AFC North Notes: Steelers, Browns, Gordon

Superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown reported to Steelers training camp Thursday and is both hopeful and confident that the team will address his contract before the regular season, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN. Brown – who has combined for 375 catches and 31 touchdowns the last three seasons – is woefully underpaid relative to his production (he’s due $14.96MM through 2017), though the Steelers don’t typically negotiate new deals with non-quarterbacks who have more than one year left on their contracts. “It has been the position of the organization and it has always been like that,” general manager Kevin Colbert said last summer in regards to the team’s policy. Based on Schefter’s report, the Steelers might make an exception after Brown tied for the league lead in receptions (136), finished second in yards (1,834) and found the end zone 10 times last season.

More news on Pittsburgh and one of its division rivals:

  • Speaking of Colbert, the Steelers awarded him an additional role as their vice president Thursday, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). Colbert, 59, joined the Steelers as their director of football operations in 2000 and held that position until they promoted him to GM in 2010.
  • Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson addressed the return of newly reinstated receiver Josh Gordon on Thursday (via Nate Ulrich of “He in earnest wants to make the most of this opportunity, and he knows his situation and so we’re going to get around him, give him that opportunity,” Brown stated regarding Gordon, whom the league suspended for 29 of the Browns’ previous 48 regular-season games – including the entire 2015 campaign – because of substance abuse violations. Gordon will also sit out the first four games of this year. However, the highly talented 25-year-old has a clean slate with Jackson, who’s in his first season with the Browns. “I don’t have a lot of history with Josh that way,” said Jackson. “But his history is preceding him, and I think he knows that and I think the only way to deal with a player in these situations is to kind of hit the restart button for him and he has to go do it.”
  • The Browns have no plans to cut linebacker Armonty Bryant in the wake of his misdemeanor drug conviction, Brown said Thursday, as Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer tweets. An additional suspension could be coming for him, however. Bryant will already miss the first four games of the season because of a suspension.
  • In case you missed it, Cleveland defensive tackle Desmond Bryant will officially miss the entire season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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