AFC North News Watch: Day 34


As is often the case at this time of the year around the league, this past Sunday was a quiet one in the AFC North, but that will of course be a very different case in the fall. The weekends take on much less significance in the NFL during the offseason, as most business is generally conducted during normal business hours throughout the work week.

The most active team in recent days within the division, outside of course all of the attention surrounding the retirement of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, was probably the Cleveland Browns, so it makes sense to touch on them first.

As I recapped yesterday, Johnny Manziel, the Browns’ first-round quarterback from the previous draft, was finally released from rehab as he begins the path to reclaiming his place on the team, and in the league.

It will be interesting to see how he is integrated back into the team, given some of the mixed signals that have been reported from various sources over the course of this offseason. Publicly, they have been supportive, of course, but there have also been reports that the team is on the verge of moving on, and even considering trading him.

Back in March during the owners meetings, however, the ownership and coaching staff were very supportive about his recovery, making clear that in order for his professional life to improve, he must first take care of what is going on off the field.

Such comments may reflect the fact that the Browns have reportedly left Manziel out of discussions about offensive game planning during the early portions of the offseason, but now that he is out, the coaching staff will have a chance to take stock of where he is personally and determine what he can offer professionally.

As far as the 2015 draft is concerned, the Browns recently played host to Danny Shelton, who is widely presumed to be a first-round selection, of which Cleveland has two. Shelton is a big nose tackle who could anchor their defensive line as they attempt to improve a struggling run defense.

The Browns, in fact, have shown a lot of interest in Shelton, as they’ve not only brought him in for a visit at the team facility, but have also held a private workout for him. If they do intend to draft him, however, it will probably have to be their first pick at 12, if he makes it out of the top 10.

As for the Baltimore Ravens, they have recently held some draft visits of their own. The highlight not previously mentioned would be Breshad Perriman, a potential first-round draft pick at the wide receiver position to replace Torrey Smith. They have also previously brought in wide receiver DaVante Parker. Two local visits—cornerback Tye Smith and linebacker/safety Josh Furman—have visited as well.

The Cincinnati Bengals and the Steelers have been pretty quiet over the course of the weekend, outside, of course, of the previously mentioned Polamalu news.

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