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Bengals Bytes (6/8): Opening eyes

Carl Lawson has been opening eyes so far during OTAs. Hue Jackson becomes the first coach to sign with Jay Z’s Roc Nation. The NFL could be changing their rule on players coming from colleges with quarters.

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NCAA Football: Idaho at Auburn Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals sign rookie J.J. Dielman
With a little over a week remaining of the offseason before the National Football League and its players have to take a collectively bargained month off, the Cincinnati Bengals took another step in locking up its 11-man 2017 draft class by signing fifth-round pick J.J. Dielman on Wednesday.

Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation's Celebrity Waiter Night Raises More Than $225,000
The Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation played host to nearly 300 guests at its sixth annual Celebrity Waiter Night at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hall of Mirrors on Monday, June 5. The Foundation raised more than $225,000 through ticket sales, silent and live auctions, and general donations. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Foundation’s community outreach programs, including the Pass It On Fund, which aims to provide medical equipment and financial relief to families with seriously ill or physically challenged children.

Lawson: young man in a rush
Let’s be as clear as the four homers Scooter Gennett blasted out of Great American Ball Park the other night. The Bengals rookies have yet to play hard ball. At the end of business Wednesday they had practiced nine times without pads. When you’re an NFL lineman in either trench, that’s a little like getting ready to face Chris Sale’s trap-door slider in beer league softball. “Underwear football,” is the derisive name Bengals iconic nose tackle Tim Krumrie gave the spring workouts long ago.

Cincinnati Bengals players eager to compete in OTA fun day
Last year it was sand volleyball. The year before bowling. So what does Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis have in store for the team-bonding event he plans every year for the final day of OTAs? It’s actually a little bit of everything.

A.J. Green tops Bengals' 10 most important players
Of the five first-place votes handed out here, four belonged to A.J. Green (Baskin, Burke, Marston, Single). The fifth: Cedric Ogbuehi (Klemko), who along with Jake Fisher is penciled in as a starting tackle this season. Fisher landed at No. 2 on the Klemko and Baskin ballots.

AFC North Bytes

Steelers might have to lean heavily on rookies again in secondary
The good news for the Steelers secondary is they broke in two new starters last season when Artie Burns and Sean Davis managed to work their way into starting positions on a team that made it to the AFC championship.

Hue Jackson Becomes 1st Coach to Sign with Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports Agency
Roc Nation Sports announced Wednesday that it agreed to a deal to represent Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, according to's Darren Rovell. Per Rovell, Jackson marks the first coach Jay Z's firm has signed on with.

Dennis Pitta Released by Ravens After Suffering Hip Injury During OTAs
The Baltimore Ravens have released tight end Dennis Pitta with an injury waiver after he suffered another hip injury during organized team activities last week. Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official website broke the news of Pitta's release. On June 2, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome announced Pitta suffered a hip injury during OTAs and was undergoing tests to determine the extent of the damage.

Random Bytes

Outdated “quarters” rule could change
Of all the dumb things the NFL does when it comes to tiptoeing around the free farm system that is college football, the absolute dumbest relates to the rule that prevents rookies who have been drafted and, in many cases, signed to contract from reporting for duty because educational institutions from which they’ve already withdrawn have yet to play Pomp and Circumstance.

Buffalo Bills hire Phoebe Schecter and 3 other minority coaching interns
Orchard Park, N.Y. -- A year ago, the Buffalo Bills had the NFL's first full-time female assistant coach when Rex Ryan promoted Kathryn Smith. Smith wasn't retained, but the Bills will have another woman in the coaching ranks during training camp.

Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Could Peyton Manning Make a Run for President?
Politics is in the air. Could Peyton Manning soon be on the ballot? Would the Chiefs front office win any popularity contests after their latest move? And we should all hope Jim Kelly keeps winning his battle with cancer.

Which Undrafted Free Agents Are Turning Heads in OTAs?
Every week. Every day. Every practice. Every snap. This is an undrafted rookie's credo, because each must prove himself every step of the way. Once a player doesn't hear his name called during NFL draft weekend, he's operating at a disadvantage. Thus, his on-field play must determine whether he'll have an NFL career.

NFLPA Says Language in 160 Rookie Contracts Violates CBA
The National Football League Players Association is considering a plan to file grievances for around 160 rookie contracts involving at least 25 NFL teams because it believes the language in those deals violates the league's current collective bargaining agreement. On Wednesday, Dan Graziano of passed along comments from NFLPA spokesman George Atallah about the union's concerns.