AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers


Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson says he’s happy with how he fits into DC Lou Anarumo‘s 3-4 hybrid scheme.

It’s just the fits and how we’re attacking offenses. It’s just different from what I’ve done before, the way they’re using me personally and the way…obviously, Sam, opposite me, the more we can do the better it will help the defense,” Hendrickson said, via Geoff Hobson of” I’m super excited like I said. I can’t say it enough. It’s looking very unique of anything I’ve ever played before but I think it’s playing to both the defense and what I can bring to the table.”

  • The Bengals are bringing in Kenny Ray Augustus, Larry Black, Mike Brown, Tessa Grossman and Steve Huanga as part of the minority fellowship program. (Jay Morrison)
  • Bengals QB Joe Burrow plans to be ready for the start of the season. (Hobson)
  • Burrow added he thinks his knee is at about 85% healthy. (Tyler Dragon)
  • Burrow is very high on second-year WR Tee Higgins: “Tee’s going to have a big year.” (Ben Baby)


  • Browns DE’s Takkarist McKinley and Jadeveon Clowney were not in attendance at OTA’s, according to Scott Petrak of BrownsZone.
  • Petrak notes that both McKinley and Clowney are expected to share outside reps in their base defense, with all three being on the field during pass-rushing downs.
  •’s Mary Kay Cabot reports Browns assistant Callie Brownson isn’t at minicamp but will return for training camp.
  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski said WR Odell Beckham Jr.‘s rehab has been successful: “Looked good to me.” (Jake Trotter)


  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly says Steelers RB Kalen Ballage caught his eye at OTAs and the veteran might be competing with RB Benny Snell for the third and final running back spot on the team. 
  • Although the Steelers have hosted safeties Malik Hooker and Karl Joseph for visits, Kaboly would be surprised if they made any signings before training camp. 
  • He does however believe they need to address the outside linebacker position. Right now 2020 third-round OLB Alex Highsmith is set to move from the No. 3 role into the starting lineup, with just Cassius Marsh and sixth-round rookie Quincy Roche to spell him and T.J. Watt
  • Watt said he wants to play as much as he can this year: “If we trust the depth behind us I have no problem with taking a break and letting the guy behind me get some reps. But if it is third down and I have a little bit of gas in the tank, I am going to try to get that rep.” (Mark Kaboly)
  • Watt added he isn’t thinking about not winning defensive player of the year last year: “I don’t think it’s driving me. … Big thing for me is realizing all the plays I didn’t make last year. Yeah, there’s a lot of good from last year, but there’s still a lot to improve on.” (Brooke Pryor)
  • Watt also wasn’t interested in discussing his contract status: “With respect to the process, I’m not going to be talking about any contract stuff.” (Aditi Kinkhabwala)
  • Steelers S Terrell Edmunds said HC Mike Tomlin is the one who told him the team wasn’t picking up his fifth-year option: “He told me that it doesn’t mean this is over, but I just stay motivated and come out here and do what I can.” (Brooke Pryor)
  • Steelers OC Matt Canada said the team is responding well to the new offense: “We’ve had a good installation plan. we’re taking it at whatever pace we can handle. I think the players have handled it very, very well. They’re being very receptive to it.” (Pryor)
  • Canada also said the offense will be built around QB Ben Roethlisberger: “I think any football, it’s 11 men doing their job. The quarterback is the focal point … we’re going to do what Ben wants to do and how Ben wants to do it.” (Pryor)
  • Canada praised WR JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s desire to play both inside and outside: “The great thing about JuJu is he wants to win. … he’s going to be excited and happy when we win. JuJu can do a lot of different things. Our job is to put players in positions to make plays.” (Pryor)
  • Canada mentioned owner Art Rooney wants the team to “run the ball when we have to run it.” (Kaboly)
  • Smith-Schuster changed agents and hired Wasserman as his new representation, per Wasserman NFL’s twitter.
  • Tomlin wouldn’t say why Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster left practice early: “Rest assured, if I thought something was significant I would address it.” (Kinkhabwala)
  • Tomlin also said DE Stephon Tuitt wasn’t in attendance for personal reasons. (Pryor)

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