The Pro Bowl defensive tackle agreed to a five-year deal worth $55 million. The extension solidifies a Bengals defensive line that is young, talented and one of the top in the NFL. The contact is the second-most lucrative extension for a defensive tackle in NFL history. Atkins, a former fourth-round draft pick by the Bengals, is humbled and excited about the Bengals faith in him as an important piece to their future.
"It means a lot. Just that they believed in me. That's basically going to show the younger guys that if you do the right things on and off the field that you're going to be rewarded, too."
The Bengals hope their investment in Atkins continue to show on the field as the Bengals are a favorite to win the AFC North and also a team that can make some noise in the playoffs.
Marvin Lewis, the very defensive minded head coach of the Bengals, believes in his defensive tackle and feels Atkins showcases the hard work it takes to make it in the NFL.
"Everybody sees it. ... I don't have to hold him up, everybody sees it. More than anything, it doesn't matter how you get here, what rounds -- fourth, fifth, sixth, college free agent or whatever. If you do things the correct way, you're going to have opportunity."
The opportunity has been there for Geno Atlkins and he has capitalized on it. in 48 career games, Atkins has 23 sacks and has already been named to two Pro Bowls. His production on the field has made others around him better and has made the Bengals a viable contender in the AFC.