AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers



  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the Bengals won’t bring back OL coach Jim Turner or WR coach Bob Bicknell in 2021. 
  • NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero adds DL coach Nick Eason and RB coach Jemal Singleton are also leaving, with Singleton taking a job at the University of Kentucky. 
  • According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Bengals are interviewing Lions OL coach Hank Fraley for the same position on their staff. 
  • The Athletic’s Jay Morrison writes Browns OL coach Bill Callahan is an obvious candidate for the Bengals vacancy given his son is the offensive coordinator. But he has multiple years on his contract and Cleveland is unlikely to grant him permission to interview. 
  • Morrison adds Jets OL coach Frank Pollack, who was with the Bengals under Marvin Lewis, Falcons OL coach Chris Morgan, Vikings assistant OL coach Phil Rauscher, Nebraska OL coach Greg Austin, Jaguars OL coach George Warhop and former Packers HC Mike Sherman as other options. 
  • Bengals assistant WR coach Troy Walters is the planned replacement for Bicknell. (Morrison)


Browns C J.C. Tretter was surprised by the recent COVID-19 outbreak within their organization, which includes HC Kevin Stefanski, G Joel Bitonio, WR KhaDarel Hodge, TEs coach Drew Petzing and DBs coach Jeff Howard.

“I think what this proves is guys, even when doing all the right things, this virus is so contagious that it doesn’t guarantee you full protection,” Tretter said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “That’s something we’ve talked about from the get-go. When this virus gets inside and you come into contact with it, it is so contagious that it’s just tough. I feel for the guys that tested positive today and have tested positive over the last 11 days.”

Tretter called losing Stefanski for Sunday’s Wildcard game against the Steelers “really unfortunate” for Cleveland. 

“I feel for [Stefanski] as a person and as a leader not being able to be out there with us and go into battle,” Tretter said. “It’s just very sad. Very sad and it’s really unfortunate.”

Tretter pointed out that their Wildcard game would’ve been Joel Bitonio‘s first postseason appearance of his seven-year career. 

“I talked to Joel quite a bit today,” Tretter said. “I feel for him. Obviously, with what he’s gone through, what he’s endured over his career and finally finding that success for the first time and then it being taken away at the last second, where he won’t be able to be out there on Sunday, it’s hard. I feel for all the guys that won’t be able to play for the first playoff game, and it’s extremely difficult, extremely tough. It’s tough because he, first off, loves playing football, loves the Cleveland Browns and this is just a terrible scenario for him and for everybody involved. I obviously feel for Joel. I’ve been close to Joel since getting here in Cleveland.


  • Per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Ravens ST coordinator Chris Horton said there’s no concern about P Sam Koch punting without practicing this week: “We’re talking about a 15-year vet here.”
  • The Panthers requested an interview with Ravens director of football administration Nick Matteo but he declined. (Albert Breer)


  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes that some people who know Steelers GM Kevin Colbert well expect his retirement to be tied to QB Ben Roethlisberger‘s.
  • Breer adds he would expect Pittsburgh to explore the young quarterback market this offseason to try and set the team up with a successor. 
  • Steelers OC Randy Fichtner doesn’t expect OL Matt Feiler to play right tackle in the playoffs unless there’s an injury. Either Feiler or fourth-round G Kevin Dotson will start at left guard for Pittsburgh. (Mark Kaboly)
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