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Bengals Bytes (3/8): Waiting game

An unlikely thief was caught stealing Bengals jerseys in Kentucky. The Detroit Lions are still waiting for Calvin Johnson to officially retire. Chris Mortensen shares some good news on his condition.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The First Lady and the Bengals
Paul Brown just said yes. So Reggie Williams just made Nancy Reagan an honorary Bengals coach. It happened in the ‘80s, when the Bengals were rolling to two Super Bowls, the Reagans were riding into history, and Williams, Brown’s Ivy League Ironman, was showing a future generation just exactly what being involved in the community meant.

Kentucky Woman Accused Of Stealing Bengals Jerseys
A 60-year-old Kentucky woman is accused of stealing Cincinnati Bengals jerseys, and police say she was caught on camera doing it. Cheryl Handsman of Fort Thomas appeared in court today on theft charges. Authorities say she used a long pole to grab four jerseys from Paul Brown Stadium last October. The entire incident was recorded on surveillance video, and police say Handsman has confessed to taking the jerseys.

Mohamed Sanu Among Free Agents Who Could Fill Patriots’ Biggest Needs
The NFL's ridiculous "legal tampering" period begins Monday at noon ET, but expect the New England Patriots to stay quiet until free agency officially begins Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Cincinnati Bengals' adjusted salary cap hovers above $162 million
The Cincinnati Bengals have more than $162 million to spend on all player contracts this season, according to salary-cap numbers released Monday by the NFL Players Association. The numbers were released two days before the new league year begins. Financially speaking, the 2016 season starts at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. By that time, each of the 32 teams must be under the salary-cap limit.

Dalton puts Peyton in his place with a thank you
Peyton Manning’s 18-year career hit 28-year-old Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton smack in his wheelhouse. From beating his buddies in Madden games in the Houston suburbs with the Colts’ version of Manning to beating the Broncos' version of Manning for real at Paul Brown Stadium, Dalton has had the full Peyton experience.

Bengals coach Lewis talks about UK program during visit to pro day
Marvin Lewis took some time at Kentucky's pro day to talk about the universities program.

Free agency update: Iloka courted; OL signs
As the legal tampering window opened at noon Monday, calls came fast and furious for the camp of safety George Iloka. League sources indicate he’s receiving interest from the Giants, Falcons, Lions, Vikings and Bengals, who have the kept the door open for him to return. Iloka figures to be one of the top targets in the safety market.

NFL reduces Adam Jones fine to $12,500 through appeal process
Veteran cornerback Adam Jones could be getting more money in the coming days. As he embarks on that process, he’ll have less money taken away from him by the league.

Random Bytes

Amid Andrews trial, female sports reporters open up about safety
Amid the Erin Andrews trial, female sports reporters reflect on their own experiences with staying safe on the road.

The Jets Are Balking at Paying Ryan Fitzpatrick, Enter Colin Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III?
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a phenomenal season with the Jets - the best of his career. But he turns 34 in November, and the last time he had a great season, the Bills backed up the Brinks for the Harvard grad. He crapped the bed.

Jaguars S Earl Wolff unharmed in robbery, kidnapping
Jaguars safety Earl Wolff was unharmed after being kidnapped and robbed last month. Wolff, 26, was attacked by a group of men with guns while walking in North Carolina on Feb. 23. He was forced into a vehicle and driven away, but was eventually released by his captors without injury.

NFL’s top 100 free agents of 2016
With NFL free agency opening this week, it’s time for teams get busy with roster rebuilding. Offers can be made to players starting Monday, and they can sign contracts when the new league year begins on March 9 at 4 p.m. ET. Ahead of the madness, we rank the top 100 free agents available and break down where they best fit for 2016.

NFLPA's Winston: Here's why it's tough to deal with NFL owners
From a player’s standpoint, the collective bargaining agreement struck five years ago with the NFL has been good for them. Salaries are up. The cap is up. Benefits are up. In general, everyone is making more money … a lot more money … than they once did. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t hiccups, as a recent decision by arbitrator Stephen Burbank demonstrated.

Chris Mortensen says his tumor is shrinking
For some in the NFL media, the news of Peyton Manning’s retirement was overshadowed by the reporter who broke the news: Chris Mortensen of ESPN, who took a brief break from cancer treatments to deliver the scoop. Mortensen appeared on ESPN this afternoon following Manning’s retirement announcement and delivered some good news about his battle with throat cancer.

DeAngelo Williams: Peyton Manning 'couldn't play dead in western'
Peyton Manning's retirement announcement has garnered widespread praise for a historic career. That doesn't mean DeAngelo Williams is giving him a pass for his 2015 performance. Williams, the outspoken Pittsburgh Steelers running back, saved some of his best open-field moves for Twitter on Monday, going back and forth with CBS Sports NFL reporter Pete Prisco and others about how bad Manning was last season.

Lions hope to know Calvin Johnson’s plans in next 24 hours
Peyton Manning and Heath Miller appeared on the NFL’s daily transaction release Monday as the two newest members of the reserve/retired list. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is not on that list, which leaves the Lions without a firm answer on his plans for the 2016 season.