AFC North News Watch: Day 15


As the league meetings continue, we still find ourselves in the midst of a key period in terms of getting the opportunity to hear from some of the members of the brain trusts of each team throughout the league, and we have gotten the opportunity to hear plenty of newsworthy information coming out of the AFC North, particularly from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While the team appears to have completed its due diligence activities for the opening period of free agency, during which they came up with just one street free agent signing, the Steelers are turning their attention to the draft, in the process of which head coach Mike Tomlin said that he places a great deal of value in attending Pro Days.

Also on the table for discussion yesterday was the subject of nose tackle and starter Steve McLendon, who battled through injuries for a second straight season. Tomlin told reporters that he saw a lot of “growth and development” from McLendon over the course of the past year, and was pleased with how he handled the adversity associated with his injury.

Tomlin also expanded upon the theme of Dri Archer as a contributor heading into his second season, expressing confidence in him and calling him “a good guy” and “a smart guy” and “hard working”, which are “all the variables that usually produce a positive outcome”.

Elsewhere in the division, the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday lost their second free agent player when the Minnesota Vikings signed safety Taylor Mays. Mays was a backup player who saw the field in less than 100 snaps a year ago.

The Vikings were previously in talks with Bengals free agent cornerback Terence Newman. No other personnel moves entering or exiting the division were made on the day, as the league is focused on its annual meetings.

Sticking with Ohio, the Cleveland Browns are reportedly not overly excited about the prospect of being the featured team for HBO’s Hard Knocks series this season, after some earlier contradicting suggestions.

The most recent report is that they would not volunteer for the show, largely due to the fact that quarterback Johnny Manziel has been in rehab, and they would not want to have his personal issues broadcast in the public spotlight.

Regarding Manziel, the Browns believe that he could see the field for them at some point next month. Browns head coach Mike Pettine has said in the meantime that he feels the team has ‘stabilized’ their quarterback situation after signing veteran Josh McCown, suggesting that you have to look beyond his numbers.

For the Baltimore Ravens, head coach John Harbaugh expressed his opinion that the market for free agent wide receivers and tight ends remains a talented group that the organization could be potentially interested in drawing from under the right circumstances.

The Ravens lost a starter at both positions and have yet to replace them. nevertheless, Harbaugh expressed confidence in some of the team’s unheralded depth players, at the wide receiver position in particular, to step up and help fill the void of their losses, adding that more could be added through the draft.

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