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Bengals Bytes (4/1): Sticking with Vontaze Burfict for now

The Bengals addressed the trade rumors involving Vontaze Burfict, and they say his spot on the team is safe for now.

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Vontaze Burfict Trade Rumors: Bengals Address Buzz After LB's Suspension
Facing another suspension, Vontaze Burfict has seen his future with the Cincinnati Bengals come into question. However, it appears head coach Marvin Lewis and Co. are sticking by the controversial linebacker—for now.

BX: Bengals eye extensions, but who could be left out?
Wednesday was Geno Atkins’ 30th birthday. While the six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro was celebrating with a dream vacation with his wife in Africa, the team ownership was discussing a different gift they’re prepared to give. It’s been no secret the Bengals have Atkins at the top of their list for extensions between now and the start of the season, the last under his current contract. Still, worth pointing out the rarity in hearing those types of discussions for a player crossing over to the wrong side of 30.

Bengals-Steelers rivalry will put NFL’s new helmet rule to ultimate test
Rest assured the vicious rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers played a role in the NFL’s new helmet targeting rule. Simply put, the NFL passed a resolution stating any lowering of the head to initiate contact will draw a flag. Veteran viewers of the Bengals-Steelers rivalry know where this is going.

Vontaze Burfict's future with Bengals safe -- for now
Vontaze Burfict's on-field proficiency is often overshadowed by his reputation for drawing suspensions and missing games because of injury. This conflicting dynamic begs the question: Should the Cincinnati Bengals consider parting ways with their fierce, run-stuffing terror? For Duke Tobin, the Bengals' director of player personnel, there's no question about the status of his best defensive player even if he doesn't like the linebacker's frequent visits to the league's version of the principal's office.

Hobson's Choice: Ripping it up
But how are they going to legislate it? Is it a penalty, a fine, an ejection? Videos are hard to find about what the league is exactly talking about. The officials are already faced with an infinite number of bang-bang plays that are impossible to call even when you freeze-frame it. And the game simply isn’t meant to be called that way. What’s more bang-bang than a tackle? How many replays is that going to take? Are we now looking at games of three hours and 20 minutes long?

TDBH: At 35 fine wine TNew re-signs as Bengals defense enlists familiar names.
Even though cornerback Terence Newman turns 35 during the upcoming season and is their oldest player now under contract, the Bengals sign him up for two more years today after both sides like what they see last year. Newman is the sixth Bengals’ defensive player eligible for free agency to re-sign for ’13, joining defensive ends Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry, and Michael Johnson, as well as cornerback Adam Jones and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga. And why not? Under coordinator Mike Zimmer the defense has been the centerpiece of back-to-back Wild Card berths with rankings of sixth and seventh in the NFL, respectively, in 2012 and 2011

AFC North Bytes

JuJu Smith-Schuster, TMZ Cameraman Swap Pants So WR Can Enter Restaurant
Smith-Schuster, who has returned to USC during the NFL offseason in an effort to complete his degree after leaving school early for the 2017 draft, was fortunate to find a 6'2" cameraman with pants that fit. The 21-year-old California native finished his rookie season with 58 catches for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games for the Steelers.

Baltimore Ravens: The Fanimal - Drafting the 2018 Ravens
So let’s shake things up a bit, shall we? WHAT IF the current Baltimore Ravens roster – the rookie version of each player – represented the first round of the 2018 NFL draft? Lucky for you, I happen to know a guy who broke it down in the middle of the night, riding on the high that was an Orioles Opening Day walk-off victory!

Random Bytes

Report: Kendall Wright, Vikings Agree to Contract as Minnesota Bolsters WR Corps
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is reportedly getting a new target in the passing game. On Friday, Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the Minnesota Vikings agreed to a deal with wide receiver Kendall Wright. The Baylor product spent the first five seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans and played the 2017 campaign on the Chicago Bears.

Predicting the Most Surprising Picks of the 2018 NFL Draft | Bleacher Report
The 2018 offseason has already brought plenty of excitement for NFL fans. We've had blockbuster trades, big-name signings and enough free-agency suspense to last an entire year. Yet it's only a preamble to the NFL draft. The draft is the biggest event of the offseason, and for good reason. Franchises gamble on their futures, while the lives of NFL prospects are changed forever, and we get to watch it all unfold live. Plus, we almost never know what is coming until draft cards are turned in.

Bill Belichick, Patriots Brass Reportedly Frustrated with Rob Gronkowski
While Rob Gronkowski mulls retirement, the New England Patriots may be getting fed up with the star tight end. ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported on Saturday that Gronkowski is likely to play football if Tom Brady remains with the team. However, that same report includes a tidbit that suggests tension between the five-time Pro Bowler and coach Bill Belichick: "Lingering frustrations remain between Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick, along with others in the Patriots organization, according to sources close to each side."