Walker's weekend mailbag

July, 25, 2009
7/25/09
2:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Let's see what's on the mind of ESPN.com readers.

Matt Palyo from Pittsburghville/Stuart, Fla., wants to know if Ben Roethlisberger's civil suit alleging sexual assault could become a distraction for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

James Walker: The Steelers are a low-distraction team, Matt. By this I mean Pittsburgh likes to handle internal issues swiftly and completely. But Roethlisberger's civil suit could take time, so the Steelers will have no choice but to deal with it and have it looming over them until it is complete. Although no one knows for certain, it does appear strategic that the civil lawsuit was filed right before training camp starts for the 2009 season. It's difficult to tell at this point how much of a distraction this will cause, but without a doubt Roethlisberger's legal situation will continue to garner the wrong kind of attention for the Steelers as it further develops.


D.M. Stanberry from Cleveland, Ohio, wonders about the NFL's misconduct policy with civil suits compared to criminal investigations.

James Walker: It's too early to say, D.M. Stanberry. When contacting the NFL offices earlier this week, I was told the league is not going to comment because (1) the details and facts are too unclear at this point, and (2) this is not a criminal investigation. It's an unusual case for the NFL involving very serious allegations but in a civil suit. This will be another thing to monitor as Roethlisberger's situation unfolds.


Scott from Pittsburgh, PA writes: "Troy Reed" is the perfect answer to a question I'm sure you get a million times. Hilarious and unbiased - I love it!!!

James Walker: I think I'm going to create Troy Reed in my new copy of "Madden 10" this season. Is it possible to have a 120 overall rating?


Lance from Columbus, Ohio, writes: What's up with the AFC North video preview not including the Cleveland Browns? Have you ever felt like the universe is against you being a fan of your favorite team? I'm starting to think the Browns should pay ME just for hanging with them!

James Walker: It's the law of averages in play, Lance. Last year Cleveland fans were the cool kids. The bandwagon didn't have enough room for everyone to fit in. This year there's plenty of room. So stick by your team, Lance.


The C from Glen Burnie, Md., wants to know if free-agent quarterback Michael Vick is a candidate to join the Browns.

James Walker: It's not likely, The C. The Browns have two quarterbacks already in Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, and the new regime in Cleveland is being staunch about acquiring players who aren't character risks. Obviously there will be a few exceptions. But signing Vick would be highly publicized and go against everything coach Eric Mangini and general manager George Kokinis have said in the past eight months.


Steve from Milltown, N.J., writes: James, I just want to say thanks for doing the player surveys. It was great to see what the players thought of each other, even if there were some odd votes (Carey Davis for breakout player? DA or BQ for best QB? C'mon.). It made for some great discussions and really filled in during the lull between team activities.

James Walker: No problem, Steve. I'm glad you and a lot of AFC North readers enjoyed it, and I could tell by the tremendous feedback. The players seemed genuinely excited, too, because they were being asked questions they rarely have to answer. Several players even asked when the results were going to be released, which shows they were curious about what their peers thought.


Austin from Charleston, S.C., writes: Hey JW, it was reported earlier that the Baltimore Ravens were meeting with Derrick Mason to try to convince him not to retire. Any word on how that went?

James Walker: Yes, Austin. Ravens coach John Harbaugh spoke with Mason this week and says it was a good meeting. Harbaugh wasn't sure Mason would return but says he is optimistic. My guess is that Mason is going to take several more weeks to determine if he has a change of heart.


Sam from Roanoke, Va., writes: James, I recently heard that the Washington Redskins cut James Thrash. Do you think he could be an easier target for the Ravens?

James Walker: Not to my knowledge, Sam. The Ravens need a receiver much more impactful than Thrash. They did sign veteran receiver Drew Bennett Friday to help and add depth.


Drake from Verona, Ky., writes: James, am I crazy for believing that the Cincinnati Bengals can have a top 10 defense?

James Walker: Not at all, Young Drizzy. The Bengals were almost there last year as the No. 12 defense in the NFL. They are a young group with a lot of talent and depth in several positions. Where Cincinnati's defense can improve is rushing the passer. The Bengals had just 17 sacks last season in 16 games and likely will stay out of the top 10 defensively unless they improve those numbers.


Tristan Siegal from Newark, Del., wants to know about rookie receiver Quan Cosby's chances of the making Cincinnati's roster.

James Walker: Cosby generated some buzz in the offseason program, but he's going to need to carry that over into training camp to have a shot. Receiver is probably one of the deepest areas for Cincinnati. The Bengals have veterans like Chad Ochocinco and Laveranues Coles and youngsters like Chris Henry, Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson that are virtually guaranteed roster spots. So my guess is that someone will have to get injured for Cosby to make Cincinnati's final roster this fall.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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