It's another offseason week on the AFC North blog, and it's another edition of the wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Dennis Pitta signed his restricted free-agent tender, which guarantees the tight end will remain with the Ravens for the 2013 season, according to the team's official website. The Ravens put a second-round tender on Pitta worth $2.023 million this season. Unlike two Steelers restricted free agents (wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and nose tackle Steve McLendon), Pitta wasn't signed to an offer sheet by another team. Pitta, a fourth-round pick in 2009, can now attend offseason workouts with the team. He set career highs in 2012 with 61 receptions for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. The Ravens are looking to sign Pitta to a long-term deal, but he may opt to test free agency next offseason.
BENGALS: In addition to being impressed with second-round pick Giovani Bernard's ability to catch and run between the tackles, running backs coach Hue Jackson was "pleasantly surprised" after getting an up-close look at sixth-round pick Rex Burkhead out of Nebraska. "Not that I didn't know he had ability, but watching him in person, you get to see a guy in a whole different light," Jackson told the team's official website. "He has extremely quick feet, has really good hands, is very smart, and catches on extremely well. He's just another good player for our room. There's competition all over the backfield and that's what makes it fun and that you know you've got a chance to be pretty good."
STEELERS: It's been a crazy ride for safety Ross Ventrone to get back to playing for his hometown Steelers. After signing with New England as an undrafted rookie in 2010, he bounced from the practice squad and active roster on nearly a weekly basis. In total, he was involved in 29 transactions in two years. “It was a good experience for me going through the adversity,” Ventrone told the Steelers' official website. “It got me ready. I felt like it helped me. I always had to be ready because I didn’t know if I would be activated." After sitting out last season, he signed with the Steelers in January.
BROWNS: In what have become weekly updates on Brandon Weeden's status, general manager Mike Lombardi said the team is in wait-and-see mode with the quarterback. "Everything's an evaluation," Lombardi told the Pro Football Hall of Fame's luncheon club, via The Plain Dealer. "It's only his second year in the league. He's got a great opportunity to demonstrate his talent. (Offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) has been around some really good quarterbacks. Norv and (coach Rob Chudzinski) have been able to modify their system to utilize the talent level of the player. That's what great coaches do."