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Bengals Bytes: Free agency, senior bowl and popularity... bro

We take a look at the stories around the internet concerning your Cincinnati Bengals, as well as headlines from the division and the senior bowl. There's lots going on, bro.

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Doc: NFL's popularity is waning? C'mon, man
It's seemingly coincidental that HBO's Real Sports is airing Tuesday a story about the 1985 Chicago Bears. Specifically, the dark, concussed side of that team's fame. Defensive back Dave Duerson is dead, owing likely to traumatic brain damage incurred while playing football. Quarterback Jim McMahon forgets things. The coach, Mike Ditka, says he wouldn't allow his 8-year-old to play the game. "And my whole life was football,'' Ditka tells Bryant Gumbel. "I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do."

Cincinnati Bengals free-agent breakdown: WR Brandon Tate
Free agency is right around the corner for the Cincinnati Bengals, who have 15 players with contracts that expire in March. ESPN's Coley Harvey reviews wide receiver Brandon Tate.

Bengals free-agent breakdown: TE Alex Smith
Free agency is right around the corner for the Cincinnati Bengals, who have 15 players with contracts that expire in March. ESPN's Coley Harvey reviews tight end Alex Smith.

Bengals.com Honors:Special Teams Player of the Year
Adam Jones took the news that he is the Bengals.com Special Teams Player of the Year pretty well. The fiercely competitive Jones prides himself on not being just a returner. He’s an all-around player and, indeed, he defied logic by leading the NFL in kick returns while playing 70 percent of the snaps at cornerback. "I think I’m one of the best corners in the league," Jones says.

Five for Bengals to watch at Senior Bowl
The Bengals take the fresh memory of what fell short in the 2014 season and accompanying team needs to the first major event of the 2015 offseason this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

What does AFC title game blowout say about Cincinnati Bengals?
While watching the Indianapolis Colts get dismantled by the New England Patriots in Sunday night's AFC Championship Game, many Cincinnati Bengals fans probably pondered some variation of the question above.

Cleveland Browns interviewed Mike Martz, former Rams HC, for OC vacancy
Looking to enhance their passing game, the Browns have interviewed former Rams head coach Mike Martz for their offensive coordinator vacancy, a league source confirmed for Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The Bell Tolls for the Pro Bowl
Le’Veon Bell has removed himself from the Pro Bowl after saying he believed he would be healthy enough to play in it. Saner ideas prevailed. He joins Ben Roethlisberger, who also took himself out. Thus, the fans should not fret the next time they feel a Steelers player was "snubbed" for Pro Bowl selection. The players do a good job of removing themselves from that game over the smallest aches and pains, and sometimes they do not even need that as an excuse. This is the third time Roethlisberger either bowed out or declined to go after other quarterbacks bowed out.

Does Kubiak departure impact Daniels' future?
Does the departure of Gary Kubiak decrease the possibility that Ravens free agent tight end Owen Daniels will return?

How might Steelers maneuver under salary cap?
While some people concern themselves about whether footballs were deflated, most of the NFL front offices are entering the time of year when inflated salaries are the biggest worry. And that’s particularly true of a veteran team like the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Colts-Patriots deflated footballs lead NFL championship game questions
A look at what is known about the NFL’s probe into the potential use of deflated footballs in the Patriots-Colts game. Plus readers weigh in on the Packers-Seahawks game, including who is most to blame for Green Bay’s late collapse.

Front Office Insider: 3 things Winston can do to become No. 1 pick
The Senior Bowl kicks off this week, and the annual event held in Mobile, Alabama, marks one of the first steps in a four-month process in which prospects are observed and analyzed by NFL personnel in just about every way imaginable before the draft. Maybe none more so than Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.