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Monday, March 16, 2009
Steelers, Browns begin offseason workouts

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Monday is quietly an important day in the AFC North as the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers begin their offseason workout programs.

Usually this day comes and goes with little fanfare. But there have been some interesting developments recently with Pittsburgh and Cleveland that merit attention.

The Browns have several important questions because of new head coach Eric Mangini. He is a strict disciplinarian who rubbed some players the wrong way early, and it will be interesting to find out who shows up.

Will defensive lineman Shaun Rogers, who wants out, be present on the first day of workouts? What about return specialist Joshua Cribbs, who wants a new contract?

And if players don't show, will they end up in Mangini's doghouse? The coach was waiting until today to address the team as a whole for the first time, making Monday's voluntary (yet sort of mandatory) meeting very important.

For Pittsburgh, the only offseason story of note is the unresolved contract issues with outside linebacker and defensive player of the year James Harrison. But Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, put that to rest, saying Harrison will not hold out from the offseason program and will be present with his team Monday.