AFC Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. called this season “bittersweet” after sustaining a season-ending knee injury that kept him out of the AFC Playoffs. 

“It was a bittersweet season being on the outside looking in when all I wanted was to be in it with the team,” said Beckham, via Scott Petrak of BrownsZone. I had to put my pride aside and just watch it unfold. I’m proud and inspired by this squads (sic) growth and effort this year.”

Browns GM Andrew Berry mentioned that they missed having Beckham available for the playoffs. 

“With Odell, you always want to have someone that talented on the field, so maybe the easy (answer) is you always miss him,” Berry said.He is a great player. He is a dynamic weapon. You like having dynamic weapons on the field.”

As for the success of the Browns’ offense late in the season without Beckham in the lineup, Berry feels that they were able to “evolve” throughout the year. 

“I do think that there is an element of our offense just evolved over the course of the year,” Berry said. “Part of that is just chemistry, time on task or you name it. That is really independent of Odell. I have said it multiple times, Odell is a good football player. He acclimated nicely with our program, with Kevin and with his teammates.”

Berry also mentioned that Beckham is progressing well through his rehab from ACL surgery. 

“His rehab is going really well,” said Berry. He has done a nice job. He looks great. He is in a good mental spot.”

Ravens

  • Jeff Zrebiec notes that Ravens’ defensive assistant Sterling Lucas will be joining DC Joe Cullen on Jacksonville’s new staff, becoming the fourth defensive assistant to leave Baltimore this offseason. 

Steelers

As the Steelers head into the offseason with salary cap issues, veteran TE Vance McDonald is opting to retire and leave $5.2 million on the table for Pittsburgh to use in other areas.

“My family and I are so grateful for everything NFL football has provided us in our life — all the memories both good and the difficult, the relationships and friends we’ve made along the way, the life lessons the game provided both me and my loved ones,” McDonald said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “It’s always been our dream and mission to leverage the platform given us through the NFL to help serve and uplift others along the way, and we will continue to find ways to serve others as we begin this next chapter of our lives. I am proud to retire a Steeler.”

Steelers’ HC Mike Tomlin spoke about his time spent with McDonald both on and off the field.

“I am appreciative of Vance’s contributions during the last four years of his career that he spent in Pittsburgh,” Tomlin said. “He was a class act on and off the field, leading many of our efforts in the community while also being a voice for our social justice efforts and the community work during the pandemic. I wish he and his family nothing but the best in his retirement and his continued work to be a pillar in the community.”

 

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