I'm back for this week, although it didn't look like I missed much in what was a quiet week for the AFC North. I'll hit some topics from last week and I will post some fantasy rankings from our ESPN experts throughout this week. Our AFC North chat, which usually occurs every Wednesday, will have to be rescheduled because we won't be conversing on the Fourth of July. I will see if our chat can be moved to another time later this week. I will keep you posted.
But like every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
BROWNS: First-round quarterback Brandon Weeden appears to be "getting antsy" about not having a signed contract yet, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal.
Weeden didn't give much of an update on talks, saying, "What’s the politically correct answer here? I wish it was done, but I don’t know. It’ll get done. We’re working. It takes two sides, though.”
Weeden and running back Trent Richardson, the third overall pick of the draft, are the only unsigned Browns rookies. But it could take the top two overall picks, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, to sign before Richardson agrees to a deal.
“For me, I think I’m really just waiting on one and two to get done,” Richardson said. “Then when the big guys get done, I can sign.”
Hensley's slant: There is really no concern at this point about Weeden and Richardson missing the start of camp at the end of this month. Before the new collective bargaining agreement, teams didn't really start to sign draft picks until after the Fourth of July. So, there's still plenty of time to get Weeden and Richarson signed.
BENGALS: Backup running back Brian Leonard still likes his role with the Bengals. "When the ball is in my hands I feel like I can make plays,” Leonard told the Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times during his football camp. “I just want to do whatever keeps me in the league for as long as possible. We’ve made it to the playoffs two of the three years that I’ve been there, so we’re heading in the right direction.” Hensley's slant: In his three years in Cincinnati, Leonard has mostly been a third-down back and a special teams contributor. He's caught 72 passes and ran the ball 53 times for the Bengals. His role isn't expected to change with the addition of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the return of Bernard Scott to the backfield.
RAVENS: Wide receiver Torrey Smith spoke about the highs and lows of the league at the NFL Rookie Symposium. “It’s the expectations of the media and the fans," he told the Ravens' official website. "They’ll love you one minute, they’ll hate you the next. You’ve got to learn how to balance that.” Smith, a second-round pick a year ago, didn't have the benefit of a rookie symposium because of the NFL lockout last year. Hensley's slant: Smith is perhaps the best second-year player to talk about this topic. He dealt with a lot of pressure after he didn't catch a pass in his first two games last season. Smith then went on to set Ravens rookie records with 50 receptions and seven touchdown catches.
STEELERS: There's still no spot on the Steelers for veteran offensive tackle Max Starks, according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pittsburgh won't consider Starks until rookie Mike Adams fails or Marcus Gilbert gets injured, according to the paper. Starks, who had ACL surgery in January, posted on Twitter that he's almost at 100 percent. Hensley's slant: I still wouldn't rule out Starks. That is, a fully recovered Starks. If Adams isn't ready to start immediately as a rookie, the Steelers would be in a better position if they re-signed Starks instead of turning to backup Jonathan Scott.