What’s going on with the rest of the AFC North? Glad you asked.
*Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is trying to reassure fans that the ongoing federal investigation into his truck-stop business, Pilot Flying J, won’t affect the club.
“I said this on Aug. 3: We’re committed to owning the Browns for a long period of time,” Haslam said, as reported by the Akron Beacon Journal. “I understand in Cleveland there’s a great deal of uncertainty because of past history, but the fans should not worry. Our family is going to own this asset for a long, long time.”
As for talk that Haslam could run low on cash if his company has to refund rebates that have been denied to customers for as long as eight years, he again said not to worry.
“There’s absolutely no worry about cash flow,” he said. “If there was … we wouldn’t have signed the free agents, we wouldn’t be talking about doing the things we are at the stadium. We’re looking at this as a long-term vision.”
*The Ravens’ Bryant McKinnie isn’t the only starting offensive tackle not on the practice field as camp begins. The Bengals’ Andre Smith is sidelined with a calf issue, Bengals.com reports. Smith, who landed a three-year deal worth as much as $18 million during the off-season, didn’t attend mandatory or voluntary team activities this spring and summer because of what the team called personal reasons.
*On Mel Kiper Jr.’s list of the top NFL players under 25, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey ranked the highest of any AFC North player, at No. 14. ESPN's Kiper said: “He'll never be a star, but Pouncey is a steady player in the middle of the Steelers offensive line, and figures to be there for a long time, just like it always seems to go with Steeler centers.”
The other two AFC North players on the list are Browns cornerback Joe Haden at 20 and Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith at 21.