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Dalton Waits On Bengals

Andy Dalton walked off Sunday with his 70th victory.
Andy Dalton walked off Sunday with his 70th victory.

Andy Dalton took two knees and then a bow.

But after Sunday's 33-23 victory over the Browns made sure he remained the Bengals' all-time winningest quarterback, he still didn't know if he'd be around next year to add to the record or if he'd be someplace else.

And that was after talking to the big man.

After head coach Zac Taylor's first division win and after he had handed out games balls to running back Joe Mixon and cornerback Darius Phillips, Dalton made sure he said good win to the person who cares about beating the Browns the most. So he pulled aside Bengals president Mike Brown as he walked through the locker room.

"He didn't say much," Dalton said.

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But after Brown watched Dalton win his 70th game to raise his winning percentage to .534 ahead of Kenny Anderson's .529 while throwing his 204th touchdown pass and running for his 22nd touchdown, also both club quarterback records, he wanted to say something heartfelt. So Brown put his hands on his shoulders.

"He said how much he appreciated me and what I've done and I mean a lot to this organization," Dalton recounted. "Don't know what's going to happen. That's what it has come down to. As much as I want answers right now, I don't know when I'm going to get answers on everything."

Until, of course, the Bengals decide what to do with the No. 1 draft pick and, if it is indeed LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, is Dalton a bridge guy or a veteran mentor? The PBS banners made it clear what the fans want: "Christmas Comes Early. Welcome Joe Burrow," reminded one. But there are things to get done first. Scouting. Vetting. Cross-checking. The Bengals haven't even made it official that they're coaching in the Senior Bowl and Burrow still has a game left\ you may have heard about.

"He didn't give me anything," Dalton said of Brown. "We'll see how it plays out."

Until then, he'll split his time between Cincinnati and Dallas.

"Kids change everything," said Dalton who arrived engaged nine seasons ago and walked out Sunday holding the hand of his oldest of three children. But, as he always patiently does, only after he worked the rope line like it was in Iowa. Another record? He finished the day with most selfies by someone not running for something.

But Dalton made it clear. He thinks he can start and he wants to start. So how that fits into the mentor thing with one year left on his deal, well, that's something that has to play out as they say.

Yet, with five touchdowns and one pick in his last two games, he believes he can be had.

"If I'm not here you want other teams to see what I can do," Dalton said. "You want to put good tape out there. Hopefully they saw the last couple of weeks how things went."

Sunday went well. Like converting nine of 14 third downs against the NFL's 10th best third-down defense. Breaking a 10-game losing streak in the division with his 12th win against Cleveland in 17 games against the Browns, only one behind Anderson's 13 wins in 25 games against the Browns. Getting the ball to two 1,000-yard performers in running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Tyler Boyd. The Bengals became the third team to win two or fewer games with a 1,000-yard receiver and rusher.

But 0.0 answers.

"You can't think about it every day for the next three months," he said.

View photos from the Bengals Week 17 matchup against the Cleveland Browns from Paul Brown Stadium.