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AFC North Whispers

Fujita signing pays off handsomely for Browns

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By PFW staff

Following are several whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC North:

• The Browns' signing of OLB Scott Fujita ranks as one of their top offseason moves. Fujita, who played outside linebacker in the Saints' 4-3 scheme last season, fits in well as an outside 'backer in Cleveland's "30" front. He can also play inside, which is a bonus. Fujita has shown some pass-rush ability and has been strong vs. the run, and he has been one of the defense's top players to this point, notes a daily team observer.

• Finally, Bengals second-year ORT Andre Smith could be close to earning a starting job. Smith received increased playing time in the Week Four loss to Cleveland, and head coach Marvin Lewis said he would continue to get chances to play so the Bengals can assess their options on the right side. Dennis Roland has been starting at right tackle ahead of Smith, who missed time early in training camp after offseason foot surgery.

• Steelers rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders has been active for just one of the first four games while a pair of receivers who can offer more on special teams — fellow rookie Antonio Brown and veteran Arnaz Battle — have played ahead of him. Brown has a kickoff return for a touchdown and two special-teams tackles, and Battle has added two special-teams tackles. The Steelers, who had myriad problems covering kickoffs last season, are allowing 21.6 yards per kickoff and haven't allowed a TD on a punt or a kick this year.

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