AFC North Links: Webb, Browns, Eifert

Lardarius Webb has battled a back injury all season, and the Ravens cornerback told Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun that he suffered nerve damage in his back during training camp, severely hampering the start of his season. However, the 29-year-old is starting to regain his old form, and his defensive coordinater believes he’ll be a force for the rest of the season.

“I actually graded the film on the plane on the way back, and then I came in and watched the film again on Monday morning and I texted him right after I got done and said, ‘That’s the best you’ve played all year. You look like you’re kind of getting back to the Lardarius that I know,'” said Dean Pees. “I think that is a very, very positive thing about him. Hey, we need him right here at the end. I was very pleased with the way he played.”

Webb echoed that sentiment:

“Yeah, I feel awesome. It was late in the season and everything, but I do feel good now. I’ve been through a long season. I started off on the back burner with a back injury. I’ve just been trying to catch up the whole time and get it right eventually. Now, I’m right.

“That’s how nerve injuries do, they take time. I had to fight through it all year with the good and the bad. It would be perfect going into the playoffs to play your best game. Hopefully, we can continue playing and win this game and go into the playoffs and keep improving on the back end. It’s been a long year, a humbling year. I’ve been through a lot of adversity since I’ve been in the NFL. That’s been my career.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the AFC’s northern division…

  • Browns‘ cornerback Buster Skrine is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil wants him back, reports Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald (via Twitter). With Joe Haden playing at a Pro Bowl level and first-round pick Justin Gilbert on the roster, Skrine may be more comfortable going elsewhere to continue his career. Skrine has not talked about his next contract.
  • Meanwhile, Browns coach Mike Pettine was asked if he wants Skrine on the team next season. “Yeah, he’s a Brown,” he answered (via Nate Ulrich of “It’s tough when you have guys that are up (for free agency). That’s the reality of business. As far as what we’re looking for, and I already talked about it, just everything from Buster from A to Z is a guy that you want on your football team.”
  • Before the season, Browns safety Jim Leonhard declared 2014 his final NFL season. According to Tom Reed of, the veteran is sticking by the statement. “But, no, it’s not happening. I’m very happy with my decision and I’m looking forward to that next chapter . . .I definitely want to get out and travel a little bit with the family. Outside of that, head back to Madison (Wisc.) and figure it out. I had a lot of conversations with people and we’ll see what happens, where this thing leads.”
  • Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has struggled through injuries all season, and head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed yesterday that the 24-year-old’s season is over. Eifert had left shoulder surgery earlier this month, helping repair an injury he sustained in training camp. “It’s been unfortunate for him,” Lewis said (via’s Coley Harvey), “but it was the best thing for him.”

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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