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Jaguars re-sign Steve Vallos, waive Keith Toston

Nick Foles, Steve Vallos AP

The Jacksonville Jaguars have re-signed guard Steve Vallos and waived running back Keith Toston.

Vallos signed with Jacksonville last Tuesday but was released Saturday prior to the Jaguars’ 31-14 loss to the Detroit Lions.

The Jaguars had re-signed Toston last Thursday with injury issues at the running back position leading into last week’s game against the Detroit Lions. Maurice Jones-Drew, Montell Owens and Greg Jones were all listed on the injury report.

In addition, the Jaguars added rookie linebacker Brandon Marshall to the practice squad. He had been released from the active roster to make room for Toston last week.

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Seahawks release Charly Martin

Charly Martin AP

The Seattle Seahawks announced Tuesday they have released wide receiver Charly Martin.

Martin has served primarily on special teams for the Seahawks this season and has recorded just four catches for 42 yards. The move gives Seattle an open spot on their 53-man roster that has yet to be filled.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond has been practicing for the last two weeks after missing the first six weeks on the physically unable to perform list. Seattle has until next Monday to make a decision on whether to put Thurmond on the active roster. Thurmond broke his left leg last October and again during the rehab process early this year. The release of Martin could be the precursor to finally getting Thurmond back on the field.

In addition, the Seahawks released receiver Lavasier Tuniei from the practice squad. He had been added last week.

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Giants kick in $500,000 for storm relief

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants Getty Images

One of the teams in the area most affected by Hurricane Sandy has made the biggest individual donation to date.

The Giants have given $500,000 to the recovery effort.  The team announced the donation on Tuesday.

The cash will be split between the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“The New York metropolitan area sustained extensive and devastating damage to its infrastructure in Hurricane Sandy,” Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a joint statement issued by the team.  “The Giants want to do everything we can to assist our neighbors, fans and friends.  Toward that end, after careful consideration, we have decided to make donations to these two very worthy funds.  We are in this for the long haul and will continue to assist relief efforts in our hard-hit region.”

The NFL and NFLPA have given $1 million, the Vikings and owner Zygi Wilf have contributed $100,000, and Colts owner Jim Irsay has vowed matching donations that likely will result in a $65,000 donation from the owner.

If other teams or owners have kicked in money, let us know.  If they haven’t, here’s hoping they do.

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Finley gives Packers a C-plus, himself a C-minus

Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes tackles Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley in the first half of their NFL football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin Reuters

It’s the mid-point of the season, so players are being asked to provide mid-term grades.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck gave himself a C.  Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, in a Monday appearance on PFT Live, declined to apply a grade, saying that winning is the most important thing.

Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, in a Tuesday appearance on NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk, gave the Packers a C-plus — and himself a C-minus.

The full interview appears below.

If the Packers regard Finley as a C-minus student, he may not be back in 2013.  With a $4.45 million roster bonus due in March, the Packers could decide to make Tom Crabtree the No. 1 tight end next year, and cut Finley free.

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Vitt, Loomis don’t envision Payton leaving the Saints

Sean Payton AP

Suspended Saints coach Sean Payton “absolutely plans” to coach the team in 2013.  The Saints absolutely expect to have him back.

Absolutely.

That’s the word of the moment in New Orleans, based on the comment provided by G.M. Mickey Loomis to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.  “I absolutely expect Sean to be our coach next year and going forward,” Loomis said.  “These contract issues will be resolved.”

Interim coach Joe Vitt was more colorful when he addressed on Tuesday the speculation that Payton could become a free agent.

“I don’t know the speculation you‘re all talking about,” Vitt said.  “I really don’t.  I said this before, and some of you think I am glued to the TV getting all of these updates, these accurate updates that come across the wire all the time.  Everything we see I know is fact.  I haven’t heard the report.  I haven’t seen the report.  I have only heard speculation of what the report is.  I want to say this again so hopefully I am not asked about this question again.  Our football team loves Sean Payton.  Sean Payton loves this football team.  Sean Payton loves this city and this city loves Sean Payton.  That goes a long way.  That’s what I know.  I don’t understand anything about a contract being voided, who made the report, where did the report come from, is there accuracy in the report or are we just selling ratings.”

Of course, the comment from Loomis validates the notion that there’s a contract issue to be resolved.  And the sooner it gets resolved, the better off the Saints will be.

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Jake Locker is cleared for contact

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker grimaces in pain after being sacked by Houston Texans Glover Quin in the first half of their NFL football game in Houston Reuters

Coincidentally or otherwise, a 31-point home loss by the Titans to the Chicago Bears has been followed by the potential return to the starting lineup of quarterback Jake Locker.

Coach Mike Munchak said Tuesday that Locker has been cleared for contact, according to TitanInsider.com.

Locker sprained his left (non-throwing) shoulder during a Week One loss to the Patriots.  He continued playing, but he aggravated the injury in Week Four against the Texans.

Since then, Matthew Hasselbeck has played — and played pretty well.  But with consecutive losses after consecutive wins dropping the Titans to 3-6, Hasselbeck’s hand is no longer hot.

Locker could start on Sunday, when the Titans face the Dolphins in Miami.

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Looking at Romo’s future in Dallas

Dallas Cowboys v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live featured our weekly Rapid Reaction segment, presented by our friends at Wendy’s.

The question this week:  Will Tony Romo remain the quarterback of the Cowboys beyond the completion of his contract in 2013?

By a 3-1 margin, folks commenting on the issue at the Sunday Night Football Facebook page said no.  Watch the video and then cast your vote below.

Or just vote without watching the video.  Or watch the video and don’t vote.  Or neither.

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Payton’s contract might not be resolved quickly

yahoo_goodell_payton-e1332852755369 Getty Images

Given that the Saints have permission to finalize their contract extension with coach Sean Payton now and that no other team can talk to him until his suspension ends after the Super Bowl, Payton’s current employer has a huge advantage when it comes to the question of continuing his employment.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll wrap things up quickly.

Ed Werder of ESPN reports that G.M. Mickey Loomis, whose suspension ended the moment the final gun sounded to cap Monday night’s win over the Eagles, won’t rush to get the deal done.

In theory, the approach makes sense.  If the Saints are too anxious to get a deal done, Payton gets more leverage — and in turn more money.  That said, Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com has reported that owner Tom Benson already plans to make Payton the highest-paid coach in the NFL.

If Loomis waits too long to iron things out, and if Payton inches closer to the open market, there could be a point where Payton decides to let the market determine his value.  As we’ve previously explained, the fact that another team can’t even talk to Payton until February will make it much more difficult (and risky) for a team like the Cowboys or Eagles to wait for a crack at Payton.

It also raises the possibility of tampering and/or a violation of the terms of Payton’s suspension, via secret communications aimed at determining Payton’s terms and intentions well before February.

The team has an ace in the hole, if push comes to shove.  As we explained the moment the story broke, any dispute regarding whether the final year of Payton’s contract carries over to 2013 given his suspension ultimately would be determined by Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that neither the team nor Payton have filed a request for Goodell to resolve the issue.  If that happens, Goodell will naturally be inclined to find in favor of the team, especially since the departure of Payton from New Orleans would result in even more criticism of the league office and Goodell specifically.

Ultimately, Payton could file a challenge in court to the arbitration decision, advancing the same arguments that the suspended players in the bounty case have articulated regarding Goodell’s alleged bias against Payton.

Until the situation is resolved via a new contract for Payton, Saints fans have every right to be nervous.  That’s why it makes sense for the Saints to get this thing done sooner rather than later.

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Marcus Vick is sorry if he offended anyone

marcusmichaelvick Getty Images

With some time to think about it (and possibly a lecture from his big brother), Marcus Vick is sorry for what he tweeted on Monday night.

The younger brother of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick wrote on Twitter during Monday night’s game that he thinks Michael’s talent is going to waste behind a terrible Eagles offensive line, and that Michael would be better off on a better team. But on Tuesday afternoon, Marcus acknowledged that it wasn’t wise to rip the Eagles.

“I love my brother and it’s hard as hell to watch him taking all those shots, but I’m sorry if I offended anyone and definitely didn’t mean to put Mike in a tough spot,” Marcus wrote. “I’m not only watching as a fan, I’m watching as his blood.”

Marcus, who played quarterback at Virginia Tech after Michael and had a brief NFL career of his own, didn’t take back anything about his expletive-laden tirade toward the Eagles’ offensive line, but his reference today to having “put Mike in a tough spot” suggests that Michael may have told him to cut it out. If Michael did tell Marcus to cut it out, that was wise: Things have been bad enough in Philly this year without the quarterback’s brother creating a distraction.

Still, from all indications Marcus is going to get his wish at the end of the season. This is probably Michael Vick’s last year with the Eagles.

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Falcons place Garrett Reynolds on injured reserve

Falcons Camp Football AP

Rookie Peter Konz looks like the right guard in Atlanta for the rest of the season.

Konz has started the last two games of the season with Garrett Reynolds sidelined by a back injury and he’ll be remaining there now that Reynolds has been placed on injured reserve. The two players battled for the job in training camp with Reynolds winning and starting the first six games of the season. Reynolds was the starter early in 2011 as well, but lost his job before the end of the year.

He’s done a better job this season, but the Falcons have managed to remain undefeated without Reynolds the last two weeks. Konz was the 55th selection in April and the first Falcons pick in the 2012 draft. Konz played center in college and may eventually wind up there, but, for now, he’s the right guard on the league’s only unbeaten team.

Phillipkeith Manley was signed off the practice squad to take Reynolds’ place on the roster.

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New video of Bud Adams firing off middle fingers in 2009

Bud Adams AP

On Sunday night, when banging out a late-night item regarding some tough talk from Titans owner Bud Adams, I made a reference to his notorious double-barreled middle finger incident from November 2009.

It arguably was the best $250,000 he ever spent.

While looking for the YouTube video of Adams in a luxury suite letting the birds flip toward the Buffalo sideline, I tripped across a video of Adams from that same game.  Doing the same thing.  In an entirely different place.

Late in the 41-17 win over the Bills, Adams makes a visit to the field.  Standing near one of the end zones, he eventually turns and waves to the crowd.  Then, at the 2:35 mark, he fires a couple of middle fingers to the Bills sideline, after showing to the crowd the two middle fingers that he planned to show to the Bills sideline.

And then he did it again.

Adams was 86 at the time.  If I make it to 86, I plan to do the same thing.  If not to the sideline of an NFL team, to the Grim Reaper.

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Chargers return two to practice from PUP list

Red Byron Getty Images

Today was the last day to return players to practice from the Physically Unable to Perform list.  The Chargers used that occasion to return two of their players to practice.

The team has announced that offensive linemen Johnnie Troutman and Brandyn Dombrowski have returned to practice, opening a three-week window during which they must either be added to the active roster or shut down for the season.

Until a decision is made, they are permitted to participate in practice.

Troutman, who arrived via the fifth round of the 2012 draft, was out of action with a pectoral injury.  Dombrowski had a foot injury after appearing in 15 games with two starts last season.

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Colts shaving heads in support of Chuck Pagano

coltsbald

Players on the Indianapolis Colts are shaving their heads in solidarity with head coach Chuck Pagano, who has begun his second course of chemotherapy treatment for leukemia.

Colts owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter that several players have already gone bald to show their support for Pagano.

“Buzzed heads abound in our locker room right now in honor of Chuck!” Irsay wrote.

Colts long snapper Matt Overton tweeted the picture you see here of himself, punter Pat McAfee and kicker Adam Vinatieri, all of whom shaved their heads today.

Pagano’s cancer is in remission, but he still has a long road to recovery ahead of him. He is not expected to resume his position as the head coach this season, although the Colts have expressed optimism that he could become more involved after his second course of chemotherapy is completed, and possibly be on the sideline for a game by the end of the year.

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Jets bring back Jason Hill

Jason Hill, Jerraud Powers AP

The Jets have decided to bring back a wide receiver for a second stint with the team, but it isn’t Plaxico Burress.

It’s the guy that Burress said he’s never heard of when the Jets signed him the last time. Jason Hill is back with the team, a couple of weeks after he was released to make room on the roster for tight end Hayden Smith. Hill had two catches for 15 yards and a touchdown during his brief initial stint with the team, which started just after wide receiver Santonio Holmes was lost for the season with a foot injury.

Burress isn’t the first current or former Jet to profess ignorance of Hill’s existence. Cornerback Darrelle Revis played the same card after Hill said that Revis and the Jets were overhyped because they play in a big media market. Those of us who do know who Hill is likely agree that his return to the Jets isn’t likely to bump them much closer to sniffing the playoffs.

The Jets waived safety Antonio Allen to open up a spot for Hill. Allen, a seventh-round pick in April, was signed off the practice squad last month and had two tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in three games. The Jets also appear to have added guard Hayworth Hicks off of the Colts’ practice squad. There’s been no formal announcement, but Hicks said on his Twitter account that he has signed with the team.

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Bills place McGee, Pears on injured reserve

Erik Pears, O'Brien Schofield AP

The Bills placed starting right tackle Erik Pears and veteran cornerback Terrence McGee on injured reserve Tuesday, according to the team’s official website.

McGee’s a former starter, but after offseason knee surgery, he never returned to the point he could practice regularly. He’s now finished three of his last four seasons on injured reserve, making his future uncertain. Of course, the Bills thought that might be a problem, when they drafted Stephon Gilmore in the first round.

Pears started the first seven games, but didn’t play last week when he saw a specialist about his groin/hip problems.

They’ll likely need to add to both positions, as they’re down to four healthy corners and seven offensive linemen.

They promoted wide receiver Marcus Easley from the practice squad, and also released kickoff specialist John Potter.

They filled the practice squad spot by signing Chris Hogan, who gained fame by being dubbed “7-Eleven” on Hard Knocks during his time with the Dolphins.

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