Three AFC North teams -- the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers -- held evening training camp practices and the Baltimore Ravens conducted their first workout open to the public. The response showed the extraordinarily high interest level in this division.
The four teams drew a combined 68,000 fans. That's right. It wasn't even for preseason games. It was for practice.
The Browns drew 24,131 at FirstEnergy Field on Saturday night. The Ravens had an estimated crowd of 20,000 at Navy Marine Corps Stadium, which is about a 35-minute drive from M&T Bank Stadium, on Sunday afternoon. The Steelers saw 18,000 fans make the drive to St. Vincent College, which is about an hour from Heinz Field, on Friday night. And the Bengals got 6,500 fans to show up for an early evening practice Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium after reaching a capacity crowd of 2,000 for a workout Sunday.
“The energy of pulling through that tunnel and coming out that first minute there, that was exciting,” first-year Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “I went to the ‘Dawg Pound’ and had a few high-fives down there."
Based on how fans have supported the teams in the division so far, the teams should give them a standing ovation.