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Bengals Bytes (5/4): Remember the name

Many national sports media outlets have criticized the John Ross selection, but by the end of the season he could be a household name across the NFL. Justin Forsett decides it is time to move on from the NFL. Many of the elite NFL quarterbacks have to come to terms with their careers coming to an end after their teams drafted their replacements.

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NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A Hardy throwback
Marvin Lewis can now officially be called an NFL senior statesman and not because he convenes his 15th rookie minicamp Friday as Bengals head coach.

It’s because one of the guys in that camp, undrafted Illinois linebacker Hardy Nickerson, is the son of a guy Lewis coached in his first season in the NFL as the Steelers linebackers coach. Lewis had Hardy Otto Nickerson for one season before he moved on in free agency, a vehicle he helped move as a plaintiff in the case that sued the NFL for free agency.

Cincinnati Bengals: New faces, old winning ways
After last week’s draft, the Bengals look significantly younger and faster. Both were huge goals for the team this offseason. Some people argue drafting John Ross at 9 overall was a reach. I’ve watched a lot of film this offseason and, in my opinion, this is far from a reach. Ross was the number one receiver on their board, considering the team has A.J. Green. A receiver who wins 50/50 balls, runs every route and commands double teams. Essentially, that’s what makes the Ross pick so good.

Former Bengal Chris Crocker looks to change sports memorabilia game
Former Bengals safety Chris Crocker dabbled for years looking for the direction of his career since retiring from the NFL in 2013. Business. Broadcasting. Refereeing.

Then one day, the game-changing idea smacked him in the face. Thanks to Ellen Degeneres.

NFL Rookies Who Will Be Household Names by Season's End
One of the biggest surprises of the first round was the Cincinnati Bengals' decision to select John Ross at No. 9 overall. Wide receiver wasn't their biggest need, and Ross is more of a luxury than a necessity.

However, Ross does solidify their offense and provide the perfect complement to A.J. Green.

Bengals Beat Podcast: Draft review
Bengals beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski react to a busy three days for the club as they selected 11 players, including controversial running back Joe Mixon. We discuss the theme of the draft and breakdown who these players are and where they fit into the scheme of the roster.

AFC North Bytes

Happy 39th, James Harrison: Here's how you can play into your 40s
James Henry Harrison was born on May 4, 1978, in Akron, Ohio.

Instead of a pacifier, he had a mouthpiece. Instead of a rattle, a barbell.

Born to be a Steeler.

Thirty-nine years later, Harrison has cemented a place in franchise folklore. Now it's time to punctuate that career. Here's how the franchise's all-time sack leader can do just that by fulfilling his two-year contract and aiding the Pittsburgh Steelers' quest for a seventh Super Bowl.

The first Browns quarterback from Ohio and Notre Dame likes the chances of the newest one
And so, the Browns’ next quarterback hope grew up in Ohio, stands tall and throws hard, and comes weather-tested and battled-scarred from the golden limelight of Notre Dame.

What could go wrong?

Justin Forsett Retires After 9-Year NFL Career
Longtime NFL running back Justin Forsett announced his retirement from football Wednesday morning.

The 31-year-old Florida native, who played for seven teams across a nine-year career, confirmed the decision by releasing a statement to Sports Spectrum.

Random Bytes

Football's next generation isn't as worried about concussions as you might think
We asked high school football players how they feel about concussions. Some players are worried, but plenty aren't. It’s not clear how much change will come, or when, however. The NFL has adopted a concussion protocol that is susceptible to fake-outs by players who don’t want to sit. College conferences have their own protocols — there’s no NCAA-wide rule about handling concussions, but the organization has a “best practices” guide. The National Federation of State High School Associations has “suggested guidelines,” but it doesn’t make policy. Different teams may have different rules at any level of the game.

2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings
With the draft now in the rear view mirror, Pro Football Focus' Jeff Ratcliffe ranks the top 136 2017 rookies for fantasy, with Corey Davis No. 1. Two Bengals draft picks fall in the top 10.

NFL's QB Elite Must Accept Mortality After 2017 Draft
Everyone is the NFL is replaceable.


Even the league's ballyhooed franchise quarterbacks must understand a football player's shelf life is finite. The clock is ticking, and organizations are always searching for replacements.

After all, business comes first in professional athletics.

Malcolm Butler Returns to Patriots Workouts Amid Trade Rumors Before Draft
New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler returned to the team's offseason activities this week after skipping workouts prior to the 2017 NFL draft amid trade rumors.

On Wednesday, Field Yates of ESPN confirmed Butler was back on the practice field. Kevin Duffy of MassLive noted he originally reported to the facility Monday.