Greg Cook is a potential superstar whose career is swinging on a
question mark. Can he regain his passing arm after missing a season
Pro football's first and only look at Cook was impressive, all right. As
a rookie with a struggling Cincinnati team in 1969, the 6-4, 220-pounder
led the AFL in passing percentage (53.8) and yardage per play (9.41) but
he threw less than half as many passes as Oakland's Daryle Lamonica.
Cook suffered an injury to his right arm and missed four games but he
came back to close strongly and was voted AFL Offensive Rookie of the
Year by both AP and UPI.
It looked like the start of something big for Cincinnati and its
home-grown star as the Bengals entered the NFL in 70 but then injury
removed Cook for the year. For now, there only can be enthusiastic talk
of what he did once and what he might do in the future.
"If Cook comes through his injury okay," said one scout, "he could be
one of the superstar quarterbacks. He has the size and the ability to
A rival defensive back noted, "Cook has a world of ability. He can be a
great one. His release is very quick, and he has the size and vision to
find the secondary receiver. If his arm comes through, he'll be
something to watch. As for his play selection, who knows? Paul Brown
calls them for him."
Even if he solves his physical problems, Cook may need to become a more
settled personality before he makes real progress.
"The kid is a gifted thrower," a scout observed, "but he's a kind of
screwball guy. He's flakey."
"Well, kind of like Craig Morton when he came up at Dallas- or Don
Meredith. A flighty kind of guy. But he has got real ability. He can
throw the long ball extremely well and sets up with the best of them.
He's a lot like Joe Namath: one of those guys with a great deal of
ability but unless he's under the gun- just has to score- you never see
the best of him."
Another scout said, "He has a very strong arm. He is an excellent long
passer. With his quick release, he's capable of doing a great deal. He
showed an extreme amount of poise for a rookie. He is capable of
throwing from the pocket or on the roll-out. For a big man, he can
scramble with the best. Due to his accuracy on the long pass, Cook has
to be considered one of the brightest young quarterbacks."
All of this, of course, is based on just one pro season. Now the sport
will wait and see if he comes back strongly. If he does, Cincinnati
could accelerate its building program. Cook represents a tremendous lot
of raw material.