AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers




Browns RB Kareem Hunt is in line to be a restricted free agent next year, but he says he would like to be back in his hometown. 

“Ain’t no place like home, and this is home for me, so I’d love to be in my hometown playing for a long time, maybe finish my career,’’ Hunt said Friday, via Mary Kay Cabot of “That would be something special. You never know. I’m just excited to do whatever it takes. They’re going to get a ballplayer.

  • Albert Breer believes Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is open to retaining HC Freddie Kitchens, despite a disappointing 2019 season
  • However, Breer adds that there’s internal frustration with how the team has looked this year and this falls on the coaching staff.
  • Even if Kitchens is retained, Breer expects there to be coaching changes on some level for the Browns.
  • According to Breer, Browns coordinator Todd Monken hasn’t been happy with how the year has played out.
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 17: WR Odell Beckham (groin, illness), TE Pharaoh Brown (illness), T Kendall Lamm (knee), DT Sheldon Richardson (back), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (illness), C J.C. Tretter (knee), DE Olivier Vernon (knee)


Ravens OC Greg Roman is widely expected to be one of the top head coaching candidates in the coming weeks after the job he did in Baltimore this season. However, Roman says he really isn’t paying attention to it right now. 

You just really don’t even pay attention to it,” Roman said, via “I have so much to do and I love my job. I think the most important thing is, do a great job at the job you’re doing. All that stuff will come to pass as it does. It’s in other people’s control. I’ve got every minute of every day filled up.

  • An NFL scout tells Matt Miller that the Ravens are “heavily focused” on drafting pass-rushers and building up their defense for the coming years.
  • Ravens RB Mark Ingram (calf) says he fully expects to be back for the team’s playoff game: “I’m smooth, I’m good. I got some time. So, I will be ready for the first playoff game.” (ESPN)
  • When asked if he has any doubts about playing in the postseason, Ingram said: “I have confidence that I’ll be ready to go.
  • OUT for Week 17: RB Mark Ingram (calf)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 17: TE Mark Andrews (ankle), WR Marquise Brown (illness), CB Marcus Peters (chest), CB Jimmy Smith (groin), S Earl Thomas (knee, hand)


After missing a month with a knee injury, Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster returned to the lineup last week. In total, he caught two passes for 22 yards but says he’s doing “a lot more better” this week. 

“I feel a lot more better this week, just the smoothness of it,” Smith-Schuster said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I think last week we were kind of like iffy if I was going or not. This past week, I have been a full participant in everything, in all the practices, so I feel fine. I think my conditioning is up there. Just got to keep playing.

  • Steelers QB Paxton Lynch says he’s ready to go if the team needs him this weekend: “It’s an exciting opportunity, especially the situation that we’re in. We need to win this game and make a playoff push, to get into the playoffs and win games. The goal has been the same all year, and that’s to win a championship. That’s been my mindset. If called upon, that’s what I’m doing.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • OUT for Week 17: RB James Conner (quadricep), C Maurkice Pouncey (knee)
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