This weekend is perhaps the worst one of the year. It's the first without football. The next NFL game is the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 4, which is 178 days away. Luckily for us, there's something called free agency and the draft to keep us occupied. Right now, it's a very slow period in terms of NFL news. You'll see what I'm talking about when you read the wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Coach John Harbaugh said Haloti Ngata's knee injury is "nothing serious." Ngata, a Pro Bowl defensive tackle, missed the final quarter of the Super Bowl with the injury and had an MRI on Thursday. "There are some things in there we’ll just have to see," Harbaugh said, via the team's website. "It won’t be anything that should keep him out of training camp or anything like that." Harbaugh also addressed the condition of inside linebacker Jameel McClain, who suffered a spinal cord contusion in Week 14 and was eventually placed on injured reserve. “I’m very optimistic based on what Ozzie [Newsome, general manager] shared with us yesterday," Harbaugh said.
BENGALS: Geoff Hobson from the team's official website believes the Bengals are going to add a running back but it's not going to come in free agency. "I think they're looking young and fast and with three picks in the first 54 (of the draft), look for him somewhere in there," Hobson wrote. "There are a lot of backs out there and they should be able to get a solid speedster at one of those selections to team with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Is it going to be Ray Rice? Who knows? At No. 55, Ray Rice wasn't supposed to be Ray Rice."
STEELERS: In the third annual Shear Da Beard, defensive end Brett Keisel removed his signature facial hair. Teammates, coaches and even chairman Dan Rooney crammed into a packed Pittsburgh restaurant for the shaving event, which benefits the cancer programs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. "My (2-year-old) daughter came in the door and she was like 'Who is that? I don't know him,'" Keisel told the team's official website. "I had to get my voice out to her and make sure she realized it was me talking to her. She finally warmed up to me."
BROWNS: The team completed its coaching staff by announcing the hirings of John Settle (running backs), Ken Flajole (inside linebackers), Steve Gera (special assistant to the head coach), Chris DiSanto (assistant strength and conditioning) and Derik Keyes (assistant strength and conditioning). “The additions of Ken and John, as well as Chris, Derik and Steve, round out what I believe is an extremely strong group of coaches with diverse backgrounds, covering many years of experience at both the NFL and collegiate levels,” head coach Rob Chudzinski said. “They are all outstanding teachers and leaders who will bring out the best in our players.