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PFT’s Week Two picks

Seahawks AP

Yes, MDS finagled a one-game win in Week One, getting 12 of 16 right while I hit on 11 of the games.

After four years of doing this, however, I finally dropped the proverbial hole in one, picking the exact score of the Bears-Bengals game.

And under the new rules of the PFT Picks contest, revised by me this morning, a hole in one counts for three wins.

OK, it doesn’t.  So I’ll have to try to erase the gap by being right on the two games on which MDS and I disagree.  The full list of our picks appears below.

Jets at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Jets looked better than I expected on Sunday, and the Patriots looked worse than I expected Sunday. That has me thinking the Jets will be more competitive in this game than most people expect. Just not competitive enough to win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Jets 20.

Florio’s take:  Rex Ryan started 3-2 against Bill Belichick.  Since then, Rex is 0-4.  Make that 0-5 as a team that fell into a win in Week One walks into a buzz saw during what likely will be Rex’s last trip to New England.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Jets 17.

Rams at Falcons

MDS’s take: After losing to their toughest division rival in Week One, the Falcons definitely don’t want to fall into an 0-2 hole in Week Two. I don’t think they will, as the Falcons’ defense will make life tough on Sam Bradford.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  An old NFC West rivalry gets rekindled, and Steven Jackson gets an early crack at the only other team for which he’s ever played.  With receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones injured, Atlanta will need a big day from Jackson.  Even then, it may not be enough.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 23, Rams 20.

Browns at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens gave up seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning in Week One. I feel reasonably confident saying they will not give up seven touchdown passes to Brandon Weeden in Week Two. The Browns’ offense looked pretty bad in the opener and will continue to look pretty bad in the second game of the season.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 21, Browns 7.

Florio’s take:  Brandon Weeden is no Peyton Manning.  He’s also no Eli Manning.  And he may be no Cooper Manning.  Besides, with 10 days to prepare and a superior team on both sides of the ball, the old Browns will get to .500 as the new Browns stake out more familiar territory at 0-2.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 34, Browns 17.

Panthers at Bills

MDS’s take: Both teams played well in losses to good opponents in Week One. In Week Two, I think the Panthers are going to get their offense moving and earn a road win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 34, Bills 21.

Florio’s take:  Each team blew a chance to secure an eye-opening win in Week One.  The Bills seem to be the better team at more positions, but where the Panthers have the edge, it’s a big one.  Flip a coin.  And then go for two-of-three, three-of-five, four-of-seven, or whatever it takes for the home team to prevail.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 21, Panthers 17.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: A playoff team a year ago, the Vikings are at risk of starting 0-2, with both losses in the division. That’s a deep hole for a team to dig itself in the first two weeks of the season, and that’s the hole the Vikings are going to dig, as the Bears’ defense is going to force Christian Ponder into multiple turnovers.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Vikings 10.

Florio’s take:  A Minnesota native who never got a chance to coach the local team gets a chance to beat the local team in his second game as an NFL head coach.  It helps that Marc Trestman has a legitimate passing attack, and that the Vikings don’t.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 31, Vikings 20.

Redskins at Packers

MDS’s take: Speaking of playoff teams from a year ago digging 0-2 holes for themselves, that’s where the loser of this game will be. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will keep Green Bay from that fate with a big game against Washington’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  With the Packers spending their offseason focused on stopping mobile quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III will have to do what Colin Kaepernick did in order to outscore the Packers.  I don’t think he can, not in Green Bay’s building.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, Redskins 23.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense looked great in the opener, but I have a feeling that by the end of the season we’ll say Week One was an indication more that the Steelers’ offense is terrible than that Tennessee’s D is strong. The Texans are rolling after their comeback win on Monday night and will keep rolling when the team formerly known as the Oilers returns to Houston.

MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Titans 21.

Florio’s take:  While Tennessee’s accomplishments in Pittsburgh shouldn’t be disregarded, the Steelers are a far cry from the Texans, who got a valuable lift from the biggest come-from-behind win in team history.  It’ll be a rude welcome back to Houston for the franchise that used to play there.  Mittens off for Bud Adams, everybody!

Florio’s pick:  Texans 30, Titans 16.

Dolphins at Colts

MDS’s take: Reggie Wayne looked ageless against the Raiders in Week One, catching all eight of the passes Andrew Luck threw his way. I see Wayne having another eight catches or so as the Colts eke out another close win.

MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Dolphins 16.

Florio’s take:  Jim Irsay demands better protection for Andrew Luck.  Irsay would be better off demanding a second serving of pudding.  The Dolphins have the horses up front to harass Luck far worse than the Raiders did.  While the Colts still should win, Luck won’t be operating from a clean pocket.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Dolphins 20.

Cowboys at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Can the Chiefs match their win total from 2012 in the first two weeks of 2013? They can if they avoid turnovers against the Cowboys, and I think that’s what they’ll do, as Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles lead an efficient and effective offense and the Chiefs improve to 2-0.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  The first time Andy Reid faced the Cowboys as coach of the Eagles, Philly was 0-4 and fading fast.  This time, Reid’s Chiefs are 1-0 and conjuring talk of a playoff run.  For the franchise that used to be in Dallas and the coach who compiled a 17-11 regular-season record against the Cowboys in 14 years, it’s time to move to 2-0 — and 18-11.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Cowboys 21.

Chargers at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Chargers’ depth on defense is going to be seriously tested by the fast-paced Eagles offense, and I don’t see how the Chargers keep up. This one could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 37, Chargers 14.

Florio’s take:  Six days after blowing a 21-point lead, the Chargers likely will find themselves on the wrong end of a similar margin.  The only question is whether the Eagles can deliver the knockout punch with pedal on metal.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 34, Chargers 23.

Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: This is probably the toughest game of the bunch to call. The Lions are the better team, but they’re also a team that makes so many stupid mistakes that they can lose to anyone on the wrong day. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald can make plays against the Lions’ secondary, but I expect Reggie Bush to have his second consecutive big game as the Lions win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 31, Cardinals 28.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Cardinals were ultimately horrible despite starting 4-0.  This year, they look to be much better, but could be destined to start 0-4.  Meanwhile, there’s still time to get on the newest model from Detroit — the Honolulu Blue Bandwagon.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 34, Cardinals 24.

Saints at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Saints made a big statement that they’re the favorites in the NFC South with their Week One win over the Falcons. They’ll make another big statement by moving to 2-0 in the division with an easy win in Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are in disarray, and the Saints have picked up an early surge from holding the Falcons to 17 points.  New Orleans continues its effort to put together a record stout enough to force the road to an open-air Super Bowl through the climate-controlled Superdome.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 35, Buccaneers 27.

Broncos at Giants

MDS’s take: In the Manning Bowl, I trust the Broncos’ secondary to keep Eli in check more than I trust the Giants’ secondary to keep Peyton in check.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 34, Giants 24.

Florio’s take:  Peyton and Eli may be brothers, but when it comes to playing against each other, Peyton is still Eli’s daddy.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Giants 27.

Jaguars at Raiders

MDS’s take: Before Week One, I thought these were the two worst teams in the NFL. The Raiders looked better than I expected in a surprisingly close loss to the Colts, while the Jaguars looked even worse than I expected in a surprisingly lopsided loss to the Chiefs. The Raiders get the win and the Jaguars get a step closer to choosing between Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in next year’s draft.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take:  The worst teams of 2012 continue their early-season round robin, with Terrelle Pryor poised to make something happen against a team that doesn’t look as bad as many thought it would be.  The Jags look even worse.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 24, Jaguars 9.

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I’ve gone back and forth on this one, which is my pick for the best game of the week. I believe the 49ers are the slightly better team right now, but the Seahawks’ crowd will be rocking, and the home-field advantage will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, 49ers 24.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks need to hold serve at home; the 49ers need to show they can hang with a team that tattooed the Niners last December in Seattle.  Look for Richard Sherman to blanket Anquan Boldin — and for Boldin to still find a way to catch the ball.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Seahawks 21.

Steelers at Bengals

MDS’s take: Everyone in the AFC North started the season 0-1, but the Bengals had a much better showing in Week One than the Steelers. Given Pittsburgh’s poor performance and season-ending injuries to center Maurkice Pouncey, linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, it’s tough to see things turning around for the Steelers any time soon.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Steelers 10.

Florio’s take:  The new bullies of the AFC North get a chance to rough up a team that spent plenty of time over the years roughing up the Bengals.  With James Harrison bent on making the Steelers regret letting him go and the Steelers having little punch on offense, this one could get ugly.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 28, Steelers 13.

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Timing of Clady injury gives Broncos ample time to react

Peyton Manning, Ryan Clady, Rob Ninkovich AP

Two years ago, the Broncos lost left tackle Ryan Clady for the year in Week Two. They made it to the Super Bowl.

Sure, they could have used him against Seattle in the Super Bowl, but the Broncos nevertheless had a very successful season with Clady not contributing much to it. And they had to react to Clady’s absence on the fly, with no time to do anything other than call the next man up.

In 2013, Chris Clark got the assignment. And Clark is still on the team, able to do now what he did then — with a lot more time to prepare for the assignment.

Veteran Ryan Harris, who signed with the Broncos in the immediate aftermath of the Clady injury, can handle the right side, and youngsters Michael Schofield and Ty Sambrailo can compete for reps and provide depth.

Of course, the fact that the latest Clady injury happened in May could prompt a certain quarterback who may be entering the last year of his career to clamor for one or more 2016 draft picks to be dangled in an effort to upgrade the position, especially since said quarterback may not be around when those picks would be used.

Still, it’s much better to have time to react to a major injury. The Broncos did well to replace Clady when they didn’t have that luxury. They’ll now be expected to do it again.

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Ishmaa’ily Kitchen signs restricted tender with Browns

Ish Kitchen Getty Images

Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen signed his restricted free agent tender with the team on Thursday.

The Browns placed a right of first refusal tender on Kitchen prior to the start of free agency in March. The tender is worth $1.542 million for the 2015 season.

Kitchen appeared in 12 games for Cleveland and made three starts while playing primarily at nose tackle. He recorded 43 tackles for the season. In his three-year career, Kitchen has played in 40 games for the Browns.

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Confusion emerges regarding basis for Hardy discipline

Hardy Getty Images

The Greg Hardy appeal hearing has come and gone, and confusion has emerged regarding one of the most important aspects of the case.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Hardy and the NFL Players Association contend that the NFL failed to specify during the hearing whether league imposed on Hardy a 10-game suspension under the Personal Conduct Policy in force at the time of the alleged misconduct or under the version that came later in the year, following the Ray Rice debacle. Hardy and the NFLPA also contend that arbitrator Harold Henderson failed to force the NFL to say which version of the policy was used.

In an appearance last month on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash seemed to emphasize that the discipline was imposed under the old policy. But he also made it clear that the investigation occurred under the new procedures that were adopted after the Rice case.

The alleged confusion also comes in the wake of an effort by the union to have the NFL deemed to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with the court order issued in the case filed on behalf of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. That motion specifically claims that the league applied the new policy retroactively to Hardy, in defiance of the ruling from Judge David Doty to the contrary in Peterson’s case.

Absent a significant reduction in Hardy’s suspension, a lawsuit is inevitable in his case, too. And Hardy could easily win.

But no one would be able to accuse the NFL of going too soft on off-field misconduct. Given that the Rice situation nearly took down a Commissioner, the NFL will never be accused of going too soft on off-field misconduct ever again.

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Report: Giants meet with Jake Long

Jake Long AP

The Giants, who are likely to be without their starting left tackle for at least part of the 2015 season, have reportedly huddled with a four-time Pro Bowler at the position.

Ex-Ram Jake Long, who has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, met with the Giants on Thursday, per Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.

The No. 1 overall pick in 2008 by Miami, the 30-year-old Long has torn his right ACL in back-to-back seasons, most recently on October 26. He also has suffered biceps and triceps tears in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The Rams released Long in March after two seasons.

The Giants’ incumbent left tackle, Will Beatty, suffered a pectoral tear last week. The injury could force first-round pick Ereck Flowers to step into the lineup right off the bat on the left side.

If healthy, Long would bolster the Giants’ tackle depth, giving them insurance in the event Flowers isn’t ready. However, Long would have to pass a physical.

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Adrian Peterson takes aim at the NFLPA

Adrian Peterson AP

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson isn’t happy. The good news is he’s finally admitting it. The bad news is that it’s still not clear who or what he’s not happy with.

After months of leaks and comments from folks close to Peterson but not Peterson suggesting that he’s not happy with the Vikings because of how the team reacted to Peterson’s off-field issue last year, Peterson made it clear on Wednesday night that he’s not happy with a contract that provides him no further guaranteed money. On Thursday, Peterson broadened his attack to encompass the entire system.

On Thursday night, Peterson took specific aim at the NFL Players Association.

“To clarify,” Peterson said on Twitter, “since analysts & everyone else have the answers as to what place in MY Heart this ‘rant‘ came from, this is not against the Vikings. I am just frustrated that our union did not get guaranteed contracts for its players. NFL players deserve guaranteed contracts like Our NBA and MLB brothers. Owners have the right to release players, at will, without honoring their contracts. However, players do not have the luxury of saying that they want out of their contract. And I won’t even get into the franchise tag convo.”

I’m a huge Adrian Peterson fan. I always have been. But I’m definitely not a fan of this new tactic.

Peterson believes he has in some way been wronged, by someone, over the past nine months. Still, a shotgun attack on a system that has made him a very rich man and that has the Vikings ready to pay a 30-year-old running back $12.75 million this year makes little sense.

Four years ago, he could have insisted on a fully-guaranteed contract. Or he could have insisted on a shorter-term deal, which would have allowed him to get a fresh start elsewhere. Instead, with full awareness of a system that was reiterated by a Collective Bargaining Agreement signed not long before he signed his latest contract, Peterson made a seven-year commitment, knowing that the commitment would only go both ways as long as his employer wanted it to.

Peterson made that commitment after comparing pro football to “modern-day slavery.” So he went in with eyes and ears open as to what the NFL is (or as to what he thinks it is), he signed a long-term contract, he willingly and voluntarily took a $12 million signing bonus, he earned more than $35 million over four years at a position that has become largely interchangeable in recent seasons, and he’ll get another $12.75 million this year by simply showing up for work.

It’s unclear whether Peterson is willing to not play this year or to retire if the Vikings don’t guarantee his contract beyond 2015 or if they won’t trade him. It’s possible he simply needed to vent, as he makes his way from anger to bargaining then denial, depression, and finally acceptance.

Regardless, he’s not going to find much sympathy here, or pretty much anywhere.

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Cowboys sign rookie LB Damien Wilson

2015 NFL Scouting Combine Getty Images

The Cowboys almost have their entire rookie class under contract.

Dallas has signed fourth-round selection Damien Wilson, a linebacker from Minnesota, the team said Thursday.

The pact with Wilson leaves cornerback Byron Jones, the Cowboys’ first-round selection, as the only rookie without a deal.

Wilson (6-0, 243) notched 197 tackles (16 for loss) in two seasons with the Golden Gophers. He was timed at 4.77 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, and he posted a 37-inch vertical leap.

“He’s learning real well, and he’s working real hard, so excited about where’s he going,” Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said of Wilson on Wednesday.

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Malcolm Jenkins: No one on the Eagles thinks we have a race issue

malcolmjenkins AP

Former Eagle LeSean McCoy may think Chip Kelly got rid of the good black players, but those who have remained in Philadelphia don’t see it that way.

That’s the word from Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who said he and his teammates respect Kelly and don’t believe he’s basing his evaluations on race.

“Chip has been very, very transparent on what he’s evaluating us on,” Jenkins said, via CSNPhilly.com. “That’s not only what we do on the field, but what we do in our assessments and how disciplined we are with our nutrition and all the sports science stuff. I haven’t seen him make a move outside of those parameters. I don’t think anybody in the locker room now thinks we have an issue with race. I don’t see that being a problem in the future. I don’t think there’s any need for Chip to address it.”

If other players on the Eagles agree with McCoy about Kelly, it has the potential to undermine Kelly’s ability to coach his team. But their public comments suggest that other players agree with Jenkins that there’s not a race problem on the Eagles.

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DeMaurice Smith suggests Ray Rice is being blackballed

Ray Rice Press Conference Getty Images

NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith thinks it doesn’t speak well for the NFL that no team is willing to give Ray Rice another chance.

Smith told Sal Paolantonio of ESPN that Rice, who is not suspended and is eligible to play as soon as a team signs him, would be back in the NFL if teams were willing to give him a fair chance.

“This, unfortunately, is a league that has a history of blackballing players. I find it hard to believe that a player of Mr. Rice’s caliber hasn’t at least gotten one offer from a team to come work out,” Smith said.

The term “blackballing” suggests something underhanded, but the reality is that NFL teams aren’t hiding the fact that they simply don’t want to do business with the man who last year became the poster boy for domestic violence in America. That’s the prerogative of each team, and while the union is free to advocate on Rice’s behalf, there’s not much the union can do about it.

If all 32 NFL teams have decided that they’re never going to give Rice another chance, then Rice has only himself to blame for that.

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Dez Bryant does the smart thing by showing up

Dez Bryant AP

It’s become a given that a player saddled with the franchise tag won’t show up for any workouts or practices until he signs a long-term deal or accepts his one-year franchise tender. But it may not be the smart thing to do — especially if the tagged player plans to work out on his own.

As Broncos G.M. John Elway pointed out several weeks back when venting regarding the absence of receiver Demaryius Thomas, unsigned franchise players who get injured while working out on their own get nothing. Unsigned franchise players who show up pursuant to a letter agreement that guarantees their franchise tender if they tear an ACL or pop out an Achilles who get injured get full pay.

So unless staying away was going to squeeze more money out of the team’s coffers (it wasn’t), why not continue to get ready to have a big season while working out with the team? For Bryant, the best play would be to take the $12.8 million this year, do it again next year at a 20-percent raise ($15.36 million), and then hit the market in 2017 — because there’s no way the Cowboys would pay him $22.11 million under a third franchise tag.

More franchise-tagged players need to consider the wisdom of Bryant’s move. And more will do what Bryant did the minute that one of them suffers a serious injury while unsigned and while working out at the local YMCA.

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Adrian Peterson’s rant misses the mark

Volcano

Mt. Peterson finally erupted. And it went about as well as Peter Brady’s volcano. (Timely reference, I know.)

Arguably he last man who should be painting himself as a victim but who nevertheless tried to shift blame to the Vikings for a predicament created by his own behavior has gone to Twitter for a general rant regarding the system of paying players.

“Question for the people, is a contract two sided or one?” Adrian Peterson asked. “There’s never no talk about honoring a contract!”

But NFL contracts are indeed one-sided, unless they’re individually negotiated to be two-sided. If Peterson wanted in 2011 to ensure that his contract would be two-sided through its final year of 2017, he could have — by insisting on the contract being fully guaranteed for its full duration. When NFL contracts aren’t fully guaranteed, the team can insist on the player honoring every game of every season while in turn having the power to tear up the deal whenever the team wants.

That’s just the way it is, and that system was reiterated via the Collective Bargaining Agreement ratified by the players only weeks before Peterson signed his latest deal.

On one hand, it’s good that Peterson has dropped the passive-aggressive approach with the Vikings. On the other hand, it’s not good that he opted to take a shotgun to a system that won’t be changing — especially after that system (as enhanced by the Commissioner-Exempt list) resulted in Peterson making plenty of money last year from the Vikings despite playing in only one game.

But now that Peterson has decided to attack the situation the same way that he attacks a defense, it may be only a matter of time before Peterson is doing shirtless driveway situps and agent Ben Dogra is rattling off “next question” at a press conference held on Peterson’s front lawn.

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Dez Bryant shows up at Cowboys OTAs, does individual drills

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

The Cowboys thought Dez Bryant was in “great shape,” despite his staying away from voluntary workouts and OTAs.

But Thursday, they saw for themselves.

According to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the franchise-tagged wide receiver showed up at OTAs Thursday and participated in individual drills.

That’s a bit of a surprise, considering he hasn’t signed his $12.823 million franchise tender.

But apparently, Bryant wanted to be around the team, and see his teammates. He apparently went through individual drills, but didn’t do any team drills. Considering what happened to Ryan Clady and Dante Fowler, it’s prudent to not push himself with so much money on the line.

Bryant’s not even required to attend mandatory minicamp since he hasn’t signed yet, but his showing up today is at least a sign of good faith.

Whether it’s a sign of progress toward a long-term deal, or whether Bryant just wanted to get out of the house remains to be seen.

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Adrian Peterson: Players need “same power” NFL clubs hold in contracts

Adrian Peterson AP

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, in the midst of a dispute with Minnesota, used his verified Twitter account Thursday to vent about teams being able to void contracts while players are bound to those same deals.

Here are Peterson’s thoughts on the subject, which were published one day after he told ESPN his absence from Minnesota’s offseason program was “about securing my future” in Minnesota:

“I love people who think they know it all! Smh, Research how many NFL teams hasn’t honored a player’s contract & learn something.

“Question for the people, is a contract two sided or one?

“Ok great two sided! Well why when one party decides . . . Mr. ? we wan’t you to take a pay cut now or better yet flat out release you!

“There’s never no talk about honoring a contract!

“I know hundreds of player’s that wished their team would’ve HONORED the contract! But instead got threw to the side like like trash.

“A lill crazy how one side has so much power that they can do as they please when it come to the contract! But when the other-side (player’s)  . . . Feels for whatever reason! Family, Change of scenery or simply – what they feels just might work best for them! Those same laws don’t apply!

“It’s all about honoring you’re contract! Sounds like free will is being a lil challenged to me!

“All I’m saying as a Minnesota Viking player! WE need the same power to do as all 32 teams do we they feel, under contract or not!

“It’s time for a change! Then again I’m grateful because at the end of the day, I know some of those same guys that wish a team held on!”

Peterson has three years left on his current contract. He is set to make $12.75 million in salary in 2015, $14.75 million in 2016 and $17.75 million in 2017. However, the salaries are not guaranteed.

The Vikings have insisted they will not trade Peterson. On Wednesday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said the 30-year-old tailback would play for Minnesota or not at all.

Peterson spent most of last season on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list after being charged with felony child abuse. He eventually pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault.

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DeMarco Murray hopes Joseph Randle “can taste some of that meat this year”

Philadelphia Eagles OTA's Getty Images

Cowboys running back Joseph Randle shared his opinion about how much the Cowboys might miss running back DeMarco Murray this week by saying that he thought Murray “left a lot of meat on the bone” on his way to a league-leading 1,845 rushing yards in 2014.

That comment made its way to Murray on Thursday, but Murray didn’t fire back at Randle or try to make the case that he gnawed all the way down to the bone while carrying the ball the seventh-most times in league history last year. Instead, Murray wished Randle well in his opportunity to do a little feasting of his own behind the Cowboys offensive line.

“Hopefully he can taste some of that meat this year,” Murray said, via CSNPhilly.com. “They’re a good team. Hopefully he can get a chance to run behind that line and do some good things. But I’m not worried about it. I didn’t hear about it until now. It’s not a big deal.”

It’s a good response to Randle since Murray has no need to defend himself for his 2014 performance. His chief concern now should be making sure that he wasn’t worn down to the bone after being used so heavily last season because the Eagles will need Murray to play well to vault themselves above the Cowboys and the rest of the NFC East in 2015.

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Jets release Matt Simms

Matt Simms, Josh Mauga AP

Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms recently shared his opinion that his younger brother Matt hasn’t gotten a serious shot to be a starting quarterback in the NFL because he’s the son of Phil Simms and, therefore, a victim of “the politics of the NFL.”

Simms got some more fodder for his feeling on Thursday. The Jets announced that they have released Matt Simms from their roster.

The decision isn’t a great surprise with the Jets adding Bryce Petty in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick are going to hold down the top two spots on the depth chart and Petty will be developed behind them, which doesn’t leave many reps for the latest member of the Simms family to play quarterback in the NFL.

Getting released now will give him a chance to catch on with another team in time to make his case for a roster spot in the fall, assuming, of course, that the anti-Simms bias doesn’t rear its head once again. Simms played in four games for the Jets over the last two seasons and completed 19-of-39 passes for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

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Bills open training camp on July 31

EJ Manuel AP

The Bills, who made multiple high-profile moves in the offseason, will commence training camp on Friday, July 31 at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York, the club said Thursday.

Seventeen practices are open to the public, with six requiring fans to have tickets.

The Bills’ preseason opener is August 14 vs. Carolina. The last practice open to fans is Tuesday, August 25.

In an attempt to jump-start their offense, the Bills acquired tailback LeSean McCoy and signed wide receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Charles Clay. The club also added Matt Cassel at quarterback. The Bills’ defense, formidable a season ago, could be all the more imposing with new head coach Rex Ryan at the helm.

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