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Roethlisberger limited, Brown and Polamalu practice fully

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Let this week’s round of speculation about Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s status begin.

Roethlisberger was a limited participant at practice for the Steelers on Wednesday, a day after coach Mike Tomlin said that he was leaving the door open for the quarterback’s return against the Ravens this week. Roethlisberger’s return was still considered unlikely at that time, but Tomlin also said that Roethlisberger would have to show him he’s capable of playing before he can return. Practicing is as good a way as any to accomplish that.

If Roethlisberger does play, it looks like he’ll have wide receiver Antonio Brown running out under his passes. Brown practiced fully for the Steelers on Wednesday, which sets him on the track toward playing against Baltimore. Safety Troy Polamalu also practiced fully after returning to the field in limited fashion last Friday.

The news wasn’t all good on the injury front. Tackle Mike Adams, guard Willie Colon, tackle Max Starks, linebacker LaMarr Woodley and quarterback Byron Leftwich all missed practice for the Steelers. With all of the injuries on the offensive line, the Steelers are getting first-round pick David DeCastro back at the right time.

Baltimore was without tight end Ed Dickson, wide receiver Jacoby Jones and linebacker Dannell Ellerbee on Wednesday while wide receiver Torrey Smith and safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard were limited.

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Ahmad Dixon, Akiem Hicks fined for preseason infractions

Akiem Hicks AP

Add Cowboys safety Ahmad Dixon and Saints defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to the list of players fined for infractions during last week’s preseason games.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Dixon was fined $22,050 for striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area and that Hicks was fined $16,537 for roughing the passer.

Dixon was penalized for striking Dolphins wide receiver Matt Hazel high on a pass near the end zone in the fourth quarter of the game between Miami and Dallas. Hicks was fined for slamming Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to the turf during the first quarter of last week’s game. He was also penalized during the game.

Dixon can appeal to have the fine reduced as it is more than 25 percent of his weekly salary and it is his first offense. Hicks was fined for a hit late last season, which means he’d need to be fined more than 50 percent of his weekly pay in order to appeal on the grounds that it was excessive.

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Bears get rid of another converted college QB project

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It wasn’t a good day to be a converted college quarterback with the Bears.

In addition to the previously reported wide receiver Armanti Edwards, the Bears also parted ways with former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Lynch was trying to make it as a running back after a standout college career, which saw him rush for more than 4,000 yards and pass for more than 6,000.

The Bears also announced the release of tight end Jeron Mastrud and offensive linemen Dennis Roland and Robert Turner.

Those five moves get them to 70, meaning 17 more will have to come tomorrow.

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Eagles will place Arrelious Benn on injured reserve

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The Eagles got on the road to 53 players by saying goodbye to quarterback G.J. Kinne on Friday and the moves have kept on coming.

PFT has learned that the Eagles will place wide receiver Arrelious Benn on injured reserve. It’s the third straight year that Benn has wound up on that list with this year’s concussion joining 2013’s torn ACL and a variety of injuries in 2012 as the reasons why his career has been sidetracked after catching 55 passes for the Bucs in his first two NFL seasons.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the team has also cut running back Henry Josey, who showed well at times during the preseason. Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that wide receivers Ifeanyi Momah and Quron Pratt have also been dropped from the active roster. All three players have practice squad eligibility.

With the previously reported moves, the Eagles are down to 69 players which leaves them with plenty of work to do before they are at the 53-man limit.

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Kirkpatrick gets fined $22,500 for hit on Ted Ginn

Kirkpatrick AP

One of the higher-profile hits from Week Three of the preseason didn’t draw a flag.  One of the lesser-known hits did.

On a first-quarter punt fielded by Cardinals receiver Ted Ginn, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick lowered the boom.

The helmet-to-helmet hit drew no flag, but it has drawn a $22,050 fine.  NBC’s Cris Collinsworth spotted it in real time.

“So here we are in preseason having seen a ton of flags,” Al Michael replied, “and the one time we should have seen one, we don’t.”

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Bengals release BenJarvus Green-Ellis

BenJarvus Green-Ellis AP

The Law Firm will no longer practice in Cincinnati.

The Bengals announced Friday that they have released veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The move has been discussed for some time with speculation growing by leaps and bounds when the team selected Jeremy Hill in May’s draft.

Hill was a workhorse on Thursday night while Green-Ellis sat out much of the preseason with a hip injury that probably sealed his fate in Cincinnati. Green-Ellis spent the last two seasons with the Bengals, running 498 times for 1,850 yards and 13 touchdowns, but the arrivals of Hill and Gio Bernard over the last two seasons made him expendable.

Green-Ellis doesn’t offer much in the passing game, but a team looking for a short yardage banger could probably do worse if Green-Ellis is healthy enough to get back to work. Given his status as a vested veteran, Green-Ellis may have to wait until the second week of the regular season to find new work if teams want to avoid guaranteeing his contract for the entire season.

The Bengals also announced that they have parted ways with linebacker Brandon Joiner, defensive tackle Lakendrick Ross and quarterback Tyler Wilson.

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Jags waive Stephen Morris, plan to put him on practice squad

stephenmorris AP

Rookie quarterback Stephen Morris is out in Jacksonville. For now.

A league source tells PFT that the Jaguars are waiving Morris. However, if he clears waivers their plan is to bring him back and put him on the practice squad.

Morris completed 16 of 25 passes for 120 yards in the preseason. He was always a long shot to make the 53-man roster in Jacksonville, where Chad Henne is the starter and rookie Blake Bortles is the franchise quarterback of the future.

Morris was the starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes for the last two seasons (and parts of the two seasons before that) and finished his college career with 7,896 passing yards.

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D.J. Swearinger not fined for hit that concussed Welker

Wes Welker, D.J. Swearinger, Jeff Tarpinian AP

Texans safety D.J. Swearinger earned the ire of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and a penalty for a hit in last week’s preseason game that left Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker with a concussion, but the league didn’t think he did anything that warranted further punishment.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Swearinger did not receive a fine for the hit. Manning was fined $8,268 for the taunting penalty he received for getting in Swearinger’s face and expressing his feelings about the hit that left one of his top receivers with his latest concussion.

Welker was hurt when Swearinger hit him shortly after he reeled in a 9-yard catch. Tom Curran of CSN New England and others argued that Manning bore some of the blame for Welker’s injury because he threw a pass to Welker in a spot where he was sure to be hit hard by one of the three defenders around him.

The league’s opinion on that matter will remain unknown, but we do know that they don’t think Swearinger crossed a line on the play.

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Bucs punt kicker Connor Barth for younger alternative

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The Buccaneers continue to do business faster than anyone, as they’ve made the majority of their cuts already.

The latest is kicker Connor Barth, per the Tampa Bay Times.

That leaves the kicking job to Patrick Murray, a second-year player from Fordham.

The 28-year-old Barth had been with the Bucs since 2009, but they’re going with the younger (i.e. cheaper) version. He was franchised and given a four-year, $13.2 million deal in 2012, but spent last year on the non-football illness list after he tore his Achilles in an offseason charity basketball game.

Barth’s been good enough for long enough that he’ll likely be a regular on the Tuesday tour of unemployed kickers, which we envision traveling from city to city together in a small car or bus.

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NFL does not fine Ndamukong Suh for roughing the passer

ndamukong AP

One of the NFL’s most-fined players caught a break this week.

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has been fined repeatedly and suspended once for on-field misconduct, was not fined for his roughing the passer penalty last week against the Jaguars.

Suh’s late hit on Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne was fairly egregious, enough so that Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he’d need to talk to Suh about not hurting his team with penalties. So it’s something of a surprise that the Lions didn’t dock Suh’s pay.

The NFL doesn’t explain the reasons when it doesn’t fine a player, so it’s hard to understand why Suh got away with this one. He’d be wise not to push his luck when the regular season begins.

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Rex Ryan: Too early to tell if Dee Milliner can play in opener

Dee Milliner AP

The Jets aren’t going to cut cornerback Dee Milliner, but they aren’t sure whether they’ll have him in the lineup for the regular season opener either.

Coach Rex Ryan said Friday, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, that “it’s still too early to tell” if Milliner will be recovered enough from his high ankle sprain to take the field with his teammates against the Raiders next Sunday. Milliner was injured on August 10, which means he’ll have a little less than a month to recover before the regular season kicks off.

Milliner’s injury is just one of the problems the Jets are dealing with at cornerback right now. There’s also the matter of Dimitri Patterson’s suspension for failing to show up for the team’s preseason game against the Giants. In a statement given to Josina Anderson of ESPN, Patterson said the Jets were being dishonest about saying they didn’t know where he was when he was absent and Ryan said Friday that he has not spoken to Patterson since his comments on Thursday.

Should they decide to part ways with Patterson and not have Milliner in the lineup, the Jets could be starting Darrin Walls and converted safety Antonio Allen, who is recovering from a concussion, at cornerback in Week One.

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Haloti Ngata fined for kicking Shawn Lauvao

Haloti Ngata AP

Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was able to avoid a flag for kicking Redskins guard Shawn Lauvao in the preseason game between the two teams last week, but it didn’t escape the notice of the league office.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Ngata has been fined $8,268 for unnecessary roughness. Ngata kicked Lauvao with his right foot after Lauvao laid out Ravens cornerback Dominique Franks at the end of a run by Washington running back Alfred Morris.

Ngata said after the game that he was trying to protect his teammate when he lashed out in the heat of the moment, but the video of the moment likely made the case for fining Ngata pretty clear for the league.

Ngata picked up previous fines from the league for hits on Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

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Bears part ways with receiver Armanti Edwards

02michigan.xlarge1 AP

Seven years ago this weekend, Armanti Edwards authored one of the greatest wins — not upsets — in college football history.

Tomorrow, he’ll have plenty of time to watch the rematch.

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears released the former Appalachian State quarterback, who led the Mountaineers to two national championships and a win over Michigan.

Edwards converted to wide receiver after the Panthers traded up to take him in the third round of the 2010 Draft. They cut him last year, and he had a short stint with the Browns.

The Bears kept his old Panthers teammate Jimmy Clausen, but there wasn’t enough room for him on the 53-man roster.

Just like there weren’t enough Wolverines to stop him in 2007.

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Jerry Jones proud of himself for resisting the urge to draft Manziel

manziel AP

Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones says he did a great job of paying attention to his football people on draft day this year.

Jones, who has admitted he was tempted to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel, says he showed off some good delegation abilities when he allowed the other people in the Cowboys’ draft room to convince him the team needed the substance of offensive lineman Zack Martin, rather than the flash of Johnny Football.

“I think I’m proud of that decision right now, and I’m proud I was a good listener,” Jones said.

Jones added, however, that if he had drafted Manziel, it would have been because he truly believes Manziel is going to be a great franchise quarterback for years to come. Jones said the fact that Johnny Football is already a star in Texas is just a bonus, not the reason Jones considered drafting him.

“The reason you take Manziel is to win. We’ve talked a lot about the cache. We’ve talked a lot about the visibility,” he said. “But I don’t think anybody has to back into the fact that this guy is a winner. He’s a proven winner and high competition. And so I wouldn’t distinguish any conversation I’m having about taking him or not taking him with the idea that if we have him he’ll help us win.”

Instead, Martin will block for Tony Romo, and Manziel will back up Brian Hoyer in Cleveland. Not quite as exciting as the situation Jones envisioned when he dreamt about drafting Manziel, but probably the right move for the Cowboys.

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Jamon Meredith goes from Bucs starter to cut

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It’s going to be a tough couple of days for a lot of players around the league, although few of the players learning of their release will have dropped out of their team’s plans faster than Jamon Meredith.

Meredith started the first game of the preseason at right guard for the Buccaneers, but was promptly dropped from both the lineup and the competition to start at the position. Moving to tackle didn’t change his fortunes, however, and the Bucs announced Friday that Meredith has been released.

Meredith, who entered the league as a 2009 fifth-round pick of the Packers before being signed by the Bills off Green Bay’s practice squad, started 20 games for the Bucs over the last two seasons but the change in coaches from Greg Schiano to Lovie Smith doesn’t seem to have done him any favors.

His experience could land him a job somewhere else as the other 31 rosters take shape, but, for now, the summer is one of discontent for Meredith.

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Eagles can’t find a place on the roster for QB G.J. Kinne

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Quarterback G.J. Kinne had a good preseason for the Eagles, but there simply wasn’t a place to put him on the 53-man roster.

Kinne was among the first players cut in Philadelphia, according to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com.

With Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley entrenched in front of him, Kinne needed someone to get injured or falter, and no one did.

Kinne posed a 130.7 passer rating in the preseason, although that was compiled against of other guys who are about to become unemployed. They might still sign him to the practice squad, as he has eligibility there.

Offensive lineman Josh Andrews has also been cut, per a tweet from his agent.

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