NFL Nation: Pat Shumur

The AFC North is known for bone-jarring hits, intense rivalries and verbal jabs among players. But bounties have never been an issue for any team in this division, according to the AFC North coaches.

"It's not something that's been a part of our culture in any situation I've been in," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review at the NFL owners meetings. "I don't know what generates that kind of atmosphere."

The NFL announced harsh penalties last week against the New Orleans Saints for paying cash bonuses to players for injuring opponents, including a year-long suspension for coach Sean Payton.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh called Payton "a great friend" having coached against him in college in the 1980s and coached with him as part the Eagles staff in 1998.

"I think he’s a great coach and he’ll be back winning a bunch of football games. But I respect what the league did, I respect what Roger did," Harbaugh said. "I think it sends a message. It’s smart, it’s courageous and it’s the right thing to do. I know one thing, me like everyone else will fight like crazy to make sure that that’s not an issue in the future. But it’s an important statement to make and player safety is the No. 1 issue. Integrity of the game is important.”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he's never had to deal with bounties in his 21 years of coaching in the NFL and doesn't feel the need to address it with his team.

"I never felt like I had to because I think our coaches already understood," Lewis said. "That's one of the things in our fine system."

Browns coach Pat Shumur said the team is in a wait-and-see mode on whether linebacker Scott Fujita will be disciplined by the NFL. Fujita recently said he paid teammates for big plays when he was a member of the Saints in 2009, but not for intentionally injuring players.

"We were not involved in that at all," Shumur said said. "I do think that player safety and the integrity of the game is very important for us to embrace that."
Browns coach Pat Shurmur confirmed that he will remain the Browns' playcaller on offense, which is the right decision. Actually, there wasn't really a decision to be made.

New offensive coordinator Brad Childress has only called plays for one season in the NFL. And there was a reason it was for one season. The Minnesota Vikings finished 23rd in yards and 26th in points (17.6 per game) in 2006, which led Childress to pass the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell the next season.

When the subject of play calling was first asked, Shurmur said, "Here we go," because he doesn't understand the fuss over the duties. It shouldn't be a surprise that there's heightened interest in how the Browns will try to turn around an offense that scored the third-fewest points in the NFL last season. Until the Browns come up with some answers, there are going to be constant questions about the starting quarterback and the plays that are called.

So, on game days, Shurmur will call the plays on the field and Childress will sit up in the coaches' box.

"There's constant interaction between the playcaller and the other people on offense," Shurmur told Cleveland reporters Wednesday before heading to the NFL combine. "Every place I've been, that's always been the case. So, yeah, I'll be on the field right now and call [plays], but it's constant communication. People talk about halftime adjustments. Well, there's adjustments going on all the time, and that's why we wear the headsets so that we can communicate."

Shurmur was overwhelmed in his first year as an NFL head coach last season when he ran the offense without a coordinator. The perfect scenario would have been to hand off those duties to an experienced playcaller.

Childress addressed the challenge of having the dual role of head coach and playcaller.

"In my case, I didn't think I could do justice to all the preparation that I spent as an assistant coach doing what I needed to do," Childress said. "Did I have a fundamental knowledge of everything that was going on? Absolutely, but I felt like I wasn't that pinpoint laser. That's just me, and that's why I gave it to Darrell Bevell, who knew exactly how I wanted it and did a great job."

Childress said he has no problems in going from a head coach to coordinator.

"To be a good leader, you've got to have good followers. I do know that," he said. "I know what I'm charged with here and how I'm going to go about doing it. Pat's been real clear about that, and we're not going to have any trouble at all."

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