Around the AFC North: Eric Ebron Excited to Bond With Big Ben

040620_AFCNorth
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eric Ebron and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in action during an NFL game.

Steelers: Ebron Hopes He and Big Ben Are Best Buds

When tight end Eric Ebron signed with the Steelers during free agency, part of the allure was a chance to play with Ben Roethlisberger.

Ebron had his best season in 2018 (66 catches, 750 yards, 13 touchdowns), making the Pro Bowl when he played for the Indianapolis Colts and caught passes from Andrew Luck. After Luck suddenly retired before last season, Ebron's production dropped to 31 catches, 371 yards and three touchdowns.

The Steelers hope Ebron will once again be to a consistent threat, and he plans to bond with Roethlisberger to ensure that happens.

"If I could be Big Ben's best friend, kind of like how it was with Andrew," Ebron said via ESPN.com. "I was always in his ear, in his pocket, trying to figure out the game through their lens."

Roethlisberger missed almost the entire 2019 season after elbow surgery, but he has vowed to be ready for the start of the 2020 season. Players joining new teams will face the challenge of learning a new offense during an offseason that is being severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. However, Ebron thinks Roethlisberger's experience will speed up the transition process, helping him build a similar chemistry that he had with Luck.

"They're elite minds at this level and it's just, I want to understand his language, understand his view from his focal point on how things are with the playbook," Ebron said. "I just ask him questions about anything right now, just trying to get to know him and start early."

Browns: One-year Contracts on Defense Become Trend for Cleveland

The Browns are adding many new pieces to their defense, but they're not locking them up with long-term deals. Cleveland defensive players who have signed one-year deals this offseason include safeties Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo, cornerback Kevin Johnson, linebacker B.J. Goodson and defensive tackle Andrew Billings.

All of the players came at a discount, and the Browns are hoping it all adds up to an improvement after finishing ranked 22nd in the league last year.

New General Manager Andrew Berry will use this season to evaluate how he wants to retool the defense without making long-term commitments. Meanwhile, new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski views Goodson as a player who will help the Browns defensively in a variety of ways.

"He has played special teams and is a good athlete that we feel fits our scheme," Stefanski told the ClevelandBrowns.com. "A lot of these guys may not be the biggest names, but I just know when you are putting a system together, you are looking for systematic fits. I think we have added a few guys that fit our scheme and that have some versatility."

Bengals: Zac Taylor Post*s* Fun Music Video With His Family

When taking a break from doing his job at home, Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor is having fun spending time with his family. Taylor, his wife, Sarah, and three of their four children posted a video on Twitter showing the Taylors horsing around to Lil Nas X's song "Old Town Road."

Dealing with the restrictions created by the coronavirus pandemic isn't overstressing Taylor and his family. Neither is the pressure of having the No. 1 pick, which the Bengals are expected to use to draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

"We've had plenty of exposure to the guys who have put themselves in position to be No. 1," Taylor told CincinnatiBengals.com. "We feel very confident with whoever we decide to take."

Taylor thinks the biggest challenge may be evaluating prospects that weren't at the NFL Combine who also didn't have pro days and a chance to make team visits.

"That's hard to replace with a phone call," Taylor said. "You look at our undrafted history here and our scouts have done a great job finding guys that can play for us."

Related Content

Advertising