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PFT’s Week Seven picks

Dallas Cowboys v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

Last week was one of those crazy Costanza weeks, when in hindsight it made sense to make our picks and then do the opposite.  Both MDS and yours truly were 6-8 for the week.  Six up, eight down.  Denver’s stunning comeback knocked me under .500 and allowed MDS to salvage a tie for the Week Six contest, since we disagreed on two games.  (The Redskins came through for me . . . finally.)

This week, there won’t be a tie unless there’s a tie in one of the three games on which we disagree.  Scroll down to see where we stand on the various comments.

And as to whether this week we made our picks and then did the opposite, our official comment is, “No comment.”

For the year, I’m at 55-36, and MDS is 53-38.

Seahawks at 49ers

MDS’s take: The NFC West is far more competitive than anyone expected, and the winner of this game has to be viewed as the favorite to win the division. I like the 49ers to come in focused after Sunday’s dismal loss to the Giants and easily handle the Seahawks.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 23, Seahawks 6.

Florio’s take:  The Niners got a rude awakening from the Giants.  And so the Niners will be wide awake when the Seahawks blow in to town for a better-than-expected primetime showdown.  Home team gets the edge, especially since the home team was embarrassed on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 20, Seahawks 10.

Titans at Bills

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are coming off their best wins of the season, but the Bills were the team whose win looked like something they can build on, because their defense finally stopped somebody. They’ll stop Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson on Sunday, too.

MDS’s pick: Bills 20, Titans 13.

Florio’s take:  The rematch of the Music City Miracle game won’t be played in the Music City, and a miracle likely won’t be happening.  Last week, the Titans stole one from a diminished Steelers team, and the Bills showed resilience.  Playing at home with a share of first (and fourth) place in the division, Buffalo should be able to stay on the right track.  At least for now.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 27, Titans 17.

Cowboys at Panthers

MDS’s take: I’ve been on the Panthers’ bandwagon all year, and although I should probably know better by now, I still believe Carolina is better than its record suggests.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take:  The consistently inconsistent Cowboys played well and lost on Sunday in Baltimore.  They’re due to play poorly and win in Carolina against a Panthers team that has figured out how to consistently play poorly and lose.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 24, Panthers 20.

Ravens at Texans

MDS’s take: The only two teams with winning records in the AFC face off in a game that we might look back on in January as the game that decided home-field advantage in the playoffs. I think the team with home-field advantage takes this one, bouncing back from last week’s ugly loss to the Packers.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take:  The Texans’ pride is wounded.  The Ravens are simply wounded.  If Houston doesn’t get things back on track quickly, a tailspin could be coming.  They’ve got the rushing attack to get there — and the Ravens don’t have the defense to stop them.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Ravens 20.

Browns at Colts

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck has the brighter future, but right now I’m not sure he’s a better quarterback than Brandon Weeden, who’s playing better as a rookie than he gets credit for. As inspiring as their win over the Packers two weeks ago was, the Colts’ loss to the Jets exposed a lot of holes, and I like the Browns to make it two wins in a row.

MDS’s pick: Browns 21, Colts 20.

Florio’s take:  Potent at home and sluggish on the road, Indy matches its win total from Peyton Manning’s rookie season against a Brown team that is still basking in the afterglow of that elusive first win of the season.  And Jimmy could be getting upset.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 30, Browns 24.

Cardinals at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Cardinals’ defense and special teams are good enough to keep them in any game, but the Cardinals’ offense is bad enough to lose any game. Jared Allen will make life miserable for John Skelton and the Vikings will win.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 17, Cardinals 7.

Florio’s take:  Former Vikings ballboy Larry Fitzgerald has never won in Minnesota.  That’s not likely to change on Sunday as he makes what likely will be his final trip to the soon-to-be-imploded Metrodome.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 23, Cardinals 14.

Redskins at Giants

MDS’s take: The Redskins beat the Giants twice last year, and they have an enormous opportunity on Sunday to show they can really hang with the big boys.  But while Robert Griffin III has been a sensational rookie quarterback, the Redskins are still a ways off from being a complete and elite team.

MDS’s pick: Giants 31, Redskins 14.

Florio’s take:  If the Redskins hadn’t swept the Giants last year, this is precisely the kind of game that the Giants would have lost.  Instead, one of the best teams in the NFC will continue its climb back toward the postseason.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 31, Redskins 20.

Packers at Rams

MDS’s take: How many people predicted before the season that both of these teams would be 3-3 when they met in Week Seven? Certainly not me. The Rams could make a huge statement that they’re real contenders by winning this one, but the Packers already made their statement last week in Houston, and now it’s time for Green Bay to start separating itself from the NFC pack.

MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  It was only a matter of time before the Packers found the gas pedal.  If they can dismantle the Texans in their own building, the Packers can outscore the Rams in theirs.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 31, Rams 17.

Saints at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: There may still be time for the Saints to turn their season around, but I just don’t see it happening. The bottom line for the Saints is that their defense is a mess, and Drew Brees can’t win a game all by himself. The Bucs will win and get to .500.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Saints 20.

Florio’s take:  Last year, when the Saints were great and the Bucs were anything but, New Orleans couldn’t win in Tampa.  And so it makes sense for the Saints, who genuinely believe they can turn this thing around, to roll into Raymond James Stadium and rack up plenty of points.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 31, Buccaneers 25.

Jets at Patriots

MDS’s take: Rex Ryan wants the Patriots to know that he thinks the Jets will win, but I don’t think too many people agree with Rex. The AFC East standings say the division is wide open, but the reality is that the Patriots are heavy favorites, and they’ll take a big step toward proving that on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Jets 10.

Florio’s take:  The Jets have their swagger back.  But it’s a week-to-week thing.  And this week the swagger takes a break as the Pats once again work to put a game they should have won behind them.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Jets 23.

Jaguars at Raiders

MDS’s take: This looks to me like Sunday’s worst game, a matchup of two teams going nowhere. But the Raiders are closer to getting somewhere than the Jaguars.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Jaguars 13.

Florio’s take:  If no one watches this game, will it actually be played?  Unfortunately, yes.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 17, Jaguars 9.

Steelers at Bengals

MDS’s take: A.J. Green can make a lot of big plays against that old and slow Steelers defense, but the Steelers will put a lot of points up on the weak Bengals defense, too. There’s a part of me that feels like this is the game when the Bengals establish themselves as up-and-comers in the AFC North, but a bigger part of me thinks the Steelers find a way to hold the Bengals off.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 35, Bengals 34.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals couldn’t beat the Steelers or Ravens last year when the Bengals were good.  This year, the Bengals aren’t as good.  But neither are the Steelers.  Where’s my Magic 8-Ball when I need it?

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 24, Bengals 21.

Lions at Bears

MDS’s take: The Lions saved their season with a come-from-behind overtime win over the Eagles, but back-to-back road wins will be too much for Detroit fans to ask for. The Bears will remain in the NFC North lead and the Lions will remain in the basement.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  The Lions think they have their edge back.  The reality is the Eagles gave them a gift.  The Bears won’t be quite so charitable.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 30, Lions 17.

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Wes Welker not sure his “heart and mind” want more football

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 22: Wes Welker #19 of the St. Louis Rams carries the ball past Tray Walker #25 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Wide receiver Wes Welker was out of football all of last offseason, but always insisted he wanted to continue playing despite the series of concussions he’d suffered over the course of his career.

Welker eventually signed with the Rams in November, although you’d be forgiven for having no memory of his eight games and 13 catches for a team playing out the string on a season and a city. Welker is a free agent once again and said during an appearance on NFL Network that his “heart and mind” are still going back and forth on whether he wants to pursue a 13th season.

“That’s kind of the million dollar question right now in trying to figure that out,” Welker said. “I think I’m weighing my options and really trying to figure out where to go with life next. But there are some days I wake up and I’m like ‘OK, I’m done.’ And other days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Oh, maybe one more year.’ But I’m trying not to rush into any decision but at the same time, know that and prepare myself for not playing.”

Given the lukewarm interest in Welker’s services last year, it’s hard to imagine teams are beating down his doors with offers to play and that could offer the final push that Welker needs to flip the switch from active NFL player to the next stage of life.

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Thursday morning one-liners

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 16:  DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 16, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills have a big hole at RT (Wait, can we say that?).

Dolphins DE Mario Williams is upbeat about his new role.

A young WR is standing outside Gillette Stadium asking the Patriots for a tryout (a young lawyer might have a better shot at employment).

Jets DT Sheldon Richardson is prepared to deal with a possible suspension.

Ravens OL John Urshcel made straight As in his four classes at MIT this spring.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert isn’t the only one on the shelf.

Browns T Joe Thomas never asked for a trade this offseason.

The Steelers are adjusting to a bunch of newcomers on the defensive line.

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins wants to get bigger and stronger.

Joe Philbin is happy to get back to teaching with the Colts

Jaguars C Brandon Linder is adjusting to being in the middle.

The early returns on Titans RB DeMarco Murray are good.

Broncos G Ty Sambrailo is ready for his move inside from T.

Chiefs DT Dontari Poe is doing big-man yoga.

New Raiders LB Bruce Irvin is ready to be a leader walking in the door.

Chargers players dispersed around town to thank fans yesterday.

Cowboys LB Sean Lee hopes missing time now saves some time for him later.

Giants RB Andre Williams is trying to put memories of a bad second season behind him.

Eagles DE Marcus Smith promises to be a new player (which is good since the old one hasn’t done a thing).

Washington QB Kirk Cousins is getting used to being in charge.

The lack of WR Alshon Jeffery at Bears OTAs underscores how thin they are at the position.

Lions president Rod Wood is “very optimistic” after seeing what came in the draft.

Packers LT David Bakhtiari thought it was “smart” to draft his potential replacement.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson hopes to improve when they’re in the shotgun formation.

The Falcons want to see if LB Courtney Upshaw can be a DE.

Panthers QB Cam Newton managed to work in a visit with Michelle Obama between OTAs.

After missing on the Super Bowl, the Saints aren’t expected to bid to host the NFL Draft.

The Buccaneers signed a former college walk-on.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald should probably keep his day job.

Rams QB Case Keenum knows he’s a temp.

49ers S Eric Reid thinks it’s fair to expect more from him on the field before a new contract.

Some think the Seahawks have the best QB situation in the league.

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Brandon Marshall also appears to be protesting Fitzpatrick situation

Brandon Marshall AP

Amid a report that Jets receiver Eric Decker is skipping Organized Team Activities to make a statement in support of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, it appears that Jets receiver Brandon Marshall is doing the same.

Although Marshall hasn’t said anything about the issue, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News connects the dots and concludes that both Decker and Marshall are skipping OTAs to show solidarity with Fitzpatrick, who remains an unsigned free agent.

It’s widely expected that Fitzpatrick will be the Jets’ starting quarterback this season, but the Jets aren’t offering Fitzpatrick the kind of money he wants, and so far it appears that neither side wants to budge on contract talks. The Jets are waiting until Fitzpatrick brings his price down, while Fitzpatrick is waiting for the Jets to increase their offer. Neither side has a lot of leverage: Fitzpatrick doesn’t have another team willing to make him its starting quarterback, while the Jets don’t want to be stuck with Geno Smith as their starter.

Marshall and Decker don’t want Smith, either. They’re making it clear that they want Fitzpatrick to be their guy, and they’re skipping voluntary workouts to make that point.

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Tony Romo thinks he has at least four or five years left in him

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys sits on the bench late in the fourth quarter as the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-23 at AT&T Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys didn’t exactly draft their quarterback of the future this year, so the quarterback of the present figures he’ll just keep going until they do.

Via Todd Archer of ESPN.com, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he can see himself playing beyond his current contract, which expires after the 2019 season. He even joked that with advances in modern medicine, perhaps “seven or eight years” is a possibility.

I’m not in my mid-20s anymore, but I do think based on what my situation has been like the last three or four years, I do think this [offseason] is drastically different,” Romo said. “It takes me back five years ago when I was able to do things the way [I had]. I’m not there yet. I still got these months to just get after it, but it’s exciting to actually be able to get after it a little bit. But if everything keeps going the way it’s going, I think it’s going to be exciting going into camp.”

Romo missed most of last season with broken collarbones (the left one, twice). Surgery was performed in March to strengthen the area and he declared it a non-issue. But after back surgeries in 2013 left him limited, he hasn’t been able to prepare like this in some time.

“The further removed I am from surgery — and now it’s been quite a while — I can go a lot longer periods of time doing what I could do before. But for shorter periods of time before, it would just get heavy or I’d need a break or rest,” Romo said. “The torque you put on it, the jolting of stuff, the hits — it all takes a toll over time. When you have multiple back surgeries, you understand the process sometimes that it’s a little different.”

The 36-year-old quarterback hasn’t played a full season since 2012, but there’s still not a viable plan for life after him. The Cowboys failed in an attempt to trade up to get Paxton Lynch during the draft, settling on fourth-rounder Dak Prescott.

So it’s a good thing Romo feels better than ever, because they’re going to need him.

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Drew Brees applies deadline to talks with Saints on a new deal

Drew Brees AP

The Saints and quarterback Drew Brees still haven’t worked out a new deal that reduces his salary-cap number for 2016 below $30 million. There’s now an apparent deadline for getting a deal done.

I don’t like to talk about contracts during the season,” Brees said Wednesday, via the Associated Press. “If you remember in 2011, where it began to drag into the season, three weeks in I was like, ‘I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I want to focus on football, focus on the season.’ That has always been my approach. That’ll be my approach again. There’s a deal to be done now, and if it doesn’t get done now, it’ll be a different deal to get done at the end of the year.”

That’s the closest Brees or his agent have come to pointing out the reality that, if the Saints allow Brees to play out the final year of his five-year, $100 million contract, the circumstances will change, dramatically. They’ll change thanks to the arbitration claim filed by Brees after the Saints applied the franchise tag to him in 2012, which resulted in a ruling that the next application of the tag to Brees will be the third of his career. As a result, he’ll be entitled to a 44-percent increase over his cap number from 2016.

That’s $43.2 million. For one year. For a quarterback who will be 38 in January.

This means that the Saints likely wouldn’t apply the tag to Brees, allowing instead for the market to set his value. Which creates the very real possibility that someone else will offer Brees dramatically more than the Saints will offer. Which, in turn, sets the stage for the possibility of Brees changing teams after what will be his 11th season in New Orleans.

While Brees leaving remains a long shot, teams use the franchise tag to keep key players off the market. When a player has a chance to go to the market (e.g., Ndamukong Suh), anything can happen. And with plenty of teams always searching for franchise quarterbacks, someone out there surely would love to have a Favre-in-Minnesota year or two with Brees.

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Derrick Morgan: Players aren’t surprised by charge of NFL impropriety

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:   Derrick Morgan #91 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates his sack against the San Diego Chargers in front of Jurrell Casey #99 during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on September 16, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the NFL’s “Operation Mom” rolls on, there’s another important demographic they clearly need to spend some time convincing their methods are on the up-and-up.

In the wake of a Congressional report which accused the league of trying to influence government research into CTE, Titans outside linebacker Derrick Morgan said he’s disappointed if what he’s read is true, but not shocked.

“Guys just want to have the knowledge and the information available, and the NFL is supposed to take care of that in the form of research,” Morgan said, via the Tennesseean. “It’s disappointing, but to say it was a surprise, I’d be lying to you.”

That falls in line with the thinking of the players union, which in no way expects the league to be doing the right thing these days.

“We’re the only guys, people that suffer,” Morgan said. “We’re out there laying our bodies on the line, and going through the physical pains of playing football is part of the game. We understand that. We just want to have the knowledge and the information readily available so we can make decisions on our health. . . .

“I think back in February the NFL just admitted the link with CTE and everything. So I think guys, like myself, that hit home and caused me to start doing my own research and trying to find out on my own. We just want the NFL to be responsible and handle their end of the bargain.”

Complaints like those are going to be common among players, and it’s going to be difficult to convince them the league’s being trustworthy, as the relationship between management and labor seems to be getting more contentious with each passing issue.

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Rich McKay expects sideline video to be implemented for 2017

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14:  Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio holds on to a Microsoft Surface tablet during their game against the St. Louis Rams at O.co Coliseum on August 14, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL officially tabled a proposal this week at the league meetings in Charlotte to allow access to in-game video on the sidelines for coaches and players.

The league has allowed still photos to be used to show formations and such for years. Recently, the league has transitioned from hard copies of photos printed off on the sidelines to using tablets to view the still shots. Moving to video is likely inevitable at some point in the near future. Competition committee chairman Rich McKay expects the proposal to ultimately be adopted after the upcoming season.

We did an experiment last year in the preseason with video on the sidelines. We’ll go back to the teams that didn’t get to do that experiment and experiment again in this preseason and let them see it and touch it, and then I expect to see it on the field next season, not this coming season, but the season after,” McKay said in an interview with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It’s a change that I think – technology is coming. Colleges now are getting ready to introduce it. We’ve got states that have high schools that have introduced iPads on the sidelines. So technology is going to come to the sidelines.”

McKay said there was actually some push back from coaches that wanted to have more time to adapt and prepare for the change before it’s officially implemented.

“That is a big change. Don’t underestimate that change from a coaching perspective,” McKay said. “That’s not something they’re used to. So just like – as happened to us before when we’ve tried to introduce things – I think the coaches, and I don’t blame them for it, I think they’ve put their hand up and said ‘hold it, not so fast, let us just kind of digest how this change is going to impact us, how it’s going to impact the way we operate on the sidelines and operate in the coaching booths upstairs.’ So we tabled it yesterday.”

It shouldn’t take all that long for the coaches to be able to adapt to having a new resource on the sidelines. The 2017 season seems a reasonable expectation for when to see the change put into place for good.

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Report: Peyton Manning won’t sue Al Jazeera

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 17:  Former NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning, huddles with crew chief Greg Ives and the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet crew in their hauler prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

Peyton Manning has plenty of decisions to make, now that he has retired. One of the first decisions he made was a smart one.

Christine Brennan of USA Today reports that Manning won’t be suing Al Jazeera over the report that HGH was delivered to Manning’s wife in 2011, while Manning was dealing with chronic neck problems. Per Brennan, the decision came “after a dozen conference calls with attorneys” prompted Manning to conclude “that he doesn’t want to spend the time and money necessary to file a lawsuit that would make public the personal records and private lives of both he and his wife Ashley.”

That’s precisely what a defamation case would do, especially since truth is the ultimate defense to a claim of libel or slander. A lawsuit would give Al Jazeera license to demand the production of all medical records reflecting treatment received by Peyton or Ashley Manning at the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis, and anywhere else.

Brennan also explains that Manning is watching closely defamation lawsuits filed by baseball players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard against Al Jazeera arising from the same documentary. If/when those cases are dismissed, Manning will know that his case would have been dismissed, too.

Frankly, dismissal would have been the least of Peyton Manning’s problems. If the medical records suggest that Ashley Manning did indeed receive HGH for use by Peyton, that information could then be used by the NFL as part of its own investigation that according to Brennan remains stuck in neutral, five months after the report came to light. With Manning possibly aspiring to run an NFL team in the future, its possible that he’d be disciplined as an executive for violations occurring as a player.

Without litigation or some other court proceeding that will bring the information to light, the NFL has no way of obtaining the documents. Unless, of course, Peyton and Ashley Manning execute the appropriate legal documents authorizing the Guyer Institute to provide that information.

At one point, Peyton Manning suggested that he’d allow the NFL to examine that information. He may have a different feeling on that issue, now that his playing career is over.

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Report: Decker absent from OTAs in protest of Fitzpatrick situation

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Eric Decker #87 of the New York Jets celebrates his touchdown with  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins on November 29, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker has been absent from the team’s organized team activity (OTA) practices this week, and Brian Costello of the New York Post reported Wednesday night that Decker’s absence is related to the team’s ongoing contract standoff with free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Citing a source, Costello reported that Decker stayed away from the practices because he’s upset with the organization that Fitzpatrick remains unsigned.

The dots there are pretty easy to connect, though there are many reasons players miss OTA practices. With the quarterback market seemingly stagnant, it does seem time that the Jets and Fitzpatrick just do a deal. Whether or not Decker’s reported protest could impact that, we probably won’t ever know. We do know that Decker had a big season with Fitzpatrick throwing to him in 2015, and that Fitzpatrick has said he’d like to get a deal done to return.

These things happen — these absences and these negotiations — and at this point it seems like the Jets and Fitzpatrick will eventually get a deal done. Decker isn’t required to attend OTAs, and the front office obviously has its reasons and its stance in this matter.

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Kendall Fuller gets some OTA work

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Kendall Fuller #11 of the Virginia Tech Hokies makes the tackle on Austin Appleby #12 of the Purdue Boilermakers as he fumbles the football that would be returned for a touchdown at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 19, 2015 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Maybe he’s well ahead of schedule or maybe he’s right on it. Either way, the Redskins have to see having rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller in uniform for organized team activity (OTA) practices as a positive.

Fuller suffered a torn ACL last September that ended his third and final season at Virginia Tech. He was a spectator during rookie minicamp earlier this month but said he would “definitely” be ready for training camp.

Though the Redskins are monitoring him closely, Fuller participated in Wednesday’s OTA practice. Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said the team will be “cautious” and that Fuller will be eased into full work, but Gruden said he’s progressing well.

A healthy Fuller and the late April addition of Josh Norman potentially give the Redskins depth and talent at cornerback they didn’t have last season. Fuller was projected by many as a first-round pick had he been healthy during the pre-draft process; he was drafted by the Redskins in the third round.

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Goodell blames unfamiliarity with Congressional report on travel

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s response to the Congressional report regarding alleged efforts to interfere with a National Institutes of Health study has looked nothing like the scorched-earth approach taken earlier this year when the NFL strenuously objected to an article from the New York Times that accused the league of shoddy concussion research and haphazardly compared pro football to Big Tobacco. As the hours passed on Monday during ESPN’s incessant trumpet-blasting of the report, with public opinion hardening like reinforced concrete, the league remained silent.

On Tuesday, when Commissioner Roger Goodell met the media at the conclusion of the quarterly ownership meetings in Charlotte, Goodell initially downplayed the situation with this response: “I didn’t see the report, we were traveling down here.”

I engaged in a full analysis of the answer during Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. In lieu of me typing it up, you should just listen to it.

Here’s a quick summary: I didn’t like the response very much. If the league plans to devise a winning P.R. strategy to combat the siege mentality arising from the ongoing concussion crisis, the league should start with a more plausible strategy for adopting a dismissive tone regarding one of the more important Congressional reports generated regarding the league in recent years.

For the longer version, click play below.

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After fireworks accident, C.J. Wilson hopes to resume career in CFL

Mike Evans, C.J. Wilson AP

The Buccaneers waived cornerback C.J. Wilson from their reserve-retired list Wednesday, clearing the way for Wilson to resume his career in the Canadian Football League.

Wilson lost two fingers on his right hand in a fireworks accident last July 4. Per his hometown newspaper, the Lincoln Times-News in Lincolnton, N.C., Wilson left last weekend for Winnipeg. Wilson’s agent confirmed Wednesday to the Tampa Bay Times that Wilson has signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

CFL teams are opening training camps this week. The regular season starts in late June.

Wilson, 26, played in two games with the Bears in 2013 as an undrafted rookie and two for the Bucs in 2014.

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Jarvis Jones “motivated” by Steelers declining his option

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has plenty to play for in 2016 after the team declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, and Jones called that situation “motivation” to have his best season yet.

The Steelers waited until just before the early May deadline before declining the option on Jones, meaning 2016 will be the final year of his rookie contract.

Jones started 15 games in 2015 and had his most productive season, recording two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. He has started 26 of 36 career games but has just five sacks in three seasons.

“Obviously I have to be more productive than I have been the past three years,” Jones said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think everybody knows that, and I know that myself. Nothing’s changed.”

Jones can still play his way into the team’s long-term plans, and the sides can still negotiate a long-term deal. What would be best for both sides is Jones playing well enough this season for the Steelers that both his original team and potential outside suitors are interested in his services.

“It’s not about the money,” he said. “I don’t play the game for the money. I play the game because it’s something I’m passionate about. If I do what I have to do, eventually I’ll get the money. That’s not what I’m worried about right now. I’m worried about playing football and being a football player.”

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Arian Foster says he “probably” needs another month to be back to where he was

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 25:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

He’s still not yet 30, but people think he’s washed up. They could be rethinking that position soon.

Free-agent running back Arian Foster, still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and still looking for a new job after being cut by the Texans, believes he’s getting closer to a return to full strength.

“I probably need another month to get where I am, the person everyone is use to seeing,” Foster told abc13.com in Houston. “I can definitely play, but I need another month to be where I want to be and be at that Pro Bowl level I can be at.”

Can he get there? Foster’s brother, Abdul, believes Arian can be “probably better.”

Two years ago, Foster was pretty good, with 1,246 yards rushing and an average of 4.8 yards per carry. From 2011 through 2013, Foster had three straight 1,000-yard seasons, with a total of 4,264 rushing yards.

Despite his track record, Foster seems to be concerned that his personality could be an impediment to getting work.

“I am not one of those Captain America, ‘Yes sir, no sir,’ kind of cats, and a lot of that comes across as arrogance. But if anyone has spent any real time with me, they’ll say I’m not arrogant,” Foster said.

Most teams seem to have filled their needs at tailback, but injuries are inevitable. Someone will give Foster a chance, and there’s a decent chance he’ll still be pretty good, if not better.

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Feeling “10 times better,” Terrelle Pryor is ready to “beat up on some corners”

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Linebacker Cliff Avril #56 of the Seattle Seahawks tries to tackle wide receiver Terrelle Pryor #17 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half of a football game at CenturyLink Field on December 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 30-13. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) Getty Images

Reunited with his first NFL head coach but learning a new position, Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor has high hopes for 2016.

[I’m] 10 times [better than last year],” Pryor said Wednesday, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I look at the film and it amazes me, and I give that to [receivers coach Al] Saunders, because just sitting there and doing the extra meeting time with him and him really breaking down certain routes to me and how he wants them run, it’s awesome.”

So what does Browns coach Hue Jackson’s former quarterback in Oakland want to do?

“I just really want to go beat up on some corners,” Pryor said. “Catch the ball over them, run past them, catch the ball, stiff-arm them, whatever, it doesn’t matter.  Every time I touch the field, practice, game, I’m going to bring high energy, high effort.”

He also brings a high level of disagreement to the idea that he’s making the transition from quarterback to receiver.

“I don’t even call it a transition anymore,” Pryor said in comments distributed by the team. “I feel like I’m there. I already transitioned. It’s just now continuing to get better at my craft and try to be the best I can be and do the things every single day to be the best player — like Coach Al [Saunders] says in our meeting room to all the receivers – ‘to be the best player you can be, better than the players in the room, player in the league, player in the division.’ Obviously, there are great players around the league. There are great players in our room. It’s not going to always be like that, but you’ve got to have that mindset that you want to be the best every single day. We go out there like brothers and we go out there and we help each other and make sure we work hard.”

Pryor still has plenty of work to do to persuade the Browns and the rest of the league that he can become a receiver. Nearly five years after being drafted, however, he could finally be moving toward the rare feat of becoming a starter at both NFL quarterback and another position on offense.

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