“This is not an easy decision, but it is the right one for me, my wife Kelly and our two young girls,” Boling said in a team news release. "I want to thank the Brown family for giving me the opportunity to play my entire career with the Bengals. I also want to thank my teammates, coaches, fans and everyone who has supported me throughout my career.
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Boling told Bengals.com he is dealing with the aftermath of a blood clot that was diagnosed earlier this year.
“There were talks about the risks associated with playing again,” Boling told the team’s website. “When it came down to do it, ultimately I couldn’t wrap my head around it with the family and two kids. There’s no doubt in my mind if I’m 22, 23 years old with no wife, no kids and it’s just me playing football, I’m making a different decision. But at this point in my life I have more important things to take care of than myself.”
In the news release, team president Mike Brown called Boling, a University of Georgia product, “a first-rate person.”
“As a lineman, he never got the credit he deserved,” Brown said. “That is often the case with good players who do their jobs well, but around the team, he was highly respected and appreciated beyond his playing abilities.”
Boling was part of five playoff teams and a pair of AFC North division winners during his Bengals tenure, which included four 1,000-yard rushers.
“Clint epitomizes everything a scout hopes for when they draft a player,” Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said. "He’s been a rock and stabilizing force for eight seasons. After earning his way into the starting lineup very early in his career, he provided leadership, consistency, versatility and — most importantly — a positive team spirit that earned him respect and admiration from everyone in the organization. Playing football is not a life in itself, but it can provide a wonderful start to life, and Clint will be highly successful in whatever path he chooses. We wish Clint and Kelly all the best in the future. They will be missed.”
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Boling started all 16 games for the Bengals in each of the last two seasons and 109 of 111 games overall in his career, but he missed most of the team’s offseason practices in the spring.
His exit comes 12 days before the team is set to start training camp at Welcome Stadium in Dayton and less than three weeks after the team announced first-round draft pick Jonah Williams is likely to miss the 2019 season after having shoulder surgery.
Williams, a first-round pick out of Alabama, was expected to take the starting left tackle job if healthy while Boling has been a mainstay at guard for the better part of a decade.