Cincinnati Bengals fans will be seeing more of their team next season while Minnesota Vikings fans could be seeing less of theirs in coming seasons. All of that and more as we catch up on Monday's biggest NFL news.
HBO's Hard Knocks is a favorite among NFL fans, and for the second time in five years, the Cincinnati Bengals will be the featured team. The show, which gives fans an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at training camp, will debut on Aug. 6.
Although this is the second time in four years the Bengals will be featured on the show, the majority of the main characters will have changed. Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and Roy Williams are no longer with the team. Instead, the 2013 edition of the show will give viewers a chance to get to know Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and other players on the current roster.
The players may have changed, but Marvin Lewis will once again be a big part of the show. A number of teams have reportedly turned down the opportunity to be on the show in recent years, but Lewis said the Bengals are happy to provide a unique experience for their fans. Via Cincy Jungle:
"The feedback we got from our experience with Hard Knocks in 2009 was outstanding," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "Our fans enjoyed it tremendously and we're happy to try and provide that same experience again. Our fans love the NFL and they enjoy seeing things they don't normally get to see. We have some outstanding men, both as players and as people. They've got great charisma to go along with their football skills, and the Hard Knocks treatment allows for both to shine through."
The Minnesota Vikings will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in London this season, but it may not be the last time Minnesota plays overseas. According to a report from NFLUK.com, Vikings vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley said the organization could be open to more games in London.
According to the report, the Vikings want to see how their trip to London goes this season before considering future games. Minnesota will open its new stadium in 2016, but assuming this year's contest goes well, Minnesota could head back to London at some point during the next two seasons.
With the current 16-game schedule, fans of teams who play the home team role for London games miss out on a home game. While that isn't likely to change, the Daily Norseman discussed how an 18-game schedule could potentially limit the impact felt by "missing out" on a home game.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is set to undergo back surgery on Tuesday and the Patriots aren't sure when he will return. The 24-year-old tight end will undergo a procedure to repair a herniated disc in his spine and some are speculating the procedure could force him to open the season on the physically unable to perform list.
If Gronkowski did open the season on the PUP list, he would miss at least the first six games of the regular season. While his timeline to return is uncertain, the good news for New England is Gronkowski is familiar with the recovery process from this procedure, as he underwent the same procedure, with the same doctor, on a different disc during college.
With Gronkowski's future up in the air, the training camp battle for backup tight end will become even more important. The Patriots rely on two-tight end formations, and if Gronkowski is out for any length of time, New England may need to carry four tight ends. Pats Pulpit broke down the contenders for the backup tight end positions.
Two years ago Desmond Bishop was one of the best players on the Packers defense and a rising star in the NFL. A ruptured hamstring derailed his rise to stardom last season, and if he's going to get back on that track, it won't be in Green Bay.
The Packers released the 28-year-old linebacker on Monday after attempting to trade him during the NFL Draft. The move helps the Packers financially, as Bishop was scheduled to earn $3.46 million, but it was also done for personnel reasons. Brad Jones stepped in when Bishop was injured and played well enough to win the starting job on a full-time basis.
While Bishop was released, he may not be without a team long, as he's reportedly already drawn interest from the Vikings. The Chiefs, Raiders, Falcons and Saints could also be logical fits for Bishop.