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Bengals Bytes (6/6): Ryan Hewitt looking for role

Ryan Hewitt is in a weird situation after not having much of an impact the past two seasons and learning a new offense this offseason.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick embracing new leader role
During a one-on-one drill Tuesday at Cincinnati Bengals OTAs, rookie cornerback Darius Phillips was struggling with his back pedal and leverage and gave up an easy completion. Shortly after dejectedly making his way to the sideline to await his next turn, starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was waiting for him.

32 Cincinnati Bengals heading into contract years in 2018
While Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap has not spoken publicly about why he has skipped all voluntary OTA sessions this spring, it’s reasonable to deduce that his contract situation is at the heart of it. Dunlap, who always has participated in OTAs since the Bengals took him in the second round in 2010, is heading into the final year a contract that will pay him $7 million this season. And at 29, this may be his last chance at a pay day similar or great to the five-year, $39.4 million extension he signed prior to 2013.

Andy Dalton ranked 26th best quarterback by Sporting News
Andy Dalton's experience in seven seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals' starting quarterback doesn't get him much respect in recent rankings of NFL quarterbacks. The Denver Broncos' Case Keenum, Washington's Alex Smith, the Chicago Bears' Mitchell Trubisky and the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes are among the 25 NFL quarterbacks ranked higher than Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in's ranking of all 32 starting signal callers.

Cincinnati Bengals players talk President Trump/Eagles flack
Many Cincinnati Bengals were reluctant to comment on President Donald Trump canceling the White House celebration for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, but one was willing to weigh in even when he wasn’t asked.

Wounded veterans get special visit with Cincinnati Bengals
There were some special fans on the sidelines of the Cincinnati Bengals practice field Tuesday. Veterans with the Wounded Warrior Project were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the team and welcomed with a round of thank-yous from the players.

Cincinnati Bengals might not make playoffs, but they should improve
It says here the Bengals don't have a 7-9 roster (13-18-1 since 2016) but have been poorly coached. And though they still can't quit Marvin Lewis, who's back with a new contract for Year 16, evidence that the Bengals are otherwise trying a different tack exists, beginning with the reinvestment in Andy Dalton's protection.

Hewitt looks for role after 'weird' years; Bates, Malone get to work
Ryan Hewitt stated the obvious, his long, blond hair bobbing with the acknowledgement of what many inside and outside the organization have thought about his situation over the last two years.

AFC North Bytes

Mark Madden: Steelers defense the problem
The Steelers would do well to minimize turmoil in 2018. Then again, they navigated through choppy waters so often in 2016 and '17 that doing otherwise might disrupt their routine. The media doesn't need to invent problems when it comes to Steelers silliness. They will crop up regularly. It's organic now. It's in the Steelers' DNA.

Browns want players to earn their helmet stripes
In a move reminiscent of college football’s helmet stickers, the Cleveland Browns are enacting a protocol for “earning” the stripes on their helmets. According to the team’s website, head coach Hue Jackson intends on withholding the stripes atop players orange helmets until they’ve made the 53-man roster.

Random Bytes

Which Surprise Starter Could Emerge for Each NFL Team in 2018?
Pleasant surprises populate every NFL team. Even though rosters are often set long before the regular season, a few revelations will still occur between now and then. A rise from obscurity can occur for multiple reasons. Injuries, suspensions or disappointments happen. That creates opportunities for others to seize.

Chris McCain Charged with Battery After Spitting on Woman, Grabbing Her Neck
Indianapolis Colts defensive end Chris McCain has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery, according to TMZ Sports. The NFL player has been accused of forcefully grabbing a woman's neck and spitting on her during a January incident in Los Angeles. He could face up to six months in jail if convicted.

Report: Nick Foles Only Confirmed Eagles Player Planning to Attend White House
It appears the contingent of Philadelphia Eagles players who planned to visit the White House was even smaller than expected. According to Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles might have been the only player in attendance for Tuesday's slated celebration. One more player may have joined him.

Carson Wentz Reportedly Expected to Be Ready for Week 1 After Knee Injury
When the Philadelphia Eagles open the 2018 NFL season against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6, they may be doing so with their star QB under center. ESPN's Chris Mortensen, via colleague Adam Schefter, said on Tuesday that he is "starting to believe that Carson Wentz is going to be ready for the opener" based on what he is hearing.