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Bengals Banter: How Much Does Sports Connect You Back Home?

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It's interesting watching the sports world unravel. Pitcher Roger Clemens was acquitted of all charges that he lied to Congress in 2008, insisting that he never used performance-enhancing drugs. The government, many insist, essentially botched a homerun case with one juror saying that "the government never should have brought charges in the first place." Now baseball writers can use their absolute (and unwavering) power to debate his Hall of Fame credentials with plenty tapping into some holier than thou morality clause when in truth, they just might not like him. Too much power.

Yet the story of Cincinnati Bengals eases into a summer vacation.

Four New Orleans Saints players, disciplined for their roles in the Saints Bounty Scandal, or whatever ESPN wants to call it this week, had their appeals heard and it appears that the league had zero interest in listening; rather they were more focused on getting whatever evidence they have out to those players and eventually the public.

Is it humorous, the level of "news" that sports injects into our daily lives? Forget renewed tensions in Egypt and Syria, the political mechanisms of juvenile and simplified campaign tactics. Sports in a very real sense keeps us connected to the world, makes us feel informed and knowledgeable. From the fanaticism of our home teams when one may be thousands of miles away, keep people connected. I have to wonder how many people across the pond read about the Bengals and feel close to home in Cincinnati (and yes, we have several members and readers that read internationally).

If you're out of the area, from across the states, but also internationally, chime in. How much does sports, specifically the Bengals, connect you back home?

+ Gil Brandt, senior analyst with NFL.com, lists the Bengals at No. 15 in his first power rankings of the year.

+ Legendary and hall of fame wide receiver Jerry Rice lists A.J. Green as the second-best wide receiver in the NFL under the age of 26.

+ Mojo offers up perspective on the team's linebackers.

+ With the retirement of running back LaDainian Tomlinson on Monday, we took a look at his impact over the years against the Cincinnati Bengals.

+ Former Bengals wide receiver and kick returner Glenn Holt reflects on his time with the Bengals, comparing his group of wide receivers to this year's crop.

+ Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is looking forward to the NFL Rookie Symposium, where the league's future stars are orientated into the NFL.

+ In AFC North news, the Pittsburgh Steelers are expecting to put running back Rashard Mendenhall and defensive tackle Casey Hampton on the PUP list to start the 2012 regular season.