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Bengals Bytes (5/25): Players pay a visit to a teen in the hospital

Several Bengals players made a trip to brighten up a girl’s day in the hospital.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Billy Price Press Conference Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Some Bengals coaches reportedly whispered offensive line was ‘soft’ over last two seasons
The Cincinnati Bengals collapsed over the past two seasons in large part because of struggles in the offensive trenches. Some might say those lines were soft.

Darius Phillips already making big plays for Bengals in OTAs
Going into Cincinnati Bengals OTAs, fans knew to watch for rookie cornerback Darius Phillips on returns thanks to his skill there. Given the wealth of talent on the depth chart at his position though, it seemed like we might have to wait a while before he started making big plays on defense.

Bengals NFL Beat Podcast: First OTA observations
Enquirer Bengals beat writers Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr. take a look at the developments that surfaced on the first day of on-field practice for the 2018 Cincinnati Bengals this week. With the opening of OTAs, they discuss Carlos Dunlap's noticeable absence, John Ross' noticeable presence, a rookie opening eyes and dive into what the restructured offensive line looked like.

Cedric Ogbuehi earns clean slate with Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have taken the field at OTA workouts this week and new offensive line coach Frank Pollack has elected to give everyone on the line a clean slate this year. Everyone will have to opportunity to start over and compete for starting roles this offseason, including tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. Cincinnati denied picking up Ogbuehi’s fifth-year option which means if he doesn’t impress this season, he will likely become a free agent next offseason.

Why Vegas ties Bengals for longest shot to win Super Bowl
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas don’t give the Bengals much of a chance to win the Super Bowl in 2018. Well, specifically, they give them about a 100-1 shot. According to Bovada, the 100-1 shot is tied with five other teams for longest odds in the NFL. Cincinnati is joined by the New York Jets, Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland and Miami.

Bengals’ latest ‘NASCAR’ package should give NFL fits in 2018
The Cincinnati Bengals have assembled one of the NFL’s nastiest pass-rushing units and have placed new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin in charge of running it. Led by Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, opposing offenses are going to have some problems in normal situations, as usual. But in passing scenarios, Austin’s “NASCAR” package looks like it could be one of the NFL’s best.

Bengals receiver John Ross opens up about his struggles last season
Last winter, I spent some time with Bengals wide receiver John Ross III in his massive-yet-barren suburban mansion for a Cincinnati Magazine feature story. Selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Ross was in the midst of a tough rookie season. He struggled to see the field, first due to injuries, then due to in-game mistakes. Fans in Cincinnati oscillated between calling him a bust and questioning why the team wasn’t giving him more snaps. He was trying to stay positive at the time, hopeful that things would turn around for him, but it wasn’t hard to see how heavily it was weighing on him.

'18 OTAs: Part 1 Gallery
The Bengals continue their offseason work at OTAs.

Former CU Buffs, current Bengals lineman Josh Tupou gets probation, community service for violation - Boulder Daily Camera
Current Cincinnati Bengals lineman and former University of Colorado player Josh Tupou was given another year of probation and additional community service after admitting he violated the terms of his previous probation by drinking at a bar earlier this year.

Bengals players surprise Middletown teen in hospital
Cincinnati Bengals rookie center Billy Price was among those who visited Middletown resident Elley Ferrell at Cincinnati Children's.

AFC North Bytes

Tim Benz: Steelers pass rush wants 'revenge tour'
Can an NFL defense improve on a record-setting pass rush? Yes. In the case of the 2018 Steelers, it must. The Steelers set a franchise record with an NFL-leading 56 sacks last season. As discussed in this space before the start of this week's organized team activities , that was a misleading and highly inflated statistic.

Browns GM John Dorsey shaking up the personnel department
Browns GM John Dorsey is shaking up the personnel department after his first draft with the club. Two 13-year Browns personnel executives who survived numerous regime changes are gone in Director of Player Personnel Chisom Opara and Director of College scouting Bobby Vega, a league source confirmed for cleveland.com. Neil Stratton of Inside the League first reported the news. He added that former Saints national scout Steve Malin will replace Vega as Director of College scouting.

Random Bytes

Pete Carroll Expects Earl Thomas to Return to Seahawks for Minicamp
After an offseason of trade rumors, Earl Thomas could be back on the field for the Seattle Seahawks during minicamp next month. Per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Thursday he's had conversations with Thomas and expects the All-Pro safety to join the team when mandatory minicamp begins on June 12.

Marcedes Lewis, Packers Agree to Contract; TE Spent 12 Seasons with Jaguars
The Green Bay Packers and free-agent tight end Marcedes Lewis agreed to terms on a contract Thursday. Lewis tweeted out a photo of the moment he put pen to paper on his deal with the club

Report: NFL Hired Firm to Poll Americans on Colin Kaepernick Remaining Unsigned
The NFL reportedly used a consulting firm to poll Americans' opinions on quarterback Colin Kaepernick's free agency during the 2017 season. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported the league had a firm co-founded by then-NFL communications chief Joe Lockhart, The Glover Park Group, conduct the poll.