AFC Notes: Patriots, Ravens, Steelers

     

Patriots

New Patriots FB Danny Vitale knows that he has a large role to fill following the retirement of longtime New England FB James Develin.

“It’s definitely some pretty dang big shoes to fill,” Vitale said, via NBC Sports. “James is a hell of a player. I’ve enjoyed watching him, really since I got into the league now. He was really a role model at the position, which as a fullback, a lot of people don’t typically notice how important that role can be. I think it was pretty clear how important James was to this Patriot team over the last however many years. Definitely have some really big shoes to fill, but I’m really looking forward to that opportunity, as well as working with a lot of the other guys. So, yeah, it will be fun.”

Ravens

With no other offers coming his way in free agency, LB Pernell McPhee re-signed with the Ravens on a one-year deal and is returning to Baltimore with a vengeance and the goal of winning a Super Bowl.

“I’ve just come back to win this championship, that’s all I want to do,” McPhee said, via Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com “We lost to Tennessee for a reason. I think it’s going to light a fire under a lot of guys on the team. If it don’t, they don’t need to be on the team, but I know it will. 2020 is going to be very special.”

McPhee is fired up about the additions of defensive linemen Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell. He is also attempting to curve his profanity in an attempt to step up as a team leader. Most importantly, McPhee is looking for payback against the 31 other teams who were uninterested in bringing him on board.

“I asked my agent to reach out to other teams,” McPhee said. “Nobody, of course, didn’t want me. It’s cool though. It lit something. There’s going to be a time when I catch whoever I catch. I guess it’s going to be the Cincinnati Bengals. Snatch one of their souls out their chest – in a good way.”

Steelers

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin is concerned about the ability of his incoming rookie class to be ready for the 2020 season.

“Their ability to contribute, their ability to gain significant roles and to maintain those significant roles are gonna be challenging in these circumstances, more challenging than normal,” Tomlin said, via Jalen McCain. “And I think throughout the course of this journey, we’re all going to realize how significant or maybe insignificant that is. I’m working my tail off with the Pittsburgh Steeler rookies to make it as insignificant as possible.”

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