Inside the AFC North

May, 28, 2009
5/28/09
11:05
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

 
  Michael Fabus/Getty Images
  Ryan Mundy has been seeing action with the No. 1 defense.

Here are several notes and observations this week in the AFC North:

  • A player who is turning some heads in Pittsburgh this offseason is Steelers backup safety Ryan Mundy. The second-year player is getting a lot of first-team reps as starter Ryan Clark continues to rehab his shoulder. Mundy is a heady player who is taking advantage of his opportunities with a good minicamp and solid workouts. If he continues to improve, Mundy may be able to help Pittsburgh in sub packages this year.
  • Can Cleveland Browns receiver and return specialist Joshua Cribbs play defense? It appears we will find out this year. Although the Browns and Cribbs are being pretty quiet about the plans, the team is thinking of ways to use Cribbs' unique talents on defense in 2009, possibly at safety. Cribbs has been among the team leaders in special-teams tackles since he joined the Browns in 2006, and Cleveland is hoping to add some of that aggressiveness to the defense.
  • The Baltimore Ravens continue to catch bad breaks at tight end. Most recently, reserve Quinn Sypniewski needed additional knee surgery after missing all of last season. He could miss part of training camp. Starting tight end Todd Heap (back) and free-agent signee L.J. Smith (groin) also have been recovering from ailments. The Ravens are hoping to implement the tight ends more in the passing game this year.
  • It's still unknown if Cincinnati Bengals star receiver Chad Ochocinco will show up for the team's mandatory minicamp June 19-21. His absence would be somewhat of a buzz kill to what's been a good offseason in the Queen City. Despite Ochocinco's silence, there is reason to believe he will be there. Last year, Ochocinco showed up despite numerous trade demands. But if he decides to sit out minicamp this season to prove a point, the fine is relatively small. Per league rules, the maximum the Bengals can penalize Ochocinco is a little less than $9,000. He already bypassed a $250,000 workout bonus this offseason.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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