AFC Notes: Haden, Fins, Bryant, Pats, Titans

Browns cornerback Joe Haden underwent left ankle surgery Wednesday and “should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season,” the club announced via press release. Haden suffered the injury in Week 8 of last season, but it only began causing him pain recently, Mary Kay Cabot of writes. The two-time Pro Bowler played just five games in 2015 because of various injuries, including a concussion. Prior to that, he sat out most of training camp with a hamstring injury and, given his ankle issues, could once again miss some portion of camp this summer.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Prior to re-signing with Arizona on Thursday, running back Chris Johnson met with the Dolphins, and he says they made it tough for him to stay with the Cardinals. “The visit went real great. It was a real, real close decision,” he told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt of SiriusXM. “I liked everything they had going on there. But my heart was with Arizona” (Twitter links).
  • Wide receiver Martavis Bryant‘s contract will toll during his lengthy suspension, tweets Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That means the Steelers won’t lose a year of control over Bryant. He’ll remain two years away from free agency after the league reinstates him – if it does. He’s eligible for reinstatement after next season.
  • The Patriots have named Brian Flores their linebackers coach, according to Mike Reiss of (Twitter link). Flores has been a Pats employee since 2004, most recently serving as their safeties coach. Taking over Flores’ previous position will be Steve Belichick, the son of Bill Belichick, per Reiss (on Twitter). Steve Belichick was a defensive assistant with the club in his prior role.
  • Titans offensive lineman Byron Bell lined up at three positions – left tackle, left guard and right tackle – last season, but it doesn’t sound as if he’ll do that much shuffling this year. “He’ll probably play right tackle for us now, but he is a guy that has versatility,’’ general manager Jon Robinson said (link via Jim Wyatt of The Titans agreed to re-sign Bell on Thursday.
  • The Dolphins have hired Jim Washburn as a senior defensive assistant/pass-rush specialist, a league source tells Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). The Dolphins are Washburn’s fourth NFL employer since he broke into the league as Tennessee’s defensive line coach in 1999. He was Detroit’s assistant D-line coach from 2013-15.
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