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Kaepernick jersey becomes top seller

Kaepernick Getty Images

Even if it doesn’t come with a Dolphins hat, the jersey worn by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has become the hottest seller for the NFL.

According to CNBC.com, Kaepernick has climbed to the top of the chart for the period covering April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013.

Joining Kaepernick in the top two is another young NFC West quarterback — Russell Wilson of the Seahawks.

Robert Griffin III comes in at No. 3, followed by league MVP Adrian Peterson (whose Vikings have new jerseys this year) and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

To start the bottom five, the Dolphins finally have beaten the Patriots at something.  Ryan Tannehill finished sixth; Tom Brady lands at No. 7.

Two of the last three are retired linebackers:  Ray Lewis at No. 8 and Brian Urlacher at No. 10.  They sandwiched Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is arguably the best player in the NFL but whose jersey isn’t deemed nearly as valuable.

No 2013 rookie cracked the top 10 for the quarter, underscoring the lack of star power in this year’s incoming draft class.  Players who could eventually emerge with jerseys that sell briskly include Bills quarterback EJ Manuel, Jets quarterback Geno Smith, Rams receiver Tavon Austin, Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (the new Ochocinco in Cincinnati), Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Bengals running back Giovani Bernard, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, and Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson (who likely won’t be switching to No. 81).

 

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Ray Rice suspension expected to be two games

Ray Rice

The Ravens are bracing themselves for Ray Rice to be suspended, though they’re awaiting word on how long.

As it turns out, it might be shorter than anyone expected.

According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports, Rice is expected to get a two-game suspension, though no official announcement has been made.

If that’s the case, Rice will get half the punishment for being caught on tape knocking out his now-wife (who apologized for getting knocked out) that other players get for testing positive for Adderall.

If that’s the case, Rice will miss games against the Bengals and Steelers.

But perhaps more poignantly, he’ll be back on the field by October, when the NFL wraps itself in pink to remind us how valuable their female customers are to them.

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Evan Mathis still wants a new deal, but comes to camp

Evan Mathis AP

Evan Mathis wants a new contract, and likely deserves one.

But he won’t be holding out to get one.

According to Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com, Mathis has already reported to Eagles camp, after considering a holdout.

Mathis is set to make $5.15 million this year, coming off an All-Pro season. But he has three years left on his contract, which keeps him from having too much leverage in the situation.

The Eagles have locked up their entire offensive line for the near future, but will be without tackle Lane Johnson for the first four games, making Mathis’ presence even more important.

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Da’Quan Bowers: I haven’t been the kind of player I know I can be

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Getty Images

Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers landed in the news earlier this week when he was involved in an altercation that left an early member of Destiny’s Child under arrest for disorderly conduct.

The Buccaneers would surely prefer that Bowers was landing in the headlines because of his exploits on the football field, but they have been few and far between during his three professional seasons. Bowers has compiled 5.5 sacks and multiple injury issues since the Bucs made him a second-round pick in 2011, leading coach Lovie Smith to say that Bowers had something to prove this season.

General Manager Jason Licht said something similar on Wednesday and Bowers agrees with both men.

“No question about it, I owe it to this organization, owe it to this team. I’ve been here long enough, and I haven’t really been that player that I know I can be,” Bowers said, via the Tampa Tribune. “I think it’s time I really put forth that extra foot, to be that player that I know I’m capable of being.”

Bowers also said he feels better physically than he’s felt coming into camp the last two years, something that will come in handy in the competition for snaps at a defensive end position that offers no guarantees for a player who is running out of chances in Tampa.

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Josh Gordon’s appeal hearing now set for August 1

Gordon AP

Word emerged in May that Browns receiver Josh Gordon faces a one-year suspension under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.  Word has now emerged that Gordon’s appeal hearing is set for August 1.

Via Adam Schefter of ESPN, that’s when Gordon will travel to New York for the judge-jury-executioner session with the Commissioner’s designee.  A ruling thereafter will be issued, and the ruling will be final.

It remains possible that the NFL and Gordon’s camp will negotiate a reduced suspension.  Last year, a proposed four-game suspension for Gordon became a two-game suspension.  Also, a potential one-year suspension for Broncos linebacker Von Miller was reduced to six games, based on (reportedly) evidence that the sample collector was in cahoots with Miller.

For both Gordon and the Browns, time is of the essence.  A one-year ban would start immediately, keeping Gordon away from the team for 365 days.   The later it starts in 2014, the later he’ll be available to prepare for the 2015 season, when based on recent trends the Browns may have both a new head coach and a new G.M.

But the league moves at its own speed on matters of this nature.  For partial-season suspensions, it’s not as big of an issue.  For the Browns and Gordon, the lag could make it much harder for him to be ready to go if/when he’s reinstated in 2015.

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Modell family wants to press charges against grave urinator

Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell stands with the Vince Lombardi trophy Reuters

It’s one thing to take a grudge to the grave, but one Browns fans took his to an embarrassing new low.

After an unidentified Browns fan calling himself “Mr. BrownsFan4Life” made a video of himself urinating on the grave of former Browns-Ravens owner Art Modell, authorites in Baltimore are hoping to press charges.

The video has been removed from YouTube (Deadspin has a copy, if you want to see it), but the Modell family has expressed the appropriate outrage over the incident.

“To some people, the man in that grave is Art Modell,” son David Modell said, via Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. “But to me, my brother, my children, and my wife, that’s their father. That’s their grandfather. . . . Can any of your readers imagine, for one second, seeing someone do that to your parents’ grave?

“The act is so offensive, and I’d like to publicly say, isn’t enough enough? When is enough enough? It’s a vile, piggish act of online cowardice by Mr. BrownsFan4Life.”

David Modell also called it “incredibly distasteful, revolting, and mean-spirited” and promised to file charges.

“Whatever we can throw at him, that’s what’s going to happen,” he said.

Baltimore County Police are investigating the incident, and a police spokeswoman said they’re reaching out to the cemetery to see if they want to pursue charges.

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Fred Davis accused of throwing dirt at ex-girlfriend

New York Jets v Washington Redskins Getty Images

More details have emerged in the latest allegations against former Washington tight end Fred Davis, even if he were to regard them as “made up and flagellant.”

Vergie Arandid shared with FOX 5 in D.C. the details regarding an incident that happened on June 2 at a D.C.-area restaurant.  Davis allegedly confronted Arandid and a male friend.

“He told me that he would hit me and he referred to my friend as the ‘infamous rapper’ 2 Chainz,” Arandid said regarding Davis, with whom she has a “brief romantic history.”

“He came out of nowhere, pushes my shoulder down, twists my body so my backside was facing my friend and that’s when he said, ‘What are you even doing with her? She ain’t got no ass.  Look at her,’” Arandid said.

Embarrassed by the incident, Arandid said she went outside for a cigarette.  Davis allegedly followed her, grabbing “a handful of dirt from a pot that was hanging from [a] railing and throw[ing] it at me,” she said.

At that point, it nearly escalated.  With condiments.

“Out of impulse, I grabbed a ketchup bottle and I was going to spray him to be honest,” Arandid said.  “You’re way taller than me, 280 pounds, you’re a football player, I’m 4’11”, why are you so intimidated by me?  Why would you throw dirt at me and humiliate me like that in public?  It’s not right.  I just wanted to set an example.”

While Davis shouldn’t place his hands on anyone without his or her consent (or throw dirt at them), this seems like a technical assault, at best.  Arandid said she wasn’t injured, but of course she may nevertheless sue.

Hopefully, he’ll represent himself again.

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Thursday morning one-liners

Logan Mankins AP

Bills QBs Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis split the reps with the twos as they compete for the backup up.

All it took was LeBron James leaving and the Dolphins going to camp to make Miami a football town again.

Patriots G Logan Mankins is still trying to prove himself, and is clean-shaven for a change.

Jets TE Jeff Cumberland was excused from the start of camp after a death in the family.

Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs is looking forward to their defense being “fast and violent.”

The Bengals new faster pace could be a challenge for QB Andy Dalton.

The Browns are expecting a full house for the first few camp practices.

The Steelers are dealing with higher expectations as they head to camp.

The Texans solidified their offensive line with veteran T Tyson Clabo.

Colts WR Reggie Wayne arrived at training camp in style.

The Jaguars did some bottom of the roster shuffling.

The Titans will at least have better food this season.

Broncos boss John Elway was emotional when discussing the decision for owner Pat Bowlen to step aside because of Alzheimer’s.

Chiefs QB Alex Smith is ready for his offense to pick up where it left off.

Raiders S Charles Woodson wants a different mentality in camp this year.

Chargers TE Antonio Gates is back with the team after missing time to attend to personal matters.

The Cowboys remain open to bringing DT Josh Brent back.

There’s no countdown clock this year, but Giants G.M. Jerry Reese thinks they should be a “really good football team.”

The Eagles are counting on S Malcolm Jenkins to bring a new attitude to the defense.

The Redskins placed four players on the PUP list to begin camp.

Bears backup QB Jordan Palmer opens camp with a slight edge over Jimmy Clausen.

Lions TE Eric Ebron has an opportunity to become a leader.

The Packers’ secondary is looking for redemption.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer remains close with Hall of Famer Bill Parcells.

The Falcons are hopeful that rookie RB Devonta Freeman can make a difference.

Here’s a new one: The Panthers aren’t asking for more public money for stadium renovations.

Fans welcomed the Saints to their West Virginia home for the summer.

The Bucs want to continue an NFC South habit of worst-to-first.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians thinks his defense is getting stronger.

Rams rookie Deantre Harlan is focusing on one sport now.

Should pain slowed 49ers DE Justin Smith last year, he admitted.

What the loss of Sidney Rice means to the Seahawks WR corps.

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Falcons, Roddy White agree on extension

Roddy White AP

The Falcons and wide receiver Roddy White were talking contract extension earlier in the offseason, but tabled things for a while after White’s brother was killed.

They have both resumed and completed those talks. On Thursday morning, the Falcons announced that they have agreed to terms with White on a four-year contract extension that will keep him tied to the Falcons through 2018.

There are no financial terms to pick through yet, but if White sees it to the end there’s a good chance it will be the last contract he’ll ever sign as he’ll turn 37 in the final year of the deal. It would also mean that he spent his entire career in a Falcons uniform and that he’d further cement himself as the best receiver in Falcons history.

White battled injuries last year and caught 63 passes for 711 yards, his lowest season totals since the 2006 season. Better health for him and for the rest of the Falcons offense should lead to a better season all around.

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Alex Smith hopes Chiefs offense picks up where it left off

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

The Chiefs made sure running back Jamaal Charles would be in camp on time by reaching agreement on a revised contract that gives Charles a salary more in line with his role on the team’s offense.

Among the people who should be thrilled with that development is Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Smith is looking for a contract of his own, but he surely knows that his chances of putting up another strong season leading the K.C. offense are greatly enhanced by Charles’ presence and Smith hopes that’s just one way that the Chiefs offense will resemble the one they rolled out as last season came to a close.

“I felt at the end of last season we were doing some good things offensively,” Smith said, via the Kansas City Star. “We were really on a roll those last six weeks … moving the ball, scoring some points and protecting the football. We had a great off-season and want to get back into it.”

The Chiefs didn’t make any big additions at wide receiver this offseason, but the group they had on hand was enough to help Smith throw for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions over the final two months of the regular season. Smith also had a huge game against the Colts in a playoff contest the Chiefs might have won if Charles had not been injured during the proceedings.

That bodes well for the Chiefs offense this season and Smith’s chances of getting a deal that keeps him in Kansas City a little while longer.

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Zimmer will see all three QBs in the preseason before picking one

Teddy Bridgewater AP

The Vikings have, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner, a great group of quarterbacks in Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater. So how will head coach Mike Zimmer pick one starter?

Zimmer says he wants to see how all three of them perform in the preseason, which he views as a better indication than what they’ve done in the offseason, or what they will do in training camp.

“We’re not going to forget what they did in the spring. But we’re going to continue to evaluate them each day as we get going. The preseason games will probably be a little bit more of a judge, when we’re going against other people,” Zimmer told the Star-Tribune.

Asked about his time frame for picking a starter, Zimmer answered, “I have an idea in mind, but I’m going to keep that to myself right now.”

Cassel is generally viewed as the safe pick, while Bridgewater is the quarterback of the future. But if Bridgewater plays well in the preseason, he’ll also be the quarterback of the present.

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Jerry Jones: No one has a better feel for me than Jason Garrett

jonesgarrett AP

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has one very important thing going for him: His boss loves him.

That was confirmed by Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones, who when asked about Garrett’s job security insisted that the two of them are joined at the hip.

“I know first hand that we’ve got a relationship, that I have a relationship — there’s nobody that has a better feel for me than Jason in terms of a relationship,” Jones said.

Asked if the 2014 season is a make-or-break year for Garrett, and if Garrett has to make the playoffs or else he’ll be fired, Jones insisted that’s not the case. Jones also said he wouldn’t even use the word “playoffs” because he doesn’t want to jinx anything.

“This is not make or break. I’m not going to use that word you just used just because of superstitions,” Jones said. “But I’ll be serious with you: No, this is not. In terms of the record of this team, this is not a make-or-break situation for Jason and members of this staff.”

Right now, Jones is saying nothing but supportive things about Garrett. Five months from now, if Garrett is concluding a fourth straight 8-8 season (or if the Cowboys’ record is even worse), Jones may feel it’s time for a new head coach.

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Jermaine Gresham to PUP, Christo Bilukidi non-football injury list for Bengals

Wild Card Playoffs - San Diego Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have placed tight end Jermaine Gresham on the physically unable to perform list and defensive end Christo Bilukidi on the non-football injury list ahead of the start of training camp on Thursday.

According to Coley Harvey of ESPN.com, the Bengals said Gresham is dealing with a back injury and Bilukidi is suffering from a tooth problem.

Gresham missed the majority of the Bengals offseason workouts due to hernia surgery, which appears unrelated to his current issues.

Cincinnati now has 15 players listed on the physically unable to perform list or non-football injury list to begin training camp.

Joining Gresham on PUP is defensive tackle Geno Atkins (knee), guard Clint Boling (knee), linebacker Marquis Flowers, cornerback Leon Hall (Achilles), punter Kevin Huber (neck), receiver Colin Lockett (hamstring), defensive tackle Zach Minter (back), defensive tackle Devon Still (back), receiver Ryan Whalen (hamstring) and offensive lineman Mike Pollak (knee).

Joining Bilukidi on the non-football injury list is receiver Marvin Jones (ankle), quarterback A.J. McCarron (shoulder) and cornerback Onterio McCalebb (knee).

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Golden Tate and Ziggy Ansah placed on PUP for Lions

Dallas Cowboys v Detroit Lions Getty Images

Shoulder injuries will keep a handful of players on the physically unable to perform at the start of training camp for the Detroit Lions.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, receivers Golden Tate and T.J Jones, and defensive end Ziggy Ansah will open training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Ansah had shoulder surgery in February and was expected to be ready for the start of the season. However, he apparently still isn’t quite able to get on the field for the start of camp.

Jones also had shoulder surgery in June to repair a lingering college injury. Tate missed mini-camp in June after falling on his shoulder during OTAs.

The move to place the trio on PUP for the start of training camp in likely just a procedural decision. All three players are expected to be healthy in time for the season. However, the Lions would lose the ability to place the players on PUP for the regular season if they aren’t designated before the start of camp.

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Seahawks expected to sign receiver Morrell Presley

Seattle Seahawks Rookie Minicamp Getty Images

The unexpected retirement of wide receiver Sidney Rice on Wednesday leaves the Seattle Seahawks with an open roster spot ahead of the start of training camp on Friday.

According to Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times, the Seahawks are expected to fill the vacancy with receiver Morrell Presley.

Presley, an undrafted rookie from Division II California (Pa.) University, took part in the Seahawks rookie mini-camp in May as a tryout player.

Presley was a highly touted prep athlete that was initially committed to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll at USC. Presley ultimately signed with rival UCLA before transferring down to California.

At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Presley could be an interesting player to keep an eye on as the Seahawks lack height at the receiver position. Only Presley and former Canadian Football League star Chris Matthews (6-foot-5) are taller than 6-foot-2 following Rice’s retirement.

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Jim Brown sues to stop sale of 1964 NFL championship ring

Brown Getty Images

To whoever successfully bids on the 1964 NFL title ring awarded to Jim Brown, buyer beware.

According to the Associated Press, Brown has filed suit in a Manhattan federal court, claiming that the ring was stolen from Brown.  The complaint seeks to stop the online auction, which is scheduled to end on Friday.

Joshua Evans, the founder of Lelands Collectibles, says the lawsuit is “without merit.”  (Will someone who is sued ever declare in response, “Well, we thought we’d get away with it.”)

Brown immediately claimed via comments to the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the ring was stolen after word of the auction first emerged earlier this month.  Lelands claims that a clear and proper chain of title and authenticity exists, with Brown giving the ring to a family member who sold it to Lelands.  The company sold the ring in 1998, and it has since bought the ring back.

The current high bid on the ring is $58,948.68.

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