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Greenway should get super duper fined for asking fans to get “super duper drunk”

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As the Vikings prepare to host the Bears in a game that will go a long way toward determining whether they’ll have a domed stadium’s chance in a blizzard of making the playoffs, linebacker Chad Greenway has a request for the home team’s fans.

Hopefully, they’re super duper drunk,” Greenway said recently, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  “So drink liquor, not beer.”

Since the game begins at 12:00 p.m. CT, how can a fan get “super duper drunk”?

“I would say morning drinking,” Greenway said.  “Why not?  You could pull an all-nighter.  Then you’d have the drunk, tired guys who will really be obnoxious.”

Last year, Pats quarterback Tom Brady made similar but far less over-the-top remarks in the days before a late-afternoon kickoff against the Chargers.

“Yeah, start drinking early,” Brady said at the time.  “It’s a 4:15 game.  They have a lot of time to get lubed up, come out here and cheer for the home team.”

The Patriots promptly issued a statement with tongue clumsily planted in cheek, explaining that Brady “wants everyone to drink a lot of water, stay hydrated.”

Binge drinking remains a serious problem in our society, and the NFL continues to struggle with striking the balance between selling beer to fans while also ensuring that those fans don’t become sufficiently intoxicated to ruin another fan’s experience at the game or an innocent stranger’s life while driving home.  Public comments from players urging fans to get sloppy drunk become irresponsible in this context, especially since plenty of fans are young and male and more than happy to oblige the home team’s request for folks to be “super duper drunk.”

The league’s best response is simple.  Greenway should be super duper fined, and any player who makes similar remarks in the future should be treated the same way.

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John Brown out with headache days after returning from concussion

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27:  Wide receiver John Brown #12 of the Arizona Cardinals on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 27, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cardinals wide receiver John Brown went into the league’s concussion protocol early in training camp and wound up missing three weeks of work before getting cleared to return to practice last weekend.

Brown’s return to action has hit a snag, however. Coach Bruce Arians said, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, that Brown has a headache and won’t practice on Wednesday.

The Cardinals were off on Tuesday and Brown took part in Monday’s practice while wearing a non-contact jersey to let his teammates know not to hit him during the workout.

Per Somers, the Cardinals “seem confident” Brown will be ready to go for the start of the regular season but concussions don’t always follow a straight line and a return to the concussion protocol could make that an iffy proposition given how long the symptoms have lingered this month.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is also out of practice on Wednesday while he continues to manage the MCL issue that kept him from playing in the team’s second preseason game.

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Rob Gronkowski returns to practice field for Patriots

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 13:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots waits near the bench during their game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

The good news is, the Patriots kept the scissors away from Rob Gronkowski. Actually, that’s probably a good idea year-round.

According to Phil Perry of CSNNE.com, the Patriots tight end returned to the practice field today. Jon Bon Jovi was apparently there too, but the Patriots are much happier Gronkowski will be there for them.

Gronkowski has been off since pulling up in an Aug. 15 practice and walking away with trainers. No word was given as to the reason for his absence.

Considering he’s practically never involved in the preseason anyway, his absence for the last week hadn’t yet reached the point of panic.

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Report: Bryan Stork traded to Washington rather than released

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to take a snap from Bryan Stork #66 of the New England Patriots in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Wednesday morning, multiple reports from New England had the Patriots cutting center Bryan Stork from their 90-man roster.

That appears to have been premature or a well-timed leak to generate some trade interest because Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Stork has been traded to the Redskins for a conditional draft choice. There’s no word on the draft pick or the conditions.

Kory Lichtensteiger is at the top of the depth chart at center for the Redskins and has gotten the start in each of the team’s two preseason games to this point. They have Spencer Long listed as their backup center, but Long is also the starter at left guard while the team waits to see if Shawn Lauvao can be healthy enough to regain the job.

Stork, a 2014 fourth-round pick, has made 17 starts at center for the Patriots over the last two seasons.

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On Wednesday, Buccaneers open practice features no kicks from Roberto Aguayo

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On Tuesday, Buccaneers rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo was heckled and jeered by his team’s own fans while he kicked at a public practice. On Wednesday, there were no heckles or jeers because Aguayo didn’t kick during the open practice.

This development invites suspicion that the Buccaneers tried to hide Aguayo from those who may heckle and jeer him. According to JoeBucsFan.com, the team privately has denied any such suggestion.’

Besides, with the next two preseason games at home (including Friday night against the Browns), it’s not as if the Bucs could hide Aguayo for very long.

The second-round draft pick has missed three total kicks in two preseason games, and he struggled at times in practice on Tuesday.

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Chargers vow to reduce Joey Bosa offer

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  (L-R) Joey Bosa of Ohio State holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #3 overall by the San Diego Chargers during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) Getty Images

In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon regarding unsigned defensive end Joey Bosa, the Chargers said that they will restructure (i.e., reduce) the financial package that previously had been on the table for the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

The reduction is occurring because, per the team, “Joey will be unable to contribute for the full 16 game season without the adequate time on the practice field, in the classroom, and in preseason games.”

The Chargers contend that an effort was made to resolve the impasse on Tuesday night.

“We gave Joey’s representatives our best offer last night, which was rejected today,” the team said.  “The offer that we extended was for Joey to contribute during all 16 games and beyond.  Joey’s ability to contribute for an entire rookie season has now been jeopardized by the valuable time he has missed with his coaches and his teammates. Since Joey will not report at this time, his ability to produce not just early in the season, but throughout the entire season, has been negatively impacted.”

The rest of the statement presents the team’s characterization of its offer, which undoubtedly conflicts with Bosa’s interpretation of it. The overriding problem continues to be that the Chargers do not want to deviate from what it regards as team precedent, and Bosa does not want to deviate from what he regards as precedent for the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

The two primary sticking points had related to whether the guaranteed money will include offset language, and whether a large piece of the signing bonus will be deferred until March 2017. (There’s also a disagreement on the language and amount of training-camp roster bonuses, which are now common in top-10 rookie deals including offset language.) However, there never had been a dispute over the total dollars.

Based on the team’s statement, there now is. Which will make it even harder to get a deal done.

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Siemian back throwing after quasi-day off

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20:  Quarterback Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos throws a first quarter pass under pressure by outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks of the San Francisco 49ers a preseason NFL game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian was throwing as the Broncos opened practice Wednesday.

That’s notable not just because throwing is an important part of Siemian’s job description. On Tuesday, he didn’t throw during practice despite being suited up and otherwise participating.

Siemian landed on his throwing shoulder while trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception in last weekend’s preseason game. Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak had previously announced that Siemian would start this week’s third — and generally most important — preseason game

Siemian and Mark Sanchez have basically split the No. 1 reps while competing for the starting job. That Siemian has been tabbed to start for a second consecutive week is a sign he’s leading the race as it enters the home stretch.

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Giants owner on Brown: “A big difference between allegations and convictions”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants looks on after an extra point against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

In finally coming out to discuss the Josh Brown situation, Giants owner John Mara defended his team’s handling of kicker Josh Brown, saying they did enough research to make them have a degree of trust in their kicker.

And in doing so, he suggested there was enough conflicting information to make it a complicated decision.

“A lot times there’s a tendency to try to make these cases black and white, they are very rarely black and white, very rarely have a Ray Rice video,’’ Mara said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “There are allegations made, you try to sort through the facts and try to make an informed decision. That’s what we did here.’’

The absence of a video also allows a lot more opportunity for leniency than Rice ever received, and Brown’s one-game suspension is well less than the six-game baseline the league had previously mandated.

Brown was initially charged with domestic violence in 2015, but charges were later dropped. His ex-wife accused him of more than 20 acts of violence against her and her teenage son. There were also incident reports from New Jersey saying she kicked him in the ribs, but no charges were filed there.

The very nature of the he-said/she-said allegations gave Mara pause, and he said that contributed to him waiting this long to speak.

“I’m not going to get into whether they were valid or invalid,’’ Mara said. “We did do some due diligence on this. We had a number of conversations with a number of different people. Again, we’re comfortable with the decision we made.

“That’s one of the reasons I hesitated, quite frankly, in addressing all of you because you get into discussions like that, and I don’t think it’s fair or appropriate. There are privacy issues here. There are sensitive, emotional issues that affect families, and it’s very difficult to discuss things in public and make a situation even worse than it already is.’’

But it’s clear that Mara had a degree of doubt about what he heard from the other side of the family.

“One thing that you learn when you’re dealing with these issues is that there’s a big difference between allegations and convictions, or indictments,” he said. “It’s very difficult sometimes to sort through all that and make informed decisions. We attempted to make an informed decision here. We’ll live with the results of that decision and we move forward.’’

And they’ll do so with Brown, once he serves his one-game suspension.

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Teddy Bridgewater feels good after return to throwing on Tuesday

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws to wide receiver Charles Johnson for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores) AP

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s late scratch from last week’s game against the Seahawks was followed by a report that Bridgewater had a sore shoulder and two days of practice that saw Bridgewater held out of throwing drills.

Tuesday saw Bridgewater return to throwing passes at practice and offensive coordinator Norv Turner said that Bridgewater made all the throws the team needed to see when asked about sticking to shorter throws during the session. Bridgewater didn’t answer most of the questions about his shoulder, deferring to coach Mike Zimmer, but said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he feels “very good” physically.

Zimmer didn’t provide too many details about Bridgewater’s condition when asked on Tuesday, but did say that he would “err on the side of caution” if Bridgewater had any issue with his shoulder.

Bridgewater doesn’t expect to be a scratch again this Sunday, saying “of course” he’ll play in the first Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium when they take on the Chargers.

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Colin Kapernick “on track” to play Friday, no call on who starts

San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws a pass during NFL football training practice, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) AP

The plan coming into the week was for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to practice without restrictions and then play in Friday’s preseason game against the Packers.

Kaepernick had missed practice time last week while dealing with a tired arm, but has been on the practice field this week without a “pitch count” governing the number of throws he’s making. Coach Chip Kelly said that Kaepernick has been splitting the first-team reps with Blaine Gabbert, but that no determination has been made at this point about who will take the first snap on Friday.

“We haven’t discussed it, yet,” Kelly said, via CSNBayArea.com. “We got two days of training to go through. We’ll see. He’s on track. We’re excited and we’re hopeful he will be ready to go. But I’m not going to put the cart before the horse. We have a system. When we get to Friday, we’ll know exactly from [head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson] who’s up and who’s down. If he’s up, he’s going to play.”

Kaepernick last played in a game last November and spent the offseason recovering from multiple surgeries, but Kelly said the quarterback has been “sharp with all the things mentally” the last few days. A sharp physical outing on Friday would be a big next step in Kaepernick’s bid to return to the lineup.

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Jay Feely’s advice to Roberto Aguayo: “Don’t read PFT” (hey)

Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

With rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo consistently failing to put the football between the uprights and above the crossbar, he’s getting plenty of advice. But is he getting good advice?

If he follows the sage advice provided on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN by former NFL kicker Jay Feely, Aguayo won’t know about the advice. Which is a conundrum, to say the least.

 “Don’t watch TV, don’t listen to talk radio, don’t read PFT, don’t do any of this garbage that’s going to distract you from what you’re doing,” Feely said. “The only thing that’s going to help him is focusing on his technique, and that’s the battle in kicking. You have to focus on the process, not the product. You can’t worry about the end result, about making the field goal. You have to worry about the process that’s actually going to help you. You focus on your fundamentals: Head down, chest down, ankle locked, follow straight through.
“Before every kick I would try and tell myself that. I would say, ‘Head down, lock your ankle, follow through,’ because I knew if I did those three things I was going to make the kick every time.  But there’s all those distractions, there’s all those mental battles going on inside your head that distract you from focusing on the things that actually matter. And you start thinking about the implications of what you’re doing. On your job security, on your next contract, on the season, whether your team makes the playoffs, all that kind of stuff. Those things just distract you from actually focusing on the things that are going to help you. So that’s what he needs to do. Put his head down, metaphorically and physically, and just go out there and kick and not worry about all the distractions. He’s on a guaranteed contract for the next two years, that’s what he signed. He is their kicker, and he has to find a way, and they have to find a way, of getting him in the right mental frame. And to do it the way he’s done it the last three years at Florida State.”
For Feely, who spent more than a decade in the NFL, what was the hardest part of the adjustment to the pro game?
“I think the hardest part for me was convincing myself that I really belong,” Feely said. “I had kicked at Michigan and we had won a national championship, but then I had spent two years out of football. Not even in training camp trying to get an opportunity, trying to get somebody to bring me in and give me a chance. When I all of a sudden got into camp and won a job, I remember [thinking], ‘Now I’m kicking in the NFL.’ There’s a part of you, and I think most guys go through this in college, and I’ve heard a number of guys talk about this privately, where they don’t really know if they belong. They don’t really know if they’re good enough, and I think for me that lasted a couple of years. Finally, you get to the point where I don’t look at an Adam Vinatieri and think, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I am kicking and doing what he is doing!’ You look at him as a peer. And I think every guy has to go through that process of the mental battle of, ‘Do I really belong? Am I really good enough to be here?’ And when you go through failure and you overcome it, and it doesn’t break you, can you come back and you make a kick and you make a game-winner, that goes a long way in helping you to overcome that battle.”
Aguayo may be thinking he doesn’t belong, even though he was a second-round pick. He needs to act like he belongs before enough other people start concluded that he doesn’t belong.
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Browns expect Corey Coleman, Josh Gordon to play Friday

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman walks off the field at the NFL football team's training camp Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) AP

Wide receiver Josh Gordon hopes there’s nothing to reports of trade chatter involving his name that cropped up this week, but if the Browns did want to move Gordon to another team it probably wouldn’t hurt if prospective suitors saw him play well in a game.

That can’t happen in the regular season until Cleveland’s fifth game, but it looks like we’ll get a chance to see Gordon in a preseason game this week. Coach Hue Jackson said Wednesday, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, that he expects Gordon to play this Friday.

It would be the first game of any kind for Gordon since Week 16 of the 2014 season and Jackson also expects it will be rookie Corey Coleman’s first time in the team’s lineup. A hamstring injury has kept Coleman from playing in the team’s first two games of the summer, but he’s been practicing for a while without complications and is on track to get into the lineup.

Jackson said that center Cameron Erving is expected to play as well despite spraining his ankle in Wednesday’s practice.

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Is it Jared Abbrederis time in Green Bay?

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis #84 of the Green Bay Packers brings in a 15-yard pass against safety Charles Woodson #24 of the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter on December 20, 2015 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Packers won 30-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

With receiver Jeff Janis recuperating from a broken hand and otherwise having a lackluster camp, the door is open for someone else to step up. And that someone else could be receiver Jared Abbrederis.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com pegs Abbrederis as the team’s potential breakout player this year, and for good reason. He’s currently listed as a second-string receiver behind Randall Cobb. That puts him on potentially equal footing with Davante Adams, who didn’t perform the way many had expected after Jordy Nelson tore an ACL last year in the preseason.

Last year, Abbrederis caught nine passes for 111 yards in 10 games. This year, who knows? Abbrederis could end up being a name to watch, even if plenty won’t quite know how to pronounce it and possibly will end up just saying, “Abbacadabra.”

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H.B. Blades agrees to pay back money he was mistakenly paid

CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 14: H.B. Blades #54 of the Washington Redskins celebrates a defensive play during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 14, 2008 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

In February we learned of an odd lawsuit against former Washington linebacker H.B. Blades, who was accidentally overpaid by the team. That lawsuit has now been settled.

Blades has agreed to pay the team $20,658.88 to settle the matter, via attorney Daniel Wallach. The team had initially said Blades owed $40,000, but Blades said he should owe less because taxes were deducted from the $40,000 he was overpaid.

The team says it paid Blades $40,000 in 2013, long after he was done playing for the team, as a result of a clerical error.

Washington drafted Blades in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL draft and he spent four seasons with the team, playing in all 16 games every year from 2007 to 2010. He was cut at the end of the 2011 preseason.

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Giants owner says there’s no reason to cut kicker Josh Brown

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 19: John K. Mara President and Chief Executive officer of the New York Giants looks on during warms ups prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 19, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

Giants owner John Mara decided Wednesday to not leave his first-year head coach as the organization’s sole spokesman on the topic of Josh Brown.

Mara stepped out to talk to reporters today, and said the team was aware of their kicker’s 2015 arrest in Washington for domestic violence when they signed him to a new contract this offseason.

We did our homework here,” Mara said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

The initial charges against Brown were dropped, but his ex-wife told police of more than 20 incidents of violence against her and her teenage son. There were also reports that she kicked him in the ribs during an incident in New Jersey, but no charges were ever filed there.

The league suspended Brown for one game (rather than the new baseline of six) because his ex-wife did not cooperate with their investigation.

Mara said he wanted to give Brown a chance, saying that domestic violence “is such a complex and emotional decision.”

They’ve brought veteran Randy Bullock to cover them for a week, and Mara pointed out that the easy course of action would be to simply find a new kicker. But they’re apparently confident in Brown’s side of the story, and Mara is finally willing to attach his name to that endorsement.

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Bruce Arians, John Elway added to competition committee

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 24:  Head coach Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the field prior to the NFC Championship Game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he was taking a “leave of absence” from the competition committee, but they may have filled the job on him.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and Broncos executive John Elway have been added to the committee, which sets the agenda for rules changes.

Fisher said at the Scouting Combine that he wanted to step away from the committee to focus on his team’s move to Los Angeles. Committee chairman Rich McKay had been suspended after the Falcons’ fake crowd-noise scandal, but he had been reinstated a year ago.

It’s unclear if there was another departure to the committee to make room for the new guys.

The other members of the committee include Giants owner John Mara, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, Packers president Mark Murphy, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Texans G.M. Rick Smith, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

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