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No Romo talks are occurring

Tony Romo AP

During Sunday night’s interview with NBC’s Bob Costas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave a vague and confusing answer regarding the status of talks with quarterback Tony Romo.

Asked whether Jones intends to ensure that Romo will be the quarterback of the Cowboys for the duration of his career, even though his contract expires after the 2013 season, Jones said, “Now [are] we negotiating for him right now?  I probably have let the cat out of the bag, but that’s — I know that I haven’t. But yes, I do.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently has reported that talks have started.  A source close to Romo tells PFT that’s not the case.

“No talks have been happening,” the source said, adding that there were casual talks before the season but nothing lately.

Earlier this year, reports emerged of possible talks between the Cowboys and Romo.  We reported that Romo wasn’t interested at this point, and Jones eventually admitted that the negotiations had been tabled.

Despite Jones’ vague comments, it’s our understanding that they remain tabled.

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Pierre-Paul’s best move could be to hold out until he’s healed

JPP

With the Giants yanking a long-term offer that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul wasn’t going to accept, it’s now likely that he’ll spend 2015 under the one-year franchise tag. But if he’s going to miss all of training camp and possibly the start of the regular season as he recovers from hand injuries suffered during a fireworks mishap, his best move could be to not sign the tender until he’s cleared to play.

By showing up before he’s ready, Pierre-Paul forces the Giants to decide what to do with him. While it would be easy to carry him on the non-football injury list through the preseason, a decision would have to be made before Week One: Move him to the active roster (and pay him) or keep him on NFI (and not pay him, if the Giants so choose) for at least the first six weeks of the regular season.

If Pierre-Paul is on track to be cleared in, for example, the middle of September, a decision to stay away until he’s cleared would allow the Giants to activate him as soon as he’s ready to go, circumventing the requisite six-week absence arising from the regular-season NFI list.

These various moving parts suggest that it would make far more sense for the Giants and Pierre-Paul to work cooperatively toward finding a solution, with a clear understanding as to whether the Giants would or wouldn’t pay Pierre-Paul while on NFI being the most important factor in their talks. While the most important factor for Pierre-Paul currently remains getting himself healthy, a complicated situation looms in September, with more than $870,000 on the line, each and every week.

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Harry Douglas: Mariota’s “unbelievable accuracy” will increase yards after catch

Marcus Mariota AP

During the Titans’ offseason program, wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson was impressed by quarterback Marcus Mariota’s “deadly accurate” passing during the team’s practices.

Mariota’s accuracy and overall feel for the offense left Jefferson feeling “giddy” about the future of the offense with Mariota at the controls and he’s not the only one feeling good about the rookie’s ability to put his teammates in position to succeed. Wide receiver Harry Douglas said that Mariota has shown “unbelievable accuracy” that he thinks will lead to bigger gains after the catch for him and his fellow receivers.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” Douglas said, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic — first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”

Kuharsky points out that a high completion percentage and yards after the catch totals don’t always go hand in hand and that they don’t always lead to great offenses when they are linked, as evidenced by Pittsburgh and Washington finishing in the top five of both categories last season. That may be the case, but it’s hard to see the Titans getting any better on offense if they aren’t a more accurate team throwing the ball and that’s obviously going to have almost everything to do with Mariota’s performance.

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Dolphins selling off old Sun Life Stadium seats

Sun Life Stadium construction Getty Images

In case what you were looking for to tie the room together was an brightly colored plastic chair, you’re in luck.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Dolphins are selling old seats from Sun Life Stadium this week, including some autographed by past and present stars.

The seats were removed during this offseason’s renovations, and will be sold to benefit the team’s foundation to support education, health and volunteer work in the region.

Seats are being sold as pairs or singles, with season ticket-holders from the 1960s and 1970s having first priority for the sale that starts at 11 a.m. The general public gets their crack at 2 p.m.

They’re also auctioning off seats signed by players including Don Shula, Bob Griese and Dan Marino, along with Jason Taylor, Mark Duper, Larry Little, Nat Moore and Ryan Tannehill.

Now you just have to convince your wife to let you put this ugly orange chair in the living room, and with their record in recent years, have fun describing it as your lucky seat.

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Patriots, Colts providing the most bang for the buck in NFL

Divisional Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Getty Images

Having a great quarterback on a cheap rookie deal can help build a roster, as well as support the bottom line.

Having a great quarterback who takes less than he could make helps too.

Via Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the Indianapolis Star, the Patriots and Colts come out winners in a study that showed which teams provided the most wins per dollar spent.

The study by NerdWallet took into account on-field success and how much was spent to get there to determine efficiency. The Patriots topped the list, followed by the NBA Spurs, three baseball teams (the Marlins, Rays and As) and the Colts.

The study looked at the last 15 years, and in 14 of those, the Colts had a franchise quarterback who kept them competitive. The last three years, they’ve had a cheap one in Andrew Luck.

Of course, they’re about to have to spend some money on him, which could change their ranking, and their ability to keep talent around him.

The NBA’s Knicks were last on the list, with the Lions, baseball’s Yankees, and the Browns and Raiders making up the bottom five.

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No signs of progress for Broncos and Demaryius Thomas

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas remains unsigned with just over a week to go before the July 15 deadline for franchise players to reach long-term deals. And there are few signs that the two sides are getting close to a contract.

The Denver Post reports that Thomas wants Calvin Johnson money. That’s just not going to happen. As good as Thomas is, he’s not Calvin Johnson. And even Calvin Johnson isn’t worth Calvin Johnson money: Johnson will cost more than $65 million against the Lions’ cap over the next three years, and the Lions will likely either ask Johnson to take a pay cut or cut him before he plays out his contract.

So if Thomas isn’t worth Calvin Johnson money, what is he worth? According to the report, Thomas feels that it would be hard to take less than $40 million guaranteed, and the Broncos aren’t inclined to give him that.

Which means Thomas and the Broncos probably won’t come to terms, and Thomas will probably play this season on the $12.8 million franchise tag. The question then is whether Thomas will sign the franchise tag this month and report to camp on time, or hold out until the end of the preseason and come into the regular season having done no work in new coach Gary Kubiak’s offense. If it’s the latter, the Broncos will be starting the season with their best offensive playmaker trying to play catch-up.

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Jack Steadman, former Kansas City Chiefs GM, dies at 86

Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Jack Steadman, the general manager in charge for the only Super Bowl victory in Kansas City Chiefs history, has died at the age of 86.

The team announced Steadman’s passing on Sunday with a statement from team CEO Clark Hunt.

“My entire family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jack Steadman. Jack was more than a dedicated and talented businessman, but a dear friend to my family. He was one of my father’s greatest business associates and the two of them accomplished much during the more than four decades they worked together. Jack played a key role in the development of the American Football League and was also an influential figure in the success of the Chiefs. During his tenure as General Manager, the team won four championships including Super Bowl IV.

“I had the privilege of knowing Jack my entire life, and he taught me much about both business and life. He always brought a strong, innovative perspective to the room. Jack was an outstanding man of character, who greatly valued his faith and family. While today we are saddened by his passing, his contributions to the Chiefs, the Kansas City community and my family will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Judy, and the entire Steadman family.”

Steadman was a member of the organization from the founding of the franchise in the AFL in 1960 as the Dallas Texans until his retirement in 2007. He also served as the team’s president, vice president and chairman during his 47 years with the organization.

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Florida State dumps DeAndre Johnson

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Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has developed plenty of quarterbacks into NFL prospects. De’Andre Johnson won’t be one of them.

Johnson has been dismissed from the school. The move was announced tonight.

Florida State previously suspended Johnson indefinitely. After Monday’s footage surfaced of Johnson punching a female at a Tallahassee bar, Johnson was kicked out.

Named Florida’s Mr. Football as a senior in Jacksonville, Johnson now will have to look for another school to give him a second chance. But second chances in sports have become far less easy to obtain for men who commit violence against women — especially when the violence is preserved via video.

If no major college gives Johnson a second chance, it becomes easier for the NFL to avoid giving him a first chance. But even if Johnson goes the Randy Moss route, transferring from Florida State to an FCS school, playing right away, and becoming a superstar, Johnson will still have a very hard time getting an NFL team to roll the dice on a guy who punched a member of the opposite sex while a camera was rolling.

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Report: Packers plan to keep Andrew Quarless

Quarless Getty Images

With Packers tight end Andrew Quarless likely headed for leave with pay, the Packers apparently don’t intend to ask him to leave without pay.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, citing two unnamed sources, reports that the Packers have no plans to release Quarless after a July 4 arrest including allegations that he fired a gun twice during a dispute with a car full of females.

Per Demovsky, the gun was legally registered to Quarless. This doesn’t change the fact that Quarless used the gun in an illegal way, allegedly or actually.

The Packers have issued the perfunctory no-comment comment about Quarless, and the NFL has said nothing about the situation.

It’s unclear when Packers G.M. Ted Thompson will say something about the situation, or whether a member of the Green Bay media will appropriately ask him what happens if Quarless fires his gun into the air in Wisconsin and kills someone?

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Rivers hopes PED suspension doesn’t hurt Gates’ reputation

Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers believes Antonio Gates when he says that his four-game suspension was the result of accidentally taking a banned substance.

Rivers says that although he can’t be positive that Gates wouldn’t cheat by taking performance-enhancing drugs, he thinks he knows Gates well enough to know that’s not the kind of person Gates is.

“Can I 100 percent say that? I don’t know that I can, but I feel like our relationship is such that if it was intentional, he would say, ‘I messed up. I’ve been doing this, I made a mistake, I just couldn’t do it anymore the way I was doing it.’ You know what I mean? I feel like he would say that to me. So that’s why I say I know, and that’s the only reason I say it. Could I be wrong? I guess. But I don’t think so. I don’t think so. The trust and relationship and the friendship that we’ve built over 12 years, he’d have no reason to tell me anything but the truth,” Rivers said on The Mighty 1090 AM.

Rivers said Gates told him before the suspension was announced on Thursday. Rivers said he and the Chargers will have a tough time with the loss of their longtime starting tight end.

“I knew it was coming, I had talked to him beforehand. It’s really tough,” Rivers said. “Any time you lose one of the top tight ends to ever play, and one of our best players, for four games, it’s certainly going to have an effect.”

Rivers said he hopes Gates’s reputation isn’t tarnished.

“As a friend you just hate it for him. I feel for him as a friend. I really do,” Rivers said. “You hate it for him because of what perception and what thoughts people are going to have that you can’t really change their minds on. And me, knowing him, the kind of guy he is, I know it was without knowing that he was doing that. He’s first class in every way. So it’s tough knowing that he’s going to have that tied to him in some way and some people will always think something about it.”

Whether or not Gates’s reputation around the NFL has taken a hit, it’s clear that Rivers remains a big believer in his longtime tight end.

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Fireworks injury could force Jason Pierre-Paul to miss start of season

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Getty Images

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered serious hand injuries while setting off fireworks over Fourth of July weekend, 10 weeks before the season opener. And it’s looking like those injuries might take more than 10 weeks to heal.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, there’s concern that Pierre-Paul could miss the start of the regular season. At this point the team is still awaiting more medical information, but his availability for Week One against the Cowboys is in doubt.

If Pierre-Paul’s injury keeps him off the field, the Giants can put him on the non-football injury list and decline to pay him for any games he misses. Pierre-Paul is currently not under contract, and the Giants have placed the $14.8 million franchise tag on him. If he plays the 2015 season under the franchise tag but misses some games because of the fireworks injury, each game he misses will cost him more than $870,000 in lost salary.

Pierre-Paul led the Giants with 12.5 sacks last season and was expected to be their top pass rusher this year as well. He’ll be hard to replace, but it’s looking likely that the Giants will have to replace him, at least at the start of the season.

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Michael Irvin Jr. heading to The U

Miami Hurricanes v Florida State Seminoles Getty Images

Michael Irvin is one of the greatest players in the history of the University of Miami football program before going on to a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys.

His son is going to try to follow in his father’s early footsteps. Michael Irvin Jr. announced on Monday that he will attend his father’s alma mater after finishing high school next year.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” Irvin Jr. said, via 247Sports.com. “I like the coaches. They told me I would play all over for them. In the backfield, at tight end and at receiver. [My father] was proud of me when I told him of my decision and he thinks it will work out for me just like it did for him going there.”

Irvin Sr. is the Hurricanes’ all-time leader in touchdown catches and finished his career as their all-time leader in catches and receiving yards, although Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss later topped Irvin’s numbers in those categories.

Irvin Jr. is ranked as the No. 80 wideout in his class by Rivals.com and the No. 27 tight end prospect by 247Sports.

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Russell Wilson says God spoke to him right after Super Bowl interception

Wilson Getty Images

That new Russell Wilson interview, nearly a full hour in all, contains plenty of interesting things. Along with multiple examples of Wilson hearing the voice of God, directly and audibly.

The one that surely will get the most media attention comes from Wilson’s claim that God told Wilson not to have premarital relations with his new girlfriend, Ciara. But Wilson also says God spoke to him after that fateful interception at the end of Super Bowl XLIX.

“The play happens, and they pick the ball off. And I take three steps,” Wilson said. “And on the third step God says to me, ‘I’m using you. . . . I want to see how you respond. But most importantly I want them to see how you respond.”

Plenty of athletes and non-athletes over the years have claimed to have a direct pipeline to God. For those of us who believe in God but haven’t heard Him speak in an audible voice but have felt His nudge at a more vague and visceral level, a claim that He uses actual words with others can be both confusing and a bit off-putting. For those who believe that God doesn’t care about the outcome of sporting events, a claim that He is preparing an athlete for similar situations in the future can be both confusing and off-putting.

Regardless, Wilson seems to be saying that, above the din and the chaos of the moment, he heard God say, “I want to see how you respond. But most importantly I want them to see how you respond.”

I’m not sure I want to see how some of you will respond in the comments.

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Rob Konrad rejects chance to make movie out of odyssey at sea

Dolphins v Colts Getty Images

Former Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad’s story seemed like it was something out of a movie, which is why a lot of people thought it would be one.

But Konrad told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald he had turned down a movie offer and several book deals, refusing to cash in on the tale of his 27-mile swim to safety after he fell off his boat six months ago.

“There were some big name folks involved,” Konrad said. “But I made the decision I wasn’t going to go that route. It’s nothing I want to capitalize on. I don’t have the time and desire. I’m running three [financial] companies in Florida and one in Chicago.”

Konrad said he’s writing a long “memo” to detail the incident, since he wants his children and grandchildren to read about it. But he said his plan right now is to not turn it into a book.

And even though being adrift at sea for 16 hours would be enough to make most people move to Oklahoma, Konrad said last week he was taking his boat to Cape Cod for the Fourth of July weekend.

“I’ve been on a boat a bunch since then,” he said. “My wife has made me upgrade the technology and promise to always bring someone with me.”

And if he’s in the Atlantic right now, hopefully he takes the shark repellent as well.

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Russell Wilson’s preference between football and baseball? “Both”

Rangers vs. Phillies Getty Images

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson continues to do a lot of talking, and he’s talking more and more about baseball.

Following last week’s admission to Jimmy Kimmel that Wilson would consider playing football and baseball at the same time if his baseball rights were traded to the Seattle Mariners, Wilson spent the better part of an hour at The Rock Church in the San Diego area on Sunday, and he once again talked about playing baseball.

So which does he prefer? “Both,” Wilson said.

Will he ever play both?

“I have no idea,” Wilson said. “I believe if anybody could do it, I could. And I believe God’s put me — gave me the ability to do it. I’ve done it my whole life.”

Wilson also pointed out that he turned down the opportunity to make a million dollars when first drafted to play baseball, opting to play football and baseball at the same time in college. Given that things worked out fairly well with that million-dollar gamble, perhaps Wilson will be even more inclined to make a $1.5 million gamble this year, turning down whatever the Seahawks offer him before the season, realizing that if he plays for $1.5 million this year, he’ll make a lot more on the back end.

And for those of you who ask why we keep writing about Wilson’s situation, here’s the answer: Unlike the vast majority of quarterbacks in similar situations, Wilson keeps talking about it.

This time around, the discussion about baseball came fairly early in the interview. So there may be more to come from this one.

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Graphic De’Andre Johnson punch video likely means no NFL for him

Johnson Getty Images

As noted earlier today regarding the lingering lack of interest in running back Ray Rice, we all know what an assault looks like. But when we can see it, that changes everything.

For Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson, who in theory could have become the next NFL quarterback groomed for success by coach Jimbo Fisher (joining the likes of first-rounders JaMarcus Russell, Christian Ponder, EJ Manuel, and Jameis Winston), Johnson’s chances of ever making it to the NFL have decreased dramatically now that visual evidence has surfaced of the violent blow he delivered to the head of a woman at a bar in Tallahassee last month.

The Tallahassee Democrat has obtained surveillance video showing Johnson punching the female (fast forward to roughly 1:50 to see the full exchange), who apparently was trying to buy a drink and past whom Johnson was trying to push.

Local authorities had come under fire for releasing the victim’s name but redacting Johnson’s name from the police report that was made available to the public.

“[W]e had to release the victim’s name because she did not fall into an exemption, and we’re not allowed to just take their names out,” Tallahassee Police Department spokesman David Northway told the Democrat on Friday. “And we had to — we had — to redact the suspect’s name in the case because it’s an ongoing investigation.”

Regardless of what Florida State does with Johnson, whatever he accomplishes on a football field at FSU or elsewhere, or however the prosecution is resolved, the NFL likely will have to shun Johnson, simply because anyone can see what we already knew he did.

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