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Good Morning, AFC North!
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Bengals extend coach Marvin Lewis’ contract through 2015

Lewis, 55, has led the Bengals to three straight playoff appearances, a first for the franchise, which began play in 1968. But the Bengals are 0-5 in the playoffs under Lewis.

His 90 career victories are the most in Bengals history, and he has a 90-85-1 record in the regular season. Lewis’ 11 seasons are the most for a Bengals head coach.

“I’m blessed to continue to do a job I love here in Cincinnati,” Lewis said. “I truly appreciate the commitment by our management to continue to enable us to build an NFL championship team.”






Free-agent running back Ben Tate visits organization for second consecutive day, but has yet to strike deal

Tate visited the Browns on Thursday night and again on Friday, a team spokesman confirmed, but the two sides had yet to strike a deal at press time. If they do eventually reach an agreement, Tate would be in line to become the team’s featured running back next season.

Either way, fans and media will need to exercise some patience to learn how this courtship plays out.






Steve Smith: ‘I’m not Anquan Boldin’

Both Smith and Boldin excel at making contested catches, are fearless going across the middle, have a mean stiff arm and posses the veteran savvy of understanding spacing and body control. Both are feisty on the field and regarded as leaders in the locker room.

After signing his three-year, $11 million contract that includes a $3.5 million signing bonus, Smith emphasized that he’s not interested in comparisons to Boldin.

“I can tell you this: I’m not Anquan Boldin,” Smith said during a conference call. “I respect the heck out of ‘Q,’ and what ‘Q’ brings to the table is what ‘Q’ brings to the table. I’m Steve Smith, and what I bring to the table as a Baltimore Raven, I have to earn that, and my time on the field will display what I bring to the table.






Ravens contract with WR Steve Smith boosts market for Jerricho Cotchery

Steve Smith will be old enough to run for the presidency this season – making his $11 million 3-year deal ($3.5 million signing bonus) with Baltimore a bit confusing. His production last season in Carolina sharply declined, grabbing 64 passes for 745 yards and four touchdowns – the lowest numbers of any 15-plus game season for Smith since he was a rookie in 2001.

Free agent wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery probably had mixed emotions about the deal. On one hand, he has to be thrilled, considering his production (46-602-10) dwarfs Smith’s on a per-target basis and he’s three years younger. On the other, he took the landing spot of at least one team apparently desperate to bring in wide receivers.




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