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Despite national criticism of the Bengals’ locker room, A.J. Green knows he and Andy Dalton can help guide Joe Mixon as a professional football player.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals made one of the most controversial moves of the 2017 NFL Draft by selecting former Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon in the second round. Although he is, without a doubt, one of the most electrifying and talented players in the draft class, he is also well known for his off-the-field actions. For that reason, there has been plenty of criticism for the Bengals, who have notoriously poor decision makers like Adam Jones taking leadership roles in the locker room.

For some, it is hard to see how the Bengals expect Mixon, even if they genuinely believe he has changed, to stay out of trouble with negative influences around him. But, that’s hardly considering the full picture. The Bengals’ locker room is filled with incredible role models like A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Giovani Bernard, the list goes on and on.

And if you ask Green, not only should the Bengals’ locker room environment not be a negative influence, but it will be a very positive one for the embattled running back.

“I feel like we have a great locker room, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” Green told Mo Egger of ESPN 1530. “I think, with Andy and I being the leaders of that offense, we really can help him if he has questions and we can show him the ropes.”

Following the departure of locker room leader Andrew Whitworth to the Los Angeles Rams this offseason, it is going to be on Green and Dalton to lead the offense and help guys like Mixon become great members of the team, both on- and off-the-field.

“They talk about it, but I don’t feel like they have to pound it in us, because we already know what comes with that pick,” Green said of the attention surrounding the Bengals’ selection of Mixon. “There’s a lot of people who are going to be saying it was a bad pick. But, I feel like in that locker room, we’re family and we protect each other.”

That attitude is exactly what you want to hear from a player like Green, who is going to be expected to take on more and more of a leadership role as he gets older. He has never been the most outspoken player, as he has always preferred to speak when asked and lead by example.

Being counted on to step up as a leader in a big way is relatively new territory for Green. Still, Green sees potential in Mixon and isn’t worried about how he will act as a member of the Bengals.

“I think he’s going to be fine. He made a stupid mistake when he was 18 and I think he’s learned from it,” Green said. “He’s going to have to live with that for the rest of his life and get better from that. But, I think he’s going to be fine for us.”

The addition of Mixon could prove to be a very positive thing for the Bengals’ offense, when it comes to the on-the-field potential. After looking extremely one-dimensional in 2016, a multi-threat player of Mixon’s talent should open up the field and keep defenses honest. If he can stay out of trouble, there is no doubt he will be an excellent addition to the Bengals’ offensive attack. With that said, it is really encouraging to hear a veteran player like Green is looking out for his new teammate and believes he can help foster a locker room environment that will be nothing but beneficial for the Bengals’ newest running back.


Jeremy Hill, Carlos Dunlap and other Bengals experienced their fair share of mess-ups in college. They were given second chances and have rebounded well. That’s the hope for Joe Mixon, too, as he joins the Bengals.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals got more attention during this year’s NFL Draft than they’re used to, mostly because of the controversial selection of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon.

The former Oklahoma star was one of the most electrifying runners in college football last season, but no one can forget his 2014 incident in which he punched a woman. Even though that was three years ago, people are having a tough time forgetting about the terrible incident and video of Mixon hitting a woman, but the current Bengals don’t want to see Mixon defined by that terrible situation.

One Bengal who knows all about second chances in Carlos Dunlap. The star defensive end was hit with a DUI during his final season of college, which, like Mixon, led to a first-round talent falling into Round 2 before Cincinnati scooped him up.

Dunlap not only overcame that mistake, but he’s been a star in the NFL while being a great leader on and off-the-field. He hopes that’s the path Mixon is on.

“Second chances are hard to come by, but if you go about it the right way and people have that feeling it was an isolated incident and you’re not going to let it happen again, I think in the right circumstances you deserve a second shot,” Dunlap told My Dayton Daily News. “We’ve got a lot of veterans in here who have made a lot of mistakes and got back on the right path. I think that’s somewhat a comfort for (team ownership) and why they felt like we have the right guys to pull him in the right direction and bump him and keep him on the railroad tracks.”

Mixon has discussed that the Bengals have a support plan in place for him and that he plans to get involved with community service initiatives in Cincinnati.

“You know how that mamma dog, any time the little pup gets away, nudges him a little bit,” Dunlap said. “I think that’s what they felt like they have in this locker room because we have a lot of those guys who have made mistakes when they were younger but they’ve learned from their mistakes.”

Another Bengal who has a troubled past is Jeremy Hill. His long list of mistakes at LSU almost got him kicked off the team, but he bounced back from those and has been a productive NFL player while maturing and avoiding off-field issues.

“It’s definitely a similar situation,” Hill said. “Obviously people throw out the word ‘character.’ Not knowing the person’s character, it’s easy to do that. From what I’ve heard from the coaches and everyone who has spent time with him and been around him they have nothing but great things to say about him. I’m sure I’ll meet him here pretty soon, and I’m sure I’ll have the same feeling about him.”

Even saying all of this, it’s up to Mixon to make sure the terrible thing he did in college won’t define him. It certainly helps to be in a room with guys who’ve made their own mistakes and rebounded from them, so Mixon has hope for continuing his path to redemption in Cincinnati. Getting there won’t be easy, but if he stays on the straight and narrow path, he’ll get there eventually.


STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 21: Brandon Bell #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions tackles Amara Darboh #82 of the Michigan Wolverines in the second quarter at Beaver Stadium on November 21, 2015 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)

Penn State linebacker Brandon Bell has agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals, the university announced Tuesday.

Despite missing four games with an injury last season, Bell posted 88 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, with four sacks for the Big Ten champion Nittany Lions.

He had 18 tackles when Penn State knocked off Ohio State in midseason, a victory that eventually sent them to the Big Ten championship game, where they beat Wisconsin.

“He will be a great addition to the Bengals roster with his leadership, work ethic and football IQ,” Penn State coach James Franklin said in a news release. “He has great instincts and feel for the game that made him an indispensable part of our defense. He also found success in the classroom, graduating in December with his degree in telecommunications.”

The full undrafted free agent class of the Bengals will be announced later this week after players pass physicals.

They are scheduled to begin their first rookie minicamp Friday.

Ohio State earlier posted that former Buckeye receiver Corey Smith has agreed to terms with Cincinnati.


There’s a run on wide receivers in the draft, and the Bengals just chose a receiver who can run.

With the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Bengals selected  wide receiver from Washington.

Ross set the NFL Scouting Combine record by running a 4.22-second 40-yard dash, so the Bengals now have the fastest player in the NFL, at least by Combine speed. Ross and A.J. Green will be a tough pair of receivers for opposing secondaries to stop.

There have already been three receivers taken in this year’s draft, with Corey Davis going No. 5 to the Tennessee Titans and Mike Williams going No. 7 to the Los Angeles Chargers.


Carl Lawson has finally found a professional home.

The former Auburn defensive end was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the No.116 overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday in Philadelphia.

“I was a little surprised,” Lawson said at the timing of his selection. “I’m happy just to get the opportunity.”

Lawson had 30 tackles with team-highs in tackles for loss (13.5) and sacks (nine) last season. He was Auburn’s highest-graded player in the Sugar Bowl, according to Pro Football Focus, which credited him with nine sacks, 13 hits, and 42 hurries on 364 pass-rushing snaps in 2016.

“Carl Lawson in the fourth round really provided (us with) a player that has played on his feet, played outside in the 3-4 defense there at Auburn, and we really feel he has the versatility to be one of those swing guys here,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “We can teach him to play linebacker in our defense, (and he can) have an opportunity to be a down guy on third downs and in passing situations.”

Most analysts projected Lawson as a second or third-round pick due mostly to durability concerns from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2014 and hip flexor in 2015.

“The doctors here cleared him and felt good about where he was headed medically,” Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “He had a couple bumps and bruises along his college career that might have set him back some. At this point, he’s cleared medically and we felt really good about taking him there.”

At the Combine, Lawson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds, had a 33-inch vertical jump, a 114-inch broad jump, 7.46-second three-cone drill and led all defensive linemen with 35 bench press reps and with a 4.19-second 20-yard shuttle.

Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney paid close attention to Lawson when he ran the defensive line drills at Auburn’s pro day.

“His outstanding effort,” Burney said. “I put it to him, and he stood up every time. That was very impressive. This is a talented kid, a leader on that team, and he was ready to go. Some other guys faded, but he was there. So it just let me know how tough he is between his ears. With the talent, with his leadership qualities, we’re getting a good football mind, as well as a good personality. We’re fortunate to get him.”

Lawson told reporters Burney “tried to kill” the defensive linemen that day.

“I could tell he was going for broke because I saw him right before the drill started and I tried to wave at him and smile, and he didn’t smile back,” Lawson said. “So I knew we were in for an intense workout.”

An FWAA All-American and All-SEC honoree, Lawson performed positional drills at both end and outside linebacker during Auburn’s pro day on March 10.

The 6-foot-2, 253-pound Lawson is the second of four Auburns player chosen in this year’s draft, joining Montravius Adams, who was picked by the Green Bay Packers in the third round on Friday, Rudy Ford and Josh Holsey.

Lawson’s four-year contract is projected to be worth $3.05 million with a more than $652,000 signing bonus, according to



The most controversial player in the NFL Draft is already causing controversy in Cincinnati.

The ABC affiliate in the city, which could potentially be airing an NFL wild-card playoff game this season, is calling for a boycott of the Bengals following the team’s selection of Joe Mixon during the second round  of the NFL Draft on Friday.

“Enough is enough, Bengals. We can excuse another season without winning a playoff game. We can’t excuse drafting a player like Joe Mixon,” the station wrote in an editorial. “Instead of buying a Bengals ticket this year, take the $50 or more you would have spent on that ticket and donate the money to a nonprofit that works to prevent violence against women.”

As for Mixon, he sounded thankful that there was a team out there that was willing to take a risk on him.

As likely the most controversial player in the NFL Draft — Mixon was shown punching a woman in the face on a 2014 security video — the former Oklahoma running back had no idea when he was going to be drafted this week, so when the call finally came from the Bengals, he got emotional.

“You know, I am still sitting here crying. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it,” Mixon said in a conference call, via “You know, I am thankful and very honored to be a part of — to be a Cincinnati Bengal.”

Mixon was viewed as such a risk in the draft  that 28 of the league’s 32 teamsreportedly took him off their draft board. Fortunately for Mixon, the Bengals weren’t one of those teams.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has seen the video, which shows Mixon throwing a punch that left Ameila Molitor with several fractured bones in her face, and he’s not trying to downplay what happened.

“I don’t know who isn’t disgusted with what they saw,” Lewis said on Friday.

The Bengals coach then added that it’s time for Mixon to “move forward.”

“That’s one day in a young man’s life, and he’s had to live that since then and he will continue to have to live that, and he gets an opportunity to move forward and write his script from then on,” Lewis said. “It’s come to a conclusion with the young lady. They’ve come to their statements, her statement about how they both could’ve handled the day better. But again, that doesn’t change it.”

Mixon and Molitor reached a civil settlement in the case on April 21, although terms weren’t disclosed. For Mixon, he says the entire incident changed him.

“It changed me a lot as a person, the way you think, the way you carry yourself, go about things,” Mixon said. “I’m going to continue to keep doing the right thing around the community, on and off the field. And I’m going to prove to them why they kept me. Leaving from Oklahoma, I still have their name, at the end of the day. I’m going to do whatever I can to make them proud and make them happy. I’m looking forward to doing that with the Cincinnati Bengals as well.”

For the Bengals, who have a well-known reputation for taking a chance on players who other teams might consider a character risk, Lewis says there wasn’t really any risk with the pick because the team did its homework on Mixon.

“Joe’s situation kind of came to a settlement in all ways this week, which also led us to feel better about the opportunity here and to move forward,” Lewis said. “We’ve done all of our due diligence we can do, time spent interviewing people, everybody around him, everybody around his background, people that have coached at Oklahoma for insight regarding him and how he has carried himself since that day.”

Although many fans will be able to accept Mixon, the pick could end up backfiring if the former Oklahoma running back gets into any trouble while he’s in Cincinnati.



CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon said he knows he will always be viewed in a different light than his teammates.

Mixon spoke for more than 30 minutes during his introductory news conference and subsequent interviews with reporters on Saturday. Few questions were about football. Almost every question surrounded the night in 2014 when Mixon punched a woman in the face and broke her jaw.

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My take: The Bengals had a chance to take a number of defenders still on the board, including pass-rushers Jonathan Allen and Derek Barnett, and linebacker Reuben Foster. Coach Marvin Lewis said no team wanted to trade up when Cincinnati was on the clock, so obviously John Ross was valued enough to take at No. 9. His selection might seem a little high considering who was available, but speed at receiver was one of Cincinnati’s bigger needs — Ross ran a record 4.22 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. The Bengals relied heavily on star receiver A.J. Green through the first half of the season but had few people able to step up in his place when Green went down toward the end. The Bengals needed a pass-rusher, but they also needed to give their offense a boost one way or another.

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Did they do enough to fix the offensive line?: The Bengals waited until the fifth round to add an offensive lineman, drafting utility lineman J.J. Dielman. That shows they truly feel confident in their retooled offensive line. With the departures of Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth, the only free-agent addition the team made was to re-sign Andre Smith, a player the Bengals once allowed to leave in free agency. Their projected right and left tackles are Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi, two players who struggled last year. Those linemen will have to take a big step forward or the Bengals might regret not finding a potential starter early in the draft.

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The most controversial player in the 2017 NFL Draft was just taken off the board by the Cincinnati Bengals because well, the Bengals.

Not surprisingly, the 2nd round, 48th overall selection, brought more boos than it did cheers…

The former Oklahoma running back was suspended for an entire season for punching a woman in the face the day he turned 18 as a freshman, breaking four of her bones.

Below is the video of that incident.

Mixon joins the likes of players with behavior issues themselves in Adam “Pacman” Jones and Vontaze Burfict in Cincinnati.

Per Adam Schefter, only four of 32 NFL teams were interested in Mixon, and the team decided Friday that they would take him if the opportunity presented itself.

Despite the second-round selection, Mixon is regarded as one of the most talented prospects.



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