CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals have released safety George Iloka, clearing the way for rookie Jessie Bates III to move into a starting role.

The seventh-year safety has been sharing time during preseason games with Bates, a second-round pick out of Wake Forest who was given a chance to win the job at the outset.

Iloka made 76 starts for the Bengals in the last six seasons. He had nine career interceptions in Cincinnati, but only one last season. He was released Sunday, a day after the Bengals beat the Cowboys 21-13 in Dallas.

Iloka tweeted after the move: "Thankful for the opportunity Cincinnati. To my former teammates, best of luck and stay healthy, you guys have something special brewing there."

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