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Transcript of Chris Culliver’s comments to the media on January 31

[Editor’s note: This is the full transcript provided by the NFL of 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver’s comments to the media on January 31, when he was questioned about anti-gay comments he made at Super Bowl Media Day.]

(on his experience the last 12 hours) “Just emotional, sensitive, and apologetic. There’s a lot of words I can [use to] describe [it].”

(on his mindset when he made the comments) “[I was] really just not thinking. [It was] something that I thought. Definitely nothing that I felt in my heart.”

(on when he spoke with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh) “We talked, and that’s between us. I’d say we talked about the whole situation, and learning and growing from it. Like I said, that’s not what I feel in my heart. He understands that and I told him that as well.”

(on whether he would accept a homosexual teammate) “If it is, then it is. Everybody is treated equally in our locker room.”

(on whether he has said anything to his teammates about his comments) “No, my teammates didn’t try and talk about it. We are trying not to have any distractions to the team. We’re trying to win a Super Bowl.”

(on what he can learn from this experience) “Just learn and grow. Like I said, just talk to the media and when people come at me with questions, answer to the best of my knowledge.”

(on whether this has affected his preparation for the game) “No.”

(on whether the NFL is ready for an openly gay player) “I don’t know. If it is, it is upon that person to do whatever he or she feels.”

(on whether he realizes how far reaching this is) “I understand.”

(on whether he knew who he was talking to when he said this) “Yes, a comedian.”

(on whether he knew something was different based on the other questions that he was asked by Artie Lange) “Yeah, he was really disrespectful. Really disrespectful.”

(on whether he was tempted not to answer his questions and walk away) “Yeah. There were just so many people around and so many different questions and things like that.”

(on what he would like people to learn about him after all of this) “I don’t have [any] differences with other sexualities, just like that. Like I said, that’s not what I feel in my heart and I treat everyone equal in any type of way. It’s not how I feel.”

(on whether he was dreading facing the media) “I just wanted to face the situation and let everyone know how I feel in my heart. Just to tell them [that] I’m not that type of guy.”

(on whether he expected so many people to react to his comments) “Yes, because of our state and being in the Super Bowl with all of the other hype that goes around it.”

(on what would he say to the people of San Francisco) “I’m sorry that I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments, and that’s not what I feel in my heart. Hopefully, I can learn and grow from this experience and this situation. I love San Francisco.”

(on whether he realized the seriousness of his comments despite the questions being in a joking format) “It was never in a serious matter. Like I said, it was a matter that I should have took time and thought about it. What I just went through and what I just said, it was nothing that I felt in my heart.”

(on what he learned from this) “I definitely learned to keep my composure and not do any interviews like that. I know that.”

(on whether he talked to his family about this) “I talked to quite a few of my family [members]. Mainly my mom – that’s the closest to my heart. We had some deep conversations and she knows how I feel. Like I said, I love my mom and thank her for all the advice in the world.”

(on what his mom said to him) “Really, she knew I was going to have to come forward, just to be strong, and [with] my statement this morning. That’s what I’m doing.”

(on why he said this despite it being the opposite of what he believes) “You get hung up on so many people coming at you in so many different directions and so many different questions. Like I said, it was just something that was just not what I felt and I just said, kind of like just get of here or something like that. It’s not what I felt, and that is why I’m addressing the situation today and this morning.”

(on whether he understands the outrage his comments caused) “Like I said, I support gay people, gay communities, and different racial [backgrounds]. It was just something I feel apologetic to, and I’m sorry that I made a comment and that hurt anyone – that I made a comment that might affect anyone in the organization, NFL, or anything like that.”

(on what his family members said to him) “Like I said, I just cleared it up with them. We talked about it. They understand me. I have quite a few relatives that are homosexuals. I talked to them about it. Some people contacted me, and I just talked about it with them and moved on. They understand where I was coming from and they heard everything. That’s why they called me directly. They heard from me.”

(on whether he found out over the course of the last few hours that he had gay family members) “I knew that before.”

(on whether comments like his make it more difficult for a teammate to go public that they are gay around him) “I don’t really know how to address that situation. If it was someone in the locker room who was gay, and then [all] 53, 60, or 90 men we have on our team, I’m close to, so I don’t think that would be a problem.”

(on whether he agrees with Ravens S Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has spoken out in the past for gay rights) “I believe that. Anybody has any entitlement to what they want to do and what they want to believe. That’s like saying somebody wants believe in Jesus or somebody wants to believe in a different race. That’s what they want to do and that’s how they were raised, then they have to take that upon themselves. Everybody has different beliefs and different feelings about what they believe in certain situations, and I just take it like that.”

(on whether he thinks his comments were a big deal) “They are a big deal. What I said is just something, like I said, that I’m addressing this morning to not escalate the situation and not bring any distractions to my team, the organization, or the NFL.”

(on how this affected his game preparation) “No, it didn’t take away from anything. The game plan is still the same, and just go forth from there.”

(on whether he thought that the questions were off-putting at any point) “His first question was very disrespectful. I felt a little offended, but there was just so many people around. I couldn’t get away from everybody.”

(on whether he considers the comedian as a member of the media) “No, I just consider him a comedian. Guys like that shouldn’t harass players like us [during the media session]. Hopefully, something will happen but I don’t know.”

(on his conversation with 49ers safety Dashon Goldson) “I’ll just keep that between us. We had conversations, but I’m not trying to approach many guys or talk to many guys because I don’t want that to be a distraction for the team and for an incident like this to cause us to not win the Super Bowl or something like that. That’s what these guys are here for, that’s what I’m here for, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

(on whether he is concerned that he will be known as the guy who does not want a gay teammate) “No because, like I said, I’m approaching this and talking about it with you guys now and explaining how I feel. If anyone has questions about that, that’s why I’m talking about that now.”

(on whether he will have to speak about his comments for many years to come) “I don’t know. Hopefully not.”

(on how accepting he would be to have an openly gay teammate) “Like I said, [I would] be accepting of it. If someone did come out and say that they were gay on a team, then oh well. I’m accepting to it, like all of the guys that I have a relationship with. It’s not a guy that dislikes me or something like that, because I have relationships with everyone on the team. We’re all friends.”

(on what he wants to say to people in his community) “I apologize and I’m sorry. That’s not what I’m feeling in my heart and that’s why I’m addressing the situation now. Like I said, I know I will learn and grow from this situation.”

(on whether any gay or lesbian people that he knows reached out to him) “Yes. Like I said, I talked to one of my relatives and we had a good conversation – that’s why they called me.”

(on how those conversations enlightened him) “They enlightened me because they knew how I felt. They knew that it was taken out of turn. It was something that I had to address and something that I’m apologetic for. That’s not how I feel in my heart and that’s why I’m talking about it now.”

(on whether he feels that a lot of football players agree with his comments) “I don’t know what other people believe in. Like I said, everybody has different beliefs like in Buddhism or God or anything like that. We’re all different races and things like that. Like I said, whatever you support is whatever you support.”

(on whether he knows that he has a gay teammate or not) “No, I don’t know about anything like that. I don’t know.”

(on who the relative he talked to was) “It was just a person that I talked to. I don’t want to share that information.”

(on clarifying any misimpressions that people have about him right now) “[The misconception] is that I don’t like homosexuals and I don’t support the gay community and things like that. Like I said, which I do. I have gay relatives and I talk to them like not on a daily basis but a couple of times [a week]. I do support that.”

(on whether he has thought about reaching out to the gay community) “I’ve talked to a number of people already.”

(on whether he has spoken to any gay organizations) “I did not speak to any gay organizations, no.”

(on the context of the interview) “If you hear the whole interview, it was disrespectful questions at first. If you hear my voice and what I said, I don’t have anything against gay people and I don’t have anything against homosexuals.”

(on how the interviewer was dressed) “Like a regular reporter.”

(on whether he thinks there is a problem with the legitimacy of the media day format) “It does take away from the legitimacy of it. Like I said, it’s overwhelming for a lot of players. Hopefully something can be done about real reporters and not real reporters, but that’s not under my control and there is nothing I can do about that situation.”

(on whether he has experienced pain in the last 24 hours because of this) “It has been really painful for the last 24 hours, yes.”

(on whether his mom was mad at him at first) “No, my mom is always open to anything. She didn’t take a side and she didn’t take anything. I think we had a 38 minute conversation about it. Like I said, we just talked about a lot of things.”

(on whether his mom asked why he said it) “Not necessarily why I said it, but just ways that it was said. She knows how I felt and what I mean because she knows that I know that we have homosexuals in our family.”

(on whether he is aware that the league and teams have taken action about these kinds of things in the past) “I just believe that if you shouldn’t be asking certain types of questions in that atmosphere. If it’s not dealing with football and it’s not dealing with anything like that. When you come at somebody and you start off a conversation with something like he said, hopefully we can have some [difference between] real reporters and not real reporters.”

(on whether he had anxiety about coming down here to talk to the media) “I didn’t sleep that much. I tossed and turned thinking about it. It affected me, yes, and that’s why I’m addressing it today.”

(on whether he can put this behind him ultimately) “Yes. I have [49ers director of public relations] Bob [Lange] and a lot of the PR guys helping me out with the situation and talking with me about it – keeping me level headed, to be on track, and trying to help me out as much as possible.”

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Browns, Falcons penalties likely won’t be relevant to #DeflateGate

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The punishments imposed Monday on the Browns and Falcons for their violations of game-integrity provisions suggested a surprising degree of lenience from the league.  Sure, the teams will pay a combined $600,000 into the NFL’s coffers (fine money typically is used for charitable endeavors), but between them only one draft pick was lost — a fifth-round selection in 2016.

So this is good news for the Patriots, who still face potential punishment for allegedly tampering with the air pressure in footballs during the AFC championship, right?

Maybe not.  The Browns and Falcons admitted guilt quickly, allowing the situations to be resolved without further fattening Ted Wells’ fees.  The Patriots, in contrast, have strongly and vehemently denied wrongdoing.

And the Patriots very well may face no punishment at all, if Wells concludes they did nothing wrong.  But if Wells eventually finds a smoking gun or concludes based on the circumstantial evidence that the infraction occurred, the league may go harder on the Patriots, relatively speaking, since the Patriots failed to acknowledge their misconduct.

Regardless of how it plays out, the Patriots aren’t likely to get a slap on the wrist.  Either they’re innocent and there will be no punishment, or they’re guilty (which would make their strong denials hollow at best, false at worst) and there will be a significant punishment.

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Chiefs visit with Brandon Tate

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The Chiefs didn’t get any touchdown catches from their wide receivers in 2014, which left the position as an obvious area to look for help this offseason.

Kansas City signed Jeremy Maclin away from the Chiefs and re-signed Jason Avant to continue the veteran’s long relationship with Andy Reid, but that doesn’t appear to have quenched their thirst for other options at the position. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports the team visited with Brandon Tate recently.

Tate caught 17 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in 16 appearances for the Bengals last season, modest totals that represented a big jump over the 14 catches he mustered while playing every game in the three previous seasons. Speed has been his calling card in the NFL, but those catch totals illustrate how rarely it has led to big plays on offense.

Tate’s main role in Cincinnati came as a punt and kickoff returner, but the Chiefs are well stocked at those spots with De’Antony Thomas and Knile Davis. Tate would give them some depth to go with an option in the passing game if he signs, but his addition would hardly erase the need for receiver help in Kansas City.

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Mike Tomlin has a “coaching brother” in Pittsburgh, with Pirates

Kentucky Football Pro Day AP

For a young coach who has run off a few veteran mentors, it’s good to know Mike Tomlin still has a sounding board in town.

While visiting the Pirates’ spring training camp in Florida, the Steelers boss talked about his relationship with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

It’s good to have a coaching brother,” Tomlin said of Hurdle, via Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He’s a guy who’s right-minded. We share a lot of philosophical thoughts on how to lead men. It’s been fun to watch him develop these groups over the years, and I’m excited to watch him do it again this year.”

Hurdle said the two discuss every aspect of the coaching business, including building relationships with players and coaches. That’s particularly interesting since the Steelers farmed out longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau this offseason (sending him out to pasture in Tennessee). It’s not completely unlike when Tomlin pushed out an offensive coordinator he thought was too old, who has won a couple of coach of the year awards since (Bruce Arians).

Hurdle said he and Tomlin discussed the LeBeau situation specifically.

“Mike said, ‘Man, it’s hard, but you have to do it. I miss him every day,’ ” Hurdle said. “We talk about different challenges that we have in leadership positions. It’s great that he’ll listen and he reaches out to me. I really like the opportunity to pick up the phone every now and then and say, ‘Hey, have you ever dealt with this?’ ”

The Steelers had Keith Butler waiting in the wings, and there might never have been a good time for the organization to move away from LeBeau. So it’s good to know that Tomlin’s at least talking it over with someone.

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Kevin White: I bring a lot more to the table than Amari Cooper

Kevin White AP

Two wide receivers appear to have established themselves at the top of the position heading into the draft, leaving the big question at the position as whether Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White will be the first wideout off the board on April 30.

During an appearance on Monday’s edition of PFT on NBCSN, White was asked to make the case that his name should be called first. After mentioning his speed, size and catching ability, White explained that he saw the biggest difference between him and Cooper being the amount White was asked to do on a less talented offense than the one Cooper played in at Alabama.

“Amari Cooper is a great receiver, a great competitor, but I think I bring a lot more to the table. He’s at Alabama with Nick Saban. They have a whole bunch of other tools that help him out where he’s not getting double covered. A lot of attention is not just strictly on Amari Cooper…On West Virginia it’s just ‘OK, let’s shut Kevin White down.’ They have a lot of attention toward me.”

Elsewhere in the interview, White also mentioned his JUCO background and limited time at college football’s top level in comparison to Cooper’s three years with the Crimson Tide. White dazzled in 2014 and at the combine, but Cooper has more polish at this point in his career and teams picking early will choose between that experience and the chance that White is just tapping into his abilities.

The consolation for whichever player winds up going second will be a short wait to hear their name called as it is unlikely that either player will be around once the draft gets past the top 10 picks.

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No word on Wes Welker as March comes to a close

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Free agency dominates the month of March in the NFL, and by the end of the month, if a player hasn’t signed with anyone, that’s usually a pretty good indication that the player isn’t drawing much interest.

In the case of Wes Welker, there’s been no talk at all about any team trying to sign him. A recent Denver Post report saying it would be a surprise if the Broncos brought him back is just about the only thing anyone has said about him since free agency started.

It’s not hard to see why there’s not a lot of interest in Welker: He turns 34 years old this year and his production has steadily declined, from 1,569 receiving yards in 2011 to 1,354 yards in 2012 to 778 yards in 2013 to 464 yards in 2014. Last year he averaged a career-low 9.5 yards a catch.

Welker was once among the best receivers in the NFL. He led the league in catches three times and was a first-team All-Pro twice. In his six seasons with the Patriots, he topped 110 catches in five of them, falling short only in 2010, when he was recovering from a torn ACL.

But those days are long past. Now Welker is aging, and NFL teams aren’t showing interest. Perhaps he’ll sign with some team for a low-priced deal, or perhaps he’ll decide to take the lack of interest as a hint that it’s time to retire.

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Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Peters to visit Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings are set to take a closer look at a pair of draft prospects with a record of troubling off-field issues.

According to Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV, Missouri/Oklahoma receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and Washington cornerback Marcus Peters are both scheduled to visit the Vikings during the draft process.

Green-Beckham was dismissed from Missouri after repeated violations due to marijuana and following an incident where he allegedly forced entry to an apartment and threw a woman down several stairs. Green-Beckham was never charged in regards to the incident.

Peters was also dismissed by Washington after multiple suspensions and violations of team rules.

Both players are immensely talented but carry significant baggage of NFL teams to vet. The Vikings are in need of help at both positions and could benefit from adding either player in the draft, if they are able to keep from making any further missteps as professionals.

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Shane Wynn shows off speed at Pro Day

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Shunned from the Scouting Combine, Indiana receiver Shane Wynn made up for it on Monday.

The undersized wideout, who stands a mere five feet, six inches, ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.29 seconds, according to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star.

Pro Day workouts often occur on a track faster than the turf at the Scouting Combine, prompting scouts to adjust the time. Regardless, Wynn’s official time shows that he can move.

The question becomes whether he’s big enough to make it at the next level.  Trindon Holliday, who is an inch shorter and ran at 4.34-second 40 at the Combine in 2010, became an effective kick returner for a few years.

As a senior with the Hoosiers, Wynn caught 56 passes for 708 yards, scoring three touchdowns through the air.  He aded two rushing touchdowns and 138 yards.  He also returned 11 kickoffs for 244 yards (a 22.2-yard average per return) and 13 punts for 69 yards (a 5.3-yard average per return).

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Guard Dan Connolly visiting Buccaneers

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Veteran guard Dan Connolly is drawing interest from a handful of teams in free agency.

The former New England Patriots lineman is set to visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday, according to Ross Jones of FOXSports.com.

Connolly has also visited the Seattle Seahawks and continues to draw interest from the Patriots as well.

Connolly has started 67 games for New England over the past five seasons at both guard and center. If signed by Tampa Bay, Connolly would rejoin former Patriots lineman Logan Mankins.

 

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Jonathan Martin: I no longer think about the Dolphins bullying case

Jonathan Martin AP

Jonathan Martin may always be best known for leaving the Dolphins after he was bullied by teammates, but he says he no longer thinks about that.

“You know, honestly I haven’t given it much thought,” Martin said, via ESPN. “I’ve just been looking forward to each day. And now, getting here, I’m looking forward to being a member of the Panthers and to compete and play in this great game, and do whatever I can to help this team win.”

Asked about Richie Incognito and the situation in Miami, Martin said it’s behind him.

“That is a situation for the past,” Martin said. “I don’t think about it. I try not to catch the headlines, positive or negative. I’m focused on what I can do for my career moving forward.”

Martin, who was waived by the 49ers and claimed by the Panthers last week, said he’s expecting a much better experience in Carolina.

“I’ve only heard good things about the organization,” Martin said. “They’ve had success these past two years. There’s some things they want to do on the O-line, so it’s a good opportunity for me.”

It may be Martin’s last opportunity to show he can make it in the NFL. He wants all of his focus to be on the field.

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Rams agree to terms with center Tim Barnes

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The St. Louis Rams have agreed to terms on a new deal with center Tim Barnes.

According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Barnes is expected to sign the one-year, $1 million deal with the Rams on Tuesday.

Barnes was not tendered as a restricted free agent by the Rams and allowed to hit the market. After a visit with the Kansas City Chiefs, Barnes elected to stay in St. Louis.

Barnes started four games in place of an injured Scott Wells at center at the end of the 2013 season. Barnes has appeared in 45 games for the Rams over the last three seasons while serving primarily on special teams.

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Falcons penalty doesn’t seem to provide much deterrence

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The Falcons admittedly used artificial crowd noise throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season, until they were caught in November.  Ultimately, they were fined and stripped of a fifth-round pick in 2016.

The fine ($350,000) really isn’t all that much for a billion-dollar business.  The draft pick carries far more value, but since it was deferred until 2016 it’s roughly equivalent to a sixth-round pick in 2015.

Given that there’s a chance a team can use false crowd noise and manage to conceal their activities indefinitely, the punishment for getting caught doesn’t exactly operate as a major deterrent — especially since fake crowd noise can have a major benefit.

As former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker explained on Monday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, crowd noise removes the advantage of knowing when the ball will be snapped, giving the blockers a split-second head start over the defensive players.  So the punishment doesn’t really seem to fit the crime, which could tempt others to commit the same crime.

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Heart attack preceded Armond Armstead’s retirement from Patriots

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The Patriots announced last summer that defensive lineman Armond Armstead was retiring at the age of 23, and Armstead has kept a low profile since then, never explaining what led him to walk away.

But now Armstead has confirmed in court papers that he suffered a heart attack in 2014, before announcing his retirement. The Sacramento Bee details that heart attack and other issues in a long story about Armstead’s lawsuit against USC. Armstead also had a heart attack in 2011, while he was a player at USC.

Armstead now believes his heart problems were caused by USC doctors giving him the painkiller Toradol. His lawsuit against the school will be closely watched throughout the football world, as hundreds of players in college football and the NFL have been given Toradol. Few players have had health problems as serious as multiple heart attacks before the age of 24, but several have expressed concerns about potential side effects.

Neither Armstead nor USC has commented publicly about the lawsuit.

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Technically, Brady’s cliff jump may violate his contract

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Unless the video was technologically enhanced, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently jumped off a cliff in Costa Rica.  Setting aside for now whether the national media would be reacting with a shrug if a quarterback perceived as being less committed to his craft were engaging in inherently risky behaviors, the conduct technically may violate Brady’s contract.

Paragraph 3 of the Standard Player Contract provides that the player cannot “engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.”

No specific unsafe activities are listed in the standard player contract, but there’s some precedent.  In 2007, the Titans successfully kept cornerback Pacman Jones from taking up pro wrestling during his one-year suspension under the personal-conduct policy by flexing their legal muscles in court.  Likewise, Saints quarterback Drew Brees cited his contract during a 2014 marketing campaign for a three-wheeled motorcycle, the Can-Am Spyder.

“We knew the restrictions from the beginning, as did Can-Am,” Brees said at the time.  “Ultimately because I can’t ride it now doesn’t mean I won’t someday.  The first chance I have to ride it on a closed course, you can bet I’ll take advantage.”

If Brees really is prohibited from riding a motorcycle (and if it wasn’t just a marketing ploy), riding a motorcycle presumably is no more unsafe than jumping off a cliff.

Obviously, the Patriots won’t be doing anything about it.  But they’d surely prefer that Brady be a bit more careful with his body during those days of the year when large men in armor aren’t throwing themselves at his legs.

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Washington signs RB Michael Hill

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Michael Hill is back for a second stint with Washington.

Hill, a second-year tailback from Missouri Western, re-signed with Washington on Monday, according to the NFL’s personnel notice.

Hill (5-10, 210) was on Washington’s practice squad toward the end of last season. He was last with the Colts, who waived him in March.

The 25-year-old Hill has also played for San Diego (2013), Green Bay (2013, 2014) and Tampa Bay (2013-2014). Overall, he’s rushed for 23 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for 23 years in NFL regular season play, all in 2013 in stints with Green Bay and Tampa Bay.

Hill joins Silas Redd and exclusive-rights free agent Chris Thompson as reserve options behind starter Alfred Morris in Washington.

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Report: Miles Austin agrees to terms on deal with Eagles

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A visit to Philadelphia this week has resulted in a contract between receiver Miles Austin and the Eagles.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the former Dallas Cowboys wideout is set to return to the NFC East after agreeing on a one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Eagles.

Austin spent last year with the Cleveland Browns after playing the first eight seasons of his career in Dallas. Austin caught 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games for Cleveland before landing on injured reserve with a kidney injury.

In his last fully healthy season, Austin caught 66 passes for 943 yards and six touchdowns for the Cowboys in 2012. Austin has battled hamstring and kidney injuries the last two years.

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