CINCINNATI -- Say what you will about the communication issues and lack of rhythm the Cincinnati Bengals may have exhibited on the field Sunday night at Pittsburgh.
Off it, they appear to be anything but fractured, fragmented and on differing pages.
In a show of goodwill and unity, four team leaders pitched in Wednesday to purchase gifts for their respective position segments. Offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith pitched in to get every other offensive player a pair of personalized Uggs slippers, a Bose sound machine and gift certificates to Jeff Ruby's, an upscale Cincinnati steakhouse.
"It makes guys feel appreciated and feel like guys support them," Whitworth said of the gestures.
The gifts came inside neon green and red gift bags that Whitworth's wife helped pack and were placed inside each player's locker while they went through morning walkthroughs inside Paul Brown Stadium. When they returned to the locker room around the time media were allowed in, the players were surprised to see what they had waiting for them.
"It means that they care about their side of the ball," linebacker Vontaze Burfict said. "For them to spend this amount of money on PS4s ... it's a big deal."
The Bengals hope to get back to being a big deal on the field this weekend when they host the Minnesota Vikings. After having their three-game winning streak snapped by the Steelers, they are looking to earn a win this Sunday and one more next week when Baltimore comes to Cincinnati for the regular-season finale.