Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Greg Cook, who once was one of the franchise's brightest young stars but saw his career derailed by injury, died Friday after being hospitalized earlier in the week for pneumonia. He was 65.
"Greg was the single most talented player we've ever had with the Bengals," Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. "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.
"Greg was a personal friend to me. He was a good person whose company I enjoyed over all his years as a player and after that. I feel a great loss at his passing."
The Bengals selected Cook, a University of Cincinnati product, with the fifth overall pick in the 1969 NFL/AFL draft. He was named the 1969 AFL Rookie of the Year, but a series of shoulder injuries kept him out until 1973, when he returned for just one game.