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Around the AFC North: Joe Mixon Wasn't Worried About His Future With Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon Wasn't Worried About His Future

Joe Mixon is still with the Bengals and said he wasn't worried about being released.

The veteran running back ignored speculation that the Bengals would cut him prior to June 1. Releasing Mixon would have reportedly created about $10 million in additional cap space, but Mixon had faith in Bengals Owner Mike Brown.

"You hear a lot of noise, but at the same time, when you don't pay attention and you don't see it, none of that affects you," Mixon said told Elise Jesse of "It's a great thing to see what matters most is Mike Brown. . .. He embraced me since day one and I love Mike and I know Mike loves me too, so it's a great thing to have. I feel like our front office, everybody is great to me, everybody has backed me 100 percent, and it's a great feeling."

Mixon has three 1,000-yard seasons and his entire six-year career has been spent with the Bengals. However, his production declined from a career-high 1,205 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021 to 814 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Though Mixon is expected to be Cincinnati's lead back again in 2023, the Bengals took Illinois running back Chase Brown in the fifth round and it remains to be seen if Mixon will see his typical workload.

However, Mixon is looking forward to being reunited with former Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who the Bengals signed from Kansas City during free agency. Mixon and Brown were college teammates at Oklahoma.

"It's a great feeling, because I know what Orlando Brown brings to the table," Mixon said. "He's a great player. His dad was a great player. We're getting a great player, a great guy and a great leader. We've dreamed about playing together since my second year in the league. Now that we're able to make that happen is very exciting."

Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson Doesn't Count on Reunion With Close Friend DeAndre Hopkins

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson spent four seasons with the Houston Texans, where his favorite receiver was DeAndre Hopkins, a five-time Pro Bowler who is now a free agent.

Hopkins was reportedly visiting with the Titans on Monday.

Hopkins has also been linked to the Patriots, although Head Coach Bill Belichick said Monday that he wasn't certain when Hopkins would visit New England.

If neither of those situations work out for Hopkins, Watson would love to see his friend join the Browns.

"Of course we would love to have him," Watson said via Mary Kay Cabot of "He knows that we had a lot of connections, but that's kind of out of my range of kind of coordinating things. All I can do is make a call and see what happens, and let AB (General Manager Andrew Berry) do the rest.

"I'll just say this, D-Hop, DeAndre Hopkins, would love to be in a place where the opportunity is there for us to win. We check all those boxes. I think for us to know and make sure we check all those boxes on the national stage, we've got to go out there and prove it and I think D-Hop would love to be a part of that and proving people wrong."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyson Alualu Wants to Re-Sign

After 13 NFL seasons, veteran nose tackle Tyson Alualu is a free agent who isn't ready to retire. He's spent the last six seasons with the Steelers and would like to re-sign with them.

"I'm preparing like I will play this seaon," Alualu said, on “The Sick Podcast” via "I can't tell where it's gonna be. But in a perfect world, I would love to be back with the Steelers and finish here. But I've been training and it felt normal."

The Steelers drafted Wisconsin nose tackle Keeanu Benton in the second round, and it remains to be seen if they will reach out to Alualu, who played just 27% of the team's defensive snaps last season.

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