NFL Nation: Terrible Towels

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Here are the most interesting stories Saturday in the AFC North:

Morning take: Although it's a little baffling why the Titans are resorting to these tactics so early, this game will be a great way to kick off the 2009 season. It involves two very good teams, a lot of trash-talking and interesting storylines.

Morning take: According to Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston, no. We will have a little more on Marshall's situation later in this weekend's mailbag.

Morning take: This would be good if Cook lives up to that comparison. Based on his scrums in minicamp, Cook is showing a mean streak and perhaps that will give him an edge in the race to be the starting center.

Morning take: Every so often we see former NFL stars hurting for money, especially since the salary structure for the NFL 20 years ago was nowhere near where it is today for former players like Kosar.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The Tennessee Titans stomped the "Terrible Towels" following last year's regular season win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Their reward? A Week 1 visit to Heinz Field Thursday Sept. 10 to kick off the 2009 NFL season.

The pairing is no surprise. Once the Baltimore Ravens asked the league not to play in Pittsburgh in prime time for the third straight year, Tennessee became the best opening week opponent for the Steelers. The NFL passed over other potential home candidates for Pittsburgh such as the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings.

In addition to the towel incident, this game also pits two strong AFC contenders. The Titans and Steelers combined for 25 regular-season victories last year and should be among the early favorites to represent the conference next season.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Here are the most interesting stories Tuesday in the AFC North:

Morning take: Seattle had money and logistics working in its favor as Houshmandzadeh, a California native, heads west to finish his career. The Bengals made a push but it's better to start over and play younger receivers.

  • Free agent receiver Nate Washington left the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign with the Tennessee Titans.

Morning take: I wonder if Washington will teach his new teammates to respect the Terrible Towel?

  • Free agent cornerback and return specialist Chris Carr is expected to visit the Cleveland Browns.

Morning take: A return specialist for the Browns? The team has Josh Cribbs. Perhaps a lighter load would let him do other things.

Morning take: With Foxworth, Fabian Washington and Ed Reed, Baltimore will have one of the fastest secondaries in the NFL. But how well this unit plays together remains to be seen.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A newsier day in the AFC South. Here's what you need to read ...

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • A man who says he was shot by Colts receiver Marvin Harrison was convicted of a misdemeanor.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • New GM Gene Smith has control of the roster and contracts, reports Vito Stellino.
  • The buck now stops with Smith, says Gene Frenette.
  • Former Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich is hoping the Super Bowl is his last game as a backup, writes Frenette.

Tennessee Titans

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