AFC Notes: Bengals, Deshaun Watson, Browns, Ravens, Steelers


  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. thinks the Bengals should be able to get WRs Trenton Irwin, Kendric Pryor and Kwame Lassiter to the practice squad, which could let them keep six on the final roster instead of the usual seven. 
  • He also notes Cincinnati could explore adding more depth at tight end as they don’t have a good pass-catching replacement for Hayden Hurst if he were to get hurt. 
  • In the battle to start at left guard, Dehner writes fourth-rounder Cordell Volson currently has a pretty clear edge over 2021 second-rounder Jackson Carman
  • Dehner lists 2021 fourth-round DT Tyler Shelvin as a bubble player but admits that might be giving Shelvin too much credit at this point. 
  • Bengals S Brandon Wilson seems on a trajectory to start the season on the PUP list but Dehner believes the team might just outright release him with a settlement given how crowded they are at safety. 
  • At punter, Dehner notes Drue Chrisman has seemed to do well as the holder, which might be the last barrier to unseat longtime Bengal Kevin Huber given the younger Chrisman has the stronger leg. 


  • Following the announcement of his 11-game suspension, Browns QB Deshaun Watson said that he’s looking forward to moving past the situation: “I’m looking forward to just moving forward with my career.” (Aditi Kinkhabwala)
  • As for why Watson accepted the settlement despite claiming he’s innocent, the quarterback responded that he must move forward with his career: “I’ve always been able to stand on my innocence and always said I never assaulted or disrespected anyone but at the same point I have to continue to push forward with my life and career.” (Mike Garafolo)
  • Watson was asked why he’s apologizing if he considers himself innocent: “For everybody that was affected by this situation. There were a lot of people that were triggered.” (Garafolo)
  • Browns GM Andrew Berry said they don’t have any regrets about trading for Watson and would do it again today: “Yes we would. We felt we made an informed decision.” (Kinkhabwala)
  • Berry wouldn’t elaborate when asked if QB Jacoby Brissett will start in Week 1 but has “a lot of confidence” in the quarterback. (Doug Kyed)
  • Browns owner Jimmy Haslam believes Watson has shown personal growth since joining the organization: “We’ve seen him grow over the last 4-5 months.”  (Kinkhabwala)
  • Haslam continued he would still go back and sign Watson despite his suspension, pointing out that they also signed RB Kareem Hunt following his violent incident with a woman in 2018: “Absolutely. People deserve second chances… does he get no chance to rehabilitate himself? We gave Kareem Hunt a second chance. That’s worked out pretty well.” (Kinkhabwala)
  • Browns QB Kevin Stefanski said Watson has been ruled out of their final two preseason games. (Jake Trotter)
  • Watson must comply with evaluation and treatment recommendations by a third-party behavioral expert in order to be reinstated. (Adam Schefter)


  • Ravens first-round C Tyler Linderbaum is expected to take part in individual drills on Friday. He won’t play in Sunday’s preseason game. (Jamison Hensley)
  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh acknowledged they might not know for a while longer who will win the starting left guard competition between Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips: “We still have two more games. We still have a good week and a half — a good week — of practice left after this game, then a little bit into the next week. So, I would like to think by the third preseason game, after the Commanders game, we’ll kind of know.” (Jeff Zrebiec)


Steelers WR Diontae Johnson is looking forward to working alongside physical receivers George Pickens and Chase Claypool when the regular season begins.

“It’s going to be a big plus,” Johnson said, via Noah Strackbein of “They’re not going to be able to cover everyone, they can’t double everyone. There’s always going to be a one-on-one matchup, it’s up to the defense who they’re going to cover.”

  • Claypool revealed that he had two shoulder injuries in training camp but is now fully healthy. (Brooke Pryor)
  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said QB Mitch Trubisky will start Saturday’s preseason game with QBs Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph entering afterward: “We want to see Kenny in more varsity action.” (Mark Kaboly)

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