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Ravens’ Paul Kruger will appeal fine for pulling his jersey up too high

Mike Adams, Paul Kruger AP

Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger frequently wears his jersey tight and pulled up high, presumably because it makes it harder for opposing offensive linemen to grab it. But now that habit has proved costly for Kruger.

The NFL has fined Kruger $5,000 for violating the league’s uniform rules with the way he’s wearing his jersey, which exposes the back flap of his shoulder pads. Kruger said he was surprised that the fine letter came without anyone ever telling him that there was anything wrong with the way he wears his jersey.

I’m going to appeal it,” Kruger told the Baltimore Sun. “I didn’t even get a warning about it. They just fined me.”

Kruger committed a more serious violation of the NFL’s rules on Sunday when he picked up a roughing the passer penalty for a hit on Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, setting up the Steelers in field goal range. Kruger said the NFL hasn’t told him whether he’ll be fined for that hit.

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Allen Robinson out at least two weeks with hamstring injury

Jaguars Rookie Minicamp Football AP

The hits keep on coming at wide receiver for the Jaguars.

Justin Blackmon is serving a lengthy suspension, Ace Sanders will miss the first four games serving a suspension of his own, Cecil Shorts is out for a while with a hamstring injury, Tandon Doss was forced out of Thursday’s practice with an ankle injury and now Allen Robinson is going to be on the shelf. Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union reports that Robinson also suffered a hamstring injury and that he is expected to miss at least the next two weeks while he recovers.

That leaves a chunk of time before the season starts, but the second-round pick is likely to miss a couple of preseason games and practice sessions vital to his ability to make a quick transition to the NFL. Robinson also battled hamstring woes in the spring, further limiting his exposure to the professional ranks and raising some concern that the problem may linger for more than a couple of weeks.

With all the absences, the Jaguars are down to rookie Marqise Lee, Mike Brown, Kerry Taylor and a slew of undrafted free agents at receiver. Chad Henne’s going to have his work cut out for him in the preseason.

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Steelers extend Shaun Suisham through 2018

Shaun Suisham AP

Shaun Suisham has keen kicking for the Steelers for the last four seasons and it looks like he will be around for several more.

The Steelers announced Friday that they have agreed to a contract extension with Suisham that runs through the 2018 season. Suisham is set to make $1.425 million this season, but no terms of the extension were announced.

Suisham made 30-of-32 field goals for the Steelers last season and has made 95-of-109 over the course of his time with the team. He has also made all of his extra point attempts and limited the opposition to touchbacks on kickoffs just over 45 percent of the time.

Suisham has also played for the Cowboys, 49ers and Redskins, but he’s probably wearing his final uniform if he winds up seeing out the entire extension in Pittsburgh.

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Hall of Fame to consider adding contributor category

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Seven new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will get their yellow blazers this weekend, but there could be eight members enshrined when the football world converges on Canton again in 2015.

At their board meeting on Friday, the Hall of Fame will consider an amendment that would create a contributors category that would be considered separately from the senior and modern day groups that are currently in place for the voting process. If the amendment is adopted, the maximum number of inductees each year would rise to eight.

There are currently 19 contributors in the Hall, 11 of whom are owners, and Hall of Fame president Dave Baker says that may not be a fair reflection of the contributions that non-players and coaches have made to the game of football.

“Obviously, during the last 30 years there has been more growth in the game than ever before,” Baker said, via the Denver Post. “There are a lot of people who are responsible for that, but unfortunately, what often happens is a contributor gets compared to a modern-day player [on the ballot] and it’s not really a fair comparison. It’s apples and oranges. It’s what happens on the field and what happens around the field that makes that game happen.”

The Hall of Fame voters currently vote on a list of five modern-day candidates and two seniors candidates and it is still to be determined if there would be one contributor up for election each year or if there would be two with the seniors only getting one name in the ring. All candidates need to get 80 percent of the votes from the selection committee to be elected.

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Lovie Smith “pretty pleased” with Da’Quan Bowers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

During the offseason, Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said that defensive end Da’Quan Bowersneeds to prove” that he’s good enough to have a role on the Tampa defense in the 2014 season.

Bowers had no argument with the coach’s assessment and Smith said Thursday that the early results from training camp have been promising for the 2011 second-round pick. Smith said that he has been “pretty pleased” with what he’s seen from Bowers, particularly his ability to play both inside and outside on the defensive line.

“He could help us quite a bit because, as a general rule, we’ll [dress] three [tackles] and three ends and we’ll want our seventh [lineman] to be able to play both inside and out,” Smith said, via the Tampa Tribune. “And that’s what you have in Da’Quan. He’s right in between — big enough to rush inside on third downs and a good anchor outside on first down. So he gives us some flexibility. And I know he’s been injured a lot, but he hasn’t missed a beat since I’ve been here.”

Bowers will need to stay healthy and keep his motor high if he’s going to continue to earn playing time on Tampa’s defensive line this season, but it certainly seems to be there for the taking if he’s able to tap into the talent that made him such a high pick in the first place.

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Jones-Drew finds it “hilarious” that people think he’s getting old

mjd AP

Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew is 29 years old and coming off a 2013 season in which he had a career-low 3.4 yards a carry and never looked like he was all the way back to full speed after a foot injury cut short his 2012 season. But he insists that he’s not getting old.

In fact, Jones-Drew thinks it’s “hilarious” that some people don’t think he has what it takes to carry the load in the Raiders’ offense.

“I know what I have left,” Jones-Drew told the San Jose Mercury-News. “I know the work I put in this offseason to get to where I need to get to be able to play at a high level. I stopped worrying about what people were saying.”

Jones-Drew is competing with Darren McFadden for the starting job in Oakland. Although McFadden is only 26, he appears to be slowing down just as much as Jones-Drew: McFadden has been plagued by injuries and averaged just 3.3 yards a carry in each of the last two seasons.

The Raiders need one of those running backs to get back to full speed. If both of them are up to speed, Oakland may have one of the better 1-2 punches in the backfield. But given their recent performances, fans can be forgiven if they think the thought of the Raiders having a great offense is hilarious.

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Tom Brady likes the challenge of Pats’ new secondary

Tom Brady AP

Things are getting a little more heated in Patriots practices, with a new secondary making things a little harder for the offense.

And while quarterback Tom Brady’s a perfectionist, he knows having Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis working over his receivers is making them better.

I think that’s what defenses do,” Brady said, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “We’ll go into games and say, ‘Look, these guys hold on every play. They grab you, they clutch you, they hold you, but we still have to figure out a way to get open. It’s not flag football. Their hands are going to be on you, and the refs, they’re only going to call it when you pass the limit of where they think the limit is.’ ”

The Patriots were strafed by the Broncos last year in the AFC Championship Game, and then watched the Seahawks outmuscle the Broncos in the Super Bowl. So that was a not-subtle reminder to a defense that has traditionally played off receivers more often.

“I think all of those guys are veterans,” Brady said. “They know how to get away with certain plays. Like [offensive] holding for example – it happens every play, so if you look close enough you’re going to find holding. There is an edge that you can always push it to. If you look at the offensive line, there’s holding on every play. That’s just the way football is. You’ve just got to do it in a way where the refs don’t see it and don’t call it. But that same thing goes for the defensive backfield. If there is a way to gain leverage on a particular route then you’re going to use it. The veterans know how to do it better; they know right where the limit is.”

And that’s testing the limits of Brady’s patience in practice, even if he knows they’ll be better for it.

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John Mara: Giants planned for not having David Wilson

Rashad Jennings AP

There’s a lot of pessimism around the Giants when it comes to running back David Wilson’s chances of playing this season after he suffered a burner in one of his first practices after getting cleared to return to action after spinal fusion surgery, but not a lot of surprise.

The long wait for Wilson to get clearance and the nature of his injury gave the team plenty of reason to plan for the possibility that Wilson would not be part of the mix. Co-owner John Mara said it would have been foolish for the team to proceed any other way.

“I think given what he went through, the surgery he went through, it would have been foolish not to be [prepared],” Mara said on ESPN Radio, via the Newark Star-Ledger. “We signed Rashad Jennings, we drafted Andre Williams, we signed Peyton Hillis again, so we do have some depth there. We have Michael Cox there, so someone is going to have to step up and do it now. Rashad Jennings is a good NFL running back and Peyton Hillis has been a good NFL running back and we’ve got some good young guys behind them, so we do have some depth.”

None of those backs have the same speed and big-play threat that Wilson brings to the table, but Mara’s words suggest that the Giants were looking at those things as a bonus for the coming season. It looks like Jennings will be the starter with Hillis serving as his backup and Williams challenging for short-yardage and goal-line work as a rookie. It isn’t the most imposing group, but may not have to be if Eli Manning and the passing game get back on track.

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Tony Romo might not play in preseason opener

Tony Romo

Even though Dr. Jerry Jones has proclaimed Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo100 percent,” it’s far from certain he’ll play a full preseason schedule.

Via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com, Romo said he will play at some point in the preseason, though he’s not sure if he was going to suit up for the Aug. 7 opener against the Chargers.

“You’re constantly evaluating it and you’re constantly, I don’t want to say adjusting because you stick to the plan, but it’s a progression,” Romo said. “It’s leading up to San Francisco [regular season opener]. I am going to play in the preseason, obviously. I think it’s important. The first game, we’ll talk about it as we move into the weekend.”

Romo’s getting periodic days off after offseason back surgery, and everyone says he’s going to be fine. He said it was more of a matter of adapting to a new routine of strengthening his back and supporting muscles,

“It’s just a little unknown so you’d rather play it safe than be silly and just go out and do everything over and over again and all of a sudden have to sit out for a week or so,” Romo said. “I think more than anything we’re playing the long game and I think that’s smart.”

It’s probably early to start the panic, as he didn’t play in last year’s preseason opener either. But until he proves the owner right and shows that he’s 100 percent, it’s reasonable have concern.

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Difference of opinion on Lynch fines

Lynch AP

There’s no dispute that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch returned to the fold on Thursday with an adjusted contract that moves money around but gives him no new dollars, in theory.  (It nevertheless makes $1 million a lot easier to earn, and nudges $500,000 from 2015 to 2014.)

In contrast, there’s a sharp dispute over whether Lynch’s fines in the amount of $30,000 per day will be collected.  One source with direct knowledge of the situation tells PFT the fines will be forgiven.  Another source with direct knowledge of the situation tells PFT the fines won’t be forgiven.

As former Steelers receiver Hines Ward said in June on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk, teams routinely opt not to enforce the fines associated with training-camp holdouts.  For his own holdout in 2005, Ward said that the team did not collect the money.

Any no-fine arrangement typically entails a no-talk-about-the-no-fine provision, which ensures that other players don’t believe they’ll be able to stay away from training camp without consequence.

In this case, with the Seahawks very concerned about the precedent that would be set by giving Lynch a new contract only two years into his current one, the Seahawks are likely just as concerned about the precedent that would be set by giving Lynch a pass on his fines.

Bottom line?  The Seahawks are forgiving the fines, unless they aren’t.

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Texans add a pair, including former Panthers fourth-rounder

Joe Adams AP

As training camps drag into their second week, teams find themselves needing cover at certain positions.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans signed wide receiver Joe Adams and offensive tackle Brice Schwab.

Schwab spent time with the Bucs and on the Patriots practice squad, while Adams has a little more pedigree.

A former Panthers fourth-round pick from Arkansas, he had explosive return ability, but also treated the ball like it was about to explode. That fumbling problem led him to the CFL, where he played for Edmonton.

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Julio Jones on contract: I want to make Falcons want me for rest of my career

Julio Jones AP

The Falcons and wide receiver Roddy White agreed on a contract extension this summer that will likely keep White in a Falcons uniform until he’s done playing.

Julio Jones would like to see his career end the same way. The Falcons exercised their fifth-year option on Jones’ rookie deal, so they’re not at risk of losing him before the end of the 2015 season. That means there’s not a tremendous amount of urgency to get an extension done right now and Jones says he’ll use the time to offer more arguments in favor of keeping him in Atlanta for the long term.

“That’s on them to decide. I just have to come here and show up and work every day. I’ve got to make them feel like they want me here for the remainder of my career. The only thing I can do is keep working and keep my nose clean and just do the right things,” Jones said, via ESPN.com. “When it comes, I’ll deserve it. I don’t like anybody giving me anything. I like to work hard for everything I get.”

If Jones makes a full return from last year’s foot injury, it is hard to imagine the Falcons letting him go at any point in the near future.

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Friday morning one-liners

Tim Jennings AP

The Bills only have two healthy tight ends for the Hall of Fame Game.

Shelley Smith is trying to learn a couple of positions on the Dolphins offensive line.

The Patriots offense hopes to benefit from facing a physical defense in practice every day.

Jets T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold have forged a strong bond after entering the league together.

Fitzgerald Toussaint looked good on punt returns for the Ravens in Thursday’s practice.

Strong practice performance is key for players hoping to get a shot on special teams with the Bengals.

S Jim Leonhard just signed with the Browns for what he expects will be his final NFL season.

LB Terrence Garvin hopes versatility earns him a role with the Steelers.

Texans RB Jonathan Grimes and LB Trevardo Williams were cleared to practice on Thursday.

The Colts are short on experience on the interior of their offensive line.

Jaguars S Winston Guy says that he’s learned from his mistakes.

The Titans cranked up the noise during practice for the first time this summer.

Broncos players and coaches got a rules review from officials on Thursday.

Can Cairo Santos beat out Ryan Succop for the Chiefs kicker job?

Chimdi Chekwa has stepped in at cornerback for the Raiders with D.J. Hayden injured.

S Eric Weddle thinks he has seen the Chargers secondary take strides this summer.

G Ronald Leary has started practicing for the Cowboys.

If David Wilson is out, it could create opportunities for Giants RB Michael Cox.

The Eagles won’t have great depth on the offensive line early in the season.

Things are blander around the Redskins this year.

Bears CB Tim Jennings is battling a quad injury.

Said Lions C Dominic Raiola of the offensive line, “Who are you? Are you going to be the same group? Because now, if we fall off any, we’re going to hear it. So we have to keep our level of play up there or better, because we don’t want to be the group that holds this team back.”

The Packers are looking for more production from their recent first-round picks.

Kain Colter is trying to catch on as a punt returner with the Vikings.

Falcons LB Pat Angerer will miss some time with a concussion.

C Ryan Kalil has taken over as the leader on the offensive line for the Panthers.

T Terron Armstead looks comfortable on the left side of the Saints offensive line.

Buccaneers LB Mason Foster is adjusting to a leaner frame and a new defense.

Five former Cardinals players are coaching interns with the team this year.

Rams T Jake Long and DL William Hayes took part in team drills for the first time this year.

CB Perrish Cox had a pretty good day practicing against the 49ers offense.

The Seahawks and their fans were treated to a Helocast demonstration by Marines following Thursday’s practice.

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Still sick, Jim Kelly won’t miss Andre Reed’s enshrinement

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Jim Kelly, the great quarterback of the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, is still ailing as he battles cancer. But no matter how sick Kelly is, he wouldn’t dream of being anywhere other than Canton, Ohio, this weekend to witness his receiver Andre Reed’s induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kelly’s wife, Jill Kelly, told the Buffalo News that it won’t be easy for Jim.

He’s pushing it,” Jill said. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if he’s all better and good to go. There’s still the looming test in August, the not knowing if treatments worked, the fact that he’s still on a feeding tube. His life is still in that place of uncertainty, not knowing really what’s going to happen with all of this. So he’s still beat down; he’s still tired, he still gets sick quite a bit. But he would not miss this for the world.”

Kelly wants to be there for Reed in large part because Reed has been there for Kelly, traveling with him to support him during cancer treatments.

“Andre was at the hospital,” Jill Kelly said. “He was at the house the day we flew to New York City. He came to New York and again when we got back. Every time Andre was there, Jim was down and out, struggling. But it was always the conversation. It was a given that Jim was going to be at the Hall of Fame.”

Kelly will stay in Canton for a day after Reed’s enshrinement, as he’s been chosen to toss the coin at the start of the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night.

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Expect more defensive holding, illegal contact flags this year

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NFL rules have already done plenty to favor the passing game, but this year may be the biggest passing season yet.

That’s because, as explained by veteran referee Ed Hochuli, NFL officials are planning to emphasize defensive holding and illegal contact this season. Hochuli said that early in the year, when defensive backs haven’t yet learned how strictly the officials are going to call the penalties, the flags will fly frequently.

“I would expect there may be more fouls called in the first preseason game and the first regular-season game,” Hochuli told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The big one is holding. We’ve also tightened up the rule on illegal contact. We’ve always given a little leeway on that.

Opposing offenses complained last season that the Super Bowl champion Seahawks were grabbing and holding and not getting flagged for it. This year the Seahawks may have to adjust their style. And offenses across the league may put up even bigger numbers than ever before.

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Report: Seahawks workout tight end Steve Maneri

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The Seattle Seahawks could be on the lookout for additional help at the tight end position after veteran Anthony McCoy suffered a torn left Achilles tendon on Tuesday.

While the team isn’t pursuing Jermichael Finley, the team did bring in another veteran tight end for a workout this week.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Seahawks brought in Steve Maneri for a workout on Thursday.

Maneri is a former offensive tackle that was converted to a tight end by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. In five years, Maneri has played for the Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Chiefs, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Maneri was released by the Buccaneers in May. With his former offensive line background, Maneri is a proficient blocker at the tight end position. Behind starter Zach Miller, the rest of Seattle’s current tight end group is far more proficient as pass catchers than blocking options.

Maneri has six receptions for 51 yards in 23 career games.

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