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Bengals Bytes (2/4): Confidence climbing

Andy Dalton is still confident in what the Bengals are doing going forward. Kyle Shanahan says he didn’t want Johnny Manziel. One talented player with a very serious off-field issue wasn’t invited to the combine.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Roster tweaks turn Super

Lightning is about to strike twice in the Super Bowl. The Patriots, who were punished by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for “DeflateGate,” are going to be celebrated by Goodell Sunday night (6:30 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) after they deflate the ball in a victory over the high-tech Falcons for their fifth NFL title.

Andy Dalton confident in Cincinnati Bengals' direction after down year

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said he wasn't discouraged by the first losing season of his career. Quite the opposite actually. Dalton, who joined the Russillo & Kanell Show on Thursday, said he felt like it took time to build chemistry with his new group of wide receivers after Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones left in free agency.

AFC North Bytes

Antonio Brown and the Steelers deep in negotiations

The Steelers and Brown have begun to discuss a contract extension, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Earlier this week, Brown said on The Dan Patrick Show that both sides have begun to talk, and he plans to finish his career in Pittsburgh. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Jan. 15 that Brown's contract restructuring last summer came with an "understanding" he and the Steelers would work out a new deal this offseason.

Kyle Shanahan wanted Garoppolo or Carr when Browns drafted Manziel

As it turns out, that was also Johnny Manziel's rookie season. And when it was over, Cleveland finished a respectable 7-9 but the offense ranked 29th in the league, according to Football Outsiders' metrics. Manziel played in just five games that year, and nine more in 2015, but off-field issues led the Browns to release him last spring and he remains out of football.

Ravens don't have a single player in top 50 of NFL merchandise sales

For the past couple of years, Ravens fans have lamented that the team lacks star power. Fans elsewhere appear to agree. The NFL Players Association released its quarterly Top 50 Player Sales List of 2017 and not a single Ravens player was on the list. They were one of seven teams that did not have a player included. The Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers were the other six.

Random Bytes

Super Bowl 51: Chris Simms' Predictions for the Title Game

Each year, I root for a few incompletions to start off the Super Bowl. I'll admit it doesn't make for good football. But it probably ensures my dad's three-decade-old Super Bowl record stays intact for another year—and that's something I want him to have forever. For the uninitiated, Phil Simms tore the Denver Broncos a new one back in Super Bowl XXI.

Final Predictions for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Looking for the best NFL coverage around? Bleacher Report is the go-to destination for armchair quarterbacks everywhere. B/R's NFL coverage delivers must-see gridiron analysis on a daily basis. You've never been so ready for some football.

Roger Goodell casts doubts over 18-game season

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, meeting with fans before the Super Bowl, cast doubt on the possibility of an 18-game season and seemed to open the door a crack to the possibility of the Raiders remaining in Oakland. Goodell was joined at the forum by the three finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award -- Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Greg Olsen. As part of the hour-long session, fans were able to ask questions to the foursome.

Former Falcons QB Mike Vick 'officially retired'

Mike Vick is officially calling it quits. The former Falcons quarterback told ESPN on Friday that he is "officially retired" after spending the entire 2016 season without a team. "I think it's time," the 36-year-old said. "I think going through the 2016 season without playing and being able to be a spectator and watch the game and enjoy it from afar and root for a lot of the players and coaches I once played for, I think kind of summed all it all up for me.

Oklahoma's Joe Mixon not invited to NFL Scouting Combine

A league source told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that Mixon won't be on the list of the event's invitees. USA TODAY first reported the news. Players will begin arriving in Indianapolis for the combine on Feb. 28. Mixon struck a female OU student as a freshman in 2014 and was charged with acts resulting in gross injury, a misdemeanor.