The white suburban guy in the pickup truck cruised the avenues of Mt. Auburn until he found the black 10-year-old he was looking for. “Monty!’’ he yelled at a boy riding a bicycle. “Yes, sir," Monty answered “What are you doing here?"
Derek Wolfe has never been a captain, but he has been a Bronco for longer than all but four players in the team's locker room. Domata Peko was a Bengals defensive captain for the last eight seasons before joining the Broncos in March. Together, they will lead the Broncos' defensive line this season.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years. In 2012, the Bengals acquired the services of Vontaze Burfict and things haven’t been the same for the Cincinnati defense. His presence has lifted the defense to another level and help put a collective chip on their shoulders. His tenacious style has gotten him tons of enemies and even more fans. But, regardless of anyone’s stance on Taz, his health is on point and he’s ready to be the leader the Bengals need.
In our first trade that the team trading a player gets nothing but a draft pick in return, the Cincinnati Bengals need to ship running back Jeremy Hill to the Washington Redskins. Hill is one of three players who is scheduled to carry the ball for the team next season, as the Bengals spent a 2017 second round draft pick on controversial Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. Despite Mixon’s transgressions off the field, he is a legitimate NFL running back, and should be the RB1 when the season starts.
Free agent receiver Andrew Hawkins hasn’t signed with anyone since the Browns cut him in February, but he’s been busy. Hawkins revealed on Instagram today that he has received his master’s degree in sports management from Columbia University. He has been taking classes there during the offseason the last two years.
AFC North Bytes
Long-plagued by injury, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green was released on Thursday with a failed physical designation, the team announced. His time in Pittsburgh began with what was the biggest free agency splash – the Steelers had made since they signed Mike Mitchell in 2014. Though that span officially ended on Thursday, it effectively finished in Week 16, when he absorbed a blow to the head over the middle.
Channing Stribling shrugged it off when he didn’t hear his name called in the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Michigan cornerback still shrugs it off after joining the Browns as an undrafted free agent, undeterred by things outside of his control. “I couldn't hang my head,” he said at Cleveland’s rookie minicamp last week. “I told everybody not to feel sorry for me, that's the one thing I didn't want."
It appears that an unpaid water bill allowed German investors to briefly claim rights to owning the Baltimore Ravens‘ football home, M&T Bank Stadium. The $5,200 bill was in arrears, which allowed the real-estate investors to purchase the lien on the stadium on Monday (as well as the Baltimore Orioles‘ Camden Yards) and — for a few nervous hours — it appeared they might have the right to claim ownership of both prized buildings if the debts remain unpaid, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer needed an eighth surgery on his eye Wednesday, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. The coach originally scratched his eye on Oct. 31 in a game against the Chicago Bears. He also had two surgeries in April, although he couldn't say with confidence the most recent one would be his final surgery.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Dontrelle Inman recently underwent core surgery and is expected to remain sidelined until the start of training camp. Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com passed along the update Saturday. ESPN's Adam Schefter noted Inman will be out six weeks.
Scoff at the notion of winning the offseason if you want to, but the fact is, this is the time when rosters can be changed and improved. Whether via the draft or free agency (or both), this is when bad teams have a chance to get better and good teams have a chance to get stronger.
For the last five months plus, Devonta Freeman and his party have made it well known that he deserves to be paid like the best backs in the league. Ahead of the Super Bowl, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported that Freeman's agent claimed the back deserved "elite pay," a comment that, due to its timing and confidence, seemed to anticipate a contract struggle coming this offseason before the terms expire in 2018.