CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Less than 24 hours after George Iloka signed his five-year deal, worth $30 million to stay in Cincinnati, the Bengals star Safety sat down at the podium, and thanked the Bengals for being loyal.
"I want to show (the organization) that they made the right decision," Iloka said, a fifth-round draft pick by the Bengals in 2012. "I want to keep doing what I've been doing the past four years and excel on top of that. I feel like my better days are ahead of me."
Minutes later, just minutes after Linebacker Vincent Rey re-signed with the Bengals on a three-year deal, Rey echoed those same words.
"I think about coming from Duke and being undrafted," Rey said, who has led the team in tackles the last two seasons and has played in every game since 2011. "I'm just thankful the Bengals gave me a chance to come here. Now I'm here signing the deal. It's amazing to think about that."
Keeping their own, it's something this franchise has been committed to under Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis. Now with Iloka, Rey and Pro Bowl Cornerback Adam Jones re-signing in Cincinnati, the defense is ready to defend its AFC North championship and finally break through in the playoffs.
"I definitely wanted to come back to be a part of that group that got over the hump," said Iloka. "They drafted me here and I'm invested into it emotionally. After last year, it didn't end how we wanted it to end and I was like, man, I know they're going to get over the hump one day and I want to be a part of it. Whether it's a trophy or playoff (wins) or whatever, I want to be a part of that group."
"We do have some unfinished business to take care of," said Rey. "We know that every day, we have to win the day because you either get better or you get worse."
Both Iloka and Rey were a part of a Bengals defense that led the AFC North and was second in the NFL in total points allowed a game (17.4), a franchise record for Cincinnati. Last year was a record-setting season in many ways, but by bringing the core of their defense back, the Bengals are setting the record straight that they don't plan on taking any steps back in 2016.
"This is home for me. It's going to be for the next several years," Iloka said. "Now we start working to get back to where we were last year and get past that. Having a good regular season was no one's goal. I'm glad to be back and I'm glad I can help do this thing."
"We have a lot of familiar faces and it's always good having the same group around for a while," Rey said. "I'm excited to be out there with those guys again, Adam (Jones), George (Iloka), we have a lot of guys with experience and I'm excited."
The Bengals have now re-signed five of their 14 initial unrestricted free agents: OL Eric Winston, WR/KR Brandon Tate, S George Iloka, CB Adam Jones, LB Vincent Rey.