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Bengals Bytes (7/16): Diamond in the rough

The Bengals have high hopes for Josh Malone. Johnny Manziel hopes to get another shot at the NFL after getting sober. Terrell Owens hopes to become part of the BIG3 basketball league.

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NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Tennessee Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

PFT preseason power rankings No. 21: Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals went 52-27-1 from 2011-15 with five consecutive playoff appearances. Not that anybody noticed. An 0-5 postseason record tends to make people disregard you as a contender. After sinking to 6-9-1 last season, the Bengals truly are forgotten heading into this season. Cincinnati, though, doesn’t mind the role of underdog. Although they are young, the Bengals believe they have enough talent to rebound rather than rebuild.

Who are the top five passers in Cincinnati Bengals history?
With the Bengals quarterback situation being a constant talking point, Andy Dalton usually bears the brunt of the negative words. He has been able to lead the Bengals to numerous playoff appearances but hasn’t yet come close to a win. While Bengals fans are growing increasingly tired of Dalton’s lack of playoff results, it’s hard to discount him as one of the better quarterbacks in Bengals history. When looking at the Bengals quarterback legacy as a whole, there are some pretty solid players. So where then does Dalton stack up on the list? Here are the top five best passers in Bengals history.

Cincinnati Bengals have high hopes for former Tennessee WR Josh Malone
During the 2016 season, Tennessee WR Josh Malone was a touchdown machine, scoring 11 times while catching 50 passes for 972 yards — an incredible 19.4 yards per catch average. Despite all those impressive numbers, Malone wasn’t drafted until the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, when the Cincinnati Bengals called his name.

Bengals 50: Ki-Jana Carter, the trade and the injury that set back the Bengals
The 1990s were a lost decade for myriad reasons for the Bengals, but the biggest "what if" happened with Ki-Jana Carter, who the Bengals traded up to the No. 1 spot in 1995 to draft out of Penn State. “We thought he was the special player that would impact our team," said Bengals owner and president Mike Brown.

Bengals RB battle: Joe Mixon will scale Jeremy Hill even Sooner than expected
The best way for the Bengals to cool their controversial drafting of Joe Mixon will be watching him heat up training camp. With different issues plaguing their top two incumbent backs, Mixon has a great chance to carve out an immediate big role. For the past three seasons, Cincinnati has relied on the committee of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, to mixed health and results. Hill, drafted in the second round in 2014, has been the team's leading rusher in that span as the power back replacement for BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

AFC North Bytes

Ben Roethlisberger-Martavis Bryant rapport key for Pittsburgh Steelers
It's about time Ben Roethlisberger and Martavis Bryant head to Dave & Buster's or Starbucks or whichever establishment facilitates a good, long talk. Bryant's comments to ESPN's Dan Graziano about wanting to have a "man-to-man" with his Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback are a bit surprising, largely because the conversation hadn't happened yet. Bryant, suspended for the 2016 season, rejoined the team for offseason workouts in May, and the two spent a month in the same offense together before players broke camp in mid-June.

Johnny Manziel Says He Misses Football 'A Ton,' Hopeful for Another Shot at NFL
Manziel, 24, did not play in the NFL last season after being released by the Cleveland Browns amid myriad off-field issues. He checked into a rehabilitation facility in February 2015, and his father told the Dallas Morning News (h/t's Mary Kay Cabot) "he won't live to see his 24th birthday" in February of last year.In a January text conversation with ESPN's Ed Werder, Manziel said he's sober and did so without the use of professional help.

Eisenberg: Retaining Brandon Williams Will Prove Key in Continuing Defensive Tradition

As free agency approached in March, it was popular to speculate that the Ravens wouldn’t retain nose tackle Brandon Williams. They didn’t have a ton of salary cap room, and Williams, a premier player in his prime, was going to be expensive. After the Ravens signed Williams to a five-year, $54 million deal, it was popular to speculate that the Ravens may have overpaid for him. My take is they did NOT overpay; they did what was necessary to retain the centerpiece of their defensive interior – a fundamental building block of any football team.

Random Bytes

Terrell Owens Asks Ice Cube for BIG3 League Contract
Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens wants to make a direct appeal to BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube to let him join the three-on-three basketball league. On Saturday, TMZ Sports passed along comments from Owens, a frequent standout at the celebrity game during NBA All-Star weekend, about trying to land in BIG3.

The Latest Buzz Around Every NFL Team as Camp Season Nears
Soon you'll be watching actual football on the many screens in your life. It won't be meaningful, the starters will play maybe one series and the entire ordeal will be a rust-filled festival of sloppy play. But it'll be football! The Hall of Fame Game is now just a few weeks away on Aug. 3, and prior to that training camps open throughout the final days of July. That's right, the time has almost come for pads, helmets and maybe also strange drills where yoga balls are heaved at quarterbacks.

Tyler Higbee Pleads Guilty to Assault Charges, TE Will Avoid Jail Time
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee will not face jail time after reaching a plea agreement in his assault case in Kentucky. Higbee pleaded guilty Friday to assault under extreme emotional disturbance after concussing Nawaf Alsaleh in a fight last April, per The Associated Press. He will serve 250 hours of community service and have to pay Alsaleh an undisclosed amount.

Manziel, Kaepernick currently represented by the same firm
If Johnny Manziel gets a job before Colin Kaepernick, Kaepernick (and others) may have an issue with that. The firm that represents Kaepernick won’t, because the same firm represents Manziel. Earlier this year, Kaepernick hired Jeff Nalley of Select Sports Group. Likewise, Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group allowed Manziel to rehire Burkhardt, a year after Burkhardt had fired Manziel.