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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)

 

Chargers Clary, Hardwick scoop ice cream for a great cause 

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 8, 2014   

Chargers offensive guard Jeromey Clary and center Nick Hardwick were out scooping ice cream at a local San Diego Ben and Jerry's Tuesday. It was all for a good cause while raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego.

"It's cool to come down here and serve atempIMG_6654--nfl_mezz_1280_1024.jpgll these fans," Clary said via the teams' official website. "Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great program.  To help kids with an adult mentor relationship is huge.  Growing up I was lucky that I had both my dad and my mom at the house.  It is instrumental to have that in your life, so I'm happy to be here helping out a good cause."

Clary and Hardwick spent the majority of the afternoon scooping for hundreds of patrons, dishing out tasty treats on a hot San Diego afternoon.  There was a long line to order, but for many it was well worth it when they got to the counter and were pleasantly surprised to see the Chargers greet them.

"This is a beautiful thing," said Marcus Holmes, who donned a Chargers' polo alongside his three-year old daughter Mia.  "This is a great thing for kids to see.  This is the offseason and they are donating their time.  This is way beyond the call.  They are really here to serve the community, and they gave a real good scoop!"

"We thought this was a great opportunity to have Jeromey and Nick come out and bring awareness to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and our need for more volunteers and more funding to support our programs," Big Brothers Big Sisters Marketing Director Tina Rose said. "These guys are incredible.  They have done so much for us.  Anytime we call they are there. They just have the hugest hearts.  I always say to them that their hearts are bigger than they are!  They just give and give and give and never ask for anything in return.  It brings them joy, so that makes us happy." (Photo: Chargers.com)

 

Reggie Wayne expects to be cleared and return from torn ACL

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 8, 2014   

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne is making great progress in his recovery from a torn ACL, and he expects to receive clearance to rereggie-wayne-torn-acl.jpgturn to football activities soon.

"I should be cleared for football activity on the 25th," Wayne told Sports Radio1260 WNDE-Indianapolis Tuesday. "I'm way ahead of schedule. I feel great."

Wayne underwent surgery in October and could be cleared after six months. He expects to be ready for the start of training camp, after finishing the 2013 season with 503 yards on 38 receptions in seven games.

Wayne said the last hurdle will likely be convincing Colts head coach Chuck Pagano that he's good to go, as Pagano is likely to take it easy on his veteran receiver. (Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Redskins DL Brandon Moore suspended 4 games

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 8, 2014  

Defensive lineman Brandon Moore of the Washington Redskins has been suspended for the first four games of next season by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse poli83544616.jpgcy.

Moore has yet to play a down in the NFL. He was with the practice squads of San Diego and Denver last season. He later signed with the Chiefs, was cut and picked up by the Redskins.

Moore, who was not drafted out of Texas in 2013, is eligible for offseason activities and can play in preseason games before starting his suspension.

The NFL has levied 10 drug-related suspensions against Redskins players since 2011. Defensive players Rob Jackson and Jarvis Jenkins sat out four games last season, and tight end Fred Davis — now a free agent — is suspended indefinitely. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Panthers DT Colin Cole agrees to one-year deal to stay with team

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 8, 2014  

Free agent defensive tackle Colin Cole will remain with the Carolina Panthers after agreeing to a one-yeaColin+Cole+Seattle+Seahawks+v+Carolina+Panthers+Hyy0WGPgnyBl.jpgr contract, NFL Network reports

Cole, 33, started 13 games last season for Carolina's second-ranked defense and had 15 tackles and one sack. He's not the type to fill up a stat sheet, with his primary responsibility taking up blockers at the point of attack and providing linebackers freedom to run and make plays.

The 6-foot-2, 335-pound Cole has played eight seasons in the NFL and started 47 games. Prior to joining the Panthers he spent time with Minnesota, Detroit, Green Bay and Seattle.

His best game last season came in a 20-10 win over Miami when he had three tackles and one sack.

Cole was part of a unit that led the NFL with 60 sacks in 2014, led by middle linebacker and AP Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly.

It's unclear if Cole will remain a starter this coming season.

The Panthers drafted Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short with their first two picks in 2013 and view the duo as the future of their interior defensive line. Lotulelei was a regular starter last season, while Short played in a reserve role. (Photo: Grant Halvorson/Getty Images)

 

Falcons add Lowery, Wilson to secondary

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 8, 2014  

The Atlanta Falcons have added two potential starters to their secondary by signing safety Dwight Lowery and cornerb128804644_crop_north.jpgack Josh Wilson.

Lowery has 41 career starts with the Jets and Jaguars. He started three games with Jacksonville in 2013 before sustaining a concussion on the first play at Seattle on Sept. 22. He later was placed on injured reserve and released.

Lowery, a fourth-round pick by the Jets in 2008, has 10 career interceptions.

Wilson, a second-round pick by Seattle in 2006, has started in 81 of his 102 career games with the Seahawks, Baltimore and Washington. He started all 16 games with the Redskins last season and set a career high with 93 tackles. He has 14 career interceptions, including one last season. (Photo: Melina Vastola/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Bills sign free agent DL Jarius Wynn

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 8, 2014  

Defensive lineman Jarius Wynn has another chance to prove himself after the journeyman free agent signed with the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday.

The Bills become his fifth teaJarius+Wynn+Minnesota+Vikings+v+Dallas+Cowboys+pBW04okZmZ-l.jpgm in six seasons since the Georgia product was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round in 2009.

The 6-foot-3, 285 pound Wynn split last season between San Diego and Dallas. The Cowboys were in need of healthy defensive linemen when they signed Wynn in October, shortly after he was released by the Chargers.

Wynn spent his first three years in Green Bay, and the 2012 season with the Tennessee Titans.

Overall, he has 8 1/2 sacks in 58 career games.

Mostly used as a defensive end, Wynn has the bulk to play tackle. He is expected to provide depth on a defense that's making the switch to a 4-3 system under new coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Stepping into a starting role will be a tough task for Wynn, the Bills already have a solid front made up of ends Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams, and tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. (Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

 

Colts planning to use two tight end sets

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 8, 2014  

With Dwayne Allen fully recovered from his hip injury, the Indianapolis Colts plan to put him and fellow tight end Coby Fleener on the field a lot, oftCF-horz.jpgen at the same time, ESPN.com reports.

"We love using tight ends like everybody else," head coach Chuck Pagano told the website. "But (Fleener) took a big step in Year 2 and played really good football for us and will continue to do that. Getting Dwayne back, we're going to have great options there. You get that inline blocker in Dwayne but don't forget that Dwayne is a heck of a pass receiver, too. So we can create a bunch of mismatches with those guys and get them out in space and get the matchups that you want. It's going to be a great situation."

Pagano said having Allen and Fleener allows for multiple formations and "gives us a lot of flexibility there."

 

Earl Watford has chance at starting job

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 8, 2014 

With the Cardinals' release of Daryn Colledge, second-year pro Earl Watford could start at right guard, according to the team's website. He did not plaWatford1MAIN.jpgy a snap as a rookie.

"From a physical aspect, he's probably one of the better guys we've got, just as a total athlete from top to bottom," offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. "We've got these evaluation sheets for kids coming out now, and he is always going to read out pretty well. I don't worry about the physical tools on him at all. In pass protection he's solid. If he gets his hands on guys, he's solid.

"It's all mental for Earl," Goodwin added. "He's coming along. He's just got to pick it up some. He's got to. It's the NFL. It stands for Not For Long. For Earl, (this season) is big. To me, in my mind, it's make-or-break from the standpoint of, you've got talent, but now it's about trying to take the next step. And once again, if you can't do it, we've got to go to the next guy.

"Talent is not the issue. It's maintaining the information he's learned. When he started here, there was some regurgitation. If we have to start all over again from ground zero, it's not good."

 

Jay Gruden: RG3 'works out more than anybody'

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 8, 2014  

With Robert Griffin III unveiling his new personal logo, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he's not concerned about the quarterback getting distracted by off-field pursuirobert-griffin-iii-nfl-san-francisco-49ers-washington-redskins-590x900.jpgts.

"He works out more than anybody I've ever seen," Gruden told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "If I ever felt like that was an issue, or if he was spending more time trying to create logos than he was working out and getting himself ready to play, then there'd be an issue. But there's no issue in my mind.

"I think nowadays, these quarterbacks and these players in general, they have people do a lot of work for them," Gruden continued. "They have these mangers, these agents, and these commercial people working for them, and they're doing all the work. I don't think Robert's doing any. He's just signing off on it. Adidas is doing all the logo things for him. So if it's extra money for him, have at it. As far as dedication and his desire to win and his work ethic, that is not to be questioned. He's unlike anybody I've ever seen as far as that's concerned." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Packers DL Mike Daniels calls Julius Peppers 'a freak of nature'

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 8, 2014 

Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels described his new teammate, 34-year-old Julius Peppers, as "a frea6905404.jpgk of nature."

"Charles Woodson played pretty well at 34," Daniels told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Julius Peppers is by every means of the word a 'freak of nature.' I don't think age is going to affect him too much. And he's got some pretty good players lined up with him. Our front seven is very good. When you add the element of Julius Peppers to that. The sky's the limit in my opinion."

Peppers signed a three-year contract with the Packers and will rotate between the defensive line and linebacker. (Photo: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Bama's Sunseri, Kouandjio, Steen perform for NFL

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 8, 2014 

Former Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri performed before NFL scouts aiming to demonstrate that his surgically repaired knee is healthy and that he made a good decision in skipping his senSunseri works out for GMs.jpgior season.

Sunseri, left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and guard Anthony Steen were among those performing in the Crimson Tide's second pro day Tuesday before a couple of dozen NFL scouts. Sunseri and Steen are returning from season-ending injuries.

Like Kouandjio, who is projected by some as a late first-round pick in the NFL draft, Sunseri left school a year early. But the safety missed the final six games after tearing a knee ligament against Arkansas on Oct. 19 and turned pro despite NFL feedback showing he was anything from a fourth-round pick to an undrafted free agent.

Sunseri said discussions with Tide coach Nick Saban on the decision "went down to the wire," but that Saban has been fully supportive since then. The coach typically advises players to leave only if they're regarded as first-round picks, such as fellow Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Sunseri said he was clocked in the 40 from 4.48 to 4.52 seconds, and bench-pressed 225 pounds 21 times. He did drills fielding throws from brother Tino Sunseri, a former Pittsburgh quarterback, and only donned a knee brace for one drill, when he moved laterally among cones before sprinting to a finish.

He returned interceptions for touchdowns in each of Alabama's first two games last season. He played in 34 games and started 15 during his career.

Kouandjio participated in position drills during Alabama's first pro day on March 12 before a much larger audience of NFL execs, including several head coaches and general managers. He said he improved his vertical leap by nearly 4 inches from the combine to 31, and felt like he also bettered his 5.59 40 at the combine. No time was available.

The NFL Network reported that six teams didn't clear him physically at the combine because of his knee. The 6-foot-7, 322-pound Kouandjio started the past two years after returning from surgery in 2011, his freshman season.

Kouandjio and Steen were put through drills for two-plus hours Tuesday, going head to head at the end.

Steen missed the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma after having shoulder surgery. He's only been fully cleared to resume workouts for the past week. (Photo: Vasha Hunt/Associated Press)

 

Lions, CB Cassius Vaughn agree to one-year deal

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 7, 2014 

The Detroit Lions have signed cornerback Cassius Vaughn to a one-year contract.

The move was annovaughn-cassius-01.jpgunced Monday when the team began offseason workouts with first-year coach Jim Caldwell.

Vaughn played 16 games for Indianapolis last season, including four starts. The 5-foot-11, 199-pound Vaughn had a career-high three interceptions, tripling his career total. He started 11 games for the Colts in 2012.

Vaughn earned a spot in the NFL with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted rookie from Mississippi. He started in three of 22 games in Denver during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

 

Saints match Falcons' offer to S Bush

Submitted by Jackie Quattro| April 7, 2014 

The New Orleans Saints have retained restricted free agent safety Rafael Bush by matching an offer from the Atlanta Falcons, according to an NFL Network report.

Bush had signed the offer last wRafael+Bush+Miami+Dolphins+v+New+Orleans+Saints+PnK32Q6e4aCl.jpgeek, giving the Saints until Tuesday to either match that deal or let Bush go. If the Saints had lost Bush, they would not have received any compensation because they tendered him a minimum offer of $1.4 million for next season.

Bush's new deal is reportedly worth up to $4.5 million over two seasons.

Bush is projected to be a reserve, but see regular playing time after appearing in 13 games last season with six starts.

Bush was credited with 37 total tackles in 2013, along with a fumble recovery and five passes defended. He also made three special teams stops. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

Panthers sign WR Jason Avant to one-year deal

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 7, 2014 

The Carolina Panthers signed free agent wide receiver Jason Avant to a one-year contract on Monday, according hi-res-158676856_crop_north.jpgto the teams' official website.

The Panthers did not release financial terms.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Avant spent his first eight seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last season he started a career-high 13 games and had 38 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers were down from his previous three seasons in which Avant averaged 52 receptions and 633 yards receiving per year.

"We are happy to have Jason with the Panthers," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said in a press release. "He provides a versatile player at receiver and brings good size as well as experience to the position."

Avant becomes the third free agent wide receiver to sign with the Panthers this offseason.

Carolina previously signed Jerricho Cotchery from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tiquan Underwood from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to help fill major voids at the position.

After a 12-4 season in which they won the NFC South championship, the Panthers released their all-time leading receiver Steve Smith and lost Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon to other teams via free agency.

That left Panthers quarters Cam Newton without any wide receivers on the roster that he completed passed to last season.

A fourth-round pick in 2006, Avant has played in 116 during his career with 297 catches for 3,646 yards and 12 TDs. (Photo: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

 

WR Williams seeks fresh start in return to Buffalo

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 7, 2014  

Wide receiver Mike Williams acknowledged he has some growing up to do while addressing questions about his troubled past Monday.

For Williams, there's no place better to start fresh than Williams gets chance to start over in Buffalo.jpgin his hometown of Buffalo.

"It's like being drafted all over, especially to my hometown, and get to come back and play in front of the people that know me, where I came from," Williams said via the team's official website during a news conference three days after the Bills acquired him in a trade with Tampa Bay. "The people know what type of guy I am."

Calling the homecoming "a dream come true," Williams returns to the place he was a high school star. He went on to a successful yet troubled career at Syracuse, where Williams abruptly quit the team in November 2009 during his junior season.

This is the second — and potentially final — chance for Williams to put behind off-field distractions, which led to the Buccaneers parting ways with their starter in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. The deal was made a year after Williams signed a six-year, $40 million contract.

The breaking point came two weeks ago, when Williams was allegedly stabbed in the leg by his brother, Eric Baylor, who has since turned himself in to police.

Williams passed his physical in Buffalo and said the injury from the stabbing won't prevent him from reporting for voluntary team workouts, which begin April 22.

Williams acknowledged making mistakes and vows to do better, saying there are people depending upon him, including his infant son.

"When you get a lot of bad attention or bad this, or bad that, it's about: Are you going to let the bad attack you? Are you going to fall?" Williams said. "Or are you going to get up and try again? That's why I think a fresh start is needed."

On the field, Williams has displayed the potential as a No. 1 receiver.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2010, Williams led NFL rookies with 65 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. Though a hamstring injury limited Williams to just six games last year, he has 215 catches for 2,947 yards and 25 touchdowns in 54 career games.

The Bills are in need of an experienced player to complement returning starter Stevie Johnson, who led an otherwise young group of receivers.

It's off the field where questions have arisen.

The Tampa Bay Times has reported that Williams' neighbors in Tampa were unhappy with noise issues and damage to the player's rented home.

Without providing specifics, Williams said two of the numerous accusations were made up. When pressed on which two, Williams said the Bills requested that he not discuss it.

In trading Williams, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht referred to the deal as something the team "felt was best for both sides."

In Buffalo, coach Doug Marrone is willing to provide Williams the benefit of the doubt. Marrone was in his first season at Syracuse when Williams left the team.

Marrone signed off on the trade by saying what happened at Syracuse "is in the past for both of us." Marrone went further by picking up Williams at the airport upon the player's arrival in Buffalo.

Williams said he and Marrone cleared the air by speaking on the phone before the trade was completed.

"He made mistakes. I made mistakes," Williams said. "The situation wasn't handled how it was supposed to be handled. But the past is the past. So we're kind of looking forward."

Williams acknowledged that one of Marrone's concerns at Syracuse was the player skipping classes.

That won't be an issue now.

"He didn't think I went to class. But since it's the pros, he knows I'm going to go out there and do my job on the field," Williams said. "You're always going to get the great Mike on the field." (Photo: Brian Blanco/Associated Press)

 

Titans waive DE Adewale Ojomo after arrest

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 7, 2014    

The Tennessee Titans have waived defensive end Adewale Ojomo more than two weeks after he was arrestedhi-res-0fdfea61cfb8c03561ce15aec707d5e4_crop_north.jpg in a prostitution sting.

The Titans announced the move Monday afternoon, hours after the team started its offseason program.

Ojomo had joined the Titans' practice squad in December after stints with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and on the practice squads in Seattle and Buffalo last fall.

He was booked March 21 in Miami on a charge of soliciting a prostitute after police say Ojomo offered the undercover detective $100 for sex. The police report said Ojomo was planning to go to a nearby store for condoms but was arrested before he could drive away.

Ojomo played at the University of Miami. (Photo: Rick Schultz/Getty Images)

 

Chip Kelly excited to fit Jeremy Maclin into his offense

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 7, 2014    

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly told CSN Philly that he's excited to see receiver Jeremy Maclin in this offense. Maclin m1375321780000-xtr09-maclin-06-1307312152_4_3.jpgissed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL. Now he'll be asked to help replace DeSean Jackson.

"You saw the potential of that in the spring and summer, but obviously he didn't get an opportunity last year," Kelly said. "However, what was great to see was how he was literally here every single day since being injured. You can see he has a passion for the game of football. When he was on the field last spring and summer, you saw his intelligence, you saw his great route-running ability and you saw how tough of a one-on-one matchup he could be."

Maclin expects to be ready for training camp.

"I would say our expectations are he's going to be a really good player for us this year," general manager Howie Roseman told the website. "He has the traits we look for at the receiver position. It's no secret that we thought he was going to have a big year, and he had an unfortunate injury. That's our expectation. He adds another dynamic threat to our offense." (Photo: Jason Bridge/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Bucs sign S Major Wright, WR Lavelle Hawkins

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 7, 2014     

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed free-agent safety Major Wright and wide receiver Lavelle Hawkidt_common_streams_StreamServer.jpgns.

The team also announced Monday that linebacker Marvin Booker has been waived.

Wright spent the first four seasons of his career with the Chicago Bears, who drafted him in the third round in 2010. He's started 42 of 54 career games and returned three of his nine interceptions for touchdowns.

Hawkins was a fourth-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2008. He spent five seasons with them before moving to the San Diego Chargers in 2013. He has 71 career receptions for 771 yards and one TD. (Photo: Gregory Shamus/Associated Press)

 

Justin Forsett motivated after injury-filled 2013 season

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 7, 2014     

New Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett is highly motivated after a 2013 season in which he dealt with turf toe, then a stress fra20130915_lbm_ax5_557_0_standard_352_0.jpgcture in his foot. He played in nine games for the Jaguars, rushing for 31 yards on six carries.

"I had a lot of injuries and a lot of adversity last year being in Jacksonville," Forsett told the Baltimore Sun. "It made me stronger, definitely a better man, and I'm excited to release everything that I have in me out on this field. I'm 100 percent healthy. I'm back now and I'm ready to go."

In 2012 with Houston, Forsett rushed for 375 yards (6.0 per carry), including an 81-yard touchdown.

"I'm hungry right now," Forsett told the paper. "I definitely have a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas that I want to get off, and I'm excited about this opportunity. I want to come play and I want to win." (Photo: Kelley L. Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

 

'New aura' as Redskins start work under Gruden

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 7, 2014     

Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams says there's a "new aura in the building" under new coach Jay Gr1348531.jpguden.

The Redskins began their voluntary offseason workout program Monday, which includes weightlifting and running sprints in the practice bubble.

Washington is one of seven teams allowed to start offseason work two weeks early because of a new coach.

The Redskins fired Mike Shanahan after last year's 3-13 season.

Defensive tackle Barry Cofield says there's a "different type of energy" with a younger head coach. He said the assistant coaches appear more comfortable and will have more freedom under Gruden. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

 

Jake Locker targeting May return

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 7, 2014    

Jake Locker is ahead of schedule in his rehab from surgery on his right foot, and the Tennessee quarterback expects to be taking part in the Titans' on-field work in May.

That's exactly what the Titans an460x.jpgd new coach Ken Whisenhunt wanted to hear as they started their offseason program Monday.

Whisenhunt said he needs to see Locker stay healthy and produce this year and become the Titans' quarterback for the future. Locker has missed 14 of his 32 starts and is only under contract for 2014. The Titans are not expected to pick up an option worth $13 million in May for the 2015 season.

"Even in our meeting today, I think you could see the respect the team has for Jake," Whisenhunt said via the Tennessean. "I like what I've seen on tape. He's exhibited qualities that I think are important at the position, but he's got to do it in this offense. That's what the spring, the OTAs and training camp practices are all about."

Locker's return to health is something the Titans are counting on heavily after an offseason filled with change under new president Tommy Smith, who took over after his father-in-law Bud Adams died in October. Not only do the Titans have a new coach, which is why they started their offseason program two weeks earlier than most teams, but they cut veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and brought in Charlie Whitehurst to back up Locker.

It's up to Locker to learn Whisenhunt's new offense, the third system the quarterback will have to learn going into his fourth season. In addition, an offense largely built around the rushing of Chris Johnson the past six seasons is going in a completely different direction as the running back's release became official Monday.

"He was a guy that gave a lot to this team, to this organization and to this city. I wish him the best wherever he ends up. He was a dynamic player, who provided a lot of offense for us in a lot of different ways," Locker said. "So we're going to have to work together as a football team to replace the production we got out of him."

Locker also understands what the Titans expect from him and isn't worried about his contract status.

"This league is so much now of what have you done for me lately," Locker said. "If you don't have that approach going into every season, it's not going to work out the way you want it to. You're always competing for your job, and that's how I've always gone about it."

More of the offense could revolve around Locker and the passing game, especially with Johnson gone and the Titans planning to use a handful of running backs.

First, Locker has to get on the field. He played in just seven games in 2013, missing the final seven games of the year when a Lisfranc injury to his foot that required surgery and four months in a walking boot. He said his foot has responded well to all the treatment with his rehab increasing weekly. He said he has been able to jump back and forth and lunge using his foot without pain. He also is throwing already, though he hasn't dropped back to pass yet.

"We've been able to do some things the last couple of weeks that we didn't think we'd be able to this quick, and hopefully, we'll be able to continue that kind of trend," Locker said. "It could be even earlier than what we think."

The Titans certainly hope so. (Photo: Mark Zaleski/Associated Press)

 

Cleveland clash: Irving, Gordon in media spat

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 7, 2014    

As if the Cavaliers and Browns don't have enough trouble winning games. Now their most prominent stars are going at it.

Cavs All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and Browns460x.jpg wide receiver Josh Gordon are having a spat through the media, exchanging barbs across TV, Twitter and newspaper.

Gordon, who led the NFL with yards receiving last season, fired the first verbal volley last week when he went on ESPN's "First Take" and discussed Irving's problems this season with teammate Dion Waiters.

"I talked about it with Dion," Gordon said. "He's my neighbor in my building so we hang out all the time. I'm aware of the rift in the locker room. That's just alpha males and supreme athletes trying to share the spotlight."

Irving didn't waste any time in shooting back, telling the Akron Beacon Journal, "Guys like Josh Gordon need to stay in his sport and mind his own business. Does he still play for the Browns? I'll continue to root for the Browns, but in terms of this stuff here, what goes on in this locker room, he needs to stay out of it."

On Sunday, Gordon responded to Irving via social media by tweeting: "Smh. i touched a nerve."

Irving spent the weekend in a vortex of controversy. Before Saturday's home game against Charlotte, Irving said he has grown tired of media reports saying he wants to leave Cleveland.

"The barrage and little bit of attack that I saw, I've been getting it all season and I feel I definitely don't deserve it," Irving said. It's one of those things where I can deal with it, but at a certain point, it's gotten too much. It's been like that the whole entire season."

The 22-year-old Irving, who recently returned from a biceps injury, said he has been unfairly scrutinized.

"It's all nonsense to me," he said. "That's part of the business. I get it. It's part of the job. To go out and frame my character to something it's not. ... I'm not an attention seeker. I don't go out trying to put all these rumors out. For people that feel that it's a good thing to continue to put my name in the headlines to get reads, that's your job, but at a certain point it's got to stop."

Irving's stance is just the latest turbulence in what has been a bumpy season for the Cavs. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Former Lions WR Nate Burleson agrees to one-year deal with Browns

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 6, 2014   

The Cleveland Browns and former Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson have agreed on a one-year deal, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports. Financial terms of the agreement anate-burleson-injury-detroit-lions.jpgre unknown at this time.

The 6-foot, 198-pound Burleson, 32, spent the past four seasons in Detroit. Injuries have limited him to only 15 games with 13 starts the last two seasons.

Burleson caught 39 passes for 461 yards and a touchdown last year. His season was interrupted in September after a bizarre accident that forced him to miss seven games. Burleson suffered a broken arm in a one-car accident caused by his attempt to keep a pizza he'd purchased from sliding off the passenger seat. It was determined there was no alcohol involved.

The Browns also signed slot receiver Andrew Hawkins from the Cincinnati Bengals early in free agency. They were rumored to be interested in DeSean Jackson, but the 27-year-old receiver signed with the Redskins. (Photo: Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Report: Chris Johnson expected to sign with new team midweek

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 6, 2014  

Former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is expected to decide on which new team he'll sign with by the middle of this week, Pro Football Talk reptitans-raiders-football-chris-johnson-mike-jenkins_pg_600.jpgorts.

According to PFT, it's unclear where Johnson – who was released by the Titans on Friday – will sign but says the team with "the strongest link" right now are the New York Jets.

There hasn't been a ton of interest in Johnson, so the 28-year-old might be forced to take a one-year deal "that allows him to get back to the open market on the first day of 2015 free agency," according to the PFT report. (Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press)

 

New Ravens TE Daniels has something to prove

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 6, 2014  

New Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels feels like he has something to prove.

Daniels is a two-time Pro Bowler. He has beenOwen Daniels has plenty to prove.jpg one of the most productive players at his position during the last decade, even last season at age 31.

But after spending the first eight seasons of his NFL career with the Houston Texans, he was released by the Texans on March 11.

Now with the Ravens, Daniels wants to show he can be the same type of playmaker that he was for so many years in Houston.

He signed a one-year contract with Baltimore on Friday.

"When you're with a franchise for that long and then they obviously decide that you're not good enough for them anymore and they want to go in a different direction, that definitely gives you a big chip (on your shoulder) and gets you motivated," Daniels said.

Even aside from that, Daniels is simply looking forward to getting back on the field.

He had 24 catches for 252 yards and three touchdowns in the Texans' first five games last season, but he missed the final 11 games with a leg injury.

"I'm excited to get back out there, get back to work and remind of what I did the year before and in the first five games last year," Daniels said.

The year before, Daniels was selected to the Pro Bowl after catching 62 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns.

He has had 677 yards or more in each of the four seasons he has played in at least 15 games.

And in Baltimore, Daniels will be reunited with three of his former Texans coaches. Former Houston coach Gary Kubiak is the Ravens' offensive coordinator. Former Texans tight ends coach Brian Pariani now holds that same position in Baltimore, and former Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison is the Ravens' quarterbacks coach.

"Coach Kubiak, being in his offense for eight years and coming here, it's a player-friendly offense, a tight end friendly offense," Daniels said. "You spread the ball around to a lot of people."

The Ravens already had tight end Dennis Pitta, who they re-signed to a five-year contract earlier this offseason, but Kubiak's offenses with the Texans featured a lot of two tight end sets.

Daniels expects more of the same in Baltimore.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team has "big plans" for Daniels.

"These are two of the best tight ends in the National Football League who fit this offense really, really well," Harbaugh said. "That's what we're looking at." (Photo: Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

 

Jaguars host Browns C Alex Mack

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 6, 2014   

The Jacksonville Jaguars are hosting Cleveland Browns transition player Alex Mack this weehi-res-6866376_crop_north.jpgkend and could make him an offer, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports.

According to La Canfora, the Browns intends to match any offer, but the Jags have tremendous cap space and ample cash available to put together an offer that might be hard to match.

A Pro Bowl center, Mack wants to leave the Browns, sources told La Canfora. Cleveland put the $10.039 million transition tag on Mack, and he has yet to sign it. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Jerry Jones gets booed in his own building

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 5, 2014   

The Final Four was like a Dallas Cowboys game for owner Jerry Jones: a mix of boos and cheers when he was shown on the huge videoJerry Jones gets booed in his own building.jpg board.

Jones, the man behind the billion-dollar showplace that is hosting its first Final Four, smiled widely when he was shown early in the first semifinal between Florida and Connecticut on Saturday.

The boos were pretty strong for the man known as a business and marketing whiz who is often criticized for his football moves as the general manager of a team that has just one playoff win since 1997.

The video board is the signature piece of the home of the Cowboys, and gives basketball fans a better view of the game from the upper deck. (Photo: Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)

 

Jim Kelly takes in Knicks game, vows to beat cancer

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 5, 2014  

Jim Kelly attended Friday's New York Knicks game. The Hall of Fame quarterback waved to the crowizards-knicks-basketball.jpgwd and smiled when his image was shown on the giant digital display.

"I am definitely not well enough to be here," Kelly told ESPN during a break in the second quarter. "But I brought my daughter and that's the main thing. I'll do anything for her, and my wife's here also."

His daughter, Erin, is a freshman at Liberty University in Virginia and bringing her to the game was a way to pay her back for making the dean's list, Kelly said.

The ex-Bills quarterback is dealing with a recurrence of oral cancer that has spread and is not operable at the moment.

Saying he's feeling "so-so," Kelly is set to start chemotherapy Monday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and will also receive radiation treatments at North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute on Long Island, he said. Despite the tough road ahead, he remains upbeat. And the man who led the Buffalo Bills to four Super Bowls appearances didn't sound frightened.

"I've never given up on anything in my life and I'm not ready to start right now," Kelly said. "So it will be a long battle, but I'm going to beat it."

All of us here at Kickoff Coverage are wishing Jim and his family the best during his road to recovery. (Photo: Frank Franklin II/Associated Press)

 

Titans continue makeover after release of Chris Johnson

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 5, 2014   

The Tennessee Titans released Chris Johnson on Friday after six seasons to avoid paying $8 million to the running back that he was due in 2014, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011. His releTitans move on without Johnson.jpgase comes before the Titans start their offseason program Monday with new coach Ken Whisenhunt.

It didn't help that Johnson repeatedly said he wouldn't take a pay cut. The Titans didn't face a deadline that would have guaranteed the $8 million Johnson was due in 2014 until the first week of the regular season, but Johnson planned to report for the start of the offseason program Monday.

He flew into Nashville late Thursday night to meet with the Titans on Friday.

"I'd like to thank all of my teammates, the fans, the staff and the coaches who have supported me throughout my journey with the Titans," Johnson said in a statement." I have grown so much as an individual and as teammate over the past few years, and I am excited about the opportunity to bring my experience and talents to a new organization. I'm looking forward to the next chapter and can't wait to contribute to my new team."

Durability remains Johnson's best attribute. The 24th pick overall in 2008 out of East Carolina, Johnson has never missed a game because of injury. He had surgery after the season to repair a torn meniscus that he played with most of the year.

The Titans have been remaking the franchise this offseason since owner Bud Adams died in October. His son-in-law, Tommy Smith, took over as president, and the Titans fired coach Mike Munchak in January. Whisenhunt was hired to get this franchise back into the playoffs after a five-year drought, and he kept Sylvester Croom as the Titans' running backs coach.

Croom and the Titans have been busy working to replace Johnson, who turns 29 in September. They agreed with Dexter McCluster on a three-year deal at the start of free agency after signing Shonn Greene in March 2013. The Titans also re-signed Jackie Battle recently, along with reaching a one-year deal for kick returner and running back Leon Washington on March 11.

Adding another running back in the May draft also is expected. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

 

Bills fans, players pay tribute to late owner Ralph Wilson

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 5, 2014  

With hundreds of pictures and mementos spread throughout the Buffalo Bills fieldhouse honoring late owner Ralph Wilson, Bruce Smith couldn't reBills pay tribute to Wilson.jpgsist bringing one more.

The Hall of Fame defensive end pulled out a photo taken the day he signed his rookie contract in 1985. It showed Wilson with his hands across his face as if he were praying.

Smith called the picture one of his "special memories."

There were many to go around Saturday, during a public remembrance celebrating Wilson's life and legacy.

With Frank Sinatra — Wilson's favorite — playing over the loudspeaker, and an array of photos, trophies and souvenirs on display, Bills former and current players, employees and thousands of fans paid their respects to the team's founder, who died on March 25. (Photo: Nick LoVerde/Associated Press)

 

Broncos, Fox agree on new 3-year deal

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 5, 2014   

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox has agreed to a new three-year contract with the team, Jay Glazer john-fox1.jpgof Fox Sports reports.

According to Glazer, the team ripped up Fox's 2014 contract and replaced it with a deal that runs through 2016. Fox's previous contract – that was paying him $3.5 million a year – still had one more season left on it. So this new deal isn't an extension

The Denver Post has reported that the new contract will pay Fox about $5.5 million per season.

GM John Elway said in early February that Fox would get a new deal this offseason.

"I want to get him done," Elway said at the time. "I'm going to sit down with his agent. I'm going to sit down with him, see where we come out and what they're thinking."

Fox has gone 37-17 with three AFC West titles in his three seasons in Denver.

He overcame a heart operation in November to lead the Broncos to an appearance in the Super Bowl, where they lost 43-8 to Seattle. (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

 

Eagles LB Jake Knott suspended 4 games

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 5, 2014   

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jake Knott has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for 040414_Knott_600.jpgviolating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Knott played 12 games mostly on special teams and made six tackles last season as an undrafted rookie out of Iowa State. He is allowed to participate in all Eagles offseason activities and preseason games.

The league announced the suspension Friday. Knott says he uses nutritional supplements and didn't realize he used a banned substance.

"Unfortunately, I now know that supplements are not regulated and thus may contain things that are not listed on the label," Knott says. (Photo: Joe Mahoney/Associated Press)

 

New report says DeSean Jackson cursed out Chip Kelly in front of team

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 4, 2014  

The Philadelphia Eagles released wide receiver DeSean Jackson because of his me-first attitude and his insubordination toward head coach Chip Kelly, CBS SportDeSean-Jackson-smear.jpgs Philly reports.

According to the report, Jackson was not very well liked by his teammates. He was blatantly insubordinate with temper tantrums cussing out Kelly several times in front of the team.

Jackson "pushed the NFL rookie coach the way 'a child would test boundaries,' and was more concerned with his rap label than he was about winning football games," the report added.

Jackson signed a three-year deal with the Redskins this week that pays him $16 million guaranteed. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Champ Bailey agrees to two-year deal with Saints

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 4, 2014 

Former Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey has agreed to a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints, BkZxzbLIUAAcClJ.jpgESPN reports.

The 35-year-old Bailey was released by the Broncos earlier in the offseason, said he wasn't ready to hang up his cleats after 15 years in the league.

A lingering foot injury limited the future Hall of Famer to five games with the Broncos last year before returning for the playoffs and his first-ever trip to the Super Bowl. (Photo: Peter Read Miller/Sports Illustrated)

 

Titans release RB Chris Johnson

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 4, 2014  

The Tennessee Titans officially released running back Chris Johnson Friday, saving the team $6 million in cap room, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

Johnson has rushed for over 1,000 ychris-johnson-fantasty-football.jpgards in each of his six seasons, but averaged a career-low 3.9 yards per carry last year.

The Titans issued this statement after releasing Johnson: "As an organization, we want to thank Chris for his contributions to the Titans. Chris produced many memorable moments, broke franchise records and was durable over his six-year career with our team.

"We have had an open dialogue with Chris' agent, Joel Segal, over the last few weeks, and we appreciate the patience and professionalism they have shown throughout this process. We made an effort to trade Chris but were unable to do so.

"We wish Chris the best and thank him for the six seasons he spent with us."

Johnson leaves Tennessee as the franchise's No. 3 all-time rusher with 7,965 yards, behind only Eddie George (10,009) and Earl Campbell (8,574). Only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has rushed for more yards (8,774) over the past six seasons than Johnson.

The Jets, Giants and Cowboys are expected to pursue Johnson, who will turn 29 in September. He'll still count $4 million against the Titans' cap in 2014 but will then be off the books. (Photo: Gene Puskar/Associated Press)

 

NFLPA investigating Eagles release of DeSean Jackson

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 4, 2014 

The Eagles still haven't publicly commented about Jackson's release, so it's not completely clear yet why the team dumped him. Just prior to his release on March 28, NJ.com reported that the Eagles were 'concerned with his "continued association wdesean-jackson-run2.jpgith a Los Angeles street gang members who have been connected to two homicides since 2010."

That has raised a few questions that the NFLPA want answered. So they have begun an investigation about Jackson's release by the Eagles, according to executive director DeMaurice Smith.

"We've been in touch with DeSean, and first and foremost he is a tremendous football player and great young man," Smith told ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike. "On the issue of how he was released, whether or not there were comments or leaks from the team, misinformation to the media coming from the team, that's something that we're going to look at. We've always been aggressive about protecting the integrity of our players."

Whatever the reason was though, the Eagles aren't saying and that seems to be Smith's problem.

"To me, the real issue is this is the business of football. If you want to make a decision to cut a player, tell a player he's cut," Smith said. "Make a decision. But if you want to smear a player with innuendo or something that is less than proof you know that I was very aggressive in calling a few GMs cowards for what they said about a young man coming out of college [former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam]. It seems to me that the same thing applies if you want to smear someone and you don't have any evidence." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Donald Brown in San Diego to back up Ryan Mathews

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 4, 2014  

When asked about the signing of Donald Brown and what that means for the future of the Chargers' running backs, general manager Tomdonaldbrown.jpg Telesco told 1090 The Fan in San Diego on Friday that Brown will "help supplement" the ground game and "play a different role than" Ryan Mathews. He specifically mentioned Mathews as "our main back, our bell cow."

Telesco said similar statements back in late March to the station. Brown was signed this spring to a three-year deal by Telesco, who helped scout Brown when he was with the Colts in 2009.

Brown was signed this spring to a three-year deal by Telesco, who helped scout Brown when he was with the Colts in 2009. But Mathews established himself as the team's primary back, meeting long-awaited expectations with a 1,255-yard, six-score season with another 189 yards and a score through the air. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Rolando McClain to meet with Ravens about returning to team

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 4, 2014   

Linebacker Rolando McClain is meeting with Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome in Alabama on Friday to discuss a possible return to the team.

McClain told the Carroll County Timerolando-mclain-2nd-chance.jpgs that although he hasn't played since he retired in 2012, he hopes to make a return to the league, preferably with the Ravens who retain McClain's rights.

"I'm excited about the game again," McClain said. "I'm excited to play. I'm excited to be around some damn teammates."

That's a long way from where he was last spring, when he was dealing with legal issues and in no frame of mind to keep playing. But he is just 24 and has been working out constantly in recent months at his home in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He told the Times he weighs 253, which is seven pounds less than the 6-foot-4 linebacker weighed in college at Alabama.

"I want to be how I was in college," said McClain, who was Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, but then a disappointment in three seasons at Oakland. "I was a student of the game, a real student of the game, and I got away from my ways for different reasons. But I just hope Ozzie and them are ready for someone that's ready to play."

If Newsome gives his approval, McClain plans to be with the Ravens when offseason workouts begin April 21. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Mary Wilson, widow of Ralph Wilson, takes over as Bills owner

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 4, 2014  

Mary Wilson is taking over as the Buffalo Bills' controlling owner after the death last week of her husband, Ralph Wilson.

Ralph Wilson was the founder and only owner of the francmary-wilson-04032014.jpghise. He died March 25 at the age of 95.

The team says "A process will be established at an appropriate time for the sale of the franchise."

The Bills also announced that CEO Russ Brandon, general manager Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone will remain in charge of football operations under the new ownership.

Ralph Wilson founded the Bills when the American Football League began play in 1960 and was a major factor in the merger of the AFL and NFL that was completed in 1970.

He long expressed no desire to leave the team to his family, and this announcement is the first step in what's likely a lengthy path to new ownership.

The team said in a statement: "This process will ensure that the club complies and is faithful to NFL rules and to its obligations to New York State and Erie County. We plan to have detailed discussions with the NFL, the state and county, and others as we determine the timing and structure of any sales process."

A 20-member committee called the New Stadium Working Group recently met to discuss whether the Bills should build a new stadium, or whether Ralph Wilson Stadium should be renovated.

The current stadium lease expires in 2022. The Bills are essentially locked into playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium through 2019 under terms of a 10-year lease agreement they reached with state and county governments in December 2012. The deal features a $400 million penalty the Bills would have to pay in the event a court ruled in favor of the team breaking the lease and relocating.

In 2020, however, the Bills have a one-time opportunity to opt out of the lease for about $28 million. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Ryan Grove hired as Dolphins trainer

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 4, 2014   

Ryan Grove has been hired as the Miami Dolphins' head athletic trainer, a job that became vacant in the fallout from the team's bullying scasfl-dolphins-name-ryan-grove-head-athletic-tra-001.jpgndal.

Kevin O'Neill, who had been the Dolphins' trainer for 18 years, was fired five days after the release of an NFL report on the scandal following a three-month investigation.

O'Neill expressed hostility toward the investigation and cut short an interview with those conducting it, according to the report. An attorney for O'Neill said his client was improperly singled out to appease a public outcry for action.

Grove spent the past 18 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including the past 15 as their assistant athletic trainer. His hiring was announced Thursday. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Report: Seahawks, Carroll agree to contract extension

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 4, 2014   

The Seattle Seahawks have scheduled a 1:30 p.m. ET press conference on Friday to announce an extension for head coach Pete Carroll.

NFL Network first reported the news Thursday night, citing a "source," that Carroll and the Seahawks had reached agreemensuper-bowl-football_jpeg80-1280x960.jpgt on a contract extension. Carroll's original five-year deal, worth $35 million, with Seattle was set to expire after the 2014 season.

Now it's speculated that Carroll will become the highest paid coach in the NFL. His 2010 deal pays him $7 million annually, but that's not tops in the league.

According to a Forbes.com report, Saints coach Sean Payton, Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Patriots coach Bill Belichick are all believed to be making more than Carroll. Payton is making $8 million annually, while Belichick and Reid are both making about $7.5 million per year.

Carroll reached the top of the NFL last season, leading the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title. Lured away from USC in 2010 with the chance at complete control over the football operations, Carroll tore down then rebuilt the Seahawks roster into one of the best in the NFL. He's 38-26 in four regular seasons with Seattle and 5-2 in the playoffs.

It also helps that Paul Allen – the owner of the Seahawks – is the richest owner in the NFL. With a net worth $15.8 billion, he can afford to make Carroll – who many consider the best coach in the NFL – the highest paid coach. (Photo: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

 

Packers re-sign John Kuhn to one-year deal

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 3, 2014  

Veteran fullback and local folk hero John Kuhn re-signed with the Green Bay Packers on Thursd29295549-mct_sports_fbn-packers-rams_11_mw.jpgay, general manager Ted Thompson said in a released statement.

The one-year deal is expected to be worth just over $1 million, including signing, roster and workout bonuses, agent Kevin Gold said.

The 31-year-old Kuhn joined the Packers in 2007 when he was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh. He's played in 107 regular-season games with the Packers and he's become a fan favorite. He's also one of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' closest friends on the team.

In 2013, Kuhn carried 10 times for 38 yards and a touchdown, and caught 13 passes for 81 yards in regular-season play. For his eight-year NFL career, Kuhn has only 165 carries for 506 yards and 12 TDs.

What role Kuhn will play next season is unclear. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said last week he wants all his running backs to be able to play all three downs. In addition to Kuhn, the Packers have NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy returning for his second season; James Starks coming back after signing a two-year, $3.166 million deal ($725,000 guaranteed signing bonus); and DuJuan Harris (knee) and Johnathan Franklin (neck) both expected to return to full health.

At this point, no one pass protects for Rodgers like Kuhn, who helped save the Packers' season by getting enough of a block on now-teammate Julius Peppers to allow Rodgers to side-step the Chicago defensive end and throw the winning touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the regular-season finale. That road victory over the Bears sent the Packers into the playoffs. (Photo: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal)

 

Bengals sign former Texans S Danieal Manning

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 3, 2014 

The Cincinnati Bengals signed strong safety Danieal Manning on Thursday, three days aft20131018094209882.jpger his release by the Houston Texans.

Manning started the first six games last season before suffering a season-ending injury to his right knee. He became an unrestricted free agent on Monday.

Manning was Chicago's second-round draft pick in 2006. He went to Houston as a free agent after five seasons with the Bears.

He started nine playoff games with the Bears and the Texans. The Bengals lost at Houston in the opening round of the playoffs in 2011 and 2012. They were beaten at home by San Diego last season, leaving them with no playoff victory since 1990 — tied for the sixth-longest streak of postseason futility in NFL history. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Bears S Conte out 4-5 months after shoulder surgery

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 3, 2014 

Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte underwent shoulder surgery last month and will be sidelined four to five months, according to the teams' ochi-bears29conte-int-20131229.jpgfficial website.

Conte started all 16 games last season – recording 89 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble – but struggled at times throughout the year. When free agency began last month, the Bears quickly picked up safeties Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings to compete at the position. The team is also expected to draft a safety next month.

"Whenever you don't have a good season you do some soul searching," Conte said via ChicagoBears.com. "You find the reasons why you love the game. Competition is a big part of why I love playing football. I knew they would be bringing in players to compete. It doesn't bother me one bit. It will only make me better."

But Conte will be behind in the competition from the start. He'll miss OTAs and veteran mini-camp and, depending on his recovery, could miss part of training camp. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Ravens, TE Owen Daniels agree to one-year deal

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 3, 2014

Former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels has agreed to a one-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, ESPN'153680196.jpgs NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

The 31-year-old Daniels missed much of the 2013 season 2013, but had a solid showing in 2012, recording 62 catches, 716 yards and six touchdowns.

Daniels, who was cut by the Texans, is expected to back up Dennis Pitta but should also see the field in two-tight end sets.

The Redskins and Packers were also reportedly interested in signing Daniels. (Photo: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

 

Tom Coughlin excited about Trindon Holliday

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 3, 2014

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is excited about new acquisition Trindon Holliday, who returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns last sea8191356-590x900.jpgson with Denver.

"When you sit down and talk about this guy's track speed, are you serious?" Coughlin told the team's website. "He runs 100 meters in 9.98 (seconds) or whatever the heck he ran. It's fun to think about. Go ahead, outkick the coverage, please do. Not only for kickoff returns, but for punt returns."

Coughlin, however, said Holliday must take better care of the ball or he won't get opportunities. He fumbled five times last year, losing two. (Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

 

NaVorro Bowman targeting midseason return

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 3, 2014 

San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman expects to return around the middle of the 2014 season from a torn ACL he suffered Navorro+Bowman+NFC+Championship+San+Francisco+zZqmI2_9CxLl.jpgduring the playoffs.

"Feeling good, feeling good. I'm blessed to be walking," Bowman said via ESPN. "I put the hard work in already, playing through the pain, trying to get the knee straight. But it's coming along."

Don't expect the 49ers to rush back one of their stars.

"I hope to be ready when they expect me to be ready," he said. "They're not going to rush me. Probably about the middle of the season." (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

 

Redskins sign QB Colt McCoy

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 3, 2014 

The Washington Redskins have signed free agent quarterback Colt McCoy, ESPN reports.

McCoy signed his contract Thursday, givinColt+Mccoy+Denver+Broncos+v+San+Francisco+cRGZYti0H5Fl.jpgg the Redskins a new potential No. 3 quarterback to replace Rex Grossman. Grossman is a free agent after playing behind Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins the last two seasons.

McCoy could also complete for the No. 2 spot if the Redskins decide to trade Cousins.

McCoy was a third-round draft pick in 2010 by the Cleveland Browns. He started 21 games his first two seasons but has since been a backup. He played last year with San Francisco, appearing in four games and throwing one pass. (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

 

Agent confirms Chris Johnson done in Tennessee

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 3, 2014  

Joel Segal, the agent for Chris Johnson, told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the running back will not be back with the TChris+Johnson+Tennessee+Titans+v+St+Louis+tMu6kcLllual.jpgitans.

"I had some communication with Titans management and I think it's a matter of time before Chris won't be with the Titans. I don't know when," Segal said.

According to several reports, the Titans will release Johnson as early as sometime this week. The Falcons and the Jets are reportedly interested in signing Johnson once he's given his walking papers.

Johnson averaged a career-worst 3.9 yards per carry last season and scored 10 touchdowns. (Photo: Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

 

Russell Wilson's arm produces strikes too

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 3, 2014 

Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson can throw strikes, as well as touchdowns. He demonstrated that after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a Texas Rangers game WednesdayWilson throws out first pitch at Rangers game.jpg night.

Texas selected Wilson from the Colorado Rockies in the Triple-A portion of baseball's December draft at the winter meetings. That was during the Seattle Seahawks season, and he got a call from Rangers general manager Jon Daniels at about 6:15 a.m. one day before going to a workout.

Wilson spent a day at spring training in Arizona with the Rangers last month, going through workouts before being in the dugout during a game.

He made his first appearance at the Rangers' home ballpark by throwing out the first pitch before the series finale against Philadelphia. He went to the mound and threw a hard strike caught by Rangers third base coach Gary Pettis.

When the 25-year-old Wilson appeared on the top step of the Rangers dugout, fans in Seattle football apparel started doing a Seahawks chant.

After playing football and baseball at North Carolina State, Wilson then played professional baseball. In 93 games over parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons in Colorado's organization, none above the Class A level, the second baseman hit .229 with five homers.

He then transferred to Wisconsin to play football, and made it to the NFL with the Seahawks. He finished his second NFL season in February with a 43-8 victory over Denver in the Super Bowl.

Wilson also plans to be in North Texas this weekend when Wisconsin plays in the NCAA Final Four at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium a block away from the Rangers' home. (Photo: Jim Cowsert/Associated Press)

 

Vikings Rudolph says foot is healed, ready to return

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 3, 2014

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph 2013 season was cut short by a fractured left foot. And according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, he won't be limited when offseason workouts hi-res-152096288_crop_exact.jpgbegin Monday.

"My foot is doing well, and I'm really looking forward to a bounce-back campaign," Rudolph told the paper. "I've been training all winter (in California) and haven't had any problems."

Rudolph added he's excited to play in Norv Turner's offense.

"If you follow his coaching career, all the places he's been, the tight end has been really important in his offense," Rudolph said. "I'm looking forward to being a part of that. My goal every year is to be the best tight end in the NFL." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Cam Newton's recovery going well

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 3, 2014

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is recovering well following surgery on his left ankle two weeks ago, his agent told the Charlotte Obadb1b6c3a0ead6c0031c7bad4def9748.jpgserver. The surgery was designed to tighten Newton's ankle ligaments.

"He's doing fine," agent Bus Cook said. "I mean, Cam's a big, strong, tough kid. So he'll be fine."

Newton will miss OTAs but should be back for training camp, the paper said.

While Newton will have the entire offseason to recover from his surgery but will also miss time to work with his new wide receivers, which could hurt his chemistry with them. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Ray Rice's arraignment set for April 28

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 2, 2014

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, indicted on a third-degree aggravated assault charg459735313_0_standard_783_0.jpge, is scheduled to be arraigned April 28, reports Fox 45 in Baltimore. The indictment alleges Rice struck then-fiancée and current wife Janay Palmer during an altercation in an Atlantic City casino.

"Ray's situation will be addressed," coach John Harbaugh told the team's website. "There's a timeline, and consequences for actions. I really respect what Ray is doing since and how he's handled it and the steps he has been taking. When you learn what those steps are, you're going to be proud of him, too. Nobody is perfect. Nobody sitting in this room is perfect. There are plenty of people out there with stones in their hands. Plenty of stones have already been tossed."

Rice and Palmer entered couples counseling shortly after the incident. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

 

OL Fox signs 1-year contract with Dolphins

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 2, 2014 

Former Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Jason Fox signed a one-year contract Wednesday with the Miami Dolphins, and he's confident he can fill one of their vacancies up fro11446444-large.jpgnt.

A Texas native, Fox chose Miami after four injury-hampered seasons for the Detroit Lions.

"I'm very comfortable with South Florida," he said. "I consider it a second home. But the main reason was the Miami Dolphins. I'm so excited to be here. Their offensive line presents a great opportunity for me to come in and compete."

The 6-foot-6, 314-pound Fox is expected to contend for playing time at either guard position or right tackle. The Dolphins will likely have new starters at all three spots as they revamp their offensive line, which endured a dismal 2013 season both on and off the field.

The unit became the focus of the team's bullying scandal.

"Every athlete wants to be a starter," Fox said. "There are some openings in this offensive line, and I came here to give it everything I have and earn a starting job."

At a minimum, the Dolphins anticipate Fox will give them some much-needed depth.

"Jason has been a quality player," general manager Dennis Hickey said. "He's a guy who brings passion, commitment to the game and toughness."

Fox made only three starts with the Lions, all last year at right tackle. He played in eight games in 2013 and was slowed by groin and knee injuries. He had a foot injury in 2011 and didn't play all season.

"I started 47 straight games at Miami," Fox said. "I had some bad luck early in my NFL career, but that's over. I feel 100 percent healthy."

Fox was a fourth-round draft pick by the Lions in 2010. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Steelers sign WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 2, 2014

The Pittsburgh Steelers and free agent wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey have agreed to terms on heyward-bey-darrius-01.jpga 1-year contract.

Heyward-Bey caught 29 passes for 307 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season with Indianapolis. He spent the first four seasons of his career in Oakland, catching 140 passes for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns in 56 games with the Raiders before being released last spring.

The 27-year-old Heyward-Bey gives the Steelers the deep threat they lacked last season after Mike Wallace left via free agency for Miami. Heyward-Bey is the second wide receiver signed by the Steelers since free agency began. Pittsburgh and former New Orleans wideout Lance Moore agreed to a two-year deal last month. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Giants sign free agent DE Robert Ayers

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 2, 2014

The New York Giants have signed former Denver Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers.

Ayers' addition Wednesday makes him the 13th veteran the team has signed since free agency star620-7cea235b472d858a04287bc66dd60f75.jpgrted.

Ayers had a career-high 5.5 sacks last season for the AFC champion Broncos. A 2009 first-round draft choice out of Tennessee and a New Jersey native, he is the fourth participant from February's Super Bowl, and the third from the Broncos, to join the Giants. The others are cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and return specialist Trindon Holliday. Cornerback Walter Thurmond left Seattle to join the Giants.

The Giants lost defensive captain Justin Tuck to Oakland in free agency, leaving Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka and second-year pro Damontre Moore. Pierre-Paul was limited by injuries last season.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for me, coming to a great organization like this," Ayers said. "They hate losing and they're always about getting better and preparing, and I've heard nothing but good things about the general manager and the owners, the coaches. Everyone speaks highly of them across the league. They're a blue-collar organization."

Ayers played in 72 regular-season games with 27 starts for the Broncos and had 141 tackles (101 solo), 12 sacks and three forced fumbles.

The Giants have been the NFL's most active team in free agency. Along with Rodgers-Cromartie, Thurmond and Holliday, they have signed offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton, John Jerry and Charles Brown; defensive backs Zack Bowman and Quinton Demps; wide receiver Mario Manningham; linebacker Jameel McClain; and running back Rashad Jennings.

The Giants have also retained 10 of their own free agents - linebackers Jon Beason, Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich; cornerback Trumaine McBride; safety Stevie Brown; kicker Josh Brown; quarterback Curtis Painter; running back Peyton Hillis; fullback Henry Hynoski; and defensive tackle Mike Patterson. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Rex Burkhead hoping to get his chance

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 2, 2014   

Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead played in only one game as a rookie. The former Nebraska star isRex+Burkhead+Indianapolis+Colts+v+Cincinnati+Puf1Sap7u3Pl.jpg hoping for more opportunities under new coordinator Hue Jackson, a running game guru.

"Coach Jackson has a great mind for the game of football, and I know he likes using the running backs, like he did with (Darren) McFadden in Oakland and the rest of that crew," Burkhead told the team's website. "If he wants to use me in every way possible, I'm ready for it. I'm waiting for my opportunity, and if he calls my number I'll be ready."

Burkhead impressed in the 2013 preseason, gaining 130 yards on 28 carries (4.6 ypc) with one touchdown and catching five passes for 39 yards. He's currently fourth on the depth chart behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Giovani Bernard and Cedric Peerman. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

 

Ex-Eagles WR Jackson to sign with Redskins

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 1, 2014  

The Washington Redskins made their biggest move yet of the offseason Tuesday night, adding three-time Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson less than a week after the dynamic playmaker was released by the rRedskins sign Jackson.jpgival Philadelphia Eagles.

Jackson's publicist tweeted that Jackson was signing with the Redskins following two days of meeting with coaches and officials.

Jackson also broadcast the news, tweeting: "ITS GOIN DOWN !! BURGUNDY & GOLD".

He arrived in the D.C. area Monday night and spent much of Tuesday at Redskins Park while his agent negotiated with the front office.

Jackson set career-highs with 82 catches for 1,332 yards last season for the NFC East champion Eagles, but Philadelphia tried to trade him and then cut him last week amid reports of off-the-field concerns. Jackson issued a statement denying he was associated with street gangs.

The Redskins, coming off a 3-13 season, had been looking for a versatile threat to add to an offense that includes Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Jordan Reed and Alfred Morris.

Jackson becomes the second player the Redskins have lured from an NFC East rival this offseason. Defensive lineman Jason Hatcher signed with Washington after eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

Jackson's signing is the first headliner move since the hiring of coach Jay Gruden and since general manager Bruce Allen was put in charge of the roster, but it echoes a familiar pattern from past years under Redskins owner Dan Snyder: Go after the hot name and live with whatever baggage there might be. The strategy has often failed — Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb are recent examples — but the 27-year-old Jackson is still in his prime.

 

Broncos agree to 1-year deal with Will Montgomery

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 1, 2014  

The Denver Broncos and free agent center Will Montgomery have agreed to terms on a 1-year deahi-res-c90ab0275201cb1b8a4ccf2091be18ef_crop_north.jpgl.

Montgomery is a ninth-year pro who played the last five seasons with the Washington Redskins. He was drafted by Carolina in 2006 out of Virginia Tech when Broncos coach John Fox was Panthers coach. He also played for the Jets from 2007-08.

During his career, Montgomery has started 46 games at center, 10 at right guard and seven at left guard.

The Broncos are shuffling their offensive line this offseason. They allowed left guard Zane Beadles to leave for Jacksonville in free agency and might move center Manny Ramirez over to make room for Montgomery. They also could move right tackle Orlando Franklin inside. (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

 

Jets sign WR Jacoby Ford, Dimitri Patterson

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | April 1, 2014 

The New York Jets have signed free agent receiver-kick returner Jacoby Ford.

Ford saw limited a420130910093058001_t607.jpgction last season for Oakland, catching only 13 passes. He was used more on punt and kickoff returns, and figures to handle those chores for the Jets.

New York previously signed Eric Decker away from Denver and Decker is expected to start along with holdover Jeremy Kerley.

Jets wide receiver coach Sanjay Lal previously worked with Ford in Oakland.

The speedy Ford was a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Clemson. He has 57 receptions and three touchdowns in his four pro seasons.

Also on Monday, the Jets signed cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Patterson played the past two seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He played only six games last season, but had four interceptions for Miami. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Rams CB Reid arrested on Ga. probation violation

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 1, 2014  

Police in south Georgia say St. Louis Rams rookie cornerback Greg Reid has been arrested on a probation violation.

Lt. Aaron Kirk says 23-year-old Reid was a passenger Saturday afternoon in a car that was stopped because the driver wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Kirk says an officer learned that Reid had previously been charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. Authorities say Reid was wanted for failing to check in with probation officials and pay fines associated with the charges.

Valdosta City Jail officials say Reid is still being held. It's unclear if he has an attorney and jail officials say they are unsure whether his bond had been set.

The Florida State graduate was recruited from Lowndes County high school in Valdosta.

A Rams spokesman says the team has no comment. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Saints sign LB Haralson to 1-year deal

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 1, 2014  

New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the club has an agreement to bring back outside linebacker PaParys-Haralson.jpgrys Haralson on a one-year deal.

New Orleans acquired the 6-foot, 225-pound Haralson in a trade shortly before the start of the 2013 regular season. He played in every regular season game, starting eight, and was credited with 35 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks and a pass breakup. However, he tore a pectoral muscle, ending his season, during New Orleans' playoff victory at Philadelphia.

The 49ers selected Haralson in the fifth round of the 2006 draft out of Tennessee.

In eight seasons, Haralson has played in 102 games, starting 76. He's been credited with 330 tackles, 25 sacks, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 24 special teams tackles. (Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Raiders release G Mike Brisiel

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 1, 2014 

The Oakland Raiders have released guard Mike Brisiel after two disappointing seasons in Oakla512x.jpgnd.

The team announced the move on Tuesday to cut ties with general manager Reggie McKenzie's first major signing back in 2012.

Brisiel signed a $20 million, five-year contract with Oakland two years ago before taking a pay cut last March. He struggled as he was hampered by an ankle injury most of his first season and then was not an ideal fit when Oakland switched from a zone-blocking scheme to a power scheme last year.

The Raiders signed Austin Howard last month to replace him at starting right guard and also brought in Kevin Boothe to add depth on the interior line. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

McCarthy: Packers still interested in Jermichael Finley

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 1, 2014  

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that the team is interested in bringing back free ageJermichael-Finley_20121216144553509_0_0.jpgnt tight end Jermichael Finley, who is recovering from neck surgery in November.

"Absolutely," McCarthy said about the Packers wanting Finley back.

"Jermichael, he's going through a medical situation," McCarthy said. "He had a serious injury. I mean, there's a lot of excitement, based on what I'm told. I haven't seen him work out or anything like that, but I guess his workouts have gone very well. He's in great shape. I know he feels good, but the reality is this injury is going to take some time and we'll continue to watch it."

McCarthy said Finley has yet to be medically cleared, and he recently failed his physical when he visited Seattle in March on a free agent trip to the Seahawks. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Kelly looking forward to plan for Darren Sproles

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 1, 2014  

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said that he has a plan for new running back Darren Sproles, but he's not sure how b20140313-092658.jpgest to use him until they get out on the field.

The Eagles traded for Sproles from the Saints.

"His versatility and his ability to do different things with him is intriguing," Kelly said. "But until we have the opportunity to get out there and practice."

Kelly said he liked that Sproles can split out wide as a receiver, and he also mentioned his skills in the return game. But how he will mesh with starter LeSean McCoy or help replace the departed DeSean Jackson remains to be seen.

"Those are all things we'll figure out when we get our hands on him," Kelly said. "But we've got to be smart enough as coaches to get the ball in his hands because he's a dynamic player with the football in his hands." (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Giants counting on Mario Manningham

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | April 1, 2014 

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said that he's expecting receiver Mario Manningham MM.jpgto make an impact in his reunion with New York this season.

Manningham signed a one-year deal with the Giants, where he spent the first four years of his career before going to the 49ers as a free agent in 2012.

"We're excited to have Mario back," Coughlin said. "Mario is really excited to be a Giant once again. He can hardly contain himself with his desire to get going and get started to return to being a Giant. You can see in his eyes. He's matured. He's physically matured, he's mentally matured, he has a great attitude. As I told him when he was here, if we're going to be the team we want to be, he has to come back and make a very strong contribution. He's excited about that chance and that opportunity."

Manningham is expected to compete for playing time behind Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Chemo, radiation for ex-Bills QB Kelly next week

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 1, 2014 

The doctor treating Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly for cancer says Kelly will start chemotherapyBills_Kelly_Cancer_Football-007e2.jpg and radiation next week.

The treatment plan was outlined Tuesday by Dr. Peter Costantino of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, where the longtime Buffalo Bills star is being treated for a sinus cancer.

Costantino says he's confident the regimen has a good chance of success. If not, he says Kelly's skull-base tumor remains operable.

Kelly underwent surgery in Buffalo last June to remove cancerous cells from his upper jaw.

The chemotherapy and radiation will target cancer cells in his maxillary sinus and adjacent tissues.

In 11 seasons with the Bills, Kelly appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Kevin Minter has big shoes to fill

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | April 1, 2014  

With inside linebacker Karlos Dansby leaving Arizona for Cleveland, the Cardinals are counting on 2013 se521793111e5bd_preview-300.jpgcond-round pick Kevin Minter to fill his spot. Minter played special teams last year and got in for only one defensive snap.

"He doesn't need to be Karlos," defensive coordinator Todd Bowles told the team's website. "He needs to be Kevin."

Minter has a reputation as a run stuffer, and coaches are confident he'll acquit himself well, if not fully compensate for Dansby's loss. Minter said he learned a lot from Dansby, who had 122 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 19 pass breakups last season.

"It was a little bit frustrating last year, but at the same time, you couldn't help but learn," Minter said. "Karlos treated it like a business. He came to work every day to work, whether it was eating the right things, watching film, doing extra workouts. He was a great role model. With what he left, I feel like I can pick up the slack." (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. signs free agent tender

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | April 1, 2014  

Despite dealing with a torn left ACL that sidelined him for the Super Bowl and probably cost him $1 million in salary next season, Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was thrilled to sign his one-year restricted f22785784-973.jpgree-agent tender Tuesday.

It will pay him $2,187,000 next season — or more than 1,000 times the $2,000 signing bonus he received four years ago as an undrafted college free agent.

"I'll take it," Harris said via the Denver Post. "I'm definitely happy with it. I'm excited to go back out there, get back healthy and lead this team back to the Super Bowl."

Had Harris not gotten hurt in the playoffs, the Broncos would have probably had to use the highest tender on him — a one-year deal worth more than $3.1 million that carried a first-round pick as compensation. Instead, they were able to use the second-highest tender available.

With the Broncos able to match any offers, no suitors came calling for Harris, who's been rehabbing at the Broncos' facilities since shortly after undergoing surgery in February following Denver's loss to Seattle in the Super Bowl.

Harris' ligament in his left knee wasn't completely torn when he got hurt against San Diego in the playoffs and he and the Broncos are optimistic he'll be ready by the start of training camp in July and will resume his role as a leader on Denver's defense. If that happens, the Broncos are expected to work toward a longer-term deal for Harris after next season when he hits unrestricted free agency.

Harris is coming off a monster year in which he posted 65 tackles, 58 of them solo, three interceptions and 14 pass breakups while allowing the fifth-fewest yards receiving (25 a game) and tying for the eighth-fewest completions allowed (35) in the NFL among players targeted at least 60 times.

His emergence and versatility playing both the slot and on the outside helped the Broncos decide to bid farewell to star Champ Bailey this offseason after he played sparingly last year. Then, the signing of fellow University of Kansas alum Aqib Talib led to the departure of free agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Harris was a freshman at Kansas in 2007 when Talib was an All-American his junior year before being drafted in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that following spring. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

Bengals FB Orson Charles arrested in Kentucky

Submitted by Keith Clay | April 1, 2014   

Police in central Kentucky have charged Cincinnati Bengals fullback Orson Charles with wanton endangermOrson+Charles+Wild+Card+Playoffs+Cincinnati+M8TWiW5vi0Rl.jpgent.

Charles was arrested late Monday in Madison County, Ky., and booked into the jail. He was not listed among the jail's inmates Tuesday morning.

Investigators have not released any details about what led to the arrest.

In Kentucky, first degree wanton endangerment is defined as wantonly engaging in conduct that creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another. The conduct must also take place under circumstances that display extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan declined comment, saying: "It's not appropriate for us to comment on legal matters that are not resolved."

Charlesis a third-year pro from University of Georgia, and a native of Tampa, Fla. The 23-year-old has played in the Bengals backfield, catching one pass for 8 yards last season, but was mainly used on special teams. He appeared in 13 games last season and 16 in his first.

The Bengals list him as 6-3, 245 pounds. (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

 

Carlos Rogers signs one-year deal with Oakland

Submitted by Keith Clay | March 31, 2014  

The Oakland Raiders have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent cornerback Carlos Rogers, accnfl_u_rogers_400x600.jpgording to the teams' official website.

Rogers, a former first-round pick, was released by the 49ers in March. The nine-year veteran started all 16 games for San Francisco last season, posting 59 tackles (44 solo), two interceptions and eight passes defensed.

Rogers career numbers include 126 games played with 116 starts, 503 tackles (392 solo), 17 interceptions, 109 passes defensed, one sack, four forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.

Now the 32-year-old Rogers will join fellow defensive back Tarell Brown as former members of the 49ers' secondary to join the Raiders this offseason. (Photo: Bob Stanton/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Rams sign WR Kenny Britt to one-year deal

Submitted by Keith Clay | March 31, 2014  

The St. Louis Rams have signed wide receiver Kenny Britt to a one-year, $1.4M deal, that includes $550,000 guaranteed, EShi-res-7603364_crop_north.jpgPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

According to Schefter the maximum value of the deal is $2.9 million.

Britt was a first-round (30th overall) draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2009. He caught 42 passes in each of his first two seasons, with nine touchdown catches in 2010.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was Tennessee's coach when the Titans selected Britt. He coached him in 2010 before stepping away from the game the following year. Britt's two best seasons came those first two seasons under Fisher though Britt has never totaled more than 775 yards in a season. Clearly, Fisher believes there's more production that can be pulled from Britt.

In the time since Fisher first coached him, Britt has had more than his share of off-field problems and struggled with knee injuries. Those issues are likely why he was only given a one-year "prove it" contract.

Britt also made trips to New England, Washington and Buffalo and drew interest from Carolina. (Photo: Don McPeak/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Redskins agree to one-year deal with S Ryan Clark

Submitted by Keith Clay | March 31, 2014 

The Washington Redskins and former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, CBS Sports NFL InRyanClark_Getty_982w.jpgsider Jason La Canfora reports.

The Redskins had pursued Clark for the better part of three weeks after hosting him for a visit on March 13.

The Ravens and Seahawks also expressed interest in Clark, who opted to explore all of his options before settling on a team.

Clark, 34, spent the first two seasons of his 12-year career with the New York Giants, then played for Washington in 2004 and 2005. Washington let him depart via free agency in 2006, and he spent the past eight seasons with the Steelers, helping them win Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 and earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2011.

Safety is an area of need for Washington with unproven second-year players Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo on the roster. (Jared Wickersham, Getty Images)

 

Giants re-sign DT Patterson, ink CB Bowman

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | March 31, 2014 

The New York Giants re-signed defensive tackle Mike Patterson and added cornerback Zack Bowman on Monda14151387-mmmain.jpgy.

Patterson spent last season with the Giants after eight years in Philadelphia. He played in all 16 games for the first time since 2009 and made 35 tackles (22 solo).

In nine years, Patterson has played in 131 regular-season games with 100 starts, and started seven postseason games.

The Giants lost starting DT Linval Joseph as a free agent to the Vikings. But they still have Cullen Jenkins, Patterson, Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn.

Bowman played his first six seasons with the Bears. His career statistics include 151 tackles (131 solo), 10 interceptions, 19 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries, two for touchdowns. He also plays special teams. (Photo: Associated Press)

 

He's no angel, but DeSean Jackson deserved better treatment from the Eagles

Submitted by Keith Clay | March 31, 2014 

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly no longer wanted wide receiver DeSean Jackson to be part of the team.

Kelly sent a clear message when he relDeSean-Jackson.jpgeased Jackson on Friday.

"No matter how well you play if we believe you are overpaid we will get rid of you. And we will do anything to protect our image in doing so."

It's been reported the Eagles released Jackson due to his poor relationship with Kelly and the fact that he missed meetings and was lazy. There was also an NJ.com report posted on Friday that said the Eagles were troubled by Jackson's alleged association with the Crips, a gang in his hometown of Los Angeles.

But according to Marcus Hayes of philly.com, the Eagles had been aware of Jackson's alleged affiliation with gang members for some time. But the team saw that report and 'used it as an opportunity' to release Jackson. That way, fans of the team could be more on board with what could have been an unpopular decision.

The NJ.com report says that Jackson is close to Theron Shakir. He is reportedly a member of the Crips who was charged with murdering 14-year-old Taburi Watson in 2010 after Watson flashed a rival gang sign at Shakir and co-defendant Marques Binns.

During that investigation, the LAPD questioned Jackson but it was determined he had nothing to do with the murder.

"The Eagles didn't return the call, but we came across a number for Jackson and had a conversation," LAPD Homicide Det. Chris Barling told the Philadelphia Daily News. "It was nothing confrontational; he answered our questions."

There was another gang-related killing outside of a property that was being rented by Jackson's sister in 2012. According to NJ.com, investigators found several documents belonging to Jackson, including a car title, a gun permit issued in New Jersey and credit-card receipts.

Barling confirmed that Jackson doesn't have any ties to that homicide or any others, "There's no other investigation that I'm aware of where Mr. Jackson's name has come up," he said. "It's clear he was not involved in the homicides."

In a statement released on Friday, Jackson denied having any gang-ties. And the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Jackson's statement by saying they don't necessarily think Jackson has any ties to gangs and they definitely don't think he's been involved in any gang-related killings.

"It's kind of like 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.' When people grow up in neighborhoods where you have gang involvement, you don't have to look too far before you find a connection to a connection," Det. Barling said. "Now, how sinister that connection is, our position is that's for others to judge."

But that wasn't enough for the Eagles not to release their best receiver and one of the most explosive players in league history.

That's not to say Jackson is completely without fault. He did miss meeting, he didn't communicate with coaches and he was referred to as a distraction by a couple of his Eagles teammates and coaches.

The Eagles have yet to comment on the NJ.com report . . . which indirectly, and perhaps unfairly, validates the report.

Hayes report goes on to ask, "What if releasing Jackson because of "alleged" gang ties, now cast him as a thug or gangbanger and eliminates his chances to earn what he's worth . . . maybe forever?"

Hayes doesn't think the Eagles could care less about that. He thinks the team could have held on to Jackson for a few more weeks and stood by him and denied any of the half-truths that were published.

But this isn't family. This is business, and the NFL can sometimes be a dirty, dirty business.

While we'll never truly know if the Eagles took an opportunity to release Jackson because of the "Gang Ties" article, one thing is clearly obvious.

Cutting Jackson was nothing but saving money on a player who the team believes does not fit the salary structure - a move that would be wildly unpopular if not justified by some other distracting news such as being involved with gang activity.

The Eagles saved a large amount of dollars by releasing Jackson. The cap hit is a straight $6 million, with a cap savings of $6.5 million and a cash savings of Jackson's $10.5 million salary and workout bonus.

Releasing Jackson isn't what I have a problem with, it's the timing of the 'gangbanging' report and how they did it. He's no angel, but the way Kelly and the Eagles treated Jackson and his reputation are shady at best. (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

 

Matt Schaub would love for Raiders to sign D-Jax

Submitted by Jackie Quattro | March 31, 2014 

New Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub said he'd love to throw to receiver DeSean Jackson, who was628x471.jpg cut by the Eagles last week.

"I'd love to see (DeSean Jackson) out there," Schaub said on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "He's a phenomenal talent, a great player. The times I've been around him, a great guy.

"I think he can add a lot to any team, especially ours in Oakland and really think he can a big help to what we're trying to build and I'd love to have him at my disposal as a receiver."

Jackson is visiting the Redskins on Monday night and Tuesday, and reportedly has no other visits scheduled. However, the Raiders have more cap room and could pay Jackson more than Washington. (Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press)

 

Bengals begin talks to extend QB Andy Dalton

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | March 31, 2014 

The Cincinnati Bengals opened talks on a contract extension with quarterback Andy Dalton, who's entering the final yhi-res-458911095-andy-dalton-of-the-cincinnati-bengals-runs-with-the_crop_north.jpgear of his rookie deal.

"There have been talks about it. There have been a couple of proposals sent over and different things," Dalton told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "We're working. Hopefully, we can get something done. I'm not too worried about it. I know in the right timing, everything is going to happen. Obviously, everyone would like to get something done sooner rather than later."

Head coach Marvin Lewis made it clear that the Bengals want to extend Dalton's contract sooner rather than later.

"It's a big piece of our puzzle that's holding out there nebulous right now," Lewis told ESPN. "So we'd like to get it done to where it makes sense for us and makes sense for him and we can preserve a small portion of the team going forward with him."

Dalton, a second-round draft pick in 2011, has one year left on his rookie deal. But the Bengals want to make sure he doesn't go anywhere when that contract ends.

Dalton has led Cincinnati to the playoffs in each of his three seasons with the team. He has started every game since his rookie season and has thrown 80 touchdown passes and 49 interceptions. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

 

Seahawks, Sounders to visit mudslide community

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | March 31, 2014 

Members of the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders soccer team plan a visit to a community affected by the deadly461829759-300x206.jpg Washington state mudslide.

Kris Rietmann, a spokeswoman for the crew working on the eastern portion of the slide, said Seahawks and Sounders players will meet with children and others at the Darringoton Community Center Monday evening. The Seahawks said in a statement they were going "to offer support and encouragement to this community as privately as possible."

The team also encouraged people to donate to relief efforts. The mudslide struck the nearby mountainside community of Oso north of Seattle on March 22, killing more than 20 and leaving more than two dozen missing. It was one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history. (Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

 

Jared Allen says he has 'a lot left in the tank'

Submitted by Victor DeMarco | March 31, 2014

Defensive end Jared Allen, introduced by the Bears on Monday, said he's nowhere near the end of his career. Allen turns 32 ochi-jall5-20140331.jpgn Thursday and is entering his 11th season.

"I have a lot left in the tank, my body feels good," Allen said via the Chicago Tribune. "I want to win a Super Bowl."

Allen likes the potential of the Bears' defense, saying he's excited to play alongside linebacker Lance Briggs and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff.

"I'm excited to be here at a point where this team is really going to take some steps to improve defensively," Allen said. "And I've obviously played against this offense enough to know that it's very potent. And so for me, I'm excited to be here, excited to be a part of this, a part of what coach (Marc Trestman) is trying to put together."

Allen has 128.5 career sacks and should boost a pass rush that mustered a league-low 31 sacks last year. (Photo: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)

 

Texans released S Danieal Manning

Submitted by Kat Kedzierski | March 31, 2014

The Houston Texans released safety Danieal Manning on Monday after he refused to agree to a pay cut, ESPN's NF10151891_614843991928900_1645655271_n.jpgL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

Manning was scheduled to make a base salary of $4.5 million in 2014.

"I have no ill feelings for the Texans," Manning said via the Houston Chonicle. "We're just going in a different direction. They treated me well from start to finish. This is a business, and I understand it. This might work out well for me."

The Texans saved $4.5 million on the salary cap by waiving Manning. They have more than $12 million of room under the cap.

In 2011, Manning signed a four-year contract to leave Chicago for the Texans. He and cornerback Johnathan Joseph solidified the secondary and helped the defense go from 30th to second under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

After helping the Texans win back-to-back division titles, Manning missed 12 games last season after undergoing knee surgery, and the Texans plunged to 2-14.

"I couldn't run full speed right now if we were starting OTAs, but I'm getting there," Manning said. "I've been doing some running, and I think it'll be another couple of weeks." (Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Cowboys are counting on CB Morris Claiborne to improve

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | March 31, 2014 

The Dallas Cowboys are counting on cornerback Morris Claiborne getting stronger and accelerating his developmdal_u_morris-claiborne_mb_600.jpgent in his third season.

"We feel like he is a guy who is very talented and still needs to grow and develop," coach Jason Garrett told the Dallas Morning News. "He has certainly shown flashes of the player that we drafted with the sixth pick of the draft a couple of years ago. He has a very good feel for covering guys and just plays that position at a high level. We have a lot of confidence in Mo."

Claiborne has missed seven games due to injuries and lost his starting job to Orlando Scandrick last season. "He needs to get stronger as a player," Garrett told the paper. "He is working very hard to do that. It's a hard position to transition into in the NFL.

"We have asked him to do a lot, coming in here on day one, being a starter for us. But as much as anything else, get healthy, get stronger and keep learning and grow as a player. We have a lot of confidence in him." (Photo: Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

 

Redskins may not be able to afford DeSean Jackson

Submitted by Manuel Avila Jr. | March 31, 2014    

The Washington Redskins are interested in DeSean Jackson, but they might not be willing to break the bank for the former Eagles wide receiver, the Washington Post reports.

The Redskins will host Jackson on Monday and Tuesdsptp_desean.jpgay, and while they are believed to be very serious about their pursuit of Jackson, the Redskins may not be able to meet Jackson's contract demands.

The Redskins have roughly $6.8 million in cap space while two other teams interested in Jackson's services — the Raiders and Bills — both have roughly $14 million in cap space.

So if retaining Jackson's service come down to money, look for the 'Skins to be eliminated from the teams' that he's considering signing with. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

 

Knowshon Moreno's versatility will benefit Dolphins in many ways

Submitted by Keith Clay | March 31, 2014   

Miami Dolphins newcomer Knowshon Moreno showed last year he can run, catch and block, and they're counting on him to do all three a lot.

"Knowshon is a very talented140109171729-knowshon-moreno-1-single-image-cut.jpg back," general manager Dennis Hickey said via the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. "He's a three-down back who can help our team in lot of different ways."

Moreno signed a $3.275 million, one-year contract to play for Miami after five seasons with the Denver Broncos. He helped them reach the Super Bowl last year when he rushed for 1,038 yards, caught 60 passes, scored 13 touchdowns and reinforced his reputation as a blocker of blitzing linebackers.

His catching skills should make him a valuable option for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked a franchise-record 58 times last year.

"As a running back, you want to be able to do it all," Moreno told the Sun-Sentinel. "You need a running back to be an outlet for the quarterback, and to run the ball. You have to be versatile."

The Broncos made Moreno the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and he had his best season last year. But 2013 rookie Montee Ball made Moreno expendable in Denver.

"It is what it is," Moreno said. "It's a business. I'm just very excited to be part of another team with a great group of guys and coaches all coming in and building for a certain goal, and that goal is working hard and winning. I'm excited for that opportunity."

Moreno said he chose the Dolphins in part because of a positive visit with head coach Joe Philbin and his staff. Philbin came under fire last year during the Dolphins' bullying scandal, but Moreno praised him by comparing him to Denver coach John Fox.

"Both family guys, both genuine guys, just good people," Moreno said. "You want to be surrounded by good people, and it's no different with the Dolphins."

Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas were the primary ball carriers last season for the Dolphins, who ranked 26th in the NFL in rushing. Both remain on the roster and may compete for the No. 2 job behind Moreno.

His contract includes $500,000 guaranteed. (Photo: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)