AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens


Bengals DT D.J. Reader is confident that he will be “ready to go” for the regular season after recovering from a quad injury sustained in Week 5 of last year. 

“I never put a time limit on it, but I’ll be ready to go when it’s time to go and I’m out there working with the guys, the training staff is here pushing me,” Reader said, via Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News. “I’m excited.”

Reader describes initially having a difficult time dealing with his injury and has been working hard on rehabbing. 

“This is the first time I’ve ever been through an injury, and it was probably the toughest thing of my life the first couple weeks,” Reader said. “Just not being able to do anything, never being down like that. But I’ve got a strong support system. My mom came down, took care of me for a couple weeks, I was able to spend a lot of time with my son. You get those mental reminders that life is bigger than you and you can do it. Take it a day at a time. I didn’t think about it too much, every day it got better. It’s been a process, it’s been a grind, it’s been fun though. I wouldn’t have started the journey if I didn’t think I was going to come back. I told myself from Day 1, don’t go out there if you’re going to quit. As soon as I started rehab, I knew what my journey was and how I wanted it to end.”

Reader mentioned that he’s cut 20 pounds over the past year by adjusting his eating habits and increasing strength. 

“It worked out well,” Reader said. “This year I kind of restructured my body to try to add a little bit more muscle mass to that 320. I think I did a good job. I’m at 324 right now and I feel good. I feel confident and strong.”


  • Scott Petrak could see Browns TE David Njoku potentially moving ahead of Austin Hooper for the No. 1 tight end role, which would create a difficult decision on whether to let him become a free agent or sign him to a “big money” extension. 
  • However, Petrak does not expect Njoku to receive an extension and doesn’t think he will emerge as their top tight end after already spending four years on the team. 
  • Petrak notes that the Browns are “heavily invested” in Hooper, while there are “many more deserving” extension candidates on Cleveland. 
  • Petrak writes that Browns G Drew Forbes may have “lost the most” by opting out of last season given he could’ve competed with RG Wyatt Teller for the starting job. 
  • Browns S Grant Delpit said he’s on the “back end” of his rehab from a torn Achilles and has worked hard to return: “It’s been a lot. This injury is like nothing I’ve had before. I’ve done a lot to come back and rehab. On the back end of the rehab, just trying to get rid of the annoying pain.” (Petrak)
  • Delpit confirmed that he’s on track to be fully recovered in time for training camp. (Petrak)


  • ESPN held a mock trade exercise involving Falcons WR Julio Jones with beat reporters standing in for GMs. Atlanta received four offers from the Ravens, Patriots, 49ers and Titans. 
  • Baltimore’s offer was its 2022 second-round pick and a 2022 fifth-round pick acquired from the Chiefs. It also had the Falcons eating $4 million of Jones’ $15.3 million base salary. 
  • San Francisco’s offer was a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick and ESPN’s Falcons beat reporter Michael Rothstein accepted that offer over the others. 
  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh confirmed OL Bradley Bozeman will start at center. (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Harbaugh said Ravens rookie WR Rashod Bateman was held out of practice due to muscle soreness: “There is no injury, but we want to make sure it stays that way.” (Jamison Hensley)
  • Ravens undrafted rookie DL Xavier Kelly might have torn his Achilles in OTAs on Wednesday, and the Ravens may look to bring in another lineman. (Zrebiec

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