He'll practice for the first time this training camp later Wednesday afternoon.
Atkins will be rejoining his teammates on the practice fields for the first time since Oct. 31, when he was lost for the latter half of the 2013 season due to a torn ACL. He suffered the injury trying to finish a tackle during a Thursday night loss at Miami.
"I was assured through the people who work with him [rehabbing] daily that it's at the point where he can come back and begin practice on regular basis and work his way into the regular season," coach Marvin Lewis said.
The Pro Bowl lineman will begin his first few preseason practices sharing time with others, like his teammates, Leon Hall and Clint Boling, who have been slowly easing into full activity since suffering their own season-ending leg injuries last year. Boling tore an ACL on Dec. 1. Hall tore an Achilles two weeks before Atkins' injury. Both began training camp off the PUP list and at practice.
The always soft-spoken and attention-deflecting Atkins walked into the locker room following the team's morning walkthrough, but didn't address reporters.
Before his injury, Atkins had 20 tackles and six sacks. He was on pace to rival his 12.5-sack production from the year before. With him back in the rotation, the Bengals' pass rush just got significantly better.
Fellow defensive tackle Domata Peko expects the double-teams he received after Atkins' injury last season to revert back into the one-on-one battles he's been used to in the Bengals' 4-3 scheme.
"Teams are always going to have to respect him because he can change the whole game," Peko said. "A lot of teams game plan just for [No.] 97, just for Geno. He's a hell of a disruptive player."
In addition to clearing Atkins, the Bengals also took rookie linebacker Marquis Flowers off the PUP list. The sixth-round pick also will practice for the first time Wednesday.