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UFL slashes transfer fee to $25,000

Maurice Clarett AP

With no NFL team biting on the $150,000 transfer fee charged by the UFL to sign UFL players directly to active rosters, the UFL has dramatically dropped its price.

Robert Karpeles of FanHouse.com reports that the UFL has made the $125,000 reduction, citing an unnamed source and then quoting Commissioner Michael Huyghue.

“It is surprising to me that 15 NFL clubs would bring players in for tryouts with full knowledge that a transfer fee was required to sign them and then refuse to pay the fee,” Huyghue said.

“Notwithstanding, we recognize the value in sending players to the NFL and have accordingly reduced the fee to $25,000 which can be paid by the club or directly by the player.”

We’re told that the move was made in response to repeated pleas by UFL players, who believed it was fair for half of their standard salary of $50,000 to be returned to purchase their freedom.

It remains to be seen whether NFL teams or UFL players will pay the money.

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Donovan McNabb faces minimum sentence of 90 days for second DUI

McNabb Getty Images

As Josh Alper noted in the initial post regarding former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb’s second DUI arrest, he faces something more significant than the 24 hours he spent behind bars for his first offense in 2014. It looks like he now faces a minimum sentence of 24 hours, times 90.

The minimum sentence for second-offense DUI in Arizona is 90 days in jail, with a maximum sentence of six months.

The circumstances of the arrest, including McNabb’s blood-alcohol concentration, could increase the penalties. Also, McNabb could mount a successful defense to the new charges, obtaining an acquittal through the legal process.

However it turns out, McNabb didn’t seem too concerned about the situation in the aftermath of the arrest, which happened late on June 28. On June 29, he tweeted a picture of himself holding a new pair of shoes.

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Donovan McNabb arrested again for DUI

EPIX & UCLA Present "Forgotten Four: The Integration Of Pro Football" Getty Images

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb served a day in jail in Maricopa County, Arizona last year after being arrested on DUI charges and may be in line for more time in the custody of the state in the near future.

McNabb was arrested just before midnight on June 28 in Gilbert, Arizona and arrested on DUI charges after a traffic accident, according to a statement from the Gilbert Police Department that was provided to Deadspin.

“On 06/28/2015 at approximately 2335 hours, officers responded to a non-injury collision involving two vehicles which occurred just west of the intersection at E Chandler Heights Rd and S Higley Rd in Gilbert, AZ. Subsequent investigation revealed Donovan McNabb (11/25/76) was impaired by alcohol and collided in a rear-end fashion with another vehicle which was stopped at a red traffic signal. Donovan was arrested for DUI at 2358 hours and transported to the Gilbert/Chandler Unified Holding Facility for processing, after which, he was cited and released.”

If McNabb is prosecuted and convicted of the charge, his prior DUI may mean he has to spend more than 24 hours in jail this time since it seems the previous punishment didn’t serve as much of a deterrent.

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Ronald Darby wades into De’Andre Johnson debate, quickly retreats

Darby Getty Images

A current NFL player who may or may not know something about whatever former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston may or may not have done to Erica Kinsman decided on Tuesday morning to share some opinions on Twitter about recently-former Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson, who was kicked out of school after video surfaced of Johnson brutally punching a female at a Tallahasse bar — a punch that came after the woman hit Johnson first.

The tweets were quickly deleted. I saw the first two before they disappeared: “What I want to know is whats happening to the girl that clearly his De’andre first? It’s never right to hit a girl at all. But they have to get some kind of consequence as well. Yall can’t keep letting females provoke guys in all ways then walk free. Like?”

The folks at WNY WaterCooler have the text of Darby’s responses to various Twitter handles, in which he says he was “speaking the truth,” that he “said nothing wrong,” that Johnson’s “career could be done,” and that he’s “confused” by the criticism he received.

Eventually, Darby became sufficiently confused (or unconfused) to punt, wiping out all of the tweets and his responses but not erasing this retweet of a response to his message: “bad tweet cuz your an NFL player and will take back lash. Both deserve punishment but he has to be a bigger/smarter person.”

And that’s the message that makes the most sense. Unless an elite athlete is under attack by another elite athlete (or by a non-elite athlete with a weapon), the elite athlete needs to disengage and, if necessary, flee. The non-elite athlete who punches or hits or otherwise strikes the elite athlete can then be prosecuted.

If punches are traded, both can be prosecuted, in theory. But the one who does the most damage is likely to suffer the greater consequence — especially if the one who inflicted the most damage ultimately suffered none.

The fact that Darby, who attended the Rookie Symposium last month, doesn’t understand this means that the NFL’s new domestic violence training protocol needs to do a better job of instructing players to disengage and, if necessary, to flee when under attack by someone who isn’t actually able to truly harm them.

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Brett Favre realizes he shares some blame for split with Packers

Brett Favre AP

If you were ever confused about how things between the Packers and Brett Favre got so weird, so fast in 2008, you’re not alone.

He is too.

“I think at some point what crossed my mind was, ‘How did it ever get to this point?‘” Favre said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “To be arguably one of the most successful players in Packers history, and I would think [a player who was] well-received by the fans, especially up to that point, you’re just thinking, ‘How did it get to this point?’

“Of course, we’ve talked about that, and I take my share of the blame as well, but it was just hard. It was a surreal feeling.”

That there was tension between the team and its star quarterback isn’t a far-flung idea, especially since they had his replacement parked there waiting to take over. But Favre said during his last round of meetings with coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson, it was clear his time there was done.

“It was for the most part cordial,” Favre said. “It was like, ‘What do we do?’ That was the million-dollar question, I guess. I got a sense that there wasn’t many options on my part. It was frustrating, and I know it was frustrating for them, as well.

“When I left, it was like, I don’t know if we’re any closer than where we need to be when I got there that morning. Emotions were running high, but all in all I think it was pretty cordial, considering the circumstances.”

Of course, Favre wanting to stay in the NFC North was something the Packers objected to, and refused to go along with.

“I felt like I wasn’t good enough to play there but was good enough to not play against them,” Favre said, “and that bothered me.”

It took a year with the Jets before he was able to get his wish and play for the Vikings, but time has been able to heal the wound sufficiently.

Favre will return to Lambeau Field next week to be inducted to the team’s hall of fame, and will also have his jersey retired on Thanksgiving night.

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Isaiah Battle’s pre-supplemental draft workout draws 26 teams

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In a sign that Isaiah Battle is viewed as the best supplemental draft prospect in years, his workout today is drawing a large crowd of NFL scouts.

Representatives from 26 teams are attending Battle’s workout today, Mike Reiss of ESPN reports.

Based only on his on-field abilities, Battle would be viewed as a very good pro prospect, likely somewhere in the second-round range. Unfortunately, Battle has a history of off-field issues that precipitated his departure from Clemson, where he started 11 games at left tackle last year. Those off-field issues will likely make him a late-round pick in the supplemental draft.

If he’s drafted at all, Battle will be the first player chosen in the supplemental draft since Josh Gordon in 2012.

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Catch up on Jason Pierre-Paul and more with PFT Live at noon ET

Jason Pierre-Paul AP

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul remains in a Florida hospital after suffering injuries to his hand while setting off fireworks last weekend and he’ll get some visitors from the team on Tuesday.

The Giants are trying to get a better handle on Pierre-Paul’s outlook for the early part of the 2015 season and their best path for working around his potential absence. Meanwhile, Pierre-Paul hasn’t signed his franchise tender and has some choices of his own to make about how to move forward on the contractual front.

On Tuesday’s PFT Live, Dave Smith, who is filling in for Mike Florio, will talk to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post about all of the possible paths that things can take once the full extent of Pierre-Paul’s injuries are known.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app.

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Tony Dungy expects some young Lions players to “really take off” this year

Jim Caldwell AP

Lions coach Jim Caldwell spent many years as an assistant to Tony Dungy on the Colts’ coaching staff and the two men helped lead Indianapolis to a Super Bowl title during their time on the sideline together.

Dungy isn’t predicting that kind of run for Caldwell and the Lions this year, but he does think that the team is going to build on the 11-win season that they turned in during Caldwell’s first year on the job. Dungy saw his teams in Indy and Tampa win more games in his second year on the job, something he credited to setting a strong foundation right off the bat. He sees the Lions poised to make the same kind of growth in 2015.

“The first year is teaching what you want and really getting the guys to buy in,” Dungy said, via the Lions website. “I think that’s what happened with the Lions. They started winning some games they hadn’t won in the past, overcoming adversity, and you could see them really buying in. Now, this year, that foundation is there and now it’s building on it. Some of those young players, I think, are really going to come together and really take off.”

Dungy didn’t point out any specific players, but the Lions would surely like to see more from tight end Eric Ebron and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Those two players were Detroit’s top two picks in the 2014 draft, but neither one added much to the Lions’ efforts as rookies. Growth from those players would make the Lions deeper on both sides of the ball and that would go a long way toward putting the Lions on the path for more wins in 2015.

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Terrelle Pryor says he’ll out-work other players, become a great WR

Terrelle Pryor, Michael Huff AP

After spending the last four years trying to make it as an NFL quarterback, Terrelle Pryor is now in Cleveland, trying to make it as a wide receiver. He says he has the talent not just to earn a roster spot, but to be a great wide receiver.

“I believe I can get great at anything,” Pryor told KDKA. “Just need the reps and just got to prove it.”

Pryor said he has the work ethic that only the great ones have.

“There’s not a lot of guys who work like I work,” he said. “I truly believe that. I believe somebody who works extremely hard is Antonio Brown. Definitely I’ve worked with him, I have had to opportunity to work out with him an awful lot. We spent a lot of time together in 2011 down in Florida, so I saw his work ethic. The drive, the nights we would run in the sand along the ocean, run 6 miles every night.”

Pryor has the athletic talent to play wide receiver and says he’s now just learning to put that talent together at a new position.

“Just athletic cuts, moves, catching the ball with people on me, practicing that big time,” said Pryor. “Working on cuts, getting out of breaks. Really getting defenders on you and then losing them, the footwork and the timing of a route. So there’s a lot of stuff.”

Whether Pryor has the ability to match his confidence remains to be seen, but signing him was a move that made a lot of sense for the Browns. They’ll have a few weeks of training camp and the preseason to see if he really can make it as a wide receiver in the NFL. If he can’t do it, they’ll cut him and he’ll go back to being unemployed, as he was last season. If he can do it, he has the potential to be a big addition in Cleveland.

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Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask hopes Sarah Thomas gets booed

Sarah Johnson AP

Sarah Thomas has gotten widespread support, as she prepares to go to work as the NFL’s first full-time game official.

But one of the highest-ranking females in league history hopes she hears it from fans immediately.

Former Raiders executive Amy Trask wrote for TheMMQB.com that the true measure of equality will come when Thomas is badgered and hounded the way every other official in the NFL is.

“When Sarah Thomas throws a flag she shouldn’t have thrown—which she will, as all officials do—she should be booed,” Trask wrote. “When Sarah Thomas fails to throw a flag she should have—which she will, as all officials do—she should be booed. Sarah Thomas should be booed as loudly and as resoundingly as her male colleagues are booed.

“Gender equality means gender equality. And if gender equality is the expectation, all consequences that flow therefrom must be accepted, whether one likes them or not.”

Trask said that she experienced very little gender-based criticism when she was on the job (she was the CEO of the Raiders from 1997 to 2013), and hopes that Thomas doesn’t either.

But she said her best defense was to concentrate on doing her job to the best of her abilities.

The boos will come organically, because she’s an official.

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Cam Newton gives Australian rules football a try

Newman Getty Images

Cam Newton perhaps should check his American football contract to see if it prevents him from playing Australian football.

Newton, who is spending part of the window between offseason workouts and training camp in Australia, spent part of Tuesday practicing with the Richmond Tigers of the Australian Football League. For those of you who don’t recall ESPN before it acquired the rights to televise major American sports, the days of Tiddly Winks and tractor pulls included Australian rules football, a soccer/rugby hybrid made unique by game officials in fedoras and trench coats using abrupt hand gestures to signify things I never was able to really figure out.

“In our sport, they’re constantly putting things on you to protect you, but in this sport they’re taking things away,” Newton said, via the Herald Sun. “I’m seeing guys get prepared and all they’re wearing in essence is a tank top and a pair of boxers and going out there and giving it all they have. That makes them courageous.”

Apparently, Newton wasn’t a natural.

“It’s great to see someone so cool struggle at a sport,” Richmond defender Chris Newman joked.

While it’s unclear how physical things got for Newton at practice, anything would be enough to make the Panthers nervous, especially with every team getting a reminder over the weekend that anything can happen when players are left to their own devices.

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Giants hope to get more info about Pierre-Paul’s injuries

PierrePaul Getty Images

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul remains hospitalized in Miami, three days after a fireworks mishap. Standing alone, that’s pretty ominous. Making the situation even more gloomy is the reality that details remain elusive, confusing, and unclear. Understandably, the Giants want to know what’s going on.

“My understanding is Giant officials were going to visit Jason Pierre-Paul,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said earlier this hour on SportsCenter. “They may already have been there, they may still be there now. But they could be or might be there right now visiting him to ascertain exactly how bad the damage to his hands actually is.”

Regardless of whether they were, are, could be, or might be visiting Pierre-Paul, the Giants need to know more about the situation, especially if player and team eventually will be trying to work together to minimize uncertainty and maximize his playing time in 2015.

Pierre-Paul’s short-term and long-term health remains far more important than his short-term and long-term football future, but the absence of hard facts about his health will continue to invite speculation that it could be a while until he’s able to play football again.

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Green Bay Police: Datone Jones became upset, identified himself as a Packer

Green Bay Packers Mini Camp Getty Images

Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones wasted no time in trying to start enjoying his offseason.

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Jones was arrested for marijuana possession just a couple hours after the Packers’ team plane landed following their season-ending loss to the Seahawks in Seattle.

The Green Bay Police Department says that Jones “became emotionally upset, and told officers he was the first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers.”

It’s to the credit of the Green Bay Police that Jones wasn’t able to employ the “Do you know who I am?” card successfully. It’s odd, though, that news of Jones’s arrest never became public until after the NFL announced that he had been suspended for the first game of the 2015 season.

Jones resolved the legal matter by paying an $880 fine. The suspension could cost him $122,765.

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Seattle hopes to get better performance from its offensive line

Seahawks Getty Images

As the Seahawks fret about how they’ll pay quarterback Russell Wilson while having enough money left for other key players on the team, they currently don’t have to worry about the offensive linemen busting the budget.

Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune takes a position-by-position look at the team’s potential starting lineup along the offensive line for 2015. With center Max Unger and left guard James Carpenter gone, the expected configuration consists of Russell Okung at left tackle, Alvin Bailey at left guard, Lemuel Jeanpierre at center, J.R. Sweezy at right guard, and Justin Britt at right tackle.

Per Bell, the Seahawks may begin to groom Gary Gilliam at left tackle as the season progresses, given that Okung is in the last year of his contract. Also, rookie Mark Glowinski eventually could push Sweezy at right guard.

Regardless of who plays in 2015, they’ll need to play better than they have. Quarterback Russell Wilson has faced consistent pressure in passing situations, which if it continues could make it difficult for the Seahawks to take full advantage of tight end Jimmy Graham.

And it could make running back Marshawn Lynch more likely to call it quits following a season of getting banged around by defenders that the offensive line fails to keep away from him.

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Eight days left for long-term franchise-tag deals

Eight Getty Images

At one point in the life of the franchise tag, the window for negotiating long-term deals with franchise-tagged players reopened on July 15. It now closes then.

Which means that, after July 15, the five players on whom the tag was used in 2015 (Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, Giants defensive end Jason-Pierre Paul, Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, and Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski) can sign only one-year contracts.

For Thomas and Houston, there are no signs of progress. For Pierre-Paul, it’s all gotten very complicated in the aftermath of his July 4 fireworks mishap. For Gostkowski, who already has signed the franchise tender but who can still sign a long-term deal through July 15, no one knows whether anything is happening in large part because the Patriots have found a way to keep that stuff quiet until they want someone to know about it.

Bryant’s situation has become the most fluid. News that agent Tom Condon negotiated with the Cowboys last month resulted a few days later in scattered rumors and reports that a deal is imminent. Eight days since those rumors and reports of an imminent first emerged, there’s still no deal — even though the latest round of equivocal bet-hedging out of Dallas seemed to vaguely suggest that the Cowboys and Bryant had a deal in place that would be unveiled on the Monday after the holiday weekend.

Monday has come and gone, with still no announcement or other tangible signs of a deal between the Cowboys and Bryant. Some will likely continue to suggest a deal is “imminent,” and then they’ll claim to have been right all along if a deal gets done just before the July 15 deadline, regardless of whether a deal was truly “imminent” at any point since Condon met with the Cowboys.

However “imminent” is defined, Bryant, the Cowboys, and the other four players and teams have eight days to do a long-term deal. Otherwise, it’ll be a one-year arrangement and then a 20-percent raise to do the franchise-tag dance all over again in 2016 — unless one of the teams dangles a promise not to use the tag again as a way to get the player to show up for training camp at the earliest, and before the Tuesday after Week 10 at the latest.

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Breshad Perriman hoping to make Ravens starting job his own

Breshad Perriman AP

With Torrey Smith chasing the money out the door and Jacoby Jones cut, the Ravens need a speed guy to make a quick impact.

And first-round pick Breshad Perriman is hoping to provide just that.

The rookie wide receiver has a clear path to a starting job opposite Steve Smith, but he’s trying to keep his focus narrower.

It’s a goal of mine, but at the same time, it’s not really on my mind,” Perriman said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “I’m just really trying to focus on getting better every day, just going out there, take it day by day and see how it plays out.

“I just take it day by day, try to not think about the starting job or anything like that, because I feel like I’d get thrown off track. For the most part, I just try to come out and compete and work on craft, the little things I need to work on to make me become a good receiver.”

The Ravens have an odd lot of receivers behind him, with Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and Michael Campanaro also in the mix for the job. But it’s clearly there for Perriman to take. His speed was the reason he was drafted in the first round, but he has to become more consistent catching things to be effective.

“I really just talk to myself,” Perriman said. “It’s really all mental. I talk to myself, tell myself the things that I need to do to complete those passes and just try to step it up a notch more.”

Others are talking to him as well, knowing they have to refine him, and fast.

“He’s a worker,” Ravens receivers coach Bobby Engram said. “On the field, we just keep working the fundamentals, getting in and out of breaks, transitioning, tracking the ball, being aggressive back to the ball – all the things he’s working on since he started playing receiver.

“I love what I see. We’ve just got to continue to build on it.”

And with the offseason changes in their offense, they need to get it built quickly.

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