Bengals extend Karras’ contract; veteran center hopes to end his career in Cincinnati

Credit: Charles Krupa

Credit: Charles Krupa

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals have signed center Ted Karras to a one-year extension, and rookie second-year draft pick Kris Jenkins has signed his first professional contract.

Karras was entering the final season of his three-year contract with the Bengals, but was rewarded for his consistency and leadership on the offensive line.

The ninth-year veteran has started 33 regular-season games and every game the starters participated in during the last two years. He also has lined up for 2,379 of a possible 2,398 snaps (99.2 percent), including three playoff games in 2022.

“It feels great,” Karras said after the final practice of the offseason program Thursday. “Very thankful to the Brown family and the Blackburn family. We’ve been working on it this spring. I’m really excited to be here for the next two years.”

Karras said he wanted to avoid the “heightened sense of anxiety” that an uncertain future can bring in the final year of a contract, so he appreciated the organization offering “a great deal” before training camp, which begins July 24. He confirmed the extension essentially puts him on a two-year, $12 million contract now.

The 31-year-old native of Indianapolis said he hopes to end his career in Cincinnati.

“I want to play for as long as they’ll have me, and then I’ll play one more,” Karras said. “That’s kind of been my thought process in this league. When you start to get into Year 9 and Year 10 it starts looming a little bit. I’m not thinking that way. I feel fresh and young. I’m playing with a lot of 21-year-olds, so it’s a lot of fun, and I do want to end it here. I think that is important to me. Football is an adventure and for the next two years, I’m here for sure.”

Karras was a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee last season for his charitable work through his Cincy Hat project to support the Village of Merici, a non-profit living community and service provider for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Indianapolis area.

The 2023 team captain has been closely involved with the organization as a donor, fundraiser and event host since he entered the NFL in 2016, and he’s immersed the Cincinnati community into his charity work with his popular Cincy Hat designs. Proceeds from hat sales go to the Village of Merici.

“I’m a Midwest guy, just from right down the street in Indy,” Karras said. “I think we have a great team and so many great guys. Coach (Zac) Taylor has put together a great staff and group of players. I get a lot of credit for leading, but it’s really quite easy. We have so many high quality men on this team. It’s an honor to be signed up for the next two seasons.”

Jenkins, the No. 49 overall pick in April, was one of two Bengals’ draft picks still unsigned going into mandatory minicamp. He looks to become a big part of the interior defensive line rotation as a standout run stopper at Michigan.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle played in 44 games with 33 starts over four seasons for the national champion Wolverines. He totaled 113 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

First-round pick Amarius Mims, an offensive tackle, is the only Bengals draftee yet to sign.

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