AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers


Bengals 2021 second-round OL Jackson Carman didn’t have the immediate impact Cincinnati was hoping for. He’ll have another chance to lock down a starting job at left guard in his second season, however. 

“He’s been doing the right things. He’s been taking care of himself the way he’s supposed to. I’m hoping for a really nice jump from his 1st year into his 2nd year,” Bengals OC Brian Callahan said via ESPN’s Ben Baby. “I hope that he comes back and we see a different type of player than we did his first year — mature, better, stronger, all those things.”


Browns CB Denzel Ward, who signed a five-year, $100.5 million extension, said he’s hopeful to play his entire career in Cleveland after being a first-round pick out of Ohio State and a high school prospect from nearby Macedonia. 

“It is special,” Ward said, via Scott Petrak of BrownsZone. “It’s a story not many can speak about. I played down the street when I was at high school, went on to play at Ohio State. Getting drafted, you don’t know where you’re going to go. And for it to be an area code of your hometown team calling and you’re going down the road to play for your hometown team in the NFL is a story that hasn’t been written many times. I take a lot of pride in that. I take a lot of pride in what I can do for this team. I just want to give back and show I’m that guy.”

Ward takes pride in being the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback. 

“There have been a lot of amazing corners and DBs that have gone through this league and been in this position I’m in now. To have my name there, I take a lot of pride in that and a lot of respect in that. I just want to continue to show that I’m that guy and I’m that player.”

Regarding the Browns signing several players to lucrative deals like WR Amari Cooper, DE Myles Garrett, and QB Deshaun Watson, Ward praised GM Andrew Berry for bringing “core guys” into the team. 

“It shows if you’re going to come in and put the work in, do your job, do what you’re expected, they reward those guys,” Ward said. “I’m appreciative of those guys and AB and the entire organization. Those are core guys and guys that you see out there on the field making plays. We’ve got to continue to hold that standard and keep it going. So now that we’ve got the contract done and everything, it doesn’t mean that we can relax. It means that we’ve got to go harder, if anything, and continue to show why we got it.”


  • ESPN’s Jeff Darlington doesn’t think it’s a foregone conclusion the Panthers are the definitive landing spot for Browns QB Baker Mayfield and thinks there are other teams that make more sense, to him, like the Seahawks. 
  • Darlington adds if for some reason the Browns had to cut Mayfield, he thinks he would sign with the Steelers the very next day. 

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