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Thursday, November 7, 2013
Morning Stripes: Bengals' life without Geno

By Coley Harvey

With his surgery still a few days away, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins has spent part of the past week at Paul Brown Stadium preparing.

He was there Wednesday morning before the team's first full practice since it lost two important things at Miami last Thursday. In addition to losing that game in overtime, 22-20, the Bengals also lost Atkins for the season when he tore an ACL trying to fight off a blocker during a first-half running play.

As reporters checked in on Atkins to see if he finally wanted to say something about his injury, he politely shook his head before walking off on his pair of crutches. He simply wasn't ready.

It might be a while before he is. That's understandable.

After all, Atkins has been a young player on the rise for the franchise. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, the fourth-year University of Georgia product was signed to a massive contract extension the week the season began, and was being viewed as arguably the best member of the entire defense. Opposing offensive coordinators respected him, constantly throwing double-teams his way and making it their mission not to let him sack their quarterbacks. The tactic worked some early, but Atkins still had six sacks, including one in last Thursday's game.

Life without Geno officially began Friday when the Bengals returned home from the painful trip to South Florida. It will continue until training camp begins next summer, at least.

We start off this Thursday's Morning Stripes by taking a look at life for the Bengals without their big star. As much as his teammates hate to admit it, the show must go on: