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Around the AFC North: Kenny Pickett Makes Strong Preseason Debut for Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) throws a pass during a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) throws a pass during a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Rookie Quarterback Kenny Pickett Has Impressive Debut

It was just the first preseason game, but Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett was dealing.

Pickett completed 13 of 15 passes and showed no sign of nervousness while playing the entire second half of Pittsburgh's 32-25 victory over the Seahawks. The game-winning touchdown drive came on Pickett's 24-yard touchdown connection with Tyler Vaughns, who broke a tackle and scored with just three seconds left to play.

Former Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III, now an analyst for ESPN, was thoroughly impressed with Pickett's play.

Brian Baldinger of NFL Network broke down the tape and joined Griffin in throwing praise toward Pickett.

Starting quarterback Mitchell Tribusky and backup Mason Rudolph also played well for the Steelers, and Tribusky is still favored to be the Week 1 starter. However, Pickett was the first quarterback taken in the draft (20th overall) and he's already a fan favorite after his stellar college career at Pitt. With friends and family watching, it was a preseason game that Pickett won't forget.

"Really, the whole night was special," Pickett said via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "The first one to have as an NFL player, to finish it that way in that stadium with a lot of family and friends there, it was awesome."

The quarterback competition will continue, but it was a strong opening statement from Pickett.

"He moved his group, he played situational football, and he displayed competitive spirit," Head Coach Mike Tomlin said. "A lot of good things to build on."

Cincinnati Bengals: Burrow Back at Practice Following Appendectomy

Franchise quarterback Joe Burrow has returned to practice for the Bengals.

Burrow participated in seven-on-seven drills Sunday for the first time since his appendectomy on July 26. His participation was more strenuous than Head Coach Zac Taylor expected, another indication that Burrow plans to be ready for Week 1 when the Bengals host the Steelers.

"We talked about doing two reps in 7-on-7," Taylor said via Ben Baby of "And then he took 10. That's how it goes sometimes."

Burrow wasn't the only Bengals starter who returned to practice Sunday. Wide receiver Tee Higgins was back after offseason shoulder surgery, and Taylor was happy to see another piece of the Bengals' explosive attack on the field.

"He's ready to go," Taylor said of Higgins via "We've got time with him. On the physical part of things, he's ready. I know he feels great. I know he's ready to go, and trust me, he tells me every day, but it's good to slowly integrate him."."

Cleveland Browns: Starting Center Nick Harris Feared to Be Lost for Season

Nick Harris, who was expected to be the lone new starter on Cleveland's offensive line, suffered a serious knee injury during the preseason opener and may be lost for the season. Harris was injured on the second play of the game against Jacksonville and had to be carted off. He will be further evaluated before the Browns make a decision on his status.

"Nick is certainly a guy who has worked so hard this offseason, so we're really hoping that it's not a season-long thing ," Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said via Jake Trotter of

Ethan Pocic, who spent the past five seasons with the Seahawks before he signed with Cleveland during the offseason, took over at center after Harris went down. The Browns did not re-sign long-time starting center JC Tretter, who is still a free agent. It remains to be seen if the Browns will reunite with Tretter, but Stefanski said Pocic can handle the starting role if necessary.

"Ethan went in there and did a really nice job," Stefanski said. "He's been with us since April. We went out and got him for a reason."

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