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Notes: Hawk release opens door for Dansby; Marv draft thoughts; Weissman leads V.I.P. vanguard


After one season the Bengals released linebacker A.J. Hawk.

The Bengals went one-in-one-out on veteran NFL linebackers Tuesday when they released A.J. Hawk two days before the first round of the NFL Draft.

That would suggest that 13-year man Karlos Dansby, signed last month, replaces Hawk as one of the starting outside linebackers at SAM. That's where Hawk lined up last season in his one year as a Bengal, where he made 11 starts, started the Wild Card Game, and played in all 16 games.

Hawk, the fifth pick of the 2006 draft by the Packers, started 136 games in nine years in Green Bay before coming home last year.  A Centerville, Ohio product that played at Ohio State, Hawk, 32, had 24 tackles and a sack while playing about 27 percent of the snaps on primarily run downs.

Dansby, who turns 35 during the season, is moving to SAM after nine seasons of playing other backer spots and is coming off a year in Cleveland where he played nearly 100 percent of the snaps. So a tentative Opening Day starting lineup would have Dansby at SAM, Rey Maualuga in the middle, and Vincent Rey at WILL playing for the suspended Vontaze Burfict. Backing up Dansby is most likely second-year man P.J. Dawson.

MARV THOUGHTS: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis met the media Tuesday in his pre-draft news conference and here are a few quick hits:

-They've met the last two-and-a-half weeks to set the board, which is set on a league-wide basis by director of player personnel Duke Tobin's staff.

-With only seven picks, Lewis says moving around the draft to pick up extra picks is an option. But he says "we'll have a hard time backing away from picking a player that can contribute quickly."

-Lewis says with only seven picks the Bengals are looking at signing more undrafted free agents than they have in the recent past. From Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict to starting fullback Ryan Hewitt, they've had more success than most teams developing the undrafted. He says it's because the team has a track record of giving them a chance to make the roster and get on pre-season tape.

"I tell our coaches not to chase a guy just to fill a number," Lewis said. "We want to give them a chance to make the back-end of the roster."

-Lewis says there is no advantage having the 24th pick for the second time in three years.

"We all want to be picking 32nd," Lewis said. "You still don't know what the 23 teams in front of you are going to do."

VIP VANGUARD:Renowned Cincinnati wildlife artist John Ruthven, otherwise known as "the 20th century Audubon," has painted many great scenes in his career.

But he never came up with this one.

His grandson, Matt Weissman, third generation Bengals season ticket holder, goes to Chicago Thursday night to hand the Bengals jersey to the NFL commissioner before Roger Goodell hands it to the Bengals' first-round selection.

"I've got pictures of me wearing Bengals' Super Bowl stuff in '88 and '89, so I think my parents were pushing me in that direction right away," said Weissman after being introduced before Lewis' news conference.

The Bengals chose Weissman randomly by tenure to represent the club as one of the NFL's 32 season ticket holders who get V.I.P. access to the draft.

His agenda begins at Wednesday night's Draft Eve Party presented by Verizon and continues to Thursday's NFL Draft Luncheon presented by Nationwide before he'll join the other season-ticket holders Thursday night walking the red carpet in the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University to deliver the 2016 New Era Draft Caps.

After handing Goodell the jersey, Weissman visits Draft Town, presented by Oikos Triple Zero, consisting of a series of unique fan experiences in a space the size of 20 football fields with interactive games, free player autographs, youth football clinics and more.

Weissman, 33, of Hyde Park, said he got the tickets from his mother after Ruthven became the original Season Ticket Holder more than 35 years ago.

"My first memories are of Carl Pickens and (Jeff) Shake and Blake and Corey's (Dillon) teams," said Weissman, who hasn't missed a game in 10 seasons.

Although Weissman's favorite Bengal is WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the man Goodell has suspended for the first three games of the season, he says he has no plans to ask the commissioner about it. He says he's simply looking forward to enjoying the three days with wife Molly and trying to make Lewis a happy man.

"Make a good pick," Lewis told him.

The day after Weissman leaves Chicago the draft heads into its final day on Saturday and Paul Brown Stadium is going to host its own V.I.P. celebration. Former Bengals Ira Hillary and Joe Kelly plan to be paired with two select Bengals' Season Ticket Members to announce the team's selections for rounds four and five. The team's guests also enjoy lunch, live coverage of the draft and a visit from Cincinnati's selections in the first three rounds.


Throwback gallery of the Bengals' Draft Class of 2011

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