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Bengals Bytes (1/15): A.J. Green gunning for Most Valuable Performer

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The NFLPA is having players from teams already eliminated from the playoffs compete in a talent show made up of players with special talents, and A.J. Green hopes to win the contest.

NFL: Ravens v Bengals Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images

George Iloka trolls Steelers after Jaguars steal playoff win in Pittsburgh
Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka doesn’t mind an off-field jab at the Pittsburgh Steelers every now and then. Sunday, Iloka did just that after the Steelers went down hard at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Cincinnati Bengals' end of season awards
Bengals beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski compiled end of season awards, some serious and others not so much, during one of the wildest seasons in Bengals history. Each award includes an honorable mention, informative nugget and look back to last year's winner.

A.J. Green: Most Valuable Performer?
A.J. Green's juggling talent could earn him Most Valuable Performer honors on Jan. 25. CBS and Sports Illustrated teamed with the NFL Players Association to discover NFL players "who can sing, juggle, perform magic, or any other unique skill."

Van Pelt's experience a two-way go
Alex Van Pelt, the Bengals’ new quarterbacks coach, has been around long enough that he backed up Hall-of-Famer Jim Kelly in Buffalo and current enough that he was plugged into future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers’ late-minute magic against the Bengals this past season. In between he once asked the well-traveled Ryan Fitzpatrick early in his itinerary during a long-ago meeting for the Bills if he would just write down one note. Yes, Van Pelt knew how smart he was and how he never made a mental error, but couldn’t he just take a note this one time?

TDBH:Bengals begin selection of 40 players in expansion draft
Bengals founder Paul Brown, who almost didn’t sign his franchise agreement when he got a good look at the mechanics of the AFL expansion draft to stock his new team, emerges from the first round today to meet the press with a smile. “I don’t see how we can lose with what we got, fellows,” he says before laughing. With each team protecting 29 of their 40 players for the first round and then allowed to protect two more players, the observation is made that the Bengals are getting the 33rd and 34th players on the roster with second- and third-round picks. The draft is broken up over two days with the Bengals picking players from the East teams today and the West tomorrow.

AFC North Bytes

Has Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl Window Come to a Close?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost their identity, and it's time for them to rediscover who they are. As the NFL continues to evolve, the legendary organization has as well. But that evolution has taken the Steelers further and further away from being a consistent franchise.

David DeCastro on team’s pregame obsession with Patriots: It’s embarrassing and stupid
The Steelers overlooked and dismissed the Jaguars all week, which is strange considering Jacksonville beat them 30-9 three months ago. When the Jaguars ran off the field Sunday after their 45-42 victory, they did it yelling for Mike Mitchell. The safety told Sports Illustrated the Steelers would play the Patriots again, and running back Le'Veon Bell expressed similar sentiments in a tweet.

Former Browns players are scarcer than coaches in the NFL's final four
Mathematically, no team is further removed from the NFL postseason than the Browns. Their 0-16 record was a historical milestone, of course, and extended their post-season drought to 15 years, now the NFL’s longest. But the Browns – er, former Browns – are represented in next week’s conference championship matchups of Jacksonville v. New England and Minnesota v. Philadelphia.

Random Bytes

Drew Brees, newly free agent, vows return to New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees knows all too well from experience that this one will "sting for a bit." But he believes the New Orleans Saints are entering "a window of time here where we can really make a run at it." He reiterated Sunday that he expects to be a part of it.

Skol Mary: Case Keenum Keeps Surprises Coming, Delivers a Miracle in Minnesota
It was the Miracle in Minnesota. Or maybe the Frozen Wonder? Case and the Ace? The Big Digg? Or as some were suggesting on Twitter: The Stone Skol Stunner? One day, we'll settle on a nickname for this stunning moment. For now, let's just enjoy it.

Sorting the Playoff Pile: Here's how the Jags can beat Pats in AFC Championship
Let's play a game. I'll name four things and you tell me which one doesn't belong. Tom Brady, Nick Foles, Blake Bortles and Case Keenum. Wait, sorry, I did that wrong. There are three things that don't belong, because Brady is the only guy who should be in this group of four, the G.O.A.T. amid a list of guys you wouldn't want to trust in a Super Bowl or a playoff game. Brady has the same number of Super Bowl rings (five) as the other three guys on this list have playoff starts ... combined.