Updated: 4:10 p.m.
Ticket sales for Sunday's 1 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium opener against the Falcons have reached the threshold for live television coverage in the Bengals home market. The game airs on Channel 12 in Cincinnati, Channel 7 in Dayton, Ohio, and Channel 27 in Lexington, Ky.
While the Bengals have accepted an NFL option to have blackouts lifted with 85 percent of non-premium tickets sold, good seats on all three levels of PBS remain available. They can be purchased by calling the Bengals Ticket Hotline during business hours at 513-621-8383 or toll free at 866-621-8383. Tickets also can be purchased at any time through Bengals.com.
INJURY UPDATE:Bengals Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict looks to be dangerously close to missing the first game of his three-year NFL career with a concussion. After missing Wednesday's practice while he stayed with the linebackers on the field, Burift was nowhere to be found Thursday.
Also out Thursday was Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green. Limited with a foot injury Wednesday, he didn't dress Thursday. Also not dressing but getting a veteran's day off for their knees like they did before playing last week were left tackle Andrew Whitworth and left guard Clint Boling. Guard Mike Pollak (knee) and defensive tackle Geno Atkins (feet) were back to practice. Pollak (knee) went full and Atkins was limited. Also back full was right tackle Andre Smith (shoulder). Cornerback Terence Newman (groin) surfaced on the injury report after Thursday's limited practice.
Rookie Jake Matthews (ankle), the Falcons starting left tackle, didn't work for a second straight day.
GRESHAM REFLECTS: Jermaine Gresham is hugely talented, extremely personable, and highly-regarded in the Bengals scheme of things.
Especially in Sunday's Paul Brown Stadium opener when the Bengals play the Falcons without tight end Tyler Eifert and wide receiver Marvin Jones.
Yet the two-time Pro Bowl tight end senses he's "a villain," in Bengaldom.
"There's a lot of great players in my class. And pretty much everybody is disappointed that I'm not what certain people are," Gresham said after Thursday's practice in a rare interview with the local media.
"I would like to be loved by a lot more people, but it's just the nature of the sport. It comes and goes. ..In my eyes, it just is what it is, and I kind of accept the villain role, and try to be a leader to guys like Tyler who are learning on the way, and make sure I'm good for them. As long as my teammates love me, I'm good."
Before the Bengals practiced Thursday afternoon, the topic of the day had to be that endless line of Falcons receivers that go against their secondary in Sunday' 1 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium opener.
Cornerback Leon Hall, who knows he'll pretty much be in the slot Sunday because of the multi receiver sets at quarterback Matt Ryan's disposal, talked about the fear of quickness and that former Bengals slot receiver now playing in Cleveland. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has gone to the last three Pro Bowls, but it is guys like the 5-7 Hawkins that keep guys like Hall up at night.
"As great as A.J. is, I'd much rather go against A.J. than I would go against Hawkins. Guaranteed," Hall said. "He's smart and he's crafty. Just because he goes in one direction doesn't mean he's going to go in that direction. He's so quick. If you have any hesitation, you're already going to be a step behind and obviously quarterbacks are good and they're going to put the ball where it needs to be. That's not comforting to a DB."
DO YOUR JOB: That was the mantra of head coach Marvin Lewis' first AFC North title in 2005. After talking to defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry Thursday, he of the 1.5 sacks on the final two plays in Baltimore, that may hold for this year's club.
The Bengals defense comes into the PBS opener after a dominating home regular-season schedule. They allowed just nine TD passes in the eight games and scored six TDs themselves on defense last season at home. They held Super Bowl-winning QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Flacco to a combined three touchdown passes to go with a 56.7 passer rating. For all eight games they held foes to a combined 60 passer rating and a stunning 23 percent on third down.
"We don't listen to any of that," Gilberry said. "We just go play and do our job."
REPLAY: Green felt well enough to hold court with the media Thursday before practice and made an interesting observation about his winning 77-yard touchdown catch and why cornerback Chykie Brown, a fifth-rounder from Green's class, was covering him instead of Jimmy Smith, a first-rounder from that 2011 class.
"Because we were no huddle, so it's hard for them to get their calls in,' Green said. "If we would huddle, Jimmy would follow me. But if we wouldn't huddle, he didn't have time to switch the field."