In their history, the Bengals have only retired one number (No. 54, which belonged to Bob Johnson).

Robert Douglas Johnson is a retired American football center who played with the Cincinnati Bengals for 12 seasons, first in the American Football League (AFL) and then in the National Football League (NFL) (NFL). When he was picked with the 2nd overall choice in the 1968 NFL/AFL draft, he became the Bengals’ first-ever draft pick.

He was the Bengals’ first-round pick in their inaugural season. He was the second overall pick in the draft, coming in behind future Hall of Famer Ron Yary. He was the second-highest-drafted center in NFL history, trailing only Ki Aldrich in 1939.

In 1968, he was named to the American Football League’s All-Star team.

After the 1978 season, Johnson was the last original Bengal to retire. The squad retired his uniform number 54, which is the only number the team has retired. When Bengals center Blair Bush went down with a knee injury in 1979, the Bengals asked Johnson to come back as a long snapper on punts, field goals, and extra points.

Johnson worked as a color analyst on Bengals radio from 1981 through 1985 after retiring as a player. Prior to his return to the Bengals in 1979, he worked as a color analyst on several ESPN college football broadcasts.


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