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Bengals Bytes (3/20): Changes up front

The Bengals are going to have a different center for the first time in four years after Russell Bodine signed with the Bills.

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals Beat Podcast: Burfict, free agency reactions
Enquirer Bengals beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski react to one of the busiest weeks of the team's offseason. Discussing the four-game suspension of Vontazee Burfict, return of Tyler Eifert, signing of Preston Brown, market of AJ McCarron, future of Russell Bodine plus our view of the best and worst moves the club made.

Bills hosting Bengals LB Kevin Minter on free agent visit
First, the two teams swung a trade that involved Buffalo sending Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati in exchange for moving up in the first round of next month’s draft. Then, the team swapped free agents, with the Bills signing quarterback AJ McCarron and the Bengals inking linebacker Preston Brown. Additionally, the Bills signed former Bengals center Russell Bodine on Monday, and also hosted linebacker Kevin Minter on a free agent visit, The Buffalo News confirmed through a league source. Minter's visit was first reported by ESPN's Field Yates.

Bengals still need help at linebacker
The Cincinnati Bengals made another splash during the free agency period by signing former Buffalo Bills inside linebacker Preston Brown on Friday afternoon. The Cincinnati native chose to sign a one year deal with the Bengals over re-signing with his former team. Brown will bring consistency to the Bengals defense as he has not missed a game since being drafted in the 2014 Draft by the Bills.

Russell Bodine turned down long-term offer from Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals wanted to keep center Russell Bodine for years to come and watched as a guy they traded up for decided he’d rather play for the Buffalo Bills. Bodine signed with the Bills on Monday, solidifying center as one of the Bengals’ biggest needs heading into a draft where they hold 11 selections.

Buffalo Bills sign Cincinnati Bengals center Russell Bodine
The Cincinnati Bengals were content to let Russell Bodine play out the 2017 season during his contract year and test the free agent market – and then paid for that losing their 25-year-old starting center to the Buffalo Bills. The Bills announced the move on Monday.

TDBH: Tight end trend-setter Trumpy retires to start another
Even the guest of honor himself, original Bengals tight end Bob Trumpy, admits this morning’s news conference is “not a big secret,” when he announces what everyone knows and retires at age 33 to become a full-time sports broadcaster. What may surprise folks today is if they knew 36 years later that second career leads to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio & Television Award for “longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.” But even as he leaves Riverfront Stadium today after 10 seasons in stripes, Trumpy already has made a lasting contribution to the game as the first modern tight end.

Changes front and center
Not only has the Bengals’ offensive line started its overhaul with new players at the key positions of left tackle and center, it looks like it is undergoing a culture change in practice under new offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Pollack, the Cowboys former offensive line coach, is ordering a bevy of field equipment ranging from medicine balls for balance to “Big Brutus,” a 350-pound swinging weight. Plus, he’s got more sleds than Santa, something called a trap-and-chute, and arches.

AFC North Bytes

Joe Thomas officially bids Cleveland Browns farewell with laughs, tears
With just the right mix of self-deprecating humor and sincere feelings, Joe Thomas said with emotion Monday that the time had come for him to say goodbye to his NFL playing career. "Goodbye not because I'm retiring, but because I'm merely changing jobs," Thomas told fans as he wiped away a tear. "From being your left tackle to being the No. 1 fan of the Cleveland Browns."

Ex-Packers safety Morgan Burnett heading to Steelers
While Jones is an unusual source of unnamed reports, the ex-Packers receiver broke the news that Jordy Nelson was signing in Oakland. This go-around he's reporting on another former teammate. The Steelers have been in search of safety help since parting ways with veteran Mike Mitchell.

Random Bytes

Updated NFL Division-by-Division Rankings After First Week of Free Agency
The NFL offseason is rooted in power. Teams grab for power, try to maintain it and work to position themselves to have power for the first time in a while. The 2018 offseason and free-agency period haven't been unique in that sense. But one of the paths available in that fight for power was dramatically different.

Report: Eric Ebron, Colts Agree to 2-Year Contract After 4 Seasons with Lions
Former Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron will reportedly sign a two-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news Monday, noting the deal could be worth as much as $15 million.

Saquon Barkley's Draft Stock Sent Spiraling by the Quarterback Carousel
Barkley will participate, on a limited basis, in Penn State's pro day workouts Tuesday. Last Wednesday was declared Saquon Barkley Day by the Pennsylvania legislature. Yet this has hardly been Barkley's week. Because of circumstances beyond his control, the running back who gained 1,903 scrimmage yards last season, finished fourth on the Heisman Trophy ballot and blew the roof off Lucas Oil Stadium at the combine is becoming the forgotten man at the top of the NFL draft class.