North Notes: Bengals, Steelers, Lions

The Bengals’ Andrew Whitworth showed he had plenty left in the tank last season, his 10th in the NFL and seventh with 16 starts, when he made his second Pro Bowl and finished as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-ranked offensive tackle (77 qualifiers). Nevertheless, the 34-year-old isn’t sure yet if he wants to play beyond the upcoming campaign. “As you get older, it takes a lot more focus to play. A lot of mental drain,” he told Geoff Hobson of “You have to rehab correctly. You have to stay in and get treatments. You have to keep your body in shape. There are so many more things now. When you were young you could run through a brick wall and bounce back no matter what you did.”

More from the league’s North divisions:

  • The Steelers and star running back Le’Veon Bell aren’t discussing a new deal “right now,” he told Jeremy Fowler of, because the 24-year-old isn’t willing to delve into extension talks until his surgically repaired knee is 100 percent. Bell – who’s entering a contract year – missed seven games last season because of a torn MCL and PCL, though he now feels “great.”
  • Al Golden is happy with his decision to jump to the NFL as the Lions‘ tight ends coach, but that doesn’t mean that the former University of Miami head coach is done with college football, as he tells Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I think I have too much experience and just because I started young as a head coach, sometimes people look at it like, ‘Well, he’s already been a head coach,’” Golden said. “But I’m not 57. I’m 46, so I started young as a head coach and I’ve got a world of experience and I think this is just the next chapter for me so we’ll see where it goes. It’s too early to start thinking about that, but I know I’m skilled in that aspect of it. I’ve been a defensive coordinator, I’ve been a special teams coordinator, I’ve coached five or six different positions and now I’m coaching on the offense in the NFL
  • Cornerback Darius Slay‘s contract situation puts the Lions in a familiar position, writes The Associated Press. For the third straight season, the Lions have a top defensive player entering a contract year, with Slay joining linebacker DeAndre Levy (2015) and tackle Ndamukong Suh (2014). Levy signed a four-year extension before last season, of course, and Suh played out his contract year and then departed in free agency. Slay hopes to follow Levy’s path and stay in Detroit for the long haul, the corner said earlier this week.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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