Update: 5 p.m.
When Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth heard that Saints head coach Sean Paton had bought 100 Devon Still jerseys earlier this week, it didn't surprise him a bit.
"Sean's a great guy and I've always had a ton of respect for him," Whitworth said before Friday's practice. "All the way back to him coming to speak to my event right after everything he went through."
Payton and Whitworth were friendly before early 2012, when Payton agreed to be the guest speaker that March at the Big Whit 77 Foundation Dinner in Choudrant, La. Whitworth knew that securing the head coach of the wildly popular New Orleans Saints was beyond a coup, but when two days before the event Payton was suspended for that season, Whitworth didn't know what he had on his hands.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Payton for all of 2012 for failure to oversee the Bountygate scandal in his office. But Payton not only showed up at Choudrant, he offered a rollicking dinner speech that received five different standing ovations from the crowd of about 400 at the Squire Country Club. Before that, he met with the biggest donors at a private home.
At the dinner, Payton stunned Whitworth and wife Melissa by auctioning off his Superdome box for a 2012 game of the fan's choice by offering 16 pregame passes, a fully-stocked bar and menu, an autographed helmet and jersey and proceeded to pull in $42,000 for the foundation.
"He told me right before he went up to make his speech; I guess there are 42,000 reasons why I invited him," Whitworth said that night.
That's what Whitworth had in mind when he heard about Payton's $10,000 donation to Cincinnati's Children's Pediatric Cancer Care Center.\
"Just a man of his word. Being loyal, being a man of your word. That means more than anything else to me," Whitworth said. I've always had his back with anything after that."
With Payton's help, Still's No. 75 has broken the all-time record as the Bengals Pro Shop zeroes in on 4,000 orders for his jersey with all proceeds going to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital & Pediatric Cancer Care. It breaks the record set by Chad Johnson/Ochocinco.
INJURY UPDATE: Positive indications surfaced at Friday morning's practice concerning Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict's status for Sunday's Paul Brown Stadium opener (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) as he recovers from a concussion that took him out of the second half of last Sunday's victory in Baltimore.
Also, wide receiver A.J. Green (foot), who missed Thursday's practice, went back on the field and is probable. Starting cornerback Terence Newman (hamstring) suited up but didn't work Friday after being limited Thursday and is listed as probable. Head coach Marvin Lewis said both will go.
Burfict has been cleared to talk to the media and he was suited up and participating in the early portions of the practice on the PBS field. That also included the linebackers' weekly Friday football toss into the net on the side during special teams that usually features Burfict and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga along with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
But what it means is anyone's guess pending the NFL's concussion protocol. He's listed as questionable.
OLD HOME WEEK: Lewis figures there'll be about 20 or so folks from his Idaho State days that are going to be at the game. That's because his college roommate and teammate, Dirk Koetter, is the Falcons offensive coordinator. They haven't talked in a while. But they will after this game.
"It's like I didn't talk to Ozzie until Wednesday,' said Lewis of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. "Let's talk after we play and help each other out."
One guy who is going to be back in Pocatello, Idaho Sunday is Koetter's father. Lewis used to watch "Big Jim" Koetter's practices when he was coaching high school in town, and then when Jim Koetter came to Idaho State as assistant head coach, Lewis served under him as a graduate assistant.
"You talk about E.F. Hutton,' Lewis said. "There was no B.S. He took me on recruiting trips and we'd sit in the stands scouting…He was one of the people that taught me how to coach…I'd spend every Thanksgiving at Dirk's mother's and father's house. It was my home away from home ."
WEATHER CHECK: The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for sunny skies at Sunday's home opener with no chance of rain and the temperature at 72 degrees with light winds out of the northeast at less than five miles per hour.