Sat, 31 Oct 2020

Around the AFC North: Big Ben's Big Arm Returns to Training Camp

Baltimore Ravens
04 Aug 2020, 23:25 GMT+10

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger's Return is Welcome Sight for Steelers

No. 7 is back on the field throwing spirals for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and their fans are delighted. After missing almost all of last season following elbow surgery, Ben Roethlisberger's return has created renewed excitement in Steelers camp.

Another video of Roethlisberger cutting it loose last week at Robert Morris University has also made the round on social media.

Roethlisberger's return makes the Steelers a serious threat to make noise in the AFC North. Consider they finished 8-8 last year despite inconsistent play from Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph. In his last full healthy season in 2018, Roethlisberger completed 67% of his passes for a career-high 5,129 yards and a career-high 34 touchdowns. The Steelers have leaned on Roethlisberger as much in recent seasons as they ever have, and his return is welcome news for their entire offense, particularly No. 1 receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

It will be interesting to hear the 38-year-old Roethlisberger's take on his return to camp when he speaks with the media on Tuesday.

However, the sight of Roethlisberger showing off his arm has gotten the Steelers' training camp off on the right foot.

Cleveland Browns: David Njoku Changes His Mind About Wanting Out

After the Browns signed Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper during free agency, David Njoku expressed his desire to be traded. But Njoku walked back his trade demand over the weekend, tweeting that he was all-in with the Browns.

An offense that includes Hooper and Njoku would add another dimension to Cleveland's talented attack. New Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski used multiple tight end formations frequently as the offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. In 2018, Njoku caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns with Cleveland before missing most of last season with a wrist injury. Hooper is one of the NFL's best pass-catching tight ends and had 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Njoku was concerned that his role would be diminished by Hooper's arrival. However, several meetings between the Browns and Njoku have gone well, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

With Njoku and Hooper at tight end, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry at wide receiver, and Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt at running back, the Browns believe they have surrounded quarterback Baker Mayfield with enough talent to have a bounce back season. Throughout the offseason, Stefanski has said he wants both tight ends and he may get his wish.

"My stance hasn't changed," Stefanski said via ESPN. "The organization's stance hasn't changed in that we believe in David, excited to work with him."

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow Sounds Confident About Rookie Season

Joe Burrow played with impressive poise leading LSU to the national championship. Now the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 draft is bringing his swagger to the Cincinnati Bengals.

During his first training camp press conference, the rookie quarterback wasn't timid.

"I expect to play well and I expect to win a lot of games," Burrow said via ESPN.

Head Coach Zac Taylor confirmed that Burrow would take snaps with the first team once the Bengals hit the field, which wasn't a surprise. The Bengals hope to fast-track Burrow's learning curve and want him to feel as comfortable as possible when they open the season at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Burrow won't have the benefit of playing preseason games, but he had informal workouts with several Bengals teammates before camp opened. The young quarterback raved about Cincinnati's second-round pick, wide receiver Tee Higgins from Clemson.

"I was very impressed the couple of times I threw with him," Burrow said. "I think he's going to be a really, really great player for us."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Cam Heyward's Long-Term Future Remains Uncertain

Cam Heyward has made three consecutive Pro Bowls and is entering the final year of his contract. Although Heyward wants to end his career in Pittsburgh, his agent says contract negotiations with the Steelers remain a long way from being resolved.

"I thought we'd be further along in the process," Heyward's agent Michael Perrett told ESPN. "In a normal year we might be. The current situation has led to a lot of uncertainty, but NFL business is still moving forward. Cam would love to retire a Steeler, but at this point, he just doesn't know how all of this is going to play out."

Several NFL defensive stars have agreed to new contracts recently like Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers, Myles Garrett of the Browns and Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs. Heyward would like to join them, but Perrett sounded as if a new deal with the Steelers was not imminent.

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