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Seahawks cut Braylon Edwards

Braylon Edwards,  Tony Carter AP

Braylon Edwards is a Seahawk no more.

Seattle has waived Edwards, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported and the team later announced. Edwards will be given the waived/injured designation, although it was not immediately clear what the nature of his injury is.

Edwards, who signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks in July, has mostly been a non-factor for the Seahawks this season, with eight catches in 10 games. Edwards was also a non-factor in San Francisco last season, and at age 29 he may not have much left.

We’ve already mentioned Edwards a couple times today, first because he said the people who run his old team, the Jets, are idiots, and then because he apologized for saying that. And now we know why Edwards suddenly realized that it’s not wise to burn bridges.

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Nealy admits taking a “banned stimulant”

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Another suspension under the PED program, another player who hasn’t admitted to taking a stigmatizing compound like steroids.

Like Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan eight days ago on that pre-July 4 bad-news dump by the NFL, Vikings linebacker Spencer Nealy admits that he violated the policy — by taking a banned stimulant.

“”Recently I learned from the NFL that I tested positive for a stimulant that is banned under the NFL policy,” Nealy said in a statement issued by the NFLPA.  “I worked with my agent and the union to investigate the test results, and I learned that a supplement I took contained a banned stimulant.  I understand that the NFL policy is very strict, and I take responsibility.  I’’m very sorry for the impact of this situation on my teammates, the Vikings organization and Vikings fans.  I will work extremely hard during training camp, and during the suspension, I will stay in top shape and will be ready to contribute upon my return.””

If that text sounds familiar, it should.  It reads a lot like the statement issued by the Dolphins on Jordan’s behalf.

“I recently learned from the NFL that I tested positive for stimulants that are banned under the NFL policy,” Jordan’s statement said.  “I worked carefully with my advisors and the union to investigate the test results, and I take full responsibility for the test results.  I’m very sorry for the impact of this situation on my teammates, coaches, Stephen Ross, the entire Dolphins organization, fans and my family as well.  I will continue to work extremely hard during training camp and preseason.  During the suspension, I will stay in top shape and will be ready to contribute upon my return.”

The biggest substantive difference between the statements comes from Nealy’s concession that he took a supplement that contained a banned stimulant.  He doesn’t, unlike others before him, claim that the supplement was spiked with the banned stimulant without his knowledge.

For both players, the term “stimulant” has replaced the recent explanations pointing to Adderall, which contains a banned stimulant.  And while it’s entirely possible that both players indeed took a banned stimulant and not something more sinister like steroids, there’s no way to know because the NFL currently doesn’t have the ability to correct the record by disputing either player.

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Spencer Nealy suspended four games for violating PED policy

Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp Getty Images

Vikings defensive end Spencer Nealy will serve a four-game suspension to begin the 2014 regular season after violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the league said Friday.

Nealy, 24, spent part of the 2013 season on the Vikings’ practice squad. The club signed him to a reserve/future deal in December.

Nealy can take part in the Vikings’ training camp and preseason activities before serving his suspension. He can first return to an NFL roster on Monday, September 29.

The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Nealy played collegiately at Texas A&M. He had a stint with Detroit last year before joining Minnesota in August.

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John Harbaugh: Our defense will be top-five in the league at worst

Matt Elam AP

The Ravens won the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, but that didn’t guarantee an extended stay for any players on the defensive side of the ball.

Baltimore returns just two starters — linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata — from that team and they’ve been working to replenish the talent supply. Their first four picks in the 2013 draft were defensive players, but they gave up the most fourth quarter points in team history. They added four more in the first four rounds of this year’s draft, leaving coach John Harbaugh to set a high bar for the unit to reach on the field this season.

“The expectation for our defense is to be top-five, at the worst,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN.com. “It has always been that way and always will be.”

This year’s Ravens defense is much shorter on experience than the one that won the Super Bowl, but the hope is that the infusion of youth over the last two years has upped the speed and athleticism enough to bring the team back to previous heights. It’s a big bet and one that will further solidify the reputations of Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and General Manager Ozzie Newsome if it pays off.

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Colts part ways with repeat offender LaVon Brazill

Brazill AP

The Colts know when to take advantage of news cover.

So they dumped the bad stuff, and LaVon Brazill on Friday afternoon when everyone was otherwise occupied.

The team announced they signed wide receiver Aaron Burks and waived Brazill, who was suspended for a year for his latest violation of the substance abuse policy.

It’s certainly not a show of compassion and forgiveness, the kind of thoughts that were common for pill-addict owner Jim Irsay.

Speaking of Irsay, we haven’t heard anything from the league on him.

It’s early yet.

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The Redskins claim 23rd spot in PFT’s preseason power rankings

DeAngelo Hall AP

There are no ulterior motives for the Redskins this season, but will there be victories?

Our votes for PFT’s preseason power rankings say the team has some work to do to convince us that firing Mike Shanahan was enough to completely turn things around after a 3-13 2013 season. The Redskins come in at No. 23 in the rankings, one spot ahead of the Cowboys and behind the Giants and Eagles.

Our preview runs down everything you need know about the Redskins heading into camp, but defensive questions loom the largest when it comes to reasons for doubt about the Redskins’ turnaround. Those doubts are balanced by quarterback Robert Griffin III’s return to health and upgraded talent at wide receiver, but what the final result will look like remains up in the air ahead of training camp.

Let us know what you think of the Redskins’ rating in the poll below and in the comments.

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Jaguars’ Brown, Shorts taking part in Larry Fitzgerald’s camp

Cecil Shorts AP

At 26, Cecil Shorts III is the oldest wide receiver on the Jaguars’ roster.

The club’s second oldest receiver, Mike Brown, is 25.

We mention this because Brown and Shorts, per the Jaguars’ website, are among those taking part in Larry Fitzgerald’s annual workouts in Minnesota. And both Shorts and Brown appear to be making the most of the experience.

“You get a chance to see what other guys are doing on the field, how they run their routes, how they set their routes up – things like that,” Brown told Jaguars.com of the workouts, which have attracted about 30 players, he said. “You’re always looking for something to pick up from every single person.”

Shorts, meanwhile, told the club’s site he has enjoyed watching how Fitzgerald goes about his business.

“That’s the biggest thing for me, seeing how he deals with people, how he attacks his game, how he works on his craft,” Shorts told Jaguars.com. “He’s a future Hall of Famer. He’s up here, willing to work with guys who are trying to get on teams, guys in college, guys fighting to get on teams. It says a lot about him. He’s a humble guy.”

That Shorts and Brown are willing to work and eager to improve in the early days of July has to appreciated by the Jaguars, who have a pair of rookie wideouts (Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee) who figure to play this season. If a club’s veteran players set the right example with their actions, that’s a healthy outcome for the organization.

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Cam Newton will catch up with his new WRs next week

Cam Newton, Kelvin Benjamin AP

Other than a few 7-on-7s on the final day of minicamp, none of the Panthers’ new wide receivers has been able to work with Cam Newton this offseason as he recovered from ankle surgery.

They’re going to get a chance to catch up next week.

Panthers wideout Tiquan Underwood told Tom Pelissero of USA Today that Newton and the rest of the quarterbacks would get together for some work before training camp.

It’s been more difficult because Cam’s coming off an ankle injury and he had to get surgery, so we couldn’t throw with him as much as we would like,” Underwood said. “I know we’re all going to get together next week in Charlotte. We’re just going to try to speed up the process. We’re all going to throw — Derek Anderson, Cam Newton, Joe Webb, Matt Blanchard and all the receivers — just to work on timing and get that down pat before camp.”

Newton needs to learn them, since they’re all new. The Panthers lost Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon this offseason, replacing them with first-rounder Kelvin Benjamin and veterans Underwood, Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery.

That’s going to take more than a week of throwing it around to make up for, but the extra time is at least a chance for Newton to catch up.

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Graham’s camp believe appeal deadline comes Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET

New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

If the Saints and Jimmy Graham don’t work out a long-term deal soon, Graham will have to file an appeal of the arbitration ruling on his franchise-tag status or waive the issue.  Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Graham’s camp believes his deadline for filing the appeal is Monday, July 14, at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The thinking is that Graham actually received the ruling on Thursday, July 3, even though the ruling was released on Wednesday, July 2.  The 10-day clock expires on Sunday, July 13.  Because the window closes on a Sunday, Graham has until the next day the league office is open to file the notice of appeal, pushing his deadline to 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday.

Still, why chance it?  With the Saints understanding that business is business, why not start the appeal process now and avoid a potential Dumervil-style fax machine faux pas?  Moreover, if a long-term deal isn’t worked out by July 15, the appeal process will be farther along than it would be if Graham waits until the last minute.

With the Saints and Graham required to get any long-term deal signed and filed by 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, it’s fair to say that one or the other will happen by Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET — Graham will sign a long-term deal, or he’ll file his appeal.

There’s a chance that both will happen, with Graham filing the appeal as a last-ditch effort to get that last concession from the team, and the Saints giving it to him once the appeal is filed.

It makes the most sense to just get the deal done now.  But the Saints are taking it slowly, likely because the Saints suspect that, when push comes to shove, Graham will pounce on the offer that’s currently on the table, or something very close to it.

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LeBron’s return could be good for Browns

lebrown

The week began with an image of Johnny Manziel with a rolled up dollar bill.  It ended with LeBron James rolling back into town.

The immediate impact on the Browns after the return of King James to Cleveland is that local fans suddenly won’t care quite as much about the NFL franchise that plays in the so-called Factory of Sadness.  Over the long haul, it could be good for the Browns to have LeBron back.

For starters, James’ presence will dilute some of the Manziel mania, at least in Northeast Ohio. Which in turn will put less pressure on the team to play him right away, and less emphasis on everything Manziel does or doesn’t do.

Also, at a time when Manziel has made it clear that he’ll do what he wants, Manziel may be inclined to listen to LeBron’s advice, especially since Manziel’s off-field interests are handled by the marketing company owned by LeBron and Maverick Carter.  Of course, the potentially impetuous Manziel could react to LeBron crowding Johnny Football’s Cleveland spotlight by parting ways with LeBron’s marketing company. Manziel’s tweet welcoming LeBrown back to town suggests that won’t happen.

So LeBron could help Cleveland win an NBA title and improve the prospects of the Browns by getting Manziel to tone it down and/or at a minimum to stop being photographed in compromising situations and/or ideally to focus only on being the best football player he can be.

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Report: Antonio Brown leaving Roc Nation

Antonio Brown AP

One of the sport’s bright young stars is leaving the flashy upstart which looked so enticing, and is returning home.

No, not that guy.

According to Mike Garafolo and Ross Jones of FOX Sports, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is leaving Jay Z’s Roc Nation and is going back to his old agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Agent moves aren’t going to create nationwide paranoia like that other guy, but it is interesting to note the tide shifting away a bit from a group that seemed to have momentum not that long ago.

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Graham’s appeal deadline is coming, quickly

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

Now that a certain basketball player has decided to make another decision, decisively, all eyes normally watching the NFL can turn to New Orleans.

The Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham must reach a long-term deal by Tuesday, July 15.  If they don’t, the Saints and Graham can thereafter sign only a one-year deal.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the discussions have to date gone slowly.  Which means there’s a chance the discussions will go down to the wire.

This means that Graham’s window for appealing the decision that he’s a tight end and not a receiver for franchise tag purposes will close before a deal is, or isn’t, done.  The CBA states that Graham “must serve on the other party and file with the System Arbitrator a notice of appeal within ten (10) days of the date of the award appealed from.”

The arbitrator issued his ruling on July 2. That makes Saturday, July 12, the deadline. This means that Graham may have to file his appeal as soon as today, in order to ensure that he doesn’t technically fail to file “within” 10 days of the decision.

Some have suggested that, if Graham files the appeal, the negotiations on a long-term deal will implode. To the contrary, the Saints realize Graham would be doing what he needs to do to preserve his rights and enhance his leverage as he tries to get the Saints to or beyond $10 million per year.

At last word, the Saints were at $9.5 million per year, an offer undiminished by the team’s victory in the arbitration. By Tuesday, the two sides will work out a long-term deal or they won’t. If they don’t, 2014 could be Graham’s last year in New Orleans — especially if he wins the appeal.

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Ernie Sims wants to play 10 years in the NFL

Ernie Sims AP

Seven of the first 10 players selected in the 2006 NFL Draft are still in the league. Linebacker Ernie Sims, the No. 9 overall pick eight years ago, is one of those of seven players. He has played with five clubs, first the Lions, then the Eagles, Colts and Cowboys, and now the Cardinals, who signed him in June.

The 29-year-old Sims has never made a Pro Bowl, but he’s always had a job, and he’s always contributed. Though he’s been a reserve in recent years, he’s recorded at least 40 tackles in every one of his pro seasons, and he’s never played less than 10 regular season games.

In a story published Friday, Sims told the Tallahassee Democrat he would like to reach 10 years in the NFL.

“I just want to keep working hard, working hard and staying committed,” he told the paper. “That’s what it is going to take to get to that 10 years, keeping working hard.”

Sims was speaking at his Youth Football and Cheer Camp, which he has run for seven years, per the Democrat. Sims has also formed a charitable foundation that bears his name.

The other top 10 picks from 2006 currently employed are Bills defensive end Mario Williams, Lions tailback Reggie Bush, Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and Browns safety Donte Whitner. Yes, it’s been eight years since they were rookies, and all are oh-so-close to reaching 10 seasons in the league.

Sims is close, too. He doesn’t turn 30 until December. If he reaches his goal, it won’t be a surprise, for he’s already made it this far, and players who have a knack for getting and keeping jobs generally find a way to stick around.

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Larry Fitzgerald only focusing on 2014 with Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald AP

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the greatest players to wear a Cardinals uniform in any of the towns that the team has called home, but there’s been talk of late about the end of his time in Arizona.

Some of that is just the practical matter of Fitzgerald entering his 11th professional season and the unavoidable fact that he’s closer to the end of the line than the start of his career. There’s also lingering memories of trade chatter from last year to go with a huge $23.6 million cap number for next season to fuel speculation that Fitzgerald may not be in the desert forever, but, for now, Fitzgerald says his only focus at the moment is on the 2014 season.

“Like I view every year. I just cherish every moment I have on the field,” Fitzgerald said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “It’s what I love to do. I really enjoy it. It’s fun to go out there and compete and be around the guys every day. I just cherish that. So, whatever happens after the season, happens after the season. But most of that stuff is out of my control anyway.”

Fitzgerald remains a productive receiver for Arizona, although Michael Floyd’s emergence has changed his role. Fitzgerald lined up out of the slot more often in 2013, which left him shy of 1,000 receiving yards even as he caught 10 touchdowns.

Would a repeat of that year be enough to keep him in Arizona without a revised contract? Probably not and that’s sure to be a big storyline early in the 2015 offseason.

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Peyton Manning an early favorite to win his sixth MVP

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In 2009, Peyton Manning became the only player in NFL history to win four Most Valuable Player awards. In 2013, Manning became the only player in NFL history to win the award five times.

Now Manning is the favorite to become the first player to win six MVPs.

The offshore sports book Bovada is taking bets on the 2014 regular-season MVP in the NFL, and Manning, with 3-1 odds, is a significant favorite. Considering that Manning has won the MVP in five of his last 10 seasons, taking Manning at 3-1 odds may actually be a pretty good bet.

After Manning, the top MVP candidates according to Bovada are, in order, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford. The top non-quarterback candidates are LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson, all at 25-1. Johnny Manziel, the only rookie on the board, is listed at 100-1.

As for Manning, he could become just the fifth player in the history of North American sports to win six MVPs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the only player to win six MVPs in the NBA. Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky are the only players to win six MVPs in the NHL. Barry Bonds (perhaps with an asterisk) is the only player to win six MVPs in Major League Baseball. Manning is in some very elite company.

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RG3: Alfred Morris is our biggest offensive weapon

Alfred Morris AP

Quarterback Robert Griffin III has drawn more attention than anyone on Washington’s roster since the Redskins made him the second overall pick of the 2012 draft and nothing really changed on that front this offseason.

Whether it was the impact of the coaching changes or the move to sign DeSean Jackson, much of what the Redskins have done has been viewed through the prism of what it means for Griffin. There’s more to the Redskins than just the quarterback, however, and Griffin thinks that people have been paying too little attention to what running back Alfred Morris can do when they discuss the biggest weapon on offense.

“I think everyone would lean towards DeSean or Pierre [Garçon] or Jordan Reed,” Griffin said, via the team’s website. “I think it’s Alfred. With him, defenses have to make a decision whether to puts guys in the box to stop him or leave the box light and allow Alfred to go between the tackles and lure in the safeties. I think it will be interesting to see what defenses do against him.”

Whichever choice defenses make against the Redskins this year, the offense seems better prepared to find a mismatch to exploit. Andre Roberts has also joined the receiving corps, giving Jay Gruden plenty of ways to attack opponents who may find themselves stretched too thin this fall.

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