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Ravens to raise ticket prices by 10 percent

Baltimore Ravens Victory Parade Getty Images

If there’s ever a palatable time for an NFL team to raise ticket prices, the Ravens have found it.

Fresh off a Super Bowl title with a free agent quarterback to pay, the Ravens are raising ticket prices by an average of 10 percent, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.

“We are thoughtful and detailed in our study of our ticket prices,” Ravens senior vice president for public and community relations Kevin Byrne said. “We did a lot of research plus comparisons to other NFL teams, other events, and also most importantly, our budget. This is not related to the Super Bowl. It has been planned. It was planned last year when we didn’t increase when we thought we would.”

It’s the first price hike in four years for the Ravens, and just the sixth since they opened their new stadium in 1998.

But it also puts the Ravens in the top third of ticket prices in the NFL, in the 27th-largest TV market in the country.

While that difference presents a pinch to Baltimore’s season ticket holders, they’ve at least gotten something for their money.

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Bills say they’re “very comfortable” with Manuel as their backup

EJ Manuel

It’s been a rough year for Bills quarterback EJ Manuel: He came in third in the training camp battle with Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel last year, the Bills went 0-2 in the games Manuel started, the team declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, and he got more competition when Cardale Jones was drafted.

But the team still says it’s confident in Manuel if he has to play this season.

Bills General Manager Doug Whaley says he’s “very comfortable” with Manuel, adding that Manuel is one of the league’s top backup quarterbacks, according to the Buffalo News.

By waiting until the end of the fourth round to draft a quarterback and taking a project like Jones rather than a quarterback viewed as ready to play right away, Whaley has shown that the Bills appear comfortable going with Manuel as No. 2 behind Taylor on the depth chart. Last year, the games when they had to turn to Manuel didn’t work out too well. Perhaps this year will be different, but the Bills have to be hoping right now that Taylor will start 16 games.

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Former Tunsil business manager/financial adviser becomes main suspect in hacking case


The true villain in the Laremy Tunsil draft-night free fall continues to be the person who accessed his social media accounts and posted damaging information with the obvious intent to spark a slide. Tunsil’s camp eventually could figure out who did it.

Via ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Tunsil’s attorney and agent are investigating a former business manager/financial adviser to determine the role, if any, that he had in the smear campaign.

Per the report, Tunsil hired the business manager/financial adviser in October 2015. Among other things, the person scheduled agent meetings with Tunsil and potential agents.

Tunsil later fired the person after learning that he wasn’t registered with the NFL Players Association as a financial adviser. The man, who was not named by ESPN, reportedly gave Tunsil a new phone in October. Persons close to Tunsil think the former business manager/financial adviser may have accessed Tunsil’s account by using Tunsil’s old phone.

Criminal charges and/or a civil lawsuit haven’t been ruled out. An FBI spokesman in Mississippi told ESPN that his office has not yet been contacted to investigate.

Under the Stored Communications Act, the person who accessed Tunsil’s social media accounts could face up to 10 years in prison, along with more than $7 million in liability arising from the slide that occurred after the Ravens reportedly decided not to select Tunsil due to the video.

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Justin Tuck to sign one-day deal so he can retire a Giant

Justin Tuck AP

The Giants are going to sign another impact pass-rusher, but this one isn’t going to get a giant signing bonus.

According to Dan Graziano of, longtime NFL defensive end Justin Tuck will sign a one-day contract with the Giants and retire as a member of his original team.

Tuck spent the last two seasons in Oakland after a cash-grab there, but announced his retirement in February.

The ceremonial deal will bring his career full-circle. He had 60.5 sacks in nine seasons with the Giants. His two years in Oakland were less productive, and a torn pectoral muscle contributed to his decision to step away.

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Matt Slauson lines up visits with Chargers, Bills

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Matt Slauson #68 of the Chicago Bears on the sidelines during the first quarter of the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field on September 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Arizona Cardinals won 48-23.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bears released guard Matt Slauson last Sunday and it hasn’t taken long for the first report about visits with other teams to surface.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that Slauson is scheduled to visit with the Chargers and Bills. Slauson will find familiar faces in each stop.

The Chargers hired Dave DeGuglielmo as an assistant offensive line coach this offseason and Slauson worked with DeGuglielmo when he was the Jets’ offensive line coach in 2012. The Chargers have D.J. Fluker and Orlando Franklin at guard and added Donavon Clark in the seventh round of the draft.

DeGuglielmo was on Rex Ryan’s staff with the Jets and, as most are certainly aware, Ryan is now the head coach of the Bills. Mike Rodak of reports that the Bills are looking at Slauson as an option at right tackle, where Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio and Seantrel Henderson could also be in the mix.

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Duane Brown case shows that neutral arbitration works

Zz05Mzc0YjUxNjAzODE2YTkyMjg3NDBmZDgzYzU3NTdiMg== AP

The news that Texans offensive lineman Duane Brown avoided a 10-game suspension under the PED policy because he consumed contaminated meat in Mexico raises plenty of questions — including an important question regarding the ongoing habit of someone(s) leaking supposedly confidential information to the media.

But Brown’s case also underscores an important point regarding the process. With the PED policy, as revised in 2014, providing for neutral arbitration in cases of this nature, Brown had an avenue for pushing back against the notion that players are responsible for the compounds in their bodies, regardless of how those compounds may have entered their bodies.

Although it’s unclear whether the case progressed to a full-blown hearing or was resolved through negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the fact that the Commissioner no longer controls the internal appeals process makes it easier for players to fashion a defense that could stick. If the league office were still running the show, chances are that Brown would have been run out of the league for 10 games.

For proof of this, look no farther than the StarCaps case. There, the league allegedly knew that an over-the-counter supplement had been spiked with a prescription diuretic, the league allegedly failed to share that information with the union, and the league adhered to the bright-line, strict-liability, thou-shalt-not-have-PEDs-in-your-body-even-if-you-didn’t-mean-to-take-them attitude that permeated the process when the league office had final say over the appeals.

That same attitude possibly (likely) would have applied to Brown, whose defense could (would) have been met with a shrug and a recitation of the rule: You’re responsible for what’s in your body. Period.

Having a neutral process gives players a chance, because it removes final say from a league office that flexes its muscles through the unscrupulous administration of discipline.

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Davante Adams may struggle to make Packers’ roster

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the football after a reception against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL game at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers defeated the Seahawks 27-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

As a second-round draft pick in 2014, Packers receiver Davante Adams has been a disappointment. And he may be running out of time to change that.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Adams is one of the receivers who will be “battling for their lives” in training camp. That report pegs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb as locks to make the roster, with Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, Trevor Davis, Ed Williams and Jamel Johnson competing for the remaining three or four roster spots devoted to wide receivers.

Although Adams has started 23 games in his first two seasons, he hasn’t played well. Last year he averaged just 9.7 yards a catch and scored just one touchdown. Based on merit — rather than on draft position — it’s hard to see how he’d win a roster spot unless he shows dramatic improvement in the next four months.

With Nelson injured, the Packers’ most effective receiver last year was James Jones, but the team has told Jones it’s moving on to younger players. But despite his draft status, Adams may not be one of the younger receivers on the roster.

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Report: Terron Armstead gets $25 million fully guaranteed

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 talks to guard Ben Grubbs #66 running back Travaris Cadet #39 and offensive tackle Terron Armstead #72 of the New Orleans Saints from the line of scrimmage during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 14, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Two left tackles signed five-year extensions with their teams on Tuesday and the numbers for the two deals are in the same neighborhood.

As we reported on Tuesday evening, Bills tackle Cordy Glenn’s deal is worth up to $65 million with $26.5 million fully guaranteed. There’s another $9.5 million guaranteed against injury only for the 2012 second-round pick.

In terms of total possible value and full guarantees, it appears that deal puts Glenn just ahead of Saints tackle Terron Armstead. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Armstead’s deal includes $25 million in fully guaranteed money and can be worth a total of $64.5 million. Armstead also has another $13 million guaranteed against injury only, leaving him a few ticks above Glenn in total guarantees.

Those numbers put Armstead behind Glenn and Trent Williams in terms of average annual salary and full guarantees while the two contracts in tandem help set the price for any left tackles who may be looking for new deals in the near future.

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Eagles resume search for personnel help, with Joe Douglas interview

Howie Roseman AP

The Eagles haven’t lacked for personnel moves this spring.

But now that the draft is over, they’re ready to resume their search for a personnel man.

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Eagles have been granted permission to interview Bears college scouting director Joe Douglas.

He’ll be interviewing for a vice president-level position which would oversee the pro and college scouting departments.

Of course, both those departments are being overseen by de facto General Manager Howie Roseman, who has made plenty of moves as he tries to erase all vestiges of the Chip Kelly era, extend a raft of players and stockpile quarterbacks.

Douglas spent 15 years with the Ravens, and came to the Bears last year. The Bears could have blocked Douglas’s interview since it isn’t for a G.M. title, but they didn’t.

The Eagles interviewed a number of candidates earlier this year, but suspended the search to focus on preparing for this year’s draft.

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Colts offensive line “laying the foundation” for a better 2016

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 03:  Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sun Life Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

With Andrew Luck on the sideline and a streak without a 100-yard game from a running back at 50 and counting, there wasn’t much doubt about the Colts’ need to improve their offensive line play this offseason.

The team signaled it would be a focus by hiring Joe Philbin to coach the unit and continued to address the area by drafting four offensive linemen last week. That’s the most the team has picked up in a single draft since 1983, when the draft lasted 12 rounds.

Now comes the time to put the new coach and those new players together with the holdovers from 2015 in order to build a stronger unit. Guard/tackle Joe Reitz said that Philbin has “been great to work with so far” and that he’s making playing faster a priority for a line that knows what needs to happen in 2016.

“We know we need to improve and we will be better this year,” Reitz said, via “I think that’s what we’re building for now. We’re laying the foundation, fundamentals on the field and building together as an unit. It’s not always the best five out there. It’s five guys working together as an unit. I’m excited to see where it can take us in the future.”

It would be unusual for a player to say in May that he and his teammates will be worse than they were the previous season and the bar for the Colts line is low enough that some improvement should be expected. They’ll need more than just a minimal gain to create the changes needed, however, and any proof that they’ve found it won’t be coming for months.

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Cowboys defensive coordinator “elated” with Ezekiel Elliott pick

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 21:  Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs into Damon Knox #93 of the Michigan State Spartans and Riley Bullough #30 of the Michigan State Spartans at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter at Ohio Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli may not have gotten the kind of impact pass-rusher he was hoping for in the draft.

But he thinks the guy the Cowboys did draft first — running back Ezekiel Elliott — will make a huge difference for his side of the ball.

I’m elated because I think you always look at the big picture,” Marinelli said on 105.3 The Fan. “We don’t play fantasy football. It’s not that. A 1-yard, 2-yard run there’s fight and physicalness. That’s good for your team. It develops toughness. We have to go against that offense every day. We play our offense more than anybody. It develops a hardness to your defense. You’ve got to play against a great line, a great back, now you’ve got to match up on an All-Pro receiver, great quarterback.

“It’s the physical nature of the game, which at times is being lost in today’s football. The physical nature of the game, I believe in that. This young man and the other backs are going to bring that.”

The Cowboys defense will certainly be tested in practice, as they have a collection of talent to rival anyone in the league. Whether they have enough bodies to stop it during the week or not, they’re going to have to be better on defense on Sundays for it to matter at all.

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David Quessenberry feels strong as he continues comeback from cancer

HOUSTON - MAY 10:  Tackles David Quessenberry #77 and Nick Mondek #69 of the Houston Texans Houston Texans rookie mini camp on May 10, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma nearly two years ago, forcing a halt to his football career while he received treatment for the illness.

That treatment helped Quessenberry go into remission last year, although his attempt to get back on the field wasn’t as successful. He spent the year on the non-football illness list while continuing to work out and regain strength in hopes of returning to the team this season.

Quessenberry is a bit under the 306 pounds he used to carry, but says he feels great and believes it is the right weight for him as he works to resume his playing career.

“I feel excellent,” Quessenberry said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I can’t wait. I feel strong. I feel fast. I feel explosive. It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time. I can’t wait to get out there. It will be a good year.”

It’s hard to know how good a chance Quessenberry has to make the team until the Texans’ offseason is further along, but it’s hard to imagine that his effort and determination won’t help him if it is a close call in a few months time.

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Stubblefield declares innocence

Zz04NzI0MmY5Y2Y0MjVkYjNmZTQ1NjljNDZjYThkN2QwNw==-1 AP

As in most cases involving allegations of criminal misconduct, the defense lawyer has proclaimed his client’s innocence. Unlike most cases involving allegations of criminal misconduct, the defendant has now done so as well.

The declaration comes from former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield, who is accused of raping a “developmentally delayed” female in April 2015.

“I am here to state without any reservation that I am completely innocent of all these allegations,” Stubblefield said at a press conference on Tuesday, via the San Jose Mercury News. “I have worked my whole career to be a part of the Bay Area community. And I have worked in several communities and charities with the church. This is an issue that is very close to me. One of my primary charities is Special Olympics, something that is true and dear to my heart. This is why these allegations hurt me so badly.”

Stubblefield’s legal team also has disputed the suggestion that the alleged victim in the case is “developmentally delayed.”

“They described the alleged victim yesterday as disabled to sensationalize the case,” attorney Gary Winuk said.

The article from Robert Salonga, Tracey Kaplan, and Mark Gomez of the Mercury News includes some of the facts that will form the basis for the argument that the alleged victim is (and isn’t) “developmentally delayed.”

Defense lawyers provided reporters with materials showing the alleged victim’s social media profiles, her job history, and prior legal filings, in order to show that she had the capacity to consent to sexual activity with Stubblefield. His lawyers also provided the results of a lie-detector test and phone records revealing more than 20 text messages between Stubblefield and the alleged victim.

Per the article, “the materials show limited reading and language comprehension by whoever wrote them, but do not prove or disprove whether the author is mentally diminished.” By way of example, the article says that the alleged victim wrote this on her Sittercity profile: “I fuller feeling lose weight.”

Free on $250,000 bail, Stubblefield’s arraignment is set for June 3.

A former NFL defensive rookie of the year and NFL defensive player of the year, Stubblefield played for San Francisco, Washington, and Oakland.

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Colin Kaepernick resumes throwing

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The draft came and went without a trade sending quarterback Colin Kaepernick away from the 49ers and the Broncos said they’re no longer interested in one, which makes it pretty likely that Kaepernick will remain with the team for the 2016 season.

With that out of the way, the big question around Kaepernick switches from where he will be playing to whether he will be on the field for the 49ers once the season gets underway. Kaepernick will not be able to make his best pitch for the job until he’s cleared after offseason shoulder, knee and thumb surgeries. He took a step toward that last week when he got on the field during minicamp to shadow the team’s other quarterbacks and another one this week.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Kaepernick has resumed throwing a “bit” as he progresses toward a full return to action. Full clearance for Kaepernick isn’t expected until closer to the end of the month.

The 49ers didn’t draft a quarterback until they took Jeff Driskel in the sixth round, which suggests that the choice on that front is going to come down to Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02: Christian Hackenberg #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions in action during the TaxSlayer Bowl game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on January 2, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills rookie Shaq Lawson attributes a lot of his success to the time he spent at Hargrave Military Academy.

The Dolphins are crediting their area scout for having good information on rookie OT Laremy Tunsil.

Said Dante Scarnecchia of returning to his job as the Patriots’ offensive line coach, “I do know I’m not changing. We’re going to do what we do. We’re going to do it the way we do it.”

Here’s what Jets QB Christian Hackenberg’s draft party looked like.

The Steelers look for speed in the draft.

Ravens players photobombed fans at a team draft event.

The “football people” and the “analytics people” appear to be working well together in Cleveland.

The Bengals signed an undrafted quarterback who broke Ben Roethlisberger’s MAC passing yardage record.

Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell says this is the first offseason when he thinks they have a real shot.

The Texans have just under $5 million to pay their rookies this year.

Colts DT Henry Anderson is battling back after his rookie season ended with a torn ACL.

The Titans are hiring Panthers scout Ryan Cowden as director of player personnel.

The Chiefs chose WR Tyreek Hill even though he had been convicted in a domestic violence case.

Broncos QB Trevor Siemian wants an opportunity to prove himself, but he’ll almost certainly be third on the depth chart behind Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch.

Raiders DE Mario Edwards is working out with the team as he attempts to come back from neck surgery.

Travis Benjamin and Jatavis Brown grew up two houses down from each other, and now they’re Chargers teammates.

Said Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott of getting a 32 on the Wonderlic, “I am pretty proud of that Wonderlic score. That’s something that we practiced so much before the combine. It’s a really weird test. I don’t know how you relate that to football, but I’m glad I scored high on it.”

Giants G.M. Jerry Reese is admittedly nervous about the cornerbacks on his roster.

How many games will QB Carson Wentz start for the Eagles this season?

Despite a serious knee injury cutting short his 2015 season, Washington rookie CB Kendall Fuller is expected to make a full recovery.

Lions rookie Anthony Zettel grew up a Lions fan, taken to games by his father, who died in September.

The Bears could lose their college scouting director to the Eagles.

The Packers expect to have great competition at the quarterback position.

Vikings WR Moritz Boehringer, the rookie from Germany, wore No. 84 in Germany because he loves Randy Moss.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman helps the neighbors with yard work.

Panthers QB Cam Newton spent time with a sick 7-year-old for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Could Michael Thomas become the Saints’ No. 1 receiver?

Here’s a list of the Buccaneers’ tryout players.

Said Cardinals coach Bruce Arians of undrafted rookie QB Jake Coker, “We really can’t wait to get our hands on him this weekend and watch him grow with us. He’s got the size, he’s got the skill, he’s got a lot of moxie about him.”

The Rams will give a tryout to a rookie receiver who was kicked off the team at Auburn.

The 49ers are trying to keep Santa Clara from raising their rent at Levi’s Stadium.

Seahawks WR Kenny Lawler says playing in the NFL is his first job since he was 5 years old. He did not say what job he had when he was 5 years old.

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A promotion, a retirement cause changes in Panthers scouting staff

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

When Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman took over the Panthers front office in 2013, he didn’t fire anyone, rare for a guy coming into a new job without allies.

But he’s having to deal with some changes now, partly because of the success they’ve had.

Via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers will be without two scouts following the draft.

Assistant college scouting director Ryan Cowden is leaving for a promotion with the Titans, while veteran scout John Peterson is retiring.

The 38-year-old Cowden worked his way up the ladder with the Panthers, joining the team in 2000. He’s a former safety at Wofford, where the team holds training camp each summer.  The 67-year-old Peterson has four decades in football, and has been with the Panthers since 2008.

Cowden’s promotion to director of player personnel under Titans G.M. Jon Robinson is the first real defection from the Panthers as they’ve grown successful the last few years, as keeping their coaching and personnel staff intact lends a big part to their stability 0n the field.

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