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John Idzik wants constant influx of competition with Jets

Idzik

The Jets formally introduced John Idzik as their new general manager at a press conference Thursday and, as you’d probably expect, Idzik stuck mostly to the big picture when talking about the team.

Citing the need to evaluate the roster, he passed on questions involving the Jets futures of quarterback Mark Sanchez and cornerback Darrelle Revis while stressing the need for competition on the roster to improve the team in 2013 and beyond. Idzik said he wants a “constant influx” of talent entering the organization via the draft, free agency, trades, tryouts and the waiver wire in order to guarantee continual improvement.

Idzik also answered questions about the interview process, namely reports that the Jets couldn’t find anyone to take the job because of dysfunction within the organization. Idzik said he’s excited to work with coach Rex Ryan, doesn’t see the team’s cap situation as a hindrance and made it clear that he didn’t have the same read on the Jets.

“I don’t deal much in perception. I deal in reality. I think this is one of the most fabulous football infrastructures,” Idzik said.

Idzik had a similar answer to questions about whether his business-centric role with the Seahawks made him a poor fit to make personnel decisions. Idzik told reporters to speak to the men he’s worked with over his career to find out that he’s more than just a cap guy, something the Jets really need to be true if they’re going to start bouncing back from two straight years that ended without playoff berths.

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NFL reaches deal with D.A. to see photos from first Greg Hardy trial

Greg Hardy AP

The NFL has yet to hand down any disciplinary ruling to Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy as a result of their investigation into his domestic violence case from last year and they’ll have a bit more information to consider before making any decision about a violation of the personal conduct policy.

The league has reached a deal with the Mecklenburg County (N.C.) District Attorney’s office to look at seven photos from Hardy’s bench trial last summer. Hardy was found guilty in that trial, but appealed to have a jury trial and then had the charges dismissed when accuser Nicole Holder failed to appear in court.

Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that the photos are of Holder’s injuries and were taken by “a medical advocate.” They will only be seen by the NFL, NFLPA and any experts involved in the investigation.

“We appreciate the District Attorney’s office agreeing to make the information available to us and we look forward to the opportunity to review the photographs,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.

The ability to view these photos, along with ones previously obtained from Charlotte police, should move the league closer to making their call on Hardy’s availability for the coming season.

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Stevan Ridley visits the Jets

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Free agent running back Stevan Ridley is continuing to make a tour of the AFC East.

Ridley is visiting the Jets today, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

After playing his entire career with the Patriots, Ridley hit free agency this offseason after suffering a torn ACL last year. He has already visited the Dolphins.

The 26-year-old Ridley had 94 carries for 340 yards and two touchdowns in the first six games before he was lost for the season in 2014.

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Saints sign Kyle Wilson

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In 2010, the Saints took cornerback Patrick Robinson with the 32nd pick in the first round of the draft.

Robinson landed in San Diego as a free agent this offseason and part of the team’s plan to replace him on the roster involves another first rounder from that class. The Saints announced Wednesday that they have signed cornerback Kyle Wilson, who went 29th to the Jets that year.

Wilson played in every game over five seasons in Jersey, but never made good on that lofty draft position with the Jets. Wilson played almost exclusively in the slot for the Jets and his performance was found lacking enough that his snaps diminished over the last two years even with the Jets desperate for help at cornerback.

With Brandon Browner and Keenan Lewis on the team in New Orleans, a sub package role will be Wilson’s path to playing time in New Orleans as well. How much of a role he winds up playing will likely be determined by any further additions New Orleans makes at the position as the offseason rolls along.

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Tribal official faces impeachment after taking gifts from Dan Snyder

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: An exchange of trinkets and a free cross-country trip for a promise of goodwill didn’t work out so hot for a Native American.

Well, at least it’s just one in particular this time.

Via longtime Washington writer Dave McKenna at Deadspin comes the very latest bit of red on the face of Dan Snyder’s football team, as a Utah tribe has moved to impeach its leader after she accepted gifts from the team, allegedly so she’d support their nickname efforts.

According to the filing, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Tribal Council has accused Gari Pikyavit Lafferty, their highest-ranking elected official, of accepting gifts from the team and the Original Americans Foundation (OAF), a non-profit formed by Snyder for his “outreach” efforts.

The Council accused Lafferty of accepting a Robert Griffin III-signed football, and allowing the team to pay for her trip to Washington to see the Sept. 25, 2014 game against the Giants without telling tribal leaders. Among the evidence presented was a photo with team president Bruce Allen.

The council wrote that the gifts “could be considered bribery,” and curiously enough, when she returned home, she supported a deal which allowed the OAF (they don’t even think their acronyms through particularly well) to buy the tribe “at least two vans.”

There are plenty of other damning nuggets in McKenna’s story, and it’s worth pointing out that he has been a thorn in Snyder’s side for years.

(Hey, interestingly enough, Snyder once tried to get McKenna fired. That’s weird, he’s never tried to get his critics promoted out of his hair or stifle a free and unencumbered discussion before.)

This time, however, a tribal official stands to lose her job too.

It’s going to be hard to blame this one on some gullible employees and a fake John Skipper, as the “winning off the field” continues unabated in the nation’s capital.

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Boom Herron signs tender, stays with Colts

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Free agent running back Daniel “Boom” Herron will remain in Indianapolis.

The Colts have announced that Herron signed his restricted free agent tender, keeping him with the team another year.

Herron emerged as the Colts’ top running back late last season, replacing Trent Richardson as the starter and playing well down the stretch. Herron ran 45 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns and also added 128 receiving yards in the Colts’ three playoff games.

This year Herron will likely back up Frank Gore in the Colts’ backfield.

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PFT Live: Bucs talk with Rick Stroud, Cowboys talk with Clarence Hill

Jameis Winston AP

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had his pro day workout on Tuesday and there’s no sign that it has led the Buccaneers to reconsider drafting Winston with the first overall pick.

General Manager Jason Licht gave Winston a rave review and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times will join Mike Florio on Wednesday’s PFT Live to discuss how things went for Winston. They’ll touch on other Tampa matters as well during Stroud’s visit before attention shifts to Dallas.

Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will also be on the show. Hill and Florio will discuss Greg Hardy’s role with the Cowboys, the return of linebacker Rolando McClain and wide receiver Dez Bryant’s hopes for a long-term contract among other topics.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

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Malcolm Jenkins: LeSean McCoy trade wasn’t surprising

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There were plenty of people surprised when the Eagles traded running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, but Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wasn’t one of them.

Jenkins said that “everybody who is in the locker room and really knows Chip [Kelly]” understood why Kelly decided to ship the team’s leading rusher to Buffalo. Jenkins said that people in that position thought the deal made sense from the standpoint of “looking to acquire more talent” as well as finding talent that fit what Kelly wants to do on offense.

“You look at the style of runner that Chip wants in his offense and even though Shady is one of the best backs in the league, he’s not necessarily what Chip is looking for all the time,” Jenkins said during an appearance on NFL Network. “Chip thinks he’s a great running back, he knows his talent is there, but our [system] is really predicated on downhill, somebody who is going to hit the hole every time. It’s about getting up in the defenders face as fast as you can and that’s not necessarily Shady’s running style.”

Jenkins did say that there was some surprise about the Eagles only getting Alonso in return for McCoy because he thought it would have been bigger than a player-for-player deal, but the fact that Kelly is shaping the team to his desires in his first year running the personnel shop isn’t raising any other eyebrows.

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Lions bring Breshad Perriman in for a pre-draft visit

Breshad Perriman AP

The Lions have perhaps the game’s best big target at wide receiver.

Now they’re taking a look at a guy who could knock the top out of any defense to make even more room for him.

According to Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website, the Lions have Central Florida wideout Breshad Perriman in for a pre-draft visit today.

Perriman would be intriguing to Lions fans anyway, since his father Brett played for them from 1991-96.

But the younger version caught everyone’s eye at his pro day, when he ran his 40-yard dashes in blazing times, with the slowest a 4.27.

“I kind of expected to run that fast,” Perriman said.

His speed is even more tantalizing considering he’s 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. And the Lions have bigger needs than another wideout with the 23rd pick in the draft.

But the idea of putting another big-time weapon alongside Calvin Johnson’s an intriguing notion, especially considering the raw ability Perriman has shown.

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Dez not saying how soon he expects to be with the Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is not saying if he will be with the Cowboys soon enough to participate in the team’s offseason program or not.

The NFL’s other franchised wide receiver, Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, has said he’s going to work out on his own until his contract situation is resolved. Bryant, however, is keeping a low profile. It’s possible that he’ll agree to sign the franchise tag in time to report to the team’s offseason program, possible that he’ll work out a long-term deal by then, or possible that he’ll remain unsigned into training camp and the preseason. (It’s even possible that Bryant will remain unsigned into the regular season, although it’s unlikely he’d pass up the weekly game checks of more than $750,000 each that he could get by signing the franchise tender.)

Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones has said he’s not worried about Bryant’s contract situation because he’s confident that Bryant, a consummate competitor, will want to be there with his teammates.

The only question is whether Bryant will be there with his teammates at Organized Team Activities, minicamp, training camp or the preseason.

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Colts unveil “all-white” uniforms for April Fool’s Day

Zoolander Getty Images

We have an early winner on April Fool’s Day.

Rather than teasing an announcement about nothing or joking that a key employee has been arrested for drunk driving, the Colts have come up with a creative concept for the annual April 1 non-holiday holiday.

They’ve produced a video introducing all-white uniforms.  As in everything is white.  Including the jerseys and the numbers and the trim.

The video features tight end Dwayne Allen in the fake uniform, explaining why the Colts have done it.

“From a strategic, football standpoint, how can they scout us?” Allen said.  “They can’t see our numbers.”

Bravo, Colts.  The bar is now set for every other team and player.

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Urban Meyer: Browns are “fantastic” at pre-draft due diligence

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Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has dealt with a lot of NFL scouts over the course of his career with the Buckeyes and other teams and he knows that they aren’t all created equal.

Meyer said Tuesday that some of the teams “do a phenomenal job” when it comes to asking questions and finding out everything there is to know about a prospect. He’s also had teams pick his players without ever speaking to him and says that those teams that don’t do the legwork also fail to “win a bunch of games.”

Based on 2014 experiences, you might think Meyer would put the Browns in the latter category. First-round picks Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert both struggled in their first NFL seasons with Manziel winding up in rehab and Gilbert dealing with a “very personal” issue that the Browns first became aware of once he was already on the team. Meyer says that’s not the case, however.

“Not good, fantastic,” Meyer said, via Cleveland.com. “I really like their head coach. He’s knee deep in it.”

The Browns did hit on later picks with guard Joel Bitonio, linebacker Christian Kirksey and running back Terrance West contributing to the team and Isaiah Crowell joined West in the backfield after signing as an undrafted free agent. As anyone familiar with recent Browns history will tell you though, missing on big pieces like quarterbacks often sets you back more than those kinds of hits spring you forward and the Browns need one of those big hits to become a team that wins a bunch of their future games.

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Teryl Austin predicts a better Lions defense, post-Suh

Austin AP

The Lions have lost defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, replacing them with Haloti Ngata.  Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin sees that as an upgrade.  And it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day gag.

We plan to be better this year,” Austin told a gathering of season-ticket holders at Ford Field on Tuesday, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

“We tell our guys all the time, you go in, the No. 1 thing you want to do is stop the run, and Haloti’s a premier run-stuffer,” Austin said.  “I don’t know if there’s any better in the league.  He’s that good.  And from the people that aren’t familiar with him, I had an opportunity to be in there with him for three years and just know the difference he makes up front.”

Colts coach Chuck Pagano was with Ngata, too.  Which makes Indy’s failure to pounce on Ngata even more confusing, especially given their struggles against the run.  Then again, the Colts may have tried to get Ngata, but the Lions struck too quickly.

“We literally finalized the trade with Baltimore, and Martin Mayhew and I are on the phone in my office, we hadn’t even told Jim [Caldwell] yet, and we’re on the phone to Bill Ford letting him know that the trade had finalized and it pops up on Twitter as we’re telling the owner that we had just finalized it,” team CEO Tom Lewand said, via Birkett.  “So Twitter was finding out before our head coach, and we had to go down the hall and I had the privilege of interrupting a staff meeting and stuck my head in and said, ‘Hey we got Haloti Ngata,’ and the looks on the face of these guys was like it was Christmas morning and Santa Claus had just come down the chimney.”

It’s a neat story, but let’s be realistic about this.  The Lions wanted to keep Suh.  The Lions tried to keep Suh.  The Lions reportedly hoped Suh would “come to his senses” after reports emerged of a looming deal with the Dolphins.

Austin now sees Ngata as an upgrade over Suh.  Less than two months ago, Austin said he planned on Suh returning, and that a possible departure hadn’t even crossed Austin’s mind.

The truth is that the Lions are seeing the glass as half full because they have no other choice, especially when talking up the upcoming season to a room full of season-ticket holders.  The offseason requires teams to sell hope to the fans, plausible or otherwise.  Which likewise requires teams to create the impression that any losses via free agency ultimately weren’t losses at all.

Besides, if Austin’s assessment eventually is proven to be wrong, it’s unlikely that anyone will throw his words back at him.  Even if they do, Austin will come up with a new reason for thinking that the glass is half full, no matter how empty is actually may be.

That’s not a knock on Austin.  It’s a recognition of the reality that only one team wins the Super Bowl every year.  For all 32, the challenge is to make the fans think they have a chance to be that one team.

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Joe Lombardi: Matthew Stafford will take more chances this year

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Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw 12 interceptions in 16 games during the 2014 regular season, the lowest full-season total during his NFL career.

Stafford also set a new career low in net yards per pass attempt during Joe Lombardi’s first year as the offensive coordinator in Detroit. The team’s offense also saw sharp drops in points and yards, which may be why Lombardi suggested Stafford was too risk-averse during their first season working together.

“Our biggest thing is in order to win football games, you got to first not lose them,” Lombardi said, via MLive.com “And I thought he played smart football — almost to a fault. We’ll look for him to take a few more chances this year with the football. He’s got the arm to do it, and the receivers to throw it to.”

Having a healthy Calvin Johnson would offer Stafford more opportunities to show off the arm that once threw for 5,000 yards in a season and more shots down the field could return some of those missing points. That said, avoiding risk on offense paid off for the team last season and it would be surprising to see them alter things too dramatically after winning 11 games for the first time since 1991 and the third time since the franchise has been in Detroit.

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Bruce Irvin’s April Fool’s gag is a false DUI confession

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

Well, that escalated quickly.

Earlier in the morning, we pointed out that free-agent receiver Greg Jennings teased that he’d be announcing his next time on social media at 1:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday.  He ultimately announced nothing, making the entire exercise a not-so-funny April Fool’s Day joke.

Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin has gone next level, using the scourge of drunk driving as the basis for an April Fool’s Day joke of his own.

‘Before this hits the media I just wanna apologize to my fans and the @Seahawks organization once again,” Irvin said on Twitter.  “I made a terrible decision [by] driving after I had a few drinks.  I will do everything to get ur trust back and will become a better person after this.”

And then, 25 minutes later, Irvin added this:  “How many of yall thought I was serious ?! Haha April fools!!!

I thought he was serious, because I seriously wouldn’t expect anyone to admit to a specific type of criminal activity that has claimed many lives over the years as part of an April Fool’s Day prank.  Really, how is this any different than Irvin joking that he’d committed domestic violence?  While a run-of-the-mill DUI has no specific victim, the behavior of drunk driving has generated thousands of victims over the years.

So, congrats, Bruce.  You fooled us into thinking that you are among the many irresponsible adult males who get behind the wheel of a 4,000-pound steel missile after consuming too much alcohol, even though you have the resources as a result of your employment in the NFL to quickly and easily obtain another form of transportation.  Hooray?

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McClain received offer from Pats, opted to stay put

McClain Getty Images

Linebacker Rolando McClain, a former top-10 pick who retired twice before turning his career around in Dallas, will continue his career there.  As previously noted, it’s a one-year deal for McClain to remain with the Cowboys, with a value of up to $4 million.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, McClain’s visit with the Patriots resulted in an offer.  Which made the decision a very difficult one for McClain.  In the end, familiarity with teammates and coaches made the difference, along with the reality that Stephen and Jerry Jones gave McClain a chance to resurrect his career in 2014.

The short-term nature of the contract may have been influenced by a pair of off-field issues with which McClain is currently dealing.  He’s reportedly one failed drug test away from a four-game suspension, and authorities have determined that a fire that destroyed his Alabama mansion was the result of arson.  McClain has not been accused of having any involvement in or knowledge of the fire.

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