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Andy Dalton ribbed by teammates over ‘cute’ magazine cover


Andy Dalton’s phenomenal season so far is drawing attention league-wide and turning doubters into believers. So it’s hardly surprising the signal-caller, whose great play has led the Cincinnati Bengals to an 8-0 record, landed on the cover of the current issue of ESPN the Magazine.

Dalton’s red hair and new hairdo are prominently featured in the cover photo, which gave rise to some gentle ribbing by his teammates.

Cornerback Adam Jones said the quarterback’s hair looked “pretty,” per ESPN, and defensive end Carlos Dunlap told reporters that the photo was “cute.”

Dalton, meanwhile, is growing tired of all the attention his hairdo is garnering — his wife was even asked if it had anything to do with his success this season — and expressed exasperation during his meeting with the media Thursday over the quasi-frenzy.

“Who would have thought of these conversations we’d be having Week 9 or Week 10? Talking about my hair and the clothes that I wear,” Dalton said while tugging on his black team jersey. “Is this all right? They’re Bengals issued.”

But his teammates weren’t done with giving him a hard time over his supposed rise to coverboy status.

“It’s hot. It’s red. It’s fire. He’s the ‘Red Rifle,'” said defensive end Wallace Gilberry. “He has the hot hair and the hot hand right now. As long as he keeps going, I don’t care what color it is. It could be purple for all I care.”

But when it all comes down to it, though, his teammates recognize it’s Dalton’s incredible play this season that is turning heads, not his hairstyle.

“Everybody always has their opinion about [Dalton] — good or bad. Even when he’s playing good,” said wide receiver Marvin Jones. “But now he’s playing great, and you can’t fake it. He’s doing good and he has everything to back it up. We’re just going to continue to rally behind him like we always have. That was never a problem in our locker room. And he has thick skin. For him to be able to get the praise that he’s getting is good.”