Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

AFC North Roundup: Ravens Injury Update, More

This week's AFC North Roundup includes an update on the Baltimore Ravens' skill position injuries, Pittsburgh Steelers' safety Mike Mitchell's preference of teammate and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones discussing what could have been

The Baltimore Ravens have been without their 2015 Round 1 draft pick, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, for the majority of training camp, having suffered a knee injury on July 30. As such, he’s been sidelined for over 10 practice sessions at this point, as well as Baltimore’s first preseason game Slowly but surely, though, Perriman is working his way back. 

Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole reported on Tuesday that Perriman underwent an MRI to check on the knee and said the results were “normal” and that the knee is “just healing slow.” Cole said that Perriman should be expected back “in a week or so.” But no matter when that happens, it won’t be soon enough for Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh, via The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, said earlier in the week that, “He’ll be back sometime here in training camp, hopefully soon. I hate that he’s missing it, hate that he’s not out here. I’ve got a knot in the pit of my stomach, in some ways, about it. In other ways, I know it’s out of our control and I put it in God’s hands and let him take care of it. To me, that’s the best strategy right there.”

Perriman’s injury was first considered to be a bruised knee, but there were also concerns that the injury was more than just a bruise—such as a strain, which would mean some degree of tendon damage. Either way, Harbaugh is confident that it won’t be a long-lingering issue, saying, He’s got whatever they want to call it with his knee situation there. It’s not something that’s going to keep him out for a long period of time, they tell me.”

The Ravens need Perriman back as soon as possible. Though below Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken on the depth chart, the Ravens are hurting for receiver depth. And if Perriman is behind on his development, it could take longer than anticipated for him to get comfortable with his new offense and for quarterback Joe Flacco to get comfortable with him.

This is especially the case now that it’s confirmed that the Ravens and Flacco won’t have the services of veteran tight end Dennis Pitta for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. Pitta was placed on the physically unable to perform list to start the season, with the goal to get him playing by mid-season. Harbaugh, via Fansided, said on Tuesday that, “There’s more to it than just, ‘Can he play?’ Should he play? Will he be cleared to play? And what is being cleared to play entail in terms of liability and things like that? There’s a lot to it that has to be worked out.”

Pitta fractured and dislocated his hip in Week 3 of the 2014 season; he had previously done so during practices a year prior. Without Pitta, the Ravens will be relying on tight ends Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams to shoulder Pitta’s load.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Mitchell Preferred Playing with Will Allen Over Troy Polamalu

Retired Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is widely regarded as one of the best to ever play his position. But Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell, who joined the team last year, said that he preferred to play alongside Polamalu’s backup, Will Allen. Dale Lolley of the Observer-Reporter spoke with Mitchell on Sunday, who explained that the preference came because Allen and Mitchell worked out together throughout the 2014 offseason, while Polamalu opted to work out on his own.

It’s important to build chemistry at the safety position, something the Steelers are trying to accomplish presently. Mitchell will now be working alongside Shamarko Thomas, and the pair need to improve their on-field communication, especially with both men missing time throughout training camp. Mitchell didn’t even take the field for training camp after the first week, sitting out until Sunday with a hamstring injury.

Mitchell, though, did spend time with Thomas in the offseason, and likened it to his time working with Allen, saying to Lolley, “I think with anything, the more you do things, the more you rep them, the better they get. It’s important for us to get some reps together. But we worked a whole lot together this spring. We took pretty much every rep together. It was kind of like me and Will Allen last year. I worked with him all spring. I think me and Will had a little better rapport last year. I think me and Shamarko will be similar.”

Cincinnati Bengals: Adam Jones Says He Could Have Made $100 Million

Adam Jones, a Cincinnati Bengals return man and cornerback, lamented the past suspensions that cost him making a fortune in the NFL. Jones, via ESPN’s Coley Harvey, said on Wednesday, “If I would have never gotten suspended, I would have $100 million right now,” adding, “Ifa, coulda, woulda.” 

Jones was suspended twice in the early goings of his career, once for an altercation with a bodyguard and another for starting a brawl in Las Vegas that resulted in a shooting. Though Jones was not involved with the shooting directly, he still paid $12.4 million in damages to a victim who was left paralyzed. He played 24 games from 2006 to 2009 as a result, for both the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys.

Since hitting the comeback trail and landing in Cincinnati in 2010, his arrest record has been clean, and he hasn’t been subject to suspension. His on-field play has improved as well, with Jones tying a career-best 63 tackles in 2014. He was an All-Pro kick returner last year.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who is known for taking chances on troubled players like Jones, praised Jones’ ability to bounce back while in Cincinnati, saying, “He had a lot of ability and a lot of room to grow. To his credit, he's taken advantage of it.” But even though Jones is set to be a free agent next year, it’s likely his $100-million days are behind him.


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