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Rex: “No question” Sanchez is still his starter

Houston Texans v New York Jets Getty Images

Jets coach Rex Ryan replied “Yeah, no question,” when asked if quarterback Mark Sanchez was still his guy.

But the questions continue to mount about his ability to lead a short-handed offense.

Sanchez completed fewer than half his passes for the fourth straight game, which makes the speculation about Tim Tebow natural.

But Ryan refused to give Sanchez a long-term commitment, having said he still judges quarterbacks by wins and losses more than stats.

“I’m not going to get into the what-ifs and all that,” Ryan said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “We’re not preparing to lose, that’s for sure. We’re thinking we’re going to win starting this week.”

“We’re planning on winning,” he added. “We’re planning on having success. I’m not getting into the what ifs.”

Through five games, Sanchez is 31st in the league in passer rating at 66.6 (after the 666th Monday Night Football game, get the Tebow followers on alert).

He was plagued by drops last night, but that’s going to be a reality he has to deal with given the Jets current state. Getting tight end Dustin Keller back, which seems close, would probably help him as much as anything.

Of course, there’s a sense of inevitability about Tebow’s ascension, so it might not matter.

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Quinton Coples among first Rams cuts

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:   Quinton Coples #98 of the New York Jets looks on after the game against Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on October 4, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) Getty Images

Quinton Coples didn’t fulfill expectations as a 2012 first-round pick for the Jets and failed to last four full years with the team before getting cut last November.

It didn’t take the Rams nearly that long to decide that the defensive lineman wasn’t for them. Coples was one of 14 players lopped from the roster on Monday as the team moved toward Tuesday’s 75-man limit. Coach Jeff Fisher said Coples worked hard, but there still wasn’t a spot for a player they signed as a free agent this offseason.

“But out of fairness to a player like Q, I didn’t see him making the team, and that’s exactly what I told him,” Fisher said, via the team’s website. “So I wanted to give him a chance — give him an opportunity — to get out there early to see if he could find work. And if not, we’re going to keep the door open for him.”

Quarterback Dylan Thompson, wide receiver Marquez North, wide receiver David Richards, tight end Benson Browne, tight end Jake Stoneburner, running back Zach Laskey, center Brian Folkerts, offensive lineman Jordan Swindle, defensive lineman Zach Colvin, linebacker Darreon Herring, safety Michael Caputo, kicker Taylor Bertolet and long snapper Jeff Overbaugh were the other cuts.

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Peyton Manning makes Tom Brady joke during Rob Lowe roast

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speak after the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

During the long and winding road that led from the AFC title game in 2015 to the four-game suspension that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will serve this year, emails from Brady speculating about Peyton Manning retiring long before him and touching on other thoughts about the Broncos became public.

Brady apologized to Manning, who shrugged it off by saying “I’ve been roasted before and that is not roasted” before mentioning Comedy Central roasts in particular. Manning still hasn’t been the guest of (dis)honor at one, but he took part in a roast of Rob Lowe that will air on the network soon. Clips have been circulating to promote the show, including one that sees Manning quip about Brady and Deflategate while referencing Lowe’s unsuccessful attempt to break the news of Manning’s retirement in 2012.

“But, hey, I don’t worry about Rob Lowe,” Manning said. “He is a workhorse and, heck man, if they ever stop casting you on sitcoms just look on the bright side. You tried to take the air out of my retirement announcement so fast, you can probably get a job as Tom Brady’s ball boy.”

Manning, who regularly called Brady a friend when asked about the Deflategate charges, got a laugh from the crowd but might be the one sending a note of apology this time around.

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Jerry Rice says “All lives matter,” tells Kap “don’t disrespect the flag”

Jerry Rice AP

Jerry Rice is one of the most popular 49ers ever and one of the greatest players in NFL history, so his words on the Colin Kaepernick situation were bound to get plenty of attention. And when Rice weighed in on the matter on Twitter last night, he chose words that are sure to be controversial.

Rice took to Twitter and chastised Kaepernick for refusing to stand for the national anthem. Rice also seemed to chastise the Black Lives Matter movement.

“All lives matter. So much going on in this world today. Can we all just get along! Colin, I respect your stance but don’t disrespect the Flag,” Rice wrote.

Within hours, that tweet had been retweeted and liked several thousand times, and Rice was trending on Twitter. So plenty of people are paying attention.

The words “All lives matter” have become seen as a rebuke to the Black Lives Matter movement, although it’s unclear whether Rice meant it that way.

What Rice clearly meant is to criticize Kaepernick for refusing to stand. Kaepernick has received plenty of criticism from the general public, but he has received mostly support from his fellow NFL players. Rice is making clear that he doesn’t support Kaepernick’s stance.

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Former Packers tight end Colt Lyerla arrested for heroin possession

Lyerla AP

In trying to talk his way back into another NFL chance, former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla said his “past is the past and it’s going to stay in the past.”

Except, it didn’t.

According to KOIN, Lyerla was arrested Sunday for heroin possession. He was alone in a parked car behind a gas station when police spotted him, and charged him with a felony count of possessing a controlled substance.

Lyerla was arrested for possession of cocaine during his brief but colorful career at Oregon, which also included him quitting the football team and suggesting the Sandy Hook shootings were a government conspiracy. That an NFL team would give him a chance despite all that was an indication of how talented he was in college.

He wasn’t drafted, but the Packers signed him last spring. A knee injury ended his time there, but he was lobbying for another chance after recovering without surgery. It seems unlikely anyone is going to give him one now.

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Report: Agent shift helped nudge Chargers and Joey Bosa to deal

FILE - In this June 6, 2016, file photo, San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa trains during an NFL football practice, in San Diego. The Chargers say they've signed Bosa to a four-year contract. The announcement Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, came five days after the two sides went public in their nasty spat over payment of Bosa's $17 million signing bonus and whether the contract would have offset language.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) AP

If the Chargers hoped to rattle Joey Bosa with last week’s press release outlining how good of a deal it was that he wasn’t taking, it may have worked.

At the very least, it caused his side to make a subtle change.

According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Bosa negotiations resumed after the team’s press release last week, with Bosa shifting the negotiations from one of his co-representatives to the other (in this case, from CAA’s Brian Ayrault to CAA’s Todd France). While that’s easy to portray as a “good cop/bad cop” situation, the reality is both agents were already working for Bosa.

Chargers CFO John Spanos said the offer would only go down, but they were able to reach a compromise yesterday.

“I prefer to keep the details quiet, but I would like to thank Todd France for his professionalism and his help in getting this deal done,” Spanos said.

(All that quote needed was a “no disrespect to Brian Ayrault, but, …” as the Chargers continue to impress with their public relations savvy.)

With that out of the way, Bosa has to worry about his crash course in football to get ready for the opener, as he hasn’t been around the team since June and has two weeks to catch up. He’s done what he could to stay in condition, saying he wasn’t taking it easy in Florida.

“I didn’t think it was fair to the guys out here if I was enjoying time off, partying, doing this, that or the other while they were working,” Bosa said. “I thought I owed it to them and myself to really give it everything I had. . . . I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life.”

He also sort-of apologized for his mom saying she regretted not “pulling an Eli Manning,” in a Facebook post, alluding to the quarterback’s successful effort to get traded by the Chargers in 2004.

“What do you expect a mom to do?” Bosa said. “She loves me. She wants what’s best for me, and she made a dumb decision like I have before, saying something I shouldn’t have on social media. She honestly had no idea it was public; she thought she was sending it to someone else. . . . She’s happy I’m here, and I would never turn down an opportunity to be in this situation.”

And after such a long and needlessly awkward situation, the Chargers are too.

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Former Browns linebacker Paul Kruger visiting Saints, Chiefs

Kruger AP

The Saints, in their perpetual effort to fix a defense that lacks playmakers, are getting the first crack at former Browns pass-rusher Paul Kruger.

According to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, Kruger will visit the Saints today, amid interest from other teams (including, almost certainly, the #MysteryTeam).

The Chiefs would be next on his quick free agency tour, if the Saints let him out of the building.

The Saints tried to sign Kruger in 2013, before the Browns blew him away with a five-year, $40.5 million deal. He’d add some legitimacy to a pass-rush which Saints coach Sean Payton has already labeled “very concerning,” after their last preseason game.

Kruger had just 2.5 sacks last year, but topped out with 11.0 for the Browns in 2014, and he had 9.0 for the Ravens during his salary push in 2012.

But the Saints can’t exactly be picking. It was an area of need anyway, but when 2015 second-rounder Hau’oli Kikaha blew out his knee this summer it became worse.

The Saints also traded for Dolphins backup pass-rusher Chris McCain, evidence they’re going to look under every rock.

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Report: Seahawks to waive seventh-round RB Zac Brooks

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25:  Running back Zac Brooks #30 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Dallas Cowboys during the preseason game at CenturyLink Field on August 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks are slowly working their way toward the 75-man roster maximum upcoming on Tuesday afternoon.

According to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com, the Seahawks are set to waive running back Zac Brooks.

Brooks was a seventh-round pick out of Clemson in May. He was the third of three running backs Seattle selected in the draft.

Brooks always had an uphill battle for a roster spot. The re-emergence of Christine Michael has added a somewhat unexpected wrinkle to the group as well as Michael appears set to make the roster and contribute alongside Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise this season. Brooks suffered a hamstring injury a week into camp that kept him from making a significant push for a roster spot.

Brooks carried six times for 17 yards and caught one pass for 4 yards in two preseason games with Seattle.

The Seahawks made six moves official on Monday. Seattle released Brandon Browner, placed Sealver Siliga on injured reserve, waived/injured receiver Deshon Foxx and waived defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, wide receiver Montario Hunter and linebacker/fullback Kyle Coleman.

Guard Kristjan Sokoli is also expected to be released and the team is trying to trade center Patrick Lewis, which will likely result in his release if unable to do so.

That would leave Seattle with six more moves to make before the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday.

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Report: Tim Tebow offered contract with Venezuelan Winter League team

Tim Tebow AP

Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is working out for supposedly more than 20 Major League Baseball teams on Tuesday in an attempt to become a professional baseball player.

Regardless of the outcome of that showcase, Tebow already has a professional baseball contract offer.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Tebow has been extended a contract by Aguilas del Zulia of the Venezuelan winter-ball league.

“He’s a great talent,” Aguilas general manager Luis Amaro said. “He’s an athlete. He’s won the Heisman. He’s won two national championships. I know baseball is a hard game, but he’ll either adjust and show he’s ready to play pro ball or not. I think it’s low risk, high reward for Zulia.”

Winter ball provides a decent level of competition should Tebow accept the offer to join Aguilas del Zulia. Many young MLB players and players recovering from injuries head to Venezuela to play in the league to continue their development or get live game action to supplement the rehab process.

It would be a decent chance for Tebow to get a start should MLB teams initially pass on offering him a minor league deal.

It’s a long shot for Tebow, but he’s at least getting interest and a chance to chase a career change.

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Richard Sherman understands Kaepernick’s message, questions the platform

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks lines up against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Plenty of people who have reacted to the decision of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to refuse to stand for the national anthem due to his belief that African-Americans and people of color are oppressed in this country by embracing the message but questioning the method. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman took that position in remarks to reporters on Monday.

“Obviously, what he meant to do was in a good place,” Sherman said, via comments distributed by the team. “He wanted to make a stand, anytime you don’t stand during the national anthem people are going to criticize it. That’s the unfortunate part of it, you can’t ever stand against the flag and things like that, a lot of people sacrifice and things like that for it, but there is also a deeper meaning to what he did.

“He’s talking about the oppression of African-Americans in this country and that has been going on for a long time and I think a lot of the focus has shifted away from his message, and for some people rightfully so, to him taking a stand against the nation, etc, etc. I think there’s also things about this nation that people need to remember and take heed of and also acknowledge. This country is also the same country that had whites and colored signs on the bathroom. We’re still in that country, we’re still in that nation, and that need to be acknowledged and that needs to be changed.

“There’s people with that mentality that still exist, and that needs to change. There are still people that treat people of color with subjectivity, they treat them a certain way, they categorize them. They put them in a category, in certain statistics that are put out there to make sure that police profile certain people in certain neighborhoods, and that needs to change. There is some depth and some truth into what he was doing. I think he could have picked a better platform and a better way to do it but every day they say athletes are so robotic and do everything by the book, then when somebody takes a stand like that, he gets his head chopped off.”

Sherman then pointed out that society at large could learn from the color blindness that occurs naturally in competitive sports.

“When you play football you’re not concerned about whether you’re throwing to a black guy or a white guy or orange guy or Asian guy,” Sherman said. “You’re concerned about getting the ball there, executing your job, winning. You’re concerned about playing for the next guy, playing for your brother. I think that’s something the nation can take from sports. The Olympics was also a great example of how different countries — everybody comes together. Nobody’s sitting there saying I’m not going to run against this guy because he’s black, white, orange, blue. They’re running to compete for their nation to win. They don’t care what color the people on their team are. They’re supporting them. They’re supporting their country and that’s how it should be all the time regardless of circumstance. I think it’ll be a long time before we get there but hopefully we’re trending in that way.”

Hopefully we are. In the grand scheme of things. open and blatant racism happened routinely not that many years ago. Changes have been made, but plenty of changes still need to occur. And while Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem will be criticized, his actions have spurred thought and discussion and reflection about where we are as a people, where we’ve come from, and where we need to go. Our ability to discuss and debate those topics in a frank and civilized manner arguably is reason enough to stand in honor of a flag that gives all citizens of the nation the freedom to react to Kaepernick’s words and actions, to form their own opinions, to express them freely and openly, and possibly to emerge with a better understanding of each other’s positions.

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Lawyer seeks order limiting NFL communications with Hall of Fame Game customers

Fans leave Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium after it was announced that the preseason NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts was cancelled due to unsafe field conditions, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

As the Hall of Fame Game class action gets started, the lawyer representing the persons suing the Hall of Fame and the NFL for compensation arising from the cancellation of the game hopes to prevent the process from becoming short-circuited.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti seeks an order limiting the communications of the Hall of Fame and the NFL directly with customers. Avenatti points to the enhanced refund policy, which offers more than the face value of the tickets purchased and extra benefits in exchange for a full waiver of legal claims.

The motion seeks the nullification of any releases already obtained and other relief, including a requirement that no settlement communications be made directly to class members without first obtaining permission from the court.

Avenatti contends that he has attempted to resolve this issue directly with the Hall of Fame and the NFL, but that his requests have been ignored.

The case remains in its infancy; Avenatti initially filed the case in an Ohio federal court but then dismissed it and re-filed the lawsuit in a California federal court. The NFL failed to respond to an offer from Avenatti to settle the case in exchange for the payment of $450 to each of the persons who purchased tickets to the game between the Packers and Colts.

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Seahawks release 2015 sixth-round pick Kristjan Sokoli

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 14:  Defensive end Kristjan Sokoli #67 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on August 14, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

After announcing a handful of cuts on Monday afternoon as the team begins to trim its roster to the league maximum of 75 players by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, the Seattle Seahawks released a member of their 2015 draft class on Monday evening.

Per his agent Brett Tessler, the Seahawks are releasing offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli, a sixth-round pick last year.

Sokoli was a defensive lineman at the University of Buffalo that Seattle believed could develop into a strong offensive line prospect due to his athletic ability. The Seahawks made a similar conversion with J.R. Sweezy after selecting him in the seventh round of the 2012 draft and tried the same with 2013 seventh-round pick Jared Smith.

Seattle believed Sokoli could develop into an intriguing center prospect, but he never managed to work ahead of the third-team offensive line in training camp this year.

Tessler contends that Sokoli would be better off being moved back to the defensive side of the ball. He appeared in just one game for Seattle last year and played just eight snaps on special teams.

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Bucs-Redskins preseason finale moved to Wednesday due to weather

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 9:  Storm clouds over the stadium as the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium September 9, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  Tampa won 16 - 10. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buccaneers have announced that their preseason finale vs. the Redskins has been moved up a day due to the threat of severe weather.

The teams will now play Wed. Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. ET.

The Buccaneers announcement on the change from the originally scheduled date of Thu. Sept. 1 said the team has been in contact with local officials and the National Weather Service and is making an effort to avoid anticipated severe weather from Tropical Depression Nine.

“This decision was made by both teams in conjunction with the National Football League and local authorities in an effort to ensure the safety of our fans, players and stadium staff,” the team’s statement said.

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Chargers cut James Jones

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The Chargers released veteran wide receiver James Jones on Monday.

Jones had signed earlier this month following a tryout with other veteran wide receivers. The Chargers were looking for more experience in their receiving corps after losing Stevie Johnson for the season.

Jones, 32, caught eight touchdown passes for the Packers last season after spending 2014 with the Raiders.

Jones has 433 career receptions over his nine NFL seasons, 51 for touchdowns.

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Former Army Ranger, current Steelers LT says Kaepernick’s method isn’t “most effective”

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 3:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a first quarter interception in front of Alejandro Villanueva #78 and Desmond Bryant #92 of the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who graduated from West Point and did three tours of duty as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan before starting his NFL career, told reporters Monday that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “unfair” to veterans by refusing to stand for the national anthem.

Villanueva said Kaepernick should be “a little more careful” because of the platform he has and make sure he doesn’t “mislead people who truly wake up every morning trying to give everything — including their lives — to protect this country.”

Though Villanueva said he agrees with Kaepernick that something needs to be done to change the way minorities are treated in America, his comments about Kaepernick’s method of protest were similar to those made Monday by Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

“I will be the first one to hold hands with Colin Kaepernick and do something about the way minorities are being treated in the United States — the injustice that is happening with police brutality, the justice system, the inequalities in pay and education,” Villanueva said. “I will be the first, but you can’t do it by looking away from the people who are trying to protect our freedom in our country.”

Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Villanueva initially didn’t want to talk about Kaepernick but opened up when he was asked about standing for the national anthem and the responsibilities athletes have related to that.

Kaepernick has said he’s refusing to stand for the national anthem because he’s going “to stand with the people that are being oppressed.” Villanueva said he will continue to “stand proudly and sing every line” of the national anthem, which he’s been doing since he first enrolled at West Point.

“There are people fighting, so you can say and do whatever you please,” Villanueva said. “I agree that America isn’t perfect and there are a lot of issues with minorities in this country, and I agree that we should do something about it. I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem of a country that’s providing you freedom, and is providing you $16 million a year when there are black minorities who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and protecting our freedom for less than $20,000 a year.”

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Brees says American flag is “sacred,” speaks out against Kaepernick’s method of protest

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 17:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers talks after the game to Dree Brews #9 of the New Orleans Saints at  Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 17, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the 49ers 23-20.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Saints quarterback Drew Brees told ESPN he “wholeheartedly disagrees” with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated during the national anthem, in part because Brees believes the American flag is “sacred.”

“He can speak out about a very important issue, but there’s plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn’t involve being disrespectful to the American flag,” Brees said.

Players and coaches across the league have been weighing in Kaepernick’s protest. At least thus far, Brees has made some of the strongest on-record comments against Kapernick’s choice.

“The great thing about this country is that we have the freedoms that allow you to speak out openly about any issue, so I’m not commenting on the issue itself because any person has the right to speak out on any issue they want,” Brees said. “That’s the great thing about being an American. But the American flag is what represents those freedoms. It represents the very freedom that Colin Kaepernick gets the opportunity to exercise by speaking out his opinion in a peaceful manner about that issue.

“Like, it’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.”

Brees reinforced his opinion when he tweeted Monday night that he agrees “with his protest” but not Kaepernick’s method.

Brees has family members who served in the military and has long been involved with groups and events that support the military.

“When I look at that flag, I think about [my family members] too,” Brees said. “I think about a lot of things. Like when I stand and listen to the national anthem with my hand over my heart, there [are] emotions that well up inside of me.

“Like, I could shed a tear every time the national anthem plays if I would allow myself because it’s that powerful.”

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