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Bengals Bytes (1/20): Reason for optimism

Here are some reasons why Bengals’ fans should be optimistic for next season. The Steelers have been dealing with a flu bug while preparing for the AFC Championship. Johnny Manziel admits he hasn’t been the best person.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports Names Atkins AFC North Defensive MVP

ESPN reporters who cover AFC North teams have come to the conclusion of what most people in the Queen City have known for years: Geno Atkins is pretty good. Katherine Terrell (Bengals), Jamison Hensley (Ravens), Pat McManamon (Browns), and Jeremy Fowler (Steelers) all voted the Bengals’ Pro Bowl defensive tackle as their pick for AFC North defensive MVP.

Bengals: Can Free Agency Signings Fill The Holes?

As the season draws to a close, the Cincinnati Bengals are shifting into offseason mode. What does the team need? Can free agents fix the problems?

Cincinnati Bengals tackle Geno Atkins wins AFC North defensive MVP

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins was voted the AFC North defensive MVP as voted on by the four reporters covering the division for

5 reasons the Cincinnati Bengals are not far from the playoffs

The Bengals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010, but coach Marvin Lewis has indicated he feels the team is not in need of a total reboot. Here are five reasons he’s right

A disappointing Cincinnati Bengals season by the numbers

The NFL’s playoffs are ongoing… and the Bengals are still not part of them. A few numbers can help us understand how Cincinnati was left out in 2016 after making five straight trips to the postseason, and a couple more give hints about what they might do about it.

AFC North Bytes

Mike Tomlin says Pittsburgh Steelers will be ready for New England Patriots despite battling flu bug

A 24-hour flu bug has permeated the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room and affected several players leading up to the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. Tight end Ladarius Green missed practice Thursday with an illness, and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was one of four players to sit out Wednesday. Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton said up to 15 people in the Steelers facility have suffered a setback this week.

Baltimore Ravens hire Joe D’Alessandris as their offensive line coach

The Ravens hired veteran offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris Thursday, with coach John Harbaugh praising him as "an excellent teacher." D'Alessandris, who is entering his 40th season of coaching, previously coached the offensive lines for the Kansas City Chiefs (2008-09), Buffalo Bills (2010-12) and San Diego Chargers (2013-15). He replaces Juan Castillo, who joined the Bills after four seasons in Baltimore.

Jamie Collins Contract: Latest News, Rumors on Negotiations with Browns

On Thursday, though, sources told's Jason La Canfora that the Browns have made significant progress on an extension to keep Collins in Cleveland. The two sides could finalize a deal by this weekend.

Random Bytes

Gorilla Harambe’s grandmother dies at age 49 at Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami’s matriarch gorilla, Josephine, who was grandmother to the internet-famous Harambe, has died. The zoo announced on social media that the 49-year-old ape was euthanized Wednesday morning, saying she had been suffering from several health issues that slowly incapacitated her.

Julian Edelman to ref: 'My therapist yells at me' for being defensive

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman wore a microphone during Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round victory over the Houston Texans, and in a Sound FX piece from that game, Edelman's exchange with back judge Keith Ferguson was a classic.

NFL Coaches Need to Stop Delaying Their Two-Point Conversion Tries

NFL Coaches Need to Stop Delaying Their Two-Point Conversion Tries:Coaches always try to extend the game by waiting to go for two when mounting a comeback. But that's the last thing they should be doing?

Dick LeBeau will return for his 59th NFL season, at age 80

Dick LeBeau will be 80 at the start of the 2017 season, his 59th as an NFL player or coach. And if you think he’s ready to retire, you don’t know Dick LeBeau. “The only question in my mind was from the standpoint that somebody’s got to want you to work,’’ LeBeau said. “When Mike said he wanted me to stay, there was no doubt.”

How the Falcons Defense Evolved | The MMQB with Peter King

A few critical midseason tweaks by Dan Quinn helped Atlanta’s young defenders—including four rookie starters—come into their own. Here’s what to look for against the Packers.

Johnny Manziel Discusses 2016 Struggles, Reports of Charging for Pictures

It seems as though the turbulent times of former Heisman Trophy winner and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel are subsiding in 2017, according to him at least. Coming off a turbulent 2016, the 24-year-old is attempting to make amends. He took to Twitter on Thursday.