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Bengals News (3/29): Dropping the ocho

Tee Higgins officially has his new number for next season.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Why Irv Smith Jr. Chose Bengals
"I felt like Cincinnati had the best chance to win a Super Bowl," Smith said Tuesday from his hometown. "It's a great organization. Great coaching staff. (Head coach) Zac Taylor was very adamant about me coming to the team knowing what I can do to help the offense. And the proof is in the pudding at the tight end position. Having a relationship with Ja'Marr (Chase), getting to play with Joe Burrow and those guys speaks for itself. I've watched a lot of Bengals games over the years. I wanted to be a part of this opportunity to chase a ring and be a part of something special … I feel like I'm almost the missing piece to get us that Super Bowl."

Reports: Bengals Ink Another Vet For NFL's 'Best Tight Ends Coach'
And for the third straight year Casey is looking to revive the career of a young veteran coming off an injury or a down season. In 2021 C.J. Uzomah came off a torn Achilles for a career year and last year Hayden Hurst doubled his catches after grabbing just 26 in Atlanta the year before. Both moved on with multi-year deals.

Bengals' Tee Higgins switches to No. 5 jersey: A look at the few NFL wideouts still wearing numbers in the 80s
Bengals star Tee Higgins is ditching No. 85 for his old college digit, No. 5, making him the latest big-name player to take advantage of the NFL's loosened rules on jersey numbers. The move to smaller numbers has been especially prominent at Higgins' wide receiver position. The league first deviated from its large-scale jersey rules, instituted in 1973, to allow wideouts to use Nos. 10-19 -- in addition to Nos. 80-89 -- in 2004. This alone catapulted the use of teen jersey numbers at the position. But then the floodgates opened further in 2021, when the NFL also began allowing skill positions to wear anything between Nos. 1-49.

Bengals Film Breakdown: What Irv Smith Jr. Adds to Cincinnati's Offense
He flashed quite a bit of potential in Minnesota, but missed 29 games over his 4-year stint there. He never seemed to put everything together either which led to the Vikings trading for T.J. Hockenson. He’s young, athletic, and appears ready to take the next step in Cincinnati.

Bengals fan tailgating area, Hilltop Concrete, moving to new location
"It's perfect," enthused Bengal Jim Foster. "It's perfect. I mean, we've got a lot of people that want to tailgate that can't do it cause they are stuck inside a parking garage."

Bengals to visit with Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell before NFL draft
The Bengals still haven’t brought back Brandon Allen as of this writing, though there’s no reason for either party to rush the expected reunion. The team will want to keep the pipeline going as far as prospects who know the system and might be able to stick long-term.

Miami Dolphins Beaten Out by Bengals for Irv Smith Jr.
Case in point was their pursuit of unrestricted free agent Irv Smith Jr., which unfortunately for the Dolphins didn't come to fruition because he has decided to join the Cincinnati Bengals.

Around the league

Ex-Ravens DE Calais Campbell intends to sign one-year deal with Falcons
The defensive lineman's first year in Atlanta will be his 16th in the NFL, with 99 career sacks, 16 forced fumbles, 809 tackles and 165 tackles for loss spread across 227 games for the Cardinals, Jaguars and most recently a three-year stint with the Ravens, who released him on March 13.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson defends himself against critics of injuries
"I don't remember me sitting out on my guys week 1 vs jets To week 12 vs Broncos," Jackson tweeted. "How come all of a sudden I sit out because of money in which I could've got hurt at anytime within that time frame When we know the Super Bowl been on my mind since April 2018."

2023 NFL Draft: Ten teams that most need to ace their picks
But there's a deeper point here: Some teams really need to nail the 2023 NFL Draft, or else there might be serious consequences -- including the fates of the people who drafted and coached them. That's a lot to heap on a collection of players who have never stepped foot on an NFL field.