AFC North Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals WR John Ross says the “energy is completely different” around the team under new HC Zac Taylor

The energy is completely different,” said Ross, via Lauren Pfahler of ESPN. “Everyone is just having a good time. Even in the locker room. It’s not just on the field. We come in here, and we’re in there playing basketball, we’re in the weight room having a good time, we’re in the locker room or training room and everyone is smiling. I know the season hasn’t started yet, but it’s good to see. It’s a good sign of good things coming.”

Bengals DL Jordan Willis added that Taylor is creating “more of a team environment” and compared them to a college atmosphere. 

He’s trying to create more of a team environment, which I would compare to some of the stuff we did in college, just trying to get everybody to get closer, have a little fun and that brings us together more as a team,” Willis said. “The football is the same, it’s just different ways of doing it. He’s taking his own approach to it.

Ravens

Ravens OLB Matthew Judon, who is entering the final year of his contract, says he’s hoping to remain in Baltimore “forever and ever.”

“I have no clue what the future holds,” Judon said, via PennLive.com. “Hopefully, I’ll be here forever and ever. But, like this offseason, we never know. . . . I feel at home. I don’t know how other organizations are, because I was drafted here, but here I feel home. It’s comfortable out here. I almost drive to work with my eyes closed, and I love the people here, the culture here.”

Steelers

Jeremy Fowler mentions that Steelers’ ERFA CB Mike Hilton has still yet to sign his one-year tender this offseason.

Hilton said it is “too early” to see if they will agree to an extension but was clear that he wants to continue playing with the Steelers. 

It’s too early to see what’s gonna happen, but I want to show the team I want to be here and want to be a part of this organization,” said Hilton. “I wouldn’t say it’s a real tough situation because at the end of the day, it’s still a nice opportunity. As players, you feel like of course you want to earn more. Either way it works out, I’m excited. Hopefully things work out in the long run, but if not, I’ll do my best to go out there and help this team win.”

Steelers LT Alejandro Villanueva previously declined to sign his exclusive rights tender before agreeing to a four-year, $28 million extension.

Former NFL agent Brodie Waters mentioned that Villanueva’s extension was “extremely rare” and he believe’s the Steelers will only sign Hilton if he agrees to a “below-market” deal.  

The player has zero leverage other than retiring,” Waters said. “It would be extremely rare for the Steelers to do anything unless they identify they really want him, and he’s willing to take a below-market deal. If he’s played two years, they’ve got him for two more years. There’s not a lot of incentive to do something.”

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