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ProFootballTalk: Ravens-Patriots set for AFC rematch

Will offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell have continued success against Bill Belichick and the Patriots? Joe Flacco and Tom Brady meet again, but who has the edge?

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Miko Grimes say Brent wanted out of Miami

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Cornerback  Brent Grimes #21 of the Miami Dolphins warms up before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 20, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Many have blamed Miko Grimes for getting her husband, Brent, cut by the Dolphins. Miko Grimes recently suggested in an interview with ESPN Radio that perhaps Brent wanted out. She nevertheless contends it happened regardless of anything she said or did.

It had nothing to do with me,” Miko Grimes said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “It had everything to do with my husband wanting to leave the Miami Dolphins and them not wanting him to leave. You guys don’t know that, though. You’re listening to what [Dolphins owner Stephen Ross] is saying. That’s why I was able to say whatever I wanted to say because my husband wanted to leave.”

But even after the Dolphins cut Brent Grimes, they still wanted to bring him back at a reduced rate — which undercuts the idea that they no longer wanted him because of the things his wife was saying (attacking Ryan Tannehill, e.g.) and doing (getting arrested before a game, e.g.).

“When we signed with the Bucs, the Dolphins asked to match the offer,” Miko Grimes said. “So was Miko really the problem? Why would you want to match it? See what I mean. You guys don’t know what’s really happening.”

She added that 17 total teams called about Brent Grimes once he became available. Ultimately, Miko had significant say in the final outcome.

“My husband does not negotiate his contract. I do,” Miko Grimes said.

Ultimately, the Buccaneers had no qualms about Miko Grimes because they’d rather have the distraction that comes from a good player with an outspoken wife than the distraction that comes from having a crappy defense. While it appears that Brent Grimes inevitably would be let go by Miami due to his contract, the Buccaneers are happy to have him, and they apparently have no problem with anything his wife may say or do.

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Mike Singletary says he’ll be a defensive advisor to Rams this season

Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary  competes in a flag-football legends  game during 2005 Pro Bowl week in Ko Olina, Honolulu February 11, 2005.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The death of Buddy Ryan on Tuesday has led to remembrances from around the football world, including many from players he coached across many stops in his long career.

Mike Singletary was one of the leaders of the most famous defense that Ryan put together. The 1985 Bears defense ransacked the league on their way to the Super Bowl, which ended with Ryan being carried off the field along with head coach Mike Ditka. Singletary has spoken about his respect for Ryan many times, including saying that he would have been just another guy if not for Ryan’s tutelage during the recent 30 for 30 film about that Bears team.

Singletary followed in Ryan’s footsteps by becoming a coach when his playing days were over and rose to head coach of the 49ers for two-plus seasons before moving back into the assistant ranks with the Vikings from 2011-2013. He’s been out of the league for the last couple of years, but said during an interview with 670 The Score in Chicago on Tuesday that he’ll be back at work in 2016.

He’ll be working with another of Ryan’s former charges as a defensive advisor for the Rams. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher spent 1985 on injured reserve after playing for the Bears for the previous four seasons and interviewed Singletary for a defensive coordinator vacancy in 2013 before moving in a different direction.

There’s been no word from the Rams about what Singletary’s duties will be in Los Angeles at this point, but, as with all defenses, the ultimate goal will be to get as close to that 1985 Bears ideal as possible.

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Bidwill calls Buddy Ryan one of the NFL’s “most colorful characters”

25 Dec 1995:  Coach Buddy Ryan of the Arizona Cardinals watches his players during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.  The Cowboys won the game 37-13 and was Ryan''s final game. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire  /Allspo

Following the death of legendary coach Buddy Ryan, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill called Ryan one of the NFL’s “most colorful characters” in a statement released by the team.

Pretty fitting.

Ryan was the head coach of the Cardinals in 1994-95, his final job before retiring. Ryan coached for 35 years; he was head coach of the Eagles and Cardinals after famously serving as the architect of many great Bears defenses in the 1980s.

Bidwill’s full statement read: “Buddy was truly one of the great defensive minds in the history of our game and without a doubt one of its most colorful characters. All of us send our condolences to Rex, Rob and the entire Ryan family.”

Both Rob and Rex Ryan served under their father as assistants for those two Cardinals teams.

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Bears praise Buddy Ryan’s “unwavering confidence” in his players

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Legendary Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan has died at the age of 82. The franchise with which he became a household name has praised his work with the team.

“Buddy Ryan was the architect of the greatest defense our league has seen,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said in a statement issued by the team. “He was brilliant when it came to the X’s and O’s of the game, but what made him special was his ability to create an unwavering confidence in the players he coached. From the day he was hired in 1978, his defenses bought into more than the scheme, they bought into him and took on his personality.  Buddy was brash, intelligent and tough. He was a perfect match for our city and team, which is why George Halas took the extraordinary step of keeping him at the behest of his defensive players while transitioning to a new coaching staff in 1982. We will always be grateful for Buddy’s contribution to the Bears. He is one of the team’s all-time greats. Our prayers are with his family.”

It was Ryan, combined with coach Mike Ditka, who led the Bears to their only Super Bowl championship, in 1985. Ryan’s defense pitched back-to-back shutouts in the NFC playoffs before allowing only 10 points to the Patriots in the title game.

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Eagles say Buddy Ryan “forever left his mark” on the team and the city

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After Bears players carried defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan off the field following Super Bowl XX, he left Chicago for his first NFL head-coaching job, in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, the Eagles remembered the 17th head coach in franchise history.

“Buddy Ryan was arguably one of the greatest defensive masterminds in NFL history and forever left his mark on the Eagles organization and the city of Philadelphia,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a team-issued release. “Over the last 20-plus years, I had the pleasure of discussing football with Buddy and I always came away from those conversations intrigued by his knowledge and passion for the game. On behalf of myself and the entire Eagles family, I’d like to offer our deepest condolences to the Ryan family.”

Ryan coached the Eagles for five seasons, leading the team to a record of 43-38-1 and three straight postseason appearances. He thereafter coached the Cardinals for two seasons, after spending a year with the Oilers a defensive coordinator.

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Potential sale process for Broncos stadium naming rights commences

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19:  Denver Broncos fans cheer during the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

With the Sports Authority circling the drain and/or already passing through it, the Broncos will need another naming-rights partner at Mile High Stadium. The biggest question remains how that will actually transpire.

Alicia Wallace of the Denver Post reports that the Denver Metropolitan Football Stadium District’s board of directors decided on Monday to begin the process of making seeking bids from marketing firms for selling the naming rights, if the existing arrangement with the Sports Authority isn’t sold as part of the company’s ongoing liquidation of assets.

The name still could be sold as part of the trademarks and other intellectual property of the Sports Authority, a brand that had tangible value if attached to the right provider of goods or services. The current deal runs through 2020, at roughly $20 million per year.

Other than a marijuana company, no one has expressed interest in purchasing the naming rights to Mile High Stadium. It’s frankly hard to think of a partner more perfect than a marijuana company, given the name of the venue and the legalization of a substance that can get its users even higher than a mile.

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Bills call Buddy Ryan “a legend in our league in so many ways”

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His coaching career began in Buffalo, with the local university. Although Buddy Ryan never worked for the local AFL-then-NFL team, the Bills and Buddy have a strong connection, for obvious reasons: His son, Rex, is the head coach and Buddy’s other son, Rob, has arrived this year to work with his brother.

“Terry and Kim Pegula and the Buffalo Bills organization want to express their deepest sympathies and condolences to Rex, Rob and the entire Ryan family on the passing of their dad, Buddy Ryan,” the Bills said in a statement issued Tuesday. “Buddy was a legend in our league in so many ways. His defenses were innovative and he was a master at putting his talented and tough players in a position to succeed. He was a real game changer and much of his philosophies and defensive tactics are still utilized effectively by teams today. Buddy’s influence will be carried on by defensive coaches for generations to come, but none more so than by Rex and Rob. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the Ryan family today.”

Rob Ryan has recently said that he and Rex hope to restore the family name. It is a significant legacy for them to uphold, but it’s hard not to imagine the Ryan brothers committing every waking moment to getting the most out of their team in 2016, in honor of the man who always will be remembered as the architect of the best defense in NFL history.

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Peyton Manning consulted with Pat Summitt when deciding on future

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11:  Tyler Summitt (L) and Peyton Manning (R) present the Arther Ashe Courage Award to Pat Summitt onstage during the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Getty Images

Pat Summitt didn’t coach football.

But according to Peyton Manning, the legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach who died this morning could have, and she helped make a mark on the Volunteers’ football program anyway.

During an interview this morning with “The Wake Up Zone” on 104.5 FM in Nashville, Manning said he consulted with Summitt when he was trying to decide whether to return to college for his senior season. Manning had already graduated and would have likely been the top pick of the Jets in the 1997 NFL Draft, but returned to Knoxville before going to the Colts with the top pick the following year.

I was honored to call her a friend, I enjoyed my time with Pat,” Manning said of Summitt, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “Even though I never played for her, I always kind of felt like she was one of my coaches. And I always said that I wished I would have played for her.

“I think Pat Summitt could have coached men’s basketball, men’s football, she could have coached anything she wanted. She was that good of a coach.”

Summitt led Tennessee to eight national titles in her 38 years there, and won more games (1,098) than any other Division I coach (men or women). She also became synonymous with the University and the sport, so much so that one of the most respected figures in another sport relied on her for advice.

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Marcus Mariota fine with handing ball off 40 times “if we win games”

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 15:  Marcus Mariota #8 makes a hand off to Antonio Andrews #26 of the Tennessee Titans during a game against the Carolina Panthers at Nissan Stadium on November 15, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the Titans removed the interim part of head coach Mike Mularkey’s title this offseason, Mularkey said that he hoped to build an “exotic smashmouth” offense and the team acquired running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and offensive linemen Ben Jones and Jack Conklin to give them players they hope can help implement that physical style of play.

While the Titans are trying to put that approach in place, they are also trying to help Marcus Mariota grow as he moves into his second season as an NFL starter. If things go according to plan with the running game, Mariota may not have as many opportunities to show that growth in the 2016 season although he says that’s not a problem for him if it works for the team.

“That’s a lot of talent and a lot of excitement,” Mariota said while at a football camp in Williamsburg, Virginia, via the Daily Press. “Now it’s on our shoulders to bring that together, build a chemistry for the season, and hopefully lead to some wins. I told Coach Mike that I’ll hand the ball off 40 times a game if we win games. That’s what’s important to me, to giving us an opportunity to win. Having those two workhorses back there should help us out.”

Hitting 40 rushing attempts a game might be a stretch, but any significant uptick should bode well for both Mariota and the Titans. If defenses are focused on stopping the run, there should be chances for Mariota to make plays down the field with matchups in their favor. Hitting them should lead to more points and leads that would set the Titans up to use their two new backs and upgraded offensive line to run clock on the way to a rise in victories.

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Legendary defensive mastermind Buddy Ryan dies at 82

26 Jan 1986: Defensive coach Buddy Ryan and defensive end Richard Dent of the Chicago Bears celebrate after the Super Bowl XX game against the New England Patriots at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Bears defeated the Patriots 46-10 Getty Images

Buddy Ryan, a longtime coach who built perhaps the greatest defense in NFL history with the 1985 Bears, has died at the age of 82.

Beloved by his players and hated by opposing offenses (and sometimes hated even by his own offenses), Ryan masterminded Chicago’s 46 defense that won Super Bowl XX. He later served as head coach of an Eagles team that had a great defense in its own right, and ended his coaching career as head coach of the Cardinals in 1994 and 1995.

Ryan’s 35-year career as a football coach began in 1961 as a defensive line coach with the University at Buffalo Bulls, and in 1968 he moved to the Jets, helping them win Super Bowl III. He spent two years with the Vikings in 1976 and 1977 before George Halas hired him to coach the Bears’ defense in 1978.

It was with the Bears that Ryan saw his greatest success. Although Mike Ditka was the head coach, many thought it was Ryan’s coaching of the defense that really made the 1985 Bears one of the best teams in NFL history. After Super Bowl XX, the Bears carried both Ditka and Ryan off the field.

A fiery competitor, Ryan’s best-remembered moment in coaching came at the end of the 1993 season, his only year as defensive coordinator of the Houston Oilers. Upset with the Oilers’ offensive play calling, Ryan punched offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride in a nationally televised sideline skirmish.

Ryan is survived by his twin sons, Bills head coach Rex Ryan and Bills assistant coach Rob Ryan.

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Tom Cable: J’Marcus Webb can do something cool for Seahawks

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 22: J'Marcus Webb #76 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 22, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 20-12. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks saw tackle Russell Okung and guard J.R. Sweezy depart as free agents this offseason in moves that removed a pair of veterans from a line that didn’t impress too many people in 2015.

Their plan to replace them didn’t involve any pricey free agent additions of their own. The Seahawks shopped in a less expensive aisle and came home with tackle J’Marcus Webb, who started 16 games for the Raiders last year after spending two years as a backup with the Vikings.

Webb’s record, which includes three years with the Bears, isn’t one that inspires total confidence in his play. Offensive line coach Tom Cable prized Webb’s experience, however, and believes that he can help the team as a right tackle.

“And just having J’Marcus here, my whole plan with him, I told him every day during offseason workouts, ‘This is going to be the best year of your career if you’ll give yourself to this thing,’ Cable said on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. “And what I mean by that, he’s kind of been up and down. He’s been all over the place, in Chicago, Kansas City, Minnesota, Oakland last year. I think, again, it’s about getting someone to believe in him, and that’s my job, and in getting him to believe in himself. And if those two things can marry up right, I think this kid can really, really do something cool for us. And we need him to.”

Webb’s just one part of a rebuild that has Garry Gilliam moving to left tackle, Justin Britt taking over at center and rookie Germain Ifedi walking into the lineup at guard on his first day. Cable calls it a “blast” rebuilding the line and it will be one for the Seattle offense if Cable’s work keeps Russell Wilson from getting blasted as often as he was last year.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 27:  Max Bullough #53 of the Houston Texans wraps up Harry Douglas #83 of the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

When serving as a Bills assistant gets frustrating, Ed Reed hits golf balls.

An attempt to project Dolphins WR Kenny Stills‘ output for the coming season.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman will hold a football clinic for women.

The Jets will hold six public practices during training camp.

LB Zachary Orr is pushing for a starting job with the Ravens.

Kim Wood reminisces about his long run as the Bengals strength coach.

Browns LB Scooby Wright found some admirers during offseason work.

The Steelers spent about $1 million to restore a sculpture on one of Pittsburgh’s bridges.

TE Stephen Anderson generated some positive buzz with the Texans this spring.

Rookie LB Antonio Morrison’s toughness impressed the Colts heading into the draft.

The Jaguars picked a company to install new video displays at their stadium.

Will WR Harry Douglas make the Titans this year?

Running back for the Broncos seems a better career pursuit than portrait artist for C.J. Anderson.

Chiefs wide receivers Chris Conley and Albert Wilson hope working out with Jeremy Maclin leads to improvement.

Former Raiders LB Kirk Morrison shared some thoughts with the team’s rookies.

Chargers WR Tyrell Williams made a big first impression on the field last season.

Will WR Devin Street win a spot on the Cowboys roster?

Andre Williams is facing new competition in the Giants backfield.

Eagles LB Jordan Hicks is heading to the altar.

Confidence is rising for Redskins QB Kirk Cousins.

The Bears have 34 players left from last year’s opening roster.

Is Lions QB Matthew Stafford one of the league’s most overpaid players?

The Packers want RB John Crockett to take on a bigger role that includes special teams.

Mark Brunell thinks the Vikings are set up well for the coming season.

If CB C.J. Goodwin makes the Falcons, Mel Blount will get some credit for getting him on the NFL radar.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen’s 1969 Camaro sold to NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick for $100,000 at a charity auction.

Cooper Kupp, grandson of former Saints G Jake Kupp, could be a high draft pick in 2017 as a receiver.

The Buccaneers expect to make several roster tweaks in the next couple of months.

The relationship between Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and coach Bruce Arians is a strong one.

Linebackers coach Frank Bush was miked up for a recent Rams practice.

49ers LB Navorro Bowman had 500 kids at his football camp.

Marshawn Lynch is expected to be at Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s charity softball game next month.

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Rita Benson LeBlanc says she’ll still own part of Saints after settlement

LeBlanc Getty Images

Even after a settlement reached earlier this month between Saints owner Tom Benson and a group of his former heirs, the granddaughter who was effectively cut out of the will maintains she’ll still have a role.

Rita Benson LeBlanc, who was fired by her grandfather in December 2014, told Bruce Schoenfeld of Sports Business Daily that she’d always have some connection to the Saints and Pelicans.

“No matter what happens in the litigation,” she said, “I’ll still be a partial owner.”

Details of the settlement have been few. In fact, the settlement may have been hastened along specifically to keep details of the family businesses out of the public eye. But throughout the ugly family squabble, LeBlanc (who was fired along with her mother and her brother) has stayed out of the public eye.

She’s still involved in many local charitable affairs, but no longer attends league meetings or has any other apparent dealings with the team.

“I wouldn’t say I’m happy,” she said. “I’m fulfilled. I don’t have a private life. There’s miserable things in the press and miserable things that aren’t being reported. No family should have to go through this.”

The story details some of the uglier parts of the split with the family, and describes her as someone saddened by her loss of contact with other NFL owners as well as her grandfather. It’s not much of a peek behind the curtain at a woman who was the presumptive heir to the franchise, but it does underscore how bitter the squabble truly became.

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Irving Fryar released after 8 months of 5-year prison sentence

Irving Fryar, Allene McGhee AP

Former NFL wide receiver Irving Fryar is out of prison after serving just eight months of a five-year sentence for mortgage fraud.

Fryar was released this month and placed in New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program for nonviolent offenders, Philly.com reports.

At the time he was convicted of conspiring with his mother to defraud various lending institutions, Fryar was pastor at the New Jerusalem Church of God. He will return to that position now that he’s been released.

Fryar and his mom fraudulently used the same property to take out mortgages from multiple lenders. His mom got three years of probation.

The 53-year-old Fryar was an All-American at Nebraska, the first overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft and a five-time Pro Bowler for the Patriots, Dolphins and Eagles, although his off-field issues sometimes overshadowed his on-field excellence. He missed the AFC Championship Game in his second NFL season because he had injured his hand in a fight with his wife and was arrested on weapons charges a couple years after that. He retired after the 2000 season with 851 catches for 12,785 yards and 84 touchdowns.

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NFL making $10 million donation to sexual violence prevention groups

nfl-logo_1400603306311_4966139_ver1-0_640_480 Getty Images

The NFL is preparing to put its wallet behind efforts to end sexual violence.

According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, the league is going to announce $10 million in funding over the next five years to a group of non-profits working to prevent sexual violence.

“What I can’t stress enough is the potential for this progress and how excited we are to be standing behind these organizations because their goals are so lofty and this is such a huge moment in sexual violence. To be able to use these moments and actually make real change, it’s something that we really believe in,” Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility said. “The coalition really believes they can end sexual violence in a generation and they’ve convinced the NFL that they can do it, and that’s really huge and exciting and something that we’re going to be watching closely and following for many years.”

Of course, the league’s going to have to convince plenty of people they’re serious about the efforts, after Ray Rice initially drew a two-game suspension for punching his wife in the face — before video of the incident emerged and caused them to handle such matters more seriously.

The new donations are going to a group called Raliance, a coalition between the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

The NFL met with the NSVRC after the Rice and Greg Hardy situations, and helped to fund sexual assault hotlines. Now, they’re taking a step to become a more active partner with the groups trying to bring changes in patterns of behavior, hopefully doing more than writing a check.

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