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Kirk Cousins needs more hats for Christmas

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins pumps his fist to the crowd after leading the Redskins to a win during their NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland Reuters

After some impressive relief pitching for Robert Griffin III, fellow Redskins rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins is getting more notice.

He might prefer a little less at the moment.

Cousins had teammates laughing at him and fans tweeting out pictures of a buzz-cut-gone-bad.

According to Sarak Kogod of the Washington Post (click the link for the after picture), Cousins decided Monday he needed a haircut, so went to a nearby barber.

“I get in there and I sit down, and the lady, I don’t really understand her because she’s not speaking English that clearly,” Cousins said. “There was a communication breakdown of some kind. She took my glasses off so I couldn’t really see what she was doing.”

But he didn’t stop her when she started cutting.

“I put [my glasses] back on, she wheels me around, I look in the mirror and basically I have a mohawk,” he said. “And I said, ‘Okay, you’re just gonna have to buzz it off.’ I definitely want to apologize to my friends and family back home because I try to represent them well, but this haircut isn’t doing it.”

Attempts to conceal her handiwork were unsuccessful.

“I saw him wearing a toboggan, and I was thinking that it wasn’t that cold outside,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “Then I saw him lift it a little bit and couldn’t believe it. It’s not his best look.”

Cousins said wide receiver Pierre Garcon told him “Any swag you got from the game is gone now.”

If he wants to retain his swag, and his pride, he might want to just leave a helmet on. Or spend more than five bucks for his next haircut.

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Alex Mack mum on whether he plans to stay in Cleveland

Mack Getty Images

Last year, the Browns applied the transition tag to center Alex Mack, allowing the team to match any offer sheet signed with a new team. The Jaguars signed Mack to an offer sheet that gives Mack the right to void the contract after two years. Which means that Mack can get out of Cleveland after the 2015 season.

On Tuesday, Mack declined to say whether he’ll exercise his right to hit the open market.

I’m going to defer,” Mack said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I’ll talk about that at the end of the season.”

But Mack was willing to say he hasn’t made up his mind.

“No, absolutely not,” Mack said. “Let’s play the games, let’s see how the season goes. I’m really not interested in talking about that until after the season.”

When he does, whether and to what extent the Browns can win games apparently will be a factor in the final analysis.

“I definitely want to win games,” Mack said. “It’s very important to me. No one likes losing. Across any job, anything, at all times. It’s tough, without a doubt. . . . What you always do, you just want to come out here, play games, play well and win games. That’s what every person in this building’s goal is.”

The Browns acquired some protection against Mack leaving by using a first-round pick on offensive lineman Cameron Erving, who played some center at Florida State.  If Erving lives up to his potential, however, the far better outcome would be to keep both guys on the team.

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Blake Sims joining Toronto Argonauts

Blake Sims AP

Alabama’s starting quarterback in 2014 is said to be heading to the Canadian Football League.

Blake Sims, who went undrafted in May, has signed with the Toronto Argonauts, Everett Sports Marketing said on Wednesday. (A nod to 247Sports.com for first pointing out the announcement.) Al.com also reported Sims’ contract with Toronto.

As a senior, Sims (5-11, 218) connected on 252-of-391 passes for 3,487 yards with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for the Crimson Tide. He will reportedly play quarterback in Toronto.

After the draft, Sims had tryouts with Washington and Green Bay, but he did not sign a contract with either club. In Washington, Sims worked at running back.

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Matt Cassel says Tom Brady’s ball preparation not unusual

cassel brady Getty Images

If Matt Cassel knows The Deflator, he’s not saying.

The Bills quarterback, who spent four years with the Patriots, three of them as Tom Brady’s backup, said he was just deferring to the league on its #DeflateGate punishment.

I’m really not going to get into that,” Cassel said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. “Obviously that was a league decision and it’s something that the league came down with a ruling and we’re going to go out there and play against whoever’s going to be out there on the field.”

Asked about Brady’s role in preparing game balls, Cassel chose his words carefully.

“I think it’s the same everywhere,” he said. “I think we all have a say in what balls we want and all that stuff and that’s about the extent that I’ll go into that.”

Of course, Cassel and Brady are still pals, hanging out at the Kentucky Derby despite the fact they’re division rivals now.

But as most players and coaches have, Cassel tried to hold his breath and get through this one without anybody noticing.

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Texans will debut on Hard Knocks on August 11

Bill O'Brien AP

All the signs were pointing toward the Texans being this year’s Hard Knocks participant and it became official on Wednesday.

The Texans, NFL and HBO announced that the team will be featured on the long-running series that puts NFL Films cameras all over training camp to capture everything that goes into getting ready for the season. It’s the first time that the Texans have appeared on the show, which will debut on Tuesday, August 11 at 10 p.m. ET.

“This is an opportunity to provide a behind-the-scenes look at our team as we prepare for the 2015 season,” Texans General Manager Rick Smith said in a statement. “Fans will get a chance to see the great competition that takes place day-in and day-out on the practice field, as well as get to know all the unique personalities on our roster.”

At a press conference Wednesday, owner Bob McNair said he saw the show as an opportunity to introduce the team to more people around the country. He also vowed that the show wouldn’t be a distraction to the team, particularly coach Bill O’Brien.

“We discussed it. We’re not going to give anyone a competitive advantage,” McNair said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

After working for Bill Belichick in New England, O’Brien may not be thrilled about life as a reality star but, as is always the case when the boss makes up his mind, he’ll need to make his peace with it.

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LeSean McCoy limited by neck injury

LeSean McCoy,John Conner AP

The Bills got to take a look at some of their backup running backs with the first team during team drills on Wednesday because running back LeSean McCoy was limited during practice.

A neck injury was the reason for McCoy’s abbreviated schedule during the workout. Coach Rex Ryan said after practice that the injury wasn’t anything the team was worried about, but that they decided to take it easy with a player they plan to be leaning on heavily come the fall.

“He’s got a little thing like in his neck or something like that, but it’s not serious but it’s one of those things where we don’t need him out there,” Ryan said, via ESPN.com. “I don’t even think he had a helmet — he might have had a helmet out there but I’m not sure.”

Anthony Dixon and Fred Jackson worked with the first team during the 11-on-11 portion of practice while Bryce Brown and rookie Karlos Williams got their reps with the backup units. With McCoy established as the No. 1 back, the competition between that quartet should provide the only intrigue in the backfield for Buffalo between now and September.

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Colts sign Phillip Dorsett

Phillip Dorsett AP

Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett is the latest first-round pick to sign his rookie contract.

The Colts announced Wednesday that Dorsett has agreed to the standard four-year deal with the team. As a first-round pick, Dorsett’s contract also comes with a team option for a fifth season at a salary equal to the 3rd-25th best-paid players at the position.

Dorsett’s selection raised some eyebrows since the Colts’ biggest needs were perceived to be on defense and the offensive line, but General Manager Ryan Grigson said the selection was made because the team wanted to take the best available player on their board. He has a good chance to contribute immediately as a returner in the kicking game and will compete with Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter for snaps behind T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson on offense.

With Dorsett signed, the Colts have now agreed to deals with six of their eight draft picks. Their two third-round picks — cornerback D’Joun Smith and defensive end Henry Anderson — remain unsigned.

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Cowboys filming practice with drones

images Getty Images

At some point, the term “drone” became inherently sinister. At some point, the term “drone” became attached to all remotely-controlled devices that fly.

Which has caused plenty of people to assume that any and all drones are evil and capable of mass mayhem. Which likely has delayed many reasonable innovations relating to the use of drones.

In the NFL, one team is embracing the use of drones. Via Todd Archer of ESPN.com, the Cowboys are using drones to film practice during OTAs.

“We pride ourselves on coaching and teaching our players as well as we can and film has been a big part of the game for a long time,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Typically you have an end zone shot and a sideline shot. We use a lot of hand-held cameras on the ground. . . . One of our coaches went down to SMU for their spring practices and saw they were using it. They liked the angle. We got a chance to see it, so we decided to take a look at it.”

Last year, NFL Media considered using drones as part of the Inside Training Camp series. It’s unclear why the technology wasn’t used. Maybe it’s just the stigma of equating an innocent RC helicopter to an anonymous death machine.

Then again, maybe they are.

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George McCaskey admits second-guessing signing of Ray McDonald

George McCaskey AP

Bears owner George McCaskey said the decision to sign Ray McDonald this offseason was his.

So when he says he’s second-guessing that decision, he means he’s second-guessing his own process.

Via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, McCaskey told reporters that even though he initially said no and was talked into adding the troubled defensive lineman, that the decision to bring him aboard was “my decision, ultimately, alone.”

So it follows that he didn’t blame General Manager Ryan Pace for the embarrassing addition.

“Not at all. We have complete confidence in Ryan,” McCaskey said.

At the same time, he said he didn’t have any input on Monday’s decision to cut him when McDonald was again arrested for a domestic violence charge.

“I wasn’t involved because I didn’t need to be,” he said. “They knew what needed to be done and did it.”

McCaskey talked to McDonald prior to agreeing to sign him, warning him that his behavior had to improve. When it did not, McCaskey’s doubts crept in.

When asked why he didn’t talk to any of McDonald’s accusers prior to signing him, McCaskey said: “One of my concerns was the bias anybody has in that situation.”

Yet he didn’t consider that McDonald or his family might carry a bias themselves, which put him in the uncomfortable spot of answering questions today.

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Zimmer on Peterson: He can play for us or not play at all

Adrian Peterson, Rusty Hardin AP

If the Vikings are wavering from their plan to have Adrian Peterson in their backfield in 2015, they are doing a very good job of keeping it under wraps.

Peterson isn’t with the Vikings for their organized team activities this week, something that was expected as Peterson has yet to report for any work with the team since having his suspension lifted in April. Coach Mike Zimmer made it clear on Wednesday that his decision not to take part in practice hasn’t changed the team’s position, however.

“He’s got two choices. He can play for us or not play,” Zimmer said, via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com.

Not playing would keep Peterson from earning the $12.75 million that the Vikings are set to pay him this season. There have been reports that Peterson still wants to be traded and suggestions from his camp that his willingness to rejoin the team might improve with some adjustments to the amount of guaranteed money in the remaining years of his contract, but the former appears to be off the table and the latter may be unless Peterson decides to come to work.

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Ravens re-sign rookie LB Andrew Bose

Ravens Helmet Getty Images

The Ravens re-signed undrafted rookie linebacker Andrew Bose on Wednesday, the team said on its website.

In a corresponding roster move, the club waived rookie linebacker Trey DePriest, who played collegiately at Alabama.

A Rhode Island product, the 6-foot-2, 232-pound Bose was credited with 125 tackles (48 solo) in his final collegiate season in 2014. He also recorded 4.5 sacks and one interception.

The 21-year-old Bose signed with Baltimore on May 8 before being waived six days later.

The Ravens have filled all 90 roster spots. The club is holding organized team practice activities this week.

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Matt Forte practicing with Bears on Wednesday

Jimmy Clausen, Matt Forte AP

Bears running back Matt Forte said last month that his desire for a new contract wouldn’t lead him to hold out of the team’s mandatory minicamp or training camp.

As it turns out, his absence won’t even extend to the end of voluntary work. According to multiple reports from media members covering the Bears, Forte was at Halas Hall on Wednesday and took part in practice with his teammates.

Forte is in the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Bears in 2012 and he’ll turn 30 in December, so his desire to shore up his future is understandable. Given the history of runners on the wrong side of 30, it is just as understandable that the Bears might prefer to let things play out this season before making any calls about Forte.

For now, though, it look alike the Bears plan to keep Forte front and center in the offense. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase used running back committees in Denver, but said this month that Forte’s presence makes for an “unusual situation” since he can play all three downs.

While Forte is back in the fold, tight end Martellus Bennett continues to stay away from the team’s voluntary work.

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Geno Smith may have to compete for job after all

Geno Smith AP

Perhaps Chan Gailey spoke too soon.

Or just too honestly.

After his offensive coordinator said Geno Smith was pegged as the starter and there would be no competition for the quarterback job, Jets head coach Todd Bowles said that wasn’t necessarily the case.

Chan’s very matter-of-fact,” Bowles said, via Dom Cosentino of NJ.com. “Come camp time, there will be competition at the spot. . . . That doesn’t mean it’s going to stay like that.”

In jamming the toothpaste back in the tube, Bowles explained that Gailey’s reference was largely because Fitzpatrick is coming off a broken leg, and that means that today, there’s not necessarily a competition because there can’t be an even distribution of reps (though Fitzpatrick did some work in OTAs).

“You don’t start out having two or three games getting first-team reps,” Bowles said. “I view it as open competition. It’s [Smith’s] to lose.”

Based on his track record, there’s a decent chance he will.

Smith has 41 turnovers in two seasons, while Fitzpatrick has the benefit of background with Gailey in Buffalo and a resume of solid if unspectacular play.

If Smith continues to play as he has, the competition will likely fire up again.

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Rolando McClain out of OTAs after knee scope

Rolando McClain AP

The Cowboys re-signed Rolando McClain to be in the middle of a linebacking group they hope will be improved this season with the return of Sean Lee from a torn ACL that cost him all of last season, but they’ll have to wait a bit before seeing how the defense looks with both of those guys in the lineup.

Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday that McClain is missing organized team activities while rehabbing from recent arthroscopic surgery on his knee. McClain has had knee problems in the past and will be working out in Alabama while the rest of the team continues the offseason program. Garrett didn’t express much concern about McClain’s long-term outlook.

“He just had his knee swell up a bit but we think he’s OK,” Garrett said, via Patrick Claybon of NFL Media.

McClain’s absence will have the Cowboys reshuffling their linebackers. Lee is expected to start on the weak side of the defense across from Anthony Hitchens and the team signed Jasper Brinkley, Andrew Gachkar and Keith Rivers as free agents to go with draft picks Damien Wilson and Mark Nzeocha.

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Jaguars sign second-round pick T.J. Yeldon

T.J. Yeldon AP

A rookie who could have a major role in the Jacksonville offense in Year One has signed with the club.

The Jaguars and second-round pick T.J. Yeldon have finalized a four-year deal, the team said Wednesday, posting a picture of the former Alabama star tailback signing his contract.

The No. 36 overall selection, Yeldon (6-1, 226) is likely to push for regular playing time in the Jaguars’ backfield, with Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart the primary veteran competitors for carries.

Yeldon had a sparkling three-season run for the Crimson Tide, racking up 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns on 576 carries. One of the few knocks on him is his straight-line speed; he was timed at 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.

With Yeldon now under contract, the Jaguars’ lone unsigned pick is offensive guard A.J. Cann, a third-round selection from South Carolina.

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Ereck Flowers opens Giants OTAs at left tackle

Ereck Flowers AP

The pectoral injury suffered by Giants left tackle Will Beatty last week will keep him out of the lineup into the fall, which means the Giants will have to find someone else to hold down the spot on Eli Manning’s blind side.

First-round pick Ereck Flowers is getting the first crack at the job during organized team activities. According to multiple reports from Giants headquarters, Flowers is lined up at left tackle as the Giants do their first team work of the offseason.

Flowers hasn’t drawn rave reviews from scouts — one told Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com that Flowers has “some of the worst technique I’ve ever seen in a player drafted that high” — which was part of the reason why most people had him ticketed for a right tackle competition with Justin Pugh to kick off his NFL career.

The Giants appear open to moving Pugh, who didn’t have a good 2014 season and is at left guard in OTAs with Marshall Newhouse at right tackle, but they may need to make a bet that Flowers will adapt quickly to the NFL in order to lock down an important position on a line that has to improve on last year’s production.

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