- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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If there is a day when you really need a wake-up call, it's going to be after New Year's Eve. You can thank me later ...
RAVENS: According to the Ravens, "a number of teams" have contacted Baltimore seeking permission to interview assistant general manager Eric DeCosta. But, just like DeCosta did last year, he made it clear that he's not leaving the Ravens. “I love being a part of the Ravens and plan to stay here and help them win championships," DeCosta said in a statement released by the team. "I have no intentions of leaving this team.” DeCosta is considered the general manager-in-waiting to Ozzie Newsome.
BENGALS: The Bengals are starting to win over fans. The sellout crowd for the regular-season finale at Paul Brown Stadium pushed this year's attendance to 489,504. That's an average of 61,888 per game, a 24 percent increase from last season, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. The Bengals averaged just more than 49,000 fans a game in the 2011 season. This season, the Bengals sold out six of their eight home games. Last year, six of Cincinnati's eight home games were blacked out.
STEELERS: Coach Mike Tomlin gave a strong vote of confidence to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. "I think everyone is aware I'm happy with the work of Dick LeBeau," Tomlin said, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He's a special guy." Last week, LeBeau said he doesn't plan to retire even though he'll be 76 at the start of next season but the decision ultimately rested with Tomlin. The Steelers were the top-ranked defense for a second straight season.
BROWNS: The Browns braintrust plans to hire a coach first and the general manager after that. The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto believes head coach is a critical hire but the Browns shouldn't downplay the importance of a general manager. "This approach always makes me nervous," Pluto wrote. "That's from watching the Lerner family become so desperate to hire their favorite coaching candidates that the importance of the general manager position was neglected." Under the Lerner family, two coaches -- Butch Davis in 2001 and Eric Mangini in 2009 -- were hired before general managers.
If there is a day when you really need a wake-up call, it's going to be after New Year's Eve. You can thank me later ...RAVENS: According to the Ravens, "a number of teams" have contacted Baltimore seeking permission to interview assistant general manager Eric DeCosta.