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Around the AFC North: Mike Tomlin Will Reportedly Weigh Options on His Future

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on prior to an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024 in Baltimore.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on prior to an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024 in Baltimore.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Report Says Mike Tomlin to Decide on Future After Season

It has been an interesting season for the Steelers and Head Coach Mike Tomlin, and the buzz surrounding his future continues.

In his 17th season, Tomlin is the NFL's longest-tenured active head coach who has never suffered a losing season. Pittsburgh won its last three games to make the playoffs, but that has not ended speculation that Tomlin may not return for the 2024 season.

According to a Pro Football Talk report, the Steelers want to extend Tomlin's contract, but he has not yet decided on his future and will talk to his family after the season. Tomlin still has another year remaining on his current contract, and he has never entered the final year of a deal before signing an extension.

Other NFL media insiders have said Tomlin's future for next season has not been finalized.

"He's got a year left on his contract," ESPN's Adam Schefter said via Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "And there are some people around the league who believe that Mike Tomlin could decide eventually to take some time off like Sean Payton did. Maybe take a year off. ... Mike Tomlin gets to dictate what happens here, not the Pittsburgh Steelers. They're not firing him. He's staying on, but he's staying on if he wants to. But if he decides that he'd like to walk, well, that's a different subject."

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports agreed that the decision on whether Tomlin returns to Pittsburgh next season will be up to him.

"Mike Tomlin, a couple weeks ago, people were asking for him to be gone. Are you kidding me people?" Glazer said on Fox via Cook. "He's never had a losing season. Mike Tomlin, it will be his choice if he goes back to the Steelers or not."

Cleveland Browns: Kevin Stefanski Says Deshaun Watson Is Cleveland Starter, Uncertain If Joe Flacco Returns

Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski made it clear Sunday that Deshaun Watson is the starting quarterback heading into next season, despite Joe Flacco leading the Browns into the playoffs.

Watson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury Nov. 12 against the Ravens, but Stefanski said Watson's rehab following surgery is going well and he expects Watson back on the field this spring.

"I'm confident he'll be ready to roll this spring," Stefanski said via "He's chomping at the bit."

Asked if he was going into the offseason with Watson as the starting quarterback, Stefanski said, "Correct."

Asked about the possibility of Watson and Flacco being on the roster together next season, Stefanski said that was a question for General Manager Andrew Berry.

"I'd leave all those things up to, obviously, Andrew, in this offseason," Stefanski said. "I will say this about Joe. Joe was awesome for this football team. He did a great job, battled like crazy. I know he enjoyed it. I have a ton of respect for Joe and what he was able to do."

Flacco shared his thoughts on his late-season run with the Browns following their playoff loss to the Texans on Saturday. Both the 38-year-old Flacco and the Browns have things to sort out this offseason, but the former Ravens quarterback enjoyed his time with Cleveland and said he wants to continue playing. He did not rule out the possibility of returning as Watson's backup.

"Listen, I love it here and we're dealing with so much right now, just going through the emotions of this game and being so excited to be in this position and now to come up empty," Flacco said. "That's where my head is. Trying to soak it all in and let this digest a little bit."

Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor Will Reassess Offseason Approach, Hoping to Avoid Another 0-2 Start

The Bengals have started 0-2 the past two seasons, with starting quarterback Joe Burrow missing significant time during training camp due to injury.

Burrow is expected to make a full recovery from wrist surgery before the start of next season. Regardless of Burrow's timeline, Head Coach Zac Taylor said he will take a long look at how the Bengals prepare for next season, hoping to avoid another slow start.

"It's something we've got to really look at and assess," Taylor said via Geoff Hobson of "How do we start faster than we started the last two years?

"Whether that's changing the structure of how we do things, those are all conversations that we'll have as we move forward because starting 0-2 and putting ourselves in a hole really early is obviously not the start we're looking for. That's something that we have to evaluate and it's not something we have to do today. But it's something we have to do over the next six months. Make sure we give our team the chance to start fast."

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