midwest about this strong-armed thrower from Cincy that was posting prodigious throwing numbers for the day.

Prodigious, indeed. Cook's records at the time were incredible. He threw for 3,272 yards and 25 touchdowns in 1968, including a staggering 35-of-56 for 554 yards against what would be an undefeated Ohio U Bobcats team, which won the shootout 60-48. Unfortunately, HC Homer Rice’s Cincy did not have a defense to match Cook and the offense, which also featured a pretty good wideout named Jim O’Briuen, who doubled as the Bearcats’ PK. (If the name O’Brien sounds familir to pro football fans, it should...O’Brien would be the Baltimore Colts’ PK during his rookie season of 1970 and would kick the game-winning, 32-yard FG with 5 seconds to play to beat the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V).

Cook would lead the NCAA in total offense and ranked second in passing, with a school-record eight-straight games passing for 250 or more yards.

As for Cook’s Bearcats records, they were not challenged for another 35 years, when Gino Guidugli and Ben Mauk would be winging the ball around the yard in a different era and with the benefit of the spread offenses.

One of Cook’s great feats in college came in a game against nearby rival Miami-Ohio in that ‘68, when he would lead the Bearcats from a 3-TD deficit to a stirring 23-21 win. It was the same day none other than Paul Brown, having resumed his HOF coaching career with the then-expansion AFL Bengals, would scout Cook...only to leave the game when Cincy had fallen far behind.

According to Bearcat lore, that night, when Brown was downtown, a parking lot attendant told him that Cincy had rallied to beat Miami, the coaching legend was in disbelief. “You’re a liar,” Brown reportedly told the attendant.

Brown, however, had found his man. In a deep and loaded 1969 pro football draft, Cook would be tabbed by Brown’s hometown Bengals with the fifth pick in the first round, after a couple of guys named O.J. Simpson and Mean Joe Greene had been picked before him, and before higher-profile college QBs such as Notre Dame’s Terry Hanratty and Kansas’ Bobby Douglass would be taken in the second round (the second QB taken overall in the draft was Columbia’s Marty Domres, who went to the Chargers with the ninth pick in the first round).

While football insiders knew that the 6'4, 220-pound Cook was a star in the making, and a few others had taken note in postseason all-star games after the ‘68 season, the national audience would get its first extended look at Cook in the 1969 Chicago College All-Star Game, in those days an annual sports staple that rivaled baseball’s All-Star Game as the highlight of the summer sports schedule. Moreover, the College All-Stars would be facing the Jets and Joe Namath, in their first game since the shocking Super Bowl III win over the Colts the preceding January (and the first game for Namath after his brief “retirement” related to his Bachelors III nightclub in New York).

The All-Stars would be coached by the legendary Otto Graham, whose pro football coaching career had ended the previous year with the Redskins but would be coaching the All-Stars for a ninth time. No one expected the All-Stars, who had not beaten the defending NFL champs since 1963, to beat the Jets (who would be the first AFL team to participate in the Chicago classic at Soldier Field), who were installed as hefty 14 1/2-point betting favorites.

As for Cook, he would be splitting snaps with Hanratty and Douglass, the two more-decorated college QBs who would also start games in their rookie seasons of ‘69 (Hanratty with the Steelers, Douglass with the Bears). Meanwhile, Graham was still seething after being released by Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams, who had replaced Graham with none other than Vince Lombardi, after the ‘68 season. Indeed, Graham was acting much like Lombardi during All-Star camp, with grueling two-a-day workouts for three straight weeks. Otto was seeking vindication through victory. “Oh yes,” said one of Graham’s friends in a Sports Illustrated story. “I believe he did mention something about showing these monkeys.”

The All-Stars, eager to get with their real teams, were not necessarily thrilled with Graham’s camp in Evanston and the ultra-tight curfews, either. "Most of these guys don't even want to be here," said Ed Podolak, a halfback from Iowa on his way to the Kansas City Chiefs, from whom he would get a Super Bowl ring five months later and eventually star in what many believe was the NFL’s greatest-ever game, and its longest, the epic double-OT affair vs. Don Shula’s Dolphins in the 1971 playoffs. "I sure didn't want to play in this game. I asked Coach Hank Stram to get me out. I asked other people. And they did. I was already in the Chiefs' camp. But because (O.J.) Simpson and (Leroy) Keyes and Ron Johnson didn't show up, they called me. And you don't have much choice."

Hanratty had won the starting role vs. the Jets by flipping a coin with Cook. Graham had told Douglass early in the camp that he couldn't throw as well as those other two fellows and the rocket-armed Kansas southpaw didn't get to flip for the honor. But it made little difference through a first half in which all three rookie QBs struggled vs. the Jets’ Super Bowl-winning defense. The All-Stars had gained just 19 yards and collected a mere one first down in the opening half, as Namath would ease the Jets to a 13-0 lead at the break.

But the All-Stars had lived to tell about the first half and realized the Jets were only human. No longer awed by the champs, the Stars went out in the second half to play their game. Utah State’s Altie Taylor, a Lions draftee, got it going with a 78-yard return of a kickoff after the Jets had made it 16-0 on PK Jim Turner's third field goal. Then Cook, who had completed but one pass for four yards in the first half, found himself. "He surprised us," said Podolak. "All of a sudden he seemed to get poise. The whole picture of what was happening snapped into his mind. It was there and he called some beautiful plays."

Three of the plays were touchdown passes: 17 yards to Gene Washington of Stanford (49ers); 12 yards to Bob Klein of USC (Rams); and then, with 16 seconds to play, 19 yards to Jerry Levias of SMU (Oilers) with 16 seconds to play to cut the Jets’ lead to 26-24. A subsequent onside kick failed, but Cook, in particular, had served notice with those three TD passes in the second half.

The last one, to Levias, was especially satisfying, as it came right after Graham and Jets DB Johnny Sample became involved in a skirmish on the field. Sample and Graham had been at odds for over a decade, when the boisterous CB was a member of Graham’s 1958 College All-Star squad, only to be held out of the game until the final moments. Graham had not liked Sample’s attitude and told Sample’s then coach with the NFL Colts, Weeb Ewbank (who ironically was now coaching the opposing Jets), that Johnny would never make it in the NFL. With a long memory, Sample had spent much of the night jawing with Graham, and when Johnny would clothesline Stanford rookie WR Washington (“It was a right cross,” Condoleeza Rice’s future boyfriend would say after the game) late in the game, Graham had seen enough and charged the field, getting off several punches in the direction of Sample, who would in turn ram his helmet into Otto’s nose!

(Yes, preseason games were played a bit differently in the late 1960s!)

Graham’s antics had cost the All-Stars a 15-yard penalty, but on the first play thereafter, a cool and collected Cook decided to go right after Sample, this time to the speedy SMU rookie Levias, who beat Sample by five or so yards to catch Cook’s final TD!.

Though the All-Star comeback had fallen just short, it had been enthralling, and Cook would take that confidence into Bengal camp and win the starting job before preseason was complete. Paul Brown, so confident in Cook, had dealt away the previous year’s starter John Stofa to Miami, where Stofa had begun his pro career with the then-expansion Dolphins in 1966, leaving second-year ex-Furman QB Sam Wyche (yes, that Sam Wyche) as the backup.

Though the Bengals of 1968 had fashioned the same debut season record of 3-11 as had the four previous pro football expansion teams (1961 Vikings, 1966 Falcons & Dolphins, and 1967 Saints), Brown had resisted stockpilng his team with vets from the dispersal draft, as the Saints had famously done the previous year. Instead, for the most part, Brown used his rookies, starting as many as eight on offense and five on defense, and still the Bengals won three games last year. Brown was building a solid core, drafting wisely in the expansion year (when, among others, he uncovered AFL rushing leader and Rookie of the Year RB Paul Robinson from Arizona in the third round), and following up with another big draft in ‘69 that not only included Cook but future All-Pro LB Bill Bergey (Arkansas State), WR Speedy Thomas (Utah), G Guy Dennis (Florida), DB Ken Riley (Florida A&M), and DE Royce Berry (Houston).

The arrival of Cook, however, looked to be a game-changer. At 6 feet 4 inches, and about 220 pounds, Cook looked the part. Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman called him a “blond-haired football god.” He could make all the necessary throws, especially the deep ball, with timing, anticipation, and accuracy, from inside or outside the pocket. His footwork enabled him to avoid the rush and to use his spontaneity to keep the play alive. Then o.c. Walsh would later say Cook was a combination of the size and strength of Terry Bradshaw along with the instincts and feel of Joe Montana.

Cook hit the ground running. Named the starter for the ‘69 opener at home against the Dolphins, Cook was coolly efficient, passing for 155 yards and 2 TDs, both to WR Eric Crabtree (one of those covering 69 yards) en route to a 27-21 win. But Cook really served notice the next week at Nippert, completing 14 for 22 passes for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns in a startling 34-20 upset victory over Sid Gillman’s Chargers. Cook again went deep for both of his TD passes, interestingly both to his TDs, the first 78 yards to Bob Trumpy (yes, that Bob Trumpy) and later 39 yards to Bruce Coslet (who would eventually coach the Jets and Bengals in the 1990s).

The Cook legend was growing quickly. And Paul Brown was making believers of his kids. "If I have poise on the field, it's because I know Brown is on the bench," said Cook. "He's my security. If something goes wrong, he grabs you as soon as you come off the field. It's not because he's angry with you but because he wants to know what happened, an analysis of the breakdown. He's a football scientist."

Cook initiation into the pros aas been made easier by the fact that Brown would send in the play calls via messenger guards, as he did with the Cleveland Browns. But Cook's college coach did the same thing, so Greg was used to it. "Paul Brown is 61 years old and at the peak of his career," Cook says. "Who am I to argue with him about calls? I'm just very happy to play for him—and, besides, we agree about 90% of the time."

The admiration society between QB and coach was mutual. “Cook,” said Paul Brown, is "strong like a (Roman) Gabriel, maybe a little faster. His strength is his quick release and accuracy. He's everything we thought.

“Cook is a bright kid and a good boy. Although he may not know it, he's still three years away from being a real fine quarterback, but he will be."

After beating the Chargers, next up would be the mighty Chiefs, who would go on to win the Super Bowl. But with Cook on the team, the Bengals were confident. They were a different team, said center Bob Johnson, who played for the Bengals from 1968-1979 and was the team’s first-round draft pick their inaugural year. “We were following Greg’s lead,” said Johnson, and the players were responding to their carefree, confident and talented rookie QB. It all came easy to Cook, Johnson said: from kidding his coach, to picking up women, to painting--and especially football.

Though the Chiefs would be minus injured QB Len Dawson, they would provide a litmus test for Cook the Bengals, who opened with three straight home games at Nippert that season. But Cook would start off where he left off in the Charger win, giving the Bengals a 7-6 lead in first quarter with a 17-yard pass to Eric Crabtree. But football history would change shortly thereafter in the 2nd Q when ex-Notre Dame Chiefs LB Jim Lynch (whose brother Tom played at Navy, became an Admiral, and is currently featured on NewDay USA mortgage commercials) hit Cook and would drive his shoulder into the hard Nippert dirt/grass. Cook stayed in briefly and threw one more incomplete pass before leaving the field in agony. Wyche would come on in relief and heroically lead Cincy to a 24-19 upset, tossing an 80-yard 4th Q TD pass to homerun threat TE Trumpy.

Lost a bit in the euphoria of the Bengals’ 3-0 start was the injury to Cook, which was expected to keep him out of the lineup for the next few weeks. Cook would miss a subsequent loss at San Diego, play briefly but ineffectively in a 21-7 home loss to the Jets, a game moved from Shea Stadium to Nippert because the Mets were involved in the World Series, then would miss entirely losses to Denver (30-23) and a rematch at Kansas City (42-22). By the time Cook took another snap, the Bengals had lost four straight, almost entirely withh Wyche at QB, and would enter the November 2 game vs. undefeated, but once-tied, powerhouse Oakland with a 3-4 record.

Cook was back in the lineup, however, and would further his mythical status by puncturing the mighty Raiders with a pair of first-half TD passes to WR Chip Myers, staking Cincy to ashock 24-0 halftime lead. The margin would grow to 31-3 before a belated late Raider rally cut the final to 31-17. Cook was again belle of the ball, with the baby Bengals having beaten Western Division elites San Diego, Kansas City, and Oakland now 4-0 with their rookie blond bomber as the starter.

The shoulder injury, however, was not healed. In fact, it was mis-diagnosed; Cook had torn his rotator cuff and due to the limited medical technology at the time, the injury went undiagnosed. Instead of receiving the necessary surgery, he only received cortisone shots which helped the pain but allowed his rotator cuff and his shoulder to deteriorate. He had surgery in the offseason where it was discovered that on top of his rotator cuff being torn and his bicep was partially detached.

Cook later said in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he felt obligated to finish the season after the team's good start.

"I took cortisone shots and played in pain," Cook said, "but the shoulder hadn't started to deteriorate yet, so I could still function. I still had the strength. I felt obligated to finish the season. I'd gotten off to a good start. I didn't want to relinquish that."

Cook finished the rest of the season but he wasn’t the same player. After the rousing upset win over Oakland, the Bengals didn’t win the rest of the way, fashioning only a 31-31 tie vs. the Oilers at the Astrodome in their only non-loss in their last six games, to finish 4-9-1. It turned out that Cook also had a partly detached biceps muscle. “It got to the point that I could lay on the side of the bed”, Cook said, “and hang my arm off it, and when I’d try to lift it, the shoulder would go out. I’d get sick to my stomach. What’s going on?”

When the smoke cleared in 1969, however, Cook’s numbers still greatly impressed. Even with a badly damaged wing for all but the first 9 quarters of the season, and missing several games, Cook passed for 1,854 yards for 15 touchdowns, led the AFL in completion percentage at 53.8%, and in yards per attempt (9.41) and a stagegring 17.5 yards per completion. His 88.3 rating won him the AFL Passing Title, and he was named the UPI's Offensive Rookie of the Year. And that 9.41 yards per passing attempt is the oldest standing Bengals record and the only one still standing from the time they played at Nippert Stadium. The only Bengals quarterback to get close was Boomer Esiason's 9.21 yards per attempt in 1988, when the Bengals went to the Super Bowl.

Cook’s 17.5 yards per completion in 1969 still stands as the 12th best mark in NFL history (the NFL would eventually absorb the AFL’s stats into its own). Three Bengals–Crabtree, Trumpy, and Myers–would all average better than 20 yards on their catches, almost unheard of in today’s most sophisticated, ball-control offenses.

Unfortunately, however, Cook was doing more damage to his shoulder as he played for the final half of the ‘69 season. In those days, even when the rotator cuff tear was diagnosed, it was bad news for a QB or a baseball pitcher. Dodger great Don Drysdale had to retire in the 1969 season because of such an injury. The crude surgical techniques of the day would slice away muscle before getting repair the rotator cuff. Cook’s arm was never close to being the same again, and a series of operations over the next three years couldn’t save his career. After 1969, he played in only one more game for the Bengals, throwing three passes and completing one, while briefly subbing for starter Ken Anderson in the 1973 opener at Denver. Cook would try to hook on with the Chiefs in 1974, but was released. At age 27, Cook’s football career was officially done, though it had been effectively ended four years earlier.

The Nippert era for the Bengals would end in 1970 with the opening of Riverfront Stadium, with the co-tenant MLB Reds, but Cook would never take a regular-season snap at the new stadium. ffensive coordinator Walsh had expected Cook to return for his second season in 1970, and “The Genius” planned to continue using Cook’s big arm to mold a downfield vertical passing attack. But with shoulder surgery sidelining Cook, and Wyche only a stop-gap, the Bengals eventually had to go with backup Virgil Carter, a BYU grad who didn’t have anything resembling Cook’s powerful arm but was was smart, mobile and accurate on short- and medium-distance throws. With Carter, Walsh’s new offense featured high-percentage, ball-control passing primarily to the tight ends and the backs out of the backfield. Thus, what would later be known as the West Coast offense was born.

As Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman wrote in 2001, “Carter was able to go through his progressions quickly and throw on the go; not blessed with a big arm, but accurate. So Walsh crafted an offense to suit him, a horizontal offense with a lot of motion and underneath routes and break-off patterns, an attack that now goes by the misnomer ‘West Coast Offense.’”

(According to Zimmerman, it’s a misnomer because, although Walsh had his greatest success in San Francisco, the idea was hatched in the Midwest. And though the man from whom Walsh took much of his cues in developing the offense was a longtime Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers coach, Sid Gillman had started making his passing game more horizontal when he coach at Miami Ohio and at, you guessed it, the University of Cincinnati in the 1940s and 1950s.)

Years later, SI’s Zimmerman asked Walsh how much his system would have changed if Cook had a long career. “Completely different," he said. "It would have started with the deep strike, and everything would have played off that. It would have set records that never would be broken”

"Greg Cook," he said nostalgically, his eyes getting a little misty. "What a great, great talent. What a terrible shame."

Shame, indeed. Though Cook would go on to live his life without regrets, staying in Cincinnati and working for many years with United Parcel Service, as well as several capacities with the U of Cincy Bearcats, including as a radio analyst, he eventually encountered health problems and would pass away in 2012 at the age of 65 after a bout with pneumonia..

“He was a talent at the level of Otto Graham, John Elway — you name it,” Bengals owner and Paul Brown’s son Mike Brown would said after Cook’s passing. “He was a top-level talent. If he had stayed healthy we would have been the team of the ’70s, not the Steelers.”

Perhaps. After all, who knows if Pittsburgh would have become the dynasty of the ‘70s had Cook stayed healthy and blocked the Steelers’ path? But while that one 1969 season was the highlight of his entire playing career, there is not much doubt that Cook’s legacy indirectly impacted much of NFL history thereafter.

As for owner Mike Brown, he issued another statement after Cook’s passing in which he named Cook the single most talented player to ever wear a Bengals uniform before concluding with the following passage.

“Greg was the single most talented player we’ve ever had with the Bengals,” Brown said. “Had he been able to stay healthy, I believe he would have been the player of his era in the NFL.

“Greg was a personal friend to me. 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.

“He gave us hope-- we went from the expansion team to a team that could beat anybody. Then you had the story of recovery, getting better and not getting better. He was prominent in the news for four or five years and then it faded it away, and the myth never faded away. People still had him in their minds.

He was the prince who never became king.”

In Cincinnati, it’s no wonder they still talk about Greg Cook, who had everything a football player could ask for. Everything, that is, but the gift of years.



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