AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers


Bengals’ S Jessie Bates wants a contract extension but is prepared to play this season without one. Bates, who has played all 48 games in his career so far and recorded nine interceptions, spoke to the media about the slowed contract talks.

“I think as far as my contract goes, I guess I haven’t done enough yet to be considered one of the top safeties in this league, which is fine,” Bates said, via Richard Skinner of WKRC. “That’s fine with me. I’m going to go to work just like any other day, my first three years being here. Just being able to have that open conversation with my agent has been great in regards to just having the conversation, very open. I think this will probably be the last time that I speak on the contract just because I think it can get a little messy as far as thinking about it too much. I’ve been out there practicing every day. I have a goal that I want to reach, personally, and I know I have to get better to help this team get to where we need to be. I’ll let my agent work out the numbers and stuff like that. I’m going to be the best teammate, the best leader that I can be for the 2021 Bengals. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

Bengals’ HC Zac Taylor points out that Bates has been a consummate pro despite his fruitless efforts to receive a new contract from Cincinnati. 

“He’s been a total pro,” Taylor said. “He’s having a great camp. Jessie embodies everything we want the Bengals to be about. When we define a Bengal, Jessie Bates fits that description. Fortunately, I can stay out of that and just coach the football team. Again, Jessie, he’s been practicing. He’s done a great job. He has a tremendous attitude, and I’m proud to coach Jessie.”


  • Browns’ sixth-round rookie Demetric Felton said he’s comfortable playing at running back and receiver: “My only preference is putting the ball in my hands and making plays.” (Scott Petrak)
  • Mike Garafolo reports that Anthony Fabiano has been impressive as a scouting assistant with the Browns after recently retiring from the NFL in January. 
  • Garafolo calls Fabiona a watchlist candidate for more front office roles in the future. 
  • Browns RG Wyatt Teller said he’s working closely with OL coach Bill Callahan: “I have a really good offensive line coach who’s on my butt all the time, so it’s easy to keep working to get better.” (Scott Petrak)
  • Browns DC Joe Woods said he welcomes the organizations’ high expectations for 2021: “I welcome it. I’d rather be in a situation where I have a bunch of good players and have high expectations than to not have them and have high expectations.” (Jim Trotter)


Steelers QB Dwayne Haskins said he’s focused on playing “smooth” after completing 16 of 22 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in Thursday’s preseason game. 

“Pretty much be smooth, and that is what I was trying to do,” Haskins said, via Joe Rutter of Tribune Live. “Be smooth, allow plays to come to me, trust what I saw and let my eyes and feet tell me where to go with the ball.”

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin feels that Haskins was “in command” against the Eagles and praised him for converting a third-and-8 situation after going through his progressions. 

“I thought he was in command tonight,” Tomlin said. “He did a great job communicating with people, going through his progressions. There was a third-down play, third-and-8 maybe, and I saw him go through three or four reads and throw the ball over the middle of the field and converted for us. That was a snapshot of the night he had.”

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