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AFC Update: Cameron Heyward and Alex Van Pelt in the Spotlight with Browns, Ravens, and Steelers

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  • ESPN’s Jake Trotter reports the Browns discussed a “reassignment of roles” with former OC Alex Van Pelt but ultimately the two parties decided to part ways.
  • The Browns have received permission to interview Titans OLB coach Ryan Crow for their DL coach position. (Paul Kuharsky)


The last time the Ravens had the top seed in the AFC, they were upset in the divisional round by the sixth-seeded Titans. The loss still stings to this day for the handful of players who remain from that squad.

“Those are (things) that are always in the back of our head, the guys that were there and experienced it,” Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “We know the feeling that stuck with us still to this point, and we don’t want to feel that again. We want to correct our loss.”

The loss has also understandably been a topic of conversation around the Ravens in the past couple of weeks, and it’s a demon the team is determined to exorcise this week against the Texans.

“We’ve been told what happened before,” Ravens G Kevin Zeitler said. “I think everyone here knows that. We’re going to just enjoy each other and this team as it is now, enjoy every last minute of it. We’re going to go out and play our (butts) off, and whatever happens after, happens after. Until then, we’re going to keep working and keep enjoying it.”


Steelers DL Cameron Heyward wants to play next season but admitted that injuries may make it difficult for him to do so. Meanwhile, the future is also unclear for HC Mike Tomlin, with Hewyard noting he wouldn’t want to continue his career with another coach.

“Every player wouldn’t be anything without Mike T,” Heyward said, via the team website. “This group would not function to even get to a playoff berth without Mike T. He keeps us accountable from top to bottom and I don’t want to play for any other coach.”

Heyward, who is turning 35, was dealing with a twelve-week recovery time after having a partially torn groin in training camp that became fully torn against the 49ers.

“In my heart, I want to play, but it’s been rough,” Heyward added. “I need to take the offseason to get healthy again, battling back through a groin. It’s one thing to walk off after a groin and it’s another to play football and there’s been some other stuff. But it’s definitely been another season that I just wanted to put my hand in that pile.”

“It was a grind just to get ready for each game,” Heyward told reporters. “It wasn’t by my choice to not practice. It was to get me to the game and I don’t like doing – I don’t like playing football that way. I don’t ever want to cheat the game, I don’t ever want to think I’m not going to be 100% but that was the cards I was dealt this year. It was a lot.”

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