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Bengals Bytes (9/8): The return

The Bengals birth also marks Paul Brown’s return to football. Vontaze Burfict and the Bengals agree on a contract extension. The Chiefs ruin the Patriots celebration behind a monster performance from their rookie running back.

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Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Camp Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 5 Toughest Corners I’ve Ever Faced | By A.J. Green
I know guys usually have intros for these things with funny stories and stuff. What can I say? I’m not really a big talker. I’m trying to think of a good story that would somehow be related to a top five list. I got nothing, man.

Road map for a first NFL start
Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler are no longer on the Bengals offensive line. But they left something behind for right guard Trey Hopkins in his first NFL start. And, let’s face it. After you get beyond Sunday’s field-goal kickers, Baltimore’s brilliant Justin Tucker and Cincinnati’s redemption-seeking Randy Bullock, the opener (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) comes down to the Ravens’ massive and crafty front seven compared to the Bengals’ revamped offensive line.

Bengals back Tez with extension
In another display of Mike Brown's commitment to his players on Thursday the Bengals announced they extended WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict for three more years with a contract reportedly calling for nearly $39 million that puts him in Cincy through the 2020 season and his 30th birthday. That would make the 1,000-1 longshot their highest paid defender and puts him in the top five among NFL inside linebackers. It’s believed the extension can max out to between $38-39 million and the new deal figures to work out to close to $11 million per year, behind only Carolina’s Luke Kuechly ($12.7 million), Cleveland’s Jamie Collins ($12.1 million), and the RamsMark Barron ($11 million), according to

Top 50 Moments: Paul Brown Returns to Football
The Bengals arrive on Sept. 26, 1967 in a birth announcement at a packed house in the Sheraton Gibson Hotel as the newest member of the American Football League. But the labor pains begin long before on the back porch of Paul Brown's home in exile in La Jolla, Calif., where one of his former Ohio State players, Bill Hackett, a London, Ohio veterinarian, urges him to be NFL commissioner when the job opens up again.

Fantasy Forecast: Week 1
The 2017 fantasy season is finally here, but not without a list of things for owners to consider right out of the gate. First, Hurricane Irma has forced the NFL to postpone the Dolphins-Buccaneers game until Week 11. That means you will want to get all players from those two teams out of your line-ups for this week. And, with both teams now playing 16 straight games without a bye week, player health will be a concern as we move forward. Keep an eye on the injury reports for both teams for possible inactive players.

Cincinnati Bengals extend Vontaze Burfict
The Bengals have signed linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a three-year contract through the 2020 season, the team announced Thursday. A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the deal is worth a total of $38.68 million. The numbers are a significant bump from Burfict's last contract, a four-year deal signed in 2014 worth $19 million with $6.94 million guaranteed.

John Ross returns to Cincinnati Bengals practice
Rookie first-round pick John Ross returned to practice Thursday and was listed as limited on team’s official report. The wide receiver injured his left knee on a 25-yard reverse in last Thursday’s preseason finale at Indianapolis and sat out the first two practices of the week, although he did side rehab work.

Scouting report for the Ravens-Bengals regular-season opener in Cincinnati on Sunday
It’s impossible to know what to expect with the Ravens passing game because so many key components of it, including quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Danny Woodhead and wide receiver Breshad Perriman, weren’t on the field together during the preseason. Flacco has been intercepted 21 times against the Bengals, 10 more than he has against any other team. Expect the Ravens to keep things simple for Flacco, who has some rust to work off. Protecting him is imperative.

Baltimore Ravens' defense gets test in nemesis A.J. Green and Bengals
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has never hidden his respect for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. "I think I was the first coach to go on record saying he was the best in the league, and that was maybe five years ago, six years ago and I stand by that," Harbaugh said in a conference call with Bengals reporters this week. "He’s a great player and he’s proven it."

Bengals notes: RB rotation, WJ3 debut, Ross returns
Nobody can pin down exactly how the Bengals’ rotation of running backs Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill and Joe Mixon will look in its debut Sunday against Baltimore. The coaching staff stayed understandably tight-lipped and players are adopting the do-what-I’m-asked mentality. Jeremy Hill is listed as the starter and expected to start. Signs point to Giovani Bernard continuing to hold down his role on third downs.

AFC North Bytes

Calvin Pryor cut after refusing Hue Jackson's order to walk away from altercation with Ricardo Louis
Ricardo Louis says the Browns are still a brotherhood, and still a family after the reported fight between him and Calvin Pryor that resulted in the safety's release.

Pittsburgh Steelers Preview: 10 Things You Need to Know
It can be a juggernaut through the air in four-receiver sets, where Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers and Darrius Heyward-Bey present a quartet of speed like nothing we’ve ever seen. (Oh, and the fifth eligible receiver in that grouping would be Le’Veon Bell.) Or, this offense can be a juggernaut with six offensive linemen or extra H-backs and tight ends on the field, pounding the rock with Bell. That’s what it did last season, when the patient, elusive Bell rushed for 835 yards in Weeks 11-16.

Random Bytes

Travis Kelce punched Kyle Van Noy in the crotch with the football
NFL players must be careful around Travis Kelce. Or at least cover those sensitive areas. In the middle of a pile, Kelce was clearly fed up with the Patriots’ Kyle Van Noy, and stuck the pigskin right in his crotch. It literally took Van Noy off of his feet.

Vox Media Sells Its First Original Show: SB Nation’s True-Crime Sports Docu-Series for Go90 (EXCLUSIVE) | Variety
Digital-media player Vox Media has sold its first original TV show to Verizon's Go90: SB Nation's "Foul Play," a 10-episode true-crime docu-series about the shadowy underbelly of sports, will debut exclusively later this year on the mobile-centric Go90 video service.

Kareem Hunt, Alex Smith Lead Chiefs to Week 1 Win over Patriots
For the first time since 2014, the New England Patriots are 0-1. They can thank the Kansas City Chiefs for that. Although the Patriots entered Thursday night's season opener at Gillette Stadium energized after they unveiled their Super Bowl 51 banner shortly before kickoff, the Chiefs—led by a surprisingly high-powered offense—shocked the reigning champions with a 42-27 win.