AFC Notes: Jets, Patriots, Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger


  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini believes the Jets should let WRs Keelan Cole and Jamison Crowder depart in free agency and put energy into re-signing WR Braxton Berrios, who has really come on in the second half of the season. 
  • Cimini thinks the Jets could end up trading WR Denzel Mims, though whether they get much more than a conditional pick or a late-round swap is debatable. 
  • He adds he would expect the Jets to target a receiver or pass-catching tight end in the draft as well. 
  • Jets HC Robert Saleh said OT George Fant needs a second opinion on his knee, but fourth-round RB Michael Carter and second-round WR Elijah Moore could both play this week. (Ralph Vacchiano)
  • Saleh added LT Mekhi Becton will officially not play in Week 18. (Connor Hughes)


Patriots DB Adrian Phillips said he was relieved when the news broke about his three-year extension with New England.

Once I found out, I was happy. It was just like a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” Phillips said, via Boston Herald.

Outside of staying in New England, Phillips said playing for HC Bill Belichick was a huge selling point for him, and reiterated his love for the organization.

From the outside in you kind of get this stigma about Foxboro. Like, there’s no fun here, blah, blah, blah, whatever it is. Then you get here and you see it ain’t like that at all,” Phillips said. “It’s really just hard work. You do your job, you win games, you have fun going to the postseason. Being able to be coached by somebody like coach (Bill) Belichick, who doesn’t want that opportunity?” Phillips continued. “He’s the greatest coach in the game — to me, personally — and just being around his mind, his savvy, seeing how he operates. This is where I want to be. This is a city built on football and I just love it. So it was easy for me to get something worked out to stay here.

  • The Patriots hosted OL Drew Desjarlais on a visit on Monday. (Aaron Wilson)


Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said QB Ben Roethlisberger approached his last game in Pittsburgh properly.

“Ben did a really nice job of setting the pace,” Tomlin said, via Brooke Pryor. “He was singularly focused. It was business as usual, and so he was easy to follow, and I think that everybody got their vibe from him in that way. Obviously, it was an extremely emotional night and all that, but he did a good job kind of setting the post for that approach all week.”

Roethlisberger mentioned Pittsburgh will always be a special place to him.

“This is home,” Roethlisberger said. “I was born in Ohio, but I live here, and I’ll always be here. These fans and this place means so much to me and my family and always will. I’ve always said they’re the best fans in all of sports, and I’ll stick by that until the day I die.

“To see all the signs and jerseys and towels, and to hear them cheer for me coming out of the tunnel, all that stuff, I don’t know that I’ll ever put it into words. I wish I could bottle it and have it forever. But I will in here and in my mind.”

Roethlisberger added he wanted to embrace the moment after the game.

“Just wanted to sit down and take it in,” Roethlisberger said. “Just try and absorb every minute of this place because it’s so special, the fans are so special. I wanted to win this game more than anything for them. Obviously, we still have a bigger — we got another game. There is a slim chance [to make the playoffs], but we’ve got to keep fighting.”

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