AFC Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers


Browns TE Austin Hooper joined the Jim Rome Show this week, and expressed confidence in the Browns to compete for the Super Bowl this season.

You want to be in an organization where the expectation is to be aggressive,” Hooper told Rome. “We want it now. There’s no complacency. There’s no ‘alright we’re building for 4-5 years down the road’. No. We’ve got the guys here where we feel like we can compete with any other football team in the league.

Hooper continued, saying “It’s up to us to put the product out there on the field and work our tails off.


Ravens CB Jimmy Smith has played his entire career in Baltimore and is now going into his 11th season. He has no plans to be anything but a one franchise kind of guy. 

“I absolutely will not play for another team,” Smith said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “If the Ravens didn’t re-sign me last year and I felt like I could still play, I probably would have still retired.”

Smith’s foray into the open market last season helped convince him of that, and he went ahead and signed an extension while the season was still going last year. 

“I didn’t like being out there like that, and I passed up more money (from the Ravens) the first time to eventually take less money,” he explained. “This year, I was like, ‘I know I want to be here, so let me not play games.’ Obviously, I know I’m not going to be one of the two starters, but I know I have a role on this team. I’m comfortable with that, so it was easy for me to sign back again.”

Smith elaborated on why he’s so loyal to the Ravens. 

“To me, this is family. I know these guys. I’ve known them for so long. They know me. It’s hard to go to a new place, and you’ve got to introduce yourself, you’ve got to impress people. I don’t want to do all that. I’m good. I’m comfortable being here,” he said. “Financially, I could not play another down right now and live my life great. It’s not necessarily a money thing. Obviously, money weighs into this, but it’s not the deciding factor. If I retire, if the Ravens are done with me, then I’m done playing ball.”


  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette notes the Steelers have a challenging negotiation ahead with OLB T.J. Watt given they’re up against the cap this year and his new deal could push $30 million a year. 
  • He adds not to discount the possibility of Pittsburgh letting Watt play out this season and using the franchise tag on him in 2022 at the cost of around $15 million to buy some more time. 

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