AFC Notes: Browns, Colts, Steelers


New Browns HC Kevin Stefanski refuted the reported claims that Cleveland’s ownership made him submit game plan details to their analytics staff. 

“It’s not true,’’ said Stefanski, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I like that report. That was a good one. It’s silly season for that type of stuff. I understand that. But, to me, analytics — I can’t say it enough — it’s a tool, it’s a tool that helps.’’

Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam called the reports of Stefanski submitting game plans “irresponsible” and “totally inaccurate.” 

Rumors out there about presenting the game plan and those kind are just totally inaccurate and I really think they’re irresponsible,’’ said Haslam. “I really do.”

Regarding Stefanski using the Browns’ analytics staff during certain game situations, Haslam said they have not determined how they’ll use analytics during games. 

“I think if you went a spectrum of the NFL, it’s pretty common to have somebody in the booth helping you decide when to call timeout, when to go for it, etc,’’ said Haslam. “I don’t think that’s anything – we haven’t talked with Kevin exactly how we’ll work it, but that’s not anything that’s really unique.”

Stefanski mentioned that he used an analytics staff with the Vikings and believes it’s helpful as a play-caller. 

“It’s something as I as a play-caller that really was helpful,” said Stefanski. “It’s just another tool when it comes to play-calling and personnel. Again, something that the Vikings did, something that I know the Browns do. We have so much of this information. We have years of it, so let’s use it to our advantage.”


  • Per ESPN’s Eric Williams, former Chargers TE Antonio Gates said he considered playing for the Colts in 2019 until they fell out of playoff contention. 


  • Per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, Steelers owner Art Rooney II said the team is optimistic about retaining GM Kevin Colbert when his contract expires following the draft: “Have to get something done as far as an extension, address that as soon as we can.”
  • Rooney told reporters the team is “comfortable” with QB Mason Rudolph as the primary backup to Ben Roethlisberger. (Bob Labriola)
  • The Steelers have heard nothing but good news concerning Roethlisberger’s recovery from elbow surgery, per Rooney: “Everything we hear so far is positive. He is still in the early stages of rehab. That’s going to start to ramp up soon. We’re anxious to see his progress.” (Gerry Dulac)
  • Rooney doesn’t anticipate negotiations on an extension for Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to be impacted by his down year in 2019: “I think it’s a tough season to evaluate with the different quarterbacks … We still think highly of JuJu and think he can be an outstanding player.” (Dulac)
  • Rooney mentioned Steelers LB Ryan Shazier‘s contract probably won’t toll again but the team wants to work out something to keep him around. (Mark Kaboly)
  • Rooney added he “wouldn’t disagree” with Steeler HC Mike Tomlin saying retaining LB Bud Dupree was a high priority: “We’d like to have Bud back, and I’ll stay optimistic we can make it happen.” (Labriola)

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