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Niners land Carlos Rogers

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With Nate Clements cut and no other cornerbacks landed, the Niners had a glaring need at the position.  They filled it last night, with the signing of former Redskins top-ten draft pick Carlos Rogers.

According to Matt Maiocco of, Rogers signed a one-year deal with the 49ers.

Rogers, who has eight interceptions in six NFL seasons, is expected to start alongside veteran Shawntae Spencer.

It’s the latest one-year contract signed by a free agent who presumably believed he’d be getting a lot more money in free agency.  Like other veterans, Rogers has decided to get a job for this season and to hope that he can position himself for a long-term deal in 2012.

Of course, each additional one-year deal will serve only to increase the market in March, making it harder to get that elusive big-money, multi-year contract.

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“Wearing out welcome” isn’t new for Jim Harbaugh

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Tuesday’s new episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel includes a look not only at Seattle’s quarterback but also at the former San Francisco head coach who no longer has to deal with Russell Wilson.  Andrea Kremer profiles new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who has returned to Ann Arbor decades after he once patrolled the sidelines as a boy — and actually once ran into the end zone to celebrate a touchdown.

Kremer looks at Jim Harbaugh’s legendary intensity and competitiveness, which he admits has undermined plenty of relationships.

“You didn’t always play well with others, necessarily,” Kremer says to Harbaugh.

“Yeah, people say that,” Harbaugh responds.

“Well, what do you say?” Kremer asks.

“It must be true, yeah,” Harbaugh replies.  “Sometimes I’d wear out my welcome.”

“What does that mean you wear out your welcome?”

“They just don’t want to be around you after a while,” Harbaugh admits.

It happened not only when Jim Harbaugh was a youth, but also as an adult.  And that may have contributed to his departure from the 49ers.

“He does a great job of giving you that spark, that initial boom,” 49ers guard Alex Boone tells Kremer.  “But after a while, you just want to kick his ass. . . .  He just keeps pushing you, and you’re like, ‘Dude, we got over the mountain.  Stop.  Let go.’  He kind of wore out his welcome.”

“What does that mean?” Kremer asks.

“I think he just pushed guys too far.  He wanted too much, demanded too much, expected too much.  You know, ‘We gotta go out and do this.  We gotta go out and do this.  We gotta go out and do this.’  And you’d be like, ‘This guy might be clinically insane.  He’s crazy.’ . . .  I think that if you’re stuck in your ways enough, eventually people are just going to say, ‘Listen, we just can’t work with this.'”

Boone also said something that shed’s light on the perspective of the locker room.  “The players had nothing to do with him getting fired,” Boone says, which suggests that the players aren’t buying the whole “mutual parting” thing.

Brother John Harbaugh, the Ravens head coach who beat Jim’s 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, recalls a strong obsession with winning when they were youths.

“He always wanted to win everything, and if he wasn’t winning — and the few times in our history growing up when I was bigger or better — it really ticked him off,” John Harbaugh said.  “We have some pictures where you can see the look on his face in the picture. . . .  He’s just mad that he’s shorter or he’s smaller or that he lost a basketball game or he lost a card game.  He would carry it around with him for a while.”

Jim Harbaugh even competed with genetics.  Obsessed with getting to six-feet, two inches, Harbaugh found a magic elixir for growth.

“I heard that if you drink milk that builds strong bones, and convinced myself that I’ll drink as much milk as I possibly can drink,” him Harbaugh said.

So as a third grader, Jim Harbaugh said he got a job at his elementary school distributing milk to the students.  The pay was a free milk every day, plus the ability to drink the milk of the kids who weren’t there or who didn’t want their milk.

“I drank a lot of milk, Andrea,” he says.  “A lot of milk.  Whole milk, though.  Not the candy ass two-percent or skim milk.”

It worked.  He made it not to six-two, but to six-feet, three inches.

The competition with anyone and with anything continues.  The press copy of the HBO profile has video and audio of Harbaugh shouting generally at Michigan players in spring practice to “huddle the f–k up” and telling one specific player, “I’m just telling you the right way to do it.  If you want to look at me with that look, go f–king someplace else.”

“Go f–king someplace else” is what the 49ers essentially told Harbaugh in December.  Moving forward, the question becomes whether he’ll hear that phrase or something similar to it from the folks running the show in Ann Arbor.

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Peterson isn’t expected to show up for start of offseason workouts

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Recently asked if he’ll be present for voluntary offseason workouts in Minnesota, running back Adrian Peterson said, “We’ll see.  I haven’t even been reinstated yet.”

He has since been reinstated, but Peterson isn’t expected to show.  That’s the word from Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Peterson’s $13 million compensation package for 2015 includes a $250,000 workout bonus.  Most workout bonuses contain a fairly high threshold for participation, often 80 or 90 percent.

For Peterson, the money is a drop in the bucket, if he’s looking for a new deal and/or a new team.

Notwithstanding recent interest (or whatever it can be called) from the Cowboys and a report that the Raiders have interest, the top candidates for a trade continue to be the Cardinals, Jaguars, and Buccaneers.  While some have construed a report that the Vikings want a first-round pick and a starting corner for Peterson as proof that the Vikings are willing to trade Peterson, the truth could be that the Vikings have applied a high price tag to scare off anyone who thinks they can steal Peterson for peanuts.

Regardless, many wonder whether the Vikings eventually will blink, given that they insisted in 2013 that the Vikings have “no intent” to trade Percy Harvin — and then traded him.  So no one believes that the Vikings will insist on keeping Peterson, even though the continue to say they do.

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Todd Gurley scheduled for visit with Patriots

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The Patriots didn’t shy away from taking a player coming off a knee injury in the first round of the draft last year and they’re reportedly set to visit with another player in the same situation for this year’s draft.

Mike Giardi of reports that Georgia running back Todd Gurley is scheduled for a visit with the Patriots this week. Gurley tore his ACL last November and the Pats took defensive tackle Dominique Easley after he suffer the same injury in his final college season.

Gurley got good news during his medical review at the NFL’s combine re-check in Indianapolis this weekend, though, and there’s optimism about his chances of being ready for training camp. That makes it less likely that he’ll still be on the board when the Patriots and the 32nd pick come up on April 30.

New England saw two running backs — Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley — sign elsewhere as free agents, leaving LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Brandon Bolden, Travaris Cadet and James White in the mix for backfield roles. The Patriots will likely add to that group before camp, but the need doesn’t feel big enough for them to make the move up it appears it will take to secure Gurley’s services.

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Danny Woodhead: Injury made me even hungrier

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As an undrafted player out of Chadron State, running back Danny Woodhead had to beat long odds to have an NFL career.

Woodhead beat those odds, carving out a role with the Patriots after the Jets released him and then moving on to help the Chargers to the playoffs in 2013 in his first season in San Diego. Woodhead’s second season ended with a broken leg in the third game of the season, leaving Woodhead with an extended rehab period that he says left him even hungrier to succeed on the field than he was when he was trying to get his foot in the door.

“It’s been a long process,” Woodhead said, via the team’s website. “But definitely it makes you hungrier when the game is taken away. It makes you realize how blessed you are to play it. Not that I didn’t understand that before, but when it is taken away for such a long amount of time, it makes you even hungrier. You miss being out there with your brothers. I’m excited for this season. I’m always excited, but my mentality might even be younger and hungrier than ever before.”

With Ryan Mathews now in Philly, the depth chart at running back in San Diego features Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown. An addition in the draft seems likely, but Woodhead’s pass catching ability should lead to regular feedings on offense whether Philip Rivers or someone else is the quarterback come September.

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La’el Collins scheduled for visit with Dolphins

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The Dolphins have visited with some of the top cornerback, running back and wide receiver prospects during the pre-draft process, but they haven’t been ignoring their need for offensive line help.

Several of the top blockers in this year’s draft class have spent time with the Dolphins and another one is slated to meet with the team next week. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, LSU tackle La’El Collins will visit with the team in the coming days.

Collins started at left tackle in Baton Rouge the last two years, but that’s not a spot where the Dolphins are in need of immediate help with Branden Albert back from last year’s knee injury. They’re also in good hands on the right side with 2014 first-rounder Ja’Wuan James, but they need help at guard and Collins opened his college career playing on the interior.

If the Dolphins do take an offensive lineman in the first round, it would be the fourth time in the last eight drafts that they’ve taken a blocker to open their draft.

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Sunday morning one-liners

Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

How have the Bills fared in past drafts without a first round pick?

The Dolphins have dates and times for their preseason schedule.

An argument in favor of the Patriots extending LB Dont’a Hightower now.

Will the Jets face the Bills and former coach Rex Ryan in Week One?

South Florida CB/KR Chris Dunkley will visit the Ravens.

Said Bengals CB Leon Hall of the start of offseason work, ““I think that will be good for everybody. It will be nice to see guys at some of the other positions. You can go for a while without seeing an offensive or defensive lineman.”

Akron WR Zach D’Orazio will work out for the Browns.

Assessing the likelihood that the Steelers pick a cornerback in the first round.

Texans TE Garrett Graham caught the team’s website up on his offseason activities.

Saturday was the anniversary of the Colts picking QB Peyton Manning first overall.

The Jaguars are in the market for a safety.

Would a trade for QB Philip Rivers cost the Titans too much?

WR Cody Latimer likes what the Broncos have in mind for him this season.

Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star has the Chiefs taking Texas DT Malcom Brown in the first round.

Raiders strength and conditioning coach Joe Gomes has done work with the United States military.

Todd McShay of ESPN believes Oregon QB Marcus Mariota would be a good fit with the Chargers.

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley didn’t know what to do with his signing bonus.

A look at how the Giants’ equipment staff prepares for the offseason program.

The Eagles could take an offensive lineman with the 20th pick.

Texas Southern cornerback Tray Walker and Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday have visited the Redskins recently.

S Antrel Rolle likes the Bears’ chemistry.

Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s first year in Detroit got a good review from his former boss/Saints coach Sean Payton.

DE Mike Daniels has been working out hard in advance of the Packers’ offseason workouts.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman shared his belief that long-term success comes through good drafting.

Alabama QB Blake Sims says that he’s met with the Falcons.

Should the Panthers take Georgia RB Todd Gurley or address the offensive line?

The Saints’ roster stands at 70 players.

Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy has stepped up his offseason workouts.

Cardinals WR Jaron Brown has healed from his late-season shoulder injury.

Will the Rams pull the trigger on adding a quarterback in the draft?

A few dispatches from the 49ers’ pro day for local draft prospects.

The Seahawks players who went to Hawaii together last week seemed to be having fun while working out.

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Anonymous ESPN employees reportedly want McHenry out

ESPN Getty Images

The notorious tow-lot video featuring ESPN reporter Britt McHenry has sparked plenty of strong reactions among media and fans.  According to TMZ (via, strong reactions have occurred within ESPN, too.

Multiple employees of the four-letter network reportedly think McHenry should be and/or will be fired in the aftermath of her four-letter, mean-spirited, I’m-better-than-you rant caught on video — and on audio — at an undisclosed location at an unknown date and time.

Suspended for a week by ESPN, some unnamed co-workers think McHenry eventually will be suspended for good.  Regardless of how this plays out, let’s take an opportunity on a somewhat slow Sunday to take a closer look at some of the risks raised by taking employment action against someone for an incident occurring beyond the boundaries of his or her employment.

There’s a saying in the legal profession that bad facts make bad law.  In other words, when something happens that cries out for a specific outcome, the rules can get twisted to lead to that outcome without regard to the precedent it sets.  In this specific case, the precedent possibly becomes that anything an on-air employee at ESPN says or does while off the clock can be the basis for discipline or discharge, even without behavior that would result in an arrest.

Should that be the standard for any employee?  I’ve argued for years that the NFL shouldn’t reach into the urine of a player to determine whether he is or isn’t smoking marijuana or using other recreational drugs that don’t enhance performance.  Why should ESPN be able to impose discipline based whether an on-air employee treats another person rudely while not at work?

And what amounts to rude behavior?  Refusing to sign an autograph?  Not leaving enough of a tip at a restaurant?  Bumping into someone without saying, “Excuse me”?

Yes, McHenry played the “I’m in the news” card, but she never said she works for ESPN and there’s no reason to believe she was working for ESPN at the time she made those remarks.  Does every ESPN on-air employee now have to worry about anything and everything they say in any setting, even when they’re not working?

On one hand, if ESPN employees don’t treat other people the way McHenry treated the person behind the counter at the tow lot, it won’t be a problem.  On the other hand, why does any employer have the right to take action against someone for something they did on their own time when that behavior has no relevance to the person’s job performance?

There’s also the question of whether McHenry knew her words were being recorded.  While it doesn’t excuse the behavior, surveillance cameras typically capture only video and not audio because the recording of audio amounts to a potential wiretapping violation.  Even in a jurisdiction where only one party must consent to the conversation being record (in this case, the tow-lot employee), a private conversation between two people at the counter while the tow-lot employee was away from the window would potentially violate the law.  In McHenry’s case, the original video was presented in a way that suggests she saw the camera before saying some of the worst things she said; if she had no reason to believe the camera also had a microphone, her decision to continue with the tirade after spotting the camera becomes a bit less confusing.

Again, none of this makes her conduct acceptable.  The real question becomes whether the disclosure of the audio and the ensuing embarrassment is punishment enough, or whether ESPN has the ability to take action against her for something that happened away from work.  The audience can choose not to like or respect her; is that sufficient (absent evidence of widespread channel-changing when she appears on screen) to justify taking her off the air?

Then there are the notorious Chris Berman on-set but off-air videos.  From a profanity-laced rant against the crew for moving around while he was on the air to an extended explanation of how to smuggle codeine from Canada to creepy flirtations with a female colleague, Berman never faced any scrutiny or discipline when comments he made appeared online.  While he never singled out any one person for demeaning comments, Berman’s behavior happened while he was on the clock for ESPN.  McHenry’s didn’t.

There’s no easy answer to this one.  Regardless of whether McHenry deserves to be heavily criticized for her comments to the tow-lot employee (and the court of public opinion has concluded that she does), the question of whether she deserves to be suspended or eventually fired by ESPN becomes far more complicated when considering how the precedent will apply going forward — and when contemplating how this standard would have or should have applied in past cases of recorded comments made by other ESPN employees under circumstances far more closely connected to the employment relationship.

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Denard Robinson: I should be the Jaguars’ No. 1 running back

Denard Robinson, Malliciah Goodman AP

After starting his first season as an “offensive weapon” and his second season as a backup, Denard Robinson has a new idea for what his role should be this year: Starting running back for the Jaguars.

Robinson, the former Michigan quarterback who has had a number of roles in Jacksonville in his first two NFL seasons, scoffs at the idea that the Jaguars should use a high draft pick on a running back.

I think I should be a No. 1 guy,” Robinson told the Florida Times-Union. “That’s how I have to look at it. But I have to show them that. Words don’t mean anything. It’s all about showing them.”

Although Toby Gerhart was signed to be the starter, Robinson was by far the Jaguars’ best running back last year: Robinson ended up leading the team in yards and touchdowns and averaged 4.3 yards a carry, while Gerhart averaged 3.2 and rookie Storm Johnson averaged 3.0.

“I want to show the team they can count on me. Last year, I showed growth so people could say, ‘That’s not the same Denard. It’s night and day.’ This year, I want them to say, ‘Man, Denard has grown even more,'” Robinson said.

Right now, it looks like Robinson will get his wish, and will grow into the role of a full-time No. 1 running back.

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Rivers, Chargers continue to do an apparent contract mating dance

Rivers AP

One month and two days ago, jarring news emerged from San Diego:  Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said he has no plans to extend his contract before it expires after the current season — and that he has real concerns about moving his family to Los Angeles.  Coupled with the team’s decision to take a closer look at Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, the facts quickly and naturally led to speculation that the Chargers could trade Rivers to Tennessee for the second overall pick in the draft.

While the story and its potential implications failed to quickly resonate on a widespread basis, the media gradually has recognized the significance of the story.  Left unexplored, however, is the notion that the story is more about laying the foundation for a new contract than it is about Rivers ending his career with a team other than the Chargers.

As one well-connected source explained it to PFT within the past two weeks, far more likely than an imminent divorce between Rivers and the Chargers is the likelihood that player and team have launched a mating dance aimed at getting him signed beyond 2015.  Rivers knows, if the Chargers move to L.A., that he’ll instantly have more value to a team that will be trying to win hearts, minds, and wallets in the nation’s No. 2 market — possibly in direct competition with the Rams or the Raiders.  The Chargers know it, too, but they also know that they won’t be getting extra salary-cap space to accommodate a player’s belief that he has more value to a team in L.A. than he does in San Diego, no matter how accurate that belief is.

Let’s consider one of the first quotes from Rivers, assuming that he’s not thinking about leaving but about leverage.

“I guess things could change, but with all the uncertainty in many aspects, I don’t see it changing before camp gets here, and when camp gets here I’m even more certain to play it out,” Rivers told Acee only four days after the Steelers gave quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a massive, market-value contract.

“Things could change,” Rivers conceded.  But if things don’t change before camp opens, he’s not negotiating a new contract.  In other words (possibly), if the Chargers give Rivers what he wants on a new deal before training camp, he’ll sign on the dotted line.

In more than a month, not much has developed in the way of potential suitors for Rivers.  Some have suggested that he’d be worth two first-round draft picks, a package that a franchise desperate for a franchise quarterback should be willing to instantly sacrifice.

Without a long-term deal, however, it would be a one-year rental with the availability of the franchise tag thereafter.  Besides, while a team like the Browns could be gung-ho about the possibility of adding Rivers to the very long list of starting quarterbacks since 1999, Rivers may have no interest in playing for the Browns or any other team that resides a long way from the land of contention.

Some have suggested Rivers wants out because of the quality of the team around him.  But what other team out there is a high-end quarterback away from instantly contending for a Super Bowl?  Maybe the Texans, possibly the Bills.  Neither team’s name has come up — at all — in the past 33 days. For the most part, the teams that would be most interested in Rivers don’t have the kind of supporting cast that would help him get to where he never has been.

Which brings us back to the Titans.  Apart from Nashville’s proximity to his hometown, why would Rivers want to play for Tennessee?  Arguably, they’re improving on defense with the arrival of Dick LeBeau and several free agents, but they’ve got a long way to go on both sides of the ball to become competitive in the AFC South, and in the AFC generally.

From the Chargers’ perspective, how can they trade Rivers without getting a potential franchise quarterback in return?  That’s possibly why the Chargers have created the impression that they would be interested in trading Rivers to the Titans.  With the second overall pick, the Titans would be guaranteed to get a possible Rivers replacement.

Some wonder whether the end game for the Titans isn’t Mariota but Jameis Winston, with a Rivers deal getting them to No. 2 and then another deal getting them to No. 1.

Moving up to one of the first two picks becomes dangerous territory for the Chargers, who know a thing or two about using the No. 2 overall pick on a quarterback.  In 1998, they climbed up one spot to get in striking distance for Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf.  The Colts took Manning, the Chargers took Leaf, and the rest is a very ugly period in San Diego history.

Still, if the Chargers were intent on trading up to No. 2, it could have been accomplished by now. Rivers would need a new contract in Tennessee, but his agent represents Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and Titans G.M. Ruston Webster.  Which means that getting Rivers signed over the long haul in Tennessee arguably would be the easiest part of this process.  The real question is whether the Chargers truly want to move Rivers, and whether Rivers truly wants to move to a new team.

The fact that more than a month has passed since the story first hit the NFL’s radar screen without anything tangible happening suggests that contract leverage remains the major part of the equation.  Why else would writers in San Diego now be talking about Rivers retiring in lieu of moving to Los Angeles?  With no serious trade discussions happening (yet) and the Chargers not throwing a huge pile of money at Rivers, his other potential ammunition for getting the team’s attention comes from the School of Favre.

Whether it’s Rivers, Mariota, or someone else, the Chargers can’t go to Los Angeles in 2016 without a franchise quarterback.  The team knows it, Rivers knows it.  But there’s currently no reason to credibly believe the Chargers plan to roll the dice on an unproven rookie and there’s currently no reason to credibly believe Rivers wants to roll the dice on an unproven team.

If both sides were willing to do that, the dice would have been rolling by now.

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Morris Claiborne aiming for training camp return

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Back in January, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shared his view that cornerback Morris Claiborne has done enough in his oft-criticized and injury-riddled career for the team to exercise their fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

The Cowboys haven’t actually followed through on picking up that option, which they can do until May 3, and they aren’t going to have a chance to see Claiborne doing much in their offseason program before making that call. That program opens on Monday, but Claiborne has only recently started running after last year’s torn patellar tendon and doesn’t expect to be cleared for a full workload until training camp.

It’s the third time in four years that Claiborne will miss the team’s other offseason work because of injuries, something he intimated hasn’t been easy while discussing this return to action.

“I was at a point where people thought I wasn’t going to walk again,” Claiborne said, via FOX Sports Southwest. “I’m in a better place now in my life and in coping with my injuries and coming back from them.”

Claiborne’s $2.6 million salary for this year is guaranteed, so the Cowboys will hope that the better place leads to better play. Claiborne’s first three seasons haven’t offered much reason to hope that it will, but being the sixth overall pick of the draft gives you more rope than a lot of players.

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Stevie Brown drawing interest, expected to sign soon

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

Safety Stevie Brown is one of the members of PFT’s All-Unemployed team, which is the rare team that players are happy to get released from in the spring.

Brown may be getting his walking papers sooner rather than later. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Brown is mulling a handful of offers and that he’s expected to select one of them in the near future.

Schefter reports the Giants are interested in re-signing Brown, who has spent the last three years with the team and would fill a need they’ve been unable to fill elsewhere in free agency. The Cowboys, Falcons, Raiders and Titans are the other teams that Schefter lists as being in the mix for Brown’s services.

Brown played in every game for the Giants last season and started eight games, but definitely looked like he was shaking off the rust that accumulated while he was missing the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL. He had eight interceptions in a more effective 2012 campaign, which is likely what any team picking him up will be looking for once he gets rolling in 2015.

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Gary Kubiak, Broncos having no issues crossing schemes

Gary Kubiak AP

The Broncos have their first week of offseason work in the books and they spent some of their time in the classroom working on installing new coach Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme.

There’s been much discussion since Kubiak’s hiring about how his offensive approach will mesh with quarterback Peyton Manning. Kubiak called tailoring the things he likes to do with the things that Manning does well “a big challenge to me right now” earlier in the offseason, but he sounded pleased with the early results.

“Crossing the schemes, so to speak, was very, very easy. It was really more about verbiage than anything else. What I tried to do is the things that were very close, I tried to hang on to the verbiage that they had been talking here in the past, because I think that made it easier for the players,” Kubiak said, via the team’s website.

There were examples of how the two sides would come together in one offense. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said the team would line up Manning under center more often than he has in the last couple of seasons while Kubiak offered assurances that the no-huddle would still be a frequent part of the mix next season. Another shift is expected to be a larger role for the run game, something that could help keep Manning fresher later in a season that the Broncos have defined in simple and stark terms.

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Texans RB Alfred Blue has a famous workout partner

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Texans running back Alfred Blue had a solid rookie season in 2014, racking up 528 yards as Arian Foster’s top backup.

As Blue tries to hold his spot and earn a bigger role in his second NFL campaign, he is working with a personal trainer, as the Houston Chronicle noted Saturday. That’s not uncommon, but this is: One of Blue’s workout partners happens to be Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. And as Blue sees it, Peterson is primed for a strong return to NFL play this season.

“You see it in his eyes: ‘I’m going to show the world. When I get back out there, I’m going to break it this time,’ ” Blue said, according to Brian T. Smith of the Chronicle.

For his part, Blue, who turns 24 the week of the 2015 NFL Draft, told the Chronicle he does not want the Texans to “overlook me.”

With that in mind, Blue is not taking anything for granted.

“They tell you every year that nobody’s set, nobody’s safe,” Blue told the Chronicle. “You’ve got to come in every year like you just got drafted or like you’re an undrafted free agent trying to make the team.”

That Blue knows he cannot rest on his laurels is a good sign. He flashed his readiness for a bigger workload as a rookie, when he racked up 156 yards on 36 carries in his first career start. His willingness to work on his own to stay sharp suggests he’ll be ready the next time his number is called.

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Buccaneers spoke to district attorney as part of Winston research

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During Friday’s Outside the Lines on ESPN, Bob Ley said that William Meggs, the local district attorney in Tallahassee, claimed that he has not been contacted by the NFL or any team.  According to a Buccaneers source, however, that information isn’t accurate.

Per the source, the Buccaneers have spoken to the district attorney’s office as part of an extensive due diligence process in which the team has engaged regarding Winston.

The communication occurred well in advance of Friday’s report, the source explained.  And it makes sense; having the first overall pick imposes an obligation to spend plenty of time and resources to research the players who potentially may be selected.  With Winston, that time and resources have been devoted, both as to the allegations made by Erica Kinsman and all other incidents that relate to him in any way.

UPDATE 10:03 p.m. ET:  Per the source, the Buccaneers communicated directly with assistant district attorney Georgia Cappleman, who did the bulk of the work on Kinsman’s claims.

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Mike Williams, Brad Smith added to PFT’s All-Unemployed Team

Mike Williams AP

Since published last week, PFT’s All-Unemployed Team has undergone a little turnover, with center Stefen Wisniewski (Jacksonville) and Michael Crabtree (Oakland) among those departing for the ranks of the job-holding.

With Crabtree gone, we had one spot open at wide receiver. However, we decided to add two receivers to the squad.

And both receivers, as it turns out, were one-time Bills.

However, Mike Williams and Brad Smith are different propositions for NFL clubs. The 27-year-old Williams has three 60-catch seasons to his credit. The 31-year-old Smith, on the other hand, has never caught more than 32 passes in a season.

Williams might have more upside. However, Smith can be used multiple ways. Smith has 134 career carries; Williams has one. Moreover, Smith is a former collegiate quarterback, and he has more special teams experience than Williams.

Williams might be a player who can still be developed. Smith, though, can do several things.

Whom do you prefer?

The answer probably depends on the club.

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