Those who saw Greg Cook play for the Bearcats or the Cincinnati Bengals in the late 1960s realize they saw one of the most special quarterbacks of all time.
Cook was a gifted passer who had arm strength similar to Hall of Famer Dan Marino. The comparison might be unfair to Cook because his arm strength was so remarkable.
Cook set 15 passing records for the Bearcats, and Cincinnati led the nation in total offense. His remarkable velocity and accuracy had pro scouts drooling at the thought of the 6'4", 220-pound quarterback leading their offense.
He was drafted by the hometown Cincinnati Bengals, and he played for them in the 1969 season.
Cook started immediately and led the Bengals to a 3-0 start. He missed the next three games with shoulder problems but returned and played 11 games that season.
Cook threw for 1,854 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He averaged a record 17.5 yards per completion and 9.4 yards per attempt. Both figures led the American Football League, and his completion average remains a record.
Cook was never the same after his rookie season because of his injured shoulder. He played only sporadically after that.
“Greg was the single most talented player we’ve ever had with the Bengals,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement after Cook's death in 2012. “His career was tragically short due to the injury. Had he been able to stay healthy, I believe he would have been the player of his era in the NFL.”