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Bengals Bytes (2/27): Story of caution

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The Bengals use Michael Johnson's experience when trying to convince free agents to stay. The highlight show is dead, and will tag-and-trade become a new norm for NFL offseasons?

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals defensive coordinator defends Vontaze Burfict
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther met with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine today and offered their first public comments linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension.

Leah Still Beats Cancer, Designs Own Flower Girl Dress for Her Dad's Wedding
If Leah Still's flower girl dress ends up looking a lot like a pink version of Elsa's gown from Disney's Frozen, don't be surprised. "We overcame tragedy and are becoming a family," says Devon Still of his daughter, Leah, 5. "It's like a fairy tale."

Bengals DC: Hue Jackson wants all the Bengals free agents
The Bengals have a lot of players eligible to hit the open market March 9. A lot of good players, too. When that topic was broached with Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther at the NFL Scouting Combine Friday, Guenther had his answer ready.

In Bengals' push to keep free agents, they use Michael Johnson example
As the NFL combine winds down, the Cincinnati Bengals' big push to retain key unrestricted free agents begins. For a team that feasts on continuity and is coming off a 12-4 regular season and another playoff appearance, the number it wants to retain is quite large. In a perfect world, the Bengals say they would like to re-sign all 14 players, but they know cap concerns and individual players' desires to stay or go are at play, too.

Cincinnati Bengals' to Jeremy Hill: 'You're a really good player'
Jeremy Hill has promised his coaches the fumble he lost at the end of the Cincinnati Bengals' playoff loss to the Steelers will be a source of motivation throughout this offseason. The promise his coaches have made to him is that they will keep feeding him positive energy.

Get to know the NFL Combine Drills
Learn the basics about some of the drills at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine

Random Bytes

Is cap space a good thing anymore? GMs weigh in
Free agency is just around the corner, and teams have more money than ever to play with when the market opens. But is all that cap space worth it? Conor Orr examines.

Michigan State QB Connor Cook does his best to clear up misconceptions
By his own admission Connor Cook is in full-on damage-control mode at the NFL scouting combine. Despite a stellar resume, QB Connor Cook says he is battling the perception 'That I'm a cocky football player, arrogant, stuff like that.'

Ezekiel Elliott's combine cleats designed to raise awareness for domestic violence victims
Ezekiel Elliott, who is donating his combine cleats, rushed for more than 1,800 yards in each of his final seasons at Ohio State and had 41 TDs.

Pittsburgh Steelers will let many of their free agents test market
All is quiet on the Pittsburgh Steelers front when it comes to in-house free agents. The sense I get is the Steelers don't feel the need to chase their guys. They usually sign their top players before getting to this point. With 12 days before the open market hits, most of the nearly 20 free agents will hit the new league year on March 9 as free agents.

Baylor basketball player Rico Gathers hoping for shot in NFL
Baylor basketball player Rico Gathers is going to train with George Whitfield in San Diego to try to play tight end in the NFL. When Baylor's basketball season ends, presumably after the NCAA tournament, Gathers will travel to San Diego to train with Whitfield, who's best known for his work with quarterbacks.

NFL combine notes on Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, more
Pay attention in Indy, and the NFL knowledge comes quickly. Here's what we gleaned listening to coaches and GMs address the media, including Cleveland’s plan at No. 2, the Rams' big move and why OL play is lagging.

Why the Dolphins and Jets might begin a new tag-and-trade trend
It's rather rare for players to be franchised as a means not to a new long-term deal with his club, but as a conduit to being shopped around the league via trade. But that perception could change in a few weeks if the remote becomes real. The Dolphins, who have barely talked to the agent for emerging pass rusher Olivier Vernon and have made no progress toward a multi-year deal, realize that Vernon will be coveted if he hits the open market. And while Miami doesn't seem to value him to the degree these other teams might, they also need to protect their interests. Letting him simply walk out the door makes no sense.

The sports highlight show is dead
On last night’s Fox Sports Live, Dan O’Toole opened by saying "Many of you have wondered, what happened to all the highlights?" When Fox Sports Live relaunched on Monday night as a late night comedy-sports show, it confirmed a reality that’s been hovering over televised sports for a long time, but one that we’ve been reluctant to admit is true. The sports highlight show is dead.