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Report: Shane Vereen out a few weeks after wrist surgery

Patriots' Vereen runs with the ball during the first half of their NFL football game against the Bills in Orchard Park Reuters

The Patriots turned to Shane Vereen at tailback Sunday after Stevan Ridley had trouble holding onto the ball, but they didn’t lose much of anything in terms of production.

Vereen ran for 101 yards, making him the only running back to cross the century mark thus far in Week One, and caught seven passes for 58 yards as well, but it looks like the Patriots are going to have to wait a few weeks for an encore.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that Vereen broke a small bone in his wrist on his first play of the game on Sunday and that he’s scheduled for surgery on Monday that will keep him out for a few weeks. Per Glazer, Vereen was able to play the entire game but concern grew afterwards because he experienced numbness in his wrist after the game because of the way the bone was sitting on the nerve.

With Vereen out, Ridley’s stay in the doghouse may come to an end. The Patriots have Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount and Leon Washington on the roster as well, but none of them offer the same package of skills that Ridley brings to the team. Those skills don’t matter if he can’t hold onto the ball, of course, but a reprieve could be in the offing with the loss of his replacement.

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Packers won’t put Aaron Rodgers on a training camp pitch count

Aaron Rodgers AP

Aaron Rodgers has dealt with some injuries, and he is the MVP.

But that doesn’t mean the Packers are going to put their quarterback on any kind of pitch count in training camp.

Aaron is going to have to get exactly he needs,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconson.com. “That’s obviously the priority, and it’s not as much about Aaron, it’s about [his] connection with the other players. So that’s goal No. 1.”

The Packers do have three other quarterbacks in camp, and they’ll want to get new backup Scott Tolzien enough work to get him ready. But with fifth-rounder Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard in camp, there will be a natural governor on the amount of reps Rodgers gets.

But the 31-year-old also believes in building timing with his receivers, which means he’s not going to want to give up too much work.

“It’s a conversation. There’s a point every year where the throwing might get a little too much and then we back off,” McCarthy said. “You always have to push to that point. The most important thing, he knows [that point] better than anybody.

“We’re not counting throws all the time and it’s not a concern as it will be when he’s later in his career. He’s still very physically fit and so I don’t feel like I need to protect him because of any type of elbow or shoulder issue, thing like that. But we just work through it, communicate and see where he’s at every day.”

Because of his importance to their fortunes, they’ll keep a close eye on him. But he’s also not so old that he’s unable to take a full workload either.

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Clock is ticking for Seahawks and Russell Wilson

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At some point between now and Thursday night, the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson will work out a new contract. Or they won’t. If they don’t, they won’t talk about the situation any further until after the season ends.

Forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) in the hours since the Tom Brady ruling appeared is the notion that the $21 million annual offer to Wilson reflects not the total value of a new deal, but the “new money” average.

Since Tuesday morning, PFT has determined that, indeed, the $21 million offer refers not to total value but includes the $1.5 million Wilson is due to make under the final year of his rookie deal. Which means that, if Seattle has offered $21 million per year over four years in “new money,” the total value is $85.5 million over five years — a total value of $17.1 million per year.

For any deal done after 2015, the “new money” average will match the total value. And Wilson will likely be able to get a lot more than $21 million per year, from the Seahawks or someone else.

Is Wilson being greedy if he tries to get $25 million per year or more? Before answering that question, consider this: He has brought tremendous value to the franchise over the last three years, for total compensation of $2.1 million. So when talking about what he deserves for the future, it’s important to ponder what he deserves for the past.

For now, the question is whether the Seahawks and Wilson can find a middle ground in the present, or at least in the next 24-36 hours, both as to total value and the amount of the deal that is fully guaranteed. If they can’t, and if Wilson sticks to his vow to not talk contract after training camp starts, a new clock will start ticking — and the next countdown could end with a boom.

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Report: Jason Pierre-Paul to continue rehabbing on his own

Jason Pierre-Paul AP

On Tuesday, Giants co-owner John Mara criticized defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul for not letting Giants officials visit him in the hospital after his July 4 fireworks injuries and said that he doesn’t think Pierre-Paul is “receiving very good advice right now” regarding his lack of communication with the team.

It doesn’t look like Pierre-Paul will be changing his course as a result of those comments, however. Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports that Pierre-Paul “isn’t likely” to be swayed by the feelings of the man who has been signing his checks the last few years. Per Graziano, Pierre-Paul will continue rehabbing on his own in South Florida.

Those checks are likely at the heart of Pierre-Paul’s desire to heal away from the team. If he signs his franchise tender, the Giants can put him on the non-football injury list and not pay him until he’s activated. The two sides could sign an agreement that guarantees Pierre-Paul his salary, but there’s no sign that’s on the table at this point and, of course, the Giants can still rescind the $14.8 million tag altogether.

If Pierre-Paul continues to stay away from the team, he’ll likely return when doctors tell him he’ll pass a physical that would eliminate the NFI possibility. There’s no timeline for that, although a source told Graziano that Pierre-Paul will be ready to play “sooner than a lot of people think.” Given the uncertainty surrounding his status, it’s hard to know when that might be and that’s probably not going to make Mara or anyone else with the Giants feel any better about the situation.

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Falcons sign DeMarcus Love

DeMarcus Love AP

The Falcons had Jake Long in for a visit this week, but he went on to meet with other teams and the Falcons have signed another free agent offensive tackle on Wednesday.

The team announced that DeMarcus Love is the newest member of the roster.

While adding Long would likely create increased competition for starting jobs in Atlanta, Love’s addition looks like a depth move. A sixth-round pick of the Vikings in 2011, Love has yet to play in a regular season game during his NFL career while making stops with the Jaguars, Giants, Saints and Broncos after parting ways with Minnesota.

With Lamar Holmes recovering from a broken foot, the Falcons have Jake Matthews at left tackle and Ryan Schraeder and Tyler Polumbus as possibilities at right tackle unless there are any other additions to the mix.

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Junior Galette cited for driving on suspended license

Junior Galette Getty Images

Two weeks before he was cut by the Saints, Junior Galette was involved in yet another off-field issue.

Galette was cited for three misdemeanor traffic violations, including driving on a suspended and expired drivers license, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

There’s no indication that the traffic violations played a role in the Saints’ decision to cut him, which was motivated primarily by a domestic violence charge that was later dropped, and the emergence of a tape that appeared to show him hitting a man and a woman with a belt. But the traffic violations will add to a sense around the NFL that Galette is the kind of guy who just can’t stay out of trouble.

It’s that sense around the NFL that may make it hard for Galette to find a new team. Although he’s a very good player on the field, with back-to-back double-digit sack seasons, his frequent off-field issues may make him more trouble than he’s worth.

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Report: Cardinals will release Alfonzo Dennard

Jimmy Legree, Alfonzo Dennard AP

Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard landed in Arizona after the Patriots cut him this offseason, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be making it to training camp with the team.

Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that the Cardinals, who open camp in a couple of days, will release Dennard. Dennard joined the team in May, which wasn’t all that long ago but apparently it was enough time for Arizona to know he wasn’t the right fit for their secondary.

Dennard was a 2012 seventh-round pick of the Patriots and many thought he was a potential steal at that point in the draft because he was projected to go much higher before a pre-draft arrest hurt his stock. He played just 29 games for the Pats over three seasons, however, and the team dropped him this year despite losing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner as free agents.

Dennard doesn’t turn 26 until September, so there’s a good chance he’ll find another team that wants to take a look at him this offseason. The Cardinals, meanwhile, will roll on with Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers, Justin Bethel and others at corner.

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Eric Berry on fighting cancer: Fear nothing, attack everything

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Chiefs safety Eric Berry met the media after his return to practice on Wednesday and sent a message of determination that explains why he’s back to work less than a year after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Berry was flanked by his parents, who he thanked along with the Chiefs, his teammates and many others for supporting him during his fight, and said that keeping a positive mindset was crucial to dealing with the disease. Part of that positive mindset became a motto of sorts for Berry over the last eight months.

“Fear nothing, attack everything,” Berry said.

It wasn’t always easy to do that. Berry talked about the fear he had that he would die in his sleep and how he had to set a goal of getting out of bed some days because of the toll that the treatment was taking on him. He also talked about the difficulties of working out and staying in shape while going through chemotherapy.

“There would be times I would work out and just end up crying after the workout because, first of all, I couldn’t believe that I made it through the workout, I couldn’t believe it was that hard,” Berry said. “I was trying to push myself to the limit, I couldn’t push myself how I wanted to. I had to break it down to really embracing the process and understand that everything wasn’t going to come back overnight. When you add chemo into something like this, that’s a whole different monster because it literally feels like you’re dying.”

Berry said the last eight months were a “battle every day” to get back to the spot he found himself in on Wednesday. Berry fought that battle very well and we wish him continued health and success for years and years to come.

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Cowboys won’t negotiate with Jeremy Mincey, will fine him

Jeremy Mincey AP

If Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey wants a new deal, he’s not going to get it by staying away.

And he’s actually going to lose money if that’s the route he takes.

Via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys executive Stephen Jones said the team will fine Mincey for every day he’s not present, and they won’t negotiate as long as he’s not there.

Teams can fine players $30,000 per day for missing training camp.

Mincey’s scheduled to make $1.5 million in base salary this year, after signing a two-year deal with the Cowboys last offseason.

He has a history of erratic/costly behavior from his time with the Jaguars. They once signed him to a four-year, $20 million contract, but cut him after a series of missed meetings and other issues.

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Jake Long expected to visit Broncos next

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The Giants had Jake Long in for a second visit on Wednesday as they consider their options in the wake of left tackle Will Beatty’s torn pectoral, but the Giants aren’t the only team that lost a player at that spot to injury this offseason.

Not coincidentally, they also aren’t the only team kicking the tires on the former first overall draft pick. Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that Long is planning to leave New Jersey on Wednesday night to visit with the Broncos.

The Broncos lost Ryan Clady to a torn ACL this spring and have Ryan Harris and rookie Ty Sambrailo on the roster as contenders for the spot.

Per Vacchiano, the door hasn’t been closed on the Giants signing Long but the tackle isn’t in a rush to pick a team while he considers his options. Long visited with the Falcons this week as well and other teams could also be interested in seeing how Long has responded after a second torn ACL before cementing their plans on the offensive line.

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Kevin White to start Bears camp on PUP list

Kevin White AP

A shin injury suffered in offseason workouts has landed Bears first-round pick Kevin White on the physically unable to perform list as training camp gets underway.

General Manager Ryan Pace said Wednesday that the team wants to take it easy with White given how much time remains before the start of the season and that they want him to focus on building up his cardiovascular strength before letting him loose on the field. Pace also said that White isn’t thrilled by the decision.

“He’s fired up,” Pace said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “We kind have to put handcuffs on him.”

Quarterback David Fales also wound up on the PUP list because of an illness, but outside linebackers Willie Young and Lamarr Houston have both been cleared to practice after suffering a torn Achilles and ACL, respectively, last season.

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NFLPA must respond to NFL lawsuit by August 13

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The #DeflateGate saga is sufficiently compelling to spawn not one but two federal lawsuits. The second one will be filed soon in Minnesota. The first was filed Tuesday in New York.

Via a lawyer with both a Twitter and PACER account, the New York case has been assigned to Judge Richard M. Berman. Berman has directed the NFLPA to respond to the initial filing by August 13, with this note: “Court will set a conference following receipt of defendant’s response.”

Judge Berman, a senior-status jurist who was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, has been characterized as a “liberal judge.” That’s good news for the NFLPA, since the NFLPA is a union and liberal judges tend to be more favorable to the interests of labor than management.

Of course, the NFLPA views Judge David Doty as an even better option, and Judge Bergman’s initial order gives the union an opening to push the Minnesota case forward until August 13. So there’s a chance the NFLPA will try to push things very aggressively in Judge Doty’s courtroom, with the “liberal judge” in New York possibly inclined to stand down and let Judge Doty run with this one.

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Gosder Cherilus plans to visit more teams after leaving Buffalo

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Former Colts tackle Gosder Cherilus visited the Bills today, but he’s apparently not in a hurry to get into a camp.

According to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, the veteran tackle’s visit went well, but “he will be taking visits to other teams.”

It will be interesting to see when those visits come, and whether he’s physically ready to take part in training camp for anyone in the immediate future.

He dealt with numerous injury issues last year, and a knee procedure kept him from participating in the Colts offseason program.

A number of teams are looking for tackle help, so if he’s well, there should be a market. The Giants and Falcons have checked out Jake Long, while the Panthers just signed a pair of tackles after Jonathan Martin’s retirement.

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When Deflatgate subsides, focus will turn to Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo AP

For now, all the talk in New England is about Tom Brady and his four-game suspension to start the season. Eventually, the focus will begin to shift to Jimmy Garoppolo, who is expected to start in Brady’s absence.

Garoppolo, whom the Patriots chose in the second round of last year’s draft, appears to be the Week One starter by default. The only other quarterback on the Patriots’ roster, Matt Flynn, opened camp on the non-football injury list, so at the moment Garoppolo doesn’t even have any competition for the role of Brady’s replacement.

So far we haven’t seen enough of Garoppolo to know what kind of quarterback he’ll be. The best-case scenario for the Patriots is that Garoppolo is that he’s grown a lot during his first full NFL offseason, just as Brady did in 2011: Brady was lauded by teammates for improving significantly during the offseason after his rookie year, and he ended up leading the Patriots to the Super Bowl when he was called upon to fill in for Drew Bledsoe.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked today about whether Garoppolo has shown improvement during minicamps, but Belichick was characteristically tight-lipped.

“Spring camps are teaching camps, so we got a lot of reps for everybody,” Belichick said. “I think we taught a lot of football and now we have to go out and practice it on an individual basis and then eventually we get to pads, on a padded level, where the timing and execution is a little bit different and start to build into the things that are situationally that we didn’t do as much of in the spring.”

Asked again about whether Garoppolo specifically improved in the spring, Belichick again answered only about the team generally.

“I think everybody learned a lot in the spring,” Belichick said. “I think the rookies learned a lot. I think the veterans learned a lot. It’s the start of a season. It’s a preparation for training camp. Now is when we really get to go out there and execute and work on it at a higher tempo and higher level.”

The Patriots need Garoppolo to show he can play at a high level for the four games when he takes over for Brady on September 10 against the Steelers.

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NFLPA plans to request a ruling by September 4

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As #DeflateGate finally heads to the place we always knew it would end, the NFL Players Association has a specific plan in mind for dealing with the fact that time is of the essence.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFLPA plans to ask for a ruling on Brady’s challenge to the suspension by Friday, September 4. Alternatively, the NFLPA will ask for an order allowing Brady to play while the litigation proceeds.

The fact that the parties initially will be squabbling over whether the case should proceed in New York (where the NFL already has filed a lawsuit) or in Minnesota (where the NFLPA is expected to file) could inject an initial delay, making it harder to wrap up the lawsuit quickly. Even so, the NFLPA believes that the case can be resolved simply with written submissions from the parties, with no need for evidence to be presented in court — or even for oral arguments on the parties’ respective positions.

Even if a ruling comes by September 4, the NFLPA will need to decide whether to seek an order allowing Brady to play if Brady loses and the NFLPA intends to appeal the decision. If that happens, Brady could play the entire NFL season without the case being resolved.

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Geno Smith “laughed” at poll calling him worst QB in league

Geno Smith AP

ESPN recently took their annual poll of NFL coaches and talent evaluators to determine a ranking of the league’s quarterbacks and the result at the bottom of the list was the same as it was in 2014.

Jets quarterback Geno Smith brings up the rear again after a 4-12 season that saw him briefly benched in favor of Michael Vick. Smith said he “laughed” when he saw the results of the “hilarious” poll, which was also a repeat from last year.

“It was hilarious last year, too,” Smith said, via the New York Post. “It doesn’t matter at this point. We’ve got to work on us as a team. That’s why I hate to talk about individual stuff because it’s a team game. No matter what they rate me, wherever we finish at the end of the year is most important.”

Smith’s not wrong about the poll not amounting to a hill of beans when it comes to what happens on the field, but it’s not like he was ranked out of thin air. Smith has completed 57.5 percent of his passes and turned the ball over 41 times over two years in the NFL, which is why coach Todd Bowles isn’t shy about talking about potentially pulling him from the lineup during the 2015 season. Should that happen, Smith won’t be ranked at all in a list of starting quarterbacks in 2016 and probably won’t be laughing about it either.

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