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Bengals Bytes (5/18): Battle for returns

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Who will be returning kicks and punts for the Bengals will be an interesting thing to watch as the Bengals offseason continues.

Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Battle for kick returns at rookie minicamp
The Cincinnati Bengals made it a point in this year’s draft to bring in players that can not only contribute to their respected positions right away but on special teams as well. Second-round pick safety Jessie Bates, fourth-round pick running back Mark Walton, and fifth-round pick cornerback Darius Phillips have experience returning kick and punt returns in college. Cincinnati desperately needs a playmaker in the return game and one or even two of these rookies could be the answer.

Could Adam Jones return to the Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals chose not to pick up the option on cornerback Adam Jones contract this offseason making him an unrestricted free agent. The move felt evident as it saved the team $5.5 million in CAP space and the 34-year-old corner has seen a decline over the past two seasons. Jones only played nine games in 2017 due to a one-game suspension to start the season as a result of his assault charge last offseason and a groin injury later in the season.

Stripe Hype mailbag: Bengals training camp roster
As we have made it through the biggest parts of the offseason including the free agency period and the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals now have a good idea of what their roster will look like come week one of the regular season. Bengals rookie minicamp was held last weekend, and we are close to the team facing off against opponents in OTA’s next week. There are still questions, however, on who will be starting in some roles of the roster.

What should we expect from Logan Woodside
The Cincinnati Bengals have made some shuffles during the offseason at the backup quarterback positions. With A.J. McCarron leaving via free agency for the Buffalo Bills, it left a hole behind veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. Cincinnati signed free agent Matt Barkley from a veteran standpoint and drafted Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside in the seventh-round of the draft.

Bengals' John Ross eyes rebound armed with advice
Established professionals -- two currently playing, one retired -- are talking, and Cincinnati Bengals second-year wide receiver John Ross is listening. Ross, the ninth overall pick of the 2017 draft, had a rookie campaign to forget after appearing in three games and posting no catches. His season ended after a shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve.

Bengals Give Back: Bernard's School in Haiti
Running back Giovani Bernard’s endless dance card of moves has provided the Bengals offense with plenty of electricity since he arrived five years ago. But there’s one place he’s electrified where they really have no idea who he is. Bernard figures the good people in the ancestral corner of his Haitian hometown of Tabarre know him only as “The Electricity Guy,” because two years ago he brought the generators and solar panels that lit up his late mom’s school.

AFC North Bytes

Trio of Steelers rookies participating in the NFLPA Rookie Premiere
Every year the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) holds their Rookie Premiere for a handful of athletes who were recently selected in the NFL Draft. This, per the official NFLPA website, is how the Rookie Premiere got started, and what it does for these first year players.

Browns Selected as Featured Team for 2018 Season of 'Hard Knocks'
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the decision. Browns general manager John Dorsey released a statement after the announcement, expressing his thoughts on the added exposure the show will bring, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network

Random Bytes

Buccaneers OC Todd Monken to Jameis Winston: 'You Don't Have to Try so Hard'
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken believes quarterback Jameis Winston should tone things down a bit as he approaches his fourth season in the NFL. "The thing is what I've seen, irrespective of the physical stuff on the field, let's not try so hard," Monken said Thursday, per the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud. "He's got natural leadership qualities. A toughness about him. Guys want to follow him. It's okay to fail. He's human. It's okay to be hurt. It's okay to have that side of you. Let's just go. You don't have to try so hard. Guys will follow you. Just be yourself."

Reuben Foster's Ex-Girlfriend: Domestic Violence Claim 'A Money Scheme'
Elissa Ennis, the ex-girlfriend of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, took the stand Thursday and admitted she lied to police and fabricated domestic violence claims. "I wanted to sue Reuben. It was a money scheme. It was all about money. I wanted to get him," Ennis testified under oath, per David Lombardi of The Athletic.

Each NFL Team's Best Offseason Acquisition
The 2018 NFL draft is complete, and the bulk of free agency is over, save for a few veterans still on the market. All of the headlining moves of the offseason are done. All 32 teams now believe they've added the talent necessary to be a contender in 2018.

The top moments from 12 seasons of 'Hard Knocks'
It's the Cleveland Browns' turn to be placed in the NFL spotlight as the subject of the league's popular HBO reality series "Hard Knocks." The show will debut Aug. 7 on HBO.