AFC North Notes: Harbaugh, Browns, Maualuga

When John Harbaugh was originally interviewing for the Ravens head coaching position, he received a bit of help from one of his colleagues. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave owner Steve Bisciotti a call, endorsing the former Eagles special teams coach for the opening. Harbaugh eventually got the job, and as Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun writes, the coach still appreciates the recommendation from his upcoming playoff opponent:

“It meant everything. As far as probably getting the job, it didn’t hurt. You have to ask Steve and Ozzie [Newsome] if it made the difference or not. But the fact that he was willing to do that at the time, I was stunned when I heard the story much later.

“I would describe the relationship as very good, great admiration for coach. I’ve never worked with him, specifically, but for whatever reason he has been always willing to kind of take me under his wing in a way and give me time and insight and things like that.”

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

  • Former Bears quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh is on the Browns “radar” for the offensive coordinator opening, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cavanaugh previously worked with coach Mike Pettine at the University of Pittsburgh, and they reunited again in the NFL with the Ravens and Jets.
  • Nate Ulrich of takes a look at some other potential candidates for the Browns offensive coordinator opening. His list includes Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, former college coach/NFL coordinator Charlie Weis, former Bears coach Marc Trestman and Cowboys offensive coordinator Bill Callahan.
  • Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther believes upcoming free agent linebacker Rey Maualuga will ultimately return to the Bengals. “I believe he does,” Guenther said (via’s Coley Harvey). “You saw when he came back the effect he had on us.”
  • Harvey also focuses on five major questions surrounding the Bengals entering the offseason, including the future of tight end Jermaine Gresham.
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