AFC North: Jason Shirley

Outside linebacker Keith Rivers, who was traded today to the New York Giants for a fifth-round pick, wasn't the only disappointment in the Bengals' 2008 draft class.

Cincinnati failed to find a long-term impact player out of its 10 picks that year. Rivers, the ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft, finished with the most starts in this class with 33, and the only players that remain with the team are two backups: defensive tackle Pat Sims (third round), and offensive tackle Anthony Collins (fourth round).

Wide receiver Jerome Simpson (second round) produced a career-high 50 catches last season as the team's No. 2 wide receiver, but he now faces 15 days in a Kentucky jail after pleading guilty to a drug charge. The Bengals haven't ruled out bringing him back.

Wide receiver Andre Caldwell (third round) showed promise in 2009 when he made a career-best 51 catches. But he followed that up with a combined 61 receptions the past two seasons. Caldwell signed this offseason with the Denver Broncos.

There were two players -- defensive tackle Jason Shirley (fifth round) and safety Corey Lynch (sixth round) -- who played a handful of games for Cincinnati before going elsewhere for reserve roles. Shirley played last season for Carolina, and Lynch was with Tampa Bay.

The last three players taken in the Bengals' 2008 draft -- tight end Matt Sherry (sixth), defensive end Angelo Craig (seventh) and wide receiver Mario Urritia (seventh) -- never played a regular-season game for Cincinnati and are out of the league.

In comparison, the Ravens drafted quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice that season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers selected running back Rashard Mendenhall. Even the Browns, who had limited picks after trading for Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, got underrated defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin in the sixth round.

AFC North links: Flacco more relaxed

July, 20, 2010
7/20/10
10:53
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Baltimore Ravens

Sarah Ellison of BaltimoreRavens.com thinks some observers are making too much of recent comments Joe Flacco made about the Ravens signing quarterback Marc Bulger. Kevin Cowherd of The Baltimore Sun agrees.

Going into his third NFL season, Flacco feels much more relaxed. "Now I'm able to be myself," Flacco told Jarrett Bell of USA Today. "I can play freely, speak my mind and not hold back."

The team has a new autograph policy for training camp that's meant to protect children, but the new rules have their downside.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have released guard Jason Shirley under the waived/non-football injury category.

Former quarterback Ken Anderson reflects on his career with Brent St. Germaine of the (Thibodaux, La.) Daily Comet.

A training camp preview from Tony Grossi of The Plain Dealer.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns signed tight end Joel Gamble, who spent some time on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad last season.

Coach Eric Mangini would like to reconcile with his former mentor, Patriots coach (and former Browns coach) Bill Belichick.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Maurkice Pouncey is being investigated by the NCAA over an allegation that he accepted $100,000 from an undisclosed agent's representative before playing in the Florida Gators' Sugar Bowl victory.

James Farrior said he's been motivated this offseason by criticism over his performance last season, and he predicts a bounce-back year for himself and the Steelers.
Here are the most interesting stories Tuesday in the AFC North: Morning take: This will be an important pairing for Baltimore. Hue Jackson did a good job with Flacco his first two seasons, and now it's Zorn's turn to continue that momentum.
Morning take: Not with the No. 7 overall pick. But if Cleveland trades down that opens a lot of possibilities.
Morning take: This is a bad break for Shirley. It was debatable whether he could make the 53-man roster, but at least he would have had a chance to prove himself in training camp.
Morning take: The Steelers landed a gem by getting Wallace last year in the third round. Will he get better in Year 2?

Bengals fill practice squad

September, 6, 2009
9/06/09
2:50
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Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


The Cincinnati Bengals signed eight players to their practice squad Sunday.

The full list is as follows:

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