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Rex on Cromartie’s playoff prediction: Our whole team feels like that

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Not long after Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie said he thinks his team is heading to the playoffs, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he thinks that, too. And so does everyone else in the Jets’ locker room.

Ryan told reporters today that he shares Cromartie’s confidence and wants a roster with 53 players who believe that they can go from 3-5 to the playoffs.

“I feel as an entire football team that we should all feel like that. And I think we do feel like that,” Ryan said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “Nobody wants to hear it, but who cares? That’s really how we feel. That’s our mentality. Whether you like it or not, that’s our mentality. I would think the Jets fans and the Jet community, obviously, they would want us to feel that way. And we do.”

Although Ryan stopped predicting the Jets would get to the Super Bowl after his prediction last year fell flat and his team missed the playoffs, he’s still not shy about expressing his confidence in his team, even after the Jets’ rough start this year.

“We’re not happy with where we are with that 3-5 record,” Ryan said. “We know it’s tough to get into the playoffs especially when you back yourself up with that 3-5 record. But again, we’re going to keep swinging until they tell us that we’re out. All of us, in my opinion, believe we can make it.”

That’s the attitude you’d expect from the Jets’ locker room. Not many people outside the Jets’ locker room agree.

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Lions talking about extensions for DeAndre Levy and Haloti Ngata

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The Lions want to lock up a pair of key defensive parts, including one which hasn’t taken a snap for them.

Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew said he was working on new deals for both linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who are entering the finals years of their respective contracts.

The last time Mayhew talked much about negotiations, they centered on now-Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, so the G.M. is probably a little gun-shy about talking about such things.

We’re in discussions with DeAndre at this time,” Mayhew said. “That’s about all I’ll say about it.”

Levy is one of the most productive 4-3 outside linebackers in the league, though he hasn’t drawn Pro Bowl recognition because of the all-star game’s almost exclusive choices of 3-4 pass-rushers at that position. But he’s had 270 tackles the last two years, and the Lions recognize his value.

“He’s a heck of a football player, just a playmaker on our defense versus the run and the pass,” Mayhew said. “The guy’s an impact player, so we definitely want to keep him on our defense. It’s very important to our football team. His leadership is also excellent and professional in every sense of the word, so he has a lot of value to us and he’s one of our own guys so we want to definitely keep him around.”

Ngata hasn’t practiced yet because of a hamstring strain, but he’s fills a big need for them after both Suh and Nick Fairley were allowed to leave in free agency.

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Lions add Jerel Worthy off waivers

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Defensive lineman Jerel Worthy has bounced from the Packers to the Patriots and Chiefs over the last two years as he’s tried to find a home in the NFL and now he’ll look for an extended stay in the same state where he played his college ball.

Worthy has been claimed off of waivers by the Lions a day after the Chiefs parted ways with him. Worthy played at Michigan State in college and became a second-round pick of the Packers in 2012 after making the All-America team in his final year in Lansing.

Worthy saw action with Green Bay as a rookie, but tore his ACL at the end of the year and played in only two games during his second NFL season. The Packers traded him to the Patriots and he wound up on the Chiefs practice squad last year after failing to make the Pats out of camp.

According to Tim Twentyman of the Lions website, Worthy will compete for snaps at tackle, where Haloti Ngata, Tyrunn Walker, Caraun Reid and 2015 fourth-round pick Gabe Wright are already in the mix for playing time.

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Chris Houston retiring after short stay with Panthers

Marvin Jones, Chris Houston AP

The Panthers signed cornerback Chris Houston in June in hopes that he was recovered from the toe injury that kept him out of the league last season and could help their secondary, but that hope will go unfulfilled.

Houston has been able to practice with the team, but sat out Sunday after hurting his toe on Saturday. Houston returned to the field Monday, but it appears he’s lost the desire to continue pursuing professional football as a career. Houston announced that he’s retiring from the NFL on Tuesday.

Houston spent seven years with the Falcons and Lions and was a starter for most of his time with both teams. He ends his career with 376 tackles, 13 interceptions, three touchdowns and four forced fumbles.

His departure leaves the Panthers with the same collection of cornerbacks they had before taking a flier on Houston — Charles Tillman, Josh Norman, Bene’ Benwikere and Melvin White are the experienced names — and makes two retirements from the Panthers roster in as many weeks. Tackle Jonathan Martin also walked away from the game rather than try to resume his career after recovering from a back injury.

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Judge Berman orders NFL-NFLPA to not file documents under seal

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Full transparency is coming to the Tom Brady appeal process.

Judge Richard M. Berman, who strongly hinted on Friday that he won’t be inclined to allow the NFL and NFLPA to keep the transcript of the 10-hour Tom Brady appeal hearing secret, has ordered the parties to not submit materials under seal, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

It means that the transcript of the Brady appeal hearing will soon be made public.

The NFLPA previously attached the transcript as an exhibit to the filing made under seal in federal court in Minnesota. With that case transferred back to New York, the union soon will be re-filing its initial submission, with the transcript as an exhibit.

And the transcript at that point will be a matter of public record. Which means that it’ll be time to brew some coffee and put on the cheaters, because anyone paid to comment on this case will be compelled to read every word of every page of the transcript.

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Chip Kelly: Handling of Cooper “could be” connected to current issue

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As he continues to defend himself against claims of racism, Eagles coach Chip Kelly acknowledged the reason may be because of the way he handled a guy who actually committed some.

According to Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com, Kelly was asked Tuesday if he saw a connection between his treatment of wide receiver Riley Cooper after his videotaped racial slur and remarks by former players including Brandon Boykin and LeSean McCoy.

There could be,” Kelly said. “I literally don’t spend time trying to connect Y to X to Z. We have other things to do.”

Of course, the other “grown men of our culture” might feel differently about it than Kelly, especially after Cooper was rewarded with a $22.5 million contract extension after the 2013 season.

“I think that Riley made a mistake,” Kelly said. “That’s part of it. We all backed him. Michael [Vick] backed him. Jason Avant backed him. I think that’s part of being in an organization and on a team. I look at that as a specific incident where he was 100-percent wrong. Those are things that should never be said.

“I hope he learned his lesson. I think he regrets what he did that day, every single day. I see that in him. Do I regret what I did in terms of how we handled Riley? No, I don’t.”

Kelly also defended himself against Boykin’s clarification that he thought Kelly struggled to communicate, rather than implying a more sinister motive.

“We have an open-door policy,” Kelly said. “I had a long talk with Brandon last spring when he came in and sat down and talked to me. You can come talk to me whenever you want to come talk to me. We also have a pretty structured day where guys are in meetings. I don’t just walk around and say, ‘Hey, let me go grab him and sit down and have a coffee together.’ When they get here, they’re doing stuff.

“In the offseason, we’re limited with our time. You get guys for four hours, there’s not a time when we’re all sitting around, holding hands, singing ‘Kumbaya’ together. We’re in meeting rooms, getting stuff done. They’re in the training room, getting stuff done. They’re on the training field, getting stuff done. I don’t think it’s any different from any other head coaches in terms of where you are.”

Of course, other coaches are more personable, or at least not so painfully uncomfortable in the public eye than Kelly, so interpersonal communication might not be so much of a struggle.

But to ignore the connection between sheltering/paying Cooper and the scorn of those who didn’t continue to receive checks from the Eagles seems naive. While many were able to forgive Cooper and move on, others were never going to be able to, and from that standpoint, what Kelly is dealing with now may have been inevitable.

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Terrelle Pryor tweaks hamstring, throws passes in Browns practice

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The Browns want Terrelle Pryor “1000 percent” focused on playing wide receiver, but it doesn’t look like they’ll mind opposing defenses worrying about the possibility that he’ll be throwing passes this season.

Pryor threw a couple of passes during Tuesday’s practice, one of which came off an end-around during 11-on-11 drills. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com described the toss as a “wobbling duck down the right sideline” which Travis Benjamin was able to catch after cornerback Pierre Desir. Pryor poked some fun at himself after practice.

“They said it was wobbly and ugly,” Pryor said. “They said I lost my QB skills. I told them I never had them.”

Coach Mike Pettine suggested that this won’t be the last time the team tries a bit of trickery with Pryor on offense this season.

“Special plays are going to be part of our plan each week,” Pettine said, via ESPNCleveland.com. “You want to have those up, the sooner the better. I’m just a firm believer of always having that option. If it’s there, you have a couple practiced and ready to go. If you get into a game where there’s a lull on both sides offensively, you need something to break it open. Having a guy like Terrelle certainly gives us that ability.”

Any use of Pryor will be contingent on him being healthy enough to be on the field, something that wasn’t the case for all of Tuesday’s session. Pryor tweaked his hamstring, which he iced while watching practice. Pettine said that he didn’t believe it was serious, but that Pryor would undergo further evaluation.

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Darren Woodson to enter Cowboys Ring of Honor

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Safety Darren Woodson stayed with the Cowboys long enough to play for five different head coaches and he played well enough for those coaches to earn a spot among the best players to wear the star on their helmets.

The Cowboys announced Tuesday that Woodson will enter the team’s Ring of Honor during the team’s November 1 game against the Seahawks. He’s the 21st inductee and the first since Drew Pearson, Larry Allen and Charles Haley were enshrined in 2011.

Woodson spent his entire 13-year career in Dallas and was selected to five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams during a tenure that also saw him earn three Super Bowl rings. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles and intercepted 23 passes during his career.

“He’s the ultimate warrior. There’s no more like him,” former teammate Nate Newton said, via the team’s website. “He never left the field. He played all the special teams. He only left the field with the offense. He made everyone better. He was the back end to our defense.”

Woodson was a semi-finalist in the voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2015 class and remains eligible for consideration for that body in 2016.

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Rodney Harrison becomes a full-time member of PFT on NBCSN next week

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The break is over. And we’re coming back with a bang.

After three years of a format that included a lot of different people (all of whom did a great job — except for perhaps one former offensive lineman with an affinity for candy), Pro Football Talk on NBCSN returns for the 2015 season with a new format. And a new, permanent, daily member of the show.

Two-time Super Bowl champion safety Rodney Harrison joins the program every weekday. He’ll contribute on most days from his home in Atlanta. I’ll contribute on most days from my home in West Virginia. And Paul Burmeister will be caught in the crossfire from the NBC Sports Group studios in Connecticut.

If you’ve seen over the years some of the segments Rodney and I have done as web-only features during Sunday Night Football, you already know that we have very good chemistry. The relationship works primarily because Rodney’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind, and because I’m afraid of Rodney.

In this format, I won’t be as afraid. Because he won’t be able to kick me under the desk or punch me above it. (At least not at that moment. But I still have to see him on Sundays.)

Rodney seems to be looking forward to the new arrangement.

“Finally adding a football expert to the show,” Harrison told me via text this afternoon. “I got tired of listening to a fraud. Who listens to a guy who never had jock itch or made a tackle?”

(In my defense, I’ve had jock itch.)

“The only thing you ever hit hard was a mosquito,” Harrison added.

Can someone with NBC remind me why I thought this would be a good idea?

It definitely will be a good idea for you to join Rodney, Paul, and me when Pro Football Talk returns to NBCSN next Monday, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The next day, we settle in to our normal time of 6:00 p.m. ET.

In early September, we’ll do a show or two live from Gillette Stadium. Side by side. Where Rodney played for the Patriots. Right on the very edge of the field where Rodney used to apply hard hits to organisms far larger than mosquitoes.

What could go wrong?

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Report: Arian Foster will need surgery, but could return this season

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It appears the Texans will be without their most important offensive player when the season begins.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the groin injury suffered by running back Arian Fosterwill require surgery” but that he should be able to return during the course of the season.

That could mean the injured reserve/designated for return list could be in play, though there are no details yet as to the extent of the damage.

As to the damage for the Texans’ offense, it’s hard to overstate that.

Foster was the guy the whole operation was built around, as they’re trying to decide between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett at quarterback.

They’re also replacing veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson, letting him go this offseason and hoping DeAndre Hopkins is able to take on a bigger role.

As for the backfield, they have a group including Alfred Blue and Chris Polk behind Foster, so they could soon be in the market for a veteran back.

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Melvin Gordon’s mom won’t wear his jersey until he shows “a little something”

Melvin Gordon

The Chargers have high hopes for running back Melvin Gordon after taking him in the first round of the NFL draft and there will likely be some Chargers fans wearing his jersey during games this season, but one interested party is going to be waiting a while before throwing on No. 28.

That party is Gordon’s mother Carmen, who is described as thinking “she’s a coach” by her son. Like many coaches, Carmen Gordon isn’t going to put the cart before the horse when it comes to a player who still needs to prove himself at the professional level.

“You’ve got to show me a little something, but it won’t be this year,” Carmen Gordon said, via ESPN.com. “So you might see me in the stands, but I won’t have the jersey on. I did the same thing in college because I just want to hear what people are saying.”

Gordon’s arrival in San Diego will also force her mother to root against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who she says she likes because “he was a bad boy back in the day.” If her son shows more than a little something as a rookie, it would help the Chargers in their quest to succeed the Broncos as AFC West champs and perhaps convince Mom to start wearing his jersey.

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T.Y. Hilton’s agent on hand at Colts camp to talk about a deal

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The Cowboys and Broncos had to be backed against a wall and a deadline before reaching deals to keep their young wide receivers.

The Colts may be a little more proactive.

According to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, agent Drew Rosenhaus is at Colts camp to work on a new deal for wideout T.Y. Hilton.

While he also noted that “nothing is imminent,” the fact they’re talking could be meaningful.

The Colts have effectively said they’re not going to address quarterback Andrew Luck’s deal until after the coming year. They’ve already picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal to carry him through 2016, which may be why they’ve taken such a casual approach to what is going to be a huge deal whenever it is signed.

Hilton has already noted the four-year, $70 million deals signed by Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas as setting the bar. He’s currently working out the final year of his rookie deal, which will pay him $1.542 million this year.

Of course, the Colts drafted Phillip Dorsett in the first round this year, so it will be interesting to see if Rosenhaus’s visit creates any momentum toward a deal.

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NFL apparently having trouble finding temporary venues in L.A.

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The NFL has asked venues in Los Angeles to let them know by tomorrow if they’re interested in being temporary hosts of a professional football team.

And mostly, what they’re hearing is “No, thanks.”

According to Nathan Fenno and Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, there isn’t a land rush to offer the Chargers, and/or Raiders and/or Rams a place to play before a new stadium can be built in Carson and/or Inglewood.

The Coliseum is the only venue to publicly admit interest.

The 27,000-seat StubHub Center, home of the MLS L.A. Galaxy, is the latest venue to pull out of the running, joining the Rose Bowl as expressing no interest.

We’ve really just begun,” NFL L.A. point man Eric Grubman said. “Aug. 5 was a date that helped us know what venues might be available in a traditional sense and I think that has sorted itself out. . . . Other, more complex opportunities could very well present themselves as the picture becomes clearer.”

That seems to point to the baseball stadiums of the Angels and Dodgers, and those facilities aren’t expected to submit proposals on the NFL’s timeline, on account of the whole maybe hosting playoff games of their own thing.

But Grubman remains confident, saying: “In any event, I think this works itself out by the end of this year.”

Of course, the NFL has been expressing that kind of optimism throughout. Whether the buildings of Los Angeles have any more interest than the citizenry remains to be seen.

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Richie Incognito: No hard feelings toward anyone from Dolphins

Richie Incognito AP

Richie Incognito has been installed as the starting left guard in Buffalo, which puts him in position to face former teammates with the Dolphins twice this season.

During an appearance on the Zaslow and Joy Show on 104.3 The Ticket in Miami, Incognito admitted that he’s circled those games in red on his calendar but says it’s not because of any hard feelings about the team suspending him in the wake of bullying allegations during the 2013 season.

“Not one bit. I don’t have one hard feeling about anybody I ever played with in Miami,” Incognito said. “I still got a lot of love for those guys, a lot of respect for those guys, still got a lot of close friends on that team. What went down went down and it was a crazy time and things were said, but I really don’t have any hard feelings toward anybody.”

If there’s another reason to pay special attention to the meetings with the Dolphins, it could be the arrival of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in South Florida. Incognito said that the Bills are going to have their hands full dealing with Suh, Cameron Wake and the rest of the Dolphins defensive line as they try to keep pace in the AFC East this season.

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Report: Arian Foster dealing with groin injury, may need surgery

Arian Foster AP

Texans running back Arian Foster spent most of Monday night’s practice on the sideline, but coach Bill O’Brien said after the workout that it was just a rest day for the veteran back.

“We’ve got to monitor Arian, like I told you guys that in the offseason and I think that’s what that’s all about today,” O’Brien said.

A pair of ESPN reports that there was more to the decision than that. Adam Schefter reports that Foster came up limping after a pass play that was his final action of the evening and Tania Ganguli reports that he suffered a groin injury on the play.

There’s no word on the severity of the injury and there’s certainly no reason to push Foster through a muscular injury that could get worse at this point in camp, but it does offer a reminder that Foster has missed 11 games over the last two seasons with injuries. Even if this isn’t a serious issue, it’s a good bet that the Texans do what they can to rest Foster and raise the chances that he will be on the field to help take pressure off their quarterback come the regular season.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m. ET: Jayson Braddock of ESPN 97.5 in Houston reports that Foster may need surgery, something that Ganguli and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle are reporting as well. Braddock adds that Foster may be a candidate for injured reserve/return, which would keep him out of the lineup for at least eight games.

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Chip Kelly: DeMarco Murray was held out of practice because of hydration issue

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Eagles running back DeMarco Murray didn’t take part in team drills on their first day of training camp and told reporters he didn’t know why the team decided to hold him out.

Murray said he didn’t ask coach Chip Kelly for an explanation because he just does what he’s told, but Kelly did get a question about Murray’s absence from the field when he met the media on Tuesday. The coach who doesn’t like answering questions about himself had no problem sharing that dehydration was the rationale behind the team’s decision.

Kelly said the team checks players’ hydration levels and they didn’t want to put Murray on the field because they felt there was an increased chance of further problems.

“It was a training staff decision,” Kelly said, via NJ.com. “Especially, with the way the weather has been, we didn’t want to take any chances. It’s not just for [Murray], we treat every player on a daily basis.”

Murray is back to work and says he feels fine, so all should move forward without incident as long as Murray continues to check out on the sports science side of things.

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