AFC Notes: Broncos, Browns, Texans, Lovie Smith


Broncos owner Greg Penner is replacing the team’s field for the final game of the season at a cost of $400,000 after deciding that the condition was unacceptable. His decision has drawn praise from team president Damani Leech and veteran K Brandon McManus.

“To their credit, Greg and our ownership were willing to make the significant investment of a new field for our final game of the season,” Leech told “After our last home game and following a perfect storm of significant activity combined with inclement weather, the field was simply not up to our standards. Our turf crew and stadium management had a window to install it, we took advantage of it and they got it done.”

“We appreciate Broncos ownership replacing our field — even for just one game — to give the players a better and safer surface than the previous two games,” McManus said. “It means a lot that Greg and the owners took action after the field didn’t play or look up to the standard.”


  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski on any potential staff changes after the team finished 7-10: “I’m not going to go there…” (Jake Trotter)
  • Browns LT Jedrick Wills said he likely suffered an MCL sprain against the Ravens and will undergo an MRI on Monday. (Mary Kay Cabot)
  • Browns RB Kareem Hunt spoke to the media as if he has played his last game in Cleveland, saying it was a dream come true to play in his hometown and that he was excited for the next chapter of his career. (Scott Petrak)


If the Texans fire HC Lovie Smith, they will enter 2023 with their fifth head coach in the past four seasons. That pushes some of the scrutinies toward GM Nick Caserio, as most general managers don’t get three tries at hiring a head coach if the first two fail, let alone that quickly. Still, it appears Caserio is safe from the blame assignment that will happen after this season, as Texans beat reporter Aaron Wilson reports his sources would be shocked if Caserio is let go. 

“Nick has had a lot of heavy lifting to do in Houston,” a source told Wilson. “They practically had to start from scratch. That’s not an easy job. Has he been totally perfect? No, but who is as a first-time GM? And that’s not an easy situation to deal with. If you look closely, you can see they’re trying to build through the draft and do it the right way.”

  • Texans HC Lovie Smith on his conversations with Cal McNair and if he believes he’ll be back next season: “I meet with Cal every Monday. We talk about what was happening in the last game. We understand the totality of the season. Do I expect to be back? Yeah, I expect to be back absolutely.” (Aaron Wilson)
  • Smith on the Texans losing the number one pick: “They play to win every week and that’s what they did today.” (Tom Pelissero)

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