Following are whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC:
• Ravens OLB Sergio Kindle, who missed last season with a skull fracture, recently told PFW Ravens correspondent Jamison Hensley of The (Baltimore) Sun that he is hopeful he will be soon cleared to return to contact drills. According to The Sun, Kindle is working out four times a week in suburban Dallas. Asked about Kindle at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters: "Sergio, from what I understand, is working really hard down there in Texas. He worked hard during the season. I'm an optimistic guy. I've got my fingers crossed. I'm very, very hopeful. But there's no way to know. It has to do with the brain and how it heals and all that kind of stuff. He'll be in the doctors' hands. I'm for Sergio's long-term health; that comes first. If that gets resolved, then I'm for Sergio rushing the passer and playing for the Ravens, but the long-term health thing is the most important."
• Earlier this season, we heard that former Bengals LB Rashad Jeanty was a possibility to join the Dolphins to upgrade the OLB position opposite Cameron Wake. Jeanty signed with the Eagles this past week, but not for a lack of effort by the Dolphins. Jeanty's agent, David Canter, told PFW that Jeanty liked Miami and had a good meeting with head coach Tony Sparano and GM Jeff Ireland, but the Miami native thought the Eagles gave him a better deal, as well as an opportunity to compete for a starting job.
• There is no guarantee that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the Bills' starter in Week One next season, as the team may select a signalcaller early in the draft. However, if Chan Gailey could replay the 2010 season, Fitzpatrick would have been the Week One starter then. Gailey regrets starting Trent Edwards for the team's first two games last year, saying, "If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have done that." The head coach added that he would have no problem with Fitzpatrick being the starter in 2011.
• Rex Ryan's teams have won four road playoff games in his two years as Jets head coach, but moving forward, Ryan would like to play games at home in January. Ryan said his team must improve its play at New Meadowlands Stadium, where New York was 5-3 last season. Winning more home games during the regular season could go a long way in securing home playoff contests.
• Texans general manager Rick Smith liked what he saw from OLG Wade Smith in the veteran lineman's first season with Houston in 2010. "I was really impressed with Wade," Smith told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I'd been watching Wade for a number of years and saw him improve over the course of his career. He'd been a guy we'd targeted several times through his career as a potential free agent. The thing that was interesting to me about Wade, at the end of the year I meet with all our players, and to a man, all of our offensive linemen said, 'Hey, we were a better unit, and a lot of it had to do with Wade's addition.' "
• The Colts face tough decisions this offseason with regard to potential free-agent defensive linemen. A trio of defensive tackles — Daniel Muir, Antonio Johnson and Eric Foster — are set to hit the market, plus DE Keyunta Dawson. Johnson could be in the front of the line for an extension, as he was instrumental in the Colts' success stopping the run the last month of the 2010 season. Muir, after a strong '09 campaign, did not make as many plays last season. Foster is a solid situational pass rusher, while Dawson might be expendable. It will be interesting to see if the signing of DT DeMario Pressley last week is a sign that the club is ready to part ways with one or more of the aforementioned linemen.
• Following RB Jamaal Charles' Pro Bowl season, in which he nearly set a record for yards gained per carry, Chiefs fans are eager to see the back get the ball more often in 2011. But according to his head coach, that might not be in the offing. "It's very important to understand he's a developing player," Todd Haley said at the NFL Scouting Combine. With Thomas Jones expected back in 2011 and Dexter McCluster possibly taking on an increased role in the running game, it's possible that Charles doesn't see his number of attempts (230 in '10) change much at all.
• Some have suggested that the Raiders might be in the market for a veteran wide receiver this offseason. Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco, who is tight with Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, has been mentioned as a potential target for the team. While Jackson said he thinks there's room for improvement at just about every position on the roster, he said he likes the group of young receivers in Oakland. "I really feel like that position is a strong one because it's young, it's talented, it's fast, they're great workers, and I think those guys will only just get better," Jackson said.