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Jets mum on Bryan Thomas case

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When it comes to Monday’s placement of Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas in a pre-trial intervention program aimed at resolving charges of domestic assault and drug possession, the NFL tells PFT that the case will be reviewed under both the personal conduct policy and the substance abuse policy.

The Jets, meanwhile, are saying nothing.

“This matter has been addressed by the court and we’re going to respect the privacy of the family,” a Jets spokesman told PFT via email on Monday.

The Jets lack of action may be louder than their lack of words.  Thomas, a first-round pick in 2002, becomes a free agent in March.  All the Jets have to do at this point in order to move on is, well, nothing.

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Kaepernick’s 2013 foot injury was more serious than he let on

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For much of last season, Colin Kaepernick’s foot put him on the 49ers’ injury report. But Kaepernick always played through it, and he said at the time that it wasn’t a big deal, joking that it was just a hangnail. Now Kaepernick says it was much more serious than that.

In fact, Kaepernick told the Sacramento Bee that he actually suffered a chipped bone on his forefoot and a ruptured capsule in the ball of his foot during a Week Two game against the Seahawks. Kaepernick said that slowed him down for most of the rest of the season.

“It was something that was always there,” he said. “Never spoke about it, never said anything about it because you’re a football player; you play through pain. Unless you’re being carted off, you should be on the field. If it’s something you can play through, that’s what you do.”

Kaepernick said he views the injury as just part of football.

“I think that’s the kind of players we have on this team: You’re not going to let something that’s minor, that’s not a true injury, keep you off of the field,” he said. “You’re going to hurt, yes. You’re going to have tweaks and problems. But you’re a football player; you can play through those.”

Kaepernicke played through the injury last year, and played well.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

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Said Bills DT Marcell Dareus of the team’s response to his off-field problems, “It’s been great. The team has been so supportive. The coach has been outstanding. This is a great atmosphere to be around.”

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin says his team needs to block better.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick shared some thoughts about the NFL expanding practice squads.

Here’s the Jets’ guide for fans attending this week’s preseason game.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco says critics of Browns QB Johnny Manziel should “get over it.”

Among Manziel’s critics is former Bengals QB Boomer Esiason.

In the Bengals’ weight room, the most important exercise is the squat.

Said Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert of experimenting with cameras in players’ helmets, “When we tape football, we do it from an end zone, the sideline and a high angle, and none of that is what a player sees. To be able to tell a quarterback where he should be, to be able to show a defense what an offense looks like at ground level would be great. That would be more realistic.”

The Texans’ defense made things difficult for Peyton Manning during a joint practice with the Broncos.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano says his defense is better now than it’s been at any point in the last two years.

The Jaguars may put QB Ricky Stanzi on the practice squad.

The Titans want to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

The Broncos’ website says LT Ryan Clady handled Jadeveon Clowneywith relative ease” in the joint practice with the Texans.

Chiefs RBs Knile Davis and Cyrus Gray got a chance to show what they can do while Jamaal Charles was held out of practice.

The Raiders are still waiting on CB D.J. Hayden to get healthy.

Chargers CB Jason Verrett is getting healthy at the right time.

Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden is still viewed as a work in progress.

Giants WR Marcus Harris is standing out in training camp.

Training like Navy SEALs has made a difference for the Eagles.

Washington special teams coach Ben Kotwica draws on his military experience in his coaching.

The Bears think former first-round pick Shea McClellin is making strides after changing positions.

Said Lions coach Jim Caldwell of WR Calvin Johnson missing the first two preseason games, “I know he’s been itching to get in. Maybe the humblest individual that I’ve ever been around, and not only that, maybe the hardest worker. He’s a tremendous person, and he’s just tireless in terms of his efforts to get on the field and help his team.”

The Packers expect Julius Peppers to improve the run defense in addition to rushing the quarterback.

Former Vikings QB Todd Bouman is making an impression in his new career in coaching.

Falcons DT Corey Peters says he battled depression after suffering an Achilles injury last year.

Panthers S Anderson Russell is working to make a name for himself.

Here’s a look at some of the Saints’ female fans.

The Buccaneers’ offensive line seems to be making progress, but there’s plenty of work left to do.

Said Cardinals K Jay Feely of another training camp at age 38, “I’m grateful that I get another opportunity. I’m going to out there and keep getting better and get ready for September. That’s always my focus. I could care less how I kick in June; I’m always focused on the beginning of the season — that first game of the season.”

The Rams have Greg Robinson working double duty on the offensive line.

Said 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick of the team’s needs on offense, “Establish a rhythm. I think that’s the biggest thing we need to do right now.”

Erin Andrews regrets the abrupt way she ended her infamous interview with Seahawks CB Richard Sherman.

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Larry Fitzgerald says Cardinals must overcome injury to Darnell Dockett

Larry Fitzgerald AP

In the NFL, injuries are an unavoidable occurrence.

No matter how lucky a team gets on the injury front in a given year, they are bound to lose someone to injury at some point during the season.

The Arizona Cardinals lost defensive lineman Darnell Dockett to a torn ACL this week. Dockett has been a stalwart of Arizona’s defense for years and his loss will create a sizable void to be filled this season.

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald said it’s something the Cardinals still must be able to overcome.

“It’s something that happens far too often in our game and teams have to weather it,” Fitzgerald said, via “The Drive” on FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix. “Coach [Bruce] Arians talked about it yesterday in our night meeting that no team has even won a Super Bowl that starts the season with the same 11 or 22 guys that finish the season when they win the Super Bowl. Even when we made our Super Bowl run, there are guys that went down, there was guys that stepped up to the plate and we’re going to need guys to come in and perform and fill those big shoes that he’s leaving.”

The Cardinals defense was among the league’s best last season. Arizona ranked 6th in total defense and kept the Cardinals in every game they played over the final three months of the season.

If it was just the loss of Dockett, the Cardinals may have very well been able to overcome his injury. However, Arizona has also lost linebackers Karlos Dansby to the Cleveland Browns and Daryl Washington to suspension. Replacing that many pieces may be too much for the Cardinals to overcome.

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Malcolm Smith returns to Seahawks practice, makes one-handed INT for touchdown

Malcolm Smith AP

It was a good day back on the job for reigning Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith.

Smith missed all offseason workouts and the start of training camp for the Seattle Seahawks after having ankle surgery this spring. After a limited workload in his first practice on Monday, Smith was ramped up to full participation in practice on Tuesday. It didn’t take long for Smith to flash the form with which he finished the 2013 season.

Smith perfectly positioned himself in the throwing lane of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and made a leaping one-handed interception that he returned 60 yards for a touchdown.

Safety Earl Thomas, linebacker K.J. Wright and other members of the Seahawks defense chased Smith into the endzone with shouts of “MVP! MVP!” trailing him for the score.

“Hopefully keep it rolling,” Smith said. “I don’t think one practice will do it all but just trying to stack some good days together.”

Smith became a key contributor on Seattle’s defense last season and became indispensable late in the year. Smith had four interceptions in the final five games the Seahawks played. His interception of a tipped pass by Richard Sherman for Michael Crabtree sealed the NFC Championship for Seattle, while his 69-yard interception of Peyton Manning and fumble recovery of Demaryius Thomas in the Super Bowl helped earn him most-valuable player honors.

Seattle has been without three of their top four linebackers for the majority of training camp. Smith is the first to return with Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner both expected back in the next couple weeks. Wagner and Irvin could both return to practice as soon as next week.

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Browns should have made Manziel the starter from Day One

Manziel AP

In an effort to not create a monster, the Browns may have made a mess.

Two years ago, Washington immediately installed quarterback Robert Griffin III as the team’s starter.  And Griffin, who instantly rose to superstardom in D.C., ended up being not quite as coachable as former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan may have wanted.

With Shanahan now in Cleveland and the Browns taking the biggest celebrity quarterback in this year’s draft, the Browns may have consciously opted to do the opposite, humbling Johnny Manziel in the hopes that, as he earns the job, he’ll learn to listen to an offensive coordinator with a reputation for wanting the offense to be run the way he wants it.  Indeed, Coach Mike Pettine hinted at a desire to avoid Manziel Mania when defending in June the team’s decision not to install Manziel immediately as the starter.

“When people criticize how we handled it, what’s the alternative?” Pettine told USA Today at the time.  “Would it have been more prudent for us the night we drafted him to name him the starter?  And have him come in here and let the media have access to him every day and have a huge press conference for him?  Handle him that way?”

Time has shown that it doesn’t matter whether Manziel is the starter or merely competing for the job.  Media interest attaches naturally to his name, especially with the quarterback decision nudging toward a regular-season decision that hardly will be final.

And if the Browns opted to use a quarterback competition to humble Manziel, the splitting of first-team reps during practice and regular-season games has made it harder for Manziel or Brian Hoyer to be as prepared as the starter would be if the starter had been named right out of the gates.

Surely, it would have been Manziel.  Otherwise, the Browns wouldn’t have traded up from No. 26 to No. 22 to add a quarterback.  They would have opted to ride with Hoyer and use the pick on someone who could help the team at another position.

By trading up for Manziel, the Browns made their choice.  By not following through with it, the Browns have made it harder for Manziel to be ready for the job that they’d hoped to hand him as of Week One.  Now, they may have to go with an equally unprepared Brian Hoyer and hope he doesn’t play so well that it becomes impossible to use Manziel at any point in 2014, or to start 2015.

Browns fans know that dynamic all too well from seven years ago, when Derek Anderson made it impossible to use Brady Quinn in 2007, setting the stage for a controversy in 2008 from which the team still hasn’t fully recovered.

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Panthers trade RB Kenjon Barner to Eagles

Kenjon Barner AP

The Eagles have added a tailback who shouldn’t need much time to pick up Chip Kelly’s offense.

The club announced Tuesday night it had acquired Panthers running back Kenjon Barner for a conditional 2015 seventh-round pick.

The 25-year-old Barner played collegiately at Oregon under Kelly, rushing for 3,623 yards and 41 touchdowns. A 2013 sixth-round pick of the Panthers, Barner appeared in eight games as a rookie, rushing six times for seven yards, catching two passes for seven yards and returning two kickoffs for 17 yards.

“Kenjon will hopefully bring some depth to both our running back and return positions,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said in a team-issued statement Tuesday night. “He’s obviously a guy I know really well from Oregon, where he had a very productive career. He has a lot of speed, explosiveness and had a knack for making some really big plays. But our plan with him right now is get him in Philadelphia as soon as we can and plug him in at running back and returner and let him compete.”

Barner’s addition gives the Eagles seven tailbacks. He’ll vie for a reserve role in the Philadelphia backfield. Darren Sproles, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker, Henry Josey and David Fluellen are the other options behind starter LeSean McCoy. Polk is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Eagles rookie Josh Huff, who’s listed as the club’s second-team kickoff returner, will miss the Eagles’ third preseason game with a shoulder injury, which could lead to Barner getting some special teams work in his Philadelphia debut.

The Panthers, meanwhile, are left with just four tailbacks: DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Fozzy Whittaker and Darrin Reaves. However, fullback Mike Tolbert will also see some carries.

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Fairley squarley a second-stinger in Detroit

Fairley AP

The Lions opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s rookie contract in order to give him extra incentive in what became a contract year.

So far, it hasn’t worked.

As coach Jim Caldwell recently explained, Fairley has officially become a second-team player, backing up C.J. Mosley, who now is the starter alongside Ndamukong Suh.  But that could still change.

“If you’re asking me whether or not Fairley is going to be a starter, he’s not starting right now,” Caldwell said, via  “He’s second team. . . .  But the rest of it, we’ll look.  It’s a long week.  We’ve got a lot of work to do in between and typically like most games, we’ll take a look at where we are and make an assessment on that toward the end of the week.”

In other words, if Fairley finally reaches the potential that made him a first-round draft choice on a consistent basis, he’ll return to the starting lineup.  If chasing a new contract won’t flip that switch, nothing ever will.

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Nick Collins announces retirement

Nick Collins of tyhe Green Bay Packers s Getty Images

Former Packers safety Nick Collins announced his retirement on his verified Twitter account on Tuesday.

Collins’ Green Bay career ended because of a neck injury suffered in the club’s second regular season game of 2011. Collins, who underwent vertebrae fusion surgery, was released by Green Bay in April 2012. He has not appeared in an NFL game since.

Earlier this year, Collins had indicated he was willing to consider a return to football.

Collins’ ball skills were a major strength. A three-time Pro Bowler, Collins picked off 21 passes in regular season play for Green Bay from 2005 through 2011, and he scored the Packers’ second touchdown in their Super Bowl XLV victory over Pittsburgh on an interception return.

In his statement Tuesday, Collins thanked his “family, friends, and the Packer Nation for the love and support.”

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Still no ruling in the Josh Gordon case

Gordon AP

A full 15 days have passed since hearing officer Harold Henderson concluded the hearing in connection with the appeal of Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s one-year suspension.  Nearly four months have passed since word of the suspension first emerged.

And there’s still no ruling.  The substance-abuse policy requires that a decision be made within a “reasonable time.”  That’s a fuzzy concept, but given the delays already inherent to the process, it’s all starting to feel unreasonable.

Under the plain language of the substance-abuse policy, it also would be unreasonable for Henderson to impose anything other than a one-year suspension or no suspension at all.  Despite multiple reports and a clear suggestion from ESPN’s Mike Tirico during Monday night’s Cleveland-Washington game that Henderson could split the difference, the rules simply don’t contemplate it.  If the policy is applied as written, it will be all or nothing.

While Henderson technically has the power to do whatever he wants, failing to interpret and apply the policy as written could result in the NFL no longer hiring Henderson to serve as a hearing officer.  Unless, of course, the NFL wants Henderson to find a middle ground, so that Gordon’s suspension for smoking marijuana (possibly on a second-hand basis) won’t be quite as glaring in comparison to Ray Rice’s two-game ban for domestic violence.

The cleaner outcome, if the difference is going to be split, would come from a negotiation.  As of Tuesday night, however, there have been no talks — and none are expected.

Still, if Henderson wants to work this out, he can get the parties on the phone and ask the NFL to offer an eight-game suspension and to keep it open for 24 hours while Gordon decides what to do, with a wink-nod understanding that, if a ruling is issued, it will be a full-year suspension.

Plenty of judges have used that and similar tactics to get cases settled.  Don’t be shocked if it happens here.

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Tim Shaw announces he has ALS

Shaw Getty Images

Former linebacker Tim Shaw, who retired after being released last year by the Titans, has become the latest NFL player to develop ALS.

Shaw spent six seasons in the NFL after arriving via the 2007 draft to Carolina.  He made the announcement on Tuesday via a video posted at the Titans’ website.  He then took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and Shaw thereafter challenged the current Titans roster and the Penn State football team to do the same thing.

Shaw, who also played for the Jaguars and Bears, talked about his plans for the future in March.  Now, those plans have changed dramatically.  We wish him the best as he fights this horrible disease, and we encourage everyone to contribute to the ALS Association and/or to The Gleason Initiative Foundation, started by former Saints defensive back Steve Gleason, and/or to The Brigance Brigade, launched by former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance.

With enough money and research and dedication, ALS can be cured.  Here’s hoping it happens sooner than later.

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NFL wants Super Bowl halftime performers to pay for the privilege

121017095532_Cash Getty Images Getty Images

As it has grown and grown and grown some more, the NFL has continued to find more and more and more revenue streams.

The latest could be the Super Bowl halftime show.  Currently a gig the performer plays for free in order to turn a gigantic international platform into the high profile and profits that go with it, the league now wants a cut.

According to the Wall Street Journal (via SportsBusiness Daily), the NFL has asked the three artists under consideration for the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show to “contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income” to the NFL, or to “make some other type of financial contribution.”  Per the report, the idea received a “chilly reception” from the representatives of Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Coldplay.

Regardless, it only takes one performer to bite the hook in order for the NFL to parlay the halftime show into even more of a moneymaker.  And it’s entirely possible that the league leaked the development in order to pressure one of the three to blink, given that plenty of other performers who would gladly give up a piece of a pie they otherwise don’t have will now be calling the league to offer  whatever the league wants for the privilege of playing to one of the biggest audiences in TV history.

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PFT on NBCSN expands roster, adds co-host


With the new season starting, an enhanced in lineup is coming to NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk.

But you’ll still be stuck with me.  (Sorry.)

On Tuesday, NBC Sports Group announced that Paul Burmeister arrives as the new co-host of the program on Tuesday, September 2.  Burmeister, who played quarterback, served as a captain, and won the team MVP award at Iowa in 1993, became one of the original hires at NFL Network in 2003.  During his time with NFLN, Burmeister hosted a variety of shows there, including Total Access and Path to the Draft.

Joining the lineup of analysts will be former NFL defensive end and Defensive Player of the Year Jason Taylor, former NFL head coach and long-time assistant coach Kevin Gilbride, former NFL running back Brian Westbrook, and former NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes.  They’ll be part of a rotation that includes former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker and former NFL fullback Jon Ritchie.

“I certainly feel I can give a valid critique of what took place in a game, explain why and what the thinking was with players and coaches, or why that mistake occurred,” Gilbride told Richard Deitsch of “I will have no difficulty in judging whether something was a good or bad decision and maybe even offer some alternatives on other ideas.  People just see the behavior, the action.  But what has always been fascinating to me is what are the causes that led to that behavior.”

This season, PFT on NBCSN also will feature regular contributions from other NBC Sports Group analysts, including Tony Dungy and Hines Ward of Football Night in America, Cris Collinsworth of Sunday Night Football, and Doug Flutie of NBC’s Notre Dame football coverage.

Deepening the roster and breadth of expertise will be Mike Ryan, a 26-year NFL athletic trainer who will help explain injuries, rehab, and related issues.

But you don’t have to wait until September 2 to watch the show.  It’s still on every weekday, through and beyond September.

And hopefully you’ll continue to be stuck with me.

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2014 status still undecided, Dorsey signs through 2016

Glenn Dorsey AP

The 49ers don’t know when or if defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey will play in 2014.  But they do know that they have him under contract through 2016.

The team has announced a two-year extension with Dorsey.

“Glenn is a true pro who has quickly become a valued contributor to our organization both on and off the field,” General Manager Trent Baalke said in a team-issued release.  “He is a quick study and a very good football player that has earned this extension, and we look forward to his future contributions.”

Dorsey may not do much more to earn his 2014 salary, due to a torn biceps suffered in training camp.  Per a league source, the team still is deciding whether to put Dorsey on season-ending injured reserve, to put him on injured reserve with the designation to return, or to carry him on the 53-man roster until he’s ready to play.

Dorsey entered the league in 2008 as the fifth overall pick in the draft.  He signed in 2013 with the 49ers, appearing in all 19 regular-season and postseason games, with 15 total starts as the replacement to nose tackle Ian Williams, who suffered a broken leg in Week Two.

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Kelly pushes McCoy’s practice buttons

Kelly Getty Images

On Sunday, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy missed practice with what he called a “small version of turf toe.”  On Tuesday, coach Chip Kelly rolled out a small version of passive aggression when talking about McCoy’s overall practice habits.

It’s OK,” Kelly said regarding the question of whether McCoy’s return to practice on Monday reveals a strong work ethic, via Geoff Mosher of  “Some days he’s great out there.  Other days, he’s not so great.”

McCoy, who recently said that Kelly pushes the star tailback like no other coach ever has, didn’t take questions about Kelly’s remark.  (And all that that implies, possibly.)

Kelly otherwise downplayed the toe injury, said that McCoy is “fine,” that it’s “not as big of an issue as I think anybody has made it out to be, and that the issue has become “way overblown.”

Still, McCoy used the phrase “small version of turf toe,” and former NFL athletic trainer Mike Ryan joined Tuesday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN to explain what that means and how it can affect a running back.  Plus he brought props.

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Jets place rookie receiver Shaq Evans on injured reserve

shaqevans AP

The rookie season of Jets fourth-round draft pick Shaq Evans is over before it began.

Evans, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury, has been placed on injured reserve.

Reports today that Evans was waived/injured proved to be incorrect, as the Jets decided to put Evans directly on injured reserve. If the Jets had waived/injured Evans, he could have been claimed by any other team. It’s rare for players who are waived/injured to be claimed, but it’s possible that Evans would have been: He showed a lot of promise in college at UCLA, and if some other team that had a high draft grade on Evans wants him, he would have been there for the taking.

That the Jets put him on injured reserve, rather than exposing him to waivers, suggests that they believe he can still be a contributor. But that won’t be until 2015 at the earliest. His 2014 season is over.

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