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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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Adrian Peterson says meeting with Vikings went well

Vikings AP

On Wednesday, Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer traveled to Houston to meet with running back Adrian Peterson.  After the four-hour sit-down between the three men, Peterson said the session went well, according to ESPN.com.

How well or why it went well isn’t known; Peterson opted not to share any of the details.

By agreeing to meet face-to-face with his head coach and by not cutting it off before four hours passed, that’s a very good sign for the continuation of Peterson’s career in Minnesota.  Coupled with the Vikings’ apparently willingness to pay Peterson the full $12.75 million he’s due to earn in 2015, it could be that Peterson will let bygones be bygones and return to the franchise with which he has spent his entire career.

One source with knowledge of the team’s thinking believes that’s exactly what will happen.  While it’s too early to call it a done deal, there’s suddenly some reason for optimism that Peterson will be wearing purple come Week One.

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Report: Cowboys agree with LB Keith Rivers

Keith Rivers, Matt Forte AP

With three key linebackers slated to be unrestricted free agents, the Cowboys have added some depth at the position.

Dallas has reached agreement on a one-year contract with ex-Bills linebacker Keith Rivers, Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reported Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Rivers has been an outside linebacker in 4-3 schemes throughout his pro career. He recorded 16 tackles in 12 games (three starts) for Buffalo in 2014.

The No. 9 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Rivers (6-2, 235) played his first four seasons with the Bengals, then had a two-season stint with the Giants (2012-2013) before joining Buffalo, which released him in February.

Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain can test the market next week, as can outside linebackers Justin Durant and Bruce Carter.

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Report: Broncos initially sought a bigger pay cut for Manning

Peyton Manning AP

Peyton Manning didn’t want to say much about his pay cut, which could have been even bigger than $4 million he gave back.

According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the Broncos actually asked for more of a concession than the $4 million, before settling on the figure with Manning today.

It’s the first pay cut of Manning’s career, so you can imagine it wasn’t anything he wanted to discuss at length.

“I don’t talk about my contract. I never have in 18 years and I’m not going to start now,”Manning said. “I’ve been working real hard and I’m excited to be back with the Denver Broncos. Can’t wait for April 13 to get here when the team can finally come together. I’m excited to get to work and get to know the new coaches and looking forward to trying to make 2015 a special year.”

Manning will have a chance to earn the money back, but the next order of business will be his physical tomorrow at Broncos headquarters, of which he said: “I see that as being pretty routine.”

Once that’s taken care of, he’ll sign the new deal, and then split until team conditioning begins on April 13.

And having just gone through this process, you can imagine how he responded when asked about finishing out his contract in 2016.

“I’m tired of talking about the past and the future,” Manning said. “I’m excited to talk about now.”

Now, the question is whether the savings will help the Broncos keep any of their free agent targets, or whether this was just a pay cut they forced on Manning because they could.

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Report: 49ers offering LB Michael Wilhoite in trade

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The 49ers are reportedly open to dealing one of their reserve inside linebackers.

According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the club has placed fourth-year pro Michael Wilhoite on the trading block.

With Navorro Bowman (knee) missing the entire season and Patrick Willis (toe) sitting out the final 10 games, the 28-year-old Wilhoite was a 16-game starter for San Francisco in 2014, notching 87 tackles, six passes defended and two picks.

However, Wilhoite figures as a backup this season, and the 49ers are willing to move the exclusive-rights free agent, the Bee reports. The club seeks a sixth- or seventh-round pick, the newspaper said.

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Peyton can earn back his $4 million

Buffalo Bills v Denver Broncos Getty Images

The Broncos taketh away, and the Broncos potentially giveth back.

Per multiple reports, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning can earn as incentives the money he agreed to sacrifice in 2015 base salary.  In other words, his $19 million base salary has become a $15 million base salary plus up to $4 million in incentives.

The triggers aren’t yet known.  It’s also not known whether Manning took a portion of his 2015 base salary as a signing bonus, creating even more 2015 cap room (but pushing extra cap room into 2016).

The type of incentives also becomes important.  So-called “likely to be earned” incentives count as 2015 cap dollars, with a credit in 2016 if not earned.  “Not likely to be earned” incentives count as 2016 cap dollars, if earned.

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Chris Canty expected to visit Jets Friday and Saturday

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Defensive end Chris Canty played his home games in MetLife Stadium before moving to the Ravens in 2013 and he could be headed back there, although he’d be headed for a different locker room.

Canty played for the Giants in his previous New Jersey stint, but the Jets are reportedly showing interest in him after his release from Baltimore. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that Canty is scheduled to visit the Jets on Friday and Saturday.

The Jets don’t have a need for a starter at defensive end as Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are two of the best players at their position in the league, but Canty has experience playing inside in some fronts and would be a useful part of a rotation up front for the Jets in 2015.

Canty isn’t the only place the Jets are looking for help on the defensive line. Kendall Langford is slated to visit and the team announced Wednesday that they have signed defensive end Ronald Talley as a free agent. Talley last played in the regular season in 2013 when he saw action in six games for Arizona. Jets coach Todd Bowles was the Cardinals defensive coordinator at the time, which probably didn’t hurt Talley’s efforts to get back into the league.

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Chip Kelly: We wanted Cole back, but couldn’t agree on pay cut

Chip Kelly AP

The Eagles formally announced the release of linebacker Trent Cole on Wednesday afternoon and confirmed that a failure to agree on a reworked contract preceded their decision.

Cole was set to count $11.6 million against the cap and said earlier in the offseason that he was open to doing something to pare that number down, but coach Chip Kelly said in a statement announcing Cole’s departure that the Eagles wanted him to pare it down further than Cole was willing to go.

“We spoke with Trent and his agent and expressed a desire to have him back,” Kelly said. “We have been talking for a couple of weeks. However, at this point, we think it’s best to let him explore other options around the NFL.”

The phrasing suggests that the Eagles would still be open to a return if Cole’s exploration of those options gives him a different view on their offer. With free agency close to opening, that might not mean much if the Eagles find something more to their liking.

Cole would also have something to do with that possibility and his apparent response to being released after 10 years in Philly — a tweet reading “no respect” — may be a sign that he’s ready to fly the coop for good.

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Report: Saints releasing Pierre Thomas

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The Saints are parting ways with one of the key contributors to their win in Super Bowl XLIV five years ago.

The club will release running back Pierre Thomas, Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate reported Wednesday.

Known for his pass-catching prowess, Thomas hauled in 45 passes for 378 yards and one TD and rushed 45 times for 222 yards and two TDs in 2014. The Illinois product has spent his entire eight-season career with the Saints, with whom he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2007.

Overall, Thomas racked up 3,745 yards rushing and 28 TDs on 817 carries and caught 327 passes for 2,608 yards and 12 TDs in regular season play for New Orleans. In the win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, Thomas caught six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown and added 30 yards rushing on nine carries.

The move will result in some salary-cap relief for the financially strapped Saints. Thomas, 30, was set to make $2.1 million in salary in 2015 and $2.2 million in 2016, according to NFLPA records.

With Thomas reportedly departing, Travaris Cadet could have a bigger role on passing downs next season for New Orleans. Cadet is set to be a restricted free agent.

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NFLPA annual meeting in Hawaii prompts baseless accusations

NFLPA

When it comes to the looming NFLPA executive director election, PFT has tried to assume a neutral and objective posture.  But that doesn’t mean we’ll ignore baseless accusations made by members of the media who may have a bias against current union leadership or a desire to see some other candidate prevail in the voting.

On Wednesday, reports emerged that the NFLPA’s annual meeting, which will include the executive director election, will be held in Hawaii, with player representatives, alternatives, and candidates for the job held by DeMaurice Smith flown first class and lodged at the Ritz-Carlton.  That has prompted some to suggest that the costs are unnecessary, that they will be covered by union dues, and/or that the decision to splurge on a trip to Hawaii for the first time since 2010 represents an effort by Smith to “buy off” at least 17 of the 32 men who’ll be voting on whether to keep Smith or to replace him.

There’s nothing wrong with having suspicions.  But to hurl uncorroborated accusations when a quick phone call or text message to the NFLPA would lead to a much different truth is irresponsible.  (Some would say it’s even despicable or reprehensible.)

NFLPA president Eric Winston tells PFT that the Executive Committee, not Smith or his staff, determined via vote the location for the annual meeting.  Also, Winston said all union operations are funded not by player dues but by revenues from Players, Inc., the for-profit arm of the NFLPA that raises money via licensing, merchandising, and revenue streams unrelated to the money paid by each player for the membership in the union.

Likewise, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that player representatives and alternates always are flown via first-class fare to the annual meeting.

When owners travel in expensive fashion and stay in swanky hotels, some say that’s because the owners crushed the NFLPA in the last CBA.  When the NFLPA does, those inclined to say the NFLPA was crushed in the last CBA accuse the union of waste, incompetence, and/or corruption.

Whatever the motivation, it’s wrong to suggest a false narrative when the truth is so easy to discover.

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Oddsmaker moves Eagles from 15-1 to 20-1 to win Super Bowl post-trade

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Believe the Eagles will win Super Bowl 50 and just so happen to be staying at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas?

Well, the price on the Eagles is more favorable than it was Tuesday, and it has everything to do with a certain running back appearing to be on his way out of Philadelphia.

According to Micah Roberts of “The Linemakers” of Sporting News, Wynn Las Vegas oddsmaker John Avello moved the Eagles’ Super Bowl odds from 15-1 to 20-1 after news emerged of the club having a deal in place to trade tailback LeSean McCoy to Buffalo.

“Who will run the ball for them?” Avello said of the Eagles, per “The Linemakers.”

For the record, the Wynn lists the Bills at 50-1, the same as before the reports of McCoy’s acquisition, Roberts reported.

Multiple other Nevada sports books didn’t react at all to the McCoy news, with the MGM resorts among those not adjusting their odds on Buffalo or Philadelphia, Roberts reported.

Nevertheless, it’s always interesting to see what makes the odds move. In the case of the Wynn, it was word of a most surprising potential trade.

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Jaworski on Jameis: A lot of on-field flaws, I wouldn’t take him No. 1

jameis AP

Ron Jaworski has some advice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they consider picking Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the NFL draft: Don’t do it.

Jaworski said on Mike & Mike that he simply doesn’t think Winston is a good enough passer to make him worth going No. 1 overall.

“I’ve studied a lot of him, I think Jameis Winston has a big upside in the NFL, but there are some real flaws to his game,” Jaworski said. “Quite honestly, I would not take him at that No. 1 pick.”

Winston has had off-field troubles as serious as a rape accusation, as trivial as shoplifting and as stupid as getting suspended for screaming obscenities on the Florida State campus. But Jaworski made clear that his problems with Winston are about the way he plays the quarterback position.

“I’m not talking about the off-the-field stuff. I have no comment on that because I’m not privy to that kind of information. But there are certainly mechanical flaws in his game that are troubling to me,” Jaworski said.

From all indications, the Buccaneers are leaning toward taking Winston first overall, but their evaluations aren’t over. Jaworski thinks that the more they look at Winston’s film, the more flaws they’ll find.

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Kiko Alonso trade makes Buffalo run at David Harris more likely

New England Patriots v New York Jets Getty Images

With the Bills tentatively shipping linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Eagles for an Oregon reunion with Chip Kelly, a Jets reunion between Rex Ryan and linebacker David Harris becomes more likely.

When the Jets opted not to apply the franchise tag to Harris, the notion that the Bills will try to bring Harris to Buffalo to teach Ryan’s defense to other players became stronger.  Harris played for Ryan for six years, and it’s now likely that relationship will continue.

Look for Ryan to move quickly, if he’s going to move at all.  In 2009, he showed up at former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott’s house at midnight on the first day of free agency, prompting Scott to think his dogs were chasing deer.  Ryan got Scott, and Ryan likely will get Harris if Ryan wants him.

Even though the Buffalo defense was run in 2013 by Ryan pupil Mike Pettine, Ryan will want someone who can get the other players lined up the way Ryan has been lining them up since 2009.  If Harris isn’t that guy, it would be a major surprise.

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Victor Cruz: Training camp is definitely the timetable

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It took a little time and the arrival of wide receiver Odell Beckham in the lineup for the Giants to find themselves offensively last season, but things looked pretty good by the time their first season under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo came to a close.

Things might have looked even better if wide receiver Victor Cruz had been healthy for the entire season. Cruz tore his right patellar tendon in October and missed the rest of the year, leading to a long rehab that Cruz thinks will have him in position to return to the field for training camp.

“Obviously the next couple of months are very, very important in terms of building the strength and continuing to mold my body back into running shape and things like that,” Cruz said on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Bob Papa and Ravens wideout Steve Smith. “And I just want to take these next couple of months to do that and really focus on that. Training camp is definitely the timetable. More importantly, even before training camp, I’ll be feeling almost 100 percent around May-ish, June-ish and I can really start rehabbing and strengthening it and start running routes and things like that, hopefully.”

General Manager Jerry Reese has said this offseason that the team isn’t relying on Cruz making it back to his former level of play, something that’s much easier to do thanks to Beckham’s emergence during his rookie season. There would be even less pressure on Cruz if Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell, who Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports was tendered as an exclusive rights free agent on Wednesday, remain consistent targets as the Giants would be able to stretch defenses thin with four reliable options through the air.

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Jerry Jones may have to testify in Super Bowl ticket case

jerryjones AP

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has created some memorable sound bites over the years, sometimes when he knew a microphone was present and sometimes when he didn’t.  In a Dallas courtroom, Jones could soon be making a new wave of sound bites.

The judge presiding over the lawsuit arising from the Super Bowl XLV tickets that didn’t have corresponding seats has told the lawyers handling the case that she is leaning toward requiring Jones to testify in the case, according to Jeff Mosier of the Dallas Morning News.

That’s a potential coup for the plaintiffs, and possibly very bad news for the defendants.  Loquacious billionaires often don’t do well when testifying.  For starters, they loathe having to submit to any authority other than their own.  Second, they typically regard themselves as the smartest people in the room.  Third, they usually don’t realize that the lawyers grilling them have experienced similar evasive and/or obstructive and/or non-responsive tactics dozens if not hundreds of times.  Fourth, it becomes very delicate (to say the least) for the lawyers representing loquacious billionaires to properly prepare them for cross-examination, because that requires telling the loquacious billionaires things they don’t want to hear.  (For example, there’s a good chance you may not be the smartest person in the room.)

So things could get very, very interesting if/when Jones testifies — especially if/when (when) he decides to abandon the script and to try to charm his way out of whatever traps the questioning lawyer sets for him regarding what Jones knew and when he knew it about the inability of his stadium to accommodate hundreds of people who thought they would be attending the Super Bowl.

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Broncos, Peyton Manning in “final stages” of a $4 million pay cut

Peyton Getty Images

The Broncos wanted Peyton Manning back, and he wanted to be back.

But the Broncos have $4 million reasons to be happier today.

According to Chris Mortensen and Jeff Legwold of ESPN, the Broncos and Manning are in the “final stages” of a deal to cut his pay from $19 million to $15 million.

This kind of news was anticipated, as both sides wanted each other.

But giving back $4 million (especially when Tom Brady ends up with more money to create cap space) is a win for the Broncos, as they attempt to keep tight end Julius Thomas after franchising wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

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