Thursday, May 10, 2012
Wake-up: Richardson wants deal today
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
When Browns running back Trent Richardson reports to rookie minicamp Friday, the first-round pick wants one less thing to worry about -- his contract.
Richardson said signing was his top priority and hears it's "really close to being done."
"I want it done by [Thursday], because I want to get everything done with," Richardson told 92.3 FM The Fan in Cleveland. "I'm here to play football, and I'm here to win."
Richardson seems motivated to prove he's worthy of being the third overall pick in the draft.
"People have made comments about me being an ordinary running back," Richardson said, referring to comments made by Jim Brown on draft day. "As of now, I haven't been in the league, so I do have to make a name for myself."
Hensley's slant: While the Browns say they won't hand the starting job to quarterback Brandon Weeden, team officials have made it clear that Richardson will carry a lot of the weight of the offense this year. The stat that jumps out to me is Richardson scored 24 touchdowns last season at Alabama. That's four more than what the Browns' offense scored in 2011.
BENGALS: When the Bengals begin their rookie minicamp Friday, they will take a look at a couple of wide receivers who went undrafted but bring a lot of speed. Connecticut's Kashif Moore ran the 40-yard dash art the NFL combine in 4.42 seconds, and New Mexico State's Taveon Rogers was timed at 4.33 seconds at his pro day in March. "The more [speed] you can get, the better; let's see it," Cincinnati wide receiver coach James Urban told the team's official website. Hensley's slant: It will be difficult for any of the undrafted rookie receivers to make the Bengals this season. They don't have a clear-cut No. 2 wide receiver as of yet, but they have plenty of depth at that position with A.J. Green, Jordan Shipley, Andrew Hawkins, Brandon Tate, Ryan Whalen, Armon Binns along with draft picks Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones.
RAVENS: Newly signed defensive tackle Ryan McBean told the team's official website that he's grateful for another chance and put a positive spin on the three-game suspension that he received for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. “It gives me time to get myself ready and focus on improving my craft," McBean said. "Whatever aches and pains I have, maybe those three weeks will help me heal whatever it is. Whatever the situation is, I’ll use that time to get better.” Hensley's slant: It was a low-risk move by the Ravens, who need experienced depth on the defensive line. According to the Carroll County (Md.) Times, McBean signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal that includes no signing bonus. That means the three-game suspension will cost him a little over $200,000.
STEELERS: Fourth-round pick nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu heard a familiar voice when he answered the phone the other day. It was Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. "I answered the phone and I didn't know what number it was," Ta'amu told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I answered it and was kind of star struck. I tried to play it cool. You hear his voice and you remember those Head & Shoulders commercials." Hensley's slant: It's says a lot about the locker room when veterans reach out to the rookies. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called first-round pick David DeCastro to congratulate him after being drafted. But DeCastro made the mistake of thinking Roethlisberger was the team's travel coordinator setting up his flight to Pittsburgh.