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Toby Gerhart thinks his lack of wear and tear is a plus

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 24, 2014

New Jacksonville Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart received just 86 carries over his last two 80674581.jpgseasons in Minnesota. That's a plus, he told ESPN.com.

"It's been an opportunity to get experience over the years and also learn," Gerhart said. "I've stayed fresh, stayed strong and healthy, and I'm ready for my shot now."

Gerhart has averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his career. The Jaguars hope he'll become their featured back, the report said.

"There's always a prove-yourself situation, especially coming in to a team," Gerhart said. "I was one of the first running backs signed in free agency. Coming in where Maurice [Jones-Drew] was, there's definitely going to be that added pressure to prove yourself.

"I haven't had the opportunity to play a full 16 games as a starter so I think a lot of people are going to wait and see before the jury's out on me. I'm excited about that and ready to show what I can do." (Photo: Trevor Ruszkowksi/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Richardson critiques his 2013 season

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 24, 2014 

Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson knew he would answer dozens of questions about his disappointing 2013 season. He provtrent-richardson.jpged he was prepared on Wednesday. Richardson told the Indianapolis Star that after reviewing his own film he realized he was "trying to hit the home run" instead of playing patiently.

"When I (missed) the cuts and the holes, I said, 'Dang, how the heck did I miss that?'" Richardson said. "'How in the world did I miss that?' That's second nature. You never miss a cut. You get as much yards as you can get at every opportunity."

Richardson did feel like defenses were ganging up on him, "tacking 10 (defenders) in the box, nine in the box." But he's focused as ever about proving he can still play at a high level.

"I want everybody to be on the edge of their seats," he said. (Photo: Reuters)

 

Lions like Caldwell's cool, calm, collected style

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 24, 2014 

Coach Jim Caldwell has already made his mark as the new leader of the Detroit Lions.

CaldLions like Caldwell.jpgwell seems cool, calm and collected. So far, players like what they have seen and heard from him.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford described Caldwell as "confident and level-headed," after a three-day voluntary minicamp ended on Thursday. Stafford says Caldwell has earned the team's respect in part because he has coached in multiple Super Bowls.

Caldwell lost a Super Bowl as Indianapolis' head coach. He helped the Colts and Baltimore Ravens win NFL titles as an assistant coach.

The Lions hired Caldwell in January after they fired coach Jim Schwartz with a 29-51 record over five seasons. (Photo: Daniel Mears/The Detroit News)

 

LeGarrette Blount likes Steelers style of play

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 24, 2014

Running back LeGarrette Blount said the Pittsburgh Steelers' style of play was one of the reasons he signed with Pittsbusaints-patriots-football-legarrette-blount-isa-abdul-quddus_pg_600.jpgrgh. "I like how they play. I like the division. I like that they have a tough, hard-nosed running style," he told the team's website.

"From looking at old film with (Jerome) Bettis and Willie Parker, I know how they won the Super Bowl and they are trying to get back to that and I want to be a part of it."

Blount said he hopes to "give a little more of a tough running style to the offense. Le'Veon (Bell) is a big dude. He is a little taller than I am. I want to give a physical aspect to the running game. Just the whole aspect of me and Le'Veon being together and knowing the things we can do. It's going to be an exciting time." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Kosar believes he's off TV for slurred speech

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 24, 2014

Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar believes he's been unfairly fired as a TV broadcaster.

Kosar has been removed as a color commentator for Cleveland's preseason games by the team. The Browns said Wednesday night hKosar fired.jpge was being replaced by Solomon Wilcots, who will work with play-by-play announcer Jim Donovan.

Kosar contends he's been removed because of slurred speech he attributes to "a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL."

"This is very unfortunate," he said in a statement, "as I believe my football acumen and ability to describe what is happening on the field, has been well received by Cleveland Browns fans."

The 50-year-old Kosar estimates he has had more than a dozen documented concussions. He has been in pain for more than a decade, but said last year he found some relief through treatments at a wellness facility in Florida.

In announcing their decision, the Browns said they were in discussions with Kosar about "potential new roles" on pregame telecasts and on the team's website.

"We want Browns fans to look forward to seeing and hearing his continued contributions and analysis," team president Alec Scheiner said.

Kosar played for Cleveland from 1985-92 and retired in 1996. The gangly quarterback from Boardman, Ohio, led Cleveland to three AFC title games. He remains one of Cleveland's most beloved sports figures.

"I love to put the personal touch, pride in the Browns, and pride in our Cleveland community into the broadcast," he said. "Being able to share these preseason games with my fellow Cleveland Browns fans is truly one of the remaining joys in my life.

"I would hope that WKYC would reconsider utilizing my in-game talents and overlook my concussion-induced impairment. I want everyone to know that I still bleed Brown and Orange."

Last summer, Kosar drew criticism for in-game comments about former St. Louis third-string quarterback Kellen Clemens, the Rams' receivers and assistant coach Ray Sherman.

St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said of Kosar: "I lost a lot of respect for him. It's highly unlikely he knew anything about our football team, but felt the need to make those comments. I don't think they were justified."

The Browns apologized to the Rams and reprimanded Kosar. (Photo: Jack Dempsey/Associated Press)

 

Cowboys' playoff fate likely to be settled on road

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 24, 2014 

The Dallas Cowboys will have to be a good road team if they're even in position to end a four-year playoff drougNS_14COWSRAVENS_BL_51_JPG_11-07-2012_UID_STATE_2_1_28210960.jpght in 2014.

Dallas finishes the season with four of six games away from home, including all three NFC East rivals. The finale is at Washington on Dec. 28.

The Cowboys open the season at their $1.2 billion stadium against San Francisco on Sept. 7. After going to Tennessee and St. Louis, Dallas plays five out of six games at home.

The bye will come after the trip to London to face Jacksonville on Nov. 9. The Cowboys play consecutive Thursday games on Thanksgiving against Philadelphia and the following week at Chicago.

The home game in the four-game finishing stretch is Indianapolis on Dec. 21. (Photo: Brad Loper/The Dallas Morning News)

 

Cecil Shorts not yet at full strength

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 24, 2014 

Entering a contract year following a disappointing season, the stakes couldn't be higher for Jaguars wideout Cecil Shorts. But in order to rebound and earn that large pay day, he has to get on the field first. That's a problem -- the FCecil+Shorts+III+St+Louis+Rams+v+Jacksonville+4R5yqlaJWdMl.jpglorida Times-Union reports Shorts is still dealing with the effects of groin surgery and is not yet at 100 percent, but hopes to be soon.

"I'm on the right path where I'm able to run without any pain," Shorts said. "I still have some work to do and I'm not 100 percent yet, but I'm looking to get there soon. Now, I have to get my strength back and confidence back."

Coach Gus Bradley commented that Shorts is "leaner" and more focused than before on becoming a better contributor to the offense. Shorts will experience his first training camp where he's not learning a new playbook. He had a career-high 66 catches last year for 777 yards and three touchdowns. (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

 

Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate building chemistry

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 24, 2014

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and free agent acquisition Golden Tate are using this week's voluntary minicamp t23stafford.jpgo get accustomed to each other.

"Any time we miss a ball, I'm going straight to him, 'Hey, did I look back? Turn my head late? Did that feel right? What can I do better?'" Tate told MLive.com. "I think that's where it starts, just talking it out. I can't read his mind, he can't read my mind, so we're just talking it out."

Tate, the team's No. 2 receiver, said he's adjusting to Stafford's powerful arm. But he also praised Stafford's accuracy. 

"He's placed some balls on air and seven-on-sevens and I'm like, 'Wow, that's a great ball,'" Tate said. "For instance, I run a basic route, which is a 10-, 12-yard in, and he's put it right there, on the dot, where I can split the safeties and potentially score." (Photo: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

 

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson files for divorce from wife

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 23, 2014  

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has announced that he and his wife Ashton are divorRussell-Wilson-divorce_final.jpgcing.

In somewhat of an odd move, the Seahawks released a statement on Wilson's behalf (teams don't usually release statements about a player's personal life).

"I have made the difficult decision to file for divorce," Wilson said in the statement. "Clearly, decisions like these don't come easy. Ashton and I respectfully ask for prayers, understanding and privacy during this difficult time. Moving forward, I will have no further comment on this matter."

The pair married in January 2012 after he finished his college career at Wisconsin and before he was drafted by the Seahawks. The couple had been visible at Seahawks events for his first two seasons in the league.

Wilson led Seattle to its first Super Bowl title in February, when the Seahawks shellacked the Denver Broncos.

 

Cardinals LB Daryl Washington gets probation for assault plea

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 23, 2014   

A judge on Wednesday sentenced Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington to a year of supervised probation for assaulting a former girlfriend who is the mother of his daughdaryl washington gets probation.jpgter.

Now Washington, one of the team's top defensive players, will wait to see what punishment he may face from the NFL under its personal conduct policy.

He was suspended the first four games of last season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The 27-year-old pleaded guilty nearly a month ago in Maricopa County Superior Court to aggravated assault arising out of a May 1 argument with the woman.

Authorities said Washington choked the woman and caused a fall that broke her right collarbone.

Washington was sentenced by Judge M. Scott McCoy.

Possible punishments for Washington had ranged from probation to 18 months in jail, though his plea agreement with prosecutors called for probation.

Investigators said the argument arose out of a visit that Washington paid to his daughter at the apartment where the child's mother lives. They said the mother panicked after Washington left the apartment with the child to go to a restaurant and wouldn't answer her calls to his cellphone.

Once the child was back at the apartment, police said, Washington left with the mother's cellphone, prompting her to run after him and strike his vehicle with a hand-woven basket. Washington shoved the woman as she tried to run toward the driver's side door of his vehicle, causing her to hit the ground and break her right collarbone, police said.

Washington, a second-round draft pick out of TCU in 2010, has started 53 games over four seasons for Arizona. He had nine sacks last season and led the team in tackles in 2012 with 140, making the Pro Bowl that year.

Last month, the Cardinals picked up Washington's $10 million player option. (Photo: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

 

Bills coach Marrone had cancerous mole removed

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 23, 2014   

Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone announced this week that he had a cancerous mole removed, and added it will not have any effect on him doing his job.

Marrone made the announcement in a statememarrone had cancer removed.jpgnt released through the team.

Marrone said the cancerous mole was discovered during a recent visit to the doctor. He said the only follow-up requirement is to have his moles checked every three months.

"That's basically the end of the story," Marrone said. "The recent extraction procedure will have no effect on my ability to coach the team moving forward."

Marrone is entering his second year on the job following the team's 6-10 finish last year. A former NFL offensive lineman, Marrone spent the previous five seasons turning around a struggling Syracuse program. He was also an assistant with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets.

The news comes at a difficult time for the Bills. Owner and founder Ralph Wilson died last month, and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is currently being treated for the recurrence of sinus cancer.

Marrone made no mention of the illness during a news conference earlier in the day after Bills players reported for the first day of the team's voluntary conditioning program.

Marrone did touch on the uncertainty raised by Wilson's death, which will lead to the franchise being put up for sale, a move that raises the possibility of the team relocating.

In addressing his players earlier in the day, Marrone reminded them of the importance of staying focused.

"We talked today about one of the things that I've always talked to the coaches and players about is to make sure you learn or you understand that you control what you can control. And I think that's important," Marrone said. "For us, we understand that we have to go out there and win, and that's what our focus is. And that's what our mission is."

He added: "If we start thinking about the things we can't control and get sidetracked, then we will lose our focus and that will hurt us in losing football games."

The Bills have not made the playoffs in 14 seasons, marking the NFL's longest active drought. (Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press)

 

Could we see Vince Young back in the NFL?

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 23, 2014   

The last time quarterback Vince Young started a regular-season game in the NFL, was in 2011 when he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Hevince-young-300k-party.jpg was in training camp with the Green Bay Packers last year but was released before the final roster was announced.

Now Young is working out in San Diego and says he's drawn interest from some teams, though he wouldn't name them. "You never know when you're going to get a call," Young told the Houston Chronicle. "There is some interest."

If he doesn't get back in the NFL, Young said he wouldn't consider the CFL. He'd take a job with the University of Texas, serving as an ambassador and doing speaking engagements, according to the Chronicle.

Young said "there are some tough days" when he sees teams sign free-agent quarterbacks during the offseason.

But if his playing career is over, Young said he's ready to move on.

"You don't want to finish your career like that," he said. "You want to finish your dreams you have for yourself. If it doesn't work out you still had a great shot at it, still was a Pro Bowler, playoff guy and still got a winning percentage and things like that. If it doesn't work out it's in God's hands. I just stay strong and continue to live my life and enjoy my life, especially taking care of my little ones."

Young was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006 and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Cards' S Tyrann Mathieu could start training camp on PUP list

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 23, 2014  

Tyrann Mathieu's rehabilitation from knee surgery is on schedule, but it's doubtful the Arizona Cardinals free safety will be ready for the start of training camp, the Arizona Republic repTyrann+Mathieu+Arizona+Cardinals+v+New+Orleans+6v-Z3VwJgsDl.jpgorts.

"I think Ty is going to up to the wire," coach Bruce Arians told the Republic. "I still anticipate him on PUP, but he refuses to believe it. That's a good thing."

Mathieu was a ball hawk during his rookie season. He was a legitimate candidate for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award before tearing the ACL and LCL in his left knee in December against the Rams.

The 21-year-old Mathieu's been working his tail off to the point where the team almost has to kick him out of the building, General Manager Steve Keim told the paper.

When told that Arians said he might start training camp on the PUP list, Mathieu's didn't even know what the 'PUP list' was.

"Like I said, when my team takes the field, I want to take the field, too," he said. "I don't know if I'll be pushing it but it's what I want. I'll be shooting for that." (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

Sean Weatherspoon likes offseason moves Falcons made

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 23, 2014  

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon recorded 211 tackles and seven sacks in 2011-12 before getting 38 stops and no sacks in an injury-plagued img23028080.jpg2013 season. Weatherspoon, 26, told ESPN.com that the team's offseason moves, especially the signing of nose tackle Paul Soliai, will make his job a lot easier.

"Bringing in somebody of that caliber, I've seen him over the years and the way he's been playing,'' Weatherspoon said. "He's a big guy and real big for run-stopping. He'll whip up on the center, and that's the apex of the offense. So I think that's something that can be great.

"We signed all our defensive tackles back from last year [Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Peria Jerry]. Bringing those three guys back along with [Soliai] and bringing a big guy on the outside in [defensive end] Tyson Jackson ... they made some moves, man. It's definitely saying that we're active and we want to turn things around." (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Mike Wallace says Dolphins new scheme fits his style

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 23, 2014   

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace was a disappointment last season after signing a $60 million contract. But Mike-Wallace-November-20131-620x419.jpgWallace says the team's new offensive scheme fits his strengths, according to the Miami Herald.

"My style: Big-play offense," Wallace said, referring to first-year coordinator Bill Lazor's system. "I see Ryan [Tannehill] is excited about it. He's called me about eight, nine times.

"I just want to make some plays for my team," Wallace continued. "Go out and make some plays for my team and have a much better year than last year. We can't have the kind of year we had last year. We need to be on the same page."

Wallace caught a career-high 73 passes last season, but set career lows in yards per catch (12.7) and touchdowns (5). (Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 

Mike Smith says Julio Jones progressing well

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 23, 2014   

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith isn't sure when receiver Julio Jones will return to full spee1379278220000-USP-NFL-St-Louis-Rams-at-Atlanta-Falcons.jpgd.

Smith said Jones, whose 2013 season ended with a broken foot in Week 5, is "progressing well" following surgery last October.

"Our focus on Julio is one thing, and that's having him prepared for our opener," Smith said. "We're not going to do anything to hinder his timeframe in terms of getting back to work with us."

Jones led the NFL with 41 catches and ranked second in yards receiving through Atlanta's home loss to the New York Jets last Oct. 7.

Jones, the sixth overall draft pick three years ago, was a first-time Pro Bowl selection in 2012.

Smith said Jones will participate in walkthroughs now that the Falcons have started offseason workouts. (Photo: Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Seahawks WR Baldwin still hasn't signed tender

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 23, 2014  

Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is working out with his teammates during voluntYcGcf_AuSt_5.jpgary sessions even though he is not under contract, reports the Seattle Times.

Baldwin has yet to sign the second-round contract tender he was handed by the team in March, which would pay him $2.1 million in 2014 and then make him an unrestricted free agent after the season. Baldwin is currently a restricted free agent.

He said he signed a clearance waiver to attend the current workouts. His goal is to remain with the Seahawks "for a long time," and that he hopes to work out something soon. However, he said he has had no real talks with the team yet about an extension beyond 2014. (Photo: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Ray Rice 'looks great' at Ravens camp

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 23, 2014  

Ray Rice was in attendance for the start of Ravens offseason workouts and "looks great" according to strenray_rice.jpggth and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki.

"I've spoken to Ray. He's doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth, and he told me he has a handle on it," Rogucki told the official team website. "So, he looks good. Whatever he did from the end of the season until now, he's in a good position right now."

Many will blame a hip injury and a poor offensive line for Rice's steep statistical decline in 2013 but Rice claims he was overweight and that impacted his play. The team wanted him to lose 10 pounds from the 217 he weighed in at during the season. The reason for the added bulk was because of a change in offseason routines, and it might have played a role in his hip hurting him. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Seahawks, CB Sherman close to agreeing on contract extension

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 23, 2014   

The Seattle Seahawks and cornerback Richard Sherman have "made considerable progress" on a mBj-KnnZIAAA8FPc.jpgulti-year contract extension that would make the All-Pro cornerback the highest-paid player at his position, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

The two sides are hoping to have the deal completed by week of the NFL draft.

Keeping the 26-year-old Sherman in the fold would take care of one of the Seahawks most pressing offseason items with both he and All-Pro safety Earl Thomas entering the final year of their rookie contracts. Keeping both members of the "Legion of Boom" secondary would go a long way toward Seattle maintaining the NFL's No. 1 pass defense — a key factor in the Hawks' 2013 championship run.

Since entering the league as a fifth-round pick in 2011, Sherman has developed into one of the top defensive backs in the game. A tough, physical corner with impeccable ball skills who is also willing to help in run defense, Sherman led the league with 8 interceptions last season and matching his total from 2012. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder was voted first-team All-Pro in both 2012 and 2013. (Photo: Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times)

 

Chargers WR Floyd to weigh all options before making decision to return

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 23, 2014    

Malcom Floyd hurt his neck last September and missed the rest of the season. While his career might have been in jeopardy when he was carted off the field, signs actually point to him having a chance to keep pFloyd_crop_north.jpglaying.

Floyd was in attendance when the Chargers met for the start of their offseason workouts. He has been cleared to run and do light weightlifting but hasn't been cleared for football activities. U-T San Diego reports that Floyd will weigh all considerations including the risk of re-injuring his neck, before making a decision on his playing future.

"He looks good," teammate Philip Rivers said Tuesday. "He has that smile like he always does. That was a tough injury. I think it was tough on him, tougher than maybe we know. Hopefully, he can keep progressing, and we'll see where he stands, if he's ready to roll or not. You'd hate for it to end the way it did. Hopefully, he's back rolling. He looks good and himself from all I've seen." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Eric Fisher undergoes surgery; moving to left side of Chiefs O-line

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 22, 2014   

Kansas City Chiefs LT Eric Fisher underwent surgery on Monday to fix an injured shoulder and a sports hernia.

During the 2013 season, Fisher had his share of injuries including a groin injury that prevented him from playing in the playoff game agai10259328_628847053861927_8916457650279120030_n.jpgnst the Indianapolis Colts. Along with the groin injury, he also sustained a knee, shoulder, back injury, and concussion.

Fisher started off the season at the right tackle position, showing a rough transition from his usual left tackle position at Central Michigan. His overall grade was a -17.3 for the season, but the last five games he posted a +2.6 allowing 7 sacks and 35 hurries. However, with the departure of former LT Branden Albert to Miami, Eric Fisher received the nod from head coach Andy Reid that he would be shifting to the left side of the line.

"I met with coach (Andy) Reid a few weeks ago and he just told me 'Hey, this is what's going to happen,'" Fisher said. "Obviously, I was pretty excited about it because deep down inside, I think I'm truly a left tackle."

"Playing right tackle last year, I think, was a great learning experience for me," Fisher said. "I learned a lot from Branden Albert, what a great guy to learn from. The things he's accomplished . . . that's just awesome. I'm ready to take over now. I'm ready to run that left side with Jeff Allen. I think we're going to have a great crew up front." (Photo: David Eulitt/The Kansas City Star)

 

NFL announces top prospects who will attend draft in NYC

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 22, 2014   

The wait for the 2014 10273408_10152378731459171_6899118927351479919_n.jpgNFL Draft is a bit longer than most years, but the league continued to fan the flames of anticipation by announcing the players that will be in New York City for the festivities at Radio City Music Hall on May 8.

Here is a list of the scheduled attendees for the draft:

Quarterbacks 

Blake Bortles, Central Florida

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Wide Recievers 

Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Mike Evans, Texas A&M

Cody Latimer, Indiana

Marqise Lee, USC

Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Tight Ends

Eric Ebron, North Carolina

Offensive Tackles 

Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

Taylor Lewan, Michigan

Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

Morgan Moses, Virginia

Greg Robinson, Auburn

Defensive Ends

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

Kony Ealy, Missouri

Defensive Tackles

Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota

Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

Linebackers

Khalil Mack, Buffalo

C.J. Mosley, Alabama

Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

Cornerbacks 

Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

Bradley Roby, Ohio State

Jason Verrett, TCU

Safties

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

Calvin Pryor, Louisville

These prospects are expected to be selected in the first three rounds.

The first round will be Thursday, May 8, with rounds 2-3 the next day. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Smith leads Buccaneers' during first minicamp with team

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 22, 2014  

Football coaches can only learn so much watching players on film, so Lovie Smith is excited about finally having an opportunity to evaluate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the fieldLovie Smith runs first minicamp.png.

The Bucs began a three-day voluntary minicamp Tuesday, giving the team's new coaching staff what amounts to a head start on preparing for next season.

Smith and incoming general manager Jason Licht have spent much of the past three months overhauling the roster, including signing quarterback Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner, tight end Brandon Myers, defensive tackle Clifton McDonald and offensive linemen Evan Dietrich-Smith and Anthony Collins.

The Bucs began their offseason program two weeks ago. Smith is not surprised the start of minicamp drew 100 percent attendance, even though the practices are not mandatory.

"Everyone has been here all offseason, and that's what you expect. It's voluntary work. But if you want to get better, why would you pass up an opportunity?" Smith said via the teams' official website.

Among the players attending, but not yet participating in on-the-field workouts is guard Carl Nicks, who missed most of last season because of an MRSA infection. He expects to be ready for training camp.

Smith said it's good to have Nicks back around the entire team, stressing that everyone will benefit this season from getting their initial exposure to the offensive and defensive systems being installed by coordinators Jeff Tedford and Leslie Frazier.

The coach also noted he's impressed with the progress of McCown and second-year quarterback Mike Glennon, who started 13 games as a rookie in 2013.

McCown, a career backup coming off the best season of his career in Chicago, signed a two-year, $10 million contract in free agency and was immediately penciled in as the starter.

Glennon threw for 2,608 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions while compiling a 4-9 record last year.

"He's been a pro about everything. We've asked him to take a step back and let Josh take the lead position. He's done that," Smith said. "He's just trying to get better. That's what we're asking all our guys to do. Come in, improve your game. You're competing against you as much as anything. And he's done that."

In addition to giving the new coaching staff an opportunity to assess the talent already on the roster, the voluntary minicamp figures be helpful in preparing for next month's NFL draft.

The Bucs have the seventh overall pick. (Photo: Chris O'Meara/Associated Press)

 

Trial begins in alleged attack on Steelers' Adams

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 22, 2014  

A trial is underway for three men charged in the stabbing and attempted carjacking of Pittsburgh Steelers linemanMike Adams trial begins.jpg Mike Adams.

The trial began Tuesday in Pittsburgh for 26-year-old Michael Paranay, 26-year-old Dquay Means and 27-year-old Jerrell Whitlock. They're facing charges ranging from conspiracy to attempted homicide.

Prosecutor Christopher Stone said in his opening statements Tuesday that the defendants "saw an opportunity to steal a nice truck" and they took it.

Lawyers for the three men claim Adams lied about the details of the incident.

The Steelers drafted the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Adams in the second round in 2012 out of Ohio State. (Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press)

 

NFL to release schedule Wednesday night

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 22, 2014 

The NFL will release its regular-season schedule on Wednesday night. It will be televised live on NFL Network and ESPN2.

The schedule normally is announced earlier, but several issues cropped up to delay its release.

Among the highlight games is a Super Bowl rematch, with the Denver Broncos at NFL champion Seattle. Other interconference highlights include San Francisco at Denver, New England at Green Bay, and Philadelphia at Indianapolis.

Three games are scheduled for London and have been announced: Dolphins-Raiders on Sept. 28; Lions-Falcons on Oct. 26; and Cowboys-Jaguars on Nov. 9.

 

Five former Bills cheerleaders sue team over pay 

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 22, 2014 

Five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders on Tuesday sued the team over a pay system they say had them working hundreds of hours for free at games and at mandatory public appearances at which they were subjected to groping and sexhi-res-6437a6987e9ee62c80c28ed9a8b4d4fc_crop_north.jpgual comments, and one said they had to take a jiggle test so their boss could see how firm their bodies were.

The state Supreme Court lawsuit is the third filed this year against a National Football League team by cheerleaders. The Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals also have pending wage battles.

The case against the Bills says its cheerleaders, the Buffalo Jills, are wrongly classified as independent contractors and are subjected to policies that violate the state's $8 per hour minimum wage law and other workplace rules. Two members of the Jills squad held a news conference Tuesday with their attorney, Frank Dolce.

"We are Bills fans," Dolce said during the presser. "We definitely want our organization and other organizations in the NFL to respect the rights of these cheerleaders."

The Bills' cheerleaders aren't paid for games or practices and have to make 20-35 appearances, most of which are unpaid, at community and charity events each season, the lawsuit said. On top of that, they have to pay $650 for their uniforms and are not reimbursed for travel or other expenses, the cheerleaders said.

The time and expense, as well as rules governing their personal lives, far exceeded what they signed on for, the women said.

The civil action, which seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees, names Stejon Productions Corp., which assumed management of the Jills in 2011, along with former manager Citadel Communications Co. and the Buffalo Bills.

Stejon President Stephanie Mateczun said she could not comment on the claims. Buffalo Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said the team's policy is not to discuss pending litigation. A Citadel spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The cheerleaders are identified only by their first names and last initials in the lawsuit, which cites a provision that allows plaintiffs to remain anonymous "where identification poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm."

Their complaint describes "demeaning and degrading treatment," including being required to wear bikinis at various events such as an annual golf tournament at which cheerleaders were "auctioned off like prizes" and subjected to "degrading sexual comments and inappropriate touching."

Mateczun, the cheerleaders said, controlled everything from their hair and nail polish color to what they could post on Facebook.

"Everything from standing in front of us with a clipboard having us do a jiggle test to see what parts of our body were jiggling," cheerleader Alyssa U. said, "and if that was something that she saw, you were getting benched."

Alyssa U. estimated she was paid a total of $420 during the 2012-13 football season. Another cheerleader, Maria P., said she received $105.

The cheerleaders and their attorney said they hope their legal action leads to policy changes within the Bills' organization that ensure future cheerleaders are paid and treated better. (Photo: Gary Wippert/Associated Press)

 

Giants S Will Hill facing 3rd suspension

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 22, 2014  

New York Giants safety Will Hill is facing a possible third suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, according to several reports.

Fox Sports and the Star-Ledger of Newwill-hill.jpgark were the first to report that the talented but troubled 24-year-old Hill failed another drug test.

Hill could face a suspension of six games to a year depending on what the tests showed.

Hill was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season for using a performance-enhancing drug, which he said was Adderall. He was suspended for the first four games last season for using marijuana, which he said was to relieve stress. The East Orange native underwent drug rehabilitation in March and April in Boston last year, and followed up that with outpatient meetings in New Jersey.

Hill started 10 of 12 games last season. He made 77 tackles, intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, forced two fumbles and recovered another.

"It could be a big deal, because he's a big part of this defense," defensive end Jean Pierre-Paul said via the New York Daily News after organized team activities on Tuesday. "But we have other guys who can fill in for him."

The preseason depth chart had Hill starting at safety with Antrel Rolle. There is depth in the unit with Stevie Brown back after missing last season with a knee injury and Quintin Demps signed as a free agent after making six starts for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rolle said he treats Hill "like a little brother."

"It's always tough when you hear news like this," Rolle said. "Will Hill is a great guy and a great teammate. He's a phenomenal talent. My concern is for him as a person, not as a football player. I am going to support him, keep his spirits up and hope that all of this is nothing. We don't know what's going to happen. We'll see."

Meanwhile, quarterback Eli Manning said he'll be ready for training camp after recent ankle surgery. Offensive lineman Chris Snee said he's recovered from offseason hip, knee and elbow surgery. (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

 

Jags' Allen retires after suffering in-game stroke

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 22, 2014 

Former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen will retire after suffering a concussion and a stroke in a game last December.

Allen told MMQB.si.com thatRussell Allen retires after suffering stroke.jpg he has a dead spot — no bigger than a dime — on his cerebellum. The cerebellum controls motor movement and coordination.

The Jaguars released Allen last week after his personal physician consulted with Jacksonville's medical staff before a scheduled physical.

"I told my story so athletes understand you can't ignore head injuries," Allen posted on his Twitter page Tuesday. "If you're not sure you have one, then you do. Report it immediately."

In the months after Allen's initial stroke diagnosis, he saw three neurosurgeons. The last one advised Allen to quit playing football.

Allen told MMQB he has struggled to pick up and grip hand-held objects — doctors believe this will subside in time — and will be on blood-thinning medication for the rest of his life.

Allen hopes others will learn from his experience.

"Guys talk about it all the time: 'I'm all right; I just got my bell rung,'" he said. "I've had, maybe 10 times in my career, when for a second I felt woozy after a hit. And what I've learned from this is that it's not something to be overlooked. If it feels like something's wrong, something's wrong. I want someone to know my experience, so they can know when they experience something similar."

Allen sustained the concussion and stroke in Week 15 against Buffalo, after running into Bills center Eric Wood several yards downfield.

"It was strange because it was so routine," Allen said. "We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash — like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn't lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive."

Later in the game, though, Allen began having double vision on the sideline. He did not notify team trainers, instead asking teammate Paul Posluszny if his eye was OK.

Allen had a headache after the game and again when he woke up the next day, which prompted him to tell the team.

The Jaguars ordered an MRI and sent Allen home. That Tuesday, the Jags told Allen to meet a team physician at the emergency room. Allen was told he had suffered a stroke and had tests for three days at the hospital. (Photo: Bill Wippert/Associated Press)

 

Ten years after his death, Pat Tillman's legacy lives on

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 22, 2014 

Today marks 10 years since the death of Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals defensive back who walked away from millions to join the military.

Eight months after the September 11 attacks, TillmTillmanAnny2MAIN.jpgan left the Cardinals to join the Army. The 27-year-old was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.

In their haste to make Tillman a post-9/11 hero, the Army falsely claimed that he was killed "in the line of devastating enemy fire." But it was later revealed that he was killed by 'friendly fire.'

It's still not clear who shot him, except that it was likely by one of three army rangers. And, for the first time, one of those rangers is speaking about what happened that day.

Steven Elliott told ESPN last week he can't shake the fact that it might be his fault. He's apologized to the Tillman family, but says saying sorry feels inadequate.

This weekend, thousands of people across the country will walk or run 4.2 miles in the annual Pat's Run. In Arizona, the race will end at the 42-yard line at Sun Devil Stadium, where Tillman started his football career as No. 42.

The event has helped the Pat Tillman Foundation give back to military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships.

More than 290 scholars have helped carry on Pat's legacy in the past decade, according to the Pat Tillman Foundation's website.

"Somewhere inside, we hear a voice," Tillman once said. "It leads us in the direction of who we wish to become. But it is up to us whether or not to follow."

Pat Tillman was a man willing to sacrifice anything for a better cause. And because of that, his legend will live forever.

 

Rams WR Givens taking different approach this offseason

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 22, 2014     

St. Louis Rams receiver Chris Givens didn't score a touchdown last season, a stat that echoed with him all offseason long. So when he had the opportunity to spend time with legendary trainers and stay in touch with Hall of Fame-caChris-Givens-GB-PRE-2013.jpgliber players, he didn't hesitate.

Givens hooked up with soon-to-be Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams, who referred him to his long-time trainer Mack Newton. Givens also got in touch with Rams all-time receiving leader Isaac Bruce. He's spent the offseason working on the nuances of his game, including learning patience and how to set up defensive backs for big plays rather than just try to speed past them. He also recovered from ankle and shoulder injuries that hampered him.

Givens will have a shot at starting for the Rams this season, but he'll need a solid training camp to earn the job.

"I have some big goals and I have a lot of things I needed to change in my life," Givens told ESPN. "And just I really made football my No. 1 priority and that's all I have been doing is working on my body, getting in shape to run, not running to get in shape and just doing things the right way so I can be durable throughout my career." (Photo: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

 

DeSean Jackson has 'something special' for Eagles

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 22, 2014    

New Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson said on The Arsenio Hall Show that he's planning to play big when he takes on his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles this seasoDeSean-Jackson-On-Playing-The-Eagles-There.jpgn.

"Now look, I'm in this business, and I know our publicists load us with politically correct answers for questions, but you have to be waiting for those two times to wear his ass out," Hall then asked. "Just personally, you want to get in Chip Kelly's head."

"Yeah, I mean, for sure them two games, there's gonna be something special about them two games," Jackson said with a laugh. "For sure. I've got to definitely go up on that. For sure."

Hall later asked Jackson about the much-bandied "gang affiliations" label.

"The speculation, it is what it is. Myself growing up in Los Angeles California, South Central, Inglewood, Crenshaw, I was raised through that," Jackson said. "So at the end of the day, me being a professional athlete, I just can't look at them at the end of the day and say 'Peace Y'all, I'm gonna go over here and do my thing.' I know how to separate it from my business and going to work, and when I'm hanging out having a good time with my friends.

"But a lot of us all said we wanted to make it, and I was fortunate enough to make it, so I want to share light with my boys," Jackson said. "I want them to come out and have a good time, I want them to live the life I'm living too. It ain't no fun if the homies can't have none, right?"

Jackson also denied that he was ever a problem in the Eagles locker room and claimed all the discussion about him being a bad teammate is off base. 

"But as far as overall being a bad energy in the locker room? None of that stuff never occurred," Jackson continued. "I love my teammates, I love to go out there and do the things I can to help my team win. And at the end of the day, that's all it's about, you feel me?"

 

Bengals' P Huber starting to kick again after suffering cracked vertebra

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 22, 2014    

Kevin Huber has gained back the 15 pounds he lost while his jaw was wired, forcing him to drink his meals. He no longer wears a neck brace to help a cracked vertebra heal.

The Bengals punter is nearly back to noUSATSI_7618406_crop_north.jpgrmal after recovering from one of the most painful hits of the 2013 season.

Pittsburgh's Terence Garvin blocked Huber during Antonio Brown's 67-yard punt return for a touchdown last December, hitting the punter's chin with the top of his helmet. Huber broke his jaw and had to have surgery to wire it in place. He also cracked a vertebra, which healed without surgery.

Huber said on Monday that he's still limited in his weightlifting workouts, but he's getting ready to return to a full kicking routine.

"I've started getting back into swinging the leg some," he said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I haven't had full kicking sessions yet, but I'm going to start trying to get back into that here pretty soon."

Huber is one of several Bengals trying to recover from significant injuries sustained last season. Cornerback Leon Hall tore his right Achilles tendon on Oct. 20. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Oct. 31. Atkins was in the locker room on Monday when voluntary offseason workouts began, but declined to talk about his recovery.

Huber's injury left the Bengals without a proven punter for December and the postseason. They lost at home to San Diego, the third straight season in which they've been eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.

It took three months for Huber's jaw to fully heal. The cracked vertebra isn't expected to pose any issues long-term. Doctors are being cautious and haven't cleared him for full workouts.

"I feel good," Huber said. "They just want a little more time to make sure I'm fully recovered. I'm ready to get back into it. It's been a long time with neck braces and the stuff in my mouth." (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Knee could limit Chris Johnson's offseason work

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 22, 2014   

Recently signed New York Jets running back Chris Johnson could be limited with his offseason work, adm_140416_nfl_chris_johnson_agrees_deal_jets.jpgccording to an ESPN report.

Johnson had arthroscopic surgery this offseason for a torn meniscus and has some arthritis in his right knee. He passed the team physical when he signed with the Jets, but head coach Rex Ryan said Monday that Johnson will be among several players limited in the offseason program.

When he does get on the field, several of his teammates are excited to see what he can do.

"The first thing that comes to mind is speed and home-run hitter," quarterback Geno Smith said. "I don't know how many times he's broken runs for 50, 60 yards, but it seems like he does almost every week. He brings another explosive dimension into our running-back room." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Raiders trade QB Terrelle Pryor to Seahawks

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 21, 2014    

The Oakland Raiders have traded away the final player drafted by late owner Al Davis.

Oakland dealt quarterback Terrelle Pryor to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday for a seventh-round pick76472442.jpg in next month's draft, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

The Raiders fulfilled Pryor's wish to be traded a day before the start of their offseason program. Pryor had asked to be dealt after the season when he lost his starting job to undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, and the Raiders made the move after acquiring Matt Schaub from Houston to be the starter.

Pryor said on Twitter: "Thank you Mr Davis and Raidernation for the unbelievable support!! I will miss the Fans and all of the teammates I have met over the years with the Raiders organization!!"

The Raiders took Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft in 2011, less than two months before Davis died. Pryor was suspended for the first five games by Commissioner Roger Goodell, who ruled he must miss the time he would have served under a suspension had he stayed at Ohio State.

Pryor got on the field only once as a rookie, committing a false start before his first play. He then played sparingly late in his second season before beating out general manager Reggie McKenzie's hand-picked starter, Matt Flynn, in training camp last summer.

Pryor showed flashes of what he could do early in the season, completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 845 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions and a 97.6 passer rating in his first four starts. He also brought the running element to Oakland's offense and set an NFL record for quarterbacks with a 93-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.

That was the final real highlight of his first year as a starter. He lost his job to McGloin a few weeks later after struggling through a knee injury in a loss to the New York Giants. Pryor had completed 50.1 percent of his passes for 714 yards with one touchdown, eight interceptions and a 44.2 passer rating in his four starts before losing his job.

He played only sparingly after that until starting the season finale against Denver. Pryor finished the season having completed 156 of 272 passes for 1,798 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a passer rating of 69.1. He also rushed for 576 yards on 83 carries, but was sacked 31 times.

Pryor will compete with Tarvaris Jackson and B.J. Daniels for the backup job to Russell Wilson on the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.

"Terrelle is an incredibly explosive athlete and we're excited for him to come in and compete," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said in a statement.

The Raiders had already decided to go in a different direction at quarterback when they traded a sixth-round pick to Houston for Schaub. Coach Dennis Allen had already chosen Schaub as his starter and McGloin is in place as the backup. Oakland could still draft a quarterback next month. (Photo: Kelley L. Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

 

 

Colts place C Phil Costa on reserved-retired list

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 21, 2014    

Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was unusually busy on the teams' opening day of offseason workouts.

He put center Phil Costa on the reserved-retiredal_g_phil-costa_mb_600x400.jpgd list, signed veteran safety Colt Anderson and re-signed cornerback Josh Gordy, a restricted free agent.

Costa's surprising decision came just five weeks after he left Dallas in free agency to presumably compete for Indy's starting job and could be a major blow for Grigson's plan to reinforce an offensive line that has struggled to create running lanes or keep Andrew Luck from taking too many hits.

"Phil feels it's in his best interest to retire from the game," Grigson said in a statement released by the team. "We certainly understand and wish him nothing but the best."

Costa's listed agent, George Mavrikes, did not immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press.

Indy's players and coaches are not scheduled to be take questions until Wednesday.

The Colts, who have only five picks in next month's draft, don't have a lot of options left to fill holes.

They released two-year starter Samson Satele in a cost-cutting move in early March, then opted to sign Costa to a contract rather than trying to outbid the Browns for center Alex Mack. That leaves second-year center Khaled Holmes as the current favorite to be the opening day starter.

Holmes snapped for Matt Barkley in high school and at Southern California and was a fourth-round pick in last year's draft, but was injured early in training camp. But he played in just three games, making no starts.

The retirement of the 26-year-old Costa, who made 20 starts in four seasons with Dallas, opened up a roster spot and Grigson wasted no time in filling it.

Later in the day, Grigson added Anderson, a 5-foot-10, 194-pound safety who made six starts and played in 48 games over four seasons with Philadelphia.

Anderson has 47 career tackles, four passes defensed, one interception and two forced fumbles. He also has 46 career special teams tackles.

Gordy, who had nine tackles and one interception in 12 games last season, also signed his qualifying offer from the team.

He was acquired in a trade with St. Louis in August 2012.

In three NFL seasons, Gordy has 77 tackles, four interceptions, one sack and one fumble recovery. (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

 

Ndamukong Suh won't attend Lions' voluntary camp

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 21, 2014   

Ndamukong Suh will be a no-show at the Detroit Lions' voluntary minicamp this week.

Suh won't be in Allen Park, Mich., on Tuesday with his teammates, a person familiar with the situ1378928891000-USP-NFL-Detroit-Lions-at-Green-Bay-Packers.jpgation told The Detroit Free Press.

Lions first-year coach Jim Caldwell said last week he wished Suh was at previous voluntary workouts. Caldwell added that he has spoken to Suh more than any other player on the team since being hired.

The two-time All-Pro has skipped voluntary workouts in the past, and the 6-foot-4, 307-pound Suh has stayed in good shape.

He has not missed a game because of an injury in his four-year career. He was suspended for two games in 2011 for stomping on an opponent.

Suh is entering the last year of his contract, and is scheduled to count more than $20 million against the salary cap this season. Lions president Tom Lewand has insisted it does not matter when a deal gets done with Suh even though a new contract could be restructured in a way that gives the team some short-term flexibility to make more moves this offseason.

Lewand has sounded optimistic an agreement will eventually be reached with Suh, drafted with the No. 2 pick overall in 2010. Caldwell told people at a season ticket holders' gathering that Suh is a thoughtful individual, who has his life planned out

Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said last week that Suh is "worth every penny," because he can disrupt what offenses want to do in the passing and running game.

Suh has cost himself some money with his on-field actions, including an infamous stomp on the right arm of Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith in a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving in 2011.

The NFL was fined seven times for more than $200,000, leading to some in the league saying he's a dirty player. Suh has been able to afford it financially because he signed a five-year contract worth up to $68 million, but his reputation has taken a hit.

Suh had a career-high 10 sacks as a rookie and has made 27½ sacks in his career. As a captain last season, he had 5½ sacks. (Photo: Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Chiefs working on extension with QB Smith

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 21, 2014  

Alex Smith would like to stay in Kansas City. He just doesn't want to waste his time dealing with the negotiations that could keBRtK1_St_81.jpgep him with the Chiefs beyond next season.

Smith did confirm that his agent, Tom Condon, has been talking with the Chiefs about a new deal. Smith is due to make $7.5 million in the final year of a contract he signed in 2012, when he was still a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"I have no date as far as expectation (of getting a deal done)," Smith said via the Kansas City Star on the first day of the offseason program. "I still have a year on my contract, so for me, no, I don't have any expectations. I don't know when it'll get done."

Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid have both expressed their desire to keep Smith in Kansas City.

Smith completed 66 percent of his passes with a career-best 23 touchdowns and only seven interceptions while leading a team that had been 2-14 the year before his arrival to an 11-5 mark and a spot in the playoffs. Kansas City lost to Indianapolis in the first round.

"I've played long enough, going into Year 10 now, it's all year to year in my mind anyway," Smith said. "At this point, you have to continually prove yourself, so I don't think it changes anything as far as my mindset or my approach to the game at all."

The Chiefs traded what turned out to be a second-round pick last season and their second-rounder this season to San Francisco to acquire Smith. That leaves them with only one pick in the first 86, and could make it difficult to surround their quarterback with help.

They've already lost left tackle Branden Albert and both of their right guards, Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz, during free agency. They have also struggled to find a complementary wide receiver for Dwayne Bowe, and could select a wide receiver with their first-round pick.

Smith said he doesn't worry about any of it.

"I knew some of that was to be expected. It's tough. Those were all good players," he said. "I knew we weren't going to keep everybody. That's part of the deal."

Along with turning his focus toward next season, Smith is also working on a commencement address that he will deliver May 1 at Utah. He was approached a while back by the president's office at his alma mater, though he wasn't sure how far down he was on the pecking order.

"Humbled to give it. It's kind of sitting in the back of my mind this entire offseason, knowing I have to give this speech," he said.

Asked if there was a theme, he glibly replied: "Yeah, they should work really hard on running fast and throwing the ball far." (Photo: John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star)

 

Bengals exercise WR A.J. Green's option for 2015

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 21, 2014   

The Cincinnati Bengals exercised a 2015 contract option for receiver A.J. Green on Monday, letting them turn their focus to an extensiBengal pick up option on Green.jpgon for quarterback Andy Dalton.

Green was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft and was entering the final season on his deal. The collective bargaining agreement allows teams to exercise a fifth-year option on players drafted in the top 10. The Bengals will have to pay him the average of the top 10 receivers in the NFL.

Green has 3,833 yards receiving in his first three seasons, trailing only Randy Moss' 4,163 yards in his first three seasons. He set club records with six 100-yard receiving games and five straight 100-yard games last season. He finished with 1,426 yards, trailing only Chad Johnson's club record of 1,440 yards.

Bengals owner Mike Brown said at the NFL's annual meeting last month that he planned to exercise the fifth-year option on Green, which had to be done by the first week in May.

"It's what is in the new CBA," Green said on Monday morning. "There's nothing I can do about it."

By exercising the option, Bengals can wait until after next season to talk to Green about a long-term deal.

"That's one thing I don't ever worry about, that business side," Green said. "I feel like my body of work speaks for itself. So whenever the time is right, it happens."

Dalton was taken in the second round in 2011, so he's not subject to an option year. His deal expires after this season. Dalton said on Monday that the Bengals have talked to him about an extension, but nothing appears to be imminent. (Photo: Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

              

Broncos move Franklin to left guard

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 21, 2014  

The Denver Broncos are shuffling their offensive line this offseason and Orlando Franklin provided some insight into their plans Monday by tweeting that he's moving from right tackle to lorlando-franklin-nfl-afc-championship-new-england-patriots-denver-broncos-590x900.jpgeft guard.

"Left guard, excited to learn and improve this offseason. I will give it my all," Franklin wrote via Twitter.

He'd replace Zane Beadles, who left for Jacksonville in free agency.

That apparently means Manny Ramirez would stay at center and Chris Clark, who filled in at left tackle after All-Pro Ryan Clady went on IR with a foot injury in Week 2 last season, will switch sides and play right tackle.

The Broncos' offensive line was dominated by Seattle in the Super Bowl and Peyton Manning was under constant pressure in Denver's 43-8 loss. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Josh Freeman officially signs with Giants

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 21, 2014   

Josh Freeman signed with the New York Giants on Monday to be a backup quarterback to Eli Manning.

Freeman was released by Tampa Bay early last seasoFreeman joins giants.pngn and spent the rest of 2013 with Minnesota. His one start for the Vikings was in a 23-7 loss to the Giants in which he struggled, going 20 of 53 for 190 yards with an interception.

Freeman is the 15th veteran the Giants have added in free agency. He joins Manning, Curtis Painter and Ryan Nassib as quarterbacks on the roster. New York is expected to keep either two or three quarterbacks next season.

Tampa Bay cut Freeman in a messy split last year. He was the Buccaneers' first-round draft pick in 2009 out of Kansas State. He became a starter in November of that year and started 60 games for Tampa Bay.

Freeman's quarterbacks coach in Minnesota was Craig Johnson, now the Giants' running backs coach.

"I'm definitely excited about being a part of this great organization," the 26-year-old Freeman said via the teams' official website during the team's first day of offseason conditioning. "Obviously, it's a chance to go play quality football, learn from some great coaches, learn from a great quarterback in Eli. Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Freeman went 0-3 as a starter in 2013 with the Buccaneers before being cut on Oct. 3. He signed with the Vikings five days later, but other than his start against the Giants, he was a nonfactor in Minnesota. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Rolando McClain retires from NFL again

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 21, 2014  

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Rolando McClain is retiring from football again, telling ESPN in a text thRolando-McClain_return_final.jpgat football isn't for him.

"I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football," McClain wrote. "If football made me complete I would play. But whenever I think of it my heart pulls me away from whatever reason. This means I'm done."

McClain reportedly failed a conditioning test in Baltimore when he considered making a comeback. He was reinstated last week but it might have been so he could retire. He never played for the Ravens.

McClain finishes his three-year NFL career with 246 total tackles over 41 games with 6.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. McClain was originally an eighth-overall selection by the Raiders in 2010, taken just ahead of C.J. Spiller. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Keyshawn Johnson arrested in domestic dispute

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 21, 2014  

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says former NFL and Southern California receiver Keyshawn Johnson has been arrested after a report Keyshawn Johnson arrested.jpgof a domestic dispute.

A Sheriff's Department statement says deputies responded to a residence in Calabasas at 12:48 a.m. Monday and determined the resident and his ex-girlfriend were involved in a domestic dispute, and the resident was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery.

The department subsequently identified the resident as Johnson, who posted bond at 9:15 a.m. and was released.

In the NFL, Johnson played for the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers.

He's currently an ESPN commentator and analyst. ESPN says it's aware of the arrest and is looking into the matter. (Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press)

 

Tony Romo ready for offseason workouts

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 21, 2014  

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is expected to participate in the offseason program which star1385340079000-USP-NFL-Dallas-Cowboys-at-New-York-Giants.jpgts Monday, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports

Romo missed the final game of the 2013 season to undergo back surgery and is on target in his rehab program. Romo's availability is expected in most if not all of those activities.

Last summer, he missed several days of the offseason program as he recovered from surgery to remove a cyst from his back. But last December, Romo underwent a discectomy to repair a herniated disc after injuring his back in a Week 16 game at Washington.

Romo finished the 2013 season throwing for 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. (Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Fisher: Bradford 'realistically' ahead of schedule

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 20, 2014 

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher figures quarterback Sam Bradford will at least throw during OTAs this spring, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Bradford is working his way bachi-res-185420128-sam-bradford-of-the-st-louis-rams-drops-back-to-pass_crop_north.jpgk from a torn ACL. According to Fisher, saying Bradford is ahead of schedule isn't just lip service.

"You're not gonna hear a head coach say he has a player on his team that's not ahead of schedule coming off an ACL. Everybody says they're all ahead of schedule. But he is realistically way ahead of schedule. He's working hard," Fisher told the Post-Dispatch.

Fisher predicts Bradford will be ready to go for the start of the season and even progress to the next step of his career, but the Rams are still sniffing around quarterbacks. The Post-Dispatch says "signs point" to the team drafting a quarterback in May, if only for precautionary reasons since Bradford has two years left on his current deal. (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

 

Marcus Lattimore eager to start pro career

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 20, 2014  

San Francisco 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is ready to start his proffesional career. After blowing out his knee in a gruesome injury in October of 20marcus-lattimore-nfl-san-francisco-49ers-ota.jpg12 at South Carolina, Lattimore told The State on Sunday that his knee rehab is complete and that he's "ready to play."

Lattimore, who will attend the first day of the team's offseason workouts, will enter a crowded backfield with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James already backing up current starter Frank Gore. However, James has expressed his desire for a bigger role and could be dealt, opening the door for the No. 3 spot in the backfield.

"If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot," Lattimore said. "But I've just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I've got to show that." (Photo: Kelley L. Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Big names among prospective Buffalo Bills buyers

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 20, 2014  

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is prepared to make a bid to buy the Buffalo Bills. Donald Trump's on board, too.

Don't discount the family of Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. And include New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi's name for abills.jpgdded spice.

It's not every day — or every year — an NFL franchise goes on the market as the Bills are, following owner Ralph Wilson's death last month.

Wilson's wishes to have the team sold rather than passed on to his family raise the possibility of the Bills relocating from the city that's been home for more than 50 years. Toronto and Los Angeles are potential landing spots because owners would have an opportunity to make more money than in Buffalo, the NFL's second-smallest market.

Prospective owners are already lining up or, at the very least, expressing interest. There are a reported 10 prospective ownership groups that have interest in buying the team.

The Bills were valued by Forbes last year at $870 million, but the sale price could go higher given the number of expected bidders and the scarcity of NFL teams on the market.

The formal bidding process won't begin until Wilson's estate appoints an investment banking firm to put an updated value on the franchise and oversee negotiations.

Trump, the New York City real estate mogul and reality TV star, has already contacted the NFL, Wilson's estate and several league owners.

Dan Kelly, vice president of Jim Kelly Inc., told reporters last week that his brother will pursue the Bills despite undergoing treatments for a recurrence of sinus cancer.

The Jacobs family name also keeps coming up, according to several people familiar with the process.

Last week, Jeremy Jacobs Sr. released a statement saying he has no intention of selling the Bruins in order to purchase the Bills, a move that would be required because NFL rules do not allow owners to control major sports franchises in separate markets. But Jacobs' statement did not address whether his sons would be involved in an ownership group.

Jacobs is from Buffalo, and his three sons, Jeremy Jr., Lou and Charlie, are principals of Buffalo-based Delaware North food service company. Charlie Jacobs is also a principal of the Bruins.

Then there's Bon Jovi, who is linked to Larry Tanenbaum, a Toronto-based developer and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which controls the NBA Raptors and NHL Maple Leafs.

Though Bon Jovi and Tanenbaum have close ties, no formal relationship has been made between the two involving a potential purchase of the Bills and relocating them to Toronto.

Bon Jovi's representative, Ken Sunshine, said, "Jon is passionate about owning an NFL team," but steered clear of any mention of the Bills.

There are major obstacles standing in the way of the team relocating during the term of the 10-year lease it reached with the state and county in December 2012.

The Bills would incur a $400 million penalty by even broaching the prospect of moving during the lease's term. There is a one-time exception that would allow the Bills to break the lease for just under $28.4 million in July 2020. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Miami (Ohio) honors Ravens' Harbaugh with statue

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 19, 2014  

The Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was added to Miami University's Cradle of Coaches on Saturday. He unveiled a sculpture of himself with right arm raised in triumph on the Baltimore sideJohn Harbaugh Miami OH.jpglin.

The Mid-American Conference school put Harbaugh's induction on the fast track after he won the Super Bowl for the 2012 season. A display of statues on a plaza outside the football stadium honors Miami graduates who were honored as national coaches of the year, inducted into the college or professional football football halls of fame, or who have won collegiate or pro championships.

Harbaugh's is the ninth statue on the plaza, joining the likenesses of Earl "Red" Blaik, Paul Brown, Carm Cozza, Paul Dietzel, Weeb Ewbank, Ara Parseghian, John Pont and Bo Schembechler.

The 1984 Redhawks' graduate chose Schembechler's mantra of "the team, the team, the team" as part of the inscription below his statue. Harbaugh's father, Jack, was an assistant to Schembechler at Michigan.

He compared the honor to Bubba Watson winning his second Masters.

"This cradle is the greatest honor in coaching, if you understand what it's all about," Harbaugh said. "It's like Bubba Watson said last week. He was asked, 'You ever dream of something like this?' He said, 'Naw, my dreams never got this far.' That's exactly how I feel."

David Sayler, the school's athletic director, noted that many football recruits aren't familiar with the other honored coaches, but they know about Harbaugh.

"John is going to serve as a link to this generation to all of this around us (on the plaza)," Sayler said. "So it brings it back to the forefront and makes it relevant again and makes people talk about it again."

Miami is coming off one of the worst seasons in its history. The RedHawks went 0-12, only the fourth time since 1900 that they failed to win a game. Coach Don Treadwell was fired after the first five losses, replaced by offensive coordinator Mike Bath for the rest of the season. In December, Miami hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin as the next head coach.

Harbaugh talked to the returning players over the weekend and watched some of their spring practice on Saturday. He also wore a hard hat and dug a shovel of dirt as part of a ground-breaking ceremony for a new covered practice field nearby.

During an interview, he said was thinking of eventually becoming a coach when he was a defensive back at the school.

"When you grow up as a coach's kid, you're probably always thinking about it," he said. "I was probably trying to think about getting through the next day and getting to the next class, but I think it's always on your mind as a coach's kid."

Next on his mind is a Ravens' turnaround. They overhauled their roster to fit under the salary cap after their Super Bowl season, and it didn't turn out well. Baltimore finished at .500 and missed the playoffs for the first time in Harbaugh's six seasons as coach.

Offseason workouts start Monday for the Ravens.

"Maybe it's the same mentality as Miami right now," he said. "Maybe we're really hungry. Maybe we've got a little bit of a chip on our shoulders. Our guys are excited about getting started." (Photo: Al Behrman/Associated Press)

 

Manning's visit with Saban may have violated NFL rules

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 19, 2014 

Peyton Manning's never-ending quest to hone his game and Nick Saban's desire to decipher fast-paced offenses led to a recent meeting that the Crimson Tide coach called mutually benef102012BamaTenn01.jpgicial.

It also might have violated NFL rules because, according to Saban, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase also was in attendance.

The league doesn't allow players and their coaches to meet before the start of offseason workouts, which for the Broncos begin Monday. On-field instruction won't start until mid-May.

Gase, one of the rising young stars in the NFL coaching ranks, and Saban go way back. Gase worked under Saban at Michigan State in the late 1990s and followed him to LSU as a graduate assistant in 2000.

Saban also has known Manning for a long time and is friends with his father, Archie.

Saban said after Thursday's practice that Manning and Gase were "making some visits" and stopped by Tuscaloosa, Ala., a couple of weeks ago.

"To be honest with you, he was just trying to learn so he could be a better player," Saban said of the five-time MVP who led the Broncos to the Super Bowl, where they were soundly beaten by Seattle.

With Gase calling the shots, Manning set NFL records by throwing for 55 touchdowns and 5,447 yards in 2013 as the Broncos became the first team in league history to score more than 600 points in a season.

Saban picked their brains about the no-huddle, something Alabama has had trouble with, and Manning picked up pointers from one of the brightest minds in coaching.

"Since they're a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that gives them problems," Saban said. "That was kind of a mutual, hopefully beneficial — I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them, as well."

The Broncos gather Monday for what's called Phase One of the voluntary offseason workout program. During the first two weeks of the offseason program, activities are limited to strength and conditioning and rehabilitation before any on-field work and instruction are allowed.

Before giving the keynote address at the Boy Scouts of America Sports Breakfast in Denver on Wednesday, Manning said he's going to use Denver's 43-8 loss to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl as motivation for the upcoming season: "We have to try to find a way to build off that, and try to take it a step farther, try to finish," he suggested. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Packers' players work at McDonalds during tailgate tour

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 19, 2014  

The workers manning the McDonald's drive-through window in Ashland, Wisconsin were not your normal fast food wortemp140417-mcdonalds-subway-007--nfl_mezz_1280_1024.jpgkers on Friday night.

Green Bay Packers Mason Crosby and Brad Jones took turns at the window handing burgers and fries to stunned customers Thursday. They also joined other Packers personnel making coffee, flipping burgers and taking orders at the counter.

The Packers are on their annual tailgate tour and had a stop scheduled at Ashland schools, which were closed because of the snowstorm this week. So they headed for McDonalds and Subway.

Jarrett Bush and Packers Hall of Famer Paul Coffman put together sandwiches at Subway before the team members headed for their next stop in Superior. (Photo: Aaron Popkey/packers.com)

 

Luck, Wayne back in Indy as offseason work looms

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 18, 2014  

Andrew Luck is already back to work. He hopes Reggie Wayne will soon join him on the practice6834564.jpg field.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the Colts star quarterback and Pro Bowl receiver both returned to Indianapolis on Friday for charity events, just five days before the Colts hold their first official offseason workouts.

Luck acknowledged he took a short break from football, traveling to several different countries, before spending the past six weeks getting back into football shape. Wayne is trying to return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The two have not been able to work together yet, but they're hoping that will change.

Luck said he expects Wayne to return and be as productive as he ever has. (Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Jets hoping Chris Johnson can produce like LaDainian Tomlinson did during 2010 season

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 18, 2014  

The New York Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, ETitans-will-Pay-Chris-Johnson-10-million.jpgSPN reports.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came one game shy of going to the Super Bowl.

Now the Jets are hoping that Johnson – who was released by the Titans last week – can do the same thing in 2014.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," Johnson said Thursday via the New York Daily News.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010. (Photo: Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated)

 

Trent Richardson promises a better 2014 after disappointing 2013

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 18, 2014  

Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a trent-richardson-colts-jersey4.jpgnew playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the teams' official website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014.

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big – timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key.

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign." (Photo: EOF Illustrations)

 

Saints bring back Robert Meachem

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 18, 2014 

New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis announced on Friday that the club has re-sign7886532.jpged veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract, the teams' official website reports.

Meachem is entering his eighth NFL season and seventh with New Orleans. He was originally the teams first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007.

Meachum re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns. He also had three receptions for 109 yards in New Orleans' two playoff games last season.

Meachum has played in 92 regular season games, and has 171 receptions for 2,800 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has played only one season outside of New Orleans, spending the 2012 season in San Diego.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said. (Photo: John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Troy Aikman says he worried about Tony Romo

Submitted by Manuel Avila | April 18, 2014  

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, the team's official website renfl_a_aikman-romo_mb_600x400.jpgports.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back, everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April." (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Ravens reinstate LB Rolando McClain from retired/reserved list

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 18, 2014  

The Baltimore Ravens have reinstated former Oakland Raiders 1st round pick Rolando McClain from the retired/reserved list. McCl20120825_lbm_al2_334_0_standard_730_0.jpgain was a well decorated college football player at Alabama, winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and a first-team All-SEC selection.

McClain had a very disappointing NFL career with the Oakland Raiders, being released in early 2013. After being "retired" from the NFL for a year, McClain decided to try a comeback and the Baltimore Ravens were gracious enough to give him that opportunity. Not only did McClain show up late to his try-out, but he also failed his conditioning test.

Despite all these mishaps, Baltimore removed him from the retired/reserved list. General Manager Ozzie Newsome still has confidence in McClain, we will see how this all turns out for McClain. (Photo: Kirby Lee/US PRESSWIRE)

 

Report: 49ers shopping RB LaMichael James

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 17, 2014  

The San Francisco 49ers are reportedly looking to trade running back LaMichael James in advance of next month's NFL D491.jpgraft, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Meanwhile, James is aware of the trade rumors, apparently for a while now, since he tweeted Wednesday "when old news becomes new news" following the report.

James, a second-round pick in 2012, finds himself behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on the depth chart at running back this season. James served as the team's primary returner last year, but he wants a bigger role since he carried the ball just 12 times in 2013. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Former NFL QB McNabb spends day in Arizona jail

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 17, 2014   

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was released Thursday from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year.

Records released by West Mesa JusticMcNabb spends day in jail.jpge Court show McNabb served his time Wednesday and was released about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

McNabb, 37, was arrested Dec. 15 in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community east of Phoenix, according to court records.

A copy of the citation shows McNabb was stopped on the Loop 101 freeway just after 3 a.m. and radar clocked his Range Rover at 81 mph in a 65-mph zone. He also was cited for DUI, but no information about blood-alcohol level was on the citation.

McNabb pleaded guilty on March 27 and nine days of his sentence was suspended.

Court documents show McNabb was ordered to pay a nearly $1,500 fine and enter an outpatient treatment program in Scottsdale from April 10 to July 8.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office released McNabb's mug shot Thursday morning, starting a media frenzy about his arrest, which hadn't been previously reported.

The agency later said in a statement that McNabb was booked into a detention facility on Wednesday by order of the West Mesa Justice Court and released after serving one day for a misdemeanor DUI charge.

McNabb's Phoenix-based attorney Stephen Benedetto didn't immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment on the case.

McNabb played 13 years in the NFL after being drafted with the second overall pick in 1999.

He led the Philadelphia Eagles to four straight NFC championship games from 2001 to 2004 and one Super Bowl berth that ended in a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in 2005.

McNabb played for the Washington Redskins in 2010 and Minnesota Vikings in 2011 before retiring. He currently co-hosts a sports talk radio show and has a home in the Phoenix area. (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

 

OL Reitz signs Colts' qualifying offer

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 17, 2014   

Indianapolis Colts lineman Joe Reitz signed his one-year, $1.431 million qualifying offer as a restricted free agent on Thursday. That means Reitz – a local high school standout – will return for a fifth season with-colts25mk31_jpg20130824.jpg the Colts.

The past three seasons, the 6-7, 323-pound Reitz has appeared in 34 regular-season games with 20 starts at left guard. But he has the versatility to play right guard and, in a pinch, either tackle position.

Again, don't dismiss the value of versatility, especially along the offensive line.

Tackles Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus started all 16 regular-season games and both playoff games last season, but the interior was a mess. Injuries forced the Colts to utilize seven different starting units.

In 2013, that interchangeable part primarily was Jeff Linkenbach, who signed with Kansas City as a free agent in March.

Now, Reitz should be considered the front-runner in the team's pursuit of building O-line depth.

The main problem with Reitz has been an inability to stay on the field. He missed two games last season with a concussion and seven games in 2012 with concussion and knee issues. (Photo: Matt Kryger/Indianapolis Star)

 

Jaguars release LB Allen after failed physical

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 17, 2014   

The Jacksonville Jaguars have released veteran linebacker Russell Allen after he failed a physicRussell+Allen+Jacksonville+Jaguars+v+Tennessee+FxvHHmcxu6xl.jpgal.

Allen started 29 games the last two seasons. He missed the final two games last year because of a concussion.

The team also released third-year defensive end D'Aundre Reed, second-year defensive end Will Pericak and first-year receiver Jabin Sambrano.

Allen was originally signed as an undrafted rookie on April 26, 2010. He played in 78 games with 44 starts over five seasons. He finished with 452 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Jaguars signed free agent linebacker Dekoda Watson last month, adding him to a positional mix that includes Paul Posluszny and Geno Hayes. (Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

 

Chris Johnson ready to silence critics

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 17, 2014   

Chris Johnson knows what a lot of people are saying about him.

Maybe he's lost a step. He'll never be the electrifying playmaker he once was.

Well, the New York Jets running back1388100160000-USP-NFL-Tennessee-Titans-at-Jacksonville-Jaguars.jpg is listening — and can't wait to silence the critics.

"It's always great to have things to put a chip on your shoulder, have things to motivate you," Johnson said Thursday via the New York Times. "I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me ... and prove the naysayers wrong."

Johnson was signed Wednesday to a two-year deal after he was released by the Tennessee Titans on April 7. He said there were other teams interested, but New York was his first — and, it turned out, only — visit.

"I felt like I was at home," he said.

Johnson finished with 1,077 yards — the second-lowest total of his career — and a career-worst 3.9-yard average last season. He rushed for 100 or more yards just twice.

But he also played with a torn meniscus in his left knee, which was surgically repaired after the season, and believes he would've rushed for at least 1,200 yards if not for the injury. Johnson said the knee is "getting better and better" every day and is "pretty close" to being healthy.

"I know there's a lot of people out there that still believe in me, including the Jets," Johnson said. "That's why they wanted to bring me in."

Johnson denied a report that suggested he has arthritis in the knee, saying he wouldn't have passed his physical with the Jets if there were major concerns.

He rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009, when he earned his popular "CJ2K" nickname. Johnson is just the sixth player in NFL history to start his career with six straight 1,000-yard seasons, and he has never missed a game because of injury.

"I know the type of player I am, and it's a situation where once you run for 2,000 yards, you set an expectation for yourself," Johnson said. "So anytime you don't get 2,000 yards, it's a situation where people are going to say, 'Oh, is he the same guy? Is he this? Is he that?'

"The reason I can say I'm the same guy is once you run for 2,000 yards the whole focus is on you, to stop you."

Johnson could be the perfect complement to the bruising Chris Ivory and versatile Bilal Powell in the Jets' backfield for coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

If healthy, Johnson is a threat to break a long run every time he touches the ball, whether it's taking a handoff from Geno Smith or Michael Vick, or catching a short pass. He had 42 receptions for 345 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.

After balking at the idea of sharing carries last season in Tennessee, Johnson insists that won't be an issue in New York.

"It's just a situation from talking to Rex and talking to Marty that they'll put everybody in the best position to help the Jets win," he said. "That's what really mattered at the end of the day to me, was going to team that was a winning program and has a chance of being a contender."

He praised Ryan's aggressive approach and said the Jets have a great defense, and "they know how to win over there."

Johnson is third on the Titans' career rushing list behind Eddie George and Earl Campbell and was a popular figure in Tennessee. But the Titans cut ties with him to avoid paying the $8 million he was due for this season, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011.

Johnson repeatedly said he wouldn't take a pay cut this offseason, prompting the Titans to explore trade options. When they found no fits, they released him, ending a six-year stint on what might have been a bitter note.

"I really don't want to go back and talk about some of the situations that happened or criticize the Tennessee organization," Johnson said. "I feel like I've moved on and closed that chapter in my career." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Vikings sign former Eagles S Kurt Coleman

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 17, 2014  

The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.

The contract was finalized Thursday. ColemaScreen-shot-2012-10-22-at-5_33_20-PM.pngn agreed to the deal Monday after visiting team headquarters last week.

The seventh-round draft pick in 2010 out of Ohio State played the last four seasons for the Eagles, starting 29 of the 59 games he played in, though none of those starts came last year. Coleman's best season was 2011, when he had four interceptions, five passes defended and one forced fumble. In 2012, he was second on the team with a career-best 105 tackles despite missing two games.

Harrison Smith is entrenched as a starter at one safety spot, with Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo the leading returning candidates for the lineup at the other position. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Chad Johnson signs two-year deal with Montreal Alouettes of the CFL

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 17, 2014   

Former NFL star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron in the Canadian Football League.

The veteran receiver signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday after impressing team officials at a minicamp iimg24530665.jpgn Vero Beach, Fla. He last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England.

"Chad Johnson did an outstanding job the last three days," Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. "As we added him into the mix, it was to see how he communicated with the players, how he held himself, the way he physically held up, his true interest in coming to the CFL.

"It was a total evaluation so that it's a good fit. He was very happy and very excited to be on the field again and we are happy to welcome him to the Alouettes."

Johnson, who once changed his last name to Ochocinco, spent most of his 11 NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. In 166 career games, the six-time Pro Bowler caught 766 passes for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns.

He was in training camp in 2012 with the Miami Dolphins — his hometown team — but his contract was terminated one day after he was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.

A plea deal was eventually worked out, but after a probation violation Johnson wound up going to jail for a few days after a judge objected to the way he slapped his lawyer on the backside in celebration.

Montreal already has a solid core of receivers in Duron Carter, S.J. Green and Jamel Richardson. The Alouettes will hold a training camp in June and open their regular season at Calgary on June 28. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Bills great Kelly hoping to spend weekend at home

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 16, 2014  

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is planning to spend this weekend celebrating Easter at home in suburban Buffalo with his family, before returning to New York City to resume treatments for sinuJim Kelly hoping to go home this weekend.jpgs cancer.

Barring any setbacks, Kelly's brother said the former Bills star will travel home Friday before returning on Sunday to resume treatments.

"He's doing pretty good," Dan Kelly told reporters on Wednesday. "We anticipate Jim coming home for this weekend. He's put together a couple of good days in a row."

Dan Kelly said his brother had a rough stretch last week following his first chemotherapy session on April 8. He said the treatments are particularly painful because they're targeting cancer cells attached to nerves in Kelly's maxillary sinus and adjacent tissues.

Kelly is scheduled to have two more chemotherapy sessions and is also having radiation treatment five days a week.

He has spent the past three weeks being treated at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

Kelly initially underwent surgery in Buffalo last June to remove cancerous cells from his upper jaw. A follow-up test in March revealed that the cancer had returned.

 

Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 16, 2014  

The New York Jets signed the former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson on Wednesday, a little over a week after he was officially released by Tennessee.

Johnson met with the Jets all day Tuesday — the first team he visited — and stayed in town to watch the Knicks-Nets game inChris Johnson signs with Jets.jpg Brooklyn before signing Wednesday. The Jets announced the move, but didn't release terms.

"I have a fresh start," Johnson told NFL Network. "Now I am going to go out there with a chip on my shoulder. I know a lot of people are doubting me."

Johnson was told by the Titans of their decision April 4, ending a six-year stint in Tennessee during which he became one of the NFL's most exciting running backs. The former 2,000-yard rusher will team with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to give coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg a deep and dangerous backfield.

The Jets also have Mike Goodson, who is dealing with legal issues and recovering from torn knee ligaments.

"I've always been a big fan of the Jets," Johnson told the team's website. "There was some thought into this, but just at the end of the day, I was comfortable here. I just felt like it was the right situation."

While his days as a workhorse running back — he carried the ball over 300 times in each of the 2009 and 2010 seasons — might be over, Johnson could be the perfect complement to the bruising Ivory and versatile Powell. In Mornhinweg's first season as offensive coordinator, the Jets finished sixth in the league in rushing last year with Ivory and Powell sharing the load.

Despite the solid production, New York still entered the offseason aiming to improve the position with a big-play runner.

That's exactly what they're hoping to get in the speedy and durable Johnson, who turns 29 in September and is only the sixth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons.

There have been questions about whether he'll ever be the same player who rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009, when he earned his "CJ2K" nickname.

Johnson finished with 1,077 yards — the second-lowest total of his career — and a career-worst 3.9-yard average last season. He also rushed for 100 or more yards just twice.

The Jets held Johnson to just 21 yards on 15 carries in their 38-13 loss last season at Tennessee, but Johnson gouged them for 122 yards on 21 carries, including a career-best 94-yard touchdown run, in 2012.

The splashy move is reminiscent of the one the Jets made in 2010, when they signed an aging LaDainian Tomlinson, who turned out to be a useful role player. While being deliberate throughout free agency, general manager John Idzik has now signed arguably the three best players available at their positions in Johnson, quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver Eric Decker.

New York also showed early interest in free agency in running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Donald Brown, but they signed elsewhere.

The Titans cut ties with Johnson, making him a free agent, to avoid paying the $8 million he was due for this season, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011. Johnson, who set several franchise and NFL records during his time in Tennessee, repeatedly said he wouldn't take a pay cut this offseason.

That prompted the Titans to unsuccessfully explore trade options this offseason— including with the Jets — before releasing him. Johnson's exit appeared inevitable when Tennessee signed Dexter McCluster to a three-year deal and re-signed Leon Washington to join Shonn Greene in the backfield.

Johnson was the 24th overall pick in the 2008 draft out of East Carolina, and had never missed a game because of injury — despite having surgery after the season to repair a torn meniscus that he played with most of the year.

He has 7,965 career yards on 1,742 carries for a 4.6-yard average, including 50 touchdowns, and ranks third on Tennessee's franchise rushing list behind Eddie George and Earl Campbell. Johnson also has caught 272 passes for 2,003 yards and eight TDs.

 

Seahawks agree to terms with WR Sidney Rice

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 16, 2014  

The Seattle Seahawks and wide receiver Sidney Rice have agreed to terms on a deal, ESPN's Nsidney-rice-nfl-seattle-seahawks-arizona-cardinals1.jpgFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

Financial terms of his new deal were not disclosed

Rice returns to Seattle after spending the last three seasons with the Seahawks. Rice was released by Seattle in February in a salary-driven move. He was scheduled to make $8.5 million this season under his previous contract.

Rice is coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in October against the St. Louis Rams. He received medical clearance to participate in football-related activities on Monday.

He appeared in eight games for Seattle last season with 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns before being placed on injured reserve. (Photo: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Chiefs WR Bowe pleads guilty to lesser charges

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 16, 2014  

Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe has pleaded guilty to amended charges of defective equipmedwaynebowegetty183965800.jpgnt and littering in connection with his November arrest for possessing marijuana.

Bowe paid $610 in fines after his plea was entered Wednesday in Riverside's municipal court. City prosecutor Amy Ashefford says Bowe's amended charges are no different from what others get when charged with speeding and possessing pot for the first time.

Bowe's attorney, Kevin Regan, says the case is closed and there is no admission of guilt for the marijuana charge, which was dismissed.

Bowe was pulled over in the Kansas City suburb on Nov. 10 for driving 48 in a 35 mph zone. He was arrested after police found a black bag containing his wallet, driver's license and two containers of suspected marijuana. (Photo: Fredrick Breedon/Getty Images)

 

Darren Sharper's DNA found on one Arizona victim

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 16, 2014  

Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper's DNA was found in an examination of one of two women who accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them at a Tempe apartment, a detective said Wednesday.

Tempe police Detective Kevin Mace sai0214-darren-sharper-inside-1.jpgd at a bail hearing in Phoenix that Sharper's DNA was recovered from one of the women's clothing, but none of his DNA was found during an exam of the other woman.

The detective's testimony came at a hearing in which Sharper's lawyers are challenging the evidence used to keep him in jail without bail. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville hasn't yet ruled on the issue and will continue the hearing Thursday afternoon.

The hearing marks the latest development in several ongoing sexual assault investigations involving Sharper in Louisiana, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

Bail in Sharper's California rape case was set at $1 million, but he was indicted in Arizona last month on charges of sexual assault and administering dangerous drugs and was denied bail. Authorities in California have kept him jailed, and he didn't attend Wednesday's hearing.

The indictment alleges Sharper gave the sedative zolpidem to three women and then had "sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact" with two of them without their consent on Nov. 21 after a night of drinking at the apartment and at bars in nearby Scottsdale. One of the women told police she hadn't had any alcohol that night until Sharper insisted she drink a shot. Another young woman said she had been drugged, then went to bed, locked her door and wasn't attacked.

Sharper has not yet entered a plea in the Arizona case, although one of his attorneys said Sharper will deny those allegations. He has pleaded not guilty in the California case.

Earlier this month, Granville denied a request from Sharper's attorneys to set bail, ruling that he didn't have jurisdiction until the former player was in Arizona. But Sharper's attorneys said the former player is entitled to a hearing to determine whether Arizona prosecutors have enough evidence on the sexual assault charges to deny him bail.

The Arizona Constitution automatically denies bail to people charged with sexual assault if the proof against them is evident or the presumption of guilt is great.

Mace said two of the three women confronted Sharper the day after the attack.

"He denied the allegations," the detective said. "He acted like he didn't remember."

A police search of the apartment turned up a shot glass with a white residue that turned out to be zolpidem, and California investigators have discovered Sharper had a prescription for that drug, Mace said.

Under questioning from Sharper's attorney Skip Donau, Mace said the former player had a prior consensual sexual relationship with one of the women, who had invited him to stay at the apartment.

Mace said the woman in question, who was intoxicated on the night of the attack, had no indication on how her clothes got removed after her friends dressed her in shorts and put her to bed. None of Sharper's DNA was found on her, Mace said.

After Sharper was confronted the next day at the apartment, the woman was supposed to drop off Sharper in Scottsdale but then joined him for brunch with friends, Mace said.

An analysis of that woman's blood and urine came back negative for the sedative, though she had amphetamine and the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana in her system, Mace said. (Photo: Bob Chamberlain/Los Angeles Times)

 

Bengals sign P T.J. Conley

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 16, 2014  

The Cincinnati Bengals signed punter T.J. Conley on Wednesday, though Kevin Huber is expected toT.J. Conley signs with Bengals.jpg make a full recovery from a neck injury and a broken jaw.

Conley punted in 16 games for the Jets in 2011 and didn't play in the NFL either of the last two years. He was with the Jets in the 2012 preseason and with Cleveland in the preseason last year.

Huber got hurt during a 30-20 loss in Pittsburgh last December. Terence Garvin blocked him during Antonio Brown's 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, hitting Huber's chin with the top of his helmet.

Huber had surgery on the jaw and wore a neck brace to help heal a cracked vertebra. He's expected to be ready this season. (Photo: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)

 

Packers bring back QB Matt Flynn

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 16, 2014  

The Green Bay Packers have reached a deal to bring back backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who stabilized the position after starter Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury last seaMatt Flynn signs with Packers.jpgson.

Flynn's agent, Bill Johnson, confirmed via Twitter that the two sides had agreed to terms. Details of the contract were not announced.

Flynn threw for 1,146 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions in five games in 2013 with Green Bay, including four starts. Flynn helped lead the Packers to two December victories following a five-game winless kid coinciding with Rodgers' injury.

Flynn also spent time with the Raiders and Bills last season before returning to Green Bay, which drafted him in the seventh round in 2008. ESPN and NFL Network first reported Flynn's signing.

The Packers also have Scott Tolzien behind Rodgers and Flynn at quarterback. (Photo: Rick Osentoski/Associated Press))

 

Giants sign QB Josh Freeman

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 16, 2014 

Former Tampa Buccaneers and Minnesota Viking quarterback Josh Freeman has agreed to terms with the New York Giants,EJosh Freeman signs with Giants.jpgSPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

Freeman was cut by the Buccaneers last October after a messy split. He signed with Minnesota four days later, but played just one game for the Vikings.

That happened to come against the Giants, when he went 20 for 53 for 190 yards and one interception in the ugly 23-7 Monday night loss.

The 17th pick in the 2009 draft, Freeman started 59 games for the Bucs over four-plus seasons before the relationship soured. He threw for 3,451 yards and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions in 2010.

Freeman would compete to back up Eli Manning with the Giants. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph hopes for contract extension

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 16, 2014  

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph hopes to stay in Minnesota on a long-term contract, the MinKyle Rudolph hoping for extension.jpgneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Rudolph is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He said Tuesday that the team, which still has approximately $10 million in salary cap space after a busy offseason, has not approached him about a contract extension.

"I've really enjoyed my time here, from the top down, in our organization," Rudolph told the paper. "I think we have the best owners in football. They're willing to do anything for us to win. Everybody in the front office, the new staff, I really like the direction this team is going in. I'm excited to be a part of that future."

Rudolph is hoping to bounce back after he was limited to eight games in 2013 because of a fracture in his left foot. He caught 30 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns before injuring his foot in a Week 9 loss to the Cowboys.

He has been studying tape of the Browns from last season so he can get a feel for how he will be utilized in new coordinator Norv Turner's offense. Tight ends such as Jay Novacek, Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron produced impressive numbers in three different decades with Turner calling the plays.

"I hope to fall in line with that," Rudolph said. "I'm excited to get into this offense." (Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

 

Palmer okay if Cardinals draft quarterback

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 16, 2014 

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer would be okay if the team drafted a quarterback in the NFL Draft, according to the teaCarson Palmer okay with Cards signing QB.jpgm's official website.

Palmer, 34, said if the team drafts a quarterback it would make sense.

"If you are in a position to draft the best player on your board, and that's the best position to be in as an organization, and (a quarterback) is the best player on the board, you are not only making your team better by creating competition but you are helping out the future," Palmer said. "I know I'm not going to play forever. It's hard for us players to admit that. The older you get the harder it is to admit it. You don't see it happening. You still feel good, you still feel confident, you still feel healthy. But that's the reality. That's the business. It doesn't matter how you feel about it, whether it irks you or you don't care. That's the game."

Palmer is coming off a solid season in 2013. He threw for a career-high 4,274 yards with 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Bucs DL Gerald McCoy promises he won't hold out

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 16, 2014  

Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy promised he wouldn't hold out of training camp this summer even though he's going into tGerald McCoy wont hold out.jpghe final year of his contract.

"When they say report to camp, Gerald McCoy will be there regardless of what happens," McCoy said per the Tampa Bay Times. McCoy also told the paper he can't wait to play in the Bucs' new version of the Cover-2 defense.

"It's definitely going to be different," McCoy said. "We're playing the old-school, traditional Tampa 2 defense, and all we've been watching is old Chicago tape when (new Bucs coach Lovie Smith) was there. When (the Bucs) were in their prime, from 1996 to 2002, we've been watching all that tape because that's when the Tampa 2 was really thriving and took over the league. I'm excited about it." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Report: Niners LB Aldon Smith will not play in 2014

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 16, 2014  

Several San Francisco 49ers decision makers allegedly believe that linebacker Aldon Smith won't play for the team in 2014. Smith was arrested recAldon Smith will not play in 2014.jpgently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker.

The San Jose Mercury News has sources that tell him that while Smith is unlikely to play, the team is unlikely to release him. They still owe him $3 million guaranteed and want to see how the situation plays out before making such a permanent decision. The team also expects Smith to receive a suspension from the league.

In addition to his latest run-in with the law, Smith was arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. (Photo: Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Report: It's unknown if Chargers WR Malcom Floyd will return to play

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 16, 2014  

Even though San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd plans to attend the team's voluntary workouts April 22, it doesn'tMalcom Floyd status unknown.jpg mean his football career is back on track, the Union-Tribune San Diego reports.

Floyd continues to recover from a neck injury suffered in September. His participation in the offseason workouts will be more limited than most of his teammates, according to the report.

The report also added that no decision has been made whether Floyd will be able to continue playing. For weeks, Floyd has been running and lifting. While the injury did not require surgery, it demanded a long recovery. Risk of re-injury will be assessed before any decision about Floyd's return to the field is made. (Photo: Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press)

 

Chad Johnson takes steps toward CFL comeback

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 15, 2014    

Chad Johnson made a sharp cut to free himself from a defender, and then hauled in a pass at the 53-yard line.

Yes, the 53. Football is going to be a little diffap-cfl-chad-johnson-football.jpgerent now for the former NFL star.

The receiver who once changed his last name to Ochocinco might be hearing a lot of "O Canada" this summer, and he insists he's humbled for that opportunity. Johnson was on the field with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL on Tuesday for the start of their three-day minicamp, and there's a very realistic chance that he will be with them when their season starts for real in June.

"It's just football. It's football," Johnson said. "It's not about Montreal. It's about the opportunity to be able to play football again, something I love."

It's something he lost two years ago.

Johnson last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England. He was in training camp with the Miami Dolphins — his hometown team — the following summer, but his contract was terminated one day after he was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.

A plea deal was eventually worked out, but after a probation violation Johnson wound up going to jail for a few days anyway after a judge objected to the way he slapped his attorney on the backside in celebration.

He hasn't played since.

"A horrible mistake," Johnson said. "A dream of mine since I was 4 years old was taken from me, rightfully so, by my wrongdoings and I just want to get back to doing something that I love to do, regardless of where it is. Montreal, flag football, back in the street the way I grew up . I just want to play football."

The Alouettes have a history of not judging players by their checkered pasts, as evidenced by how they once gave former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips a chance on what became a Grey Cup-winning team in Montreal.

Johnson showed on Tuesday that he can still run routes, and right there is why Montreal is eager to take a closer look.

The CFL game is very much passing-friendly, and that can be at least partially attributed to several rule deviations from the NFL game.

Teams in the CFL have only three downs to gain 10 yards instead of four. The field is 10 yards longer from goal line to goal line, is about 10 yards wider, and the end zones are 20 yards deep — twice as long as those used in high school, college and pro play in the U.S.

If Johnson does sign with an CFL team, he won't be exactly getting rich.

The salary cap in the CFL is $4.4 million per team — Johnson has had years where he's made about twice that much by himself. The average salary is around $85,000. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Hearing postponed in Darren Sharper's case

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 15, 2014   

A judge in Los Angeles has postponed a hearing on rape charges against former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper to await the resuDarren Sharper case rescheduled.jpglts of an upcoming bail hearing in Arizona.

Sharper appeared briefly Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom in the case alleging he drugged and raped two women in West Hollywood last year. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in custody without bail.

Superior Court Judge Renee Korn postponed the hearing, noting that Sharper's attorneys have proceedings in Arizona on Wednesday to set bail in a separate case alleging the former player sexually assaulted two women in Tempe.

Sharper is expected to stand trial first in Los Angeles. Another hearing was set there for Thursday. (Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

 

49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to one-year deal

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 15, 2014  

The San Francisco 49ers have signed wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to a one-year contract, ESPN NFL Insider AdaBrandon Lloyd signs with Niners.jpgm Schefter reports.

San Francisco selected Lloyd in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. He was a member of the 49ers from 2003-05, when he caught 105 passes for 1,510 yards and 13 touchdowns. That including leading the team with 48 receptions, 733 yards receiving and five TD catches in 2005.

Lloyd has also played for the Washington Redskins (2006-07), Chicago Bears (2008), Denver Broncos (2009-11), St. Louis Rams (2011) and New England Patriots (2012) during his career before sitting out last season. (Photo: 49ers/Twitter)

 

Steelers sign P Adam Podlesh

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 15, 2014  

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed punter Adam Podlesh to a one-year contract, accordinBears sign P Adam Podlesh.jpgg to ESPN.

The Steelers are looking for a new punter after deciding not to re-sign Mat McBriar, who averaged a career-worst 41.3 yards per punt during the 2013 season.

The 30-year-old Podlesh will compete with Brad Wing when training camp opens in July. Podlesh spent the last three seasons with the Chicago Bears, averaging 40.6 yards per punt in 2013.

The seven-year veteran played four seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-10 before signing with Chicago. Podlesh has a career 42.4 yards per punt average. Opponents have blocked just one of his 467 career kicks. (Photo: Mark Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

 

RB Chris Johnson in New York visiting Jets

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 15, 2014 

Former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson visited the New York Jets on Tuesday, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

Johnson was released by the Titans on April 7, three days after the team informed him of the decision. The former 2,000-yard rusheJohnson visits Jets.jpgr met with the Jets at their facility and took a physical.

The running back attended the Knicks-Nets basketball game in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, and told reporters that his visit with the Jets "went well," but he wasn't ready to make a decision. The Jets were the first team Johnson has met with since becoming a free agent.

Johnson spent six years at Tennessee and became one of the NFL's most exciting and dangerously fast running backs. The Jets are looking to add another playmaker to their backfield and envision Johnson teaming with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.

Johnson, who turns 29 in September, is only the sixth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. But there have been questions about whether he'll ever be the same player who rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009, when he earned his "CJ2K" nickname.

Johnson finished with 1,077 yards — the second-lowest total of his career — and a career-worst 3.9-yard average last season. He also rushed for 100 or more yards just twice, including the regular-season finale in which he had 127 yards to go over the 1,000-yard mark.

While his days as a workhorse running back — he carried the ball more than 300 times in 2009 and 2010 — might be over, Johnson could be the perfect complement in head coach Rex Ryan's backfield. Under new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the Jets finished sixth in the league in rushing last year with Ivory and Powell sharing the load.

Despite the solid production, New York is still looking to improve the position with a big-time runner who could serve as a potential No. 1 back with the powerful Ivory and versatile Powell creating a three-headed backfield. The Jets also have Mike Goodson, who is dealing with legal issues and recovering from torn knee ligaments, and Alex Green.

The Titans cut ties with Johnson to avoid paying the $8 million he was due for this season, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in 2011. Johnson, who set several franchise and NFL records during his time in Tennessee, repeatedly said he wouldn't take a pay cut this offseason.

That prompted the Titans to unsuccessfully explore trade options this offseason. Johnson's exit appeared inevitable when Tennessee signed Dexter McCluster to a three-year deal and re-signed Leon Washington to join Shonn Greene in the backfield. (Photo: Frank Franklin III/Associated Press)

 

Remaking of Miller's image well under way

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 15, 2014 

The reshaping of Von Miller's image and physique are well underway.

After a rough 2013 season that began with a six-game drug suspension and ended with a blown out knee in December, the Denver Broncos Remaking Von Millers image.jpgpass-rusher showed up for his foundation's inaugural event at Sports Authority Field Monday night 20 pounds lighter and with a rediscovered smile.

In between posing with kids for selfie photos on their cellphones, Miller helped hand out prescription glasses to 104 underprivileged children.

"I can't even put into words how it makes me feel, especially through all the stuff that's been going on and still be able to do stuff for the community and do some positive, it's great," Miller said.

The glasses provided by his Von's Vision foundation for the kids ages 6-13 "could be a game-changer in the classroom," said Miller, who's known almost as much for his big-frame glasses he sports off the field as for his tormenting of QBs on it.

Miller has kept a low profile this offseason, save for trying to get into the Seahawks' Super Bowl party following Seattle's 43-8 win over Denver, a game Miller watched from the sideline after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn right ACL in January.

Miller, however, insisted this charity event had nothing to do with rehabilitating his image that took a beating last year.

"I'm not too big on the perception of the fans. In time everybody will see the type of guy that I am and the type of things that I do," Miller said.

"I can't rush that. But the guys in the locker room, my teammates, the people who are close to me, they know what type of guy I am."

Still, TV shots of Miller mingling and laughing with kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs in the Denver area are a welcome sight for the Broncos, who witnessed several missteps by Miller last season, including an arrest at a local gun club for a missed court appearance.

Broncos general manager John Elway said this offseason that he believes Miller, who turned 25 last month, has matured and needs to put last year behind him.

What was clear Monday night is that Miller's frame is back to what it was in 2011 and '12 before he bulked up to 270 pounds last season, 24 more than what it was when the Broncos made him the second overall pick out of Texas A&M in 2011.

Miller said he's down to about 250 pounds.

"I'm great right there," he said.

Miller said he began light running two weeks ago: "Not nothing like marathon stuff but I've been getting back into the motion. I'm feeling good about it. I don't have a timetable or anything like I want to be back Aug. 3 or anything like that. But today I'm ahead of schedule and I'm feeling good," Miller said.

He said he hopes to be back to 100 percent by the season opener.

"I want to play every game this year," Miller said. "I would like to play every game. But if it's not there, it's not there. I don't want to put any limitations on where I want to be at or this or that. I'm just going to grind and attack every day and I truly believe it'll work out."

Miller said Adrian Peterson's remarkable recovery from a torn ACL to an MVP season two years ago set a new standard in the NFL.

"He definitely set the bar high and it's a great thing. It's a great challenge and I embrace it and I'm hoping I can grind and do something similar," Miller said.

Miller, who had just five sacks in nine games last season after collecting 30 his first two seasons, including a team record 18½ in 2012, said he believes his best years are ahead of him, especially now that DeMarcus Ware in his teammate.

"I mean, I'm 25 years old. I'm hoping that my coming years are better than my first two," he said. "Every year I get smarter with the game. You recognize stuff faster. The game is a little bit slower. Vets told me when I first came in that was going to happen. I think it's starting to happen." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Brandon Marshall expects big year out of Marquess Wilson

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 15, 2014    

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall is expecting a big year out of new No. 3 receiver Marquess WilMarshall thinks Wilson will have big year.jpgson.

Wilson is expected to be Chicago's No. 3 receiver this year behind Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and Marshall said in an interview with CBSSports.com that Wilson has worked hard this offseason. The trio of wide receivers have trained together in South Florida to get ready for this year.

"I really want to talk about Marquess Wilson," Marshall said. "He came down and trained with us the whole offseason. We're really looking for him to do some big things. This guy, he's probably the steal of the draft last year. I'm going to say that. He came in, he put in the work, he looks like a body builder. Fast, strong, explosive. I'm looking forward to seeing him in OTAs."

Wilson, who is 6-foot-4, 184 pounds, was drafted in the seventh round out of Washington State last year. He only had two catches for 13 yards as a rookie, but he will now replace the departed Earl Bennett in three-receiver sets. (Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

 

Josh McCown excited about Bucs offense, playing with Jackson

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 15, 2014   

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown went through installing a new offense last year as the backup for the Bears. This year, he's doMcCown excited about Bucs offense.jpging the same thing, but this time as the projected starter for the Buccaneers.

McCown, who recently started throwing with No. 1 receiver Vincent Jackson, said he's excited for the new offense in Tampa Bay under coordinator Jeff Tedford.

"We went through it last year in Chicago where we were building an offense with coach (Marc) Trestman. it's the same thing all over again with Jeff Tedford, learning his offense," McCown said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "Just trying to help everyone get on the same page and begin to build this thing. There's some cool wrinkles (to the offense). There's some new things to it that I have not done yet. I'm excited about running those plays and putting those systems in place and seeing how they go."

McCown said he's worked with some top-notch receivers in his career -- Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery – and Jackson is "right there with those guys."

"I'm very, very impressed with him," McCown said. "You know when you have one of those special guys. You can tell the first time you work with him, you see it and feel it. That was the case throwing with Vincent. You can see why he's been so good for so long because of his work ethic and his attention to detail." (Photo: buccaneers.com)

 

DeSean Jackson joins Redskins voluntary workouts

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 14, 2014  

DeSean Jackson has reported for the Washington Redskins' voluntary offseason workout program after skipping the first BlMviQhCIAAckYe.pngweek to take a vacation.

The Redskins tweeted a photo of their biggest offseason acquisition working out in the weight room Monday, and the three-time Pro Bowl receiver tweeted a photo of his No. 11 jersey in his locker.

Jackson wore No. 10 with the Philadelphia Eagles and had said he would try to see if franchise player Robert Griffin III — the Redskins' current No. 10 — would be willing to switch. Griffin quickly nixed the idea.

Jackson signed with Washington on April 2, less than a week after getting released by the Eagles. The Redskins started their workouts the following week, but Jackson went ahead with his vacation. (Photo: Washington Redskins/Twitter)

 

Kickoff Coverage mock draft #3

 Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 14, 2014       10153797_622205031192796_1650375340750170921_n.jpg

  

 

 

 

 

 

 1. Houston Texans - Jadeveon Clowny DE, South Carolina

  2. St Louis Rams (From Washington) - Greg Robinson OT, Auburn

  3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Sammy Watkins WR, Clemson

  4. Cleveland Browns - Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M

  5. Oakland Raiders - Khalil Mack OLB, Buffalo

  6. Atlanta Falcons - Jake Matthews OT, Texas A&M

  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans WR, Texas A&M

  8. Minnesota Vikings - Blake Bortles QB, UCF

  9. Buffalo Bills - Eric Ebron TE, North Carolina

 10. Detroit Lions - Justin Gilbert CB, Oklahoma State

 11. Tennessee Titans - Teddy Bridgewater QB, Louisville

 12. New York Giants - Aaron Donald DT, Pittsburgh

 13. St Louis Rams - Ha'sean Clinton-Dix FS, Alabama

 14. Chicago Bears - Ra'shede Hageman DT, Minnesota

 15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Darqueze Dennard CB, Michigan State

 16. Dallas Cowboys - Timmy Jernigan DT, Florida State

 17. Baltimore Ravens - Taylor Lewan OT, Michigan

 18. New York Jets - Marqise Lee WR, USC

 19. Miami Dolphins - Zack Martin OT, Notre Dame

 20. Arizona Cardinals - Anthony Barr OLB, UCLA

 21. Green Bay Packers - Ryan Shazier OLB, Ohio State

 22. Philedelphia Eagles - Odell Beckham Jr. WR, LSU

 23. Kansas City Chiefs - Brandin Cooks WR, Oregon State

 24. Cincinnati Bengals - Kony Ealy DE, Missouri

 25. San Diego Chargers - Louis Nix III DT, Nortre Dame

 26. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis) - Kyle Fuller CB, Virginia Tech

 27. New Orleans Saints - Dee Ford DE, Auburn

 28. Carolina Panthers - Cyrus Kouandjio OT, Alabama

 29. New England Patriots - Jace Amaro TE, Texas Tech

 30. San Francisco 49ers - Stephon Tuitt DT, Notre Dame

 31. Denver Broncos - Xavier Su'a Filo OG, UCLA

 32. Seattle Seahawks - Kelvin Benjamin WR, Florida State

 

Browns' Mack looking forward to just focusing on football

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 14, 2014 

Relieved that a whirlwind few weeks are behind him, Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl center Alex Mack said he's looking forward to focusing on football and a day when the Browns stabilize into a consistent wMack ready to focus on football.jpginner.

"It's been a long road, and I'm absolutely happy with where I'm at," he said via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I'm here to win games. I'm here to work hard. That's what we're all about."

Mack reported for the Browns' offseason program on Monday, three days after the team quickly matched the five-year, $42 million offer sheet he signed from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The deal, which guarantees him $18 million in the first two years, also allows Mack an option to become a free agent in 2016, when he could choose to leave Cleveland.

For now, he's not going anywhere other than to the weight room, and intends to spend the next few weeks learning Cleveland's new offense.

At various points during his complicated entanglement, Mack, who had been given a transition tag by the Browns when free agency began, was reportedly fed up with the constant losing and turnover in Cleveland. And while he acknowledged the instability has worn on him, Mack insisted that any stories floated about his dissatisfaction with the Browns was merely "positioning" by his agents.

Now the NFL's richest center, Mack, who has played 4,998 consecutive snaps since the Browns drafted him in 2009, said he's encouraged by some of the team's moves this winter, including the hiring of coach Mike Pettine. Mack has played under three other head coaches in his first five seasons with Cleveland.

Along with traveling to Peru and Brazil this winter, Mack also had a stopover in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars made an impressive presentation and nearly stole Mack away before the Browns intervened.

He nearly changed team colors, but is glad to stay in brown and orange.

"I was excited to see what they brought and when I signed the contract, I had to be OK with either way it went," he said. "It's a tough part of the game and it's the business side of things. I'm happy with how it's worked out though." (Photo: Mark Duncan/Associated Press)

 

Von Miller says he's feeling good, hopes to play every game in 2014

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 14, 2014  

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller says his rehab from a torn ACL is going along well, but that he's in no hurry to g1397491474000-GTY-156047110-58636472.jpget back on the field.

Miller has shed 20 pounds as he works his way back from his and says his goal is to "play every game" in 2014.

"I'm feeling good, I had a schedule that's all I can ask for," Miller told ESPN. "I'm not going to rush it, I've got good training guys with the Broncos, they're going to have me back in time ready to go. With today's medicine and what's going on now like ACL, it's really not as serious as it used to be. I'm 100 percent positive I'll be able to come back not only be the same Von, (but) I got to be better. You come back and be the same guy it's like you go 'it's the same Von again' and I got to be better."

Miller made the comments Monday night at Sports Authority Field, where he handed out prescription glasses to 104 underprivileged children in his inaugural Von's Vision charity event.

Miller bulked up to 270 pounds last season, 24 more than when he was the second overall pick out of Texas A&M in 2011.

Miller is hoping to bounce back from a rough season that began with a six-game drug suspension and ended with a blown out knee on Dec. 22. (Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

 

Merriman suing Nike over 'Lights Out' name

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 14, 2014 

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman is suing Nike for trademark infringement and unfair competition over its Lights Omerriman.jpgut apparel line.

The suit, filed on behalf of Merriman's Lights Out Holdings LLC, was filed in U.S. District Court on Monday.

According to the suit, after Nike and Merriman unsuccessfully negotiated to create a Lights Out apparel line in 2006 or 2007, the company used the name anyway.

The lawsuit says Merriman acquired the federal trademark rights for Lights Out in 2007.

He was nicknamed "Lights Out" after knocking out opponents in a high school game.

The suit demands an injunction to stop trademark infringement and related unfair business practices, as well as damages to be determined at trial.

Nike didn't respond to our calls and an email seeking comment. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

 

49er Culliver pleads not guilty to hit-run charges

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 14, 2014 

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and feloChris_Culliver_549x338.jpgny possession of brass knuckles.

Culliver was arrested on March 28 after San Jose police say he struck a bicyclist, then rammed a witness' vehicle that was blocking him from leaving until officers arrived. The San Jose Mercury News reports that he entered his plea on Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

In 2013, Culliver created controversy by expressing anti-gay sentiments in the lead-up to the Super Bowl. He has since undergone sensitivity training and done outreach work with an organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

His case is among a string of recent legal problems for 49ers players, including the arrest Sunday of linebacker Aldon Smith. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Browns sign FB Chris Pressley

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 14, 2014

The Cleveland Browns have signed fullback Chris Pressley, a potential lead blocker to open holes for new runnihi-res-04ffa9c79d715393f42f6e50478214b2_crop_north.jpgng back Ben Tate.

Pressley missed all of last season with Cincinnati because of a knee injury. The 5-foot-10, 249-pounder has made 20 career starts in the NFL for the Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2012, he helped Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis lead the league by converting 14 of 15 times on 3rd-and-1 plays.

The Browns did not have a traditional fullback on their roster last season, using Chris Ogbonnaya and some reserve tight ends.

Cleveland's offense will have a different look this season under new coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and the Browns need someone to clear a path for Tate, who signed a two-year, $7 million free agent deal with them in March.

Pressley was a teammate of Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas at Wisconsin. (Photo: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

 

Sidney Rice cleared for football activities

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 14, 2014 

Free agent wide receiver Sidney Rice has been cleared for football activities, Pro Football Talk rep110186.jpgort.

Rice tore his ACL in last October when he was with the Seattle Seahawks but has rehabbed it since.

According to PFT the Giants, Saints and Panthers have interest in Rice, as do the Seahawks.

Rice, a second-round pick in 2007, had 1,312 receiving yards in 2009.  His single-season high since then was 748 in 2012 with Seattle.

Since most of the veteran free agent wide receivers have been signed by other teams, we look for teams' who still have a need at the position to give Rice a look. So he shouldn't be on the market for too long. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Report: Dolphins showing interest in Jermichael Finley

Submitted by Kat Kedzeirski | April 14, 2014 

The Miami Dolphins could have some interest in tight end Jermichael Finley if he is cleared to play football following neck fusion surgery last year, B7729742.jpgarry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

Finley missed all but five games after suffering a serious neck injury last season when he was with the Packers. He's having another X-ray and MRI on his injured neck in the next two weeks as part of the process that he hopes will end with medical clearance to return to the NFL.

Finley played for Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin when Philbin was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay.

The Dolphins currently have Charles Clay and Dion Sims at tight end. Finley caught 25 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. (Photo: Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

 

49ers LB Aldon Smith arrested at LAX after alleged bomb comment

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 13, 2014  

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport after authorities said he became belligerent during a security screening and threatened that he had a bomb, E201309190811294867747.jpgSPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

According to Schefter, the 24-year-old Smith was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became uncooperative with the process.  He then told a TSA agent that he had a bomb before walking to the gate. When airport police officers caught up with him, Smith became uncooperative again and was taken into custody.

A witness video posted on TMZ.com shows Smith exchanging words with an officer as he was being handcuffed and escorted out of the gate area.

With Sunday's arrest, Smith is now involved in three pending criminal cases.

"We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment."

Smith, a pass-rushing specialist, took a five-game leave of absence from the 49ers last season to undergo treatment for substance abuse. He rejoined the team Nov. 5.

Smith played in a 27-7 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 22, two days after he was arrested and jailed on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. After the game, he publicly apologized for his behavior and later announced he would leave for treatment.

Leading up to the playoffs in early January, Smith said during an interview with NFL Network that he was encouraged by the strides he had made to better himself off the football field that put life — and his work — in perspective. He said at the time he hadn't had any alcohol since before his Sept. 20 DUI arrest, and that he wasn't craving it. When he rejoined the team Nov. 5, he insisted he was on the path to lifelong sobriety stuck by that statement.

His teammates rallied around him in support of his rehab and, later, his return to the team. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

 

Former NFL LB Shawne Merriman signs deal with WWE

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 12, 2014 

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman will try his hand at a new endeavor. He's joining the WWE.

Merriman, who was in New Orleans for WrestleMania853e61a06e9c10d9ef432b383ca3ddf5_crop_north.png XXX last weekend, had often attended WWE events and Rey Mysterio posted a photo to Instagram that leaked the news Saturday night. On Wednesday, John Layfield and Michael Cole announced that he was indeed "joining the WWE family" and is working out at the WWE's Performance Center, SB Nation's Testudo Times reports.

Merriman, a first-round pick in 2005 with the San Diego Chargers, combined for 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons, garnering the nickname "Lights Out" for his hard hits and aggressive demeanor.

A series of injuries, however, caught up to him, and he was particularly bothered by a sore right Achilles tendon. It's an injury that led to the Chargers waiving him during the 2010 season.

The Buffalo Bills acquired his rights soon after, but Merriman never made it past his first practice in Buffalo after aggravating the injury. He was limited to playing five games in 2011 before being placed on injured reserve to have surgery to repair the partially torn tendon. He retired after the 2012 season.

There's no word yet on what his role will be, although Mysterio used the hashtag "future WWE superstar." If Merriman, who tried out for WWE last fall but was not offered a contract, intends to step into the ring, he's going to need a better nickname than "Lights Out," as Brendan Darr points out.

Merriman was limited to 18 games over his final three seasons. And he finished with 45.5 career sacks in 75 games, including 59 starts. (Photo: masterofthe619/Instagram)

 

2 Aaron Hernandez associates indicted on murder charges

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 12, 2014 

Two associates of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez were indicted Friday on murder charges in the shooting death of a man last summer about a mile from Hernandez's home, prosecutors sHernandez associates charged.jpgaid.

A grand jury in Bristol County returned separate indictments against Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace in the June 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter said.

Ortiz and Wallace, who are from Bristol, Conn., where Hernandez grew up, had been charged previously with accessory to murder after the fact and had pleaded not guilty. They had been ordered held on $500,000 bail on the older charges.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the killing of Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston resident who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins.

Jenkins, who testified before the grand jury, has been charged with perjury in the case. Hernandez's cousin Tanya Singleton, who refused to testify, has been charged with criminal contempt and conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The district attorney's office said Friday that Ortiz and Wallace would be arraigned in Fall River Superior Court on the new charges at a date yet to be scheduled. The office said it would have no further comment on the indictments until then.

Ortiz's lawyer, John Connors, said he had not seen the indictment but called it "totally ridiculous." He said, as he had in the past, that Ortiz was "just along for the ride" with Hernandez, Wallace and Lloyd on the night Lloyd was killed.

Connors said the district attorney's office has strung his client along, charging him first with a weapons violation, then accusing him of being an accessory.

"It almost looks to me like they felt they couldn't use him as a witness, (so) they're going to charge him?" he said. "Why wouldn't they have done this months ago? There's no new evidence in this matter."

Questions have been raised about the reliability of Ortiz as a witness. Prosecutors say he has told authorities that he didn't see who shot Lloyd but that Hernandez and Lloyd were alone outside the car. That's different from his initial story, in which, according to court records, he told police that Hernandez and Wallace got out with Lloyd.

Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found by a jogger in an industrial park in North Attleborough. Prosecutors have said Hernandez was upset with Lloyd for talking at a nightclub to some people with whom he had problems. They have not identified who they believe pulled the trigger.

A message was left for Wallace's attorney, David Meier. Wallace has been described by prosecutors as Hernandez's "right-hand man." (Photo: Dave Souza/Associated Press)

 

Browns will match Jaguars' offer for C Alex Mack

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 11, 2014

The Cleveland Browns have matched Jacksonville's offer sheet for Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and will keep one of their top players, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter report.

Mack signed a five-year, $42 million offalex_mack_usatsi_corry.jpger from the Jaguars on Friday, and the Browns matched the deal just a few hours later.

The 28-year-old Mack will receive $26 million guaranteed in the deal, which he can void after two seasons. Also, the Browns are not allowed to tag or trade him.

Cleveland's decision to keep Mack ends a strange saga that began when the club placed a $10 million transition tag on him at the outset of free agency. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam repeatedly pledged is commitment to hanging on to Mack and kept his word.

"We have talked about keeping our own players and this is a positive for us," general manager Ray Farmer said. "Alex is a quality person and player that truly brings to life what playing like a Brown means.

"The ending is positive for everyone. Keeping our young, good nucleus of players is vital for clubs and specifically the Browns, and therefore this is a good step."

Mack has not missed a snap in five seasons with the Browns, who drafted him in the first round in 2009. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Bengals sign DL Sam Montgomery

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 11, 2014 

The Cincinnati Bengals added to their defensive line depth on Friday by signing free agent Sam Montgomery, an041114-FSO-NFL-Sam-Montgomery_vadapt_955_medium_12.jpg end who was the Houston Texans third-round pick last year.

Montgomery was listed as a linebacker by the Texans. He was inactive for the first seven games and was waived on Oct. 22. Oakland signed him to the practice squad in December.

The 6-foot-3, 262-pound lineman played three seasons at LSU, getting 19 sacks during his career. He helped the Tigers reach the 2011 national title game, won by Alabama. (Photo: Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

 

Colin Kaepernick responds to allegations of sexual assault

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 11, 2014 

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took to Twitter on Friday to deny any wrongdoing in a police investigation for an alleged sexual assault.

 "The charges made in the TMZ story and ot1506730_621510134595619_1245022590860511591_n.jpgher stories I've seen are completely wrong," Kaepernick said in a series of tweets. "They make things up about me that never happened. I take great pride in who I am and what I do, but I guess sometimes you have to deal with someone who makes things up. I want to thank all of the people who have shared their encouraging sentiments. I assure you that your faith is not misplaced."

Kaepernick's agent later released this statement: "We stand by Colin 100 percent and are fully confident that the truth will be evident once the facts come to light."

According to MercuryNews.com "There's no evidence of a crime or a sexual assault. This report is simply an incident report taken at the woman's request. There are no specific allegations of wrongdoing. TMZ took the report out of context."

According to the police report, The woman states that the group "talked for a while and she mixed some drinks for all of them and gave them shots." She says "they told her in order to drink the shots she had to 'hit' the bong which contained marijuana."

The woman states she "started to feel lightheaded and went to a bedroom to lay down." She says she "took off her jacket and jewelry" at which point "Mr. Kaepernick came behind her into the bedroom and started kissing her." She "advised that Mr. Kaepernick started to undress her" and that "she got completely naked."

At that point, the women says Kaepernick left the bedroom and "they did not have sex." She also states that Lockette and Patton "peeked" into the room, and she yelled, "What are you doing? Where's Colin? Get out!"

The woman states that Lockette and Patton closed the door and left but doesn't remember anything after that. She woke up in a hospital but doesn't know how she got there. She also states that she and Kaepernick have a prior sexual history. (Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

 

WR Williams signs $800,000, 1-year deal with Miami

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 11, 2014 

Receiver Damian Williams has signed an $800,000, one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins after spending the past four yeaDamian+Williams+Jacksonville+Jaguars+v+Tennessee+hVLpiJ9zPjal.jpgrs with the Tennessee Titans.

The addition of Williams on Friday provides more depth for the Dolphins at receiver, where Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Armon Binns are coming off knee injuries.

Williams played in 54 games for the Titans, including 17 as a starter. He has 106 career catches for 1,313 yards and five touchdowns, and has experience as a punt and kick returner.

Last year Williams made 15 catches for 178 yards. He was a third-round pick by the Titans in 2010. (Photo: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

 

Center Alex Mack signs offer sheet with Jaguars

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 11, 2014

The Browns are on the clock with Alex Mack.

Cleveland's Pro Bowl center signed a five-year, $42 million contract offer sheet with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday. The Browns,Alex Mack signs offer sheet.jpg who have received official paperwork on the deal, are expected to match it and keep one of their best players.

The Browns have five days — until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday — to match Jacksonville's offer or they'll lose Mack, who has not missed a single offensive play since the Browns drafted him in 2009. The club secured that right for the time to weigh the decision after placing a $10 million transition tag on the 28-year-old Mack before free agency opened.

The deal includes $26 million guaranteed and would make Mack the NFL's highest-paid center. The team entered free agency with re-signing Mack as one of its top priorities, and there doesn't seem any reason the Browns wouldn't lock him up for a few more years.

Mack's contract also has an option for him to void the deal after two seasons. Also, his team can't tag or trade him.

Mack has played 4,998 consecutive snaps with the Browns. In 2011, Mack played despite a severe attack of appendicitis that landed him in surgery the following day. He has developed into one of the game's top centers, lauded for his blocking ability, leadership and helping Cleveland's quarterbacks read defenses.

With Mack in the middle and Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas on the left side, the Browns have one of the AFC's top offensive lines. They don't want to weaken one of their only strengths.

It would be understandable if Mack wanted to test the free-agent waters. The Browns have gone just 23-57 since he joined them in 2009, and Mike Pettine will be Mack's fourth head coach in six years

Mack reportedly enjoyed his visit with the Jaguars, who like the Browns, have been stuck in a cycle of losing. But the team's offer to Mack is a strong sign of its intention to upgrade its roster and revamp one of the league's worst offensive lines. The Jaguars selected left tackle Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick in last year's draft and signed former Denver guard Zane Beadles in free agency last month. (Photo: David Richard/Associated Press)

 

Report: Jets DE Wilkerson not planning to hold out

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 11, 2014

New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said he will not hold out this summer if the team picks uwilkersonweb4s-1-web.jpgp the fifth-year option in his current contract instead of signing him to a more lucrative long-term deal, the New York Post reports.

Wilkerson said talks about a long-term contract are ongoing between his agent and the Jets, and he said he wants to be a "Jet for life."

"I'm not holding out. My agent is talking with (GM John) Idzik, and that's all I can say," Wilkerson told the Post. "I have nothing to do with that. I'm just going to let him take care of that. That's his job. I'm just here to play ball. It is what it is. If [a long-term deal] happens, it happens. I don't control what goes on upstairs." (Photo: Bob Leverone/Associated Press)

 

Former NFL DE Ta'u Pupu'a stars in Knoxville Opera

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 11, 2014 

A former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens defensive end is singing one of the lead roles in the Knoxville Opera Company's4719138-3x2-700x467.jpg production of Bellini's "Norma."

Ta'u Pupu'a studied music at Julliard after an injury ended his career in professional football. He will perform the role of Pollione on Friday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Pupu'a is joined by Rochelle Bard in the role of Norma and J'nai Bridges in the role of Adalgisa.

The story of "Norma" is a triangle of forbidden love against the backdrop of war between the Gauls and the Romans in 50 B.C.E.

The production is presented in Italian with projected English translations. A preview begins 45 minutes prior to the performances.

 

UN expert weighs in on Redskins controversy

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 11, 2014 

A United Nations human rights expert says the name of the Washington Redskins football team is a "hurtfulUN weighs in on Redskins name.jpg reminder" of the mistreatment of Native Americans, but stopped short of joining in calls for the team's owner to change the name.

Last month, team owner Dan Snyder said he was creating a foundation to assist American Indian tribes but gave no indication he had plans to change the name, which he says honors Native Americans.

On Friday, James Anaya — a UN expert on indigenous people's rights — urged Snyder to "consider that the term 'redskin' for many is inextricably linked to a history of suffering and dispossession."

Anaya says "it is understood to be a pejorative and disparaging term that fails to respect and honor" Native Americans. (Photo: Nick Wass/Associated Press)

 

Broncos TE Joel Dreessen tweets condolences after learning of Ultimate Warrior's death

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 10, 2014  

We received sad news from the world of professional wrestling on Tuesday when we learned that the Ultimate Warrior passed away at the age of 54.

Warrior, which legally became his name inDreessen-Ultimate-Warrior_final.jpg 1993, finally had received the ultimate recognition for his storied career by getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday night in New Orleans and took part in Wrestlemania XXX weekend.

After learning of his death, Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen tweeted his condolences in the best way possible. He sent out a picture of the time he dressed up as Ultimate Warrior for Halloween.

"RIP Ultimate Warrior. Mr. James Hellwig. U certainly were a hero of mine growing up," Dreessen tweeted. "I will carry on the spirit of the warrior. Especially as my favorite Halloween costume."

Well done Mr. Dreessen…well done. #RIPWarrior. (Photo: Twitter)

 

Panthers sign free-agent S DeCoud, TE Dickson

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 10, 2014  

The Carolina Panthers added a pair of unrestricted free agents Thursday, signing safety Thomas DeCoud to a two-year contract and tight end Ed Dickson to a one-year deal.

Financial terms of the deals were not released.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound DeCoud haFalcons_Thomas_DeCoud.jpgs spent his entire six-year NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons and went to the Pro Bowl in 2012. He has started 78 of his last 79 games, including 15 last year when he registered 83 tackles and returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown.

"Thomas provides a veteran in the secondary who is familiar with the NFC South and has been a very solid player," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in a press release. "We are pleased to add him to a safety group that has good experience and production."

It's unclear what DeCoud's arrival will mean for safety Charles Godfrey, who missed 14 games last season with a torn Achilles tendon. The Panthers could save more than $5 million if the release the veteran safety — meaningful money for a team that doesn't have much room to maneuver under the NFL salary cap.

Plus, the Panthers already signed free-agent safety Roman Harper from the New Orleans Saints earlier this offseason.

DeCoud was a third-round draft pick of the Falcons in 2009 and has played in 89 games with 507 career tackles, 14 interceptions, three sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He has played in five playoff games, starting four.

Like DeCoud, Dickson is also a former third-round draft pick who has played his entire career with one team.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Dickson started 44 games and played in 60 during his four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He has 111 career receptions for 1,178 yards and seven touchdowns since joining the league in 2010.

Dickson also brings plenty of playoff experience to Carolina.

He has played in eight playoff games with five starts and helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl two years ago.

"Ed is a young player who has shown he is a capable blocker as well as receiver in the league," Rivera said in a release. "He provides experienced depth at the tight end position and we look forward to having him in the mix."

Greg Olsen has been the team's starting tight end for the last three seasons and is expected to remain the team's go-to guy in short-yardage situations. But Dickson offers a nice complement for quarterback Cam Newton as the Panthers look to refocus on their running game this season.

Dickson's best season came in 2011 when he started 16 games and caught 54 passes for 528 yards with five touchdowns.

Last season he started 14 games for the Ravens and caught 25 catches for 273 yards and one touchdown. (Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

 

Eli Manning has ankle surgery

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 10, 2014   

The New York Giants announced that quarterback Eli Manning underwent left ankle surgery Thursday afternoon. The procedure, a debridement of the ankle, was done by noted foot and ankle specialist DEli+Manning+Washington+Redskins+v+New+York+fHXsEYFhWZMl.jpgr. Robert Anderson.

Manning suffered a high-ankle sprain on his left ankle in late December and had been rehabbing since but still had discomfort, so he decided to have the ankle cleaned out.

"The doc tells me I should be running in about six weeks," Manning said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to the start of the offseason program on the 21st. I will be in the weight room and in the meeting rooms so we can all learn the new offense. I got some good work in this week at Duke, and I think it's smart to get this procedure done now so the ankle isn't an ongoing issue. I'm eager to get to work with our new offensive coaches and system."

Manning completed just 57.5 pct. of his passes last year for 3,818 yards and 18 touchdowns with 27 interceptions and a pair of fumbles lost. (Photo: Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)

 

DeAngelo Williams questions Panthers' offseason

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 10, 2014   

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams will stand with his team through thick and thin but admitted to NFLDeAngelo+Williams+New+Orleans+Saints+v+Carolina+alsZIFuF31ml.jpg Network on Thursday that he's concerned about their future after letting their top four receivers go this offseason. Williams said he'll miss the leadership of Steve Smith and the entire receiving corps' knowledge of the offense but is fearful for what might happen to the Panthers run game.

"I just don't want to see eight, nine guys in the box week in and week out because we're working on our timing," Williams said.

With Cam Newton on the shelf until training camp and the Panthers fielding a new receiving corps, the clock is ticking on Carolina's offense getting on the same page. (Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

 

Dolphins QB Tannehill knows he must show improvement in 2014

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 10, 2014  

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill realizes that 2014 has to be the year he improves. Speaking with ESPN during a photo shoot in Los Angeles, Tannehill is confident he'll be a better football plRyan+Tannehill+Miami+Dolphins+v+Buffalo+Bills+tpe-4zVbR7dl.jpgayer.

"I have to make a big jump, I'm aware of that," Tannehill said. "I'm putting in the work, putting in the time to get myself physically ready, mentally ready and learn this new offense that we're going with this year. So there is still work to be done. But I look for a big jump in myself, both in production and wins. That's what we ultimately play for is wins. So, I'm excited to see what this team does."

The Dolphins not only added left tackle Branden Albert and left guard Shelley Smith to bolster an offensive line dashed by injuries and controversies last year, but they made a switch at offensive coordinator, going with ex-Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor. (Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

 

Report: Colin Kaepernick being investigated for sexual assault

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 10, 2014  

San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick was being investigated in connection with an alleged sexual a8047098.jpgssault in Miami.

According to a TMZ source, the investigation is in its "beginning stages" and details are limited at this point. Kaepernick has not been arrested and no charges have been filed against him.

San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke told TMZ he "The 49ers organization is aware of the recent media report regarding Colin Kaepernick and is in the process of gathering the pertinent facts."

A source with the Miami Police Department told Kickoff Coverage that Kaepernick was one of three people named in a Miami-Dade County police report surrounding a "suspicious incident" at a Miami apartment on April 1. 

"We have an investigation into Colin Kaepernick and others allegedly involved in an incident at a Miami hotel," the source said. "The Investigation is still in the early stages."

According to CBS Sports, the woman claims she woke up in a hospital bed without knowledge of how she got there following a visit to see Kaepernick, former 49ers and current Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette and Niners wideout Quinton Patton in a Miami-area apartment. It's made clear that Kaepernick and the victim had a previous physical relationship.

Kaepernick is entering the final year of his rookie contract in San Francisco. A second-round pick out of Nevada in 2011, he took over the starting job midway through his second year, replacing former No. 1 pick Alex Smith. In his 23 starts, Kaepernick posted a 17-6 record and led the Niners to a Super Bowl XLVII appearance after the 2012 season. (Photo: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Reggie Bush is fine with having fewer touches

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 10, 2014 

Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush is fine with fewer snaps and touches this season. New head coach Jim Caldwell said he exReggie+Bush+New+York+Giants+v+Detroit+Lions+QgcYLZp75k7l.jpgpected the balance between Bush and Joique Bell to change this season, especially since the playbook is based off of a Saints offense that utilized running backs as pass catchers a little more than most teams and as ball carriers a little bit less than most teams.

"We had a pretty good rotation going last (season), so, you know, we did some pretty special things with that," Bush said according to ESPN. "It can only go up from there, even if the workload is less for both of us, that's only going to help us toward the end of the season, help us to stay healthy and probably play a little bit stronger and better toward the end of the season."

Both Bush and Bell totaled over 1,100 yards last year, with Bush getting 1,006 rush yards and 506 receiving yards. Bell had 650 rush yards and 547 receiving yards. Both had over 50 catches. (Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Saints, TE Graham talks still at a standoff

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 10, 2014  

New Orleans franchised tight end Jimmy Graham has until April 22 to file a grievance against the Saints for tagging him as a tight end. He and his representatives have said they believe he's more of a wide receiver thJimmy+Graham+New+Orleans+Saints+v+Carolina+ebb5GM3IG4Il.jpgan a tight end based on where he lines up and what he's asked to do. The Saints insist he's a tight end.

A report by Pro Football Talk last month said that the Saints and Graham would agree to terms before the deadline for a grievance arrived. But general manager Mickey Loomis said the team doesn't view April 22 as a deadline to get a deal done.

Loomis, who spoke to the media while attending LSU's pro day, declined to give any specific updates on how talks are developing with Graham. But he seemed to indicate that the pace hasn't picked up much since the Saints first placed the franchise tag on Graham more than a month ago.

The Saints have until July 15 to sign Graham to a multi-year deal; if they don't then he can only sign the one-year franchise tender.

If Graham does file a grievance, then his case would eventually be heard by a third-party arbitrator, who would be agreed upon by the NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association. If that arbitrator agrees that Graham should be considered a wide receiver, his franchise-tag salary would soar from $7.05 million to $12.3 million.

Graham had 86 catches for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. (Photo: Grant Halvorson/Getty Images)

 

Addition of Ted Ginn, O-Line play should help Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 10, 2014  

Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin believes that the addition of wide receiver Ted Ginn will only help the prospects for Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd to have big seasons iTed+Ginn+Jr+New+York+Giants+v+Carolina+Panthers+lur_1uuhiRfl.jpgn 2014.

"It's going to help the overall passing game a lot from a play-action standpoint and a drop-back standpoint," Goodwin said of Ginn's arrival per the Arizona Republic. "It's going to help Larry (Fitzgerald) and Michael (Floyd)."

The thinking is that Ginn will attract enough coverage to keep extra defenders from playing tight on Fitzgerald and Floyd. Without a third receiver boasting speed like Ginn, Fitzgerald had 954 yards and 10 touchdowns while Floyd posted 1,041 yards and five touchdowns.

Goodwin is also excited about his offensive line, who's play will also hopefully help his receivers have a big 2014.

The addition of Jared Veldheer and the return of left guard Jonathan Cooper should make life easier for the Cardinals when they game plan versus opponents this season.

"We're looking to put the right side together. There is going to be great competition between Paul Fanaika and Ted Larsen and Earl (Watford)," Goodwin told the Republic. "Then you have Bobby (Massie), Bradley (Sowell) and along with Nate (Potter). The competition is going to be great and there is still the possibility of the draft, but who knows? It wasn't a great offensive line year last year, but the guys played consistently together and they got better as they went along." (Photo: Grant Halvorson/Getty Images)

 

49ers CB Chris Culliver charged with felony, misdemeanors

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 10, 2014 

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was charged with a felony count and two misdemeanors after being allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident in March. He'll be arraigned on FridChris_Culliver_549x338.jpgay.

According to Comcast Sportsnet, the case will be continued to a later day and time so that Culliver can ultimately enter a plea.

Culliver is being accused with hitting a bicyclist and driving away, as well as carrying metal knuckles.

Notably, Culliver was not charged for threatening the witness who followed Culliver in his vehicle after the encounter with the bicyclist. The initial media reports said that after the witness tried to block Culliver's white Ford Mustang to prevent him from leaving, Culliver got out of his car, threatened the witness with brass knuckles and then got back in the car and fled. A situation like that typically would result in a charge of "criminal threats," but that did not happen in this case.

If the NFL decides to punish Culliver, it likely would not do so until the legal process runs its course. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Adrian Peterson thinks college athletes should be paid

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 9, 2014   

Former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson advocated for college athletes on Wednesday, saying they deserved to be paid for the millions of dollars they bring to schools and took aim at NBA commissioner Adam Silver's stated desadrian-peterson-nfl-chicago-bears-minnesota-vikings2.jpgire to require college players to spend two years in school before declaring for the draft.

Peterson said he felt a kinship with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel as a fellow high-profile athlete who generated significant revenues while he was in school at Oklahoma.

"When I was in college, I know personally, as far as jersey sales and ticket sales, I helped make that university a lot of money," Peterson said during a conference call to promote Hyperice, a recovery icing device that he endorses. "Johnny Manziel helped make Texas A&M so much money. You're talking about championship games that he was able to lead those guys to. You're talking about jersey sales that he don't see a dime of."

Peterson has stated his opinion that college athletes should be paid before, but never so forcefully.

"I feel like as much money as universities make, I feel that some of that money should be given down to the players as well because we are the ones that are making this university money," Peterson said. "These bowl games? Without the players, how much money to do they make? None.

"Without the players how much money do they make? They make no money without the players."

And he didn't stop with college football. The NBA is giving serious consideration to requiring college players to stay in school for two years rather than the "one-and-done" requirements the league has right now.

"I hear that they're trying to make basketball players go two years to college," the 2012 MVP said, unprompted. "Wow. I wonder why? Just think about it. Imagine if LeBron James would've had to go to college for two years. How much money would that college have made off of LeBron James? They would've made so much money off LeBron James." (Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Eagles name fallen Midshipmen Will McKamey honorary member of team

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 9, 2014  

The Philadelphia Eagles have named Will McKamey an honorary member of the team. McKamey, a Navy s_2014-03-26T06-52-31_e488342bfa798a0b4f0f6a706700377f.jpglotback, died March 26 days after collapsing during a Navy spring practice.

McKamey, a sophomore, was going through normal football drills when he collapsed. He was immediately airlifted to Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he underwent surgery to relieve bleeding and swelling in his brain. During surgery, McKamey slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly visited Navy practice last Saturday and made the announcement to the team.

Kelly presented Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo with an Eagles jersey bearing McKamey's name and No. 41, which was McKamey's number with the Midshipmen. The jersey will be given to McKamey's parents.

"It really means a lot that someone of Chip Kelly's stature would take the time to come to Annapolis and honor Will in that way," Niumatalolo told the Capital Gazette. "That Coach Kelly wanted to do something special on behalf of Will, something to uplift his family, shows what a class act he is."

McKamey played for his father, Randy, and ran for more than 2,000 yards as a senior at Grace Christian in 2012. He suffered a head injury during a game late in the season that caused him to be hospitalized.

His family said he had been cleared to resume playing football after seeing four neurosurgeons and undergoing several CAT scans and MRI exams.

McKamey's family said in a statement released through the school that their son did not sustain "a bad hit or unusual or extreme contact" in that practice.

"The Navy coaches have poured through the films of practice and seen nothing more than Will carrying the football normally, doing what he truly loves," the family said.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound McKamey did not play in a game last season. He was an oceanography major in 3rd Company at the Naval Academy. (Photo: U.S. Naval Academy)

 

Zach Mettenberger works out hard at LSU pro day

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 9, 2014  

Wearing an LSU helmet, shoulder pads and a yellow practice jersey, Zach Mettenberger took a mock snap and rolled hard to his right, rifling passes to former LSU receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis LMettenberger has pro day.jpgandry.

Less than four months after reconstructive left knee surgery, former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger came away from LSU's pro day looking a lot like the quarterback who racked up 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.

"That was one of the biggest things we wanted to show," Mettenberger said via NFL Network after Wednesday's workout, which was viewed by numerous NFL personnel. "Just my knee health and mobility was a lot in question. I was able to roll out and throw accurate balls with something behind them.

"It was fun. I've been saying for a couple weeks now that I was healthy and good enough to go and I don't think all of y'all believed me," Mettenberger added. "The biggest thing I wanted to do is show that I could go out there, take an explosive drop and throw down field like everyone knows I can."

Mettenberger's college career ended as he unloaded a 32-yard completion to wideout Jarvis Landry during LSU's regular season finale against Arkansas on Nov. 29. Taking a hit as he threw, Mettenberger tore his anterior cruciate ligament and sprained his medial collateral ligament. Doctors gave the latter injury time to heal before repairing the ACL in January with a piece of Mettenberger's hamstring.

LSU head athletic trainer Jack Marucci said that while ACL repairs have traditionally been performed using a piece of the patient's patellar tendon, LSU and the Tigers' orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Brent Bankston, have had a lot of success using hamstrings for more than a decade. Marucci mentioned a host of other LSU players who've had the same procedure and returned quickly to training, including running backs Stevan Ridley and Joseph Addai.

Marucci said Cybex tests — in which a machine is used to comparatively measure the strength of both legs — showed that Mettenberger's left leg was about 95 percent as strong has his healthy leg. Mettenberger, who his right handed, pushes off with his healthy right leg when he throws.

His decision to wear pads was made months ago and was not influenced by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel's decision to also work out for NFL personnel in pads, Mettenberger said.

Mettenberger missed on a few throws, twice throwing behind receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on crossing routes, and was breathing heavily when the workout ended.

Mettenberger had not yet visited any NFL clubs for private workouts, but said he has some scheduled as soon as Thursday with Jacksonville, followed by another Saturday with Detroit.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was among numerous coaches and scouts who attended the workouts at LSU.

Mettenberger's workout was conducted by LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, a former offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL. Cameron said Mettenberger's pro day performance was a testament to the quarterback's work ethic, and that Mettenberger is ready for the NFL. (Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press)

 

Report: Jags to make five-year offer to Alex Mack

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 9, 2014 

The Jacksonville Jaguars will sign Cleveland Browns transition player Alex Mack a five-year offer sheet by the end of the week, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The Brown will then have five dalex-mack.jpgays to match, but according to Schefter, the deal the Browns will offer is designed "to make it as difficult as possible for the Browns to match."

Mack, a Pro Bowl center, was highly impressed by his visit to Jacksonville and wants to play there, according to Schefter's report.

We reported earlier that the Browns would likely match any offered made by the Jags and attempt to sign him to a long term deal.

"Well, there's no doubt he will be here at least for this year," team owner Jimmy Haslam told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I think that's for certain. I certainly hope we can sign him to a longterm deal and keep him here for much longer than I'm here."

But the Jaguars have structured a deal that will make it difficult for the Browns to match, CBS Sports' NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports.

According to La Canfora, reports of $22 million guaranteed on a long-term deal won't be enough to scare off the Browns. But the length of the deal along with the high guarantee would scare off the Browns who already have a one-year tender on the table for over $10 million, which is an obscene amount for a center.

If the Jaguars put together a two-year offer sheet for Mack that will pay him that shockingly high salary of $10 million in 2014, and then, something like a base salary of $1 million in 2015 with a $15 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2015 league year. That should be enough to make the Browns decide not to match the offer.

And if the Browns don't match, they'll lose Mack, and because it's the transition tag and not the franchise tag, Cleveland wouldn't get any compensation. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Adrian Peterson close to full strength after groin surgery

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 9, 2014 

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said he's close to full strength after undergoing groin s157abe5f9b160b27440f6a7067001293.jpgurgery in late January. According to an NFL.com report, Peterson will participate in offseason workouts.

"I can't really put a date on it, but I do look forward to participating," Peterson told the website. "Right now the most important thing is getting healthy and that's what I'm doing. I'm rehabbing, working out still, trying to get the body back to where it needs to be."

Peterson doesn't expect the groin injury to be a factor this summer or fall. "I can't sit here and say that I'm back right now, but I am not far off at all," he said. (Photo: Mike Roemer/Associated Press)

 

2014 NFL Preseason Schedule Released

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 9, 2014 

The 2014 NFL Preseason Football Schedule was released on Wednesday. The preseason kicks ofuntitled.pngf on Sunday, August 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET when the Buffalo Bills take on the New York Giants in the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio.  

Exact dates and times are expected to be released in mid-to-late April.

For games carried by "Local Channels" check your team's 2014 schedule page for channel listings.

Hall of Fame Game (Sunday, August 3)

Buffalo vs. New York Giants (at Canton, OH) [NBC]

Week 1 (August 7-10)

Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs

Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers

Green Bay Packers at Tennessee Titans

Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals

Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins

New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams

Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens

Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 2 (August 14-18)

Jacksonville Jaguars at Chicago Bears [ESPN]

Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers [FOX]

Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins [ESPN]

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans

Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys

Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers

Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders

Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams

Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals

Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

San Diego Chargers at Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints

Week 3 (August 21-24)

Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers [CBS]

New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts [CBS]

San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers [FOX]

Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals [NBC]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles

Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions

Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills

Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins

Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots

New York Giants at New York Jets

Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens

St. Louis Rams at Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 4 (August 28)

Arizona Cardinals at San Diego Chargers

Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans

New England Patriots at New York Giants

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans

Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders

St. Louis Rams at Miami Dolphins

Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

2015 Pro Bowl to be played in Arizona

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 9, 2014 

The NFL announced on Wednesday that the Pro Bowl following the 2014 season will take place at University of P20140126_kkt_st3_030_0_standard_783_0.jpghoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., one week before the Super Bowl will take place at the same location.

The Pro Bowl will then return to Hawaii the following year. The Pro Bowl following the 2016 season also will take place at Aloha Stadium.

The upcoming Pro Bowl has been slated for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. It will air live on ESPN at 8 p.m.

The Super Bowl has been slated for Feb. 1. This marks only the third time that the Pro Bowl will take place in the same city as the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Coliseum hosted the first Super Bowl on Jan. 15, 1967, and the Pro Bowl the following week. Then, in 2010, the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl both took place in South Florida. (Photo:  Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Demaryius Thomas still recovering from shoulder injury suffered in Super Bowl

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 9, 2014 

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is not participating in unofficial workouts that quarterback Peyton Manning is having withi-res-159db85d90ecdb6e4c5c94eb7c06c356_crop_north.jpgh his receivers at Duke University this week because he's still suffering from a left should injury sustained in the Broncos 43-8 loss in Super Bowl XLVIII to the Seattle Seahawks.

The team has called Thomas' injury a separated left shoulder. He reportedly suffered the injury when he was hit by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor in the first quarter of the 25-point loss. He did play through the injury for the rest of the game and finished with a Super Bowl record 13 receptions.

Thomas could still be limited in the OTAs coming up later this month. But he's still expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

According to ESPN, Thomas has had issues with the shoulder during the regular season also. During the December 1 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, he left after the first series but returned just before halftime. (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

 

Danieal Manning could start for Bengals

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 9, 2014 

Newly-signed Danieal Manning could start at safety for the Bengals opposite Reggie Nelson, according to the team's websithi-res-7590718_crop_north.jpge. An eight-year vet who'll turn 32 in training camp, Manning also could handle some kickoff returns.

"I am not going to lie, one reason that played a part in me coming here was I had seen the role that they had continuing to knock on the playoff door," said Manning, who spent the last three seasons with the Texans.

"I had seen this was a team that I would potentially love to play with if I ever had the opportunity to come to free agency. My prayers were answered. I'm just ecstatic and elated to be a part of the organization." (Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Dan Orlovsky doesn't want to relive Lions 2008 0-16 season

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 9, 2014 

Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who's back with the team after his 2005-08 stint, doesn't like to relive the 0-16 season in 2008. Orlovsky punctuated that debacle by running out the back of his owndanorlovsky.jpg end zone for a safety.

"There's not much I can say to unmask the things that happened or erase those things," Orlovsky told the Detroit Free Press. "My personal aspect of it is I knew I played well. We were just not a good football team. Did I have a part of that? Sure. I wish I played better in certain spaces, but I knew I played well, and I kind of look at it like this: It's hard to play in this league for four years. It's really, really hard to play in it for 10 years.

"I get the fears maybe with obviously fans and whatnot, but the organization knows what they're doing, and I know I'm a good player, and I certainly hope to just be part of changing some of that past, whether it's directly or indirectly."

Orlovsky replaced Shaun Hill as Matthew Stafford's backup. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Bengals plan to take pressure off Andy Dalton by running ball

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 9, 2014 

New Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson plans to emphasize the running game more as a way of taking pressure off quarterback Andy Dalton.

Jackson is taking over as offensive coordbengals-cowboys-football-andy-dalton-giovani-bernard_pg_600.jpginator after spending the 2013 season coaching Bengals running backs. In 2010, he was the offensive coordinator in Oakland before getting promoted to head coach in '11. The Bengals signed his quarterback from those two teams, Jason Campbell, last month in part to give Dalton a veteran voice at the position that he hasn't really had throughout his career.

The hallmark of Jackson's Raiders scheme was running, and he has already vowed to do more of that in his new role with the Bengals in an effort of easing the pressure on Dalton.

"You have to have the threat of running the ball and the threat of being a physical unit in order to last for the duration of the season," Jackson told ESPN.

Jackson added that Dalton has the makeup to be one of the league's top quarterbacks.

"What I've got to do is just continue to push, prod, pull, motivate, support him and the rest of this offensive unit, and then we've got to pick up the pieces everywhere else to give him a chance to do his job," Jackson said. "If we do that, this young man will be right where he needs to be." (Photo: LM Otero/Associated Press)

 

Report: Browns likely to match any offer for C Alex Mack

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 9, 2014 

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam suggested the team will match any offer Pro Bowl center Alex Mack receives, the Cleveland Pl20120917_kkt_ar7_270_0_standard_400_0.jpgain Dealer reports.

Cleveland placed the transition tag on Mack last month.

The Jaguars have shown interest in Mack, but haven't yet made an offer.

"Well, there's no doubt he will be here at least for this year," Haslam told the paper. "I think that's for certain. I certainly hope we can sign him to a longterm deal and keep him here for much longer than I'm here." (Photo: David Richard/US Presswire)

 

Bears claim Bellamy off waivers, sign Mulligan

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 9, 2014   

The Chicago Bears have claimed wide receiver Josh Bellamy off waivers from the Washington Redskins, and signed free agent tight end Matthew Mulligan to a one-year deotkwiml144.jpgal.

Bellamy has appeared in eight games over two seasons with Kansas City and Washington, with five kickoff returns for 101 yards and four special teams tackles.

Mulligan, regarded as a terrific blocking tight end, has appeared in 65 games with 24 starts over five NFL seasons. He has 16 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns during stints with New England last year, St. Louis in 2012 and the New York Jets from 2009-11. Mulligan has also spent time with Miami, Tennessee and Green Bay. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Seahawks honored during Mariners home opener

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 9, 2014   

Russell Wilson, Malcolm Smith and coach Pete Carroll walked out from behind the center field fence to an ovation that rivaled anything heard across the street at CenturyLink Field.

Even though it was openi20140408_hawkspitch03.jpgng night for the Seattle Mariners, they made sure the Super Bowl champion neighbors were recognized.

"It's been great. Obviously everyone enjoys winning a world championship and just having fun with that," Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. "I think everyone is excited about the opportunities coming ahead to bring it back together and a new season a new team."

Smith, the MVP of the Super Bowl victory over Denver, carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy out as the Seahawks made their way to the infield where they were honored during the pregame ceremony. The tribute included a giant banner unveiled in center field and a lengthy video highlighting key moments from the Seahawks run to the first title in the four major professional sports for the city since 1979.

Wilson, Smith, Carroll and Miller were joined by wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, and linebackers Bobby Wagner, Mike Morgan and K.J. Wright.

Wilson has had a whirlwind offseason that included a day at Texas Rangers spring training, the club that owns his baseball rights, and throwing out the first pitch before a Rangers game last week. He also spoke to the Wisconsin basketball team at the Final Four last week and got the honors to throw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday to Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

Wilson said he hasn't gotten any backlash for taking part in activities with the Rangers, even though they are an AL West rival of the Mariners.

"I don't pay attention to all of that. I'm blessed to obviously be drafted by the Rangers and that's a great experience for me," Wilson said. "It's a great organization. Obviously I love to come to Mariners games as well and supporting my city where I play in the National Football League."

Soon the attention will turn back to football. The Seahawks can begin their offseason program on April 21, but Wilson and Seattle's offensive players are headed to Southern California soon for a players-run offseason workout similar to what they did last offseason.

"Obviously the goal is to do it again," Wilson said. "We're not satisfied with what we've done. We have a great football team again next year and we're looking forward to it." (Photo: Ted Warren/Associated Press)

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