Wake-up: Is Tom Heckert the next to go?

October, 17, 2012
10/17/12
8:00
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It's been a busy start to the week in the AFC North. Ray Lewis is done for the season. Mike Holmgren is on his way out with the Browns. Troy Polamalu has been declared out for Sunday's game and rookie Alameda Ta'amu has been suspended for two games for his altercation this weekend. So, what do you have for me today, Bengals? This should make for a lively chat today at 2 p.m. But there's still some headlines to address this morning in the wake-up call:

RAVENS: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is expected to be activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list this week and will participate in practice on a limited basis, according to The Baltimore Sun. The timetable for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year to return is November. "It's going to take time," the source told the paper. "There's no reason to do anything risky with a guy this important. You have to think about the big picture with him." With the number of injuries that have hit the defense, the Ravens could try to speed up Suggs' timetable. But the team wants him to be there for the playoffs and don't want to risk rushing him back.

BENGALS: Apparently coach Marvin Lewis needs to come up with better halftime speeches. The Bengals have been outscored 57-10 in the third quarter this year, according to CBSSports.com. “I don't have an idea,” Lewis said. “If you look in the past, that's been a strength. I can look at years past, particularly last year, and it was a strength of ours. It was a strength of ours in the preseason. But right now, it's not. And it's not that the defense has been dreadful, it's just that we've been dreadful on offense in the third quarter.” Lewis was right about having success in the third quarter in the past. Last season, the Bengals outscored opponents 86-50.

STEELERS: It was less than a year ago when Steelers linebacker James Harrison became the first player to be suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit at a time when the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has attempted to enforce enhanced player safety rules. Now, Harrison is leading the charge to improve protection for the head. After enduring what he estimated as "double digit" bouts with concussion-like symptoms throughout his decade-long career, Harrison began using a special layer of padding inside his helmet last fall and is pleased with the results. "I haven't seen any spots or had any blackouts," Harrison said.

BROWNS: Team president Mike Holmgren might not be the only front-office member on the way out in Cleveland. General manager Tom Heckert is "not optimistic" he'll survive the ownership change, a league source told The Plain Dealer. Heckert worked for Joe Banner, the Browns' new chief executive officer, for nine seasons when they both were with the Eagles. But multiple sources told FOXSportsOhio.com that Heckert has told people close to him that he believes he'll lose his position with the team at the end of the season. Heckert has done a commendable job in rebuilding the Browns through the draft. If the Browns don't want him, he should have no problem catching on another team's personnel staff in 2013.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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