Welcome to Around the AFC North. Every Monday, we'll bring you the biggest news from around the division, as well as big league-wide news that affects the Ravens.
Steelers: Le'Veon Bell Is Still Holding Out
Three-time Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell is still not at Steelers practice as he continues his holdout in search of a new contract. It's the second straight offseason that Bell has held out in refusing to sign his franchise tender, except last year he reported back for duty on Sept. 1. This year, his holdout is extending into the first week of game preparation.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert issued the following statement: "We are disappointed Le'Veon Bell has not signed his franchise tender and rejoined his teammates. Coach Tomlin and the coaching staff will continue to focus on preparing the players on our roster for our regular-season opener on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns."
According to NFL.com, Bell would lose more than $855,000 per game for every game he misses. He could still report in time for Week 1. Despite a late arrival last year, Bell still rushed for 1,291 yards, posted 655 receiving yards and scored 11 touchdowns. The Ravens face the Steelers in Week 4.
Bengals: Andy Dalton and the Offense Played Well in the Preseason
Last year, Cincinnati finished last in the NFL in total offense with 280.5 yards per game and tied for 26th in points scored per game (18.1). If the preseason is any indication, this year could be very different.
Quarterback Andy Dalton led the NFL in passer rating (130.9) in the preseason. The Bengals also led the AFC in total offense (364.5) and had the fewest sacks allowed (three), per Bengals.com.
The Bengals open their regular season against the Indianapolis Colts, who had the league's third-worst defense last year. Thus, their offense may be on a roll heading into their Week 2 matchup against the Ravens on Thursday Night Football.
Browns: Josh Gordon on Track to Play Week 1
On Aug. 18, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to the Browns after working on his mental and physical health over the offseason. He was cleared to begin practicing on Aug. 25, but a tweaked hamstring kept him off the field until Monday.
Despite all the time off, Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson said Gordon is on track to play in Sunday's season-opener against the Steelers, per the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich. Jackson said rookie fourth-round pick Antonio Calloway will start instead of Gordon, but the talented Gordon could still see a lot of action.
Gordon was a 2013 Pro Bowler after he posted a league-high 1,646 receiving yards. Open about his drug and alcohol addition, Gordon was suspended for all of 2015 and 2016, but returned to play in the final five games of last season and caught 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown.
The Ravens play the Browns in Week 5, at which point Gordon will have likely had plenty of time to get back up to speed.
Around the League
Bills: Buffalo named Nathan Peterman as its starting quarterback at the start of the 2018 season, meaning he'll be under center Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. In his second year, Peterman beat out rookie first-round pick Josh Allen and veteran AJ McCarron.