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Bengals Bytes (6/21): Filling up

This year’s Taste of the NFL, hosted by Tyler Eifert, raised over $100,000 worth of meals for families in the Cincinnati area. Ray Lewis is back on TV again. Warren Sapp says he will donate his brain after he passes away.

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

2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: AFC North schedule breakdown
You can do plenty of research when it comes to every NFL skill-position player, but none of it would matter if you knew they'd have a tough schedule, or even an easy one. All four bruisers in this division have good schedules, but there's a reason why the Bengals -- not the Steelers, Ravens or Browns -- have it the best.

Erickson Returns
In the Bengals’ first 49 seasons, they have only had three players lead the AFC in kickoff return average: Tremain Mack in 1999, Adam Jones in 2014, and Alex Erickson last year. Erickson’s 27.9 average ranked second in the NFL behind Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson (31.7) and was the second-best single season mark in team history behind Jones’ 31.3.

How far Bengals go depends on how bad they want it
It’s never too early for thinking about the Super Bowl and there’s always room for ice cream. Those two thoughts would make my English teachers pull their hair out. But, the point is simple. Most Bengals fans have recurring fantasies about the Big Dance. Conversely, ice cream is a delicious sweet treat. How are they connected? Unless you’re lactose intolerant and hate football, the average Bengals backer wants both.

Can return of injured stars outweigh Bengals free agent losses?
Cincinnati Bengals fans looking for a reason to be optimistic about the 2017 season won’t find it at Pro Football Focus this week. PFF’s projected AFC standings have coach Marvin Lewis’ team improving, but almost literally as little as possible without staying at the same level as last season.

AFC North Bytes

Justin Gilbert Reportedly Suspended 1 Year for Violating Substance Abuse Policy
Former Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert has reportedly received a one-year suspension from the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. ESPN's Adam Schefter later confirmed the news. Gilbert is currently a free agent after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers in February.

Ray Lewis is back on TV, joining Fox Sports 1 as NFL analyst
Ray Lewis is back on TV. Fox Sports 1 announced today that it has hired the former Ravens linebacker and all-but-certain future Hall of Famer as an NFL analyst. He was let go in May by ESPN after three years with the network.

Corey Coleman Allegedly Participated in New Year's Eve Attack, Court Records Say
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman was identified in court documents linked to an alleged assault on New Year's Eve in Cleveland. According to's Adam Ferrise, an indictment listed Coleman as one of three men who participated in the assault. However, Coleman has yet to be charged with a crime.

Random Bytes

Watch Sam Darnold throw to a wakeboarding receiver mid-air from a boat
As the USC hype train barrels toward the start of college football season, its conductor might as well be Sam Darnold. The rising sophomore QB didn’t start Game 1 last year, but led the Trojans to a 9-1 record as a starter including an electric Rose Bowl for the ages.

7 Realistic Trades to Fill NFL Contenders' Biggest Holes
The right move made at the right time can insert that last piece into a championship-contending puzzle. And as we drift into the summer with free agency and the draft long in the rear-view mirror, the trade market is often the best remaining avenue to plug roster holes. Teams know what they have and what they need with offseason training programs concluded after minicamps wrapped up. Prior to training camp, general managers will poke around to see what deals are possible and how they can vault their team more comfortably into the NFL's top tier.

Warren Sapp to Donate Brain to CTE, Concussion Research
Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp wrote Tuesday on the Players' Tribune he plans to donate his brain to science in order to aid research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).