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AFC North notebook: Even Cavs owner questions Browns' trade

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By Alan Robinson
Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

NFL trades aren't that common, but a blockbuster deal early in the season involving a name player? Almost unheard of.

That didn't prevent the Browns from dealing running back Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in 2012, for the Colts' 2014 first-round pick, which could be a relatively low one.

The deal confused even Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, the man who allowed LeBron James to leave Cleveland. Gilbert tweeted: “What motivates the Browns to trade promising 2012 3rd pick for likely 23rd-27th pick? What am I missing?”

Don't think the Steelers would make a move like this? They did — only worse. They wasted the 1966 No. 3 overall pick on West Virginia fullback Dick Leftridge, who wound up playing in only four games and badly was outgained 544-17 that season by fellow rookie Willie Asbury. Leftridge never played in the league again, and the Steelers never got anything for him.

Bengals: Seeing double?

After beating the Steelers for only the second time in 13 games at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals (1-1) play the Packers (1-1) there in a prime early-season NFC vs. AFC matchup.

There's a familiarity factor for the Bengals. One game after going against a Dick LeBeau defense, they'll face a Dom Capers defense.

LeBeau brought his zone-blitz schemes to Pittsburgh as the secondary coach under Bill Cowher from 1992-94, with Capers serving as defensive coordinator.

“A lot of the concepts are the same,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “They're very similar.”

Ravens: Field-goal follies

The Ravens went through several seasons of inconsistent kicking by Billy Cundiff, best known for his 2011 season AFC Championship Game miss against the Patriots.

They rank 11th in field-goal percentage over the past 10 seasons but only 24th over the past five; Cundiff kicked for them from 2009-11.

They felt they solidified the position last season with Justin Tucker, who went 30 of 33. But Tucker missed twice in Baltimore's 14-6 win over Cleveland, is 2 of 4 this season and is dealing with confidence issues.

Tucker said he sometimes thinks too much after missing, and a coach once suggested the cure was a night drinking with some friends.

Special teams coach Jerry Rosburg isn't about to advocate that.

“I don't think it's unique to kickers. All players must deal with the mental aspect of the game,” Rosburg said. “We pay a lot more attention to kickers because they're kickers.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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