AFC Notes: Vegas, Bengals, Browns, Broncos

The National Hockey League officially announced its expansion into Las Vegas on Wednesday, which could affect the NFL – and the Raiders, to be more specific. The Raiders have been working to relocate to Vegas if they fail to come up with a stadium solution in Oakland, though there has been concern historically about placing a pro sports franchise in a city built on gambling. However, as evidenced by the NHL’s decision, sports commissioners are less and less worried about gambling as a factor, per Andrew Brandt of (Twitter link). Now, with the NHL having taken the plunge into Vegas, the door has opened that much more for the Raiders to do the same.

For more on the NHL’s 31 franchises, bookmark the newly launched Pro Hockey Rumors and follow PHR on Twitter.

Elsewhere around the NFL…

  • Bengals linebacker Karlos Dansby has tried to recruit free agent safety Donte Whitner to Cincinnati, he told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday (Twitter link via Alex Marvez). The rebuilding Browns released Dansby in March and Whitner in April after the two played together in Cleveland from 2014-15. Given the Bengals’ situation at safety, odds are seemingly against the 31-year-old Whitner joining them as anything but a backup – for which he’s overqualified. As Roster Resource shows, the team has expensive, in-their-prime starters in George Iloka and Shawn Williams.
  • In his interview with SiriusXM, Dansby also opened up about his experience with the 3-13 Browns last season (via Dan Hanzus of “The coaches and the front office, there was just a lot of mess going on, a lot of things going on, a lot of distractions.” Dansby said, referring to the coaching staff Mike Pettine was at the helm of and the Ray Farmer-led front office. The 13th-year man added that his teammates “had just shut down” after a certain point, which would help to explain Cleveland’s 1-10 finish. The Browns moved on from both Pettine and Farmer at the end of the season, of course, and have begun a new era with ex-Bengals assistant Hue Jackson atop the coaching staff and Sashi Brown leading the front office.
  • Three of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen’s seven children – John Michael Bowlen, Brittany Bowlen and Jane Elizabeth Bowlen Wallace – are no longer employees of the organization, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. That doesn’t mean a sale of the franchise is in the works, though. “No plans for the sale of the team. The hope remains to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family,” Broncos vice president of communications Patrick Smyth tweeted in response to a Pro Football Talk report on Wednesday. PFT’s Mike Florio is skeptical, however, noting that “hope” isn’t a guarantee and one of Bowlen’s children will eventually have to show why he or she is worthy of taking control of the Broncos. In the meantime, with Pat Bowlen having resigned as the Broncos’ CEO in 2014 because of his battle with Alzheimer’s, the team will remain in a trust and president Joe Ellis will continue running the operation.
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