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Bruce Arians will be the Cardinals’ next head coach

Bruce Arians AP

Bruce Arians is the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Arians was offered the Cardinals’ job and will accept, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The Cardinals met with Arians today and Arians said he got a good feeling from the meeting, and now both sides look like they want to get the deal done.

After being named the offensive coordinator of the Colts last offseason, Arians spent most of the season as the interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was out being treated for leukemia. Arians did an excellent job, leading the Colts from a 2-14 record to the playoffs, and he may receive the NFL’s coach of the year award.

Now Arians will take over as head coach of another team — one that can use his offensive acumen, but one which lacks a quarterback as talented as Andrew Luck.

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Justin Timberlake toasts Ralph Wilson in Buffalo show

Justin Timberlake AP

Pop star Justin Timberlake delivered a tribute to deceased former Bills owner Ralph Wilson during his concert in Buffalo on Wednesday night.

Timberlake was performing in Buffalo Wednesday after an illness forced him to cancel a prior concert back in February. After finally being able to return to Western New York for the make up event, Timberlake took a moment to memorialize the long-time Bills owner.

Here’s to better late than never,” Timberlake said while raising a shot glass on stage, per the Bills’ official website. “I’m also a big sports fan. Here’s to Ralph Wilson.”

The Buffalo crowd roared in approval over the tribute to the long-time Bills owner and NFL pioneer as Timberlake slammed the shot.

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Tanard Jackson claims this suspension is “totally different”

Indianapolis Colts v Washington Redskins Getty Images

Tanard Jackson has been suspended on four different occasions by the NFL but he claims this time is different.

No, really.

Jackson exchanged text messages with Chris Russell of ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. on Wednesday night claiming this suspension isn’t the same as his prior offenses.

“I plan to appeal and this is not a repeat of the past. Totally different,” Jackson said.

However, Jackson isn’t able to appeal this suspension any further. The suspension was officially announced by the league on Wednesday, meaning all appeals have already been exhausted and the decision is final.

Quite frankly, even if this suspension didn’t stem from the same problems that have plagued Jackson in the past, it doesn’t matter. He hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2011 after missing the last two seasons due to prior suspensions. After being reinstated by the league in May and given another opportunity by the Washington Redskins, Jackson couldn’t even make it to training camp before once again violating the substance-abuse policy.

The league may not give Jackson another opportunity at reinstatement. Even if the league reinstates Jackson in the future, it seems far-fetched to think another team would take a chance on him. No matter the reason or excuse, Jackson has likely seen the last of his days on an NFL roster.

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49ers will have three training camp practices at Levi’s Stadium

New Santa Clara Stadium AP

In addition to playing a pair of preseason games at Levi’s Stadium in August, the 49ers will hold three training camp practices at their new home in Santa Clara, the club said Wednesday.

The practices are slated for Monday, August 4, Friday, August 15 and Wednesday, August 20. The workouts are free and open to the public, but those wanting to attend must register online for tickets, and only 10,000 fans per practice will be admitted, the club said.

Those who have purchased stadium builder’s licenses (SBLs) for Levi’s Stadium will have an early registration window for all sessions. All other registration will begin on Friday via the Levi’s Stadium Facebook page, with the August 4 and August 20 practices the first workouts for which tickets will be offered.

The tickets will be awarded on Wednesday, July 16, the club said.

The Niners’ home preseason games are on Sunday, August 17 (vs. Denver) and Sunday, August 24 (vs. San Diego). Their regular season home opener is Sunday, September 14 vs. Chicago on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

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Richard Sherman thinks the Seahawks can be better this year

Sherman Getty Images

The Seahawks were the best team in the NFL last season, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have room to improve.

And the Seahawks’ best player, cornerback Richard Sherman, says he thinks they will improve. Asked on NFL Network if the 2014 season could be even better in Seattle than 2013, Sherman said he thinks that’s a strong possibility.

“I think it could,” he said. “We’re a lot more experienced. There are a bunch of young guys. Last year, you forget, Russell [Wilson] was a second-year quarterback — going into his third year there’s going to be a lot of growth for him. I’m going into my fourth, Earl [Thomas] and Kam [Chancellor] are going into their fifth, Bobby Wagner going into his third, we’ve got some young guys coming up on the D-line that are going to do some things, Mike Bennett and Cliff Avril, another year of experience. Jermaine Kearse, I think is going to have a big year. Guys are elevating their game to another level.”

Sherman didn’t mention that Percy Harvin is almost certain to have a much bigger impact than last year, when he barely played, or that the Seahawks have had a knack for finding value in the draft and added eight draft picks this year. Sherman is known for his boasting, but he’s also known for backing it up. And there’s every reason to believe that the Seahawks can be the best team in the league again this season. Maybe even better than last season.

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Charles Barkley: Johnny Manziel has “got to watch himself”

Johnny Manziel AP

Beware of camera phones.

And please: easy with the selfies.

In an interview with Cleveland radio station 92.3 FM on Wednesday, “NBA on TNT” analyst Charles Barkley was asked about Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose offseason activities have left a social media trail. And Barkley, for his part, believes Manziel needs to exercise discretion in multiple ways.

“Listen, he’s got to watch himself, man, because everybody’s out to get you now. Every nitwit has a cellphone,” Barkley said. “But you should never take selfies of yourself doing anything that can be considered stupid. And that’s probably the only problem I have with Johnny Manziel. Most of his pictures are selfies, and that tells me he’s just too immature to handle this fame thing right now.”

Barkley noted that he doesn’t allow his friends to take pictures when they go out and that he has people “watching everybody around me in case something happens.”

As Barkley put it: “(Somebody) might get me, but it won’t be one of my friends.”

During the interview, Barkley also expressed support for Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was arrested this weekend on a DWI charge in North Carolina and could face an extended NFL suspension under the substance abuse policy.

“I wish him the best,” said Barkley, who believes the Browns should try to continue to work with the third-year receiver.

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Raiders’ stadium development team opposes A’s lease

Oakland Raiders v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The Raiders haven’t said much regarding the 10-year lease for the A’s at the stadium shared by Oakland’s baseball and football teams.  The group attempting to develop a new stadium for the Raiders apparently has said plenty.

In a recent letter, the lawyer for the stadium development team reportedly argued that a new lease for the A’s would make it harder to build a new stadium for the Raiders at the site of the O.co Coliseum.

The Raiders want a new stadium by 2018.  To make that happen, the current structure would have to be torn down in 2015.  The proposed lease would delay that timetable by at least two years, as explained by Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area.

The lease, approved last week by a joint city-county commission under threat of relocation of the A’s from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, still faces additional levels of approval.  Ultimately, Oakland could be choosing between keeping the A’s and keeping the Raiders.

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Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely from league

Redskins Training camp Getty Images

It was only a few days ago when Tanard Jackson was talking about making the most of his latest chance.

It didn’t last long, as the NFL announced that Jackson was suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Jackson had missed the last two seasons because of suspensions, and the Redskins had just brought him back this offseason when he was reinstated. It’s his fourth career suspension overall.

If he owned an NFL team, there would obviously be cries that he needed help. We’ll see if the reaction is as sympathetic for him after his multiple offenses.

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Irvin: Cris Carter was out of line with Josh Gordon, and my wife

2010 Pro Bowl Getty Images

Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter said recently that the best thing the Browns could do for Josh Gordon is cut him. Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin thinks Carter is way off base.

And in a radio interview with Dan Le Batard, Irvin went further than to say that Carter is off base in his comments about Gordon. Irvin also said that Carter once approached Irvin’s wife with a similar statement: After Carter had begun his recovery from drug addiction but while Irvin was still actively using drugs, Carter told Irvin’s wife that she should divorce him because that would be the only thing that would get Irvin to quit.

“I love Cris Carter to death, I thought that was a bit irresponsible of him to make the comment about releasing Josh Gordon,” Irvin said, via Broward/Palm Beach New Times. “You know, what works for Cris, when we’re talking about true recovery, may not work for the other, so you can’t make a blanket statement and just say, ‘Worked for me, it’ll work for him,’ because that’s not necessarily the truth and I thought it was a bit irresponsible. We have to be very careful in this position, given the situation where you’re trying to help people, you’re truly trying to help people and then also turn around, saying ‘I’m mentoring and I’m helping, I’m helping.’ The people start thinking that you have insight on the situation or the issue or the problem so when you come out and make those kinds of comments and you’re not in his sessions with his professional help, you don’t know what’s going on in those sessions, then you’re being irresponsible. I was a bit disappointed Cris Carter made that statement.”

Carter stopped using drugs shortly after the Eagles cut him, and he has said that the Eagles cutting him may have saved his life, because it forced him to grapple with his substance-abuse problem. But Irvin says that Carter wrongly thinks all addicts need to be cut loose from their families and their careers before they will give up drugs, and Irvin says that Carter overstepped his bounds by telling Irvin’s wife that she should leave him.

“He said to my wife — he said to my wife, ‘You know, Michael would never come out of this problem until you leave him. Till you leave him.’ For years, I’ve held it — I’ve never shared that with anybody. I’ve never in my life shared that with anybody. I was so irked with Cris because he was out of line then. His ass is out of line now. He is out of line,” Irvin said.

Irvin’s wife didn’t take Carter’s advice, and Irvin eventually got off drugs without his wife leaving him. Irvin and his wife have now been married for 24 years.

It remains to be seen whether Gordon ever follows in the footsteps of Carter and Irvin and manages to quit drugs and have a great NFL career and a successful life after the NFL. All we can say for sure based on Irvin’s comments is that he’s a forgiving person: Not many people would still be able to say, “I love Cris Carter to death” after a situation like the one Irvin described.

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Antwan Barnes thinks he’ll “probably” be ready for training camp

Antwan Barnes AP

Time is running short for players rehabbing injuries to make it back onto the field when training camps open later this month and Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes is one of those playing beat the clock.

Barnes tore his ACL early last season and has spent the time since September rehabbing in hopes of returning to the field this season. Barnes says he’s made it more than 70 percent of the way back in his rehab and that he’s taking it easy right now because he doesn’t want to set back his recovery at this point.

“I will let the trainers and the medical staff handle all that. I don’t put put timetables [on injuries], I just want to do work,” Barnes said, via Metro New York “But everyday I’m feeling better and I feel progress. It’s good. You don’t want to push too hard, hurry back too fast. Then you get hurt again and that doesn’t help this team. I just want to get back there man and play. I miss football and miss being out there with these guys.”

Barnes had two sacks in five games for the Jets last season and he’ll be in line for a pass rushing job again this year if his knee is sound enough for him to play.

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Report: Patriots don’t want to share scouting reports on Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez AP

The Patriots’ willingness to share information they collected on former tight end Aaron Hernandez with his defense team reportedly does not extend to their scouting reports.

According to the Boston Globe, an attorney for the club argued Wednesday that the Patriots should not have to give up scouting reports on Hernandez from 2009 and 2010, as well as a NFL Scouting Combine report on Hernandez from 2010. The club is willing to share more than 300 pages of other information on Hernandez, according to the report.

Per the Globe, Hernandez’s legal team wants the scouting reports and Combine writeup for its defense of Hernandez, who is charged with murdering three people. The newspaper reported that another hearing regarding the information the Patriots may have to furnish is set for July 22.

The Patriots selected Hernandez in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

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Vikings land at No. 27 on PFT’s Preseason Power Rankings

QBs AP

Not quite in the bottom five but still in the bottom 10, the Vikings have a long way to go to get to the top of the NFL.

To begin that climb, they need plenty — most importantly, they need good quarterback play.

Assuming they won’t be getting it any time soon, the Vikings start the year at No. 27 on the hierarchy of NFL franchises.  With new coach Mike Zimmer ready to give an inconsistent roster a persistent kick in the butt, the Vikings could finish much higher.

How high depends on how far their quarterback will take them.  Before that can be answered, we have to know who the quarterback will be.

Until that answer comes, provide your own answer below on the question of whether the ranking it too high, too low, or just right.

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Jermichael Finley: I’m working as hard as I can to get back to Packer Nation

Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The wait for tight end Jermichael Finley’s return to football after last year’s neck injury and surgery has lasted throughout the offseason and there haven’t been many signs that the end is in sight.

When it does end, though, Finley hopes that there’s a Packers uniform waiting for him. Finley told Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin that he’s feeling as good as he’s felt since getting hurt and that he remains hopeful that he’ll be back in familiar surroundings soon.

“This is the best I’ve felt in this entire crazy process,” Finley said. “Tell everybody I’m working as hard as I can to get back to Packer Nation.”

Finley was cleared by his doctor several weeks ago, but that hasn’t done much to heat up his market outside of a visit with the Patriots that ended without a contract. The Packers have maintained an open door to a Finley return, but it would take their own medical clearance and it doesn’t appear that they or anyone else is satisfied Finley can make a return in 2014.

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Ryan Kerrigan open to staying in Washington long term, wants to improve his play

Ryan Kerrigan, Matt Ryan AP

In three seasons with Washington, outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has started every game, and he’s played about 98 percent of the club’s regular season snaps, according to Pro Football Focus data.

Not surprisingly, the Redskins picked up his 2015 option this offseason, keeping him under contract for the next two years. And as Kerrigan told the Muncie (Ind.) Star Press, he would be open to staying with Washington beyond that.

“I’ve worked hard these past few years to be the best I can for the team and for the organization. I’m going to be a part of it for at least an additional year and hopefully after that, even longer,” Kerrigan said, according to the Star Press.

Washington’s first-round pick in 2011, Kerrigan has recorded 183 tackles and 24.5 sacks. He does not turn 26 until August. In short, he’s put together a nice resume to begin his career.

But Kerrigan would like to pick up his play, as he told the Star Press.

“I’m tired of being consistent. I want to be consistently really, really good,” Kerrigan said. “I don’t want to be just consistently average anymore. I want to be consistently good.”

Kerrigan has notched between 7.5 and 8.5 sacks in all three NFL seasons. An uptick in production in 2014 would set him up well going into a contract year, but he seems well-positioned regardless. He’s a good starter at an important position, and he can get after the quarterback.

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Richard Sherman still hates Michael Crabtree

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Perhaps when Richard Sherman’s finished playing football, he can transition into pro wrestling.

Because the Seahawks cornerback has a knack for keeping a feud alive by making inflammatory remarks into a microphone.

It’s much more of just I don’t like the dude,” Sherman says in tonight’s Discovery Channel debut of “American Muscle” (via USA Today). “You know what I’m saying. And I think he’s sorry. So it’s really what it comes down to.”

Crabtree has been Sherman’s foil for some time, including the pass he broke up at the end of the NFC Championship which led to his rant to Erin Andrews which helped make him (more) famous outside football circles.

“It’s just about him, it’s just about Crabtree,” Sherman said. “It’s not going to be something that goes away. I hope to play him every year for the rest of my career and choke him out. There’s not much else I can say about the subject. Nobody will understand it but him and me. That’s all that needs to understand.”

The one-on-one matchup on the field is interesting enough on its own merits. But Sherman has made sure everyone will be watching through his own gift for gab, as well.

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Baylor coach Art Briles on Josh Gordon: We’ll do whatever we can do to help him be successful

Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

D’Qwell Jackson said recently that he hopes someone helps his former Browns teammate Josh Gordon pick up “the pieces of his life” after a DUI arrest that came while Gordon was facing a potential one-year suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Gordon’s substance abuse issues date back beyond the start of his professional career and he was kicked off the Baylor football team for failing a drug test and other marijuana-related issues. According to Baylor coach Art Briles, those things won’t stand in the way of the school helping Gordon. Briles told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt of Sirius XM NFL Radio that he thought Gordon still has a bright future and offered to help the wide receiver realize it.

“Everybody’s different in the world and that’s what makes it so unique and everybody’s got special talents and gifts,” Briles said. “Josh certainly has a tremendous amount of physical talent and intellectual gifts. We all just hope and pray that he’ll be able to get through everything and finally reach his full potential. The thing about Josh that’s so unique is he’s still young, he just turned 23. His future is ahead. He’s going to be judged by everything that’s happened, but he still has a great future ahead and that’s the way he needs to approach the situation. When you’re in our family, you’re always in so we’ll do whatever we can do to help him be successful in his life.”

Briles is right about Gordon having a future in the league if he can keep himself from further violations of NFL rules. He’s also right about Gordon being short of his full potential and it would probably be a good idea for Gordon to talk to Briles, Jackson and anyone else who wants to see him realize it before the doors to that future close.

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