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Bengals Bytes (1/12): Giovani Bernard showed his value

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The Bengals official site handed out some end of the season awards. The Bengals also hire a new offensive line coach.

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft: Offensive linemen Bengals should watch
It’s that time of the year again when the Bengals are watching the playoffs from home and the front office is preparing for another long offseason. The roster is filled with talent outside of the offensive line. However, the 2018 NFL Draft presents some great options to fill their needs.

The Cincinnati Bengals will not play in London in 2018
The Enquirer reported on Tuesday that it would be highly unlikely for the Cincinnati Bengals to head to London as part of the National Football League’s International Series in 2018, and on Thursday the league made that official when it announced three games that did not include the Bengals. Multiple league sources told The Enquirer that the league’s focus for 2018 would be scheduling teams that had not previously been in London, which essentially eliminated the Bengals from the conversation due to their trip in 2016.

Cincinnati Bengals introduce defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
New Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin made two things clear during his introductory press conference Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium. The first was that there will be some changes to the defense, but not a complete overhaul. And the second was that he chose to come to Cincinnati to win games, not a head coaching job.

Bengals hire former Cowboys offensive line coach
The Bengals extensive search for a new offensive line coach took an unexpected twist this week and consequently, the team called a late audible to fill the spot. Cincinnati hired former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack to replace Paul Alexander, who had been with the team for 23 years.

TDBH: Surgeon optimistic Palmer can start season
Quarterback Carson Palmer, his record-breaking franchise season cut short on the second snap of Sunday’s Wild Card loss to the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium with an ACL injury devastating on so many fronts, leaves a Houston hospital today to return to California to begin rehab. His surgeon, Dr. Lonnie Paulos, thinks Palmer can be ready for the start of the regular season even though he calls the ACL tear “atypical. “The kneecap slipped off to the side and caused some damage," Paulos says.

Pollack's O-line roots are a rush
Bengals right tackle Eric Winston, who spent five seasons with Frank Pollack as his assistant offensive line coach in Houston, gave the new Bengals line coach a thumbs-up Thursday. “He’s a very capable guy. A smart guy. He’s a steady hand. He brings a great blend as a player and a coach,” Winston said. “He knows what it’s supposed to look like. I think he’s got all the pre-requisites to be successful in Cincinnati and he can bring kind of a new perspective with fresh eyes.”

Pollack named OL coach
After their worst rushing season in history, the Bengals tapped Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack and his resume of three straight seasons in the NFL’s top ten in rushing. Pollack, who played guard for the Super Bowl champion 49ers during an eight-year career in the ‘90s, becomes the Bengals’ third line coach since 1980 and replaces Paul Alexander after 24 seasons.

Austin News Conference Transcript 1/11
“I’m very excited today to introduce you in person to Teryl Austin. We’re very fortunate to be able to add him to our coaching staff moving forward, and have him come and coordinate the defense. I’ve known Teryl for a long time and followed his career from place to place. He’s done a very good job everywhere he’s been. He has a lot of energy, knowledge, and passion for the game. We’re very pleased to have him here.”

Take a bow, Gio
The Cincinnati chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America, esteemed scribes all, handed out their awards after the season and dished MVP to defensive tackle Geno Atkins and the Good Guy Award to left end Carlos Dunlap. Bengals.com applauds the honors and would like to roll out a red carpet all its own in honor of the 50th season just past.

Bengals' Teryl Austin promises defense that will 'play without fear'
Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis seemed to have an eye on the future before the 2017 season was even over. He said he told Teryl Austin to "stay in touch" prior to the Bengals' game against the Detroit Lions on Christmas Eve. Even though Lewis and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther had expiring contracts, Lewis seemed to be keeping an eye on Austin just in case. Now, Austin will take over Guenther's duties as the Bengals' defensive coordinator.

AFC North Bytes

Le'Veon Bell Says He Might Retire, Sit Out Season If Steelers Use Franchise Tag
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is apparently prepared to play hardball with his current team as he seeks a new long-term contract this offseason. According to ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler, Bell said Thursday he "would definitely consider" sitting out the 2018 season or retiring if the Steelers use the franchise tag on him for a second straight season.

Browns 0-16 parade raised money for local food bank
On Saturday, fans of the Cleveland Browns showed up in freezing temperatures to celebrate their team’s perfect 0-16 season. Well, it was more like “celebrate.” At the very least, the season was over and they wouldn’t have to watch any more games until September, eight long months away. A parade commemorating a team’s utter inability to win a single game isn’t necessarily a joyful thing, but something great has come out of it.

Three questions Ravens DC Don ‘Wink’ Martindale must answer
The Baltimore Ravens, again, are preaching continuity this offseason. Baltimore has now missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and four of the last five years. The Ravens have been trending in the wrong direction since their Super Bowl 47 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Regardless, Baltimore’s coaching staff will not go through a major shakeup. It is worth noting, the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks both missed the playoffs this season.

Random Bytes

All Eyes on Nick Foles: Does the Eagles QB Have a Playoff Run in Him?
He was ready to quit. Retire. Ditch the game he loved at only 26 years old. Nick Foles' experience with the St. Louis Rams in 2015 was so miserable that he didn't touch a football for eight months. In Philadelphia, he had been on the cusp of greatness, of the absolute peak of his profession. His sparkling 119.2 passer rating just two years earlier had been the third-best all-time—better than anything Tom Brady or Joe Montana or Dan Marino ever accomplished. He had led the Eagles to a division title, a home playoff game and a lead with 4 minutes and 54 seconds left against the Saints.

NFL Investigating Raiders' Possible Rooney Rule Violation After Jon Gruden Hire
The Oakland Raiders found their next head coach in Jon Gruden, but the NFL is reportedly investigating how they reached their decision. On Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the league is "now looking into" the process Oakland used to hire Gruden and whether it violated the Rooney Rule. This comes after Schefter reported the 10-year, $100 million contract Oakland gave Gruden was the longest coaching deal in NFL history.

Richard Sherman Calls NFL's Concussion Protocol 'Absolute Joke'
"It's for public opinion, for them to show the public that they care about the players, they care about player safety," Sherman said in a Players Tribune video posted Thursday. "In a show of good faith and goodwill, they said we're going to have an independent trauma expert, an independent neurologist, approve people, and the same things are happening that were happening before."