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Sunday morning one-liners

Benny Cunningham AP

Which Bills cuts are eligible for the practice squad?

The Dolphins could be in the market for another wide receiver.

DL Tommy Kelly hopes to make Patriots coach Bill Belichick happy this season.

Said Jets QB Matt Simms, “[Offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] has just given me so much confidence in myself in leading this team. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity that all the coaches here have given me.”

Ravens S Brynden Trawick was fined $21,000 for a blindside block on special teams in the team’s preseason game against the Buccaneers.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis says the team won’t “necessarily” sign a quarterback to the practice squad.

DB Josh Aubreycame out of nowhere” to make the Browns, according to coach Rob Chudzinski.

The Steelers have five tight ends on the roster, which likely means a move is coming at the position.

Four undrafted rookies made the Texans’ initial 53-man roster.

Said Colts LB Caeser Rayford, “I didn’t know anything. I was just waiting to see if I was going to get a call. I was on pins and needles all day.”

Thirteen Jaguars fans won a pair of season tickets each by making a 35-yard field goal.

LB Jonathan Willard, who earned headlines by helping save a family from a burning car, was one of the players the Titans let go on Saturday.

“Once everything came out, I was like, ‘Well, I made it.’ ”

The Broncos want to play at a high tempo while also winning the time of possession battle.

A look at the offensive players who made the Chiefs’ initial 53-man roster.

The Raiders will likely open up a roster spot by placing T Jared Veldheer on injured reserve with the designation to return.

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego believes the Chargers have work to do to get their “best 53.”

The Cowboys currently have five tight ends and four cornerbacks.

Giants DE Justin Trattou kept his phone line free Saturday, but never got a call telling him he was cut.

The Eagles are thin at cornerback right now.

Redskins players held an “Island” themed party and some members of the team came dressed as the Jamaican bobseld team.

C Taylor Boggs has made the unlikely leap from Humboldt State to the Bears.

The Lions went with the present over the future with some of their cuts.

There are three players left from the 2011 draft with the Packers.

Getting to know the Vikings preparing to embark on their first season with the team.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said the team did a lot of experimenting during the exhibition season.

The Panthers feel they’re ready for their opener against the Seahawks.

With Courtney Roby gone, the Saints will need a new special teams captain

What do we know about the Buccaneers after the preseason?

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says he’s seen improvement on the offensive line.

RB Benny Cunningham was thrilled to get a compliment from Marshall Faulk, one of his predecessors with the Rams.

LS Brian Jennings wrote that he feels like he’s been “honorably discharged” after 13 years with the 49ers.

LB John Lotulelei proved worth the $25,000 bonus he got from the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent.

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49ers bring up Je’Ron Hamm, cut DuJuan Harris

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 03: Tight end Je'Ron Hamm #87 of the Washington Redskins is tackled by free safety Josh Evans #26 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at FedExField on September 3, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The 49ers made a change to the active roster in preparation for tomorrow’s game against the Cowboys.

Practice squad tight end Je’Ron Hamm has been called up to the active roster, while running back DuJuan Harris has been cut from the active roster.

Hamm, who played last season in Washington, gives the 49ers some depth at the position while tight ends Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek are both listed as questionable on this week’s injury report.

Harris has already been cut and re-signed twice this season and may end up back with the team again next week.

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Glenn Gronkowski gets practice squad gig with Patriots

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11:  (L-R) Brothers Dan Gronkowski, Gordie Gronkowski, Rob Gronkowski and Glenn Gronkowski arrive at the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) Getty Images

Baby Gronk is officially a Patriot. Sort of.

Glenn Gronkowski, the youngest brother of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, joined the team’s practice squad on Saturday, per a source with knowledge of the situation.

Undrafted in April after playing college football at Kansas State, Glenn Gronkowski signed with the Bills. He made it to the 53-man roster at the outset of the season, but he later was waived. The Patriots gave him a workout last month.

His first game as an extended member of the team comes Sunday, when the Bills visit the Patriots.

Rob and Glenn are two of the Brothers Gronk, a free-spirited and fun-loving foursome that seems destined to someday star in a reality show. For now, half of them are part of the same team in America’s ultimate reality show.

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Rashad Jennings questionable for Monday night

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 03:  Rashad Jennings #23 of the New York Giants in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at MetLife Stadium on January 3, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants may be without their two top running backs on Monday night against the Vikings.

Giants running back Rashad Jennings is listed as questionable for the game with a thumb injury. That’s a concern for the Giants because their top running back, Shane Vereen, has already been ruled out.

If Jennings can’t go, Orleans Darkwa would be the only healthy running back who has carried the ball for the Giants this year.

The Giants are also dealing with injuries at cornerback, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie listed as questionable and Eli Apple doubtful.

The Vikings have ruled out defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and tight end David Morgan.

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Tom Coughlin met with Bills “several months ago”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants poses with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Giants defeated the Patriots by a score of 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

As it turns out, former Jaguars and Giants coach Tom Coughlin met with the Bills. However, the meeting happened, according to his agent, “several months ago.”

Sandy Montag, who told PFT earlier this week that a report of a recent meeting between Coughlin and the Bills was incorrect, subsequently told Chris Mortensen of ESPN that a meeting happened in the more distant past.

Mortensen explains that Coughlin met with Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, team president Russ Brandon, and coach Rex Ryan “around March or early April” to discuss a consultant-style role with the team. (It’s possible that the meeting happened in connection with the annual league meetings at Boca Raton, which occurred in late March.) The meeting lasted, according to Mortensen, “about an hour.”

“I can confirm that the meeting you’re talking about did take place, but it was several months ago and there have been no calls from any team about Tom’s availability to coach,” Montag told Mortensen. “He is fully engaged in his job with the NFL.”

Coughlin seemingly hopes to keep coaching; he interviewed with the Eagles for their vacancy before the team hired Doug Pederson. The Bills would make plenty of sense, for various reasons. Coughlin would arrive with a long track record of winning, he has twice beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and he would be in many ways the exact opposite of Ryan. Given that NFL teams tend to hire someone completely unlike their most recent head coach, that could make Coughlin even more attractive.

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Dez Bryant makes the trip to San Francisco

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys is assisted by team personel after taking a hit from the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant isn’t expected to play tomorrow, but he’s not ruled out yet.

Bryant made the trip to San Francisco for tomorrow’s game against the 49ers, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

It still seems extremely unlikely that Bryant will play after suffering a hairline fracture near his knee last week against the Bears. Reports have indicated Bryant will probably have to miss at least a couple games.

But the Cowboys aren’t ready to make that official just yet. He’ll at least be in the stadium, and we’ll have to wait until 90 minutes before kickoff to see whether the Cowboys make him active.

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Irsay: Luck needs to protect himself like Peyton did

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos strips the ball from quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

Andrew Luck will always be compared to the man he succeeded as the Colts’ franchise quarterback, Peyton Manning. And in one respect, Colts owner Jim Irsay says Luck still has some work to do.

Irsay said today that Luck is fully healthy, contrary to some concerns that he had suffered a shoulder injury while trying to make a tackle after an interception. But Irsay acknowledged that he’d prefer not to see Luck making tackles at all.

“He can throw it 70 yards. He’s ready to play,” Irsay said, via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “I’m more concerned about him – and him and I have talked – about he has to protect the football and protect himself. Look, he throws the interception, it’s tough, he’s mad. I know. But no Ray Lewis tackles. Do what Peyton did. You do a little foxtrot, you don’t embarrass yourself, you push a few guys but you stay out of the fray. You don’t see Aaron Rodgers [and] you didn’t see Peyton get involved in those type of frays. That’s when tough things happen.”

Irsay wants to see Luck change his approach.

“He has to change the way he plays only because he is not a 22-year old kid at Stanford who could play tight end or quarterback,” Irsay said. “He has to understand – and he learned from the Denver game – the importance of what it means to stay on the field. Honing his game is the key. There isn’t some kind of chronic shoulder injury or anything like that. I promise you. There are no surgeries planned. He is fine and the shoulder is something that just disappears into the woodwork when he wins his next MVP or when we win a Super Bowl.”

Those are comments you’d usually expect to hear from a coach, not an owner. But Irsay never hesitates to give his opinions, and in his opinion Luck has to get better at avoiding hits.

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NFL fines Willie Young for roughing Dak Prescott

Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Bears defensive end Willie Young has been hit by the league office for his hit on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on Sunday.

Young, who was flagged for roughing the passer, was fined $18,231.

It was a costly penalty on the field: The Cowboys would have been facing third down outside field goal range after Prescott threw incomplete, but with help from Young’s penalty the Cowboys would end up scoring a touchdown on the drive.

Young is a longtime critic of the league’s roughing the passer rules, saying they’re unfair to defensive players. But those rules aren’t going away, and as long as Young keeps doing it, he’ll keep getting fined.

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Saturday one-liners

gl_g_mrrts_57611 Getty Images

Jets coach Todd Bowles provided a Micheal Ray Richardson-style assessment of the team and its quarterback, with far less pizazz: “[Ryan Fitzpatrick] can’t play any worse, and we can’t coach it any worse. There’s nowhere to go but up.”

Bills fans are concerned that efforts by coach Rex Ryan to tweak Bill Belichick and company will backfire.

Dolphins CB Tony Lippett will continue to be a starter, despite a rough night against A.J. Green.

Patriots WR Chris Hogan doesn’t view Sunday’s game against his former team from Buffalo as a matter of revenge.

Ravens LB C.J. Mosley is improving in pass coverage.

The latest sign of the apocalypse: An assessment of the Bengals’ Thursday night win not in grades or numbers but in emojis.

Browns RT Austin Pasztor is trying to put a bad game in Miami behind him.

The Steelers’ defense is on track to shatter a record set a year ago, and it’s not a good record.

Texans WR Will Fuller keeps a detailed notebook of every tip and piece of advice he gets.

Colts RB Robert Turbin says he’d be a pro basketball player if he wasn’t a pro football player. (Pro basketball is always the better career choice, if a guy truly has that option.)

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles on the team’s urgency to win: “Guys are kind of taking it upon themselves. Not in the sense of pressing and, ‘We need to win now,’ but just in a sense of, ‘What we’ve done hasn’t worked or been successful so let’s figure it out rather than point fingers — let’s try and come up with different ideas and solve what’s going on.'”

Titans RB DeMarco Murray has re-established himself as one of the best tailbacks in football.

Broncos RB C.J. Anderson isn’t sweating the fact that an ineffective running game forced the team to win in Cincinnati through the air; “We can win either way,” Anderson said. “Run, pass, fullback dive — we can win. It’s just wonderful.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid calls retiring Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully “a tribute to all the redheads out there.”

S Karl Joseph picked up positive reviews in his first start with the Raiders.

Chargers DE Joey Bosa says he’s “getting close” to making his NFL debut.

Cowboys LT Chaz Green is ready to go, again, if Tyron Smith can’t, again.

Giants WR Victor Cruz believes the offense is close to having a “game where we all click and everything is good on all cylinders.”

Eagles QB Carson Wentz could be the team’s first AP offensive rookie of the year, ever.

Washington players are happy that the team ditched gold pants for burgundy.

Bears rookie RB Jordan Howard knows he has a big opportunity on Sunday.

Former Lions RB Joique Bell, now with Chicago, has no ill will toward his former team.

For the Packers, the special teams have avoided a run of bad luck.

Vikings P Jeff Locke had a great game at Carolina, thanks in large part to the efforts of gunners Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s session due to illness.

With LT Michael Oher (concussion) out on Sunday, the Panthers are expected to move Mike Remmers to the left side.

Good news/bad news for the Buccaneers: The Denver defense isn’t hard to figure out.

The 0-3 Saints know their margin for error is slim, and shrinking.

When the Cardinals spent a week in West Virginia last season, coach Bruce Arians dined with Arnold Palmer.

Sergio Galvez is the man responsible for keeping the Rams loose at practice with music.

With four of the next five games at home, the 49ers have a chance to build some momentum. (Or to thoroughly depress their paying customers.)

Seahawks rookie OL Germain Ifedi is “real excited” for his first NFL game.

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Doug Baldwin says he’s received death threats

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers talks with wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks after the game at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The efforts to use the national anthem as a vehicle for shedding light on serious societal issues entails various types of risk. One specific type of risk is fairly significant.

In an interview with 60 Minutes Sports, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin says that he has gotten “a few” death threats based on his involvement in the matter.

“A couple of people told me to watch my back,” Baldwin tells Jon Wertheim in a partial transcript circulated by Showtime.

“How do you respond to that?” Wertheim asks.

“The same way Colin [Kaepernick] did,” Baldwin said. “You know, there’s issues going on in our society that people feel compelled to talk about and I’m not going to be quiet about. And if something was to happen to me, I think that would just further prove my point that there are issues in our culture, in our society that need to be changed.”

Regardless of whether the threats are real and credible (and the vast majority of death threats aren’t), death threats always should be taken seriously by the authorities — regardless of whether they’re made on (anti)social media, by phone, or in person.

The transcript of the interview doesn’t contain many/any specifics beyond Baldwin saying he’s been told to “watch his back,” which may not have even been an actual death threat. Whatever the details may be, if Baldwin truly feels threatened, he should report the threats, the threats should be investigated, and action should be taken against those who made them.

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What did you miss this week on PFT Live?

PFTLive

The week is over, which means that 15 more hours of PFT Live have been created. It also means that, if you missed any of it live, you can download the podcasts.

If you do, you’ll be informed, entertained, and hopefully from time to time amused. Sometimes by design, sometimes perhaps not.

Guests for the week included Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, Broncos safety T.J. Ward, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, Dolphins safety Reshad Jones, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, and more.

The podcasts are available at iTunes and audioBoom. The live show returns on Monday at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio (Sirius 213/XM 202), with a two-hour daily simulcast at NBCSN.

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NFL rules prevent effort by Tom Benson to resolve ownership fight

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28:  New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson walks on the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on October 28, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Saints 34-14. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

A new front has emerged in the Benson Family Feud.

As Saints owner Tom Benson tries to resolve a fight with estranged heirs arising from his decision to prevent them from acquiring ownership of his NFL and NBA teams, the NFL will not allow Benson to follow through on a proposal to swap non-voting shares of the Saints with personally-guaranteed promissory notes in trust funds previously created for his daughter and her children.

Via Katherine Sayre of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, recent court filings in a lawsuit sparked by the issue “show that the NFL’s finance rules won’t allow Benson to use his personal wealth . . . to back the proposed promissory notes.” The league’s position derailed a settlement that had previously been reached between Benson and trustees regarding his desire to strip Saints equity from the family members’ trust funds.

The problem comes from the possibility that, if Benson defaults on the 30-year promissory notes, the estranged heirs could attempt to seize his personal assets — including the controlling shares of the Saints franchise.

Per the report, Benson recently made a revised offer in the aftermath of the NFL’s ruling. The trustees have argued that the proposal, based on a January 2015 valuation of the team, should be based on the value of the team as of September 8, 2016, which would result in an even greater dollar value.

That’s the biggest problem Benson faces as he tries to fix this; as NFL franchise values continue to climb, the 60-percent chunk of the team held in trust continues to climb, too, making it costlier for Benson to replace those shares with comparable assets.

Until these issues are fully and finally resolved, it’s unclear whether the estranged family members will be frozen out completely of an ownership stake in the Saints. Even though they wouldn’t have power over the affairs of the team, they’d own the majority of it — which would be a very awkward outcome to an already messy situation.

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Jim Irsay wants to find the right owner for a team in London

Jim Irsay AP

If there are any London-based billionaires with an interest in American football reading this, please give Jim Irsay a call.

Irsay, the Colts owner whose team plays in London tomorrow, said at an appearance there today that he’s hoping the NFL will have a franchise in London. And Irsay thinks the key is getting the right owner in place, someone who understands both American football and the European market.

“That’s my goal as an owner, to find the right owner and the right team to come here,” Irsay said, via George Bremer of the Herald Bulletin.

The NFL is serious about building the sport in London, with many owners believing the league is as popular as it’s going to get in the United States and will need to grow overseas if it’s going to keep growing. But there are many logistical challenges to putting a team in London permanently, as opposed to just playing a few games a year there. The right owner will have to work through those challenges to make it work.

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Report: Jimmy Garoppolo will start Sunday

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots looks to pass the ball during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) Getty Images

As Tom Brady concludes his four-game suspension on Sunday, Jimmy Garoppolo will return to the helm of the Patriots’ offense.

Garoppolo will start Sunday against the Bills, WEEI reports.

After playing very well in the first game and a half of the season, Garoppolo suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder during the Week Two game against the Dolphins and sat out Week Three against the Texans. Jacoby Brissett started against Houston but suffered an injury of his own, to his throwing thumb.

Both Garoppolo and Brissett are officially listed as questionable for the game. Brady will return to the team when his suspension ends on Monday.

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Donte Whitner to work out for the Giants

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

Donte Whitner has rapidly fallen from perennial Pro Bowl safety to a guy looking for a job. He’s hoping to find that job with the Giants.

Whitner will work out for the Giants this weekend, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

The Giants are ailing at safety, with Mykkele Thompson on injured reserve and Nat Berhe and Darian Thompson both expected to miss Monday night’s game against the Vikings with injuries.

The Bills made Whitner the No. 8 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft and he played five years in Buffalo. He then played three years for the 49ers and two for the Browns. Cleveland cut him in April and he hasn’t signed anywhere since.

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Eli Harold was flagged, fined for tackle that injured Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, top, is pulled down by San Francisco 49ers' Eli Harold in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP

The sack that resulted in an MCL sprain for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t amount to a classic horse-collar tackle. But it fell within the scope of the recently-expanded definition of the rule.

As a result, 49ers linebacker Eli Harold was flagged for the hit — and fined $18,231.

NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explained in his weekly media officiating video that a violation occurred even though Harold didn’t have his hand inside Wilson’s jersey, and even though Harold didn’t pull Wilson to the ground from behind.

“The left hand will be in the front of the jersey but the right hand will be on the back at the nameplate,” Blandino said. “He’s gonna pull the runner toward the ground. The key is where does he grab the runner? He’s gonna grab on the nameplate. And remember the new rule this year is nameplate or above. . . . And if he pulls the runner toward the ground in any direction it’s a foul.”

The league expanded the protection earlier this year to limit injuries, and Wilson was indeed injured on the play.

Horse-collar tackles remain legal as to quarterbacks in the pocket. When the quarterback exits the pocket, the back of his jersey can’t be grabbed and pulled to the ground at the nameplate or above.

Which probably means that the term “horse-collar tackle” should be revised into something that better reflects what is prohibited, if for no reason other than to limit fan and media confusion.

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