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Friday, June 7, 2013
Wake-up call: Pay cut for Vonta Leach?

By Jamison Hensley

My tour of the division minicamps begins next week. I will make a stop over at the Ravens tonight, when the coaches and players receive their Super Bowl rings. The plan is to have a post from the event later tonight. In the meantime, here's the wake-up call ...

RAVENS: The Ravens are expected to ask Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach to take a pay cut, according to The Baltimore Sun. Leach is scheduled to make $3 million this season and has a $4.33 million salary-cap number. The Ravens drafted fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round in April. "We're both still here, so we'll see how it goes," Leach said. "Hopefully, it can work out for both of us. If it don't, I feel like I still can play in this league and I'll have a job somewhere." The last player who didn't take a pay cut ended up getting traded (Anquan Boldin).

Also, linebacker Courtney Upshaw has to improve his eating habits, according to coach John Harbaugh. Upshaw recently indicated that he weighs 285 pounds. "Courtney’s weight issue – which he does need to lose some pounds – is that he doesn’t eat right," Harbaugh said. "Courtney eats too much, and he doesn’t eat all the right foods. He knows that, and that’s something that he’s going to have to get a handle on or he’s not going to be the best he can be. He’s aware of it. We have everybody in our building involved in it. He’ll be in fighting shape, I promise you that."

BENGALS: Coach Marvin Lewis confirmed that offensive tackle Andre Smith will attend next week's mandatory minicamp. Smith hasn't participated in the nine voluntary workouts this spring because of personal reasons. "I'm sure any time you're away from the guys that guys will mess with him about stuff, but they’ll be happy to have him here," offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "He's part of this team and he's going to be a key to what kind of season we have. You hope he's doing everything he needs to do to this point, just as every guy in this locker room has and we’ll be where we need to be." Smith is unlikely to receive the $100,000 workout bonus that was included in the three-year, $18 million contract he signed in April.

STEELERS: Minor knee surgery isn't expected to keep starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from missing the start of training camp. So, backup Bruce Gradkowski savored the snaps with the first-team offense Thursday in the team's only scheduled practice at Heinz Field this offseason. "It's a great opportunity to be here,” Gradkowski, who played the past two seasons with the Bengals, told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Their goal is to win a championship. You can talk about that all you want at other places, but here it's a reality.” Coach Mike Tomlin didn't offer any significant updates on Roethlisberger, who had surgery Wednesday. "There's nothing new to add,” Tomlin said. “He's resting comfortably at home. We will get him in the building next week and proceed.”

BROWNS: Tight end Jordan Cameron will have to prove he's durable enough to be a starter in the NFL. He sat out the final practice of the Browns' offseason workouts Thursday with a hamstring injury that he suffered in Wednesday's practice. Cameron also missed time last week with a groin injury. Coach Rob Chudzinski said Cameron will be ready for training camp.  "I'm not concerned at this point right now about that,"Chudzinski said, via The Plain Dealer. "That position is a demanding position. As we get into the season, we will make sure we are practicing and getting those guys the right amount of reps and things like that."