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Bengals Bytes (6/18): Keeping the core

The Bengals are holding true to developing their own players, and then retaining them. The Browns could utilize their two talented young running backs. And, how players from each team changed the rules of the NFL.

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Bengals engage in great rotate debate
A critical question bouncing back and forth inside Bengals circles through this offseason is how much should the defensive line rotate in order to provide a chance for a young wave of prospects behind the starters to prove their worth?

Bengals believe best strategy for success is keeping core intact
Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap couldn't resist having a little fun. He reached his large right hand into the group of reporters interviewing running back Giovani Bernard and rubbed his thumb and forefinger together.

Bengals Beat podcast: Minicamp wrap-up
Enquirer Bengals beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski sit down to wrap up the Bengals' mandatory minicamp and take a look back at the entirety of the offseason program as the team heads into the six-week summer dead period.

Whit taking it a year at a time
This is one of the reasons why Andrew Whitworth keeps playing. He still enjoys the guys, the locker room, the very game of football. Tackle? Guard? Mayor of West Monroe, La.? What exactly does 2017 hold? "Who knows?" he asked with a laugh before the Bengals started their mandatory minicamp this week. "Maybe I get down to 280 pounds and I’m a blocking tight end. You never know what happens. You have to keep your options open."

AFC North Bytes

Ravens QB Joe Flacco is confident he will be ready for the first day of training camp
When Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco tore his ACL and MCL in week 11 of the 2015 season against the then St. Louis Rams, many were worried as to how long it would take him to recover. At face value, it didn't look like time would be on his side. Flacco suffered the injury in late November and the timetable that some were going with was until the middle of the September of the 2016 season.

Ravens’ Trent Richardson to undergo knee surgery
Baltimore Ravens running back Trent Richardson is expected to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and will likely miss some playing time, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The surgery will be another setback for Richardson after he missed off-season practices three weeks ago with a hamstring injury.

Will Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell be used at the same time?
Will Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell be in the backfield at the same time? Will the Browns truly change their culture? Is their reason for optimism? These and other questions answered in

Why The Steelers Shouldn't Wait Until 2017 To Extend Le'Veon Bell
As expected, the fan base of the Pittsburgh Steelers is not in agreement as to whether or not they think the team should give running back Le’Veon Bell a lucrative contract extension prior to the start of the 2016 season. How split? Prior to writing this post I put a poll question up on Twitter and within 5 minutes I had 100 votes with 69% in favor of giving Bell a new contract this summer. This kind of split is understandable considering Bell’s injury history and lone suspension. With that said, let me point out to you some facts that come with waiting to extend Bell until after the 2016 that may change a few of your minds.

Random Bytes

It’s baby season in the NFL
Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron had his first child this offseason and helped his wife, Katherine Webb, through childbirth by making a World War Z joke that made everything really easy, apparently? Umm -- alright.

Father’s Decade
My dad never saw me play varsity football. He died before I became a starter as a junior. When I debuted as a sophomore, he was too sick to go. My first play came on a soggy Saturday afternoon, during a dreary loss. A senior got hurt, so the coaches sent me out to cover a punt. I shuffled downfield and fell on top of someone.

Ricky Williams wants to make weed gyms a way of life
The former NFL star talked to SB Nation about opening a new gym in San Francisco, Power Plant, that he wants to make part of a movement.

Michael Oher inks three-year extension with Panthers
Panthers tackle Michael Oher recently said he'd like to spend the rest of his career with the team. He definitely won't be leaving soon. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Oher has signed a three-year extension with the Panthers.

Rex Ryan believes Buffalo Bills won off-season
Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan believes that his franchise have had the strongest off–season heading into training camp. "I can’t wait to get the season started," Ryan said. "I’m just telling you right now: forget the vacation. I wish it was shorter. And I mean it. I’m excited about this team. Obviously a lot of things have to happen and we’re a month or so away. I told our players today to ‘Win July.’ We’ve won the off–season. I would challenge any team. I think we’ve won the off–season."

How Emmitt Smith, Joe Horn, Tom Brady and more altered NFL rule book
The structure of football in the NFL dates back more than 100 years. The rest of the league's 79-page rule book? Much of it is the result of outlawed innovation bubbled up from competitive-minded teams and players. The latest manifestation of that practice occurred last week, when it was revealed the NFL has banned the New England Patriots' preference of using numberless jerseys during spring practices. That news arrived a few days after the league addressed a series of 2015 issues with rule clarifications, most notably prohibiting exposed sweatshirt hoodies worn by free-agent receiver James Jones.