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Bengals Bytes (6/20): Ride of a lifetime

A.J. Hawk took a ride on an F16. Realistic expectations for the Steelers’ rookies. A sad update on Isaiah Pead’s life after last year’s car crash.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Father's Day: Social Recap
Sunday was Father’s Day and the players took to social media to celebrate. Some took the opportunity to tip their hat to their dad and others shared photos capturing the joy of being a father themselves. No matter how you spent it, we hope you had a Happy Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day!

Key players for Bengals' return to postseason
There’s no need to panic, you haven’t missed the Bengals’ home opener. The start of football mania is still a few months away. But, there are still a few question marks surrounding Cincinnati and certain players. No, there are no surprise injuries that suddenly popped up. In order for the Bengals to make some noise during the regular season and into the postseason, there has to be a fierce desire to go beyond the norm. Essentially, decent players have to get an attitude and standout players have to be superb.

2017 Outlook: Bengals DST
While the Cincinnati offense has lost several key contributors, the defense remains rich in veteran talent. Armed with a strong pass rush and deep secondary, the Bengals have the talent to make things tough on offenses. They allowed just over 350 total yards per game but held opponents to 19.7 points per contest, eighth-best in the league and third best among non-playoff teams. They also finished strong for Fantasy purposes in 2016, locking up 10-plus points in five of their last six games. There's a chance the Bengals DST comes out strong, particularly since the only threatening offense in their division is in Pittsburgh and their schedule is not littered with dominant offenses. They're worth a final-round choice, especially in leagues with 14-plus teams.

Former Cincinnati Bengals LB A.J. Hawk takes ride in F16
Spending nine years with one ‘G’ on his helmet in no way prepared A.J. Hawk for the rush of nine G’s weighing on him while zipping across the Dayton sky at nearly 700 miles an hour as part of a VIP ride with the Thunderbirds Demonstration Squadron. “It’s obviously different than anything I’ve ever experienced,” said Hawk, a Centerville native who played 11 NFL seasons with the Green Bay, Cincinnati and Atlanta after starring at Ohio State.

'Top 100 Players of 2017': No. 17 A.J. Green
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is voted the 17th-best player in the NFL by his peers on "Top 100 Players of 2017."

AFC North Bytes

B.S. Meter on Latest NFL Offseason Buzz
At this point on the NFL calendar, with OTAs in the books but training camp not yet underway, there's no shortage of speculation going on around the league. For every report that contains a kernel of truth, many more are, in the immortal words of William Shakespeare, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Realistic Expectations for Every Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected eight players in the 2017 NFL draft, but that does not mean that all eight rookies will have a place on the team's final, 53-man roster. Some will see playing time this season, while others will serve as reserves or as members of the practice squad. Others, still, may be released outright, especially those drafted in later rounds who are not expensive—in terms of either cash or draft capital—to choose to move on from in a short span of time.

Random Bytes

The running back who can no longer run: Isaiah Pead's new life is better than no life
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Isaiah Pead had the word "Faith" tattooed on his left hand while preparing for an NFL career. Five years later, it provides even more inspiration now that his playing days are over. Pead is a running back who can no longer run. His left leg was severed and right leg was badly damaged in a November car accident that left him just moments away from death. Eight subsequent surgeries have followed.

Goodell: Kansas City gets national TV because of its fans
You can probably guess two of the teams that will appear the most frequently on national NFL broadcasts (NFL Network’s Thursday night game, NBC’s Sunday night game, ESPN’s Monday night game): Dallas and New England. But get this: the Cowboys and the Patriots will each appear on national TV five times. Kansas City, of all teams, edges them out with six appearances.

Jerome Bettis Feels 'Taken Advantage Of' by NFL's Lack of Honesty on Concussions
Former NFL running back Jerome Bettis said he felt "taken advantage of" because the league didn't provide players with enough information about concussions during his playing days.