Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is surprised to say the least about a story bannering the NFL's discussion with referee Pete Morelli's crew about how it will work Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Pittsburgh.
More than $200,000 fines and a three-game suspension were handed out last year in the three chippy games, but Lewis, a member of the NFL Competition Committee, says it's business as usual.
"They talk to the referees every week," Lewis said after Friday's walk-through. "I don't know how somebody made a story out of something that's not a story. It's part of their preparation each and every week. We're hurting for things to write about."
DB CORNER: It looks like slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard, on the shelf since injuring his ankle in the first few days of camp is, going to play after going full all week. And it sounds like he'll play at least some even though Josh Shaw did a nice job with the majority of the snaps in there last Sunday.
"Guys played well. I think Darqueze lends some different abilities in there as well," Lewis said.
One guy who won't be active Sunday in the secondary is the rookie they just claimed from the Chiefs, third-round pick KeiVarae Russell. At 5-11, 192-pound, he's a big corner they like and, in the end, they got that third-round compensatory pick they didn't get before the draft. Lewis says they weren't scared off by the Chiefs cutting him so soon.
"It's been only four months since we (made) our opinion," said Lewis of their scouting of Russell. "He didn't do a lot to change it one way or the other. We can't get in their heads about why him and they kept someone else …. I'm sure they were probably going to try and get him to the practice squad ….He's a young guy with some talent who's got some height and length to him."
The Bengals were expected to add offensive lineman Try Hopkins to the practice squad after they cut him to make room for Russell.