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Bengals News (5/21): Markus Bailey lightening the mood

Markus Bailey clearly has a sense of humor as he is headed to the NFL.

Boston College v Purdue Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Al Golden looks to revamp the Bengals linebackers in 2020
Al Golden, the new Bengals linebackers coach, couldn't have said it better as he re-assembles the most scrutinized position in Bengaldom. With four of his nine players rookies coming off senior seasons they were named captains, Golden is using leadership as a building block for a position that has been eroding for nearly five years in a stretch that began with Vontaze Burfict's injuries and suspensions and exacerbated with four different play-callers during the past three seasons.

From draft to free agency, Bengals focus on adding culture changers
Four of their final five picks were made on defense -- three linebackers and a defensive end. A cursory look at their respective bios and post-draft interviews with Bengals coaches revealed each pick had leadership traits that were tangible -- all four served as a team captain for their college program.

Bengals' defensive makeover called the most underrated move of the offseason
They moved on from veterans like Dre Kirkpatrick and B.W. Webb. Instead of sitting on their hands during the first few weeks of free agency, they took an aggressive approach and added multiple players that are entering their prime.

Bengals rookie Markus Bailey shares hilarious quarantine video
“I’m very relieved, because like you said, I was stressing out a lot," Bailey said last month after the bengals drafted him. "To hear my name, to see my name pop up there [on TV] and have the coach call me and say they were going to draft me, that’s obviously a childhood dream I’ve been working toward my entire life. So it was a moment of validation for all the work I’ve put in. I’ve had several FaceTime and Zoom conversations with Coach (Mark) Duffner and (Al) Golden, both linebackers coaches and I think I’m going to fit in great there [Cincinnati]. We’ve already talked about some scheme and everything, so I think I’m going to have a good shot to be successful there.”

Bengals send Chad Johnson cigars as a 'thank you' for his continued support
He's gone on national television shows like ESPN's 'First Take' to defend the organization. Johnson also offered to work with the Bengals wide receivers this offseason, including rookie Tee Higgins. Johnson even appeared on the live stream during the Bengals schedule reveal. His support has been consistent throughout the offseason and the entire organization has taken notice.

Fred Johnson could be coming for the Bengals' starting right tackle spot
Although things look like they may be business as usual when it comes to this ever-important position, if you look beyond the surface, that may not be the case. Although it is possible that the Bengals shot callers may really like Hart as much as they say, the real reason they didn’t sign or draft a replacement could be that they already have one in place.

Around the league

Devonta Freeman draws offer from Seahawks worth up to $4M
Just two years into a five-year deal, Freeman suddenly found himself unemployed, and he's unlikely to attract anything near the deal he once signed to stay in Atlanta. He is attracting interest, though, and according to NFL Network's Michael Silver, the Seattle Seahawks have offered Freeman a one-year deal worth up to $4 million.

Rob Gronkowski four 'protein shakes away' from playing weight
When Rob Gronkowski returned to the NFL following a trade from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to join his buddy Tom Brady, one question that percolated was how quickly the All-World tight end could put back on the weight he'd shed.

Cam Newton throwing, working out in Instagram videos
The former NFL MVP, however, is doing what he can to show teams he's back to full health. Newton dispatched a series of Instagram posts this week showing off his throwing and workouts. The deep throws help display that the shoulder issues that plagued him the past several seasons are diminished. The workouts exhibit his surgically repaired foot is back to health.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tom Brady among locks to play better in 2020
Whether they're about to reverse a slump or thrive in a bigger role, the following seven guys are guaranteed to play better in 2020 than they did in 2019. Some are getting healthy superstar teammates back, some are entering sunnier situations, some should get a boost from new colleagues -- but all should level up by the end of the season. (Note that I stayed away from players who lost huge chunks of time due to injury, because anyone in that situation is pretty much inherently going to play better just by being able to play at all.)