Following are a couple of whispers we've heard recently from around the AFC North:
• Ravens rookie David Reed has shown considerable potential as a kickoff returner. He brought back a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown in Week 14 at Houston and garnered AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his efforts. The way we hear it, Reed could have an expanded role on offense in the seasons to come, too. Reed's touchdown vs. Houston came days after Baltimore County police reportedly searched his apartment in connection with a narcotics investigation. No charges have been filed against Reed.
• Entering Week 15, the Browns had only two running backs on the roster (Peyton Hillis, Mike Bell) but seven wide receivers (Joshua Cribbs, Mohamed Massaquoi, Carlton Mitchell, Jordan Norwood, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey, Demetrius Williams). Massaquoi and Robiskie are the starters, with Stuckey the Browns' top inside receiver. Cribbs has played less on offense recently because of injuries to his toes. Williams has yet to appear in a game since joining Cleveland on Oct. 26. Norwood, who was signed to the roster Nov. 30, has not played in a game, either. Mitchell has played infrequently, though more often in recent weeks. We hear one theory on the Browns keeping so many receivers is that they may be trying to see what they have in the group in practice with an eye toward 2011 and beyond. Hillis has received the vast majority of carries since the beginning of the season, with Bell, acquired in a trade from Philadelphia, having only 19 carries in eight games.