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Bengals Bytes (6/1): The Perfect Stage

The Bengals have some prime time games again this year, but will they be able to use them to announce to the country they’re back? There is a report that Le’Veon Bell could sit out mandatory minicamp if he doesn’t get a long term contract. The NFLPA is already urging players to start saving up for a possible lockout in 2021.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Burfict, backers in transition
Suddenly, soon to be 27, heading into his sixth NFL season, and with his knee feeling the best it has felt in the two years since surgery, Vontaze Burfict is helping the kids instead of being one of the kids. And with his good friend Rey Maualuga no longer next to him in the Bengals linebacker corps he feels the urgency in a role that now includes shepherding a group that has more new faces than Netflix.

How much will Bengals rookies John Ross, Joe Mixon see the field?
The Cincinnati Bengals don't play rookies. That's one of the bigger myths that has followed the team in the Marvin Lewis era. The team has a reputation for essentially "redshirting" its rookies, giving them more time to develop in favor of letting veterans who know the system play.

Bengals' Carl Lawson 'looks really good,' but where will he play?
It's often hard to convince a coach to muster praise for his younger players in May. The pads haven't come on, the game plan hasn't been installed and much of practice revolves around teaching players how to handle certain situations.

Player Profile: Cincinnati Bengals' John Ross
The Bengals spent their first round pick on Wide Receiver John Ross. While there was a lot of fanfare surrounding this pick, how much do you really know about his football career thus far?

Bengals Star A.J. Green Excited for 2017's Offensive Potential
Bengals’ star receiver A.J. Green has been lighting up defenses for seven strong years, and now his desire to win a championship is stronger than ever.

Bengals' primetime battles can prove they're back
Some of the most exciting games each year are played under the lights on National TV. Even after a lackluster season, the Bengals have two chances in primetime to show the country they are back.

AFC North Bytes

Browns Jackson: Crowell can take it to another level
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson said that RB Isaiah Crowell can “take it to another level" and pointed out he is committed to running the ball in 2017.

Tony Jefferson, Eric Weddle duo impressing Harbaugh
The Baltimore Ravens used last offseason to add free-agent safety Eric Weddle, who went on to finish the year as the top-ranked player at his position, per Pro Football Focus. This time around, the team tapped the open market for another proven veteran in Tony Jefferson, who nabbed Pro Football Focus' fifth-overall ranking to arguably round out the top safety combination in the AFC.

Le'Veon Bell, Melvin Ingram Reportedly to Skip Minicamp Amid Contract Talks
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell could sit out of their respective teams' organized team activities and mandatory minicamp while waiting for new long-term contracts.

Random Bytes

Death of the Blind Side: Why Left Tackles Matter Less | The MMQB with Peter King
The book and the film it inspired brought fame and fortune to left tackles across the NFL. But the game has evolved, with right tackle becoming just as important—if not more so—on the front five.

NFLPA is warning players to start saving money now for a 2021 lockout -
If players were better prepared for the lockout in 2011, the NFLPA thinks it could’ve done better in CBA negotiations. In 2011, the NFL lockout lasted over four months, but didn’t cut into the regular season or force the cancellation of any preseason games except the Hall of Fame Game. It may have lasted longer if players had better prepared for their time out of work, according to NFLPA executive George Atallah.

With Twitter, the NFL’s Second Screen Strategy Evolves
Now, for the second time this offseason, the second screen takes center stage as the NFL continues to evolve its digital strategy, thanks to a recently announced deal with Twitter.