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Cardinals fill out coaching staff with 13 new names


Cardinals coach Bruce Arians filled out his coaching staff Tuesday, with the team announcing the addition of 13 assistants.

Some of the names have trickled out previously, but, with a deep breath, here’s the complete list: Special teams coordinator Amos Jones, outside linebackers coach James Bettcher, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, linebackers coach Mike Caldwell, tight ends coach Rick Christophel, wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, offensive assistant Kevin Garver, assistant special teams/assistant tight ends Steve Heiden, running backs coach Stump Mitchell, pass rush specialist Tom Pratt, defensive backs coach Nick Rapone, cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross and assistant offensive line Larry Zierlein.

They also moved tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens to quarterbacks coach, and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik to defensive assistant/assistant defensive backs.

Along with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and assistant head coach/offense Tom Moore, the staff includes more experience at the college level (196 years) than NFL (191), but 66 years of playing experience in the league.

Most of that playing experience comes from Buckner (12 years), Caldwell (11), Heiden (11) and Mitchell (nine).

Mitchell still holds the Cardinals franchise record for all-purpose yards, and is second on their all-time rushing list. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that in his playing days with the Panthers, Buckner once said “Pressure will make a monkey eat a hot pepper,” so his wisdom will obviously benefit the Cardinals.

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Unnamed first-round prospect faces sexual assault allegation in Cleveland

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A bizarre story has emerged in Cleveland only two days before the draft.

Via WOIO-TV, a woman has accused an unnamed NFL prospect of sexual assault. The player is expected to be selected in round one. WOIO-TV has decided not to name the prospect, pending the issuance of a police report. WOIO-TV also has emphasized that the player has not yet been charged with a crime.

Here’s where it gets weirder. The story quotes the lawyer for the unnamed player, but still doesn’t name the player. Kevin Spellacy represents the unnamed player, and Spellacy calls the allegation “ludicrous and ridiculous.”

“In my opinion this young lady is an opportunist and it’s actually despicable,” Spellacy said.

Spellacy told WOIO that the unnamed player was never alone with the alleged victim at the Westin Hotel in Cleveland, the site of the alleged incident. Spellacy also said that the unnamed player has three witnesses who claim the unnamed player did nothing wrong. Spellacy said he’s willing to make the player available for an interview with police immediate after the draft.

Why not do it before the draft? Because if the player is interviewed — and if the news get out as to who the player is — a potential La’El Collins situation could emerge. Two years ago, Collins was questioned in connection with a murder. Because he wasn’t cleared from involvement before the draft, he tumbled completely out of the draft, even though he was never accused, arrested, or charged with any crime.

If the unnamed player in this case isn’t cleared before Thursday night, he could tumble even if he’s not guilty.

This makes it incumbent on every agent of every player who isn’t the subject of the investigation to say clearly and loudly and in no uncertain terms that their guy isn’t the guy who is facing this investigation. As to agent who represents a player who was in or around Cleveland on April 9, the date of the alleged incident, there should be a shouting of the player’s non-involvement even more loudly, along with a demand that WOIO disclose the accused player’s name ASAP. With a small, defined universe of players who may be the player facing the accusation, failure to identify the player indirectly defames the other players who it could be, but who it isn’t.

As to the 32 teams, someone unwittingly will be picking a player who brings negative publicity and, potentially, a prosecution and a guilty verdict to town. Thus, they each should be seeking clear assurances from each player they are considering that the player they are considering isn’t the guy who is accused of sexual assault.

Although WOIO has taken steps to keep the player’s name out of it, the mere existence of the story necessarily will pull the player’s name into it. With more than 48 hours to go until the draft begins, it’s inescapable.

Even if the name isn’t leaked to the media (and chances are it will be), the teams definitely will know who it is, When that player slides, so will everyone else.

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Deshaun Watson: Pick Mitchell Trubisky over me and live with the consequences

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The suspense will likely end on Thursday night for the top players in this year’s group of draft-eligible quarterbacks as the first round kicks off and teams start adding rookies to their roster ahead of the 2017 season.

Two of the quarterbacks at the top of that list are North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, neither of whom has established himself as the clear No. 1 choice across the board a couple of days ahead of the draft. Watson was on NFL Network Tuesday and shared his message for any team that might opt for Trubisky over him.

“You’re gonna have to live with the consequences that come with it. That’s how I see it,” Watson said. “I try to stay in my lane. I try not to take the path. I respect Mitch and what he’s done and all the hype he’s getting, but at the same time, my result speaks for itself. I feel like I’ve accomplished everything that I could. I guess if that’s who they’re gonna roll with, so be it.”

Among the biggest differences between the two quarterbacks is experience. Trubisky started for one year in Chapel Hill while Watson led Clemson to two straight national title games to give him a big edge in time as a starter. That is just one of the data points that teams will have to consider and it’s clear what side of the fence Watson believes is the more significant one.

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LeGarrette Blount apparently is available, so why doesn’t anyone want him?

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Now that Adrian Peterson, who played in three games and rushed for 1.9 yards per carry with no touchdowns, has a new gig in New Orleans, the best available free-agent running back is the guy who led the league in rushing touchdowns a season ago. (He arguably was the best available free-agent running back before Peterson signed.)

LeGarrette Blount, with 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns, became a free agent in early March and has remained on the market since then. With the Patriots adding Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee in free agency, it appears that they’ve moved on from Blount.

The question now is when/if Blount moves on from the Patriots. Previously, it could have been argued that other teams weren’t sniffing around Blount because no one believed he’d actually leave New England. Now, with Blount likely not having a path back to Foxborough even if he wanted one, maybe other teams will begin to do more homework on possibly adding Blount.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media claims that the Giants and Blount have mutual interest. Other teams may get involved too, especially if they don’t get any of the guys they want in the draft.

But then there’s his season in Pittsburgh, which started with a Cheech & Chong incident with Le’Veon Bell and ended in a haze of confusion as the Steelers cut Blount, who then returned to the Patriots and won a Super Bowl.

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Davis Webb preparing to coach once he’s through with his playing career

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California quarterback Davis Webb has been a popular guy this spring. And it might be because coaches just want to meet with a future peer.

In a story about his study habits by Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Davis revealed that he’s taken several previously unreported visits and workouts, spending time with the Ravens and working out with the Panthers, Buccaneers, and Chargers.

He had previously worked out or visited with the Chiefs, in addition to the Jets, 49ers, and Seahawks.

With all those meetings, he’s accumulated plenty of notes over the past few months, which he hoards as he tries to build upon his base of knowledge.

“When I get into the zone – because I’m focused, I’m determined, I’m driven – yeah, I’m going to come across [like a coach], because it’s important to me,” Webb said. “That’s my job. If it’s not important to you, then something’s wrong with you.

“I want to coach for 40 years. I want to play for 20. It’s what I want to do.”

Webb’s certainly made an impression on teams this offseason with his reputation for work. Some have compared his fascination with preparation to Peyton Manning, and his former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury called him “a sociopath work ethic guy.”

We’ll find out later this week how much of an impression he made during his tour.

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Leonard Fournette says football saved his life

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NFL teams look for players with a passion for the game of football, and worry about players who don’t consider the game their top priority. On that score, teams should like LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

Fournette said today on PFT Live that he loves football so much he considers it a literal life-saver. Fournette said that it wasn’t until he got to ninth grade and was good enough to start on the varsity that he started to realize he had a future that many others in his New Orleans neighborhood didn’t have.

“I could have been like any knucklehead out here selling drugs, a criminal or doing whatever. But no, I was on the football field 24/7,” Fournette said.

Fournette certainly sounds like the kind of player NFL teams will love. Asked what it is he wants to do in the NFL, Fournette didn’t hesitate to answer, “Win a Super Bowl.”

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Mike Maccagnan has “no problem” taking players off board due to violence

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It won’t be long before we know which team is willing to look past the video of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon punching a woman in the face to draft him to their roster, but we’re getting some idea about where he won’t be winding up.

Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff suggested Atlanta was not a landing spot and his Jets counterpart Mike Maccagnan did the same during a Monday press conference. Maccagnan wouldn’t reveal whether Mixon is off the board, but said the Jets don’t take domestic violence lightly and referenced his “personal experience” from Houston when a friend was killed by her husband.

That incident led Maccagnan and his wife to begin working with the One Love foundation to combat domestic violence and Maccagnan explained some of his process for dealing with players with a history of violence.

“We vet this stuff as thoroughly as we can,” Maccagnan said, via the New York Daily News. “We try to make sure we’re accurate in terms of passing our verdict on if we think they’re guilty or bad or whatever. We take that very seriously. In the end, I have no problem whatsoever taking players off the board from that standpoint. I’d rather make sure we focus on players that are good players and ideally good people and good members of our society.”

Some have opined that the Jets would be a good landing spot for Leonard Fournette with the No. 6 overall pick. They may not go that way, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be because they are waiting to take Mixon later in the process.

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How much does Adrian Peterson help the Saints?

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From Adrian Peterson’s perspective, signing with the Saints doesn’t make a lot of sense. From the team’s perspecitve, adding a future Hall of Famer makes a lot of sense — if he has gas in the tank and a chip on his shoulder.

But how much will adding Peterson truly help the Saints in 2017? The oddsmakers previously had them at 75-1 underdogs to win the Super Bowl. (Quarterback Drew Brees feels very differently about that; last month, Brees told PFT Live that he believes the Saints are “very close” to winning another championship.)

So here’s an impromptu, seat-of-the-pants, PFT Live question of the day: Are the odds now lower, higher, or the same?

Answer below, and then tune to NBCSN for more Peterson talk, along with visits from Leonard Fournette, Deshaun Watson, and Ryan Leaf.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

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Mike Gillislee’s departure opens up a bigger role for RB Jonathan Williams with the Bills.

A look at all the players who visited with the Dolphins in the pre-draft process.

The Patriots’ offseason moves de-emphasized the draft.

The Jets aren’t saying if they will pick up S Calvin Pryor’s option for the 2018 season.

What’s on the line for the Ravens in this year’s draft?

Assessing whether Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon will land with Bengals.

If the Browns don’t draft Myles Garrett with the No. 1 pick, what defensive players could they get at No. 12?

The Steelers could add competition at inside linebacker in the draft.

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins won’t be watching the draft.

Will the Colts roll the dice on players with character risks?

Five things the Jaguars need for a successful 2017 season.

Said Titans RB DeMarco Murray to the incoming rookie class, “Nothing is going to be given to you, no matter what you did in college, no matter how many yards, records you’ve broken, what kind of guy you were, all of that.”

Broncos G.M. John Elway said it is a deep tight end class in this year’s draft.

A look at the Chiefs’ draft-day trades under G.M. John Dorsey.

Some inside linebacker possibilities for the Raiders.

Said Chargers G.M. Tom Telesco of drafting a quarterback, “We’ve done that same amount of work this year.  Whether it lines up in this draft or not, I don’t really know.  Whether it lines up in next year’s draft in 2018 or 2019, I don’t really know.  But I know we’ll be prepared with the work we’ve done in case that arises.”

Not everyone is buying what the Cowboys are selling regarding LB Jaylon Smith.

Giants WR Odell Beckham responded to the team picking up his 2018 option.

S Malcolm Jenkins would like to see the Eagles add another Ohio State player.

Will the Redskins improve their defense in this year’s draft?

Making 13 cases for the Bears drafting a quarterback at No. 3.

This year’s running back class looks like a good one for the Lions.

The Packers may be adding to the defensive line again.

Running through the biggest draft steals in Vikings history.

Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu got a nice note after a recent flight.

Edge rusher prospects for the Panthers to consider.

A vote for the Saints taking Tennessee DE Derek Barnett in the first round.

Linebacker isn’t a big draft need for the Buccaneers.

With compensatory picks expected in 2018, the Cardinals could use some of next year’s picks to move up this year.

Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood will be involved with the Rams’ draft festivities.

49ers G.M. John Lynch finds value in mock drafts.

Germain Ifedi is happy to be back at right tackle for the Seahawks.

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Adrian Peterson: Saints “just felt right within my spirit”

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There are several reasons to wonder why veteran running back Adrian Peterson would choose the Saints, and it’s clear that this one came down to a gut feeling for him.

Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson upon agreeing to a two-year deal that he felt at home in New Orleans, for a number of reasons.

“Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit,” he said. “Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings. On offense, it goes without saying that the Saints are really solid behind Drew Brees. I feel like my skill set can make them even more dominant as a unit. They have a great offensive line, which is something that stood out to me as well. I could tell from talking to head coach Sean Payton over the last two weeks that he did his due diligence in evaluating how I could contribute.

“I also did a lot of homework on the defense as well. While I know that injuries have played a role in performance, I also see areas of potential with a lot of younger guys having the ability to step up. Lastly, it goes without saying that the Saints have an amazing fan base and I look forward to making them proud and creating everlasting memories.”

After being shown the door in Minnesota after a long and productive career, and flirting unsuccessfully with other teams earlier this offseason, it sure seems like Peterson just wanted to be wanted. And it’s apparent that Payton was able to do just that, to bring in a former MVP as a backup running back on the kind of deal that would have been unimaginable for Peterson not that long ago.

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Seahawks G.M. on Richard Sherman trade talk: “Neither side is super urgent”

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As casually as they came up, the Seahawks sort of dismissed the Richard Sherman trade rumors yesterday.

All of which makes it an extraordinary piece of non-business in the NFL, with both sides openly acknowledging a potential divorce, while vowing to stay together for the kids if that’s what it takes. They seem to shrug as if either outcome is fine, even though it’s unlike just about anything we’ve ever seen.

“Richard may see it as a fresh start for him and we may see it as a way to clear some cap room and get younger, but neither side is super urgent about it,” Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said, via Stephen Cohen of

Schneider said that once the rumors got out there in March, there was no point denying the obvious — that they’d part ways with the veteran corner for the right price.

“We didn’t really feel like there was anything to hide,” Schneider said. “People say, ‘Well, why do you have your business out the open?’ It was basically out there. People had been talking about it, and there were rumors about it. . . .

“We would consider it because it’s been a mutual thing. It’s OK, and we feel like it would clear cap room and we would be able to get younger, but that’s the only reason we’d do it. The guy’s one of the top cornerbacks of the league. You don’t just like give him away, you know?”

Though things with Sherman haven’t always been peaceful, Schneider said “time heals all wounds” when asked about the relationship with the star cornerback.

Of course, by talking so openly about it, Schneider also keeps Sherman’s name in the news. And with that kind of top-of-mind awareness, someone might make a late call, which they’ve already admitted they’d listen to.

And the honesty continues to amaze us, which probably says more about the NFL in general than the Seahawks in particular.

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Report: Adrian Peterson agrees to two-year, $7 million deal with Saints

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Adrian Peterson will be playing in the Minnesota Vikings season opener this September. He’ll just be doing so for the team on the opposite sidelines.

Peterson reportedly told Josina Anderson of that he has agreed to a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints worth a total of $7 million.

Peterson also gave the full details of the contract as well. The deal is a one-year contract to start with an option for a second year for New Orleans. Peterson will earn $3.5 million in fully guaranteed money this season with a $2.5 million signing bonus and $1 million in guaranteed base salary.

His 2018 option would carry $3.5 million in non-guaranteed money with $2.4 million in roster bonuses. The $3.5 million comes from $1.05 million in base salary, $1.65 million in per game roster bonuses, a $750,000 roster bonus that triggers on the third day of the league year and a $50,000 workout bonus.

Incentives also exist that could raise the total value of the contract.

With those parameters in place, Peterson would carry a salary cap charge of $2.25 million this year for the Saints and a $4.75 million total charge in 2018.

The Saints currently have $8.5 million in salary cap space according to the NFLPA database.

New Orleans is set to visit Peterson’s former team on Monday Night Football to open the 2017 season.

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Jameis Winston still musing about playing baseball

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Two years ago, as the Buccaneers were preparing to make quarterback Jameis Winston the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, concerns lingered regarding the possibility that Winston eventually could do what Bo Jackson, Tampa’s No. 1 overall pick from 1986, did: Play baseball.

The team addressed the possibility of Winston trying to be a two-sport player (like Jackson eventually did, but not for the Bucs) by adding language in Winston’s contract that bars him from moonlighting in America’s one-time pastime. Two years later, it seems like the window is still open for the sport that used to result in kids breaking windows (back when they used to, you know, go outside).

Appearing recently on the Talk of Fame Network (via, Winston admitted that he’s still considering playing baseball at some point.

I was really serious about baseball,” Winston said. “As a matter of fact, my agency is a baseball agency. They really thought I was going to be a baseball player. But this football thing ended up working out for me. It was a dream of mine to be an NFL quarterback and be a pro baseball player. But the way time has changed that isn’t really allowed any more. Being from Bessemer, Alabama, seeing Bo Jackson and hearing that name around a lot, that was a dream of mine. You never know. Football, the lifespan of this sport is not really guaranteed, so baseball might be there one day.”

He added that he doesn’t aspire to be a two-sport player. Which means that, if he’d ever play baseball, he’d first walk away from football.

Whether he intended it or not, the remark gives him a little extra leverage as he enters the third year of his rookie contract. After 2017, he’ll be eligible for a second deal — and if the Bucs want to slam the door on Jameis dumping football for baseball over the next seven years or so, they can give him the kind of mega-extension that will make him continue to choose football over baseball indefinitely. Especially if the signing bonus is sufficiently large that it would trigger a major repayment obligation if he retires prematurely.

Of course, while a football player playing baseball wouldn’t be unprecedented, the Bucs signing a quarterback they drafted to a second deal would be. In more than 40 years of existence, the Buccaneers have never done that once.

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A.J. McCarron “at peace with” being in Cincinnati another year

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Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron heard the same chatter everyone else did, and thought there was a decent chance he’d be dealt this offseason.

But upon reporting to offseason conditioning, he’s now accepting the fact that he’s likely to sit behind Andy Dalton for another year and wait for his chance.

“Like I said, as a competitor you want to play. It’s just in you,” he said, via Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m a huge competitor, no matter what I’m playing. I’ve always been that way. I want to play. But, like I said, these are the circumstances and it’s something I can’t control. So there’s no reason to really worry about it, think about it, because then it spills over into life outside of football and it could affect your marriage or relationships with people. I don’t want that. I try to keep it; my mindset is football and everything else and just enjoy it. A lot of people wish they could be in my, in any of our shoes, my shoes talking from my point of view, to get paid the amount of money we get paid to play a game. So I love it.

I’m at peace with it. It is what it is.”

Of course, he’ll probably be far less peaceful if he’s a restricted free agent after next season. Because he spent most of his rookie year on the reserve/non-football injury list with a shoulder problem (not activated until December), he wasn’t credited with an accrued season for free agency. If that stands, he’d be a restricted free agent instead of unrestricted next offseason, giving the Bengals control over his future for an extra year.

He’s filed a motion to have his rookie year count toward the four years you need to be unrestricted, but he said he didn’t expect to hear anything until 2018.

“It’s just something they’re going to fight on their side and I’m going to fight on my side to prove why I shouldn’t have to have another year,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s what the lawyers and all that will fix out. We’ll see what happens.”

Of course, there’s been trade speculation about him already, and some thought he’d be dealt by now. But he’s still in Cincinnati, which may be the case for a year longer than he had planned.

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D’Onta Foreman reveals he lost infant son during last season at Texas

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One of several running backs expected to be selected in this week’s NFL Draft, D’Onta Foreman’s final season at Texas was marred by a personal tragedy.

In an interview with Andrea Kremer for, Foreman revealed his young son, D’Onta Jr., died last season after being born prematurely.

D’Onta Jr. was born last September and weighed less than a pound at his birth. He lived less than two months before developing an infection in his intestines while Foreman was in Lubbock the day before Texas’ game with Texas Tech.

“Biggest game of my life,” Foreman said. “Biggest game of my life. There was just something about that game. It was like ‘I’m doing it for my son. I’m leaving it all out here.'”

Foreman rushed for 341 yards and three touchdowns as Texas Tech that day. It’s the third highest rushing total in a game in Texas history.

Afterward, Foreman received the word that his son had passed away.

“I really didn’t know how to feel,” Foreman said. “I was like, ‘no…’ I was driving and I was crying while I was driving. I was crushed, I was so hurt. I felt like something was taken away from me before I even had the chance to experience it.”

Amidst the tragedy, Foreman posted one of the best rushing seasons in Texas history. He became just the second Longhorn running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. His 2,028 yards trails only the 2,124 of Ricky Williams set during his Heisman Trophy winning season in 1998. He ranks ninth all-time on Texas’ rushing list despite not becoming a full-time starter until his final season in Austin.

Foreman is likely a second or third day draft pick this week. On a positive note, Foreman and his girlfriend are once again expecting. The new arrival is due on Sept. 16, the same day D’Onta Jr. was born last year.

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Steelers have no information on Martavis Bryant reinstatement

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Despite several reports that Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant would soon be reinstated from his league-imposed suspension, the team knows nothing about it.

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said the team hasn’t heard anything from the league about Bryant’s status.

We have not gotten word on Martavis Bryant,” Colbert said. “We have no information. We have no idea if we’ll get information [before the draft] or not. We have to operate under the assumption that, until he is here, he is not here.”

Bryant has shown a lot of promise as a big-play threat, but he was suspended for the entire 2016 season because of multiple failed drug tests. If the Steelers aren’t going to find out until after the draft whether they’ll get Bryant back this year, they may feel they need to draft a receiver, just in case they don’t get Bryant back.

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