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Minnesota Senate flip-flops on user fee issue

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For the second time on Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate has added an amendment to the stadium bill, and then dumped it.

It happened earlier in the day with the omission — and then the resurrection — of language nullifying the portion of the Minneapolis City Charter that requires a referendum before more than $10 million in municipal money is given to any sports facility.

Now, according to Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV, the Senate added a deal-killing “user fee” to the bill.  And then an hour later they removed it.

Apparently, the Minnesota Senate behaves like a 14-year-old girl picking out a pair of shoes.

The ultimate question is whether they’ll ever pass the bill.  And then whether they’ll change their mind an hour later.

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Terrell Suggs has surgery on his Achilles tendon

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The Ravens have issued a statement from G.M. Ozzie Newsome regarding the condition of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who injured his Achilles tendon working out on his own last week.  (There are conflicting reports on whether he was playing basketball, or whether he was engaged in conditioning drills.)  Newsome discloses that Suggs has undergone surgery.

“Terrell [Suggs] had a successful surgical procedure done on his Achilles tendon this afternoon by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, [N.C.].  After some recovery time, ‘Sizzle’ will begin the process of rehabbing the area.  We know he will work hard to get back on the field with his teammates as soon as the doctors and trainers allow.  We’re confident that he can make a full recovery.”

But when will the recovery happen?  During the 2012 season?  After it?

That’s the bigger question, and it’s not yet answered:  Will Suggs be available to play at any point during the 2012 season?

Newsome also doesn’t say whether the injury to the tendon was a full or partial tear.

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Cris Carter admits to using bounties during his career

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On Monday, former NFL receiver Cris Carter provided great insight regarding the concussion issue during ESPN’s Outside the Lines.  On Tuesday, Carter chimed in on the other big issue in the NFL.

Actually, it was more than a chime.  It was a freaking gong.

Carter told ESPN Radio’s Hill & Schlereth that Carter placed cash bounties on opposing players during his career.

I’m guilty of it,” Carter said.  “It’s the first time I’ve ever admitted it.  But I put a bounty on guys before.  I put bounties on guys.  And the guys tried to take me out, a guy tried to take a cheap shot on me, I put a bounty on him, right now.”

“A money bounty?” Mark Schlereth asked.

“Absolutely,” Carter said.

“Protect me. . . .  Protect me from him. . . .  Especially if he’s playing a different position where I can’t protect myself,” Carter said.  “I’d tell one of them guards, ‘Hey man, this dude is after me, man.  Bill Romanowski.’  He told me he’s gonna me out before the game, in warmups.  No problem.  ‘I’m gonna end your career, Carter.’  No problem.  I put a little change on his head before the game.  Protect myself, protect my family.  That’s the league that I grew up in.”

Asked whether he was the only one to do that, Carter was emphatic:  “Heck no!”

Carter added that he has no regrets.  “Matter of fact, if I see a couple of them dudes that was trying to cheap shot me walking through ESPN, I’d put a bounty on them right now.”

Carter explained that the bounty was “based on protection or big hit, excitement or helping your team win, it wasn’t to maim or hurt the dude.”  And that sounds a lot like how the Saints would explain the use of bounties from 2009 through 2011, if any of them were to admit to it and/or if there were evidence of it.

Carter also said that he was in the Eagles locker room for the 1989 Bounty Bowl, and that he was present when former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan “put the bounties on the guys.”  Carter said he disregarded those types of bounties, but other players didn’t.  “I saw guys getting wiped out, guys going for the money,” Carter said.

Later in the interview, Carter said that bounties also were used by the Vikings to protect players like Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper, and Randall Cunningham.

Carter’s remarks generally support the notion that bounties have indeed been part of the game for a long time before the Saints were caught using them.  But the league has shown no inclination to look any deeper into history than the 2009 through 2011 Saints — probably because the league realizes that the rabbit hole runs far deeper than anyone realizes.

And so the NFL instead has opted to make an example of the Saints and to hope that, moving forward, no one “puts a little change” on anyone’s head before a game.  Or during a game.  Or ever.

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Minnesota Senate restores language nullifying Minneapolis City Charter

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Apparently, John Kerry and Mitt Romney are now serving in the Minnesota Senate.

Hours after the Senate amended the Vikings stadium bill to exclude language that would nullify a provision of the Minneapolis City Charter regarding a referendum for sports facilities to which the city would devote more than $10 million, the Senate has put the language back in, according to Patrick Kessler of WCCO-TV.

And so the endless process of adding amendments has now expanded to removing amendments.

Eventually, the Minnesota Senate will vote on the measure.

We think.

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Ravens extend Bernard Pollard’s contract by three years

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The Ravens have been busy on Tuesday.  Along with signing rookie fifth-rounder Asa Jackson and veteran free-agent Jacoby Jones, the team has extended the contract of safety Bernard Pollard by three years.

The Ravens announced the move on Tuesday evening. Pollard is now under contract through 2015.

“Bernard showed last year that he is a Raven,” G.M. Ozzie Newsome said.  “He’s smart, tough and brings a passion to the games, our practices and in the weight room.  His physical presence on the back end is very important to the way we play defense.  He has indicated since the first day he stepped into our building last training camp that he wanted to be a Raven for the long haul.”

And so the player who recently said that football may not exist in 20-30 years will spend four more years with the Ravens — unless the Ravens decide before then to move on.

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Jamaal Charles sees Peyton Hillis as another Thomas Jones

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Running backs Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis had great seasons in 2010.  In 2011, however, disappointment was in the cards for both men; Charles tore an ACL early in the year, and Hillis’ performed was diminished by a bizarre mix of injury and ineffectiveness and, to an extent, delusion.

They’ve combined forces in Kansas City, with Hillis joining as a free agent the team with which Charles has spent his entire career.  In a Tuesday session with the local media, Charles welcomed the addition of Hillis.

“I feel like he’s the same as Thomas Jones,” Charles said.  “He’s going to come in and get all the tough yards and all the power and I feel like that was the same thing when Thomas was here.  I don’t really care, I’m not a selfish player, and I just want to win.  If he can contribute to the team and put points on the board, why not?  I don’t care about how many yards; I feel like every week if we win the game, I don’t have any complaints.  He came in, we brought him in to win games.  We didn’t bring him in to compete with each other, but we’ll compete with each other in a certain way.  But I don’t think he’s on this team, I’m on that team, I want to beat him up.  I want to train with him and be his best friend.”

It’s unclear when Charles will be able to do more than train.  Charles said his knee is at “about 80 percent,” but he added that he has been “running and cutting and jumping” since four months after the injury.  “I feel like I never had the surgery because I feel normal, I feel like I can do everything that everybody else can do and I can do it better,” Charles said.

Charles believes he’s ready to fully participate in OTAs, but that he plans to defer to Dr. Andrews, who performed the surgery.  Until then, Charles will try to remain patient — even though he obviously is anxious to get back on the field.

“I’m hungry,” Charles said.  “I want it this year.  I’ve got the passion for it.  I can be patient.  I just can’t wait to play football, I can’t wait to bring stuff back to this community and show how much we can win.  And I feel like this is a year for us, that we can go all the way because I can feel it.  And me, I feel I can bring a lot to the team this year being bigger and stronger, and I don’t know, maybe even faster.  I can wait awhile.  In my mind, I want to get back out there because I want to see where I’m at, but I feel like I’m already there, so I can just wait.”

Chiefs fans surely can’t wait to see what will happen for a team that nearly won the division despite not having Charles and safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki for most of the year.  With a dysfunctional situation between the coach and the G.M. now resolved via the replacement of the coach, the Chiefs could be a lot better in 2012 — one year after they were still pretty darn good despite plenty of adversity and drama.

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Minnesota Senate amends stadium deal to block blackouts

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As the Vikings stadium bill continue to be debated on the floor of the Minnesota Senate, a stream of amendments is being proposed.

And some surprising ones are being adopted.

The latest to pass would prevent any and all local TV blackouts of Vikings games played in the new stadium, according to Tom Hauser of KSTP-TV.

The Vikings may not have a problem with that provision, but the league surely will.

Still, the idea has merit.  If significant public money is going to be devoted to the construction of a football stadium, the public should have the ability to watch from home any games played there, regardless of whether all non-premium tickets have been sold at least 72 hours before kickoff.

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Ravens sign Jacoby Jones to two-year, $7 million deal

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After a weekend meeting in Baltimore, Jacoby Jones has signed with the Ravens.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Jones and the Ravens have reached a two-year, $7 million deal.

A 2007 third-round pick, Jones played his entire five-year NFL career in Houston before the Texans released him after the NFL draft. Last year Jones played in all 16 games, starting 10 and catching 31 passes for 512 yards and two touchdowns. Jones has also been a capable kickoff and punt returner.

In Baltimore Jones will likely become the third receiver, behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith.

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Vikings take a look at Rocky McIntosh

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The Vikings, who are trying their best to get better after a woeful 3-13 season, could be getting help from a defensive player who once was regarded as one of the most promising young linebackers in the game.

Per a league source, the Vikings worked out Rocky McIntosh on Tuesday.

McIntosh spent six seasons with the Redskins.  The shift from a 4-3 to the 3-4 defense resulted in a move inside.  In 2011, McIntosh lost his starting job after the first eight games of the season.

The Vikings currently have nine linebackers on the roster.

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Asa Jackson is first Ravens draft pick to sign

Asa Jackson, Nigel Bradham AP

The Ravens have their first draft pick under contract.

Fifth-round pick Asa Jackson has agreed to the CBA-mandated four-year deal with Baltimore, according to Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times. Jackson intercepted eight passes as a cornerback during his career at Cal Poly, although his quickest route to playing time will come via special teams.

With Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams, assuming Williams is healthy after hip surgery, the Ravens are well-stocked at cornerback. Jackson probably can’t crack that trio, but he could provide depth for now while making an impact in the return game.

The Ravens have said that Jackson will be part of the competition for kick return duties this summer. Jackson returned kicks and punts at Cal Poly, posting strong numbers in each department. Webb returned punts last season, but the team would probably be fine with letting him focus more on defense while letting Jackson get his NFL legs in that role.

Baltimore hosts its rookie minicamp this weekend.

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Jacob Bell retires

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Veteran guard Jacob Bell has retired from the NFL, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to PFT.

Per the source, Bell simply lost the desire to play.  He has earned plenty of money over the years, and he decided that the time had come to pursue other interests.

Bell, 31, signed with the Bengals on April 6, after four years with the Rams.  He spent four seasons before that with the Titans.

The news explains Cincinnati’s decision to claim guard Chris Riley on waivers from the Buccaneers.  The Bengals also selected guard Kevin Zeitler in the first round of the 2012 draft.

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Ryan Leaf pleads guilty to felony burglary, drug possession

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Ryan Leaf pleaded guilty to felony drug possession and burglary charges today in Montana as part of a deal that will see him serve nine months in a treatment facility, followed by six more months in a pre-release center.

Leaf, the No. 2 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft, told a judge today that the drug treatment is exactly what he wants.

I’m very much looking forward to that opportunity,,” Leaf said, via the Great Falls Tribune. “An intensive nine months in a rehab facility is what’s presently needed at this point.”

Although Montana authorities are expected to suspend the remainder of Leaf’s five-year sentence if he does what’s asked of him in treatment and pre-release, that doesn’t mean he won’t serve significant time in prison. Leaf was already on probation in Texas for similar crimes related to stealing prescription painkillers, and Texas authorities may sentence him to up to 10 years in prison for violating his probation. A determination on his status in Texas is expected to take place next month.

Leaf has been in jail since the second of his two arrests this year for breaking into homes and stealing painkillers. He has said he became addicted to painkillers he took for injuries he suffered during his football career.

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Minnesota Senate exposes stadium project to possible Minneapolis referendum

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On Monday, the Minnesota House of Representatives made a surprise addition to the Vikings stadium bill, increasing the share to be contributed by the league and the team by $105 million.  The team called the change “not workable.”

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate conjured up an even bigger surprise.  According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Senate has amended its version of the bill to remove the nullification of a Minneapolis City Charter provision that requires a citywide vote in connection with the expenditure of more than $10 million for any sports facility.

As Eric Roper of the Star Tribune explains it, the absence of the provision means that a legal challenge could flow from any effort to build the stadium without a public referendum.  Minneapolis officials believe they have fashioned an argument that will sidestep the charter.  Without state-level nullification of the charter provision, a legal challenge becomes more likely.

The motivation for the change isn’t clear.  It’s a term that could evaporate when a Conference Committee harmonizes the language of the House and Senate versions of the bill.  The House passed a bill that contains the nullification language.

UPDATE 8:50 p.m. ET:  And now the Senate has put the nullification language back in.

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Giants sign first member of their draft class

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The Giants wasted little time getting the “JPP of tight ends” under contract.

Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that the team has reached agreement on a four-year deal with tight end Adrien Robinson. The deal is contingent on Robinson passing a physical at the team’s rookie minicamp this weekend. Robinson was one of two fourth-round picks by the Giants.

Robinson didn’t play a major role in the passing game at Cincinnati, catching just 12 passes last season. The Giants were clearly impressed by his athleticism, though, and General Manager Jerry Reese made the comparison to Jason Pierre-Paul quoted up top in his post-draft comments to the media. Robinson will definitely get a chance to make good on that perceived potential with the Giants. He will join Martellus Bennett and Bear Pascoe as the healthy Giants tight ends this summer while Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard each recover from serious knee injuries suffered in the Super Bowl.

The Giants have six more draft picks left to sign, led by first-round pick David Wilson.

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Eagles sign Mychal Kendricks

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The Eagles have signed the first member of their 2012 draft class.

General Manager Howie Roseman said Tuesday that linebacker Mychal Kendricks, a second-round pick in April, has agreed to a contract. Like all rookies drafted after the first round, Kendricks’ deal is for four years.

Kendricks ran a 4.47 40 at the combine and impressed in several other drills as well. He was also the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year at Cal in 2011. At the time, Kendricks said he thought of himself like Patrick Willis, but he won’t be playing the same position in the pros.

Kendricks played inside in a 3-4 look while at Cal, but the change in schemes to Philly’s 4-3 will likely send Kendricks to a new spot. He should be in the mix at strongside linebacker this summer, a spot where his speed would come in handy in coverage as well as making plays at the edges.

The Eagles have eight other draft picks, many of whom should sign before this weekend’s minicamp.

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