AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger


  • Bengals LB Germaine Pratt said the Bengals defense was fractured a bit last year: “People would point fingers if somebody messed up and wouldn’t uplift you.” (Ben Baby)


Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield knows that he can improve on his previous campaign and has big plans for his team this season.

“I can play a whole lot better than last year, I know that,” Mayfield said, via Scott Petrak of “When it comes down to the chemistry stuff, every rep matters for us, but then just the terminology and speaking outside the building, not just about football, that goes such a long way when it comes to chemistry and that trust factor. We have made huge strides, and I know he feels the same way.”

Browns’ C J.C. Tretter says that there has been a lot of growth on Mayfield’s part and that he continues to trend in the right direction.

“He’s really the last year now turned a corner in his preparation,” Tretter said. “He’s always been a great leader for us, but I think even his leadership has taken a step, and that’s what you expect. With young guys coming into the league, as they age, all that stuff improves. The command of the huddle, the command of the offense, the command of the team has just continued to improve year after year.”

One player Mayfield is excited to be back on the field with is WR Odell Beckham and HC Kevin Stefanski noted that he would certainly be a big part of the offense in 2021.

“When he is healthy and he is part of this thing, he is dynamic football player,” Stefanski said. “He is going to be very much front of mind as we put our game plans together. I just look back at how much better we got offensively just us coaching. I thought we did a better job the second half of the year of explaining things and the nuances of our offense. I think we saw some of that growth, too. That is where you insert Odell into some of that, and he can be a really productive player for us. He is a great football player, and we are excited to get him back.”

  •’s Mary Kay Cabot reports Browns LB Anthony Walker suffered a knee injury in practice Monday. 
  • However, the Browns received news that Walker’s injury won’t end his season and he could return before the end of camp. (Jake Trotter)
  • Browns WR Rashard Higgins is excited for Nick Chubb‘s contract extension: “That fires me up, bro. Me and Nick, I asked him like, ‘Hey, bro, how does it feel? What’s the first thing you’re going to do with your money?’ And I’m like, ‘You need to get your credit score up.'” (Nate Ulrich)
  • Stefanski said S Sheldrick Redwine‘s ankle injury will not need surgery. (Ulrich)



  • Per the Athletic’s Mark Kaboly, Steelers FB Derek Watt is preparing for a much bigger role under new OC Matt Canada: “When (Canada) was at Pitt, he definitely used my role a good amount. I am familiar with it and have a good feel for it now. Today was big. Today was goal-line day, so I better be involved in goal-line day, or otherwise what the heck am I doing?”
  • Steelers S Terrell Edmunds had offseason shoulder surgery and has been held out of training camp so far. 
  • Kaboly noted the Steelers are easing RT Zach Banner back into the flow of things as he approaches the 11-month mark in his ACL rehab. 
  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said QB Mason Rudolph will start the Hall of Fame game. (Brooke Pryor)
  • Tomlin has been impressed with QB Dwayne Haskins‘ growth and communication. (Ray Fittipaldo)
  • Steelers owner Art Rooney II said the team wants to get OLB T.J. Watt‘s extension done before the season begins. (Pryor)
  • Rooney added the door is open for QB Ben Roethlisberger to return next year: “We’re aware this could be Ben’s last year. We hope it’s a great one. That’s as far as we can go with it right now. Obviously, if this is his last year, then next year we’ll be making decisions on a QB.” (Pryor)

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