AFC North Notes: Steelers, Harrison, Ravens

The NFL has made plans to interview all of the players (yes, Peyton Manning included) implicated in last year’s Al Jazeera America documentary, but not all of them are thrilled about it. Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who has clashed with commissioner Roger Goodell in the past, laid out his conditions for an interview on Instagram this week (sic):

I never had a bully before in my life and I’m DAMN sure not about to have one at this point,” Harrison wrote. “But since I’m a nice guy & don’t mind helping to clear the air in the name of the NFL Shield, I’ll do this interview. WITH THESE STIPULATIONS: The interview will be done at MY house. BEFORE training camp. On a date of MY choosing. AND Mr. Goodell must be present.

While we wait to see if the NFL agrees to the 38-year-old’s terms, let’s take a look at the rest of the AFC North:

  • Time is ticking on a potential long-term deal for the Ravens and franchise-tagged kicker Justin Tucker,’s Bo Smokla writes. The two sides have until July 15th to get something done and while Baltimore surely wants to hammer out a multi-year deal, the asking price is probably high. Tucker’s camp could be shooting to top Stephen Gostkowski‘s four-year, $17.2MM deal with $10.1MM guaranteed, which set the market for kickers last year. Right now, Tucker’s franchise tag carries a $4.5MM cap hit but that could be reduced through a long-term pact. Deadlines can spur action, but Smokla writes that there hasn’t been much movement on a deal in the last four months.
  • Mike Wallace, who joined the Ravens on a free agent deal this offseason, believes that he has actually improved since his days with the Steelers. “I think I’ve gotten better, even though (the) numbers don’t say so,” the 29-year-old Wallace said of his career since leaving the Steelers in 2013, per Jamison Hensley of “I think I’ll get better this year, and I’ll show some people I have a lot up my sleeve.” In March, the Ravens inked Wallace to a two-year, $11.5MM deal with a $4.5MM signing bonus. He also due a $1MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2017 league year. His option for year two must be exercised or declined by the end of the 2016 league year.
  • The BengalsAndrew Whitworth showed he had plenty left in the tank last season, but he’s unsure if he’ll play beyond 2016.
  • The saga of ex-Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel continues to get more and more bizarre.
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