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Bengals Bytes (12/3): Carl Lawson’s thirst for football started early

Carl Lawson has been one of the brightest spots for the Bengals this season, and he has an incredible story on how he got to this point. Antonio Brown didn’t practice for a second straight day.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers tweet, celebrate, dominate the Bengals
Vontaze Burfict refused to shake the Steelers' hands at midfield last October, and added to the insult by kicking one of them during the first quarter. Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell tweeted after Pittsburgh's 29-14 win that the Bengals linebacker ought to be kicked out of the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals: 5 questions with rookie Josh Malone
The Cincinnati Bengals took a wide receiver with their first pick in this year’s draft, but the one they selected in the fourth round is getting more opportunity to make an impact. Former University of Tennessee wideout Josh Malone has appeared in six games, three more than first-round pick John Ross, and he was given one big chance Sunday in the Bengals’ win over Cleveland.

Cincinnati Bengals injury report for Pittsburgh Steelers game
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vinny Rey and safety Shawn Williams will miss their second consecutive game, while linebacker Nick Vigil will miss the first of his career Monday night against Pittsburgh. Rey and Williams are dealing with hamstring injuries, while Vigil hurt his ankle in last week’s win against Cleveland.

BX: Steelers have right to play games with Bengals
George Iloka rattled off the storylines, quite literally, this week as the Cincinnati Bengals prepared for the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I know what the storylines are in terms of outside, what people would say,” Iloka began. “I have no storylines for myself. It's just 'I want to win this game.'" He continued.

Mr. Monday: Boomer's fitting prime-time return
When Anderson catches a Monday night game on his car radio and hears Esiason’s voice, where it has been for the last 18 years of Monday nights, Anderson smiles. There it is. The same mentality, the same tenacious mindset, the same edge that 20 years to the night on Dec. 4, 1997 drove Anderson’s offensive line and a rookie running back named Corey Dillon into history, and an aging former NFL MVP named Norman Julius Esiason into the sunset.

TDBH: Bengals blank NFC Central champ Vikes to eye AFC Central lead
The rampaging Viking are 10-1, already NFC Central champs, and headed to the Super Bowl next month. But a funny thing happened on the way to the big game today at Riverfront Stadium. They run into the Bengals’ defensive juggernaut locked in a desperate three-way race in the AFC Central and are shut out in stunning fashion for the first time in 12 years and 160 games, 27-0, as the 8-4 Bengals are poised to go into next week’s game against the Browns tied with the Steelers for first place and barely in front of 7-3-2 Cleveland.

Bengals DE Carl Lawson's football thirst powers him as a pass-rusher
Carl Lawson Sr. can remember the moment he knew his son might have a future in football. The younger Lawson was about 8 years old when a family friend took him to a youth football game. Carl Lawson Jr. was supposed to sit in the stands but curiosity got the best of him; he climbed down, entered the game and made a tackle without a helmet or shoulder pads.

AFC North Bytes

Eisenberg: Key to Beating Lions is Putting Matthew Stafford Under Duress With Pass Rush
Although one individual matchup never decides an NFL game, the outcome of Sunday’s contest at M&T Bank Stadium could easily sway with how the Ravens’ strong pass defense fares against the Detroit Lions’ prolific passing game, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Ravens rank No. 2 in the league in pass defense. Stafford is No. 5 in passing yards.

7 burning questions for Browns WR Josh Gordon
Three years since he last saw the field, Gordon will make his long-awaited return Sunday when the Browns travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. Not only will Gordon be a major part of the offense, but he’ll also be a starter.

Antonio Brown (toe) DNP again, questionable to play
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown missed practice for the second consecutive day on Saturday, but isn't expected to miss any significant time.

Random Bytes

Eagles sign Alshon Jeffery to 4-year pact through 2021
Alshon Jeffery joined the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year deal this offseason with hopes of proving himself worthy of a long-term pact. On Saturday, Jeffery got his wish. The Eagles rewarded their star wide receiver with a four-year extension through the 2021 season. The deal is worth $52 million and could be worth up to $56 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source. The contract includes $27 million in guaranteed money.

NFL Mock Draft 2018: Giants find new QB; Packers pad pass rush
In what appears to be one of the weakest crops of top 10 picks in recent memory, those invested in the 2018 NFL Draft should prepare for plenty of offensive and defensive lineman going early. Over the last four years, we’ve had either special defensive prospects or top quarterbacks make the top of the draft exciting. As of now, that kind of transcendent player isn’t sitting atop the draft board.

Aaron Rodgers Returns to Practice for 1st Time Since Collarbone Injury
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly practiced for the first time Saturday since suffering a collarbone injury, as the team designated him as a player to return from injured reserve. Ian Rapoport‏ of NFL Network reported Rodgers wasn't cleared for full contact and that his next medical scan isn't scheduled until after the Packers' clash with the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 10.