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Winners, losers from the NFL lockout

Fans wait outside the NFL Players Association headquarters in Washington AP

We have broken down the deal.  Now let’s look at who escaped this lockout slog looking good, and who didn’t.

The Winners

Veteran NFL players: They missed an offseason of minicamps and practices, which should make it easier to fend off young players in camp this year.  More importantly, they will get a bigger slice of the salary cap pie.

Top rookies will make far less in this new CBA, and that money will go to veterans.  Getting NFL teams to agree to a very aggressive “salary cap floor” also guarantees NFL revenue will be spent back on the players.

For example, teams have to spend to 99% of the salary cap as a league this year.  The lowest any team can spend is 89% of the cap.  These are huge increases from previous floors that will guarantee small market teams spend aggressively.

Players you’ve never heard of: Minimum salaries of players will go up $50,000, which is a substantial increase.  Almost half the league has minimum salary contracts.  The players did right by their right by the rank and file.

Bank accounts of NFL owners: The NFLPA* was playing defense all along.  We essentially knew ahead of time the owners would leave this lockout with a larger share of total revenue, and that is the case.

The players made advances in other issues like safety and a salary cap floor, but ultimately the owners will now get a greater share of a rapidly growing revenue pool.  This can be a “win-win” deal, but there’s no debate the owners will get more money in this CBA than the one that came before it.

That was the entire idea behind the lockout.

Small market teams: Yes, they have to spend more to get to the salary cap floor.  They also will get more revenue sharing help from the top-earning teams in the league.

Jeff Saturday and Domonique Foxworth: These two leaders from the NFLPA* earned a lot of respect.

Mediator Arthur Boylan: Sure, the biggest breakthrough happened when he was on vacation.  Boylan still kept the union and NFL moving forward during choppy waters.  He helped to finish the job mediator George Cohen could not.

A special thanks to …

Patriots owner Robert Kraft: No owner did more to bring the two sides together and compromise than Patriots owner Robert Kraft. That he did it against the backdrop of his wife’s battle with cancer makes his contributions all the more remarkable.

Colts center Jeff Saturday’s remarks after the agreement said it all.

Gets his own category

DeMaurice Smith: Fans may disagree, but we suspect history will show Smith did well by his players.  Let’s face it: The NFLPA* is always going to be an underdog in labor talks.  They have fewer resources and they were playing defense.

Smith took over a difficult situation and slowly earned the respect of his players and adversaries in ownership.  He didn’t give up that much and got plenty in return for financial concessions.  Most importantly, he helped get to the finish line without missing significant time in training camp or the preseason.

The lockout was caused by owner unhappiness at a time of unprecedented prosperity in the league. They locked the players out, which has to count for something.  Both sides were at fault for taking fans for granted throughout the process, and dragging this out longer than necessary.  That’s why Smith isn’t a “winner” but someone that earned respect.


The 18-game concept: It will eventually be a matter of debate again, but not for at least two years.  This was a big issue for the players, and they didn’t budge.

Roger Goodell: We think Goodell is a very good commissioner with the best interests of the game at heart. But there’s no denying he’s been beaten up over the last few months.  Player anger towards him became significant.  A perception grew that he couldn’t control his owners. (We’re not sure anyone could.)

Goodell’s efforts to end the lockout cannot be underestimated.  But this is a results business: Goodell presided over the longest work stoppage in league history.  In the long run, people will view the 2011 lockout as a speed bump for a wildly successful league.  In the short run, the NFL can’t have it both ways.

They have sold the concept to fans on NFL Network that the “season never ends.” It ended for five months this year, running the league’s biggest fans through an emotional ringer.

This lockout came primarily as a money grab at a time of unprecedented success for the league. Considering the economic climate the lockout took place in, Goodell takes a short-term hit.

Hardcore coaches: Practice contact will be reduced dramatically in the regular season. Offseason practices will also be cut down, with big fines for coaches who break the rules.

“The only thing the players didn’t get is someone else to play for them,” one source told PFT.

Highly-drafted rookies: This especially applies to top ten picks.  No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton is slated to get roughly $22 million over the next four years.  For comparison’s sake, last year’s top pick Sam Bradford got $50 million guaranteed and $72 million over his first six years.

First-round picks outside the top-16 picks will take a hit, but it’s not as dramatic.  Players taken in rounds two-through-seven may actually benefit because of the minimum salary increase.

All 2011 rookies: It will be harder for quarterbacks like Newton or Minnesota’s Christian Ponder to win starting gigs and succeed in camp after missing the entire offseason.  This will especially hurt late-round picks and undrafted players that now seem more likely to be cut.

Undrafted players:  With the per-team signing bonus expenditure limited to $75,000 per team for undrafted players, these rookies will no longer be able to tell prospective teams to put their money where their mouths are.

Agents: They are taking a hair cut on fees for rookie contracts, which are already headed South.  Anti-holdout measures for rookies will also be taken, which takes away a leverage point for agents.

Carson Palmer and Donovan McNabb: Perhaps the Bengals could have traded Palmer before the 2011 draft. Now it appears he may spend the 2011 season at home because he refuses to play for Cincinnati.  The Bengals probably won’t entertain trading him until 2012.

McNabb would not still be a member of the Redskins if not for the lockout. With five highly drafted rookies getting taken, the market for him has been significantly diminished. His exorbitant bonus isn’t due until September, which means the Redskins may fruitlessly try to trade him for a while.  More jobs will be filled in the meantime.

Vincent Jackson: Fans won’t forget that Jackson was the last Brady antitrust plaintiff to give up on squeezing the NFL for more cash in exchange for his signature.  We don’t think it’s fair to call the players “greedy” throughout much of the process, but Jackson, Logan Mankins, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning took a P.R. hit by seeking extra benefits for attaching their name to the antitrust case.

NFL fans: The players and owners take us for granted because they can.  We just want football, and we support the league completely. It was an insane act of hubris for the NFL to threaten to take the game away when it was at its very peak. The league isn’t likely to pay for it.

Rich Eisen from NFL Network put it well: “Love all these fans saying now we missed nothing when my twitter feed has been filled for 4 months MFing everyone involved in this process.”

The more you love the game, the more these last five months have been difficult to swallow.

The lucky part: We won’t have to go through this again for at least another decade.

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Bears bringing in former fourth-rounder Tyler Wilson

Tyler Wilson AP

The Bears are already pretty well-stocked with quarterbacks other people didn’t want, so what’s the problem with bringing another one in?

Via Matt Jones of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, former Razorbacks quarterback Tyler Wilson will be attending next week’s Bears minicamp, ostensibly on a tryout basis. Jones mentioned it during a radio show he co-hosts in Arkansas.

Wilson was a fourth-round pick of the Raiders in 2013, but was cut before the end of his rookie season. He picked up with the Titans near the end of that year, and went to camp with the Bengals last summer, but was cut in the preseason.

The Bears quarterbacks coach is Dowell Loggains, another former Razorback who was in Tennessee when the Titans offered him a look in December 2013.

Chicago realized it was stuck with Jay Cutler this offseason, and he’s backed up by Jimmy Clausen, whom new coach John Fox has a higher opinion of now than when he had him in Carolina in 2010.

The only other quarterback on the roster at the moment is David Fales, a sixth-rounder from last year, when there was a different coach and General Manager in place.

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Oregon coach declares “Chip Kelly is not insane”


Good news, Eagles fans.  The man who succeeded Philly coach Chip Kelly at Oregon has proclaimed that Kelly possesses all necessary mental faculties.

When news of Kelly signing Tim Tebow made it to Eugene on Monday, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich was asked about the situation.

“I think it’s unfortunate I’ve had to answer this question more than once:  Chip Kelly is not insane,” Helfrich said, via  “He’s got a plan.  He’s got a method.”

At times, it seems that plan is there is no plan.  But even that is a plan, technically.

As to Tebow, it’s unclear what the plan really is.  Some think he’ll be the specialty quarterback if/when the two-point conversion attempt moves to the one.  Which frankly makes no sense; teams routinely face short-yardage situations, and they typically don’t remove their starting quarterback for those plays.

Regardless, Kelly knows what he’s doing.  Even if no one else does.

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Dorial Green-Beckham visiting the Chiefs today

green-beckham AP

While many pre-draft visits are for the sake of smokescreen, or to firm up medical information, many of them are for teams to look a player in the eye.

Likely along those lines, the Chiefs are bringing in one of the most talented players in the 2015 NFL Draft today, who comes with considerable baggage.

Via Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Chiefs are hosting former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham today.

Green-Beckham has also visited the Bengals and 49ers, and the Vikings and Ravens have also met with him. Plenty of other teams probably have as well, to see if they are willing to gamble on a player with explosive ability and a checkered past.

Green-Beckham was kicked off the team at Missouri after a pair of drug arrests, and a domestic violence accusation (though no charges were filed). He transferred to Oklahoma, but never played a down there.

If you trust him, he’s the kind of game-breaking talent which any team can use, and getting him with the 18th pick might be a steal. Weighing whether they can take such a chance is the kind of thing most evaluators can’t decide before meeting someone face-to-face, which the Chiefs will do today.

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Nate Solder played last year after testicular cancer diagnosis

Nate Solder AP

The Patriots have made keeping injuries secret a point of institutional pride.

But Nate Solder’s willing to talk now about a problem he dealt with last season that could have been much bigger than fudging an injury report submitted to the league.

Via Mike Reiss of, Solder was diagnosed with testicular cancer a year ago, was treated, and went on to play a key role for the Super Bowl champions.

He was initially diagnosed after his standard physical at the beginning of offseason conditioning work. He mentioned feeling some pain, Patriots doctors ordered up an ultrasound, and three days later, he had surgery to remove the testicle. He only missed a few days of OTAs while recovering, and started every game last year, so there was no suggestion that anything was wrong with him at all.

I knew nothing about it. It was a complete surprise,” Solder said. “You Google something like that and it kind of scares you, so I was like, ‘I’m not going to freak out about this.’ Had I not had a routine physical, I probably wouldn’t have checked it, saying, ‘Oh, it’s just in my head, I’m going to be fine.'”

April is National Testicular Cancer Awareness month, so the 27-year-old Solder was moved to reveal the disease now for the sake of awareness. According to the American Cancer Society, almost half of all cases of testicular cancer are in men between the ages of 20 and 34.

He had a quick and uncomplicated recovery, so he was hesitant to be portrayed as overcoming cancer and going on to be a football hero, knowing his story’s not always typical.

“I was completely healthy, I’m a professional athlete. It can happen to anybody,” he said. “Make sure you get yourself checked out, especially young men, because that’s who it’s really targeted toward. . . .

“The biggest thing is letting people know and giving them the information. And maybe giving people some courage that if they are in a situation like I was, maybe they would go and say something, and that could make a difference. It’s more common than people realize. A lot of people are either afraid to do it, or they don’t think it’s important enough to get it checked. It’s a simple check. Six months, a year, and then it starts spreading and then you start to feel symptoms and it’s a more serious situation. So that’s a big thing; you can save lives with early detection.”

If his story gets one person to get a check-up, then telling it was worthwhile.


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No Michael Bennett at Seahawks workouts

New Orleans Saints v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Earlier this month, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett denied reports that he requested a trade away from Seattle this offseason because he was unhappy about the contract he signed before last season.

Bennett didn’t go on to throw cold water on the idea that he’s feeling less than thrilled about his contract, however.

“I can’t really say that. But I mean I don’t know anybody that is happy with the amount of money that they’re making. But at this point, I’m just trying to be a good Seahawk,” Bennett said on KIRO.

Should Bennett sit for another interview, his feelings about his contract are likely to be revisited after he didn’t show up for the first day of the team’s voluntary offseason work on Monday. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports that the desire to renegotiate his deal was behind the absence.

Seahawks General Manager John Schneider has espoused a policy of not extending deals with more than a year left and Bennett’s heading into the second year of the four-year pact he signed in 2014. The team did move some money around to placate running back Marshawn Lynch and bring his holdout to an end last year, however, and Bennett may be angling for the same consideration this time around.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

So far, so good for Rex Ryan and Bills fans.

Minnesota S Curtis Thompson is slated for a visit with the Dolphins.

A look ahead to the Patriots’ road schedule.

This just in: The Jets need a quarterback.

WR Kamar Aiken is optimistic about his chances of landing playing time with the Ravens.

The Bengals have several players heading into their contract years.

Will S Tashaun Gipson join the Browns for workouts if Friday’s deadline passes without an offer from another team?

The Steelers continued meeting with cornerback prospects on Monday.

Texans T Duane Brown plans to step into a bigger leadership role.

Said Colts WR T.Y. Hilton of Reggie Wayne’s absence, “It’s very different. It still hurts me right now. I was still waiting for him to just walk in the meeting room. It’s different. It’s going to take me some time to get used to it, but I don’t think I will.”

What will the Jaguars do at running back in the draft?

The Titans struck a one-year deal with LB Kaelin Burnett, who played five games for them last season.

Broncos RB C.J. Anderson is trying to avoid a step back after last year’s rapid rise.

DE Mike DeVito and LB Derrick Johnson were back at work as the Chiefs opened workouts.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio is ready to get to work on the field during the team’s voluntary minicamp.

Assessing the Chargers’ draft needs on the defensive line.

Jimmy Johnson once went from the Miami Hurricanes to the Dallas Cowboys and RB Duke Johnson wouldn’t mind making the same move.

Giants RB Shane Vereen will join his former Patriots teammates at the White House.

Criticism of the criticism that followed the Eagles’ decision to sign QB Tim Tebow.

The Redskins were happy with the attendance for Monday’s start of offseason workouts.

Doug Buffone’s teammates with the Bears remembered him fondly after his death on Monday.

Lions TE Joseph Fauria avoided surgery on his ankle.

Mike Daniels is happy to continue the Packers defensive line with B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion.

A list of the draft prospects the Vikings have spoken with this offseason.

The Falcons made stops at Missouri, UCLA and Washington as they continued pre-draft evaluations last week.

Panthers LB Luke Kuechly isn’t focused on contract issues at the moment.

Eliminating bad football tops the list of Saints goals for the 2015 season.

LB Bruce Carter is excited about getting to work with the Buccaneers.

CB Patrick Peterson was one of the Cardinals players reacting to S Adrian Wilson’s retirement on Monday.

Said Rams TE Jared Cook of the first day of offseason workouts, “You come in with a fresh new outfit, fresh new shoes, a new backpack. You got a Spiderman lunchbox. You’re showing off your new stuff. No, it’s just guys being acclimated again.”

49ers newcomer Jarryd Hayne explains why he settled on No. 38.

Seahawks General Manager John Schneider and his family are hosting a fourth annual fundraiser to help children with autism.

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Michael Oher seems to prefer Carolina to Tennessee

Michael Oher AP

The Titans didn’t like what they saw from Michael Oher, cutting him one year into a four-year contract.

But from Oher’s perspective, that’s fine, since he didn’t seem crazy about what he saw there either.

The now-Panthers tackle tried to be nice about it, but it was obvious he wasn’t a fan of his time in Tennessee.

I like things to be run the right way,” Oher said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “Doing things right. Just being on top of things. I’m just glad I’m in a good organization with guys that do it the right way.

“I’m trying to put that behind me and move forward.”

He also talked about the feeling of being wanted by the Panthers, with former left tackle Jordan Gross among the people who reached out to him this offseason.

“I talked to so many guys that were here before I even signed, so that was another exciting thing for me,” he said. “I knew they wanted me here. I felt like I was coming out of college, . . . It means a lot just to know they really wanted me here in Charlotte.”

Whatever his problems with the Titans organization, he said he’s at least better able to compete for a job this year after dealing with toe problems which limited him to 11 games, and helped make him ineffective in the ones he played.

“During the game in my stance, I’d be thinking about that rather than thinking about the guy that I’m going against,” he said. “Last season it just flared up worse than it ever has, and I just needed to have it worked on. I got it done, and I feel a sense of relief already. It’s definitely improving. . . .

“I’m still chasing greatness and want to be great. I still have time, (and) I feel like I have the ability, the attitude and just want to be great and not let these guys down.”

The Panthers would love to get greatness out of him, as stability at the left tackle position would be something they haven’t had since Gross retired. But Oher even being acceptable would be an upgrade for them, as the try to rebuild a line that can protect a quarterback they’re trying to invest in.

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Lions offensive line looking to “whoop somebody’s ass” in 2015

Warford Getty Images

The Detroit Lions enter the offseason program with multiple spots on the starting offensive line unknown.  Their mission isn’t.

We have to be more aggressive,” guard Larry Warford said Monday, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.  “We can’t be as technical as we [tried to be last year].  The biggest thing is we tried to break everything down, we tried to focus on a bunch of stuff at once, down to the smallest detail.  With offensive line play, that’s cool but at the end of the day you have to whoop somebody’s ass and we weren’t necessarily being the players that we were trained to be from the start.”

Warford added that the offensive line was “somewhat robotic” in 2014.  Two of the five starters from that “somewhat robotic” line, Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims, won’t be around in 2015.  But it sounds as if Raiola and Sims weren’t the “somewhat robotic” ones.

“It sucks that they’re gone. They’re huge, huge, huge personalities in the room,” Warford said. “That’s 14 years with Dom and what is it like [nine] for Sims? It sucks that they’re gone ’cause they come from a different era in football and that era was, mentally they were stupid tough. It sucks that we don’t have that type of leadership with us, but the biggest thing is carrying on what they taught us and the mentality that they brought in, take it upon ourselves to instill that mentality in the room.”

So how will they do that?

“[Offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn], first thing he said was, ‘We’re coming off the ball,'” Warford explained regarding the opening meeting of the year with his position coach.  “‘We’re running off the ball.’  There’s nothing else to that.  We’re going to set the pocket and run off the ball.  He said that today.  That’s what it has to be.  We’re not going to focus every little step.  You have to work that framework into what you can do personally.  Everybody has as different skill set and they have to make it work for them.  That’s the biggest thing.  It’s not going to be too chaotic or whatever, but we’re going to play.”

Travis Swanson takes over for Raiola at center and Warford plays right guard.  The other 60 percent of the starting offensive line spots are up in the air.  The guys most likely to win those jobs could be the guys who demonstrate the greatest ability to whoop some ass.

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Brian Orakpo looking forward to playing for Dick LeBeau

Washington Redskins v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

Linebacker Brian Orakpo had his first day of work for a team other than the Redskins on Monday, although not everything about life with the Titans will prove to be a new experience.

One of the biggest parts of any transition to a new team is learning their scheme, but Orakpo said he’s got a head start on that front because of how much time he spent studying Dick LeBeau’s defenses while playing for coaches who learned at LeBeau’s knee while working in Washington’s 3-4 scheme. LeBeau made the move from Pittsburgh to Tennessee this offseason and Orakpo said that helped lead him to Nashville as well.

“When I knew [LeBeau] was on board, it made the transition a lot easier because I knew what he was all about,” Orakpo said, via the Tennessean. “When I was in Washington, all I did was study Pittsburgh’s stuff and what [LeBeau] brought to the table and how they ran their defense. I knew what James Harrison would do before James Harrison knew what he was going to do. That’s how much I studied it. Earlier this day when we were going over defenses, I knew it like the back of my hand. Obviously the terminology is a little different. But it’s very, very similar as far as the way the 3-4 should be run.”

Orakpo’s familiarity with the defense won’t matter much if he’s not healthy enough to stay on the field this season, something that torn pectoral muscles have kept him from doing in two of the last three seasons. Orakpo said he’s altered his workouts to increase flexibility and mobility in his upper body in hopes of avoiding an injury that keeps him from making the most of life under LeBeau.

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Willie Colon backs up claim Jets had lateness “issue”

New York Jets v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

It seems easy for Rex Ryan to take shots at former Jets tight end Jace Amaro for his raising of accountability questions.

The Bills coach has painted Amaro as young and perhaps immature, but now a veteran teammate has chimed in, saying there were issues last year.

Via the Seth Walder of the New York Daily News, guard Willie Colon acknowledged that lateness was an “issue” for the team.

“It’s the little things like that, the little things you just don’t talk about,” Colon told Alex Marvez and Ross Tucker on SiriusXM NFL Radio, in an interview on April 10. “You be on time; you be accountable for your actions. . . .

“It’s one of those things where as a pro ballplayer it’s not hard to be there on time.”

Ryan has taken numerous shots at Amaro since the original remarks, far more attention than Amaro has gotten for much of anything else. But having a longtime pro like Colon backing his story helps establish some credibility, especially after Geno Smith missed a meeting the night before a game and still played, while Calvin Pryor missed a meeting and was benched for a week.

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A.J. Green on extension: I’m not hurting for money

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

One of the AFC North’s top wideouts was a no-show at the start of offseason workouts on Monday because Antonio Brown wants a new deal from the Steelers three years after signing an extension.

Things are playing out differently elsewhere in the division. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has never signed an extension since being drafted and is in the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, but he reported for voluntary work on Monday. Green, who will play for just over $10 million this year, said his agent has spoken to the Bengals about a new contract and that he’ll let negotiations work themselves out while he’s working out with the team.

“I handle the part of playing. I’m not hurting for money,” Green said, via the team’s website. “I got my option. That’s enough for now. I’m just focused on football. Next year will take care of itself.”

With Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas both looking for long-term deals while under the franchise tag this offseason, the top of the market for wideouts could look quite different in a couple of months. That could help Green and the Bengals find common ground, although a tag next year will also remain a possibility.

Either way, Green, who said he feels 100 percent after a variety of injuries slowed him last year, is in line to make a lot of money in 2016 as long as his fifth year resembles the first four.

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Rams talking to Cowboys about a joint practice in Oxnard

Jerry Jones AP

The Rams may end up in Southern California sooner than expected.

For practice, anyway.

Via Nick Wagoner of, the Rams are discussing a joint practice session with the Cowboys this summer in Oxnard, Calif.

Of course, that’s about 65 yards from Los Angeles, where the Rams could be doing more than practicing soon, if owner Stan Kroenke gets his way.

In the practice scenario, logistics make it possible, as the Rams play the Raiders in the preseason opener, so will be on the West Coast already, allowing a few days to work with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys have lined up such workouts with the Chargers and Raiders in recent years, so it’s nothing new for them. For the Rams, it might be a sneak preview of a coming attraction.

The Rams have also talked to the Colts about a joint session back in the Midwest. Maybe if that happens, Kroenke can get some moving van advice from Colts owner Jim Irsay.

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ESPN says Tebow will be welcome back after playing career ends

Tim Tebow AP

Tim Tebow raised some eyebrows at ESPN by leaving his job as a commentator and signing with the Eagles — and not telling anyone until after a competitor had broken the news.

But ESPN has released a statement saying there are only warm feelings toward Tebow, and he will be welcome to resume his broadcasting career after his football career is over.

“We appreciate Tim’s contributions to the launch of SEC Network and wish him all the best as he pursues his NFL dream. Tim quickly established a tremendous rapport with everyone he worked with in front of and behind the camera. He has a tireless work ethic and a unique passion for football. Tim developed quickly into an excellent analyst. He has a home at ESPN when his playing career is done,” ESPN said in a statement from V.P. of Programming and Production John Wildhack.

It’s easy to see why ESPN would want to maintain a good relationship with Tebow, who still has a large fan base and can draw viewers with his presence. If you don’t see him in an Eagles uniform this season, you’ll see him in an ESPN studio.

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Bucs are keeping door open for a trade down

Winston Getty Images

The Buccaneers opened their offseason program on Monday.  General Manager Jason Licht met with the media in conjunction with the launch of the offseason program.  And he understandably was asked plenty of questions about the team’s plans for the first overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Licht’s comments continue to point to Jameis Winston being the first overall pick.

“Going back all the way to [the Scouting Combine], we said we had a leader in the clubhouse, we still do,” Licht said, via a transcript prepared by the team.   “If we had to pick today, we would feel very comfortable making the pick.  With that said, we’ll wait.  We’ll use the majority of our allotted time.  There is always something that could pop up that you wish you would’ve waited, talking about a scenario where somebody offers you something you can’t refuse.  We’ll use the allotted time, but everyone in the organization feels very comfortable right now with where we are at.”

What would it take to get the top pick?

“It’s fair to assume someone is going to have to make a really good offer, yeah,” Licht said. “And this time of year you get a lot of calls every day.  Not making offers, but just throwing, gauging your interest of if you would be open to it or not.  And that will continue.  But it would have to be an offer that makes this franchise, that sets this franchise even further ahead than what you thought you were going to with the decision you made.”

So the Buccaneers are keeping the door open for a possible trade down, and if no one makes them an offer they can’t refuse, they’ll take the guy they’ve been planning to take all along.  And the widespread belief continues to be that Winston will be the pick.

Not surprisingly, Licht also was asked about the research the team has done regarding Winston’s off-field issued, specifically relating to the sexual-assault lawsuit filed against him last week by Erica Kinsman.

“It didn’t surprise us,” Licht said regarding the civil complaint.  “The information that came out with it was not a surprise to us.  We’re very confident in the amount of work we have done.  Maybe 25 years from now I’ll write a book, but we feel very confident in the amount of work we’ve done internally.  We have had work done externally, third parties, on and on and on.  So there have been no surprises.”

Licht sidestepped the question of whether he has spoken to prosecutors or to Kinsman’s lawyers.

“Well, I’ll answer that this way:  We’ve talked to a lot of people,” Licht said. “‘A lot’ is probably not a big enough word.  But, we’re not going to publicly talk about who we talked to.  That’s just what we decided internally.  We are not going to talk about the process.  All I’ll tell you is that the Glazer family, the head coach, the General Manager, our staffs, we all couldn’t feel more confident about the process we have gone through so far.”

There’s no reason to think the Buccaneers haven’t done everything they need to do, given the stakes of the decision they’ll be making.  It’s the fifth time in franchise history that they’ve been in this spot, and the goal will be to get another Lee Roy Selmon, who made it to the Hall of Fame — and not another Bo Jackson, who never played for the team.

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Mychal Kendricks absent from start of Eagles offseason program

Mychal Kendricks Getty Images

Offensive lineman Evan Mathis wasn’t the only player absent from the start of the Philadelphia Eagles offseason program on Monday.

According to, linebacker Mychal Kendricks was also a no-show at the Eagles facility.

Per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News, Kendricks had a scheduled trip planned and will join the offseason program soon. Kendricks’ instagram account appears to show him on vacation in Costa Rica.

The offseason workouts are voluntary and there is no penalty for missing the start of conditioning season.

With the addition of Kiko Alonso this offseason, just how the Eagles will work their linebackers onto the field remains to be seen. Alonso, Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans all are capable inside linebackers. Kendricks appeared in 12 games with 11 starts last year for Philadelphia. He recorded 83 tackles with four sacks and three forced fumbles.


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