Former Bengals, Cowboys Safety Hints at 2020 Comeback

George Iloka

Getty Images Safety George Iloka entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick by the Bengals in 2012.

After sitting out the 2019 season, free agent safety George Iloka is setting his sights on a return to the NFL in 2020. The 29-year-old most recently signed a one-year, $1.02 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys in March 2019, but was one of the team’s early cuts just days ahead of the start of last season.

The seven-year veteran is training in Dallas, Texas this offseason and remains hopeful that his phone will ring with another chance to play in the league, as he told Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer this week.

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“Yeah, absolutely,” said Iloka. “We’ll see if I get another opportunity. I still want to play, I know I can play but at this stage, you can’t control those things. But yeah, I’m ready.”

Iloka originally entered the league as a fifth-round draft pick (No. 167 overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. He played his first six seasons under Marvin Lewis recording 343 tackles, 32 pass breakups, and nine interceptions in 83 games (76 starts). The Bengals inked Iloka to a new five-year, $30 million contract during the 2016 offseason, but made him a salary cap casualty just two years later. The 6’4,” 225-pound cover man then went on to play one season in a reserve role for the Minnesota Vikings in 2018.

Iloka told the Enquirer that he met with a pair of teams after he was let go by Dallas late last August, but a shoulder injury hindered any progress in signing a contract in 2019.

“I had a minor procedure on my shoulder to just clean up some things. But I’m back feeling good,” said Iloka.

NFL free agency is slated to open on March 18, but teams could come calling even sooner to add Iloka to their expanded 90-man offseason rosters.

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