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75-man roster tracker

NFL teams have until 4 PM EDT on Monday, August 27 to cut their rosters from 90 players to 75 players. We’ll track all the moves that every team makes to get down to 75 players right here.

Arizona Cardinals: Got down to the 75-player limit on Friday by putting LT Levi Brown on injured reserve, waiving fullback Jared Crank and running back Thomas Clayton with the waived-injured designation, and releasing DE Landon Cohen, WR Gino Crump, S Eddie Elder, WR Tre Gray, CB Marshay Green, WR Jaymar Johnson, FB Reagan Maui’a, LB Marcus McGraw, LB Zack Nash, CB James Nixon, K/P Ricky Schmitt and LB Paul Vassalo.

Atlanta Falcons: Got down to the 75-player limit on Saturday by putting tackle Will Svitek on injured reserve, waiving tight end Chase Coffman, linebacker Max Gruder, kicker Erik Folk, running back Richard Medlin, fullback Lee Meisner, defensive end Louis Nzegwu, receiver Kenny Stafford and tight end Aron White and reaching injury settlements with defensive tackle Elisha Joseph and cornerback Darrin Walls.  The Falcons also waived quarterback John Parker Wilson and placed defensive tackle Corey Peters on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Baltimore RavensCut nine on Sunday, including kicker Billy Cundiff, tight end Davon Drew, receiver Devin Goda, offensive lineman Addison Lawrence, cornerback Jordan Maybin, center Cecil Newton (brother of Cam), long snapper Patrick Scales, quarterback Chester Stewart, and receiver Patrick Williams. Finished things up on Monday by placing linebacker Terrell Suggs and wide receiver David Reed on reserve/PUP and placing linebacker Stevie Baggs, linebacker Darryl Blackstock, safety Emanuel Cook and defensive tackle Ryan McBean on injured reserve.

Buffalo Bills: Made 10 moves Sunday to get to the limit. They placed tight end Mike Caussin on reserve/PUP, and released nine players: Wide receiver David Clowney, cornerback Prince Miller, linebacker Danny Batten, defensive end Sean Ferguson, tight end Fendi Onobun, defensive tackle Jay Ross, wide receiver Derek Session, defensive back Nick Sukay and guard Jake Vermiglio.  Batten was waived with the designation “failure to disclose physical condition.”

Carolina Panthers: Started the process of getting down to 75 by cutting their veteran punter and their veteran kicker, Nick Harris and Olindo Mare. They also put promising wide receiver David Gettis on reserve/PUP list, and cornerback Brandon Hogan on IR, and waived wide receivers Darvin Adams, Michael Avila, Brenton Bersin and Rico Wallace (with injury settlement), running backs Josh Vaughan and Lyndon Rowells, tight end Greg Smith, guards Roger Allen and Will Blackwell and linebacker-defensive end Eric Norwood.

Chicago Bears: Made 12 moves Sunday, getting the roster to 76 the day before the deadline. They placed safety Brandon Hardin on IR, receiver Johnny Knox on reserve/PUP, and released veteran defensive tackle John McCargo. They also waived linebacker K.C. Asiodu, quarterback Matt Blanchard, safety Trevor Coston, receiver Terriun Crump, receiver Chris Summers, defensive end Derek Walker, and defensive end Thaddeus Gibson.  They also waived/injured linebacker Adrien Cole and guard Nick Pieschel. The Bears’ final move was cutting former supplemental draft pick Harvey Unga, which got them down to 75.

Cincinnati Bengals: Got down to 76 players on Friday by putting cornerback Brandon Ghee, cornerback Shaun Prater, receiver/cornerback Taveon Rodgers, safety Robert Sands, and guard Travelle Wharton on injured reserve, and releasing defensive end Luke Black, running back Aaron Brown, quarterback Tyler Hansen, and guard Matt Murphy. Wide receiver Kashif Moore was waived on Monday to complete the cuts.

Cleveland BrownsMoved to 80 on Sunday by waiving offensive lineman Jake Anderson, offensive lineman Matt Cleveland, defensive back Emanuel Davis, linebacker JoJo Dickson, punter Spencer Lanning, receiver Carlton Mitchell, receiver Bert Reed, receiver Jermaine Saffold, and receiver Owen SpencerGot to 75 on Monday by waiving with the “injured” designation defensive lineman Marcus Benard, defensive lineman Auston English, and defensive back Antwuan Reed,  placing linebacker Chris Gocong and sixth-round rookie linebacker Emmanuel Acho on injured reserve, and converting defensive lineman Phil Taylor from the active/Physically Unable to Perform list to the reserve/PUP list.

Dallas Cowboys: Dallas got down to 76 players after releasing tackle Levy Adcock, punter Delbert Alvarado, tight end Harry Flaherty, receiver David Little, tackle Tyrone Novikoff, receiver Raymond Radway, running back Javarris Williams and cornerback C.J. Wilson. They also waived/injured receiver Donavon Kemp and linebacker Caleb McSurdy, and put guard/center Kevin Kowalski on the physically unable to perform list. They got to 75 by releasing long snapper Charley Hughlett, who had a partially guaranteed contract.

Denver Broncos: Got down to 75 by cutting veteran long snapper Lonnie Paxton, putting defensive end Jason Hunter on injured reserve and waiving linebacker Elliot Coffey, wide receiver Mark Dell, wide receiver Cameron Kenney, tight end Anthony Miller, defensive end Cyril Obiozor, running back Xavier Omon, safety Anthony Perkins, tackle Mike Remmers, cornerback Ramzee Robinson, fullback Austin Sylvester and guard Austin Wuebbels.

Detroit Lions: The Lions got down to 80 players after waiving fullback James Bryant, receiver Jarett Dillard, running back Stephfon Green, safety Sean Jones, guard Jacques McClendon, linebacker Slade Norris (injured), guard J.C. Oram, defensive tackle Bobby Skinner, kicker Derek Dimke and receiver Terrence Toliver. Running back Jahvid Best’s slow recovery from a concussion landed him on the PUP list where he’ll join cornerback Chris Greenwood. Offensive linemen Jonathan Scott and Bill Nagy were placed on injured reserve and wide receiver Dominique Curry and wide receiver Isaac Madison were released.  Also, an injury settlement was reached with defensive back Don Carey, who had been on injured reserve.

Green Bay Packers: Got down to 75 on Monday by placing linebacker Desmond Bishop, running back Du’ane Bennett, tight end DeMarco Cosby, guard Ray Dominguez, defensive end Johnny Jones and receiver Shaky Smithson on injured reserve. Tight end Andrew Quarless and linebacker Frank Zombo were placed on reserve/physically unable to perform. The Packers also released fullback Jon Hoese and defensive end Jarius Wynn. Green Bay began the cuts on Friday by releasing DE Anthony Hargrove, WR Andrew Brewer, S Micah Pellerin, T Herb Taylor and CB Dion Turner.

Houston Texans: Made their moves Sunday, cutting veteran LB Omar Gaither and WR Bryant Johnson among others. They also put rookie kicker Randy Bullock on injured reserve, and waived-injured nose tackle Sunny Harris and linebacker Greg William. Linebacker Darryl Sharpton was placed on reserve-PUP, and they released the following: Tackle Nick Mondek, center Thomas Austin, punter Brett Hartmann, receiver Mario Lewis, running back Davin Meggett, defensive end Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, fullback Derrell Smith, guard Kasey Studdard and cornerback Torri Williams.

Indianapolis Colts: Got the ball rolling on Sunday by waiving cornerback Chris Rucker, cornerback Cameron Chism, cornerback Terrence Johnson, cornerback Antonio Fenelus, safety Matt Merletti, safety David Caldwell, linebacker Mike Balogun, wide receiver Quan Cosby, running back Alvester Alexander, guard Jason Foster and punter Brian Stahovich. They got to the limit Monday by placing defensive tackle Brandon McKinney and offensive tackle George Foster were placed on injured reserve, along with wide receiver Griff Whalen. Rookie defensive tackle Josh Chapman and guard Justin Anderson were placed on the reserve/PUP list, which will keep them on the shelf for at least the first six weeks.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Cut eight players on Saturday: cornerback Ashton Youboty, quarterback Nathan Enderle, receiver Chastin West, linebacker Nate Bussey, running back DuJuan Harris, cornerback Mike Holmes, tackle Dan Hoch, and linebacker Donovan Richard.  Finished the move to 75 on Monday by placing guard John Estes, guard Drew Nowak, guard/center Jason Spitz, and tight end Matt Veldman on injured reserve.  Also, fullback Brock Bolen was waived with the injured designation, and defensive end John Chick and linebacker Clint Session were shifted from the active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP list.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs cut 14 players Sunday to get to the limit. They released second-year wideout Jeremy Horne, who had yet to record a regular season catch, as well as former Army linebacker Caleb Campbell. Also released were: Fullback Shane Bannon, tight end Tim Biere, wide receivers Brandon Kinnie, Zeke Markshausen and Aaron Weaver, offensive linemen Justin Cheadle and Cam Hollland, defensive end Ethan Johnson (waived for failure to disclose physical condition), linebacker Dexter Heyman, defensive backs Dominique Ellis and Jean Fanor and kicker Matt Szymanski.

Miami Dolphins: Cut Hard Knocks star Les Brown as well as defensive tackle Chas Alecxih, cornerback Marcus Brown, safety Tyrell Johnson, cornerback Trenton Hughes, linebacker Josh Linam, running back Jerome Messam, defensive end Jacquies Smith and cornerback Jonathan Wade. Placed running back Jonas Gray on the physically unable to perform list.

Minnesota Vikings: Got down to 75 players on Saturday by waiving guard Bridger Buche, running back Derrick Coleman, guard Grant Cook, linebacker Soloman Elimimian, defensive back Corey Gatewood, tackle Levi Horn, defensive end Anthony Jacobs, receiver Kamar Jorden, receiver A.J. Love, linebacker Tyler Nielsen, defensive end Ernest Owusu, defensive tackle Tydreke Powell, cornerback Chris Stroud, receiver Kerry Taylor, and receiver Bryan Walters. The Vikings previously waived rookie receiver Greg Childs and rookie defensive back Nicholas Taylor, both of whom reverted to the team’s injured reserve list.

New England Patriots: Cleared out some veteran receivers, including Donte’ Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney. They also released were defensive linemen Gerard Warren and Tim Bulman and safety Ross Ventrone. Defensive back Will Allen, safety Josh Barrett and fullback Spencer Larsen were placed on injured reserve, and tight end Jake Ballard and defensive lineman Myron Pryor were placed on the reserve-PUP. Rookie offensive lineman Markus Zusevics was placed on the reserve-Non Football Injury list. The Patriots also claimed first-year WR Kerry Taylor off waivers from the Vikings.

New Orleans Saints: Beat the storm and made their cuts Monday, releasing veteran defensive tackle Remi Ayodele and quarterback Luke McCown. The Saints also waived the following players: Tight end Jake Byrne (who had a partially guaranteed contract), wide receivers Marques Clark, Kevin Hardy and Derek Moye, offensive linemen Hutch Eckerson, Paul Fenaroli and Brian Folkerts, defensive end Donavan Robinson, defensive tackle Swanson Miller, linebacker Aaron Tevis, cornerbacks Kamaal McIlwain and Cord Parks and safety Johnny Thomas (who had a partially guaranteed contract).

New York Giants: Reached the 75-man limit on Monday by placing tight end Travis Beckum and defensive tackle Chris Canty on reserve/PUP, placing offensive lineman Brandon Mosley on injured reserve, releasing cornerback Antwaun Molden and waiving tight end Ryan Purvis, defensive tackle Carlton Powell, defensive back Chris Horton, wide receiver Julian Talley, wide receiver Brandon Collins, tight end Christian Hopkins, defensive back Brandon Bing, defensive back Jojo Nicolas, running back Joe Martinek, tackle Joel Reinders and defensive tackle Oren Wilson.

New York Jets: Got down to 80 players on Saturday by cutting receiver Dexter Jackson, guard Terrence Campbell, long snapper Derek Chard, defensive tackle Matt Hardison, cornerback LeQuan Lewis, safety Marcus Lott, and receiver Raymond WebberCut to 74 Monday by dumping linebacker Ambrose Damario, receiver Stanley Aruke, receiver Wes Kemp, running back Jeremy Stewart, and kicker Josh Brown, and by waiving fullback/tight end Josh Baker with the “injured” designation.

Oakland Raiders: Made 12 moves Monday to get to the limit. They waived linebacker Korey Bosworth (nephew Brian) along with the following players: Defensive ends Mason Brodine and Wayne Dorsey, safeties Aaron Henry and Chaz Powell, cornerback Terrail Lambert, wide receivers Thomas Mayo and DeAundre Muhammad, quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero and fullback Manase Tonga. They also waived-injured fullback Rashawn Jackson and offensive lineman Ed Wang.

Pittsburgh SteelersMoved to 75 on Monday by releasing linebacker Ryan Baker, defensive tackle Mike Blanc, wide receiver Paul Cox, cornerback Andre Freeman, kicker Daniel Hrapmann, offensive lineman Kyle Jolly, long snapper Matt Katula, tight end Jamie McCoy, cornerback Walter McFadden, tight end Justin Peelle, safety Myron Rolle, wide receiver Juamorris Stewart, defensive tackle Kade Weston, and wide receiver Jimmy Young. Also waived linebacker Mortty Ivy with the “injured” designation.  (They’ve since reached an injury settlement with Ivy.)

Philadelphia EaglesCut to 80 on Saturday by releasing receiver Elvis Akpla, safety Wade Bonner, defensive end Xavier Brown, receiver Brian Hernandez (injured), receiver McKay Jacobson, receiver Tiger Jones, guard Alfred McCullough, safety Tom Nelson (injured), cornerback Kevin Thomas, and tackle Thomas Welch.  On Sunday, the Eagles moved to 79, by releasing former Oregon All-American cornerback Cliff Harris. They got down to 75 by placing tackle Jason Peters on the reserve/non-football injury list, defensive tackle Mike Patterson on the reserve/non-football illness list, guard Mike Gibson on injured reserve and waiving wide receiver Jamel Hamler.

San Diego Chargers: Released wide receiver Roscoe Parrish, placed guard Johnnie Troutman on reserve/non-football injury list, placed offensive lineman Brandyn Dombrowski on reserve/non-football illness list and waived wide receivers Jason Barnes, Taylor Embree and Phillip Payne, defensive tackle Eddie Brown, long snapper Nick Guess, running back Michael Hayes, tight end Brad Taylor and offensive tackle Phil Trautwein. The Chargers also reached injury settlements with defensive tackle Garrett Brown and tackle Michael Toudouze to get to 75 players.

San Francisco 49ers: Got to 75 players on Monday by placing linebacker Darius Fleming on the PUP list and running back Jewel Hampton on the reserve/non-football injury list. They also waived tackle Jason Slowey, running back Cameron Bell, linebacker Kourtnei Brown (injured), wide receiver Brian Tyms, safety Cory Nelms, wide receiver Joe Hastings (injured), wide receiver Ben Hannula, kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, defensive tackle Matt Masifilo, cornerback Deante’ Purvis , tight end Joe Sawyer and defensive tackle Patrick Butrym.

St. Louis Rams: Got down to 80 players on Monday by waiving defensive lineman John Gill, linebacker Noah Keller, fullback Todd Anderson, kicker Garrett Lindholm, running back Nicholas Schweiger, wide receiver Charles Gilbert, wide receiver Brandyn Harvey, offensive lineman Kevin Hughes, linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis and running back Calvin Middleton. The Rams got to 75 by waiving-injured wide receiver Danario Alexander, placing defensive tackle Trevor Laws on injured reserve and waiving tight end Brody Eldridge, offensive lineman Ryan McKee and long snapper Travis Tripucka.

Seattle Seahawks: Released on Sunday receiver Terrell Owens, guard Deuce Lutui, tackle Alex Barron, receiver Phil Bates, tackle Edawn Coughman, cornerback Donny Lisowski, cornerback Ron Parker, and running back Tyrell Sutton. Also waived the following players with the “injured” designation: linebacker Jameson Konz, defensive tackle Lazarius Levingston, cornerback Roy Lewis, and tight end Cameron Morrah.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:   Reduced to 75 on Monday by waiving running back De’Anthony Curtis, long snapper Andrew DePaola, receiver Greg Ellingson, tight end Collin Franklin, receiver Ed Gant, punter Eric Guthrie, tackle Mike Ingersoll (injury settlement), linebacker Brian Smith, safety Tramain Thomas, and cornerback Marquese Wheaton.  Also placed guard Davin Joseph on injured reserve and shifted defensive end Da’Quan Bowers to reserve/PUP list.

Tennessee Titans: Got the to 75-man limit Sunday by placing receiver Marc Mariani on IR, safety Markelle Martin on reserve/PUP, and releasing the following players: running back Herb Donaldson, center William Vlachos, quarterback Nick Stephens, kicker Will Batson, tight end Joey Haynos, offensive linemen George Bias and Jonathan Palmer, safety Christian Scott, and receivers Chase Deadder, LaQuinton Evans, and Marcus Harris.

Washington Redskins: Kicker Neil Rackers was let go after losing kicking competition to Graham Gano.  The Redskins also released veteran offensive linemen Tony Moll and James Lee; waived running back Antwon Bailey, offensive lineman Chris Campbell, running back Lennon Creer, quarterback Jonathan Crompton, receiver Samuel Kirkland, linebacker Monte Lewis, guard Nick Martinez, and tight end Beau Reliford; waived receiver Lance Lewis with the injured designation; waived cornerback Morgan Trent with an injury settlement; traded cornerback Kevin Barnes to the Lions; and placed right tackle Jammal Brown on reserve/PUP.

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Seahawks Jesse Williams carted off field after suffering knee injury

Jesse Williams, Richard Sherman AP

Defensive tackle Jesse Williams was a dominant force for the University of Alabama but slipped to the fifth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft due to injury concerns regarding his knees.

After missing all of his rookie season due to a knee injury, Williams was beginning to turn heads of the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff in training camp with his power to disrupt at the line of scrimmage. However, the injury bug appears to have jumped up and caught Williams again.

Williams was carted off the practice field on Tuesday and the team confirmed to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times that Williams had suffered a knee injury. No further update was given on Williams’ condition or the severity of the injury.

Williams was trying to work into the defensive line rotation for the Seahawks behind starting defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel.

“The thing going into this camp was could he stay healthy and could he play?” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said following practice. “For us right now with Jesse, we can see the strength at the line of scrimmage has not changed, and he actually got a little bit leaner. So for us, we can’t wait to see what he can do. He’s as strong as he ever has been, but still a little leaner so his mobility is better.”

The Seahawks will have to wait for the results of further testing to determine the full severity of the injury. However, leaving the practice field on the back of a cart is never a good sign.

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Antonio Brown unhappy after Emmanuel Sanders critiques Big Ben

Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown AP

Former Steelers and current Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders said recently that his current quarterback is a better leader than his former quarterback. One of his former teammates isn’t happy about that.

Responding to Sanders saying that Peyton Manning is “a far better leader” than Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown lashed out at Sanders.

That was terrible,” Brown said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You don’t throw the quarterback under the bus, the guy who makes you what you are.”

After realizing he had stirred up a controversy, Sanders took to Twitter to try to clarify.

“I never said Ben wasn’t a leader,” Sanders wrote. “I just said Peyton is a better one. I have nothing but respect for Ben as a man and as a player.”

But when a fan asked Sanders about Brown’s comments, Sanders seemed to take umbrage.

They throw dirt on my name-that means they still dig me,” Sanders wrote.

The folks in Pittsburgh won’t dig Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger, but Sanders was just giving his honest assessment: He’s in a position to know, and he says Manning is a better leader than Roethlisberger.

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Packers add WR Gerrard Sheppard

Baltimore Ravens Rookie Camp Getty Images

In the NFL’s lone successful waiver claim Wednesday, the Packers added first-year wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard, according to the league’s transactions.

Sheppard (6-2, 211) had been waived by Baltimore on Tuesday. The 23-year-old Sheppard signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and earned a spot on the club’s practice squad as a rookie. Sheppard played collegiately at Connecticut (2008-2010) and Towson (2011-2012).

Sheppard’s addition gives the Packers 11 wide receivers, 10 of whom can practice, as rookie wideout Jeff Janis is on the non-football illness list. The move also puts the Packers at the 90-player roster limit.

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Jim Harbaugh annoyed with questions about Aldon Smith

jimharbaugh AP

The 49ers didn’t have linebacker Aldon Smith at practice today because Smith was in Los Angeles, dealing with the fallout from an April incident in which he was accused of making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport. Coach Jim Harbaugh wasn’t in the mood to talk about it.

As reporters questioned Harbaugh, he was having none of it. Here’s the transcript:

Is LB Aldon Smith here today?
“No.”

He’s in Los Angeles?
“What’s that?”

He’s in Los Angeles for his meeting there?
“He’s not here today.”

You can’t say where he is?
“No. Is that my responsibility to tell you where he is?”

You’re the head coach of the football team.
“Yeah, OK. Well you seem to already know. He’s going through a process.”

Then there’s a couple of places he could be. New York being one of them, Los Angeles being the other. He’s in the latter.
“OK. I don’t know if that was a question or a statement?”

Harbaugh answered five follow-up questions without providing reporters with any relevant information. Bill Belichick would be proud.

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Jones: Cowboys “committed” to keeping Dez Bryant “for life”

Stephen Jones AP

Tyron Smith might not be the only young Cowboys star cashing in.

Team vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys were “working hard” to get a long-term deal for wide receiver Dez Bryant done next.

We’re totally committed to make Dez a Cowboy for life,” Jones said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Our plans from Day 1, . . . figure a way to get Dez and Tyron extended.”

The 23-year-old left tackle signed an eight-year extension which will keep him with the team through the 2023 season.

Bryant, 25, is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and will make $1.78 million this year, but Jones wasn’t going to speculate on when anything might happen.

“I don’t guess on when things get done,” he said.

The only certainty is that when it happens, it will be big. Although getting Smith done now allows them the possibility of using the franchise tag, giving them a bit of starting-point leverage.

 

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Jim Leonhard reunites with Mike Pettine in Cleveland

Jim Leonhard AP

Safety Jim Leonhard said recently that he had spoken to the Packers about coming aboard for the 2014 season, but the Wisconsin native never reached agreement on a deal with the team.

He won’t have to leave the Midwest to play football this year, though. Leonhard tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that he has signed a contract to play for the Browns.

The move reunites Leonhard with Browns coach Mike Pettine, who was an assistant on Ravens, Jets and Bills teams that featured Leonhard. That year with the Bills came in 2013, when Leonhard started seven times and played all 16 games for a defense coordinated by Pettine. Leonhard had 41 tackles and four interceptions in Buffalo.

With that kind of familiarity and a thin group of backup safeties, the late start to camp shouldn’t hurt Leonhard much. Donte Whitner will hold one starting safety job for the Bills and Tashaun Gipson is pencilled in alongside him, although Leonhard could change that if Pettine decides to go with what he knows come the regular season.

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Bengals CB Chris Lewis-Harris suspended two games

Chris Lewis-Harris AP

The NFL has suspended Bengals cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris for the first two games of the 2014 regular season under the league’s substance-abuse policy, the team said Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Lewis-Harris appeared in six games for Cincinnati in 2013, recording three tackles. He’s vying for a reserve role with Cincinnati, which is deep at cornerback.

Lewis-Harris can play in exhibition games, but the earliest he can return to an active NFL roster is Monday, September 15.

A Tennessee-Chattanooga product, Lewis-Harris is one of 10 cornerbacks on Cincinnati’s roster.

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Cassel, Bridgewater begin even split of first-team reps

Bridgewater AP

The Vikings have a trio of quarterbacks about whom offensive coordinator Norv Turner periodically has raved.  With camp in full swing and the preseason games approaching, Turner has officially narrowed his focus to a pair of finalists for the Week One starting job.

Via multiple reports, veteran Matt Cassel and rookie Teddy Bridgewater have begun equally splitting first-team reps, with former starter Christian Ponder working exclusively with the reserves.

It’s unclear when a starter will be picked.  Appearing on Wednesday’s PFT Live, tight end Kyle Rudolph said that he and the other pass catchers prefer that a decision be made as soon as possible, so that the pass-catchers can focus on working with the guy who’ll be throwing the passes when the season begins.

For more from Rudolph, click the thing in the thing below.

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Gordon’s appeal is indeed all or nothing

Cleveland Browns v St. Louis Rams 8-8-2013 Getty Images

Despite a belief in some league circles that the person designated to handle the appeal of Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s one-year suspension can split the proverbial baby by imposing a suspension somewhere between zero and 16 games, the NFL characterizes the substance-abuse policy in a way that makes clear the absence of discretion.

“The disciplinary penalties were negotiated by the NFLPA and NFL more than 20 years ago and there has never been a proposal to change them,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells PFT via email.  “When they were first established, the union expressed the strong view that they needed to be stated and mandatory to ensure that all players be treated the same regardless of position, experience, level of ability, or competitive considerations.  On appeal, the hearing officer’s responsibility is to determine whether the violation was established and, if so, he is bound by the agreed-upon sanctions.”

For players in Stage III of the program, a positive test automatically triggers a one-year suspension.

For Gordon, then, only two options exist:  full-year suspension or no suspension at all.

If the terms of the policy are applied as written, Gordon could indeed be facing a one-year suspension, no matter how unfair or heavy-handed or otherwise wrong.  Or maybe the hearing officer will, consciously or otherwise, broaden the lens and consider the reaction to a one-year suspension for Gordon versus a mere two-game suspension for Ray Rice and his far more heinous conduct.

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Brandon Browner gets heated at Patriots practice

Brandon Browner AP

The Patriots signed Brandon Browner this offseason because he’s a big, physical cornerback capable of keeping wide receivers from doing exactly what they want while running their routes.

On Wednesday, the Pats offense got an up-close view of how Browner makes that happen. Browner shoved wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins to the ground after a pair of plays that saw the duo matched up one-on-one and then got into a shouting match with receivers coach Chad O’Shea that ended when other members of the team separated the two.

Browner said afterwards that he came into practice with the mindset of being more aggressive after the defense “gave up a few easy balls” in Tuesday’s session. He said that he and O’Shea “hugged it out” after practice and explained why he thought the scrapes would make for a better team.

“It gets us both better,” Browner said, via CSNNE.com. “Guys on the other side of the ball, it’s what [opponents are] going to do in guys in games. And it’s what they’re going to do to me in games … That’s my style of play. Play aggressive. You don’t want to cost your team any penalties, but we’ll let the officials do their job.”

Browner will have to cool his jets for the first four games of the regular season while serving a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, leaving the Patriots to hope that his summer work helps his teammates enough to make the absence less of a hindrance for the defense.

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John Harbaugh: I’m proud of Ray Rice for how he’s handled it

johnharbaugh AP

The Ravens are continuing their public support of Ray Rice, the running back whose two-game suspension for a domestic violence incident has been widely criticized.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said today that he continues to support Rice and believes that Rice is making the most of a bad situation.

“I love the way he’s handled it,” Harbaugh said. “I hate what happened. What happened was wrong, flat out. The thing I appreciate about it is how Ray has handled it afterwards by acknowledging that it was wrong and he’ll do everything he can do to make it right. That’s what you ask for when someone does a wrong thing. So I’m proud of him for that, from that standpoint. And for anybody out there who’s going to misconstrue that and just write, ‘John Harbaugh is proud of Ray,’ then shame on you. I’m proud of him for the way he’s handled it, OK? Disappointed in what happened, but you go forward. You know, you go forward. That’s what we’re going to do as a football team, and that’s what we’re going to do as an individual, he’ll do as an individual.”

Although Harbaugh was careful to explain that he means he is proud of the way Rice has responded since his February arrest, and not that he condones what Rice did to result in the arrest, that distinction may not change the fact that some people simply don’t want to hear the Ravens continuing to support Rice publicly. The Ravens’ full-throated support of Rice has — like the NFL’s two-game suspension — struck many as insensitive to victims of domestic violence.

Harbaugh declined to talk about the backlash to the suspension, which has been widely decried as an indication that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t grasp the seriousness of domestic violence.

“There’s no way I’m going to comment on the length of it, but I know this: Those that make those decisions do so with great seriousness. They aim to be just and fair and they aim to do right by all parties involved,” Harbaugh said.

But Harbaugh did say that he thinks opening the season without Rice will be tough for his team to overcome.

“It’s going to be tough for us,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going to be two games without one of our very best players. But we’ll move forward and deal with it. Beyond that, there’s really nothing else to say.”

Harbaugh may have nothing left to say, but Rice is expected to address the media on Thursday. His comments will surely be scrutinized by those who believe Rice has yet to show genuine remorse — and who believe both the Ravens and the NFL have been far too supportive of Rice.

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Colts guard Donald Thomas leaves practice early

Joe Reitz, Donald Thomas AP

The Colts need to do a better job of protecting quarterback Andrew Luck, and that job didn’t get any easier today.

According to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, guard Donald Thomas is believed to have re-injured his quadriceps, and left the practice field early. He’s expected to have an MRI to determine the severity.

Thomas played just two games for the Colts last year before tearing his quadriceps tendon, sending him to injured reserve. The rehab process also kept him from participating in OTAs this year.

The Colts signed him to a four-year, $14 million deal last offseason, and haven’t gotten much of a return on that investment.

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Tyron Smith’s 10-year deal is “nuts”

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

It’s hard to say that a guy who signed an eight-year contract reportedly worth $98 million made a mistake.  But in the NFL, where the player is far more bound to the deal than the team, left tackle Tyron Smith apparently has given the Cowboys near-unilateral control over the balance of his career.

“There’s no way you can do a deal that long,” a league source with extensive experience negotiating player contracts told PFT.  “I’m stunned. . . .  10 years is nuts.”

The extension reportedly places Smith under contract for a total of 10 years at a payout of $110 million.  He’ll have no power to get more money, no matter how well he performs.  And if he doesn’t perform well, the only security he’ll have is the fully-guaranteed money that he received when committing himself to the Cowboys for the next decade.

The full details eventually will be known, and we’ll get a chance to see just how team friendly the contract is.  Unless every year of the contract is fully guaranteed (and if it were, that detail would have been leaked), the mere duration of the deal makes it a bad one for the player — who apparently wanted to do a contract badly enough that he was willing to make a commitment that, for nearly all NFL contracts, never is mutual.

Apparently, the Cowboys knew how badly Smith wanted that new contract, and the Cowboys took full advantage of it.

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PFT on NBCSN takes closer look at 49ers, Patriots, more

Tom Brady AP

Wednesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN delves into a potential Super Bowl matchup that has never actually happened — 49ers vs. Patriots.

This year, it could.  Which would mean New England quarterback Tom Brady would be going against the team he cheered for as a child.

He’s far from being a child now, and he’s 10 years removed from his last Super Bowl ring.  The 49ers are 20 years removed from theirs.  So today’s poll question asks which of the two is more likely to get a crack at another title to cap the 2014 season.

Tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET.  And stick around for Fantasy Football Live at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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Manziel takes a training-camp detour to a tavern

Manziel AP

Before the draft, Johnny Football was all about football, working out and studying and spending every waking moment getting himself ready to be as attractive as he possibly could be for an NFL team.

After the draft, Johnny Football became Johnny Vegas and Johnny Bieber and Johnny Rolled-Up-Hundy and everything but a guy who was all about football.  That supposedly was going to change once training camp opened, with Manziel buckling down and focusing on becoming the best football player he can be.

And so on the night before the first day off at training camp, Manziel reportedly was spotted at a bar roughly two miles from the team’s headquarters, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

As Ulrich points out, the behavior goes against the notion that “Work Hard, Play Harder” would yield to “Work Hard, Work Harder” once camp opened.  It also contradicts the prediction of former Texas A&M teammate Mike Evans.

“In training camp, I don’t think he’ll go out at all,” Evans said in June.  “He’ll be committed and devoted and fighting for a starting job.”

The photo posted online at BustedCoverage.com shows nothing controversial or even all that interesting.  It’s a dude at a bar with a “crap, I think someone may be taking my picture with a camera phone” look on his face.

It’s only an issue because Manziel’s lifestyle and the team’s evolving reaction to it — from “we don’t care” to “tone it down” to “we’re alarmed” — creates a potential connection between Manziel’s actions away from the field and the Browns’ willingness to allow him to take the field in games that count.  Especially with most of the organization seemingly ready to drive Brian Hoyer down to Canton this weekend for inclusion in the new class of Hall of Famers.

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