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Bengals ink center Jeff Faine to fill in for Kyle Cook

Tasked with the near-impossible job of finding a replacement for injured center Kyle Cook, the Cincinnati Bengals rummaged through the free-agent pile to sign veteran Jeff Faine on Wednesday, Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Cook injured his right foot and ankle in the Bengals' 27-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Thursday. He could be out for the season, a significant loss for an offensive line that also lost left guard Travelle Wharton for the year with a knee injury. (We agree with Michael Lombardi's assessment of Cook, including the four-year veteran among his red-chip collection of centers.)

The 31-year-old Faine was released in March by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after starting 51 games over the past four seasons. He spent two years with the New Orleans Saints and three with the Cleveland Browns, who drafted Faine in the first round in 2003. Faine was a captain with the Bucs and was a popular player, but he dealt with too many injuries to justify his expensive price tag.

It's a sticky challenge to pinpoint a quality center in August. The Bengals' interior line has shifted from strength to weakness in a flash. They're doing what they can to fill the gap.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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