Because of Christmas Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's weekly news conference was moved to Thursday and he was asked if he thought Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) against the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium would be his last Bengals game after nine as seasons as the franchise quarterback.
He admitted the possibility had run through his mind but, like head coach Zac Taylor, he preferred not to jump the gun on the offseason before the finale. Yet he did say if this is it he hopes he's remembered for his work in the Greater Cincinnati community with wife Jordan that emphasized helping the families of ill children.
"I think for more than just playing the game," Dalton said. "What were able to do in this community, I feel like that was the one thing we wanted to do when we first got here, is we wanted to make sure we were all in. And we've been all in to Cincinnati since we got here. Hopefully people see that. I've received a lot of support throughout my years here. And again, we'll have to wait and see how this whole thing ends up."
It seems a bit amazing if Sunday is it. If the Bengals win, Dalton remains ahead of Ken Anderson as the Bengals all-time winningest quarterback, .534-.529, in terms of winning percentage. If they lose, he falls behind Anderson at .526. He's already passed Anderson as the team's all-time touchdowns passing leader, following through on his pledge to honor No. 14 when Anderson gave the club the go-ahead to give it to Dalton when he arrived in 2011.
"To play in the same organization and be able to beat some of his records, obviously that means a lot," Dalton said. "He's considered for the Hall of Fame it seems like every year and should be. Obviously, that's an accomplishment that I don't take lightly. Obviously, I've been a part of some great teams, great offenses, had a lot of great players around me that have helped that happen. And so, that's what makes it fun."
View photos of the Thursday practice as the Bengals continue to prepare for the 2019 regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns.
MIXON PAYING IT FORWARD: One of the first things Bengals running back Joe Mixon did when he got his Tom Brady jersey last week was go to a Cincinnati Boys and Girls Club to sign and give away a couple of his own No. 28s. Then he stayed and shot some hoops with the kids because that's what Mixon does as one of the more approachable Bengals you'll find.
It was a good week to ask Mixon just where that Patriots' No. 12 stands in the pantheon of his all-time Christmas presents. It looks like a pretty solid No. 2 behind the X-Box 360 his mother got him that seventh-grade Christmas he was really getting into video games. Brady signed the jersey to a Bay Area best and a great player and Mixon immediately got it out of the locker room to his place.
"Momma always comes first," Mixon said. "(The inscription) meant a lot, especially coming from him. He knew what that meant. He's been in that position. It's back at the crib chilling. When you open the door, you're going to see it."
Speaking of one of the Bay Area's best, Mixon is like everyone else and is excited to see what Oakland native Marshawn Lynch does in his return this week to the Seattle backfield. Lynch is a guy that has counseled Mixon down through the years and he makes his comeback against the 49ers, Mixon's favorite team from his youth.
"He's been teaching me about the game and how to prepare for it," said Mixon, who last spoke with him earlier this season. "Hopefully we don't play at the same time and I can watch it."
Wish granted. Niners in Seattle is the Sunday night game.
INJURY UPDATE: If the Browns go three wides on their first snap, look for Darius Phillips to get his second NFL start at cornerback Sunday with William Jackson III (shoulder) ruled out for Sunday and headed to injured reserve. Phillips had their lone turnover with his second interception of the season last Sunday in Miami. It looks like wide receiver Damion Willis is going to be active for the 11th time this season and first time since Dec. 1 with fellow rookie receiver Stanley Morgan, Jr. (concussion) sitting out Thursday.
Also Thursday, it looks like John Miller (concussion) is back at right guard after missing the Miami game and cornerback Tony McRae (concussion) went full after getting hurt in Miami. Also full and ready for the Browns were cornerback Darqueze Dennard (knee) and two vets coming off rest days in defensive tackle Geno Atkins and tight end Tyler Eifert.