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Report: League grants Saints permission to work out Payton deal

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The ping-pong of reports regarding the Saints and suspended coach Sean Payton continues.

It started Sunday, when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the league office rejected Payton’s September 2011 contract extension and that Payton will (not might, will) become a free agent after “the season.”  ESPN thereafter launched into speculation regarding Payton becoming the next coach of the Cowboys that was so strong it at times has seemed wishful.

Then, FOX’s Jay Glazer said that Payton “absolutely plans” to coach the Saints in 2013.

Then, some Internet hack with whom you may be familiar reported on NBC that the Saints are adamant that Payton will be the coach next year.

On Monday, some clarity emerged regarding the timeline that would apply.  Payton can’t be a free agent until his suspension ends.  His suspension won’t end until the next Super Bowl is played.  That complicates significantly the ability of teams like the Cowboys or the Eagles to pursue Payton, since they wouldn’t even be allowed to talk to Payton until more than a month after the normal hiring cycle ends.

Then, Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the Saints and Payton are able under the terms of the suspension to fix the contract.

Then, Schefter reported they aren’t.

Then, said Internet hack with whom you may be familiar chimed in again, explaining that the communications aimed at fixing the contract are allowed.

Now, Nakia Hogan of the Times-Picayune reports that permission expressly has been given by the league to the Saints to resolve the flaw in the contract that prompted the league office to previously reject it.

While Schefter has yet to hit the small, hollow, plastic ball back over the small green net, ESPN has posted an item based on the latest Times-Picayune report.

For now, then, it looks like G.M. Mickey Loomis, on his first full day of work after serving his own eight-game suspension, can commence the process of getting the extension ironed out.  He has three months to do it before Payton would be able to walk away.

It’s the smart thing to do.  Exceptions already have been made under the terms of the suspensions to allow Payton and others to attend the Chargers-Saints game earlier this year.  Likewise, the terms of the supposed banishment of former Saints and current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have been warped and bastardized to the point that he can apparently attend all Rams games.

Besides, the NFL desperately needs Payton to stay in New Orleans because the NFL will bear the full brunt of the blame if Payton goes.

Sure, Payton could look for a raise over what he was due to make under the terms of the rejected extension based on the team’s performance with him last season and without him this year.  Still, there’s no reason (yet) to believe that Payton has in only 14 months decided that he no longer wants to coach the Saints.

While it was a great story from Schefter, the hype of a possible jump by Payton to the Cowboys made the story into something more than it ever should have been at this point.  It doesn’t mean that Payton definitely will be back in New Orleans next year, but the signs are pointing much more strongly to that result than any other possible outcome.

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Browns drilling RG3 in throwing mechanics, avoiding hits

BEREA, OH - APRIL 21, 2016: Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Cleveland Browns drops back to pass during a voluntary mini camp on April 21, 2016 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Robert Griffin III Getty Images

As Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III enters his fifth NFL season, he still needs to be reminded of some of the basics.

Specifically, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, the Browns have three major lessons they’re drilling into Griffin in his first few months with his new team:

1. Plant your back foot, then throw.
2. Get down, then slide.
3. Throw the ball away, don’t take needless hits from the defense.

Usually, a player who has been in the NFL as long as Griffin would be expected to have the fundamentals down. But Griffin was so successful, so early in his career, while relying so much on his natural gifts, that he still has a lot to learn about playing the position.

Griffin’s downfall in Washington was his inability to avoid taking hits, and when Griffin couldn’t avoid the pass rush in the preseason last year, Jay Gruden ultimately decided that Griffin wasn’t up to the task of quarterbacking his team. Hue Jackson will have to be convinced that Griffin has learned enough to lead the Browns.

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Tarvaris Jackson free on $2,500 bond after threatening to kill wife

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Former Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has been released from jail on a $2,500 bond, after allegedly pointing a gun at and threatening to kill his wife.

According to Chris Hush of WESH, the 33-year-old Jackson was released from jail Friday.

Jackson was arrested after an incident with his wife in which he was intoxicated, and threatened to shoot her. She grabbed an iron and a knife at one point to protect herself, before another adult at the residence separated them. She also taunted the free agent quarterback, saying “You better be accurate because you ain’t accurate on the field.”

Jackson has a 59.6 percent career completion percentage.

According to the police report, several children were in the home at the time of the incident, and police found marijuana along with his 9mm handgun. He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

“She felt fearful and she thought he could kill her,” said Twis Lizasuain with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

The report also stated there may have been prior disputes between Jackson and his wife, which will certainly complicate the case and his bid for future employment. The Seahawks had previously said they’d welcome the veteran backup back, but that seems less likely now.

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Wisconsin kid Tony Romo still looks up to Brett Favre

Tony Romo

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin, and when he was 12 years old his favorite team traded for Brett Favre. A quarter century later, Romo still considers Favre his hero.

I still look up to him,” Romo told ESPN. “Anybody who grew up in Wisconsin, everyone knows who Brett Favre is and what he’s meant to Green Bay and Wisconsin life. They come around once in a generation. Green Bay’s been lucky enough to go from Brett to Aaron [Rodgers] and that’s just unrealistic in real life to have that happen in professional sports. But Brett getting inducted is one of the most no-brainer things that’s ever taken shape. I’m just glad to see the reunion of that two that has happened.”

As a young boy, Romo lived through some dark years as a Packers fan: Before Favre arrived, Green Bay missed the playoffs 10 years in a row and struggled to fill Lambeau Field. All that changed with Favre.

“Without Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers really aren’t the Green Bay Packers, even though they have a great history and [Vince] Lombardi and everything else that goes into it,” Romo said. “I was watching football before they had Brett Favre and Green Bay was not someone that you had to worry about on your schedule if you were playing in the NFL. I think he brought them back to prominence and made that organization’s standard of excellence and from there all the pieces started to fall into place. What you see today, that is a byproduct of him, his talent, his ability, his knowledge of the game, his passion, his work ethic and really his willingness to compete.”

Fave is a hero to a lot of guys who grew up in Wisconsin, including one who became an NFL quarterback himself.

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Rams have sold 63,000 season tickets

OXNARD, CA - MAY 06:  Head coach Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams takes to the field during a Los Angeles Rams rookie camp on May 06, 2016 in Oxnard, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

Los Angeles is ready to support the Rams.

Rams COO Kevin Demoff told the Ventura County Star that the Rams have already sold 63,000 season tickets. The team’s goal is to sell 70,000 season tickets and leave the remaining seats for single-game sales.

The Rams plan to configure the Coliseum at a capacity of 80,000, although they can open it up for 90,000 fans if there are big games when the demand warrants it.

Demoff said the Rams have felt welcomed in Southern California.

“This has really been a labor of love over the past five months to get this team up and running in every facet,” Demoff said. “Our group has been working tirelessly. I must say, the warm reception we have received from everybody in this community has been unbelievable.”

The team and the community are looking like a good match. Now the question is whether the Rams, who haven’t had a winning record since 2003, can give Los Angeles a team worthy of that support.

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Jay Gruden hires Jon Gruden’s son

1408309630000-AP-Redskins-Camp-Football AP

The Nepotism Football League continues to live up to its name.

In Washington, the latest keep-it-in-the-family hire comes from coach Jay Gruden hiring his brother Jon’s son, Deuce Gruden, to serve as a strength-coach intern, according to Dan Sternberg of the Washington Post.

Coaches hiring children and other family members has become a way of life in the NFL, presumably because nepotism has been commonplace among the ranks of team ownership since the NFL was founded nearly 100 years ago. But with owners, where the choices are to pass the franchise to a son or daughter or sell it, nepotism is natural. It’s not as natural when an employee who doesn’t hold equity in the operation does it.

The practice is nevertheless accepted by most owners, who apparently believe it would be hypocritical to prohibit coaches from grooming family members when ownership is doing the exact same thing.

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Manziel’s father: “He’s a druggie and needs help”

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel addresses the media after NFL football minicamp in Berea, Ohio, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. (AP Photo/David Richard) AP

Paul Manziel, father of ex-Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson Friday that his son “is a druggie” and that jail “would be the best place for him.”

Anderson contacted Paul Manziel after Johnny Manziel’s attorney, Bob Hinton, accidentally texted the Associated Press that he intends to seek a plea deal for the pending assault charges his client is facing but worries about Johnny Manziel’s ability to stay clean.

Hilton texted the AP, among other things, this rather unforgettable line: “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle.”

The Browns released Johhny Manziel in March. Since then he’s been seen only on TMZ and other sites that have covered his partying and legal matters. The assault charge stems from a January incident with his ex-girlfriend after which Manziel signed a restraining order barring him from contact with her.

Paul Manziel’s full statement to ESPN read: “He’s a druggie. It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie. I don’t know what to say other than my son is a druggie and he needs help. He just hasn’t seeked it yet. Hopefully he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses. That’s about all you can say. I don’t know what else to say. I hate to say it but I hope he goes to jail. I mean, that would be the best place for him. So we’ll see.”

Per the report, Hinton’s accidental text to the AP Wednesday also said he “was given a receipt by a colleague that purports to show [Johnny] Manziel spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia shop 15 hours” after Manziel was involved in a hit-and-run crash earlier this week.

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Saints’ West Virginia training camp facility closes due to heavy flooding

West-Virginia-flooding-from-CNN-jpg

The Saints possibly will be staying in Louisiana for training camp this year, after all.

The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, has closed indefinitely after heavy flooding on Thursday.

With the Saints not arriving until July 27, it’s likely that the situation will be resolved by then. However, major efforts could be required to get things back to normal in roughly four weeks.

The more immediate concern is accounting for any and all missing persons in the areas affected by the West Virginia flooding, where 20 already are confirmed dead. Eventually, a decision will have to be made regarding the upcoming PGA event at The Greenbrier; based on the stunning before/after photo of the golf course, it could be very difficult to have things up and running in less than two weeks.

Donations for those affected by the West Virginia flooding can be made through the Red Cross, by visiting redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. An immediate $10 donation came be made by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

We routinely share donation information following natural disasters and encourage contributions, but this one hits very close to home for me. If you’re a regular here, please consider taking a minute and text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation for people who definitely could use the assistance right now.

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Rams cut Wells, Worton

OXNARD, CA - MAY 06:  J.J. Worton #9 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up during a Los Angeles Rams rookie camp on May 06, 2016 in Oxnard, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams trimmed their offseason roster by two Friday, waiving linebacker Matthew Wells and wide receiver J.J. Worton.

Wells was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2015 and was traded to the Bears during his first training camp. He was waived by the Bears and eventually landed on the practice squad with the Rams before signing a futures contract with the Rams in January.

Worton’s second stint with the Rams lasted just over a month. Worton was arrested on charges that he assaulted a man and two women at a Foxborough, Massachusetts bar last January. He was also accused of groping both women and then knocking out one of their boyfriends.

The Patriots dropped him from their practice squad after that incident. He’d spent some time with the Rams last season before heading to New England, and the Rams signed him again last month after he participated in their minicamp as a tryout player.

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Tarvaris Jackson arrested after allegedly pointing gun at wife

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is without a team for the 2016 season, although that may be the least of his worries in the near future.

Chris Hush of WESH in Orlando reports that Jackson was arrested for aggravated assault after pulling a gun on his wife. Hush shares a shot of the police report from the Osceola County Sheriffs Office from an officer who reported to the scene of a domestic disturbance.

Per the report, Jackson was intoxicated and loaded his gun during an argument with his wife before telling her “I’ll kill you, bitch.” Another adult who was at the house grabbed Jackson before things could escalate any further.

Jackson’s wife told police she feared for her life and grabbed an iron and knife at points for protection, but Jackson initially said nothing more than arguing occurred. He also told police that there was no gun in the house, but they found a handgun on the kitchen counter along with marijuana.

Jackson later told police he did grab a bag containing his gun and told his wife that he should shoot her. Per the report, Jackson’s wife replied that he “better be accurate because you ain’t accurate on the field.”

The Seahawks signed Trevone Boykin and Jake Heaps as backup options for Russell Wilson after Jackson filled the role for the last three years. They’ve said the door isn’t closed on a return to the team, although this incident and whatever happens next could certainly shut it.

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Manziel’s lawyer accidentally texts case strategy to AP

635980421329783748-AP-Manziel-Indictment-Football Getty Images

Johnny Manziel may need a new lawyer. The AP eventually may need a new lawyer, too.

To cap a week that has consisted of plenty of renewed discussion regarding the manner in which the prosecutors in the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial botched the case, Manziel’s lawyer committed a technological faux pas by sending a text message accidentally to the Associated Press. Lawyers representing the AP likewise may have made a tactical error by authorizing publication of a text message that wasn’t intended for the AP.

“Manziel’s lawyer accidentally texts AP, confirms he is seeking plea deal in assault case, worries about QB’s ability to stay clean,” the AP posted at its NFL page. To the extent anyone may wonder whether the Twitter account was hacked, the AP has published a stand-alone story confirming the accidental text.

The mistake happened after an AP reporter texted lawyer Bob Hinton, seeking comment regarding the recent hit-and-run involving a car owned by Manziel. Hinton responded with a text that said, among other things, “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle.”

Per the report, Hinton’s accidental text also said he “was given a receipt by a colleague that purports to show Manziel spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia shop 15 hours after the crash.”

It’s not Hinton’s first miscue in the case. Colleague Jim Darnell previously had to walk back Hinton’s off-the-cuff remark that he’d prefer to see Manziel and the ex-girlfriend he allegedly assaulted “kiss and make up.”

Nothing contained in Hinton’s unintended sequel is shocking, given what we already know about Manziel. The broader question is whether the AP should have shared the information that was accidentally shared with the AP, legally or ethically. The lawyer clearly wasn’t “on the record” with the AP; it was an accidental message clearly not meant for the AP or any other news operation.

Some would say that Hinton’s text should have been regarded as an off-the-record communication not authorized for use by the AP or anyone else. If Manziel’s lawyer believes that, and depending on how the law specifically applies to situations like this, there could be a few more rounds until this unexpected skirmish is over.

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Report: Purdue defensive tackle entering supplemental draft

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Purdue defensive tackle Ra’Zahn Howard will enter the supplemental draft, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday.

Citing a source, Schefter reported that Howard is leaving school for academic reasons. Players who have a change of circumstance after the early-entry deadline for the draft can apply for the supplemental draft.

Howard was suspended in January and announced his intention to transfer. He was a three-year starter at Purdue.

Purdue listed Howard at 6-foot-3, 325, so NFL teams will at least give Howard a look. The supplemental draft is held in July, and Schefter reported that Howard will hold a pro day workout in New Jersey on July 8.

A team that selects a player in the supplemental draft gives up its corresponding pick in the following year’s draft. Five players have been selected in the supplemental draft in the last six years, most recently offensive tackle Isaiah Battle by the Rams last year and most notably wide receiver Josh Gordon with a second-round pick by the Browns in 2012.

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Packers report record profit, revenue over last fiscal year

Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers,  renovated in 2003, is set for play  August 16, 2004. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Very little about the NFL escapes public scrutiny these days with the notable exception of the financial records of the 31 privately held teams under no obligation to share that information.

The Packers are not privately held, however, and their annual report gives us an idea about how things are faring in bank accounts around the league. You won’t be surprised to hear that business is good.

The Packers reported a franchise-record $408.7 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ended on March 31 along with a record $48.9 million in net income and $75 million in profit from operations. Those last two numbers represented 68 percent and 91 percent jumps from the previous year.

Packers president Mark Murphy attributed an 11 percent increase in local revenue to $186.2 million to the success of business at the Lambeau Field atrium and strong sales/marketing programs. National revenues — money shared equally by the league’s teams — went up six percent to $222.6 million, which provides part of the picture of the financial outlook for the rest of the teams in the league.

Part of the reason for the rise in the team’s profits this year was a drop in expenses that the team attributed to “a league assessment related to debt refinancing” and the previous year’s spending on the Titletown project near Lambeau Field. Murphy said he did not expect to see the same profit margin next season as player expenses appear set to rise.

“We have a number of core players with contracts ending,” Murphy said. “We could have a number of signings next year, and the biggest thing there [on the balance sheet] is the signing bonuses.”

Even so, it’s a good bet that the professional football business will remain a financially rewarding one for the Packers.

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Broncos, Miller haven’t spoken since early June

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 24:  Linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos looks on from the sideline during a game against the St. Louis Rams at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on August 24, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Miller will miss the first six regular season games of the season after being suspended for violating the NFL's drug policy. The Broncos defeated the Rams 27-26.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the Broncos visited the White House on Monday, June 6, someone (the Broncos) leaked to the media the terms of an offer that the team had made to linebacker Von Miller — and that had expired on Tuesday evening, June 7. Since that time, the two sides haven’t talked much, if at all.

Josina Anderson of ESPN.com reports that the Broncos and Miller have had no conversations since early June.

As of last Friday, PFT learned that neither side had contacted the other in the aftermath of the contract signed by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in Philadelphia.

Even when the two sides were communicating, they weren’t actually negotiating. Instead, they traded proposals without the kind of in-depth back and forth that can bridge the gap on key terms.

If/when player and team truly negotiate, they should be able to work something out. For now, there’s no reason to talk. The team’s attempt to apply artificial deadlines didn’t get a deal done. The real deadline arrives on July 15.

At this point, it would be a surprise if the two sides resume discussions before Monday, July 11. If a deal is going to get done, it’ll likely happen not long before 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, July 15. Assuming the fax machines are working, of course.

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Saints place Kyle Wilson on injured reserve

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 25:  Kyle Wilson #24 of the New Orleans Saints recovers a fumble against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cornerback Kyle Wilson has never lived up to the potential that made him a first-round pick of the Jets in 2010. He won’t get a chance to in 2016.

The Saints have placed Wilson on injured reserve.

The nature of the injury wasn’t disclosed, and it’s not known specifically when it happened. With no obligation to disclose injuries during the offseason, that’s no surprise.

After five years with the Jets, Wilson joined the Saints in 2015. He appeared in 15 games with four starts.

The Saints have replaced Wilson on the roster with defensive tackle C.J. Wilson. A seventh-round pick of the Packers in 2010, Wilson spent four years with the Packers, 2014 with the Raiders, and 2015 with the Raiders and Lions.

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Leonard Marshall worries advocacy could cost Eugene Monroe a job

Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans Getty Images

Former Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall is among the growing number of former players who want the NFL to take a closer look at medicinal (if not recreational) marijuana.

But that’s easier for former players than current ones, and Marshall thinks current advocate Eugene Monroe could suffer for it.

The Ravens said they cut the veteran left tackle for football reasons only, but Marshall said it’s hard to imagine that Monroe’s advocacy for marijuana research wasn’t a contributing factor.

Asked by Kalyn Kahler of TheMMQB.com if he thought Monroe was taking a risk by being so outspoken, Marshall replied: “We’ve seen that it already has been a risk, he’s been released by the Ravens.”

And when asked if other teams might be hesitant to sign Monroe because he’s outspoken, Marshall suggested there could easily be some blackballing.

“Yes, no doubt,” Marshall said. “I mean that’s the way things are. Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? This is a clear case where if you are a guy who is attempting to fight the establishment, you will be made the odd man out.

There are teams that have shown interest in Monroe (specifically the Giants), but so far, none of them have been willing to sign him. And if they don’t, Marshall has a good idea why they didn’t.

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