- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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There have been three storylines that just won't go away this year: Terrell Suggs' injury, Mike Wallace's contract and Scott Fujita's suspension. You'll only be subjected to one in today's wake-up call. But you'll have to read below to find out which one ...
BENGALS: Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick won't play Thursday night, but his rookie season isn't over. Starting center Kyle Cook is out for the preseason finale as well, but his season is apparently in jeopardy. Kirkpatrick, the team's first-round pick, won't play a snap this entire preseason. He has tendinitis in his left knee. Cook didn’t have any significant updates on his ankle injury, referring questions to head coach Marvin Lewis, who didn't have much more to add. “All I know is he’s not going to be able to play this week and that we are going to have to evaluate from there,” Lewis said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer.
BROWNS: Outside linebacker Scott Fujita believes he'll play in the season opener even though he has been suspended three games by the NFL for his alleged role in the Saints' bounty scandal. Fujita declined to give many details for his positive outlook other than saying he was encouraged by U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan's recent statements regarding suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's request for a temporary restraining order to block the bounty sanctions. In other news, rookie defensive tackle Billy Winn is rotating with fellow first-year player John Hughes on the first-team defense. Winn, a sixth-round pick, is making an impression on the coaching staff. "He, to me, is like Josh Gordon," coach Pat Shurmur said. "Each week, I see something better and different about him."
RAVENS: Joe Flacco continues to shine in the Ravens' no-huddle offense, but running back Ray Rice has disappeared in it. In last week's preseason game, Flacco threw the ball 36 times in one half while Rice received three touches in one quarter of work. It was only a week ago when running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said the team wouldn't reduce Rice's workload after he signed a big contract. Has something changed? "Absolutely not," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said, via the team's official website. "Ray, we know, is one of our best players. The bottom line is that he’s always a huge part of what we’re doing and we’re always looking to see how people are defending him to see how we can continue to get him the ball in space."
STEELERS: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that linebacker James Harrison (knee), who was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, will practice Monday. If there is no setback, the expectation is for Harrison to play in the season opener at Denver, although he may be limited. The same goes for backup linebacker Jason Worilds, who is recovering from wrist surgery. Even if Harrison is on a snap count, it would be a big boost for the Steelers. In going against Peyton Manning in the season opener, Pittsburgh needs Harrison to be on the field in pass-rushing situations.