AFC Notes: Dalvin Cook, Mike Tomlin, Cameron Heyward, Ravens, Steelers


Ravens RB Dalvin Cook said he doesn’t have any expectations and is ready to fill whatever role is asked of him.

I’m not looking forward to a role or anything,” Cook said, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “They call the No. 31, I’m going to be out. So whatever my role is, whatever they call upon me, they’ll get 1000% percent out of Dalvin.


  • Regarding Steelers HC Mike Tomlin being upset over questions about his contract situation following their Wildcard loss, Tomlin feels he could’ve handled the situation better and felt it wasn’t a suitable time to take questions about his future: “I could’ve handled that situation better than I did. I believe there’s a time and place for everything and postgame press conferences aren’t the time and place to address contract issues,” per Brooke Pryor. 
  • Tomlin reiterated that he expects to return: “Yes, I expect to be back and I imagine those contract things are going to run their course…. I don’t imagine it’s going to be an issue,” via Mark Maske. 
  • Tomlin added there’s no pressing need to get an extension done for him: “It’ll get done when it’s gets done. It’s not a top priority, as far as the timing of it.” (Pryor)
  • Tomlin said they plan on hosting interviews for their offensive coordinator position, via Ray Fittipaldo.   
  • Tomlin wants a “versatile and dynamic” candidate as an offensive coordinator: “I want us to be versatile and dynamic. I want us to score more points… I want us to use all the talent we have at our disposal,” via Chris Adamski. 
  • Tomlin indicated Kenny Pickett will resume the starting role, but plans on having competition for the job: “Certainly he will be challenged from a competition perspective moving forward.” (Pryor)
  • Tomlin reiterated they already have their starting quarterback for 2024 on the roster. (Pryor)
  • As for impending free-agent QB Mason Rudolph, Tomlin said he’s hopeful about bringing him back. (Pryor)
  • Tomlin thinks Rudolph proved he’s a capable NFL quarterback over the last month of the season: “I don’t think any of us can deny what we’ve seen the last month. I can’t underscore how important it was to be ready. We’re less speculative about his abilities. There’s more evidence,” via Gerry Dulac. 
  • Regarding Steelers RB Najee Harris saying they need more structure and discipline, Tomlin said there’s an undoubted need to make changes to operations: “Certainly there need to be changes. You can’t do the same thing and expect the same result.” (Pryor)


Steelers DL Cameron Heyward admitted that he fought the team doctors tooth and nail to make a comeback this season. He added that he is unsure if he will be returning in 2024 but has the full support of teammate LB T.J. Watt who offered praise for the tough veteran. 

“I fought the doctors every week,” Heyward said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “You can ask Dr. (James) Bradley. I wanted to put my hand in that pile. On the flip side of that, I put my body through a lot of pain this year. Get me to the stadium and we will go from there. But I can’t be doing that year in and year out. It has been pretty rough.”

“That is their decision,” Heyward said when asked about his contract situation. “I don’t live in the what-ifs. I would like to be here, but when your number is called, your number is called. It is a business first. We will cross that bridge when we get there. Yeah, of course, I want to play. In my mind, I want to play more than just one more season. I don’t think it is I can’t play at a high level. I think I can. I just have to get healthy first.”

“To be able to go out on the field and know you aren’t 100 percent going into the game is an awful feeling,” Watt said of Heyward. “I respect the hell out of Cam as a professional, as a friend, as a leader. I have so much respect for him. Everything. He just goes about his business the right way. That guy just wants to win, and to have a guy like that in the building just makes you want to fight that much harder for him. I know how difficult a season it was for him. Selfishly, I hope we can get him back for one more year and try to right this ship.”

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