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Rough start for Flozell Adams

So I’ve got the KDKA feed with Lions-Steelers next to the NFL.com Preseason Live window, and for a second I thought that KDKA had preempted football for bullfighting.

As it turns out, it was merely Steelers tackle Flozell Adams, playing the role of Eduardo Carrochio.  And Lions defensive end Cliff Avril was playing the role of the bull.

Flozell managed to get a couple of hands on Avril, but the veteran had no chance at stopping Avril, who blew past Adams and sacked quarterback Byron Leftwich.  Whether Flozell merely is adjusting to the flip from left to right or has simply lost it, the Steelers need him to step up, or he’ll be cut before his $2.5 million base salary in 2010 becomes guaranteed as of Week 1.

Given that Adams received no signing bonus, the Steelers surely wouldn’t hesitate to cut him loose.

The good news for Adams is that he recovered a fumble from tailback Rashard Mendenhall.  The bad news for Adams is that he wasn’t signed to recover fumbles — he was signed to keep the quarterback from getting blown up.

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Arian Foster back at practice, Andre Johnson still out

Arian Foster AP

The Texans have had two of their veteran offensive stars on the sideline this week because of hamstring issues, but one of them made it back to the field on Wednesday.

Running back Arian Foster missed a pair of practices because of his hamstring, but Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports that Foster has returned to work. There’s no word on whether Foster will be a full participant in this session, although the quick return is a good sign that the tweak was as minor as Texans coach Bill O’Brien said it was.

While the Texans have also downplayed the seriousness of wide receiver Andre Johnson’s hamstring injury, Johnson was not able to join Foster and the rest of the team on the practice field Wednesday. That makes two missed practices in a row for Johnson as he tries to catch up for time missed when he was staying away from offseason workouts because of dissatisfaction with the overall direction of the franchise.

If the team’s assessment of Johnson’s hamstring was as on point as their assessment of Foster’s, the receiver shouldn’t be out too much longer.

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Chip Kelly: DeSean Jackson didn’t open things up for others last year

Chip Kelly AP

When the Eagles released wide receiver DeSean Jackson, there was a school of thought that believed their offense would suffer in 2014 because Jackson wasn’t there.

The two main reasons cited were that Jackson’s speed is difficult to replace and that his presence opened things up for other members of the offense. The Eagles didn’t have such worries and coach Chip Kelly explained why the team is confident that everything can continue to run smoothly with Jackson in Washington.

“I think most people played us in single high [safety] coverage and they played man across the board on anybody and no one was getting any help,” Kelly said, via ESPN.com. “Riley [Cooper] was getting man [coverage] on his side. DeSean was getting man on his side. Jason Avant was getting man in the slot. Zach Ertz, whoever our tight end was, was getting manned. Running back was getting manned. No one is going to play us in two [safeties] deep because if you play us in two deep, we can run the heck out of the ball. We had everybody as close to the line of scrimmage as possible and nobody was helping anybody. They were trying to stop the run game.”

With LeSean McCoy still in the offense, that figures to be the case again this season. As a result, finding receivers that can beat the press coverage that comes with defenses playing close to the line of scrimmage will be the biggest thing for the Eagles this offseason. Rookie Jordan Matthews has the build to be that kind of receiver and has been getting rave reviews, perhaps to Kelly’s consternation, for his ability to make an impact this fall.

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Report: Initial Bills bid tops $1 billion

Pegula Getty Images

On Tuesday, the deadline came and went for making a non-binding indication of interest in buying the Bills.  And one of the potential buyers who expressed interest reportedly is willing to pay a lot of money for the privilege of doing so.

According to Josh Kosman and Lois Weiss of the New York Post, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula already has offered more than $1 billion for the franchise.  If that’s the opener from just one of the interested buyers, the sale is destined to eclipse the record $1.1 billion paid by Stephen Ross to purchase the Dolphins.

In June, Pegula raised $1.75 billion in cash via the sale of 75,000 acres of natural gas leases in West Virginia and Ohio.

Via WGRZ-TV, other initial bids were submitted by Donald Trump and Jon Bon Jovi’s Toronto-based group.  Via the Buffalo News, Business First reporter James Fink said on WBEN radio that former Sabres owner Tom Golisano reportedly did not make an offer.

Trump, who has talked about buying the Bills in the same way he has talked about running for President, recently told FOX News that he doesn’t expect to actually win the bidding.

“I would say the chances are very, very unlikely,” Trump said.  “Because I’m not going to do something totally stupid — maybe just a little bit stupid, but not totally stupid.”

The making of a nine-figure bid by Pegula should help ensure that the team will go to someone who would keep the franchise in Buffalo.  Unless, of course, Bon Jovi and company make a Steve Ballmer-style bid, putting $2 billion or more on the table for the team.

If that’s the case, Andre Reed’s “F–k Bon Jovi!” message could be revised by the folks selling the team to say, “F–k!  Bon Jovi!”

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Tom Coughlin, Odell Beckham clear the air about hamstring

Tom Coughlin AP

It wasn’t hard to read the frustration in coach Tom Coughlin’s tone, regarding Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham’s hamstring problems.

So the rookie sat down with his old-school coach to make sure they were on the same page.

“We had that talk today and it was just kind of like, ‘I know I’m new and we don’t know each other that well,’ ” Beckham said, via Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News. “So over time you get to know people, and the bad part about it is your first impression is the kind that lasts forever, so you don’t ever want to leave a bad impression.

“But at the same time I’m just trying to reassure him that he knows how hard it is for me to not be practicing.”

Beckham missed OTA time with the hamstring problem as well, giving Coughlin a limited scope to see the 12th overall pick in the draft.

“We just had a discussion, that’s all, player [and] coach, trying to get to know each other better,” Coughlin said. “I see his frustration and he sees our frustration — but don’t make anything more of it than it is. It’s a coach wanting a player on the field and the player wanting the player on the field.”

Beckham had tests which showed no structural damage, so it’s a matter of day-to-day recovery. He said he hopes to play in some preseason games, which would certainly help Coughlin get to know him even better.

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Kelvin Benjamin feels like “a new man” after knee scare

Kelvin Benjamin AP

Panthers rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin was able to smile after his first NFL injury scare, saying he felt like “a new man” after a precautionary MRI revealed only a bone bruise.

(If that new man was Calvin Johnson, the Panthers’ passing game should be OK.)

Benjamin’s MRI revealed no structural damage, and the indication that his absence will be measured in days rather than weeks.

I’m coming back even harder, 10 times harder,” Benjamin said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “I’m getting a lot of treatment, just get better.”

Benjamin didn’t practice yesterday, and the team has today off, so there’s no rush.

“I think they just want to take their time on it,” he said. “I woke up [Tuesday] morning like a new man. I was telling them it feels way better. But they were still telling me still take your time with it.”

In his absence, the Panthers rotated Marvin McNutt into the starting mix with Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery.

And that should tell you all you need to know about the importance of Benjamin’s return.

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Kyle Rudolph visits PFT Live on Wednesday

Rudolph AP

On Sunday, he signed a long-term, big-money deal with the Vikings.  On Wednesday, he’ll give PFT Live a little of his time for free.

We think.

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph inked a five-year, $36.5 million contract that can be worth up to $40 million.  I’ll ask him about that and other stuff related to the 2014 edition of the team, his fourth NFL season, and the first year with coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner during the show that streams right here at 12:00 p.m. ET.

If you have questions for Rudolph or questions for our daily (mostly) PFT Planet segment, ask them via Twitter.

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Dr. Jerry Jones declares Tony Romo “100 percent”

Jerry Jones AP

If you had any lingering concerns about Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo taking the day off yesterday rather than install the two-minute offense, let Dr. Jerry Jones set your mind at ease.

He is 100 percent. He’s 100 percent,” Jones said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He’s just being real smart and sensitive about having come off the back surgery. He’s certainly not losing any ground from the standpoint of opening up against San Francisco [in the regular-season opener].”

The good doctor’s son Stephen had said earlier Tuesday that Romo was practicing, but then coach Jason Garrett said he was giving Romo the day off since they were working on the faster-paced part of the program.

“I just had a brief visit with him on the way out to practice,” Doctor Jerry said. “We feel real good. We’re really pleased with the way he’s practicing and the work he’s getting done and what he’s doing both on and off the field, but nothing in any way would concern you certainly about his back.”

A healthy Romo is a key for the Cowboys trying to get off their perpetual 8-8 slide, so giving him days off in July is probably a prudent use of Owner Jerry’s money.

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Jerry Jones doesn’t “make a lot” of Raiders meeting with San Antonio

Jerry Jones

Tuesday night brought news of the Raiders talking to officials from San Antonio as part of what the city manager called “preliminary due diligence” about a possible move to the city for the stadium seeking team from Oakland.

There’s no sign that any move is imminent, not least because any relocation would need the approval of 23 other owners. One of those owners has had his team hold parts of training camp in San Antonio in the past and Jerry Jones called the town “very important” to the Cowboys franchise while discussing word of Raiders owner Mark Davis’ conversations.

Jones didn’t say whether that importance would make the Raiders moving to San Antonio problematic, but he didn’t sound overly worried about having to protect the Alamo from outside invaders.

“I don’t make a lot of this. At all,” Jones said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s not … something I necessarily would be familiar with. Again, my interest in San Antonio is because how important it is to the Cowboys, and our history of having our training camp there and the fact that we’ve got such a tremendous fan base in San Antonio.”

Jones and Texans owner Bob McNair will surely have more to say if things move forward in San Antonio. For now, though, they can focus on getting their own teams back into the playoffs.

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Oakland mayor says “continued progress” being made with the Raiders

raiders1 Getty Images

If Raiders owner Mark Davis flirted with San Antonio to get the attention of Oakland, it worked.

After news broke of Davis visiting Texas recently for a tour of potential stadium sites (and after Davis acknowledged it via messages posted on the team’s Twitter feed), Oakland mayor Jean Quan took to Twitter to address the effort to placate — and keep — both the Raiders and A’s over the long haul.

“Oakland is working to help build new ballparks for both the Raiders and the A’s, and we’re seeing progress on both fronts,” Quan said.  “We are making continued progress at the table with the Raider and the world’s third-largest real estate firm talking about Coliseum City.  The 10-year lease extension for the A’s includes a commitment from the teams’ owners to sit down to talk building a new Oakland ballpark.”

In June, Davis said that talks on a new stadium had occurred, but he bemoaned the lack of progress.  It’s unclear whether he’d agree with Quan’s assessment that progress actually has been made.

The real question becomes whether progress toward a new stadium in Oakland will be made now that Davis has shown the powers-that-be in Oakland that he has some power, and that he’s willing to consider using it.  Especially with a lease that last for only 10 more games.

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Report: No structural problems with Lardarius Webb’s back

Lardarius Webb AP

The Ravens got more worried about cornerback Lardarius Webb’s back after his Friday injury had not resolved itself in time for Monday’s practice, which led them to send him for more tests in hopes of finding out when he’d be able to get back to work.

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that doctors found no structural damage to Webb’s back during their examination. It is thought to be a muscular problem that will be treated with rest and rehabilitation.

In other words, it is going to take some time for Webb’s back to get well enough for football action. The Ravens don’t think that his availability for the season opener is at risk at this point and a cautious approach from here will be designed to keep Webb on track for early September.

Webb had 74 tackles and two interceptions last season, making a successful move from a torn ACL back to the top of the depth chart at cornerback in Baltimore.

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Man faces charges for urinating on Art Modell’s grave

MODELL AP

A Browns fan that made a video of himself urinating on Art Modell’s grave may find himself in jail as a result of his decision to vent his anger in that manner and share it with the world.

Authorities in Maryland said Tuesday that they will charge the man, whose identity has not been revealed beyond being a Browns fan with disorderly conduct in a cemetery. The charge carries a possible penalty of two years in jail and a $500 fine.

“Everyone who has buried a loved one has the right to believe that their final resting place will be treated with respect,” Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said in a statement, via the Associated Press. “Bringing charges against this individual should act as a deterrent to others and assure the rest of us that no matter who you are, indecencies will not be committed against your final resting place.”

Modell’s son David thanked the police and prosecutors for their work on the case, adding that being angry at his father for moving the Browns to Baltimore doesn’t give people the right to break the law.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

EJ Manuel AP

Jets coach Rex Ryan wasn’t happy when QB Tajh Boyd took a hit in practice: “We don’t hit our quarterbacks, period,” Ryan said. “That’s why they’re in the red jersey. You got to be smart.”

Bills QB EJ Manuel’s position coach thinks the sky is the limit for his potential.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor says he’s OK with his players making mistakes, as long as they learn from them.

Said Tommy Kelly of trying to earn a job on the Patriots’ defensive line, “This is a very hard team to make, so if you don’t go out there and put it on the line every day, you ain’t going to be here. Simple as that.”

The Ravens’ new national anthem singer made his debut at an open practice.

Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu has done a little of everything in practice, including throwing a touchdown pass and taking a handoff in the backfield.

Said Browns RB Ben Tate of taking issue with a defensive player taking him to the ground, “It is a little frustrating but I understand that they need to work. But you know it’s a line and you know when they cross that line offensively we have gotta let them know that its not acceptable. So that is really what it was about just setting the tempo that, ‘Hey, you are not going to bully us. You know what I am saying?’ Everybody’s pro defense, defensive head coach but I am letting them know, ‘It don’t matter, ya’ll not gonna bully us.”

Steelers OL David Snow has been waived/injured after suffering an injury on the first day of camp.

Texans DE J.J. Watt was already the NFL’s best defensive lineman, but he may be getting even better.

Colts QB Andrew Luck may be ready to take a leap forward in his completion percentage.

Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis is having a strong camp.

After eight seasons in Tennessee, Michael Griffin says of this year’s group: “It’s a different team now. It’s a different team in the fact that it’s different all the way around. You see this team in a positive direction, aimed in the right direction. The guys we’ve brought in the last two years, the coaching staff — all of this you can see where this team can go.”

Broncos DE Derek Wolfe is looking healthy and strong in camp.

Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson is hoping to break the all-time franchise record for career tackles.

Matt Schaub is settling in as the Raiders’ starting quarterback.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy believes in giving players plenty of rest during camp.

Eagles QB Nick Foles says his great numbers last year mean nothing this year.

After not playing at all this year, Giants TE Daniel Fells has a chance to be a starter this year.

Cowboys LB Sean Lee is staying involved, even though he’s out for the year with a knee injury.

Washington backup QB Kirk Cousins is driving his grandma’s van.

Here’s a look at the state of the competition to back up QB Jay Cutler in Chicago.

Lions first-round pick Eric Ebron has dropped some passes, but coach Jim Caldwell is not concerned.

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner is finding QB Teddy Bridgewater to be a quick study.

Packers S Sean Richardson has been able to overcome a serious neck injury.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan has confidence in Atlanta’s revamped offensive line.

Panthers undrafted rookie WR Marcus Lucas is catching a lot of touchdown passes in practice.

There’s pressure in New Orleans on S Jairus Byrd, who comes to the Saints with high expectations.

Said Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith of RB Jeff Demps, “When you have the title ‘fastest man in the NFL,’ you search for ways to do something with him.”

Rams DE William Hayes is recovering from three offseason surgeries.

Cardinals WR Michael Floyd may seem like the No. 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald, but Floyd says there is no No. 1 or No. 2 in Arizona.

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch’s holdout could get expensive.

After a year off, 49ers WR Brandon Lloyd is enjoying being back in the NFL.

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Peterson gets $15.3 million signing bonus

Peterson Getty Images

Usually, a reporter publishes a player’s “guaranteed” money in a new contract without explaining how much is fully guaranteed at signing, how much is guaranteed for injury only, and when injury-only guarantees convert to full guarantees in the future.  For players like Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, the vague, incomplete information has initially come directly from them.

Peterson tweeted late Wednesday that he has signed a five-year, $70 million extension with $48 million guaranteed.  (It’s actually $70.05 million over five, a small difference but also an important one.)  Per a source with knowledge of the contract, only $47.3 million becomes fully guaranteed.  The full $48 million is guaranteed for injury only, for now.

The best guaranteed money in any NFL contract comes from the signing bonus.  According to the source, Peterson gets $15.3 million from the Cardinals.

Then, by the fifth day of the 2015 waiver period (which comes the week after Super Bowl XLIX), a total of $27.8 million will have become fully guaranteed, for skill, injury, and cap.

By the fifth day of the 2016 waiver period, $42.619 million becomes fully guaranteed.  By the fifth day of the 2017 waiver period, the rest of the $47.3 million becomes fully guaranteed.  The last $700,000 never becomes fully guaranteed.

The formula gives the Cardinals three different opportunities to move on before the guarantees fully vest, but the triggers come very early in the offseason, forcing Arizona to make a quick decision in early 2015, 2016, and 2017.  If/when they decide to move on, Peterson would the market more than a month before the start of free agency.  (In contrast, the 49ers have until April 1 each year to make a decision on Colin Kaepernick, three weeks after the start of free agency.)

Again, Peterson finagled this contract with two years left on his rookie deal.  He’s the first first-round pick in the rookie wage scale era to get a second contract.  For the rest, it could be a while until deals start getting done.

 

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Dolphins’ line coach is concerned about his options at center

Mike Pouncey AP

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey is injured and may not return until late in the regular season, and the performances in training camp of Pouncey’s potential replacements have the team worried.

After a practice in which new center Shelley Smith (who has never played center before) had two bad snaps to quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and in which backup center Sam Brenner was carted off with a leg injury, Dolphins offensive line coach John Benton acknowledged there are issues.

Obviously, I’m concerned,” Benton said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We’ve got to find a way to be good at that position.”

Benton said he doesn’t know how well Smith is going to play at center but hopes to see a good preseason performance out of him.

“It’s unclear in the sense there’s a lot unclear until you get to that first game,” he said. “We’ll know a lot after that first preseason game. I’m optimistic. To say confident is probably a little stretch.”

To say the Dolphins will have a good offensive line this year is probably a stretch.

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Report: Cowboys fear Demarcus Lawrence has a broken foot

DeMarcus Lawrence AP

For a defense that couldn’t afford to take any more hits after the loss of Sean Lee to injury earlier this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys had to watch another key defensive piece get carted off the practice field.

Second-round defensive end Demarcus Lawrence was taken off the field by cart after going down with an injury during Tuesday’s practice.

According to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Cowboys fear Lawrence has suffered a broken foot.

While the extent of the damage is still uncertain, it is an injury that can require a substantial recovery period.

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones missed the final 11 games of last season after breaking a screw in his surgically repaired foot. Houston Texans lineman David Quessenberry missed the entire season after breaking a bone in his foot in practice prior to the start of the season.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the Cowboys could place Lawrence on the short-term injured reserve list for the start of the regular season, which would force him to miss at least eight game before being eligible to play.

For a defense that was ranked dead last in 2013, it’s a blow the Cowboys couldn’t afford to take.

UPDATE 1:00 a.m. ET: According to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com, Lawrence did suffer a broken foot and is expected to miss 8-10 weeks. The injury will require surgery to repair the damage.

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