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Bengals Bytes (1/6): Kicking the can

The Bengals will have an open competition for a kicker next season. The Steelers are looking for revenge for an embarrassing regular season loss to the Dolphins. Jim Irsay must be taking advice from Mike Brown. Chuck Pagano will reportedly return to coach the Colts in 2017.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Who stays, who goes among Bengals free agents?

Taking an individual look at the 15 Bengals free agents, where they stand and our thought on the percentage chance the team brings them back.

Hobson's Choice: what's next?

It’s hard to quibble with those three items. Given the struggles of Cedric Ogbuehi it’s hard to see them letting Whit leave. It would leave left tackle in its most precarious position since the late ‘90s. At that point in 2000 and 2001 they opted for solid veterans at the end of the line in free agency, John Jackson and Richmond Webb, to get to the Levi Jones draft of 2002. I’m not sure that’s a viable option these days, but they’ve changed their philosophy anyway. They’re into “keep our own,” and Whit certainly qualifies.

Bengals kicker Randy Bullock will file for termination pay from Giants

Randy Bullock didn't have an ideal 2016 season after bouncing around to three different teams. Bullock was used as a Week 1 fill-in for the New York Giants, had a one-game stint with the Steelers while their kicker was injured, and spent the final three games of the season with the Bengals after they released Mike Nugent.

Cincinnati Bengals will have open competition at kicker next season

The Cincinnati Bengals will go in the offseason intending to hold an open competition at the kicker position for the first time in several years. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said the team will look at all options after Mike Nugent and Randy Bullock missed a total of seven kicks and six PATs this season.

AFC North Bytes

Heavy-favorite Steelers look for revenge against Dolphins

There was a quiet confidence permeating throughout the Miami Dolphins' locker room this week as they prepared for their first playoff game since 2008. Miami has won nine of its past 11 games. The Dolphins beat the Pittsburgh Steelers -- Sunday’s opponent -- by 15 points during the regular season. Yet, players and coaches have to answer frequent questions about being 10-point underdogs with little expectation of doing damage in the playoffs.

Why Joe Haden, set for surgery, kept playing through a groin injury

In the very near future, Joe Haden will undergo surgery to repair a pair of groin injuries that nagged at him throughout the season. These were surely frustrating setbacks for the Browns cornerback, who missed most of the previous year because of concussions and spent most this past offseason recovering from a surprise ankle surgery. But as Haden reflected on the end of a trying season, he was upbeat with an eye toward the future.

Ravens news, notes and opinions on disappointing young players, team needs and more

There hasn’t been a ton said or written about it, but one thing that absolutely should concern Ravens officials is the lack of noticeable progress made this past season by second- and third-year players.

Random Bytes

Chris Berman to Assume New ESPN Role after NFL Season

Sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman, the six-time National Sportscaster of the Year who arrived at ESPN a month after the network launched in 1979 and became one of the industry’s most popular voices during his almost four decades with the company, will assume a new role for ESPN after the NFL season.

NFL 2016 Final Regular Season Power Rankings - New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers

New England, riding a seven-game winning streak into the playoffs as the AFC's top seed, reclaims its position at No. 1 atop the final regular-season rankings.

Report: Chuck Pagano is told he’ll be back for 2017

At a time when the silence has become increasingly deafening in Indianapolis, there’s been a development. Sort of. Maybe. Per Alex Marvez of, Colts coach Chuck Pagano has received an assurance from owner Jim Irsay that he’ll be back in 2017.

Altanta Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan 'definitely' ready to be NFL head coach

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said he is ready to become a head coach, but he won't let those aspirations deter his goal of reaching this year's Super Bowl. A source confirmed to ESPN that Shanahan will interview for head-coaching vacancies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Jacksonville and Denver over the next two days. Those interviews, to be conducted in Atlanta, were made possible after the No. 2 seed Falcons secured this week's first-round playoff bye.