Injuries, suspensions and even contract disputes (the Ravens' Bryant McKinnie) have taken over the headlines in the AFC North leading up to the season opener. If you're anything like me, you're always kind of "questionable" in terms of getting out of bed. Well, I hope today's wake-up call will get you on the right track ...
BENGALS: As expected, the Bengals placed center Kyle Cook (high ankle sprain) on the new injured reserve-recall list. Under that designation, Cook will be eligible to return to practice as early as Week 7 and will be eligible to play as early as Week 9. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cook had started the last 50 regular-season and postseason games, which had been tied with left tackle Andrew Whitworth for the team's longest current streak. The Bengals recently signed Jeff Faine to fill in for Cook, who hasn't disclosed a timetable to return.
BROWNS: While cornerback Joe Haden awaits word on his suspension, there is a chance that linebacker Scott Fujita could be removed from the suspended list this week. The NFL Players Association has asked a federal judge for a temporary restraining order that would allow players suspended in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation to rejoin their teams in time to play regular season openers. Fujita has been suspended for three games for his alleged role in the Saints' bounty scandal.
RAVENS: Injuries to Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Courtney Upshaw (sprained shoulder) played a role in Sergio Kindle making the season-opening roster. “Sergio’s potential as a pass rusher is something that’s really important,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, via The Baltimore Sun. Kindle, the team's top pick in the 2010 draft, has yet to show the same potential since he fell down two flights of stairs before his rookie training camp. “He’s got some talent, obviously," Harbaugh said. "He’s still probably on his way back from a really bad brain injury. It’s remarkable how far he’s come, and we’re not ready to give up on him. We never would ‘give up on him’ -- that’s probably a bad choice of words -- but we’re still looking at him as a pass-rusher and a physical edge-setter as an outside linebacker.”
STEELERS: Linebacker James Harrison has never been known as a conversationalist. That's why it wasn't surprising to hear how he communicated the status of his knee. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Harrison, who wasn't wearing a brace on his knee, gave the "A-OK" sign when he was asked how it reacted to treatment. "I know that if it's within his power to be there and perform and, particularly for his teammates, he will be," coach Mike Tomlin said. "I have had no reservations about him in that regard. The issue is just whether or not he gets a clean bill of health from our medical staff. He has to this point in terms of being able to practice. We'll see how his body responds to that work and let that be a determinant about how we move forward."