Morning Bites (12/27): Bengals links and notes

USA TODAY Sports

Stories concerning the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL on Dec. 27.

Bengals records mean little to Andy Dalton, A.J. Green
Like most third-year NFL superstars, A.J. Green's plans for retirement are still several years away. Why bring that up? Because according to the Cincinnati Bengals receiver, that is the only time he will ever sit down and contemplate the meaning of the records and awards that he surely will have achieved by that point in his life. Until that happens, his mind is a blank slate when it comes to such individual frivolities.

Gruden: Dalton showing he's good enough to make Bengals Super
By 4 p.m. Sunday, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton could emerge from the season finale against the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) with home wins over Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, as well as Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and New England's Tom Brady.

Payday coming for Bengals tackle Collins
For a player in the final year of his contract ascending from utility backup to arguably the most efficient pass-blocking offensive lineman in football, he understands the financial windfall associated with his rise. Undeniably, when playing in a contract year, the game changes.

Bengals ticket office has tall playoff task
The Bengals ticket office was able to celebrate one milestone when it was announced that Sunday's game against Baltimore has been declared a sellout and will be aired on local TV. However, it faces a tall task when it comes to the first playoff game.

Left leanings
Anthony Collins, once a safety valve now a staple for the Bengals at one of the game's premium positions, has already played Sunday's game (Cincinnati's Channel 12) , a 1 p.m. double date with the Ravens' tag team of Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs.

Bengals' Anthony Collins avoiding contract chatter
Friends off the field, Cincinnati Bengals players Anthony Collins and Michael Johnson occasionally hang out together. Typically when they venture out into Cincinnati and other parts of the metropolitan area, it's Johnson who gets recognized first. After all, the defensive end has been starting since his second season in 2010. It probably helps matters that he's the more visible face of the two, playing a key role on the Bengals' highly touted defensive line while carrying this season's franchise tag.

Burfict, others still miss Bengals practice
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict missed his second practice of the week as the Cincinnati Bengals returned to action Thursday afternoon. They were back after having taken Wednesday off in observance of the Christmas holiday.

Red zone zenith
While the Bengals offense is red hot in the red zone, Baltimore's red zone defense has cooled and it's one of those matchups to watch Sunday.

Update: Bengals complete season sellout as push begins to sell out playoff game; Tez rustles
Trying to finish their first unbeaten home season in 25 years, the Bengals continued one other streak Thursday when they sold out Sunday's 1 p.m. season finale against the Ravens to mark a sellout in every Paul Brown Stadium game this season.

Practice Report: Trouble at tight end
The Bengals are banged up at the tight end position and may need to conjure up contingency plans for Sunday.

Countdown Daily Prediction: BAL-CIN
ESPN Video: The NFL Live crew make their picks for Baltimore at Cincinnati.

Bengals' A.J. Green about to be a very rich man, not that he cares
A.J. Green says he won't go to Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to make sure he's a major part of their playoff game plan next week.

USA TODAY Sports' Week 17 NFL predictions
The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have met 187 times, the longest-running rivalry in NFL history. (If you're wondering, the Bears own a 93-88-6 advantage.)

NFL says ACL injuries down through 13 weeks
From Yahoo Sports: ACL injuries are down, the NFL has told its Health and Safety Advisory Committee. In a memo to the committee sent earlier this week and obtained by The Associated Press, the league said research showed there were 30 ACL injuries in games through the preseason and first 13 weeks of the schedule. Anterior cruciate ligament problems are the most severe knee injuries. There was an increase in medial collateral ligament injuries (MCL), from 74 in 2012 to 89 in games this season through 13 weeks.

Keenan Allen considered quitting NFL
The Chargers rookie loves football but hates the sideline. That hate festered this year to the point, he said Wednesday, he seriously considered quitting. In August, he was on the fence and sought guidance. In September, he was on the brink. He looks back now, a front runner for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, yards from a new franchise record, days short of the regular-season finale.namdi Asomugha to retire after 11 seasons

Former All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will retire after 11 years in the NFL.

Kitna to donate Cowboys salary to high school
From Yahoo Sports: Jon Kitna will earn $53,000 to serve as the Cowboys' third-string quarterback for one week - and he plans to donate that money to the Seattle-area high school where he's now a coach. Kitna told The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/1aaJ38v ) of his plans Wednesday. Kitna retired after the 2011 season, his 15th in the league, and was coaching football at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., this season when he heard about Tony Romo's back injury. Kitna sent a text message Tuesday morning to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, and the two would talk by phone for 30 minutes, he said.

Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans agree to interview
Bill O'Brien might have an eye on the pro ranks. The current Penn State coach is expected to be the second coaching candidate to interview with the Houston Texans, Ian Rapoport reports.

Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley retires after 15-year NFL career
Stokley sat down with Mike Kils of the Denver Post and said it is time to move away from the game after suffering his share of injuries, including a concussion that put him on injured reserve this season after a Week 14 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Members of '93 Oilers say they knew two teammates were gay, but it 'was no big deal'
The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that "at least two key members" of that ’93 Oilers team were gay. "Not only did the team know about the situation," the Chronicle’s Brian T. Smith wrote, "but players accepted their gay teammates and did not outcast them."

Rams claim state overtaxes team
From Yahoo Sports: Attorneys for the St. Louis Rams have filed a tax appeal with the state of Missouri, seeking a refund of about $400,000. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Rams have also asked the state to forgive an additional $445,000 in unpaid taxes. There's no way to tell what happened with each case, but the Missouri Department of Revenue says four of the cases were settled. ''Some people are just a little more aggressive in trying to diminish their state tax bills,'' said Henry Ordower, a tax law professor at Saint Louis University.

Would C.J. consider a pay cut? No way
The sixth-year pro, who made $10 million this season, has 950 yards heading into Sunday’s finale against the Texans. He’s scheduled to make $8 million next season, so the Titans are expected to look closely at whether he’s still worth the investment. Asked if he would take a pay cut, Johnson said: "No way. I don’t feel like it’s all my fault. It’s a team effort."

Moss: 'I could still put up 15 or 16 touchdowns'
Randy Moss addressed a wide variety of topics including his ability to still play at a high level, advice for young players and more on The Peter Schrager Podcast.

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