AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals DE Carl Lawson tore his ACL in Week 8 of the 2018 season. Now the third-year pass rusher says he’s targeting Week 1 of the 2019 season for his return to the field. 

“The goal is to be out there Week 1, and I’m feeling great,” Lawson said via NFL Media’s Kevin Patra. “Thankfully I can take care of my body, I’ve got a lot of different resources, I can fly to places, I can do everything underneath the sun because I have the money to do it. So, it’s been a great rehab process.”

Browns

  • According to Ian Rapoport, Browns RB Duke Johnson has moved on from his agent as he continues to seek a trade from the Browns. 
  • Browns director of research and strategy Kevin Meers is leaving his role to attend Harvard Business School. (Seth Walder)

Steelers

There’s a number of Steelers wide receivers vying for the opportunity to replace the departed Antonio Brown across from new No. 1 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster says the one to pay attention to is second-year WR James Washington, though. 

“But you talk about a young dude who’s up and coming, it’s going to be James Washington,” Smith-Schuster told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “A guy from Oklahoma State, came to the Steelers his rookie year, started off slow but figured it out and got the ropes down. This past summer workouts that we had, he’s been doing amazing, a great job. I’m super excited to see how he does this year. He’s our guy that’s going to sneak up on everybody.”

Washington had an up-and-down rookie season after being taken in the second round. He finished the year with only 16 catches on 38 targets. However, he says those challenges have made him a better player. 

“It wasn’t what I expected,” Washington said via Teresa Varley of the team’s website. “It was a lot, just because of the ups and downs. One week you’re playing good and the next week you’re not. One week you’re inactive, then it’s like you question yourself and you think am I really good enough. It just kind of gives you that challenge to answer the call. Without challenges you wouldn’t have the opportunity to get better, or know what your weakness are or what your strengths are. My teammates really helped. When you’re down like that, this team does a good job of pulling you up and telling you what you’re capable of. I learned a lot and grew a lot over the season, just building my skills and looking forward to next season.”

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