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Rams move 403-pound rookie from defense to offense

Al Lapuaho, Thomas Brown AP

We noted before the draft that Terrell Brown was a 6-foot-10, 388-pound defensive lineman from Ole Miss who had drawn some interest from NFL teams. But that’s not quite right.

Actually, Rams coach Jeff Fisher says, Brown is a 6-foot-10, 403-pounder. And Fisher says that after the Rams signed Brown as an undrafted free agent, they decided that his future is on the offensive line.

“Actually, we weighed him in at 403,” Fisher told reporters today. “We had him in for the tryout and he had some issues that we had to clear up from a physical standpoint. But he got that put behind us. We worked him out on both sides of the ball, defensive line and offensive line, and we felt like his best position would be right tackle. [Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau] said he’d love to have him. He’s a defensive lineman that we’ve converted to offensive lineman.”

Fisher also noted that with Brown’s height, the Rams might be able to put him on the field goal block team.

“He might be able to block some kicks,” Fisher said.

And if he can’t do that, he might have a future in the WWE, which is looking for some big-bodied football players. And it might help Brown make it in professional wrestling that he already has experience with folding chairs.

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Adam Vinatieri to Roberto Aguayo: Call me anytime you want

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 03:  Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after making a field goal against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buccaneers face the Browns at home on Friday night in a nationally televised game, which means there will be plenty of eyes on Buccaneers rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo whenever he takes the field.

Aguayo has missed two field goals and an extra point in his first two preseason games and was heckled by the crowd at a practice this week when he missed more kicks. Aguayo is consulting with a “mental coach” and former NFL kicker Ryan Longwell in an attempt to right himself and one of the league’s top kickers for the last two decades said Aguayo can come to him as well.

While answering questions about Aguayo’s struggles, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri recalled being told by then-Patriots coach Bill Parcells that he was on thin ice after missing five field goals in the first four games of his rookie year and said he’s willing to share what he’s learned with the rookie.

“He can give me a call anytime he wants to,” Vinatieri said, via ESPN.com. “There’s a brotherhood with the specialists. There’s not many of them and we don’t get any respect, so we have to show a little respect for each other. We have to help each other out if we have the opportunity.”

Vinatieri, who wasn’t drafted, said he things Aguayo will figure out because he wouldn’t have been drafted 59th overall (after the Buccaneers traded up) if he “wasn’t really, really good.” That’s obviously what the Bucs believe, but a little confirmation of it on Friday night would be a welcome development all the same.

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Josh Norman never wants to play for the Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 20:  Josh Norman #24 of the Carolina Panthers reacts during their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Washington cornerback Josh Norman has built his reputation in part by taking shots at anyone and everyone. In a new interview with Kevin Van Walkenburg of ESPN The Magazine (which actually occurred in May, which is sort of odd in today’s world of instant media), Norman took some shots at the New York Giants.

Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. remains Norman’s most obvious target. Norman spent plenty of time railing against Beckham in the interview.

“People from around the league were coming up to me afterward and saying, ‘He does that crap all the time,'” Norman said regarding the aftermath of last December’s brawl with Beckham at MetLife Stadium. “He lost so much respect from people for that little tantrum. I’ve already got a couple people telling me, ‘OK, I’ve got a hit out on him.’ It’s going to be rough for him this year. And he brought it on himself.”

Norman didn’t address, and apparently wasn’t asked about, whether he directed gay slurs at Beckham before the game. Panthers players allegedly harassed Beckham with that kind of talk, sparking Beckham’s temper during the game. (An NFL investigation on the matter found no proof of gay slurs.)

For Norman, his hard feelings toward the Giants extend far beyond Beckham. Norman explained in the interview that, when he was entering the draft four years ago, the Giants asked him tough questions about a reputation for freelancing at Coastal Carolina.

Norman said the Giants were “trying to get me to admit that I wouldn’t listen to coaching” and “[t]hat I was a dirtbag.” The interrogation continued until Norman snapped.

“They kept asking me the same question, wanting me to admit to something I didn’t do,” Norman said. “I ended up breaking down in the room.”

Crying, Norman called his agent and said he never wants to play for the Giants. For the foreseeable future, he’ll be playing against the Giants. Twice per year. And his quotes about Beckham and the team should be dusted off before every encounter.

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Andrew Luck: I’ll try to stop making tackles by eliminating interceptions

Colts-Andrew-Luck-Mike-Ehrmann-Getty-Images Getty Images

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been told to stop making tackles after he broke his throwing hand trying to make a stop after an interception last season. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck thinks he has a better way to protect himself: Not throw interceptions in the first place.

Asked today about Bengals cornerback Adam Jones saying on PFT Live that Dalton should “run his ass back to the sideline” if he throws a pick, Luck said he hasn’t been given the same advice.

“No, they have not told me to stop making tackles, they’ve just told me to stop throwing interceptions,” Luck said on the Dan Patrick Show. “I’ve always thought if I didn’t give effort to try and right a wrong that I’d be severely disappointed in myself. I was taught how to tackle properly at a young age by my coaches.”

Luck is bound to throw at least a few interceptions over the course of a season, however, and given how important his health is to the success of the franchise, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to shy away from contact.

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Eric Berry expected to report to Chiefs in coming days

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

During a Friday visit to PFT Live, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said that he’s confident safety Eric Berry will “be able to get himself back before the first game and be ready to go.”

Berry has not been part of the Chiefs’ work in either the spring or the summer after getting the franchise tag early in the offseason and failing to reach an agreement on a long-term deal with the team before the July 15 deadline. Berry can still make the full $10.806 million he’s due under the franchise tender by reporting in time for Week One.

According to multiple reports, that’s just what Berry will do. The safety is expected to report to the team in the coming days so he can sign his tender and spend some time on the field with the team before they open the season against the Chargers on September 11.

Berry is one of two key Chiefs defenders who have missed all the team’s work since the end of the 2015 season. Linebacker Justin Houston remains out after having surgery to repair his ACL and looks like a candidate to open the year on the physically unable to perform list, which would leave him ineligible to play for the first six weeks of the year.

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Report: Browns were asking for a second-rounder plus for Josh Gordon

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Browns vice president Sashi Brown, while telling reporters the team was serious about winning now, said they weren’t looking to trade wide receiver Josh Gordon.

While that’s technically true (at the moment), that doesn’t mean there weren’t attempts.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Browns had multiple conversations with teams, and their price was “a second-round pick and then some.”

That’s a high price, even for a guy who will be a restricted free agent after the season (meaning anyone who trades for him will control his rights for two seasons rather than one).

But it’s also not inconceivable that someone wouldn’t bite, as desperate teams make bad trades all the time.

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Josh Brown was cited for violating protective order two months after arrest

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants looks on after an extra point against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Josh Brown, the Giants kicker whose one-game suspension has raised questions about how the NFL handles domestic violence cases, was cited last year for violating a protective order.

Brown was cited for violating the protective order on July 14, 2015, ESPN reports. Brown had been arrested on a domestic violence charge two months earlier.

According to the report, the protective order Brown’s ex-wife obtained required Brown not to come within 500 feet of her house. But she called police and said she saw Brown driving by her house.

It is unclear whether the NFL or the Giants knew about the violation of the protective order. The Giants have acknowledged that they knew about Brown’s domestic violence arrest when it happened but allowed him to play all last year anyway, and that arrest didn’t stop them from signing him to a two-year, $4 million contract this year.

Brown’s ex-wife told police he physically abused her more than 20 times. Despite that, Brown was only arrested once and charges were dropped just days after that arrest.

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Keanu Neal having knee surgery, expected to miss 3-4 weeks

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) is stopped by Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal (22) and outside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, right, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.) AP

Falcons rookie safety Keanu Neal said after Thursday’s game that he thought he would be ready to play in the regular season opener after hurting his knee against the Dolphins.

An MRI said otherwise, however. The Falcons announced that the test determined that Neal suffered damage to the knee that will require arthroscopic surgery. Neal is scheduled to have the surgery on Monday.

He is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, which will keep him from playing in the team’s Week One home game against the Buccaneers at the very least. The Falcons travel to Oakland and New Orleans for their next two games before returning home to host the Panthers.

Kemal Ishmael and Robenson Therezie are the second-string safeties on the Falcons depth chart behind Neal and Ricardo Allen.

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How many games will Tony Romo play this year?

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo lies on the turf after he went down on a play against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

Last night’s injury to Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, which caused him to grab his back like Fred Sanford clutching his chest in anticipation of “the big one,” ended up being a false alarm.

But with each hit on a 36-year-old body that has endured a pair of back surgeries, a thrice-broken clavicle, and a procedure aimed at keeping the number of fractures from increasing to four, Romo runs the risk of sustaining an injury that knocks him out for weeks, months, the season, or more.

The good news for the Cowboys, so far, is Dak Prescott. The rookie has looked the part during the preseason, which gives the team confidence that it can win some (or at least one) game if Romo can’t play.

And that leads to the real question, as posed by the headline of this blurb. How many games will Romo play this year? I’ve put the over/under at 12.5. Rob “Stats” Guerrera predicted 10 on PFT Live. Cast a vote below, and then elaborate, if you care to, in the comments.

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Lack of transparency still the biggest problem with Josh Brown case

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants reacts after missing a game tying field goal in overtime against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 6, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Jets won by a score of 23-20.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the Ray Rice debacle, the NFL vowed to handle domestic violence cases differently. No excuses. No tolerance. No deference to the criminal justice system.  The league promised moving forward that it would do its own investigations, and that it would impose a minimum suspension of six games on any player who engages in domestic violence.

The six-game minimum comes with a caveat. If there are mitigating circumstances, then the punishment can be reduced. That’s apparently what happened with Giants kicker Josh Brown. It’s impossible to know that for sure because: (1) the NFL has not specified what the mitigating circumstances, if any, were; and (2) the NFL didn’t even mention consideration of mitigating circumstances in its multiple statements on the matter. The only thing the league has said to justify the one-game suspension is that both Brown’s ex-wife and law enforcement officials refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Some are suggesting that the league hasn’t provided the information about mitigating circumstances because it would make Brown’s ex-wife look bad, and that everyone should give the NFL and the Giants the benefit of the doubt on this one. But here’s the problem: The benefit of the doubt evaporated the moment Mary Jo White, hired by the league to supposedly provide an unbiased assessment of the Saints bounty scandal, insisted that sideline video showed former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove saying, “Bobby, give me my money” during the 2009 NFC title game when careful consideration of the audio and the video proved no such thing. From that moment forward, the credibility of league-run investigations became compromised, preventing anyone from confidently saying, “OK, we’ll take your word for it.”

Subsequent circumstances have underscored this point. When the NFL tried to suspend Ray Rice after the elevator video emerged (and after he already had been suspended two games for knocking out his then-fiancee in the elevator), the league based the second punishment on the notion that Rice had lied during the disciplinary process. An arbitrator rejected that claim that Rice had merely said his victim had “knocked herself out.” Likewise, the #Deflategate saga entailed bastardizations of both science and Tom Brady’s testimony, all in the name (apparently) of reaching the conclusion the NFL wanted to reach.

Why would they not go after Josh Brown when they went after Tom Brady? The easy answer is that they wanted to go after Brady, and they didn’t want to go after Brown (or, at a minimum, they wanted to go easy on Brown).

So why go easy on Brown? Some would say that the Commissioner deferred to Giants co-owner John Mara, who is regarded as one of the most influential owners in the league. One league insider who is troubled by the outcome of the Brown case pointed to this dynamic involving NFL off-field discipline chief Lisa Friel, as noted by Peter King of TheMMQB.com in October 2014: “She is a big football fan; New York Giants season tickets have been in her family for decades, and she has been to each of the three Giants home games this fall.”

If Mike Kensil’s relationship with the Jets was fair game for scrutiny in the #DeflateGate saga whether the league wanted to harm the Patriots, it’s fair to point out league-office allegiances that could help a team. Moreover, during the officiating lockout of 2012, a replacement official who made it clear that he is a Saints fan was pulled from a Saints game. If fan allegiance is enough to result in an official being removed from a given game, it’s fair to at least ask the question of whether Friel’s affinity for the Giants influenced her decision to opt for lenience with Brown — and her willingness to not press harder to hear from Brown’s ex-wife or from law enforcement.

But for the bounty scandal and the Ray Rice second suspension and #Deflategate, maybe folks would be inclined to give the league the benefit of the doubt and accept the notion that full transparency would undermine privacy interests of the player involved and his family. Given those past incidents and in consideration of the current circumstances, it’s difficult to not wonder whether the facts as collected by the team and the league fairly led to a decision to suspend Brown for only one game, or whether that’s simply the outcome the league and the team wanted, regardless of whether the facts (including a claim by Brown’s ex-wife of 20 prior incidents of violence) suggest that the punishment should have been more severe.

Would I like to be able to accept the NFL at face value on this issue and others like it? Absolutely. It’s not my fault that I can’t, and it’s the responsibility of the NFL and the Giants to properly balance player privacy interests against loudly-stated proclamations from 2014 about no excuses and no tolerance for domestic violence in a way that doesn’t require the benefit of the doubt or any other courtesy to be extended by a public whose confidence in the game is supposedly of paramount importance to the league.

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A.J. Green won’t play if his baby is born on game day

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23:   A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals waits for a play in the second half of their game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bengals receiver A.J. Green’s wife is pregnant, with a due date of September 30. If she goes into labor on a game day, Green will be in the hospital, not on the field.

I can’t play,” Green said, via Cincinnati.com. “First one, definitely. I want to be there.”

Green said he’s hoping his baby doesn’t arrive on a game day, but only time will tell.

“Just not a game day,” he said. “Anything before a game day would be ideal.”

Green missed yesterday’s practice for a doctor’s appointment and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told him he should. In fact, Green said he didn’t even have to ask, as Lewis just told Green to go as soon as Green told him about the appointment.

Some Bengals fans may not be so eager to see a player as important as Green make that choice on a game day during the season, but Green has already made his choice.

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Panthers working out Stevie Brown too, looking for safety help

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

The Panthers have had pretty good success plugging older safeties into the back of a good defense, and they’re clearly looking for another potential upgrade there.

In addition to the previously reported Donte Whitner workout today, they’re also bringing in recently released veteran Stevie Brown, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Brown was cut by the Chiefs yesterday, and has bounced around a good bit lately. But he had that one eight-interception season with the Giants in 2012 (when Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman was a senior personnel analyst there), so he’s probably going to continue to get looks.

The Panthers extended safety Kurt Coleman this offseason, but were hoping to push former fourth-round pick Tre Boston into a bigger role this year after releasing old Roman Harper.

They’ve had some injuries to some younger players in the secondary, but it clearly looks like they want to upgrade in the experience department.

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Vic Beasley: Pass rush “ain’t working right now”

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 14: Vic Beasley #44 of the Atlanta Falcons talks to a teammate on the sidelines in the first half of a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome on August 14, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons moved Vic Beasley to linebacker this offseason in hopes of putting him in position to better rush the passer in his second season after being drafted eighth overall in 2015.

Beasley missed a little time this summer with a shoulder sprain, but said it wasn’t the reason why he failed to register a sack or quarterback hit in a quiet outing against on Thursday night against a Dolphins offensive line that’s been a subject of concern in Miami.

“Nah, it ain’t working right now,” Beasley said, via ESPN.com. “I have to go to the film room, go to the practice film, and try to critique some thing. It is [frustrating] at times. I just know I have to keep working. … I know what’s expected of me, but it’s not a sense of pressure. It’s just what’s expected of me. I just have to keep attacking each day.”

Beasley isn’t the only reason Atlanta’s pass rush is falling short. Dwight Freeney didn’t play on Thursday because of a back strain and Adrian Clayborn, the only regular with a sack thus far in the preseason, had to leave with a shoulder injury. Everyone will need to be better, but being drafted so early means there’s going to be a particular spotlight on Beasley this season and that sense of pressure will likely come if he doesn’t produce.

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Kam Chancellor “a little surprised” by Ezekiel Elliott’s physical play

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25:  Running back Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys exchanges words with defensive end Cliff Avril #56 of the Seattle Seahawks after being stopped on a rushing play at CenturyLink Field on August 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Cowboys 27-17.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might not like that running back Ezekiel Elliott was photographed at a legal marijuana dispensary in Seattle, but he probably likes that there wasn’t any sign of a mellow Elliott in his first game action of the preseason.

Elliott ran for 48 yards on seven carries against the Seahawks and showed no qualms about initiating contact with Seattle defenders in an effort to grind out a few more yards at the end of runs. Some of those collisions came with Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, who said after the game that he was surprised by Elliott’s willingness to take on contact.

“I was, because there was no film on him,” Chancellor said, via the Seattle Times. “I didn’t know if he was going to juke me or not, so I was a little surprised. But not the second time. Second time you know I’m bringing that wood. I was a little surprised the first time, but he has a lot of courage for that. I’ll give it to him. But if it was a full game, it would have been a bloodbath.”

Chancellor picked up a personal foul for hitting Elliott late on an incomplete pass, something he said wasn’t meant as a “Welcome to the NFL” moment for a rookie who wasn’t showing any fear of getting hit. Chancellor might not have been sending a message with that hit, but Elliott was — “I had to let them know I belong here” — and it’s unlikely that any defenders will face him in the future without knowing that there’s going to be a lot of hitting.

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Brandon Marshall thinks Ryan Fitzpatrick is better this year

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) passes the ball under pressure from Washington Redskins defensive end Preston Smith (94) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) AP

Throughout the long spell this offseason when the Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick were unable to agree on a new contract, wide receiver Brandon Marshall consistently expressed his hope that Fitzpatrick would be back at the helm of the offense in 2016.

Marshall wasn’t always so positive about Fitzpatrick, however. At the start of training camp in 2015, Marshall said he thought “we’re in trouble” if Geno Smith were to get hurt. Smith would get hurt, of course, and Fitzpatrick would set a Jets record with 31 touchdown passes.

Marshall says Fitzpatrick “proved us wrong” last year and he thinks that life with Fitzpatrick will improve in 2016.

“I actually think he’s better this year,” Marshall said, via the New York Post. “He’s throwing the ball much better, more velocity, he’s throwing it deeper. He seems comfortable back there. He’s looking really good. He’s impressive.”

Marshall thinks it took the offense a long time to jell last season, something that seems less likely to be an issue with everyone back in the same system as last season. With a schedule that features five 2015 playoff teams and a Thursday night game in Buffalo in the first six weeks, it would certainly behoove the Jets to find their groove right off the bat.

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Steve Smith won’t play this week for Ravens, Suggs and Dumervil unlikely

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 26: Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens walks on the field prior to the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 26, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Nils Nilsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Ravens are going to put Joe Flacco on the field Saturday night against the Lions, but most of their other recovering-from-injury stars are going to get the night off.

Via Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun, veteran wide receiver Steve Smith has already been ruled out by coach John Harbaugh, while wide receiver Breshad Perriman and outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are unlikely to play either.

He’s not playing in this game – at least that I know of,” Harbaugh said of Smith. “We’ll see. Maybe he’ll be on the side.”

Smith’s coming back from a torn Achilles, and Perriman was just activated from the physically unable to perform list Monday.

As far as the outside linebackers, Harbaugh said Suggs was “fine,” but they’re expected to keep him and Dumervil (activated from the PUP Monday) out anyway, while they look at young pass-rushers Albert McClellan, Matthew Judon and Kamalei Correa.

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