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  1. #16
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    NFL camp openings: Texans' eyes on rookie QB Watson
    July 25, 2017


    WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- When the full Houston Texans roster reported for duty here at the Greenbrier Resort Tuesday (July 25), most attention will be on a Savage, a rookie quarterback and one of the best defensive lineman in NFL history who must prove he can play again.

    Texans head coach Bill O'Brien named Tom Savage as the starting quarterback over rookie Deshaun Watson, who must gain some seasoning before the Texans consider changing his status.

    "It's best for the team," admitted Watson, the former Clemson standout who was a Heisman Trophy finalist, Davey O'Brien and Manning Award winner and claimed an ESPY this month for Best Male College Athlete.

    "Coach OB knows a lot of football. He's been with the best, if not one of the best in NFL history, Tom Brady. He knows how everything is operated. He knows when the perfect timing will be. He knows when it's right and when it's wrong."

    Meanwhile, J.J. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, must show he can return to some semblance of his former greatness and stay healthy after undergoing a pair of back surgeries to repair a herniated disk. Watt was not in contact drills yet but was fully cleared and participated in all offseason practices. His health is paramount to the NFL's top-ranked defense.

    The opening of camp was not without some drama. Tackle Duane Brown, who wants a new contract despite having two years remaining on his current deal, is officially a holdout and was placed on the team's reserve/did not report list. Brown was also absent from the team's June mandatory minicamp.

    His scheduled salaries are $9.4 million this year and $9.75 million in 2018.

    Top Summer Battle

    With most public and media attention focused on the all-important quarterback position and Watt's return, one of the key battles to watch in camp this summer will be at strong safety.

    This will a highly-contested battle for a starting job between Corey Moore, Lonnie Ballentine and, perhaps later, K.J. Dillon when he is healthy.

    Moore returns with starting experience and held up solidly last season, but didn't make many big plays. Ballentine has prototypical size and speed, but keeps getting hurt. Dillon is recovering from a torn ACL suffered as a rookie last year.

    THE FACTS:


    TRAINING CAMP: The Greenbrier; White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

    COACH: Bill O'Brien

    4th season as Texans/NFL head coach

    28-23 overall; 1-2 postseason

    THE BREAKDOWN


    2016 finish: 1st AFC South (9-7)

    STATISTICS

    TOTAL OFFENSE: 314.7 (29th)

    RUSHING: 116.2 (8th)

    PASSING: 198.5 (29th)

    TOTAL DEFENSE: 301.3 (1st)

    RUSHING: 99.7 (12th)

    PASSING: 201.6 (2nd)

    2017 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

    All times Central

    Aug. 9, at Carolina (Wed), 6:30

    Aug. 19, NEW ENGLAND (Sat), 7:00

    Aug. 26, at New Orleans (Sat), 7:00

    Aug. 31, DALLAS (Thu), 7:00

    UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS

    QUARTERBACKS:
    Starter -- Tom Savage. Backups -- Brandon Weeden, Deshaun Watson.

    Savage has a lot to prove as the Texans' new starter. He has had durability issues and hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in an actual game. Watson is a multi-dimensional option down the road, but Savage has been named the starter and it's not an open competition. Weeden is a reliable option who's won games for the Texans in the past.

    RUNNING BACKS:
    Starters -- Lamar Miller, FB Jay Prosch. Backups -- D'Onta Foreman, Akeem Hunt, Alfred Blue, Tyler Ervin, Dare Ogunbowale.

    The Texans want to be more judicious with Miller's workload after he wore down at the end of last season. When healthy, Miller is one of the better backs in the NFL. Prosch plays mostly on special teams but is a rugged lead blocker when called upon. Foreman was recently arrested on drug and gun charges and was overweight in the spring. He enters camp in coach Bill O'Brien's doghouse. Hunt has speed to burn. Blue is a solid backup who lacks explosiveness. Ervin has been a nonfactor on offense, but is getting another shot.

    TIGHT ENDS:
    Starter -- C.J. Fiedorowicz. Backups -- Ryan Griffin, Stephen Anderson, Zach Conque, RaShaun Allen, Evan Baylis.

    Fiedorowicz emerged last season as a productive pass-catcher. He's always been a stout blocker. Griffin is a big downfield target who can run after the catch.

    WIDE RECEIVERS:
    Starters -- DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller. Backups -- Jaelen Strong, Braxton Miller, Wendall Williams, Chris Thompson, Riley McCarron, Justin Hardee, Deante' Gray, Shaq Hill.

    Hopkins is looking for a bounce-back season after his production dipped last year during the failed Brock Osweiler experiment. Fuller, the fastest player on the roster, is working to improve his hands after dropping too many passes as a rookie. Miller is a converted quarterback who's starting to find his groove as a slot receiver. Strong has been a disappointing former third-round pick. He has good size and speed, but has yet to put it all together.

    OFFENSIVE LINEMEN:
    Starters -- LT Duane Brown, LG Xavier Su'a-Filo, C Nick Martin, RG Jeff Allen, RT Chris Clark. Backups -- T Kendall Lamm, G Chad Slade, G David Quessenberry, C Greg Mancz, T Breno Giacomini, C Erik Austell, C Kyle Fuller, T Laurence Gibson, T Julie'n Davenport, G Josh Walker.

    Brown is a three-time Pro Bowl blocker and the anchor of the line, but he opened training camp as a holdout after being absent for the entire offseason due to a contract dispute. Allen had a rough first season but has lost 20 pounds. Su'a-Filo had his best season last year, but his play hasn't justified his second-round draft status. Martin takes over in the middle and draws high marks from coaches after missing his rookie season with an ankle injury. Clark struggled at right tackle last season and needs to improve. Lamm is a capable swing tackle. Giacomini has to prove he can stay healthy. Mancz gives the Texans quality depth after starting all of last season.

    DEFENSIVE LINEMEN:
    Starters -- DLE J.J. Watt, NT D.J. Reader, DRE Jadeveon Clowney. Backups -- DT Eli Ankou, DE Christian Covington, DE Matt Godin, DE Joel Heath, DE Carlos Watkins, DE Daniel Ross, DE Ufomba Kamalu, NT Ricky Hatley, DE Brandon Dunn.

    Clowney shed his injury-prone reputation last season and consistently disrupted offenses as he was named to the Pro Bowl. Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who's made a full recovery from back surgery. Reader is a massive interior presence who takes over as the new starting nose tackle for Vince Wilfork. Covington's forte is stopping the run. The coaching staff likes Heath's long arms and versatility. Watkins was ultra-productive at Clemson and should fit in well as a rotational defensive lineman.

    LINEBACKERS:
    Starters -- WLB Whitney Mercilus, ILB Brian Cushing, ILB Benardrick McKinney, SLB Brennan Scarlett. Backups -- ILB Dylan Cole, ILB Zach Cunningham, OLB Eric Lee, ILB Sio Moore, ILB Brian Peters, OLB Gimel President, OLB Dayon Pratt, ILB Shakeel Rashad, OLB Tony Washington, ILB Avery Williams.

    Mercilus is regarded by some scouts as the Texans' most complete defensive player. He has size, speed and skill. Cushing is regarded as the emotional leader of the defense, but he's coming off shoulder surgery. McKinney was named second-team All-Pro last season as he led the Texans in tackles and notched five sacks. Cunningham was a tackling machine in college, but needs to upgrade his strength and ability to shed blocks. Scarlett is the new starting strong-side linebacker as the replacement for John Simon. Peters operates as the special-teams ace.

    DEFENSIVE BACKS:
    Starters -- LCB Johnathan Joseph, RCB Kareem Jackson, FS Andre Hal, SS Corey Moore. Backups -- CB Kevin Johnson, CB Robert Nelson, CB Dee Virgin, CB Marcus Roberson, CB Denzel Rice, S Kurtis Drummond, S Lonnie Ballentine, S K.J. Dillon, S Eddie Pleasant, CB Bryce Jones, CB Treston Decoud.

    Joseph returns for his 12th season and is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who's healthier this year. Hal lost his starting job last season but regained it during a down year in pass coverage and tackling. Jackson is aggressive and got picked on some in single coverage. Johnson is fully recovered from a broken foot that required surgery. Moore is a fast, sound tackler, but doesn't make many plays in pass coverage. Ballentine has had chronic injuries. Dillon is a hard hitter but is not expected to be fully ready for training camp. Decoud is a prototypical big corner who excels in press coverage. Nelson could step in as a nickel back after intercepting Andrew Luck once last season. Rice has good size and speed, but needs to keep improving his understanding of coverages.

    SPECIAL TEAMS:
    K Nick Novak, P Shane Lechler, LS Jon Weeks, KOR Tyler Ervin, PR Will Fuller, K Ka'imi Fairbairn, P Cory Carter.

    Novak is a very accurate clutch kicker who keeps bailing out a horrendous red-zone offense. Lechler is one of the top punters in NFL history, seemingly ageless with strong hang time and distance. Fairbairn is expected to push Novak in camp, but Novak is the favorite to win the job. Weeks is a former Pro Bowl selection who remains one of the top long snappers in the NFL. Ervin had ball-security issues as a rookie. Fuller is explosive, but needs to stay healthy to have a full-time role on offense and returning punts.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #17
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    NFL camp openings: Panthers interim GM Hurney making changes
    July 25, 2017


    SPARTANBURG, S. C. -- Recent dramatic moves from the front office to the roster certainly helped get the attention of the Carolina Panthers even before the full squad reported Tuesday (July 25) for training camp at Wofford College.

    Coming off a pathetic 6-10 record in 2016, owner Jerry Richardson obviously decided not to maintain status quo. He surprised almost everyone last week, including head coach Ron Rivera, by firing general manager Dave Gettleman, who was replaced by his predecessor, and now interim GM, Marty Hurney.

    Rivera denied any input on the matter.

    Hurney, Carolina's general manager from 2001-2012, knows Richardson's impatience well. Hurney drafted two consecutive Rookies of the Year, quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly. But after a 1-5 start in 2012, Richardson fired Hurney.

    Why pull the plug on Gettlemen so close to camp opening? Some point to the unsettled status of popular linebacker Thomas Davis and productive tight end Greg Olsen as well as releasing iconic Panthers, including wide receiver Steve Smith and running back DeAngelo Williams.

    Knowing Richardson's impatient nature first hand, Hurney made changes quickly. First, he released offensive tackle Michael Oher, who had 110 NFL starts but failed his physical(concussions). That saved $1.69 million toward the salary cap, but it was quickly spent when guard Trai Turner's contract was extended to the tune of $45 million over four years.

    "The offensive line is a key to the team's success and Trai is a very integral part of that," said Hurney.

    He then fired Mark Koncz, who had been promoted in May by Gettleman from pro personnel director to director of player personnel.

    Hurney inherits a team that hopes Newtown rebounds from offseason shoulder surgery, an unsettled secondary and that offensive line on which he already made significant moves.

    Newton will report in the best shape of his career, based on social media pictures that show ripped abs and muscle tone. Hurney also gets Gettleman's final No. 1 draft pick, versatile running back Christian McCaffrey from Stanford.

    The good news as camp opened was the presence of tight end Greg Olsen, who was the subject of speculation that he might hold out. Olsen wants a new contract, but has two years remaining on his current deal.

    Upon arriving in Spartanburg, Olsen said, "We thought, obviously, long and hard about everything over the last couple months - our position, the team's position, how things played out and things changed last week with the move to let go of Dave. At the end of the day, with everything going on, and now with the transition to Marty and slight chaos that went around for another week, I just didn't feel like it was right for me to add fuel to that fire and make things that much more complicated, add more controversy or distraction to our team.

    "I didn't think it was right to the players, I didn't think it was right to the guys that count on me to be a leader on this team and coaches, people in this organization - Mr. Richardson on down - who count on me to set a certain example both by my presence here but also my play. I just didn't think my selfishness would do any good."

    Top Summer battle:

    Despite all those big names and big bodies already in the news, one of the key battles for the Panthers this summer will be at kicker.

    Graham Gano is the incumbent, but the Panthers felt serious enough about this position they selected Harrison Butker in the draft. Gano had his shakiest season as a Panther, capped by missing three field-goal attempts in the final game in a loss to Tampa Bay. With the seventh-round pick, Butker became the first kicker ever drafted by the Panthers. Butker was 15 of 17 on field goals as a senior.

    THE FACTS:


    TRAINING CAMP: Wofford College; Spartanburg, S.C.

    HEAD COACH: Ron Rivera

    7th season as Panthers/NFL head coach

    56-45-1 overall; 3-3 postseason

    THE BREAKDOWN


    2016 finish: 4th NFC South (6-10)

    STATISTICS


    TOTAL OFFENSE: 343.7 (19th)

    RUSHING: 113.4 (10th)

    PASSING: 230.3 (T21st)

    TOTAL DEFENSE: 359.8 (21st)

    RUSHING: 91.6 (6th)

    PASSING: 268.2 (29th)

    2017 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

    All times Eastern

    Aug. 9, HOUSTON (Wed), 7:30

    Aug. 19, at Tennessee (Sat), 3:00

    Aug. 24, at Jacksonville (Thu), 7:30

    Aug. 31, PITTSBURGH (Thu), 7:30

    UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS

    QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Cam Newton. Backups - Derek Anderson, Joe Webb.

    Newton was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 2015, so he's on the elite level. He made steady progress in each season in the league until last year, when injuries were partly to blame. He's coming off shoulder surgery so his workload in training camp is something that must be considered. Anderson gives the Panthers the veteran backup who's good to have, but they probably don't want to rely on him across the course of an entire season.

    RUNNING BACKS:
    Starters - Jonathan Stewart, Christian McCaffrey. Backups - Fozzy Whittaker, FB Alex Armah, FB Darrel Young, Jalen Simmons.

    Stewart will be pushed by McCaffrey, if not for direct playing time than for prominence in the game plan. McCaffrey's versatility will be put to use, and that could leave Stewart to handle much of the grunt work with carries. McCaffrey has the ability to bring flair to the position and that's something that's much anticipated. Whittaker has been solid at times in a limited role and he's likely to stick with the team.

    TIGHT ENDS:
    Starter - Greg Olsen. Backups - Ed Dickson, Chris Manhertz, Scott Simonson, Eric Wallace.

    Olsen is one of the league's top producers at the position and he doesn't seem to be letting up. Perhaps because Olsen has been so entrenched at the position since arriving in a trade from the Chicago Bears, the Panthers haven't had much of a chance to groom others at the position and it's not a spot that has been attractive to free agents. Dickson will be looking to hang on to his backup role, with the need for more consistency.

    WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters - Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess. Backups - Chris Samuel, Austin Duke, Brenton Bersin, Damiere Byrd, Kaelin Clay, Mose Frazier, Keyarris Garrett, Russell Shepard.

    Benjamin's physical presence at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds makes him difficult to cover, though his sometimes-ballooning weight tends to be a topic of discussion. Funchess has made considerable strides and has been lauded for his leadership among the receivers. Samuel is a rookie out of Ohio State who figures to factor in prominently in the team's plans, particularly with his speed.

    OFFENSIVE LINEMEN:
    Starters - LT Matt Kahil, LG Andrew Norwell, C Ryan Kahil, RG Trai Turner, RT Daryl Williams. Backups - RT Taylor Moton, T Dan France, T Tyrus Thompson, T Blaine Clausell, C Gino Gradkowski, C Tyler Larsen, C/G Greg Van Roten.

    Matt Kahil arrived from the Minnesota Vikings to join his brother along the Carolina offensive line. Ryan Kahil has been an all-pro player, but he missed time last year with an injury. There could be quite a bit of sorting out along the line in August, though Norwell and Turner have proved to be dependable. Moton might be versatile enough to fill spots at guard and tackle until he potentially moves into a starting role. In fact, there's some thoughts that Moton might be the key to the whole breakdown along the front.

    DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DE Charles Johnson, NT Star Lotulelei, DT Kawann Short, DE Wes Horton. Backups - NT Vernon Butler, DT Kyle Love DE Mario Addison, DT Eric Crume, DT Toby Johnson, DT Gabriel Mass, DE Charles Johnson, DE Julius Peppers, DE Bryan Cox, DT Toby Johnson.

    This group has the chance to be extremely stout and there aren't any perceived weaknesses. Lotulelei and Short have gained more stock with their play and Horton has continued to be a force. The experience level is high as well, particularly with Johnson and Peppers, who began his career with the organization, available to fill vital roles. Addison has a high motor and could be in line for a breakout season after a nice contract bump. Upgrading the pass rush remains a priority, particularly with questions in the secondary.

    LINEBACKERS: Starters - MLB Luke Kuechly, WLB Thomas Davis, SLB Shaq Thompson. Backups - David Mayo, Jeremy Cash, Jared Norris, Ben Jacobs, Ben Boulware, Zeek Bigger

    Kuechly sat out a large chunk of last season with a concussion, missing time with that ailment for the second year in a row. He has the ability to be one of the best defensive players in the NFL, a status he has held previously. With Davis, the Panthers have one of the most revered players in the league and he continues to be a playmaker. There's no shortage of expectations for Thompson as well and his athleticism is something the team would like to see more of. Mayo made a case for the key backup role when he picked up some unexpected playing time for injured teammates last year.

    DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB James Bradberry, RCB Daryl Worley, FS Kurt Coleman, SS Mike Adams. Backups - CB Captain Munnerlyn, CB Corn Elder, CB Zack Sanchez, CB Teddy Williams, S Dean Marlowe, S Colin Jones, S Dezmen Southward, S Travell Dixon, S Brian Blechen.

    Bradberry and Worley paid their dues during what was sometimes a rough 2016 rookie season. But they're more seasoned now and building their confidence during the offseason was one of the objectives. With the likelihood that Coleman moves back to free safety, that should increase his comfort level. But this means the Panthers are counting on Adams, at age 36, to provide additional stability in the secondary. Munnerlyn, a former Panther returning after playing for Minnesota, figures to be on the field plenty, particularly in special packages. Elder could stick on the roster in part because he has value as a return specialist. Jones' work on special teams adds to his value as well.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: K Graham Gano, K Harrison Butker, P Andy Lee, P Michael Palardy, LS J.J. Jansen, KOR Corn Elder, Chris Samuel. PR Corn Elder.

    Gano has experience on his side, but Butker was valued enough to use a draft selection. Among punters, Palardy provided efficient after Lee went out with an injury last season. Jansen is the stabilizing force in the kicking game because he largely goes unnoticed. The returning specialist roles could be turned over to rookies, so that will be worth keeping an eye on. Elder provided some big-time plays on returns in college for Miami.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #18
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    NFL notebook: Cowboys surprised by Whitehead's legal woes
    July 24, 2017


    The Dallas Cowboys cut Lucky Whitehead on Monday hours after police in Virginia announced that the wide receiver/kick returner is facing misdemeanor petit larceny charges stemming from an arrest in June.

    The move came despite Whitehead's agent, Dave Rich, telling NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that his client was not in Virginia at the time of the incident. Rapoport reported that he reviewed Whitehead's flight records from the day he was reportedly arrested, with Whitehead flying out of Dulles International Airport in Washington to Dallas only six hours after his arrest.

    "It sounds like (the Cowboys) didn't buy it or they simply decided, as to be the case with players who aren't a lock to make the team, they decided it was not worth it to wait and see was he telling the truth and was he not," Rapoport said on Inside Training Camp Live. "But this would explain why Whitehead, his agent and the Cowboys had no idea about the arrest or the hearing that he missed until earlier today when it was reported."

    Whitehead, 25, was arrested and charged with shoplifting/petit larceny under $200, a misdemeanor, on June 22 in Prince William County, Va. He then failed to appear for a court hearing on July 6, resulting in the arrest warrant being issued, according to Prince William County General Court records.

    The Cowboys were not aware of Whitehead's arrest until the news was first reported by TMZ Sports and confirmed by the Dallas Morning News and ESPN.

    "First time I heard it was coming off the practice field," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday.

    --John Elway, the general manager and executive vice president of football operations for the Denver Broncos, agreed to a five-year contract extension through 2021, the team announced.

    Financial terms were not disclosed by the club for Elway, who has seen the Broncos record the second-most overall wins (73) in the NFL since 2011. Denver has captured five AFC West titles and reached the Super Bowl on two occasions during that stretch, with the highlight of Elway's tenure as general manager coming in 2015 as the Broncos posted a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

    "We're pleased to reach an agreement on a five-year contract with John to continue leading our football operations," team president and CEO Joe Ellis said. "During these last six seasons, John's clearly established himself as one of the best general managers in all of sports. He's demonstrated impressive football instincts, a strong business acumen and a consistent ability to build competitive teams."

    Elway played for Denver from 1983 to 1998 during a Hall of Fame career that was capped with consecutive Super Bowl titles.

    --Quarterback Andrew Luck will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list after offseason surgery, but the Indianapolis Colts expect him to be ready for the regular season in September.

    Luck enters his sixth season with health concerns after issues with the franchise quarterback's shoulder lingered since 2015. He underwent surgery for an injury he confirmed originated in September 2015 in a game at Tennessee, about six weeks before he went down with a lacerated kidney in a game against the Denver Broncos.

    In January, echoing statements made by owner Jim Irsay, Luck said he did not plan offseason surgery. Irsay announced via Twitter two weeks later that Luck underwent surgery.

    In May, coach Chuck Pagano offered few details on Luck but described his recovery as positive and said Luck was "doing great." General manager Chris Ballard said Monday that Luck is not injured, but he is focused on building strength in the shoulder.

    --The Minnesota Vikings placed running back Latavius Murray on the physically unable to perform list as training camp got underway.

    Murray, 27, is still recovering from offseason right ankle surgery. He reported to camp at Minnesota State University in Mankato. Murray spent the past four seasons playing for the Oakland Raiders before signing a three-year, $15 million deal -- $8.55 million guaranteed -- with Minnesota as a free agent. He missed all of spring drills after his March 22 ankle surgery.

    Murray was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015 after rushing for 1,066 yards and six touchdowns with the Raiders. He has rushed for 2,278 yards and 20 touchdowns (12 in 2016) in 45 games (31 starts).

    The Vikings also announced defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was placed on the non-football injury list as he tries to move past the nerve issues caused by his right knee surgery last September. Floyd played in last year's season opener against the Tennessee Titans and then underwent knee surgery.

    --Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Adolphus Washington pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of improperly carrying a concealed firearm.

    Washington, 24, was arrested on July 9 at a water park in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville.

    According to the police report, Washington was arrested after he "reached for and displayed a gun while sitting inside his vehicle, just feet away from officers."

    A pre-trial hearing for Washington is set for Aug. 1, according to the Hamilton County Municipal Criminal and Traffic Court.

    --Chicago Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman is a hero after saving a man from choking on his food at a restaurant airport.

    Freeman was enjoying his meal inside an Austin, Texas, airport Sunday before reporting to training camp later this week. At a table nearby at the Salt Lick Taco Bar, Freeman told the Chicago Tribune that he noticed a man who appeared to be in distress. The man, Marcus Ryan, stood up quickly with a look of grave concern across his face.

    Freeman said an older woman unsuccessfully tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on Ryan. The 6-foot, 236-pound linebacker then jumped into action.

    "I've never done the Heimlich before," Freeman told the Tribune. "I don't think I've had any training or anything. My mom's a nurse, and she had talked about it. So I just did what I heard you should do. I guess it worked."

    --Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is employing tunnel vision this week in hopes of signing star running back Devonta Freeman to a long-term contract.

    Dimitroff's stated goal is locking up Freeman before veterans arrive for training camp Thursday.

    "I've always said that I think it's going to be a fairly expeditious negotiation, but you never know," Dimitroff said. "I'd love it to happen."

    Freeman, scheduled to earn $1.8 million in 2017, which is the final year of his rookie contract, was reportedly offered a five-year contract worth between $7 million and $8 million per season. Among running backs, only franchise-tagged Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers ($12.2 million) is scheduled to make more than $8 million in 2017.

    --Safety David Bruton Jr. announced his retirement from the NFL after multiple concussions during his eight-year career.

    Burton, who turned 30 on Sunday, told ESPN's Jeff Legwold that his six concussions along with a loss of passion to prepare for the game brought the longtime special teams captain of the Denver Broncos to his decision.

    Bruton, who graduated from Notre Dame before entering the NFL in 2009, is back in school at the University of Colorado-Denver. He plans to become a physical therapist in his post-football life.

    Bruton's 2016 season with the Washington Redskins came to an end after he suffered a concussion in the fourth game. He was released by the Redskins in December and had a workout with the Baltimore Ravens that "did not go well at all, because I just didn't have it in me anymore to do it."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Cowboys owner Jones puts NFL on notice
    July 24, 2017


    OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones opened training camp by declaring war on the NFL in the ongoing investigation into domestic violence allegations against star running back Ezekiel Elliott.

    The NFL has ended its year-long investigation into the accusations brought against Elliott by a former girlfriend.

    The Columbus (Ohio) attorney's office dropped the case because of "conflicting and inconsistent" information. Elliott has maintained his innocence all along.

    ESPN has reported that Elliott should brace for a one- or two-game suspension.

    But Jones let it be known at the start of training camp that Elliott did nothing wrong and he should not be punished.

    It was a clear and present message to the NFL that Jones is ready to fight if he is indeed suspended.

    "There's nothing ... I have reviewed everything as you know. There is absolutely nothing, not one thing, that I've seen that has anything to do with domestic violence," Jones said. "I don't want to answer any more. But I've seen nothing."

    Jones was absolute in his comments, just as he was a year ago. He has long maintained that the NFL had no cause and no case.

    The only thing that has changed recently is the NFL has completed its report. Elliott and the NFL Players Association have submitted "a final response" to the league.

    Jones claims he has seen the report. Nothing has changed his mind.

    "I found nothing since we were standing here this time last year," Jones said. "And I knew everything in that report, I knew that this time last year. Those are their concerns because you need to get this stuff behind you."

    Jones not only claims that nothing happened, but that there is not a discrepancy among the participants.

    "My opinion is there is not even an issue of 'he said, she said,'" Jones said. "There is not even an issue there."

    The NFL doesn't need a court conviction or even a court case to levy discipline against a player for conduct detrimental to the league.

    The league has a taken a long time investigating this case to make sure it gets it right after so many past mistakes.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the league "wants to pin something" on Elliott as a lesson for his repeated mistakes in judgement.

    But Jones is not going to let it happen without a fight.

    And he is seemingly not going to let his upcoming induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame get in the way of his battle with the NFL over Elliott.

    He brought up the New England Patriots as an example of a team that overcame the distraction of quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension last season and went on to win the Super Bowl.

    Seemingly, the bigger lesson for Jones comes from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who admittedly regretted not fighting the NFL sanctions and penalties from the Deflategate controversy.

    "I don't want to in any way speculate," Jones said. "I don't know that there's anything I could say that might influence, but I don't want anything I've said over the last week to be interpreted as a feeling or a speculation about his status, relative to a suspension. It shouldn't be. It should be just reflective as what I am here and what I know."

    ROOKIE TO WATCH


    --CB Chidobe Awuzie will start out at outside cornerback with hopes of breaking into the starting lineup. He will also be given reps at nickel, but could eventually be competing with Jeff Heath for the starting spot at strong safety. The Cowboys want to find a way to get him on the field.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: Chargers rookie WR Williams expected to miss training camp
    July 30, 2017


    Los Angeles Chargers rookie wide receiver Mike Williams is expected to miss training camp as he recovers from a back injury, the team announced Sunday.

    The Chargers placed Williams, the No. 7 overall pick in this year's draft out of Clemson, on the physically unable to perform list Saturday before training camp kicked off Sunday.

    Williams, 22, was diagnosed with the herniated disk after his first practice during rookie minicamp in May that kept him out of offseason work. He was seen as a key new target for quarterback Philip Rivers.

    The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Williams caught 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as a key member of Clemson's national championship team.

    --The Minnesota Vikings signed cornerback Xavier Rhodes to a multiyear contract extension.

    Terms were not disclosed but a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the extension is a six-year, $78.126 million deal and one of the largest ever given to a cornerback.

    Rhodes earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl last season when he recorded 52 tackles, five interceptions and 11 passes defended in 14 games. Over his four-year career, Rhodes owns 207 total tackles, seven interceptions, 50 passes defended eight tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

    --New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich announced his retirement from the NFL after an 11-year career.

    The 33-year-old Ninkovich, who had been absent from training camp for what coach Bill Belichick described as personal reasons, made the announcement at a news conference after the Patriots practiced.

    Ninkovich entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of the New Orleans Saints in 2006 out of Purdue. He spent the 2006 season with the Saints before he was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins in 2007. He went back to New Orleans late in the 2008 season before the Patriots signed him as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2009.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #21
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    NFL notebook: Seahawks S Chancellor lands three-year, $36M deal
    August 1, 2017


    Kam Chancellor agreed on Tuesday to sign a three-year, $36 million extension to remain with the Seattle Seahawks.

    The 29-year-old and four-time Pro Bowl strong safety will receive $25 million in guaranteed money in the deal, per ESPN.

    "I love this team," Chancellor told reporters. "They gave me the first opportunity and the only opportunity, and I would love to retire here."

    The former fifth-round pick is entering his eighth NFL season, all with Seattle. He has amassed 557 tackles, 12 interceptions, 42 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles and two sacks over 100 career games.

    --Four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Ryan Clady announced his retirement on his Twitter account. Clady has been without a team since the New York Jets released him in February.

    "Despite having several teams who are currently interested in signing me, I have made a very difficult decision to retire from my NFL playing career," Clady said. "I have deliberated on this decision thoroughly until now because I wanted to see if the beginning of NFL training camps would inspire the passion that I need to perform at the standards that I established for myself during my nine-year NFL career."

    The 30-year-old Clady was one of the top left tackles in the NFL during his eight seasons with the Denver Broncos. He spent his final season with the Jets. He was a first-round pick in 2008 out of Boise State and started all 16 regular-season games in each of his first five seasons. Three of his Pro Bowl selections came during that span.

    Clady played just two games in 2013 due to a foot injury. He returned to collect Pro Bowl honors the following season but missed the entire 2015 campaign due to an ACL injury in his left knee. Clady was traded to the New York Jets prior to the 2016 season but played just nine games. He finished the season on injured reserve due to a torn rotator cuff.

    --The NFL has reached out to the NFL Players' Association in hopes of joining its study of using marijuana as a potential pain management tool for the league's ailing players, according to The Washington Post.

    The NFL currently bans all marijuana use, but wrote a letter to the NFLPA stating it would like to work with the association on its research of the subject, The Post reports.

    The NFLPA has yet to say whether or not it will work jointly with the league.

    Last January, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told The Post the association was crafting a proposal to the league that would soften the harsh punishments for players who use the drug.

    --Mike Nugent is returning to New York, but he will be wearing a blue jersey instead of a green and white one this time.

    Nugent, a 12-year veteran kicker who spent his first four seasons with the New York Jets, signed with the New York Giants and will compete for the kicking job with Aldrick Rosas.

    The Giants had an open roster spot after rookie safety Jadar Johnson announced his retirement last weekend.

    The 35-year-old Nugent spent the last seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and also had brief stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2009 season. Nugent is tied with fellow kicker Nick Folk and Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith on the NFL's all-time scoring list with 1,052 points. He has made 236 of 292 field goals and 344 of 355 extra points in 153 career games.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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