AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals WR John Ross believes changing his number back to No. 11 will help him break out as he enters his third season. His belief is so strong he was willing to meet the NFL’s requirement of buying out all the remaining No. 15 jersey’s in stock. 

“I felt like, this is my third year, I get a chance to re-invent myself and re-create some of the old me,” Ross said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner. “I kind of wanted to basically start everything over. I get to put Ross III on the back of my jersey and get to change the number. Hopefully, just change the whole year.”

  • ESPN’s Katherine Terrell listed Bengals G Clint Boling as a potential veteran cut. Boling worked off to the side during the spring with an undisclosed issue. 

Browns

Browns QB Baker Mayfield drew headlines last year for his clear dislike of former HC Hue Jackson, who ended up taking a job in the division with the Bengals after he was fired. Mayfield wasn’t alone, according to TE David Njoku

“Well, obviously we weren’t happy with what Hue said about us after he left. It is what it is,” Njoku said on the Rich Eisen Show. “Baker didn’t appreciate it. We came together after Hue left and took it upon ourselves to work extra hard to finish the year strong. . . . Baker has a voice, as we all do, and he didn’t appreciate what happened. It’s not like we’re robots. We felt, in a way, disrespected. It is what it is.”

Steelers

After saying at one point this offseason the team could move to more of a committee backfield, Steelers RB James Conner said recently he expects his role to remain the same. 

“I’ll have a similar role. I’m healthy, first and foremost, I’m 100 percent healthy now. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Conner said via NFL Media’s Kevin Patra. “But we got talent in that room. We got Jaylen Samuels who’s a tremendous receiver, a talented runner. We got Benny Snell. We know the work that he did at Kentucky. He’s a hard-bodied runner, so all those guys will get touches. It’ll be fun this year just seeing those other guys being successful.”

The Steelers are of course entering the season without RB Le’Veon Bell or WR Antonio Brown for the first time in years, but Conner says so far the offense hasn’t missed them during OTA’s. 

“It’s early. All we had was OTAs, but OTAs were going smooth, the offense was clicking,” Conner said. “All our top guys were there. We’ll see. I think we’re going to be just fine. No diss to those guys. It’s been awesome, though, playing for each other. “

  • According to Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports.com, agent Drew Rosenhaus says the Steelers have not approached his client, CB Joe Haden, regarding a potential contract extension. Haden, 30, is entering the final year of his deal

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