AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Browns

  • Per BrownsZone.com’s Scott Petrak, Browns GM Andrew Berry said WR Odell Beckham has been completely on board despite his comments in a recently-published interview stating his misgivings about playing the 2020 season: “He’s returned and really been focused on working hard. He’s been very engaged on everything we’ve done in the classroom and is focused on having a great year.”
  • Berry admitted he was “a little bit” surprised when TE David Njoku requested a trade. (Petrak)
  • However, Njoku has since rescinded his trade request and appears to be on board with Cleveland’s plan: “Even since the spring and definitely since we’ve been back, he’s been very engaged. He showed up in terrific shape. I think there’s an element to being back around teammates. Think he can play a big role.” (Petrak)
  • Berry told reporters they had no doubts about signing DE Myles Garrett to his major extension: “I really feel very comfortable with Myles the player and the person. Just feel great about the player and the person. To have an opportunity to have him under contract for next 7 years great for organization.” (Petrak)
  • Locking in DE Olivier Vernon for 2020 with his restructure was also important to Berry to give the Browns two strong edge rushers: “We feel good about both our bookends. Feel can be a real strong duo for us. Think we can be tough to block upfront.” (Petrak)

Ravens

The Ravens have a problem in 2020, though it’s not a bad problem to have. Baltimore has what it believes to be four starting-caliber backs on the roster — starting RB Mark Ingram, second-round RB J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and 2019 fourth-round RB Justice Hill — and needs to figure out how to share one ball between the quartet. Ravens OC Greg Roman said as far as problems to deal with, that’s one he’d like to have. 

“We’ll find ways to make it work, for sure,” Roman said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “To have that kind of backfield is a blessing. We definitely want to get into training camp and work through it and kind of evolve as we go. As far as how we are actually going to deploy them, who we are going to emphasize and how, I think that’s going to happen on the fly every day in training camp, and (we’ll) get a better feel for that. But I love problems like that. I mean that sincerely.”

  • Zrebiec noted Hill could use a good camp as his spot on the roster isn’t 100 percent secure. 
  • Ingram said he wasn’t surprised the team took Dobbins when he slipped to the second round, calling it a “high-value” pick. (Jamison Hensley)
  • Free-agent TE Delanie Walker is expected to sign with a team in the next few weeks and the Ravens are absolutely in play given Roman’s connection with Walker. (Jason La Canfora)
  • Ravens strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders was blown away by new G D.J. Fluker‘s size at 6-5 and 340 pounds: “D.J is a big guy. Holy smokes. When I met him the other day, it was like I had an eclipse on top of me.” (Zrebiec)

Steelers

  • Per the Athletic’s Ed Bouchette, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger acknowledged his elbow had been bothering him for a while before finally snapping last year: “I’ve had a little bit of injury in that elbow for quite a few years. Just something I kind of dealt with.”
  • Roethlisberger tore three flexor tendons off the bone that had to be reattached. He said it was somewhat of an unprecedented surgery for a quarterback: “I’m not a doctor and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night … there’s no real name for it. It’s not a Tommy John.” (Brooke Pryor)
  • Now, Roethlisberger says his arm feels great and held up well after a heavy workload on Monday. He did say, however, the team plans to have him on a “pitch count” during camp. (Aditi Kinkhabwala)
  • Roethlisberger has lost weight this offseason and says he’s as light as he’s been in 13-14 years: “I feel strong and healthy and young, if you can feel young at this age.” (Pryor)
  • After his year off, Roethlisberger feels rejuvenated and remotivated after flirting with retirement a couple seasons ago: “Any competitor will tell you they want to go out on their own terms and it doesn’t happen all the time . . . I didn’t feel I was close to that yet. I’m not saying I have 10 years left in me but I really feel I have years left in me.” (Bouchette)
  • Roethlisberger added: “I still want to win Lombardis and I say that with a plural.” (Pryor)
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