Although he acknowledges that there is no evidence to suggest that LeGarrette Blount wanted to get himself released from the Steelers when he left the field prior to Pittsburgh’s Monday night win over the Titans, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wonders if Blount “walk[ed] out on the Steelers so he could walk right back to the New England Patriots.” Bouchette notes that, with no ramifications whatsoever–although the Steelers certainly could have penalized him instead of essentially rewarding him for his behavior–Blount “went from a team fighting to make the playoffs to one among the favorites to win it all, one where he had success last season and was used more often than he was with the Steelers.” Even if it sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory, Bouchette believes it is fair to think that Blount knew exactly what he was doing and that everything played out according to plan for him and for New England.
Now for some more notes from the league’s north divisions:
- The Browns expect star receiver Josh Gordon to be on the field for 20-30 snaps in his first game of the 2014 season this afternoon, according to ESPN.com staff.
- Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that a ruling on Ray Rice‘s appeal hearing is expected by tomorrow. Even if the former Ravens running back is reinstated, of course, it will be difficult for him to find a job in the league this season.
- Even though they have been publicly silent on the issue, ESPN’s Ed Werder tweets that Vikings ownership and management were pushing throughout the season to get Adrian Peterson back on the field. Albert Breer of the NFL Network tweets that Minnesota’s coaching staff would love to have Peterson back, and Werder adds in a full-length piece that head coach Mike Zimmer believes Peterson has not played his last game in a Vikings uniform.
- Although he believes the Packers will work out an extension with Randall Cobb, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes that Cobb’s excellent 2014 season is driving up his price, possibly out of Green Bay’s budget. On the other hand, even though the Packers have a number of young wideouts on the roster, Demovsky notes that none of those players have proven they are capable of filling Cobb’s shoes.
- Ben Volin of the Boston Globe describes how Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh has finally paired excellent play with clean play in his free agent season.