Pro Bowlers Green, Whitworth return to Bengals practice

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth were among a number of injured players who returned to practice in limited fashion Wednesday.

“I’m 100 percent,” Green declared. “They just don’t want to set me back. As the days go on I’ll work my way back in there.”

Green said he wants to play in preseason games, but given that Wednesday was his first practice since bruising his left knee on July 25, it’s doubtful he will see action Saturday at home against Tennessee. The following week at Dallas is a better bet.

“I want to play (in the preseason),” Green said. “It’s just a matter of which one. We’ll see, but I’m definitely going to play.”

Whitworth, who is working his way back from offseason knee surgery, also returned the field for the first time since that opening practice July 25.

“We’re just trying to take care of our bodies and get back healthy and get to the optimal level we need to be at,” said Whitworth, who worked in all of the drills except for 11-on-11 live action. “I’m going to try to continue to do more and more every time I come out. It just feels good to be back out here. I’ve been working my butt off to get back.”

Linebackers Vinny Rey (knee) and Emmanuel Lamur (hamstring) also returned, along with cornerback Brandon Ghee (head), offensive tackle Reid Fragel (knee) and wide receiver Tyrone Goard (head).

Defensive end Michael Johnson missed his fourth practice in a row with an undisclosed injury, and rookie linebacker Shaun Porter (shoulder) also was out.

Stephens sings

One of the highlights of Tuesday night’s “Hard Knocks” episode was rookie defensive tackle Terrence Stephens standing in front of the team to sing “Superstar.”

Stephens said Wednesday that he has been singing for years but has had no formal training.

“It’s just been singing in church or with gospel choirs and some a cappella groups at Stanford,” Stephens said. “I think the biggest thing I’ve done is sing the national anthem at my (Maryland) state championship wrestling tournament in high school.”

Stephens went on to place second in the 285-pound weight class as a junior before giving up the sport to avoid risking his football scholarship.

During Stephens’ singing performance on “Hard Knocks,” the cameras caught the usually gruff James Harrison reacting emotionally and enthusiastically to the song.

“James is a little older, so I think he appreciates older music,” Stephens said. “So when I brought out a Luther (Vandross) song, I think it really touched him.”

Prisco pick NFL Senior Writer Pete Prisco released his predictions for every regular season and playoff game Wednesday, and he has the Cincinnati Bengals going 12-4 en route to winning not only the AFC North, but Super Bowl XLVIII with a 31-30 victory against the Atlanta Falcons.

“Take out quarterback, and their talent is as good as any team in the league,” Prisco said. “They are deep, with many young players ready to ascend to new highs. I love young teams like that.

“To me, this all about Andy Dalton getting better,” he continued. “He threw 27 touchdown passes last season, yet nobody thinks he’s any good. That’s just stupid. He was a second-year player. I think with the added weapons, he will be even better. If he is, they can go a long way.”

Prisco has the Bengals beating the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild-Card round before going on the road to defeat the Denver Broncos and then topping the New England Patriots on the road in the AFC Championship Game.

Tape delay

Saturday’s preseason home opener against Tennessee did not sell out by the 72-hour deadline, which means it will air locally on tape delay.

Channel 45 in Dayton will air the game at 11 p.m., while WKRC in Cincinnati will show it at 11:35.

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