- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Ed Reed didn't attend the Ravens' mandatory minicamp last week, but the Pro Bowl safety did show up for his own football camp in New Orleans this week.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Reed returned to his old high school to hold a three-day football camp for young athletes between the ages of 7 and 17. Reed wasn't quoted in the brief article, but here's a photo of Reed teaching at the camp and another one him stretching.
Ravens safety Bernard Pollard also participated in the camp. According to the article, "Kids were taught football fundamentals, instructed in techniques used in every position on the field and were taught life lessons, such as being responsible."
Hensley's slant: I guess calling your coach to tell him that you won't be attending a required minicamp doesn't fall under the category of "being responsible." Reed should be disciplined for breaking the rules. But, judging by coach John Harbaugh's latest comments, Baltimore doesn't plan to do so. "I have tremendous respect for Ed," Harbaugh said last week after saying he hadn't heard from Reed on the second day of mandatory camp. "I have used the word ‘admiration.’ I am not worried about Ed being ready."
BENGALS: Wide receiver Brandon Tate has been "one of the best surprises of camp," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden told the team's official website. Tate, who was signed a week before the season opener last year, has been running with the first team this spring after mainly being the fifth receiver and returner in 2011. "Now, I think he’s more confident, he sees that he belongs as an NFL wide receiver, and I think the confidence level that he has is showing," Gruden said. "He’s got all the ability. He runs all of the routes great, he’s got great feel, and he’s done an outstanding job.” Hensley's slant: When I attended minicamp last week, the two receivers who stood out were Tate and A.J. Green. But Tate isn't close to winning the job. He will have to outperform rookie Mohamed Sanu and former practice squad player Armon Binns in training camp and the preseason games.
BROWNS: Defensive tackle John Hughes is shrugging off the critics who thought the Browns should have drafted a play-making receiver in the third round instead of taking him. He's heard analysts describe the pick as "a reach" and read how he would have been available later in the draft. "It doesn't hurt because I know my capabilities and I can't wait to go out there and show them," Hughes told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Hensley's slant: He finds himself in a situation where he can show his capabilities immediately. With Phil Taylor sidelined after having surgery on a torn pectoral muscle, Hughes is battling veteran Scott Paxson and rookie sixth-round pick Billy Winn for a starting job.
STEELERS: It's looking like Casey Hampton is embracing his role as a mentor. Hampton, the Steelers' starting nose tackle for the past 11 years, is helping to coach up Alameda Ta'amu, a fourth-round rookie who is projected to be the Steelers' nose tackle of the future. “When I first came in, (defensive line coach John Mitchell) taught me a lot,” Hampton told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “A coach can only tell you so much because, if they haven’t played the position, they don’t know what it’s like. You have to take things from guys who have been there. I’m going to give him the real life about how it is to be a nose tackle.” Hensley's slant: In what appears to be his final season, Hampton is really showing that he is a team player. He could've had a different attitude this offseason after he took a $2 million paycut (his base salary is now $2.8 million). Ta'amu might have to step up right away as a starter or top backup if Hampton (knee) is placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp.