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Bengals Bytes (3/22): What fuels Preston Brown

Preston Brown reveals what motivated him during his his years before entering the NFL.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Preston Brown talks about signing with Cincinnati Bengals
Preston Brown’s path to the NFL – and ultimately to his hometown Cincinnati Bengals after signing a free-agent contract last week – was fueled by numerous pit stops at Burger King. But rather than burgers and fries, the visits centered around traffic cones and beanbags as Brown’s father, Mike, would help his son, a starter at Louisville, make the adjustment from outside linebacker to middle linebacker.

Bengals draft prospect: Shaquem Griffin
If you haven’t heard the story of the University of Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin, then you are probably living under a rock. The young linebacker has taken the nation by storm with his story and path to getting to the NFL. Griffin has been through a diverse amount of physical and mental obstacles on his path to achieve his lifelong dreams and continued to put his doubters behind him.

Marvin Lewis: Burfict suspension won't hold Cincinnati Bengals back
When it was revealed on March 16 that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was facing a four-game suspension by the National Football League for violating its performance-enhancing drug policy, it was old news for the organization. Burfict tested positive before the season ended on Dec. 31, and the club has been waiting for an arbitrator to hear 27-year-old linebacker’s appeal. The Bengals have been operating since then with the knowledge he could miss the start of the 2018 season.

Bengals keeping close eye on safety Derwin James
The Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and defensive line coach Jacob Burney made their way down to Tallahassee for the Florida State Seminoles’ pro day. The biggest name coming out of Florida State is safety Derwin James who was seen being drafted by the Bengals in numerous mock drafts before the trade with the Buffalo Bills pushing them back to pick number 21. It’s likely that James would be gone by then as he is one of the top defenders in the 2018 class.

With Vontaze Burfict uncertain, Bengals should eye drafting linebacker
It might be time for the Cincinnati Bengals to make linebacker one of their top priorities in the upcoming NFL draft. The Bengals are once again in a position where the fate of Vontaze Burfict rests in the hands of the league, much like it has for the past three seasons. Burfict faces a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, and while he will appeal on the basis of being on prescribed medications for a shoulder injury and concussion at the time, the NFL has historically declined to overturn most PED suspensions.

Hobson's Choice: what's next after the take?
When they were looking to replace Johnson ten years later, they went first round again and took Blair Bush with the 16th pick. Five years after that they were ready to replace Bush with Dave Rimington when they took the Nebraska All-American with the 25th pick in the first round. So they’ve done it. Not lately, that’s for sure. The only interior lineman they’ve taken in the first round since Rimington is Kevin Zeitler at No. 27 in 2012. But that was ten picks after they took cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

TDBH: Even Commish watching Chad dance with stars
Even though he is here in the middle of running the NFL’s annual spring meeting and has to host a reception tonight, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to watch Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco make his debut on this season’s first episode of ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” As he exits his first news conference of the week after being buffeted by questions ranging from labor-management negotiations to the Jets-Giants coin flip, Goodell is asked if he'll watch. "I'll watch. I love Chad," Goodell says and when asked if he thinks The Ocho will win he says, "He better be the best."

AFC North Bytes

Browns quarterback hunt climaxes in a week of personal workouts
Like every NFL team, the Browns built a draft board prior to the NFL Combine. It was based on the year-round grunt work of the scouting staff then in place. One of John Dorsey’s first acts upon taking the GM job in December was calling in those scouts to come off the road and hold a “quarterback conference” in team headquarters. Everybody was assigned by Dorsey the task of building his own quarterback board and defending it in an open forum. (The scouts themselves were on trial with Dorsey at the same time, whether or not they realized it.)

Ryan Shazier scouts for Steelers at Pitt pro day
Sure enough, Wednesday morning, he was among the NFL scouts at the Pitt football pro day at the training facility the two teams share on the South Side. Shazier appeared to be dutifully taking notes on the 10 Pitt prospects from his wheelchair, ostensibly charting their numbers in the bench press, broad jump and more. Shazier’s teammate and former Pitt star James Conner is also in attendance supporting his former Panthers teammates.

Random Bytes

Report: Competition Committee 'Not in Favor of Change' to Defensive PI Penalty
There is reportedly unlikely to be a change to the defensive pass interference rule in the NFL for the 2018 season. According to NFL.com's Judy Battista, the NFL Competition Committee is not expected to recommend a new rule to owners at next week's annual league meetings.

Ndamukong Suh Rumors: DT Won't Visit Raiders After Rams Meeting
Ndamukong Suh is still considering his options in free agency, but they don't appear to include the Oakland Raiders, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The defensive tackle canceled his visit after his trip to see the Los Angeles Rams "made a strong impression on him."

Report: Bid on Panthers Franchise Passes $2.5 Billion, Michael Rubin Group Out
The Carolina Panthers are on pace to become the most expensive franchise in U.S. sports history, with bidding for the team climbing above $2.5 billion, Bloomberg News' Scott Soshnick reported Wednesday. According to Soshnick, a group headed by Michael Rubin has dropped out of the bidding process. Rubin is the executive chairman of apparel company Fanatics.