- 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:
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon acknowledged he lied when he recently said he hadn't failed a drug test at Utah.
This marked the third failed drug test of his college career. He previously had two at Baylor before getting kicked off the football team.
"Yeah, there was a failed test," Gordon told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "But definitely something I want to get past. Coming out here, I have a new experience, a new foundation to get started and I don't really plan on looking back in the past anymore. I only look toward my future."
Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the team knows about Gordon's past. Gordon passed a drug test before being selected in the second round of the NFL supplemental draft.
"We don’t expect that to happen again and when we go through the process of deciding that we are going to draft this player, we have to come to the conclusion that we feel like this is behind him," Shurmur said.
Hensley's slant: The failed drug tests are definitely a red flag, but many NFL prospects make mistakes in college. The bigger problem is that he lied about it. That's a red flag on his character. But, considering the state of the Browns' wide receiver group, this is a risk Cleveland had to take.
BENGALS: The team announced that it signed defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to an extension. Zimmer was entering the final year of his contract. While the Bengals didn't reveal the terms of the deal, the Cincinnati Enquirer believes it's a three-year deal based on the past two contracts given to Bengals coordinators. That would mean Zimmer and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden are signed through the 2014 season. In other news, the Bengals signed the last draft pick in their 2012 class, third-round defensive tackle Brandon Thompson. Hensley's slant: Even though Zimmer and Gruden are believed to be signed for the next three seasons, either one could leave for a head coaching job. If the Bengals continue their success, Gruden and Zimmer will become hot commodities. Zimmer interviewed for the head coaching jobs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins this offseason.
RAVENS: Baltimore signed two veteran linebackers, Ricky Brown and Darryl Blackstock, according to the team's official website. Brown and Blackstock played for the Raiders last season. Both are expected to provide depth at linebacker and contribute on special teams. The Ravens also added guard Cordard Howard, who spent last season on injured reserve with Buffalo. Hensley's slant: The Ravens could use some experience on special teams after losing two of their top four tacklers on coverage teams (Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura). This is also the same special teams that allowed three touchdowns last season. The team's biggest addition on special teams came in March, when Baltimore signed Corey Graham, a Pro Bowl player last year.
STEELERS: Pittsburgh placed six players on the Physically Unable to Perform list: linebacker James Harrison (knee), offensive tackle Max Starks (knee), running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee), nose tackle Casey Hampton (knee), linebacker Jason Worilds (wrist) and safety Damon Cromartie-Smith (shoulder). Head coach Mike Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Hampton could be taken off the PUP list before the end of training camp. “I’ll let time tell the story,” Tomlin said. “It is going to be at least a week or two, but we will see.” In other news, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the team promoted scout Dan Rooney Jr. to player personnel coordinator (No. 2 behind general manager Kevin Colbert) and expanded the duties for Omar Khan, who is now the director of football and business administration. Hensley's slant: None of the players placed on PUP are a surprise, including Harrison. He missed time in spring workouts with a knee issue. This isn't alarming. The Steelers likely want to bring him along slowly.