Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Witnesses have told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs injured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball. Suggs insists he was hurt while practicing a conditioning test.
What do the Ravens think? The team says it doesn't care about the cause.
“That's not a conversation we're even having,” coach John Harbaugh told Baltimore reporters Wednesday, via the Baltimore Sun. “It's not relevant to anything or has anything to do with what we're trying to accomplish. If it were I guess we'd think about it. The relevant conversation with Terrell Suggs is going to be rehab.”
Team doctors will examine Suggs when he comes to Baltimore on Monday. “Knowing Terrell, he's going to be back here sooner rather than later,” Harbaugh said.
Hensley's slant: While there has been no indication that the Ravens have ever thought about taking money away from Suggs, this reaction by the team is a good one for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. If the Ravens were going to put him on the non-football injury list (which would allow them to not pay him for the games he missed), the cause of his injury might have been a topic of conversation for the organization. Honestly, the Ravens have more to worry about from contract talks with their two offensive stars (quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice) to Ed Reed's ever-changing mindset about the season.
BENGALS: Backup running back Bernard Scott believes he has a chance of splitting carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who was the team's prize signing in free agency. “I think me and BenJarvus are going to be ready to handle how many carries they want to give us," Scott told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I think it will be pretty even, but you never know.” Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden made it seem a few months ago like the team is leaning toward a running back-by-committee approach this season. Hensley's slant: I don't see Green-Ellis reaching 300 carries this season (Cedric Benson had 273 in 2011), but I don't see an even number of carries between him and Scott. The primary runner will be Green-Ellis even though the Bengals will rotate these backs throughout the game. Green-Ellis should also be the one in the game when Cincinnati is in the red zone.
BROWNS: Montario Hardesty believes he's just as good a running back as the Browns' top pick, Trent Richardson, and wasn't disappointed on draft day when the Browns traded three picks (ones in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds) to move up to get Richardson. "I always felt like [we] were going to get another running back somehow this offseason, either in the draft or free agency," Hardesty told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "However we got one, I was going to be ready to come back in and compete." He said he's back to his college playing weight of 214 and has regained his speed. Hensley's slant: Despite what Hardesty thinks, there is no competition for the starting job. Richardson is going to be the team's featured back this season. That's why the Browns selected him third overall. The real battle is between Hardesty and Brandon Jackson for the backup running back spot.
STEELERS: Backup quarterback Byron Leftwich acknowledges he hasn't been lucky with injuries during his time with the Steelers, but he was fortunate last year that he broke his left arm instead of his right. "If it was the right [arm], I don't think I could play anymore," Leftwich told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I never saw the play; everyone tells me don't see it. I don't want to relive that moment, it was that painful. I consider myself a tough guy, but that right there was something different." Leftwich broke his arm in the third preseason game when he reached out to brace himself while getting tackled. The arm broke in two, and he still has a rod in it. Hensley's slant: The Steelers have showed their preference with Leftwich being their No. 2 quarterback over Charlie Batch the past two seasons. Injuries have always altered those plans. If Leftwich can remain healthy, he is the front-runner to be the primary backup to Ben Roethlisberger.