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Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Wake-up: Weeden says he will sign on time

By Jamison Hensley

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

Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden reiterated to the Akron Beacon Journal that he he will sign his rookie contract before training camp starts in late July.

Weeden and running back Trent Richardson, the team's first-round picks, are the only ones from the Browns' draft class who remain unsigned.

“I’m ready to sign it,” Weeden said. “I’m not going to miss any time. I’m going to sign before [training] camp. It’s just nitpick stuff, but we’ll get it done. I’ll get it done.”

Richardson also said he's close to signing. "As far as the business side, I think it’s pretty much wrapped up,” Richardson told 92.3 The Fan during the golf outing. “I think everything is pretty much done. There’s just some language in there that they have to get done."

Hensley's slant: It would be a major surprise if Weeden wasn't signed by camp. Weeden and the Browns understand the importance of getting him to camp on time to get him ready to start the regular season. There's also another incentive for Weeden -- the Browns can fine him $30,000 per day for not showing up at training camp under the new collective bargaining agreement.

BENGALS: Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, a third-round pick, signed with the Bengals. That leaves defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, who was also taken in the third round, as the only unsigned draft pick for the Bengals. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals are one of 10 teams with one pick left to sign. Hensley's slant: Sanu reportedly has the edge for the No. 2 wide receiver spot. He has drawn comparisons to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. I'll see first-hand when I attend Bengals minicamp Tuesday.

RAVENS: Wide receiver Derrick Mason, who retired as a Raven on Monday, said it’s for others to decide if he’s worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “I don’t think I revitalized the wide receiver position by any means or stretch of the imagination,” Mason said at his news conference, via the Carroll County (Md.) Times. “I went out and did my job. I hope the numbers speak for themselves. Was I flashy? No, but I was a hard worker and I went out and did what I was supposed to do. .. I just want to be remembered as a guy that went out there and did his job the way he knew how, and that was hard and fast.” Hensley's slant: Mason has impressive credentials. He ranks 11th in league history in catches (943) and 19th in receiving yards (12,061). He’s the only player in NFL history to surpass 5,000 total return yards and 10,000 receiving yards. But the current logjam at wide receiver makes him a long shot. I think Hines Ward has a better shot at the Hall of Fame than Mason.

STEELERS: Ben Roethlisberger wore the No. 78 jersey at last week's minicamp in honor of former teammate, offensive tackle Max Starks. It's unknown if Roethlisberger was sending a message. "He's doing well," Roethlisberger said of Starks, via WPXI in Pittsburgh. "He says he can move around just fine and doesn’t feel anything." Starks, who is a free agent, underwent knee surgery in January. ... Meanwhile, in some off-the-wall news, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from removed from an environmental group's anti-littering campaign upon finding out that he admitted in court to littering."We would certainly not have used him as a spokesman for the campaign had we known," David Mazza, regional director for the Pennsylvania Resources Council, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Sanders and teammate Antonio Brown were fined $300 plus court costs for leaving boxes by a private trash container in 2010. Hensley's slant: While there is a report that Starks is no longer in the Steelers' plans, I still think he is a better insurance policy at left tackle than Jonathan Scott. As far as litter-gate, fans will be more upset with Sanders this year if he drops passes, not trash.