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Barkevious Mingo expected to miss a week or so with bruised lung

Barkevious Mingo AP

A bruised lung sounds like a highly unpleasant injury, but it doesn’t look like it will cause Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo to miss much time.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that Mingo will be released from the hospital on Friday after spending the night there after getting hurt against the Lions on Thursday. Rapoport also reports that Mingo is expected to miss the next week or so while recovering from the injury, which likely means he’ll miss the third preseason game while being healthy in time to start the regular season on the field.

The prognosis could be considerably worse, all things considered, and Mingo shouldn’t have much of a problem holding onto his projected role as a rotational pass rusher on defense.

There’s also an update on the health of guard Jason Pinkston’s ankle. It’s a high ankle sprain for Pinkston, according to veteran NFL writer Jason Cole, and that will put his availability for the start of the season in doubt. With Shawn Lauvao recovering from his own ankle surgery, that would likely place Garrett Gilkey at right guard for the open of the season.

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Mike Wallace: Nobody in the NFL can run with me

Mike Wallace, Harrison Smith AP

Speed has long been Vikings wide receiver Mike Wallace’s calling card, although it was hard to tell at times in Miami.

Whether because of scheme, chemistry with Ryan Tannehill or something else, Wallace wasn’t the deep threat for the Dolphins that he was earlier in his career with the Steelers. On Tuesday, Wallace made it clear that he doesn’t think it was because the league has caught up to his fleet feet.

“Without a doubt, I’m the fastest player in the NFL,’’ Wallace said, via the Pioneer Press. “If somebody feels foggy about that, we can (race). I’m never going to back down from competition. “I’ve run a lot of routes and I’ve got a lot of miles on my legs, but I still feel that there’s nobody (in the NFL) who can run with me. I might have slowed down a little but I could still run 4.25.”

Wallace didn’t point the finger at Tannehill, saying that there were things that both he and his Dolphins teammates could have done better over the last two years. He also said that “when you separate, you still have to connect” and that he’s “positive” he’ll be able to “showcase” his ability to get free of defenders in Minnesota.

The Vikings likely have the same optimism after trading for Wallace and planting him at the top of their receiver depth chart this offseason. If they’re right, the offense in Minnesota should be more explosive this time around.

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Panthers hire Russ Purnell to fill in for Bruce DeHaven during leave

purnell Getty Images

The Panthers suffered a football and a personal blow Tuesday, with the news that special teams coach Bruce DeHaven was taking a medical leave of absence.

But they’ve also lined up someone to fill his role until he’s ready to return.

The team confirmed the news of DeHaven’s undisclosed illness, but offered no other details.

“Our thoughts are with Bruce and his family, and we wish him a quick recovery,” coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “Out of respect for Bruce and his family’s privacy, no additional information will be disclosed.”

They also announced that Russ Purnell would coach their special teams while DeHaven was out.

Purnell has 26 years of NFL experience, with the Seahawks, Oilers, Ravens, Colts and Jaguars, with a pair of Super Bowl rings with Indianapolis in 2006 and Baltimore in 2000.

He’s been out of coaching since working in the UFL in 2012.

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Quarterback, five WRs among 49ers’ undrafted free agents

Dylan Thompson AP

Though the 49ers did not draft a quarterback, they have added a rookie free agent at the position.

San Francisco has signed South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson, the team said Tuesday. Thompson is the lone quarterback among the 49ers’ nine undrafted free agent signees.

Thompson (6-3, 218) connected on about 60 percent of his pass attempts in 2014, throwing for 3,564 yards with 26 TDs and 11 interceptions. Thompson and Blaine Gabbert are the lone backups to Colin Kaepernick on the San Francisco roster.

Of the 49ers’ other eight undrafted free agents, five are wide receivers: Dres Anderson (Utah), Isaac Blakeney (Duke), DiAndre Campbell (Washington), Darius Davis (Henderson State) and DeAndrew White (Duke).

Other undrafted free agents signed were Auburn offensive lineman Patrick Miller and Michigan State defensive lineman Marcus Rush.

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Nate Solder keeping focus on football after cancer treatment

AFC Championship - Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Getty Images

Patriots left tackle Nate Solder didn’t go public with a diagnosis of testicular cancer last season, choosing to have surgery before returning to the field to help the Patriots to a Super Bowl title.

Solder has since revealed how he dealt with the disease and urged men to be vigilant about their health, a message he repeated while talking to the media at the Patriots’ facility on Tuesday. Solder offered thanks for the support he got from team officials, his teammates and his doctors during an experience that he said “changes your perspective a little bit.”

Solder was able to concentrate on football last year and he said he’ll be able to do the same this year despite an expiring contract. Solder said he wants to remain in New England, but said he won’t be stressing about his deal.

“Who knows what will happen? My approach with that too is just to do the best that I can while I’€™m here. You have to [live in the present] there’€™s too many unknowns,” Solder said, via WEEI.com.

Solder has been a fixture up front for the Patriots since arriving in the first round of the 2012 draft so you’d expect the team to have interest in an extension that allows him to continue in that role for a few more years.

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Teams can’t meet with La’el Collins, yet

Collins Getty Images

As the pursuit of LSU tackle La’El Collins commences, there’s a problem. The pursuit of him can’t commence yet, and least not in certain ways.

“Clubs are prohibited from visiting a player who was eligible for the 2015 Draft at his campus or residence if the player has withdrawn from school and final exams have yet to conclude at the school,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email. “This includes drafted players, any undrafted players that have signed as free agents, and any undrafted players that have yet to sign.”

Collins has withdrawn from LSU, and final exams have not concluded there yet. (Finals are happening this week.)  So teams can’t visit a player at his campus or residence.

There’s possibly a loophole in the rule, if for example Bills coach Rex Ryan met with Collins not on campus or at his residence but at a local Applebee’s. But that seems to be too easy of a fix to be permitted.

Regardless, LSU finals are scheduled to last until May 9. Until then, restrictions apply to the direct efforts to recruit Collins.  Which would explain his agent’s recent statement that Collins won’t be meeting with any teams at this time.

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Agent: La’el Collins not meeting with teams at this time

Kentucky v LSU Getty Images

La’El Collins met with the Baton Rouge police department on Monday regarding their investigation into the shooting deaths of his former girlfriend and her newborn child and the police said he cooperated fully and is not a suspect in the case.

That has been the case since the first reports of police interest in speaking to Collins regarding the murders, although Collins went undrafted last week because of the uncertainty about the situation. Collins is therefore free to sign with any team and there appears to be interest, but Collins’s agent Deryk Gilmore told the Associated Press that he’s not taking any meetings with teams “at this time.”

Gilmore’s statement seems to refer to official meetings with teams because Collins has had contact with a couple of clubs. Collins met with Bills coach Rex Ryan on Monday night and LSU alums that played for the Dolphins are doing some recruiting of their fellow Tiger, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the team is “not ready to send any team officials” at this point.

With limitations about the deal teams can offer Collins as a free agent, fit and comfort will likely be important to Collins’s ultimate decision about where to sign. Assuming, of course, that things progress to a point that he is cleared and signs with one of the teams considering the move.

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Dolphins giving cancer survivor Arthur Ray Jr. a tryout

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In other news, the Dolphins are giving a chance to a player everyone can feel good about.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, the Dolphins have extended an offer for a cancer survivor to try out at their rookie minicamp.

Fort Lewis College offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr., who nearly lost his left leg to bone cancer, will be on the field when the Dolphins convene this weekend.

Ray was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, shortly after committing to Michigan State. After a three-year treatment and multiple surgeries, he returned to football in 2011. He ultimately transferred to the Division II school in Colorado to get more playing time. He worked out for scouts at Northwestern’s pro day, and drew enough attention to merit a look.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Miami Dolphins organization for believing in me, and allowing me this opportunity,” Ray said. “Words can’t express how this feels to have this shot. I want to thank my agent Paul [Sheehy] and everyone who has supported and been in my corner.

“Since Day 1 I prayed for an opportunity like this and God blessed it to me. I’m just ecstatic for me and my family. I’m ready to work, prove my abilities on the football field and show everyone anything is possible.”

Ray is still very much a longshot, as he’d have to stand out in a crowded field just for a chance to be one of the 90 guys the team takes to training camp.

But at a time when there are so many other less-comforting stories about guys getting second chances, having one like Ray’s is a welcome relief.

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Cardinals TE John Carlson retires

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

One of the Cardinals’ primary tight ends has decided to call it a career.

John Carlson, who started 12 games for Arizona last season, has announced his retirement, Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ website reports.

A Notre Dame product, the 30-year-old Carlson has caught 210 passes for 2,256 yards and 15 touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2008 with Seattle. After four seasons with the Seahawks, Carlson played two years with Minnesota (2012-2013) before moving on to Arizona.

Carlson’s retirement leaves second-year pro Troy Niklas as Arizona’s No. 1 option at tight end, with veterans Darren Fells and Ifeanyi Momah and rookie Gerald Christian also in the mix.

Jermaine Gresham is the top unsigned tight end, but he is coming off back surgery. Ex-Seahawks tight end Zach Miller is also a free agent.

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Dolphins send former LSU teammates to recruit La’el Collins

La'El Collins AP

Three players on the Dolphins were teammates of La’El Collins at LSU, and they’re being pressed into service to try to recruit him to come to Miami.

Collins, a first-round talent who went undrafted after police said they wanted to question him in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend, will be the most sought-after undrafted free agent in history if he is exonerated of the crime. Police have said he is not a suspect.

For the Dolphins, the effort to bring Collins into the fold has taken on the feel of a college recruiting visit. According to FOX 8 in New Orleans, not only is Dolphins coach Joe Philbin traveling to see Collins, but so are former LSU teammates Jarvis Landry, Anthony Johnson and Kelvin Sheppard.

NFL teams are limited in the financial offers they can make to undrafted rookies, which means there’s no way for Collins to make the kind of money on his rookie contract that he would have made as a first-round pick. But several teams are expected to offer Collins as much as the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows them to offer undrafted rookies, and so Collins will have multiple contracts to choose from, assuming he is exonerated.

As he chooses among those multiple offers, it may be a simple matter of Collins wanting to go to the team that feels the most like home. And the Dolphins are trying to make him feel like he’ll be comfortable in Miami.

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Veteran assistant Bruce DeHaven taking medical leave from Panthers

Buffalo Bills v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The Panthers made a coaching change to help their special teams this offseason, and unfortunately, they’re going to have to make another one.

According to Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, veteran special teams coach Bruce DeHaven is “currently taking some time away from the team” to deal with an undisclosed medical issue. The team is expected to hire another special teams coach, though they’re hoping DeHaven is able to return later as an assistant.

The 66-year-old DeHaven, who has also coached the Bills, 49ers, Cowboys and Seahawks, was promoted to the top job this year after the Panthers re-assigned special teams coach Richard Rodgers.

The Panthers were the league’s second-worst special teams unit in the comprehensive Dallas Morning News rankings, and allowed four special teams touchdowns last season.

But in addition to making the coaching change, the Panthers also went out and signed a number of players to help bolster their coverage-and-return game, which should also help.

Hopefully, DeHaven is able to make a full recovery and get back to work, but that work is by far not the priority at the moment.

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Randy Gregory: “I don’t think it’s a weed problem”

NFL Draft Football AP

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory admits he has problems.

He just doesn’t think marijuana is one of them.

That’s what Gregory said during an ESPN Radio interview, adding that it was his immaturity and stubbornness that were the bigger issues.

“That’s something I’ve definitely been working on and something I can definitely fix,” Gregory said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I’m 22 years old but I think I carry myself real well and I think I need to carry myself a little bit better as far as decision making goes. I think a lot of people are getting tied up in the weed and think it’s just a weed problem. I don’t think it’s a weed problem. I think it’s decision-making. I think I’m immature. I’m definitely working on that. I want to prove everyone wrong and I want to do it with this team. I think this is the best team I can do that with.”

Gregory failed a test for marijuana at the Scouting Combine, but said he hasn’t smoked since then.

“I haven’t touched it,” he said. “I’m feeling real good, too. This is a high in itself, to be honest. I’m high on life right now, and I don’t want to lose this high.”

What he lost was several million dollars, the difference between being a first-round pick (perhaps top 10) and a late second-rounder. And he lost it not necessarily because of marijuana, but because of his inability to recognize the fact he was about to take a marijuana test at a time when he had plenty of people around him who knew it was coming if he didn’t.

So maybe it wasn’t marijuana itself, it was his inability to recognize the priority he was placing on marijuana in relation to a job interview.

And that’s not immaturity, that’s irresponsibility. If not stupidity.

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Report: Bears part ways with college scouting director Marty Barrett

Chicago Bears Introduce John Fox Getty Images

When Ryan Pace took over as the Bears General Manager, the team made a couple of changes in their personnel department but Pace said they would be reviewing the rest of the holdovers from the Phil Emery regime and beyond after the draft.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that their review has led to a change at college scouting director. Biggs reports that Marty Barrett will not be back in that job for the 2015 season.

2014 was Barrett’s third year in that job and he’d been with the Bears organization since 1997 as a scout. Teams often hold onto members of their scouting staff through the draft when they make a change at the top of the hierarchy and then make changes after their work on the year’s rookie class is complete. The Jets and Eagles made similar changes this week and there could be more to come as organizations set their rolls for the coming year.

The Bears previously parted ways with pro personnel director Kevin Turks and released Rex Hogan from his contract to become the college scouting director for the Jets. That could be a landing spot for Barrett now that they’ve opened some spots in Jersey.

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PFT Live: Landon Collins, Kevin Colbert

Landon Collins AP

Safety Landon Collins was projected to be a first-round pick by many people heading into the draft, but he wound up lasting until the Giants traded up to take him at the start of the second round.

Collins will join Mike Florio on Tuesday’s PFT Live to talk about the experience of waiting to hear his name called. We’ll also get his early thoughts on his new team during his visit.

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert will also be on the show to discuss his team’s draft, which slanted heavily toward the defense. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union will be on hand to review the new additions in Jacksonville as well.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

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PFT Planet hits 3-of-5 draft props, beats the house

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra smile in front of a table with bottles of spirit Getty Images

The results are in, and PFT Planet was dialed in when it came to the 2015 NFL Draft.

Of the five draft proposition “bets” set by PFT, the readers were correct on three of them. Here were the winners:

Over-Under on first-round RBs: 2.5. Ultimately, 92 percent of the more than 5,500 voters selected UNDER 2.5. And indeed, only two backs — Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon — were taken in Round One.

Over-Under on draft spot of first cornerback taken: 12.5. About 61 percent of the nearly 2,700 voters sided with UNDER 12.5, which cashed when Minnesota took Michigan State’s Trae Waynes at No. 11.

Over-Under on Marcus Mariota’s draft position: 2.5. Winner, winner. Out of about 6,300 votes, 55 percent projected Mariota to be chosen first or second. And indeed, he was the No. 2 overall pick of Tennessee.

While PFT Planet correctly handicapped those props, they struggled on two of the gambles:

— A majority of readers believed the first, second or third pick of the draft would be traded. Alas, no trades came until the Chargers moved up for the No. 15 pick.

— About 60 percent of voters projected Alabama wideout Amari Cooper to be selected no earlier than No. 5 in Round One. However, he was Oakland’s pick at No. 4.

Despite those losses, PFT Planet ended up a collective winner on the five draft props. Assuming the normal house edge, where bettors have to bet $11 to win $10, PFT Planet ended up $2,732 in mythical commenter dollars.

So congratulations, readers. You beat the house this time. Here, have some buffet passes. How about some show tickets? Can we freshen your drinks?

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Cowboys give undrafted George Farmer a $55,000 guarantee

georgefarmer AP

Former USC wide receiver George Farmer went undrafted last week, but he made out OK anyway.

Farmer is signing with the Cowboys and will get $55,000 guaranteed, according to Field Yates of ESPN. That’s a very rare, and very hefty, guarantee for an undrafted rookie.

Presumably, the Cowboys had to guarantee Farmer that much money because he had several suitors as an undrafted free agent. Although the Collective Bargaining Agreement limits how much money undrafted rookies can make, teams do have some leeway in offering signing bonuses and guaranteed money to the most coveted undrafted free agents, and Farmer may turn out to do the best of any of them, other than La’El Collins, who will surely generate the best contract of any undrafted free agent if he’s exonerated in the death of his ex-girlfriend.

Farmer was considered one of the best recruits in the country coming out of high school but had a largely disappointing career at USC. Still, there’s no doubting that he’s a talented player, and the Cowboys think he’s got the potential to be worth the money, and then some.

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