AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


Bengals’ DT D.J. Reader called the birth of his son Rocky the defining moment in his NFL career. He now has the motivation to perform well in front of his son, who is still just two years old.

“He was the turning point in my career in football,” Reader said, via Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. “I did my best all the time. I tried hard. I was a fighter. But when I had him, it was like there are no excuses for anything you got going. I don’t care what you are seeing, D.J., you grind. If he ever sees you let your foot off the gas, what does he think of what a man is supposed to be when he’s called upon? He’s supposed to go to work. When he’s called upon to do something, he does it.”


When asked about getting Ravens’ first-round WR Rashod Bateman more involved, HC John Harbaugh responded that they want to avoid “chasing numbers of catches” for certain players because it impacts how their system operates. 

“I’d like to see everybody more involved. I mean, I think part of it is we like it when a number of guys are targeted. It doesn’t always work out that way; you can’t create that. I think when you start chasing that, that’s when problems happen. I see every coach and every quarterback in the league get asked that question, ‘How do you get this guy or that guy more involved?’ As soon as you start chasing numbers of catches for guys, what are you chasing? What are you doing? That’s not how the game works. But we do want everybody involved, and we want it to be because we’re operating effectively and efficiently with our offense, and the ball is getting spread around based on what the coverage dictates – that’s what you hope for,” said Harbaugh, via RavensWire.


Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger mentioned that he’s been getting extra help from the training staff to prepare for games. 

“Just have as many people help as you can: chiropractors, masseuses, training staff,” said Roethlisberger, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “Getting in the pools and just doing whatever you can to get yourself ready. Everyone has to do this throughout the year.”

Roethlisberger mentioned that his shoulder feels more soreness than his surgically repaired elbow following Week 13. 

“It’s my shoulder that hurts more than my elbow,” Roethlisberger said. “My elbow feels great, thanks to the doctors. It’s just dealing with throwing. Wish someone could keep track; like I’ve thrown a million throws in my life, so at some point your shoulder starts to wear down a little bit. Just like any quarterback, your arm always hurts a little bit.”

  • Ian Rapoport reports that Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith suffered a contusion above his knee in Thursday night’s game and avoided a major injury. 
  • According to Ian Rapoport, Steelers OLB T.J. Watt tweaked his groin in Thursday’s game and has a chance to be ready for Week 15 against the Titans. 

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