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Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wake-up: Ravens in line for 'Hard Knocks'?

By Jamison Hensley

Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:

The Baltimore Ravens could be in line to make a repeat appearance on HBO's "Hard Knocks" this summer.

If the New York Jets pass on the show, HBO has interest in featuring the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, sources told Fox Sports. The show, which chronicles training camp, would feature the NFL's head-coaching brothers John and Jim Harbaugh.

A Ravens spokesman told the Baltimore Sun that he was unaware of any request from HBO. The Ravens were the first team to be featured on "Hard Knocks" in 2001 when they were defending Super Bowl champions.

The Ravens might not be high on HBO's list anymore. Sources told ESPNNewYork.com that HBO has extended an offer to the Atlanta Falcons to be on this year's show.

Hensley's slant: I would be shocked if the Ravens agreed to be on the show. When the Ravens were on "Hard Knocks" 11 years ago, their head coach was Brian Billick, who never minded the media attention and actually seemed to enjoy it. The same can't be said for John Harbaugh, who seems uncomfortable when the local media shoot parts of the open media viewing of practice. That's why I can't see Harbaugh signing off on cameras in meeting rooms and having it broadcast on national TV.

BENGALS: The team announced that it re-signed offensive tackle Dennis Roland, who was used mainly as an extra blocking tight end last season after being the primary starter at right tackle in 2009 and 2010. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also did not completely rule out re-signing Bobbie Williams. “We can’t close the door to it,” Lewis said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “What Bobbie has meant to this team, he’s been an incredible locker room guy and in the huddle.” Hensley's slant: The thinking here is that Williams would be a solid fallback option if the Bengals don't like any of the guards available in the early rounds of the draft. I still see the Bengals having a good shot at either Stanford's David DeCastro with the 17th overall pick or Georgia's Cordy Glenn at No. 21.

BROWNS: The team wraps up its pre-draft visits by meeting with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Sunday and Monday, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The paper believes that the Browns have four options with the fourth overall pick if they decide not to trade down: Tannehill, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, Alabama running back Trent Richardson and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Hensley's slant: I'm still not buying the Browns' interest in Tannehill at No. 4. There's also a chance that he won't even be available when the Browns are on the clock at this spot. Some predict the Miami Dolphins will trade to move up to No. 3 to take Tannehill.

STEELERS: Tight end-fullback David Johnson signed his restricted free-agent tender, which will pay him $1.26 million this season. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac expects the Steelers to carry three tight ends this season and sees the team cutting Weslye Saunders if it likes recently signed Leonard Pope. Saunders has reportedly been suspended the first four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances. Hensley's slant: This scenario could very well happen because the suspension might be causing the Steelers to reconsider why they signed Saunders as an undrafted free agent. He left South Carolina after his junior season because he was kicked off the team in September 2010 for violating team rules. That was one of the reasons teams didn't draft him even though he was regarded as one of the top tight ends coming out of college last year.