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Dee Milliner needs shoulder surgery

Dee Milliner, DaVaris Daniels AP

The top cornerback in this year’s draft is dealing with a lingering injury that will require surgery.

Alabama’s Dee Milliner has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will have surgery after the Scouting Combine, his agent told Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The doctors have informed us that he will be 100 percent and fully recovered in time for training camp in July,” said Tony Fleming, one of Milliner’s reps with Impact Sports. “We will be providing all NFL clubs information prior to surgery and updates close to the draft.”

The injury apparently isn’t bothering Milliner too much, because he played through it during the 2012 season at Alabama and is still planning to do every workout at the Combine except the bench press. But surgery will be necessary, and Milliner will have to sit out Alabama’s Pro Day.

Milliner is universally regarded as the top cornerback in this year’s draft. Assuming the surgery is successful (and we can’t remember the last time a player’s surgery was described as anything other than “successful”), that likely won’t change, and this surgery will be viewed as a bump in the road.

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Bruce Arians believes leaping field goal blocks are “bad for football”

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Kicker Chandler Catanzaro #7 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts with punter Ryan Quigley #9 after missing a field goal attempt in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals tie 6-6.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is still unhappy about the field goal block attempts of Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner from Sunday night’s 6-6 tie.

Wagner twice leaped over Cardinals long snapper Aaron Brewer in an attempt to block kicks. Wagner succeeded in blocking the first one while Chandler Catanzaro’s 24-yard field goal hit the left upright to thwart Arizona’s chances to win the game in overtime. Arians was livid after the blocked kick and was seen screaming at officials on the sideline. He also lost a timeout for attempting to challenge the play, which is not reviewable.

In an interview with Tom Pelissero and Bill Polian on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Arians believes that such plays are dangerous and shouldn’t be legal in the first place.

“The Competition Committee went through that play and the officials wanted it taken out,” Arians said. “The committee left it in, but it cannot be officiated. Whether he touches, whether it was leverage, was his foot within the framework of the defensive lineman’s feet before he jumped, all those things that go into that call, I think it’s bad for football.

“Because what you’re going to have to do now is start having centers raise their face up and get kicked in the face and things that are just dangerous to the players. I think it’s a dangerous play as it is and should be taken out of the game.”

Wagner grazed Brewer’s back with his left foot on his first attempt to leap over the line. His second attempt had guard Earl Watford attempt to block him with an extended arm, but he still cleared the line into the Arizona backfield. If Wagner had landed on Cardinals’ linemen in either attempt, it would have been a penalty. Incidental contact isn’t considered to be enough to warrant flags. Players also can’t use teammates or opponents as leverage either when attempted to block kicks in such a way.

Arians believes it creates a safety issue for long snappers. If such plays are going to be legal, then the offense will need to compensate to block leaping players. That could prove problematic in Arians’ mind.

“Because what you’re going to have to do now is start having centers raise their face up and get kicked in the face and things that are just dangerous to the players. I think it’s a dangerous play as it is and should be taken out of the game,” Arians said.


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McNary apologizes for hit on Walker

McNary Getty Images

Colts linebacker Josh McNary apologized for his hit on Titans tight end Delanie Walker in last Sunday’s game that led to an unnecessary roughness penalty and briefly forced Walker out of the game.

McNary’s hit negated an interception by Patrick Robinson. Walker was running a pass route when he was blindsided by McNary.

McNary wrote on his Instagram account that he believed the ball had been thrown to Walker and tried to let up when he realized that Walker wasn’t the intended receiver on the play.

“Almost simultaneously, I struck him on his pads to reroute him not knowing the ball had just been released,” McNary wrote. “Unfortunately he was hurt on the play and our team suffered the untimely penalty. It is never my intention to hurt a fellow player, as I pray for an injury free contest before every game. Not everyone can understand, but it is a fast, physical sport and I am very much a work in progress.”

Walker was helped off the field but returned later in the series to catch a touchdown pass.

Colts Coach Chuck Pagano told reporters Monday that he didn’t believe McNary made an intentionally dirty play.

“We don’t have cheap-shot guys on this football team,” Pagano said. “That’s not Josh. That’s not any of our guys. There was no malice there. It was a bang-bang play, [McNary] was reacting to what he thought he saw and it was unfortunate.”

Titans Coach Mike Mularkey said he thought the play was “unnecessary,” and it’s likely the league office will agree. McNary will find out by the end of the week if he’ll be fined for the hit.

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Does diminished quality come from reduced practice time?

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - MAY 16: Shamar Stephen #76 and David Yankey #66 of the Minnesota Vikings look on with the rest of the offensive line during rookie minicamp on May 16, 2014 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the 2011 lockout was coming to a conclusion, the owners made a series of concessions that cost them no money, at least not directly. Five years later, a real question has emerged regarding whether diminished practice time is resulting in a diminished product on Sundays (and Mondays, and now every Thursday) and, in turn, diminished ratings.

Plenty of coaches and General Managers insist that the reduction in practice time and intensity has harmed the sport, resulting in subpar offensive line play, poor fundamentals (like tackling), and bodies that aren’t “hardened” by fully-padded two-a-days and are more in-season practices in pads.

Others disagree, pointing to the immediate impact of a player like Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa as proof that full participation in the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason is overrated. Still, it’s one thing for a guy like Bosa to rush the quarterback; it’s another for a player to move in concert with other players, like offensive lineman and quarterbacks/pass-catchers do.

Last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the practice rules should be re-evaluated in conjunction with the next round of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. But Goodell prefaced those remarks but suggesting that everything is fine as it is.

“I just spoke to John Madden on Monday night for an hour,” Goodell said last Wednesday regarding the perception of reduced quality of offensive line play. “I had this conversation with him and actually made exactly the opposite point: That offensive line play looks better, and he agreed. And so I don’t see that. When you have either injuries or inconsistency on the front line, that’s a cohesive group, and when one person is missing that’s a difficult thing, and so that group does need time to gel. That often gets better as the season goes along.”

That wagon-circling/all-is-well mindset won’t help the NFL solve its current problems. The league needs to be honest with itself and everyone else (more importantly with itself) about the fact that fewer people are watching, or that the same people are watching less fervently.

Instead, the league seems to be tempted to adopt a position of inaction, hunkering down and treating the lost ratings points the same way Homer Simpson reacted to the first globs of hair that fell out of his head — by shrugging and saying, “Well, there’s still plenty more where those came from.”

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Koetter to Bucs fans: Don’t sell tickets to Raiders fans

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10:  Head coach Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on against the Carolina Panthers in the 1st quarter during the game at Bank of America Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buccaneers launch on Sunday a three-game home stand that starts with a Super Bowl XXXVII rematch against the Raiders, with the Falcons coming to town four days later. Fans who hold season tickets may be tempted to peddle their seats to Sunday’s game on the open market, and Tampa’s first-year head coach wants them to resist that urge.

“We as a team have to do our part, making [Raymond James Stadium] a place that opposing teams don’t want to play,” Koetter told the Buccaneers Radio Network, via “So we need the crowd’s help on that. We do our part. We’ve got to play better at home. The other thing is, we got to keep the opposing fans out of the lower bowl. I mean, let’s keep those Raiders jerseys out.

“I keep beating that drum. I know I’m going to get criticized and [hear], ‘Hey, Dirk, your job is to coach the team.’ Yeah, it is. I promise you I’m going to do my part to the best of my ability. It’s just not a good sign for us to have that many opposing jerseys in the lower bowl. Hey all you fans out there, tell all your neighbors selling your tickets to Raiders fans, give’em away as Christmas gifts to somebody who’s a Bucs fan.”

Ultimately, the fans can decide what to do with the tickets. If they choose to sell them and make a profit, that’s their choice. The team’s job is to make the game sufficiently enticing that the fans would rather experience the game than pocket the extra cash.

To get to that point, the Bucs will have to bite the bullet and endure some home games that feel like road games. Which may not be a bad thing, given that the Bucs are 3-1 on the road, and 0-2 at home.

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Nate Washington works out for Bucs

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 27:  Nate Washington #85 of the Houston Texans celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Veteran wide receiver Nate Washington worked out for the Buccaneers Tuesday.

Washington, 33, was released by the Patriots in August. He caught 47 passes for the Texans last year and has caught at least 40 passes every season since 2008.

Last week, the Bucs placed wide receiver Vincent Jackson on injured reserve. The Bucs signed veteran Cecil Shorts last month after he was released by the Texans but Shorts only has one catch on the season.

The Bucs also worked out fullbacks Austin Johnson and Will Ratelle on Tuesday.

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Russell Wilson wants one final field goal to resolve tie games

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks knels on the field following the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks played to a tie with the Cardinals on Sunday night, and quarterback Russell Wilson wasn’t happy about it.

Wilson said after thinking about the 6-6 tie in Arizona that the league needs to come up with a tiebreaking rule. Wilson’s idea is an interesting one: A final field goal to either win or lose.

“Let’s say we’re the away team. We win the coin toss, we get the ball on the 35-yard line going in. You kick one field goal,” Wilson said. “You can’t do anything else but a field goal. You make the field goal, the game’s over. If you miss the field goal, the game’s over and the other team wins. I just think that if you play that long, you’re putting your lives on the line. You should find a way to win. I don’t like ending in a tie.”

Wilson’s idea is wacky and has no hope of being implemented. But as long as we’re talking about wacky ideas that have no hope of being implemented, let’s think about some alternatives.

How about, instead of one field goal, each kicker attempting five field goals, and the team whose kicker makes more of them wins? That would make the ending like penalty kicks in soccer. Or they could have the kickers start with a chip-shot 20-yard field goal and then move back five yards until someone misses. Whenever they reach a distance where one kicker makes it and the other kicker misses it, the kicker who makes it wins the game for his team.

Or if you want to get really fun, how about having five 35-yard field goals attempted by five different players? Every team could have its kicker try one of those field goals, but then it would have to choose four other players who can try a field goal. It would be fascinating to find out which non-kickers are good at kicking field goals when the game is on the line. Ndamukong Suh and Odell Beckham are among the players who have been floated as fill-in kickers when their teams’ primary kickers have been injured. How fun would it be to see Suh and Beckham trying field goals with the pressure on at the end of a tied Dolphins-Giants game?

Or maybe kicking shouldn’t be involved in the tiebreaking procedure at all. How about a “shootout” with a one-on-one pass coverage format? The offense could have its quarterback and best receiver on the field, the defense could have its best cornerback on the field, and the quarterback would have one chance to throw a touchdown pass to his receiver with the cornerback in coverage.

Or the NFL could turn the Oklahoma drill into the tiebreaking procedure: The home team goes on offense with one player on the field as a ball carrier. The road team goes on defense with one player on the field as a tackler. If the offensive player gets into the end zone, his team wins. If the defensive player makes the tackle, his team wins.

The possibilities are endless. An XFL-style scramble for the ball? Each team picks its fastest player to race in a 100-yard dash? Each quarterback throws the ball as far as he can? Maybe you’ve got a better idea. Or maybe we should just accept that some games will end in a tie.

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Seahawks sign Malliciah Goodman

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29:   Malliciah Goodman #93 of the Atlanta Falcons pressures  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the game at Georgia Dome on September 29, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks signed defensive end Malliciah Goodman on Tuesday.

Goodman played in 34 games over three seasons with the Falcons, starting 11. The Falcons released him in September when they trimmed their roster to the regular-season size of 53.

A fourth-round pick in 2013, he has two career forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The Seahawks placed defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson on injured reserve. He was injured in practice last week. Also Tuesday, the Seahawks worked out free agent defensive end Wallace Gilberry.

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Dolphins to sign Bacarri Rambo

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Running back Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball past strong safety Bacarri Rambo #30 of the Buffalo Bills in the second quarter at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins kicked the tires on veteran safeties James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown and Major Wright on Tuesday as they tried to fill out the position with Reshad Jones done for the season with a shoulder injury.

They’ll be adding a veteran safety to the roster, but it won’t be any of those three men. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that Bacarri Rambo will be the new addition to the Dolphins secondary.

Rambo was a sixth-round pick by the Redskins in 2013 and played 13 games for them over his first two seasons before moving on to the Bills. Rambo played 15 games and started eight times for Buffalo last season. He had 62 tackles, a sack, an interception and two forced fumbles with the interception and both forced fumbles coming in a November win over the Jets. Rambo was named the AFC defensive player of the week for that effort.

Isa Abdul-Quddus, Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas round out the safety group in Miami.

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Cardinals take a look at Dobson, Krause

Aaron Dobson AP

The Cardinals worked out wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Jonathan Krause on Tuesday, PFT has learned.

The team is exploring options at the position after losing Jaron Brown for the season to a torn ACL Brown suffered in last week’s game vs. the Seahawks.

Dobson, a second-round pick in 2013, was cut by the Patriots in September and had two brief stints with the Lions this season. He visited the Colts last week.

Krause played in two games last year for the Eagles. He’s had brief stints with the Chargers and Buccaneers this season.

The Cardinals also worked out quarterback Mike Bercovici and linebacker Zaviar Gooden.

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Kubiak plans to keep using C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Devontae Booker #23 and running back C.J. Anderson #22 of the Denver Broncos celebrate a score in the second half of the game against the Houston Texans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Monday night, the Broncos finally rediscovered their running game, with C.J. Anderson gaining 107 yards on 16 carries and Devontae Booker gaining 83 yards on 17 attempts.

Will that approach continue for the 5-2 team?

“I sure hope so,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters on Tuesday. “Hopefully we can have that many touches in a course of a game, but I saw two guys competing. I saw fresh guys on the field and I think that was good for us, but we were also getting more room to run. Those things go hand-in-hand.”

The competition with Booker has sparked a positive response from Anderson, according to Kubiak.

“I think C.J. has been playing well,” Kubiak said. “I think last night we did a better job up front; we gave him some more room to run. I think when guys push each other, last year it was C.J. and Ronnie [Hillman] pushing each other and I think [Booker] . . . is becoming more comfortable with what we’re doing. We’re more comfortable with [Booker] on the field in pass protection right now. We’re just growing as a group. Here we go in Week Eight and hopeful those kids keep coming along. It’s going to make us better if they do.”

With a quarterback who is still finding his way in his second NFL season and first year as a starter, it’s critical to have a strong running game. With 190 yards on Monday night from the team’s top two tailbacks, it doesn’t get much stronger than that.

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Hall of Fame game lawyer takes aim at David Baker’s history

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01: President and Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame David Baker presents a Hall of Fame ring to Jerome Bettis at Heinz Field on October 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The lawsuit arising from the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game is getting nearly as nasty as the ongoing presidential campaign.

The latest salvo comes not in the form of a court filing, but through comments from lawyer Michael Avenatti to Julia Marsh of the New York Post regarding the hiring of Hall of Fame president David Baker in 2014.

Under an article titled “How Roger Goodell let a check-forging politician run the Hall of Fame,” Marsh explains that Baker “once forged a signature on a check to himself for $48,000 from a health care nonprofit where he was the director.”  Although Baker stopped payment shortly after writing the check, he was sentenced in 1988 to a one-year suspended sentence, probation, and community service for attempting to use the money for a failed Congressional bid. He had faced up to three years in prison for the felony forgery charges.

“Either they did not know about it or they knew about it and blew it off,” Avenatti told the Post regarding the decision to make Baker, a former AFL Commissioner, the head of the Hall of Fame.

The article in the Post generally touts “strong ties” between Goodell and Baker, but specifically cites only that Goodell was Baker’s main NFL contact when Baker ran the Arena League, and that the pair “regularly dined together and discussed how to bolster the sport.”

The connection has little or no relevance to the pending litigation against the Hall of Fame and the league, but that’s what happens in litigation, which often can be every bit as nasty as a political race.

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Falcons sign Stevan Ridley, release A.J. Hawk

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 01:  Stevan Ridley #35 of the Indianapolis Colts runs the football upfield against Chykie Brown #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons spent Monday coming up with plans to deal with running back Tevin Coleman’s injury and they addressed the need for other options by adding a pair of runners to the roster on Tuesday.

The team announced that they have signed veteran Stevan Ridley and promoted Terron Ward from the practice squad.

Ridley spent the summer with the Lions and Colts, but failed to crack the backfield rotation in either spot. He played eight games for the Jets last season, running 36 times for 90 yards after wrapping up rehab for the torn ACL he suffered with the Patriots in 2014. Ward played in 13 games for the Falcons last season.

To make room on the roster, the Falcons released linebacker A.J. Hawk and offensive lineman Mike Person. Hawk signed with the team a few weeks ago when they needed some depth due to injuries, but never saw a defensive snap and may be at the end of the line after 11 years in the NFL.

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DeMarcus Ware’s home is burglarized during Monday Night Football


Crooks with the brainpower of the Wet Bandits decided to burglarize the home of an NFL player while he was at a game.

“After a great win, came home to find my house was robbed,” Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware tweeted after Monday night’s 27-9 victory over the Texans. “Never about the material things for me but my safety. Thank God for hidden cameras.”

That’s right, Ware had hidden cameras in his house. Which, via the Denver Post, obtained clear images of the faces of the perps.

They were at least smart enough to wear blue gloves to conceal their fingerprints. They should have opted for masks, too.

Police said that “valuables” were taken from the home, but they did not specify what was stolen. Meanwhile, perhaps one of them will be selling a Broncos Super Bowl ring on eBay soon.

Through an account that creates no electronic paper trail. But with a picture of the ring that has his face reflected in it.

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Patriots trade A.J. Derby to Broncos

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 18:  A.J. Derby #86 of the New England Patriots smiles on the sideline during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears in the second half on August 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

For the second time today, the Patriots have made a trade.

New England has sent tight end A.J. Derby to Denver, ESPN reports. The Broncos gave up a draft pick for Derby, likely a conditional late-round pick next year.

The Patriots drafted Derby out of Arkansas with a sixth-round pick in 2015. He spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve. He has played in four games this year, but only sparingly.

In Denver, Derby will add some depth at tight end and contribute on special teams.

New England also acquired linebacker Kyle Van Noy in a trade with the Lions. Trading Derby and acquiring Van Noy keeps the Patriots at 53 players on the roster.

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Bills promote rookie wide receiver Eagan

Green Bay Packers v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Bills have promoted rookie wide receiver Ed Eagan from the practice squad.

Eagan had spent the last four weeks on the Bills’ practice squad. The Bills released offensive tackle Michael Ola to make room for Eagan, who could see immediate action in a receiving corps that’s been hit hard by injuries.

Eagan, an undrafted rookie, spent the offseason with the Cowboys and Browns.

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