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MRI confirms torn ACL for Reggie Wayne

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The Colts thought wide receiver Reggie Wayne tore the ACL in his right knee on Sunday night.

Now they know he did. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the MRI performed on Wayne’s knee on Monday confirmed the initial diagnosis and that means the Colts will now have to play the rest of the season without a player they haven’t played a single game without since the 2001 season.

The Colts don’t play again until November 3, giving them ample time to come up with a plan for how to move forward without Wayne. Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton will certainly be part of it, but the trade deadline comes next week and the Colts have already shown a willingness to deal for offensive help in the wake of injuries this season when they acquired running back Trent Richardson after Vick Ballard went down for the year.

Indianapolis later lost running back Ahmad Bradshaw for the year as well and tight end Dwayne Allen is also on injured reserve, making a healthy number of unhealthy offensive pieces for the AFC South frontrunners.

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Browns cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu expected to miss entire season

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A former potential first-round draft pick, cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu fell all the way to the seventh round in this year’s draft after an ACL tear and dislocated knee ended his college career.

The injuries will keep Ekpre-Olomu off the field in 2015 as well.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns head coach Mike Pettine said Ekpre-Olomu will likely miss his entire rookie season as he continues to recover from the injuries suffered last December.

“Players that have had this injury before, it’s rare that you would return that season,” Pettine said. “Given our depth, we’re very comfortable with him sitting out. That’s just one that we felt it was a low-risk, high-reward move when we took him in the seventh round. There’s no reason to rush it back given the depth in that room now anyway.”

The Browns took a flier on Ekpre-Olomu with their final selection, No. 241 overall in the seventh round, in hopes that he can return to his former self in time. Ekpre-Olomu posted 244 tackles and nine interceptions in four seasons at Oregon. He was injured in a December practice in preparation for the Rose Bowl against Florida State.

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Don Yee says shift to “destroyed” cell phone was expected

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On the same day that the NFLPA fired back at the NFL in court, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s agent went on the offensive, too.

Don Yee, who made some questionable arguments in the aftermath of the publication of the Ted Wells report, shared plenty of information in a discussion with Tom Curran of CSNNE.com.

“They shifted from PSI to the new shiny object, the cell phone,” Yee said of the ruling upholding the four-game suspension. “We expected this. Because this was the easy way to pivot off the junk science and get off the PSI issue. And we knew that from a newsworthiness standpoint, the general public might be easily fooled. But in the coming days — just like the Wells Report being picked apart after its issuance — the same thing happens with this.”

If Yee knew that the cell phone would become a red herring, it would have been smarter for Yee to get ahead of the notion that “Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone” before the NFL could unleash that mantra in masterful fashion, winning the P.R. battle with a one-punch knockout.

Then again, maybe Yee didn’t take the lead on the topic because he possibly would have been leading with his chin. Consider the explanation from Yee to Curran about what happened with the phone.

“What happened is this,” Yee said. “After Goodell decided to take the appeal and publicly asked for new information, we were under the authority of the actual Commissioner, not private investigators with dubious authority. We decided to provide him with the new information. This was in June. The information that Wells requested covered September 2014 to February 28, 2015. The first thing we did in June was say, ‘Holy cow, do we have a cell phone left from that time period?’ because Tom regularly cycles through phones. We happened to find one and we tested that phone and found it covered the period October through November.

“In a letter to Goodell, we told him that we don’t have any other phones that cover November through March. We believe Tom may have cycled through a phone. We were the ones that disclosed this issue. Meaning that if Tom Brady was trying to hide something, why would we voluntarily disclose that fact? . . .

“It wasn’t until February 28 that Ted Wells’ team sent us an e-mail asking for contents off Tom’s phone. They never asked for the actual device. Ted Wells, in his May 12 press conference actually said that — he emphasized that. They didn’t want the actual device. On March 2, we wrote back to Ted Wells and told him we considered his request for information off the phone and we declined his request. On March 3, they said they hoped we would reconsider. They knew going into the March 6 hearing that they were not going to get the actual device. They knew that.”

So, from Yee’s perspective, it doesn’t matter what Brady did with the phone after March 3, because he wasn’t giving it to Wells as part of the investigation.

“Why did Tom cycle through a phone that week?” Yee said. “It turns out he just got back to the country after taking a trip. Why did he cycle through the phone that week? The iPhone 6 was coming out. [Brady] happened to want a new phone and knew Ted Wells’ team didn’t want the actual device, they only wanted information from the device.”

That’s where Yee’s explanation gets a little wobbly. For starters, the iPhone six came out months before March 2015. (In fairness, it came out in September, so Brady perhaps decided to wait until after the season to get one.) Also, if Wells wanted not the device but the information from it, Brady should have retained the data card.

Yee explained that Brady nevertheless equipped Goodell with the information necessary to reconstruct the text messages.

“We compiled all of Tom’s personal cell phone billing records from his vendor from September through the end of February 2015,” Yee said. “The records detail every incoming and outgoing phone call. Every incoming and outgoing text. We submitted that to the Commissioner. They would then be able to determine were there any other communications with Patriots personnel that were not outlined in the Wells Report. Everything matched up perfectly with the Wells Report with the exception of three texts between Tom and [John] Jastrzemski on February 7, and that was only because Wells had given Jastrzemski’s phone back [on] February 7. As far as any texts prior to the AFC Championship Game, where any alleged scheming would have taken place, Ted Wells would have had any communications between Tom, Jastrzemski and [Jim] McNally. This personal phone billing record compiled by an independent third party shows that he had no communications at all with McNally.

“In an effort to be even more transparent, we decided to offer to the Commissioner to disclose the identities of everyone that Tom communicated with. We said that some of these individuals are NFL-related personnel and that the Commissioner has the power to compel a search of their phone to see if they have texts remaining on their phone from Tom. The Commissioner’s own decision in footnote 11 acknowledges this and says they thought it was impractical to conduct this search. The amount of NFL-related personnel that the league needed to consult, if they so chose, was 28 people. Which is not very many people. And a number of those people they had information from already. Tom texted from December 24 to February 24 these NFL-related personnel. Ten teammates, two current coaches, five former teammates, one NFL Network personnel, five front-office personnel and five other Patriots employees. A number of them, the league had the authority to say, ‘Check your cell phone, we want any text exchanges between you and Tom Brady from that period.’ They chose not to. I don’t know why.”

The answer could be that accepting this offer would rob the NFL of the “Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone” silver bullet, which delivered on Tuesday a conclusive win in the court of public opinion.

But the inevitable pushback has commenced, and this red state/blue state issue will continue to polarize fans until it is finally resolved in court. And beyond.

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#DeflateGate brings out the venom from readers

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In the six months since #DeflateGate first emerged, PFT has received countless emails from fans pushing various ideas and agendas and opinions and theories. None has been more persistent than one specific reader who routinely sends emails to multiple media outlets, arguing zealously against the Patriots and Tom Brady.

Her lengthy and consistent and hostile emails read like a native of Russia trying (and failing) to speak English. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a native of Russia who is trying and failing to speak English.)

Here’s a portion of the message that arrived in the PFT mailbox tonight.

“Patriots tom brady is wrongdoing for deflategate. Text messages. I support to roger goodell. I hates Patriots robert kraft is a–hole and a–hole and stupid and dumb. Robert kraft is wrong and liar. Patriots qb tom brady is lie and liar and dumb and cheat. Tom brady is guilt. I against tom brady and Robert kraft. Patriots owners Robert kraft is fired and out of office and go to jail. . . .

“President Eric Winston is wrong and demaurice smith is wrong and fired and failed. Roger goodell is rigth. Ted wells is rigth. I like to roger goodell and ted wells. I not like tom brady and Robert kraft. I am never watch on tv for football. Roger goodell is winner. Nflpa are loses. Tom brady is loses. Robert kraft is loses.

“I did read from roger goodell said against tom brady is 4 games. Tom brady is look bad and devil. . . .

“Boston bruin is loses. Basketball in boston are loses. Red sox are most loses hahahahahahahahahahah. Tom brady is wrongdoing for deflategate. Tom brady is dumb.”

Actually, I’m the one who is dumb, because I make it easy for folks to send in emails via the “send scoop” button. If I keep making stupid decisions like that, I eventually will be wrong and fired and failed.

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NFLPA will push for quick ruling or injunction

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The 54-page document filed Wednesday by the NFLPA in a Minnesota federal court does not include a request for an injunction allowing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to continue playing while the litigation proceeds. But, as noted earlier today, it’s coming.

At page 13 (paragraph 28) of the document, the NFLPA says that the late issuance of a decision upholding Brady’s suspension “will irreparably harm” the quarterback if he misses games while the case proceeds.

“Accordingly,” the NFLPA writes, “the NFLPA and Brady will shortly file a Motion for Preliminary Injunction or, in the Alternative, for Expedited Disposition so that relief can be granted prior to September 4, 2015, when the Patriots begin final preparations for their first regular season game.”

“Irreparable harm” is the key. It means, in English, that nothing a court does after the fact can restore Brady’s ability to play in games that he missed under a suspension that was later invalidated.

A state court in Minnesota ruled several years ago that former Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams would suffer irreparable harm if their PED suspensions proceeded while a challenge in court was pending. That case lasted so long that, by the time the suspensions were finalized, Pat Williams had retired.

For Brady, there’s a chance that, as the case moves from the district court to an appellate court, Brady could potentially play the entire season without serving the suspension, with the suspension potentially starting in 2016.

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Judge appointed by Bush 41 gets NFLPA case filed in Minnesota

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The lawsuit filed by the NFL on Tuesday against the NFLPA received a judge appointed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. The lawsuit filed by the NFLPA on Wednesday against the NFL received a judge appointed by President George H.W. Bush, a Republican.

Maybe the next race to the courthouse will be to see which side can dismiss its lawsuit first.

While in many cases an overly simplistic assessment, the political background of the judge becomes an important consideration in civil cases. Democratic judges are believed to be more philosophically aligned with labor and individuals; Republican judges are believed to be more philosophically aligned with management.

In New York, the case filed by the NFL landed with Judge Richard M. Berman. In Minnesota, the initials “RHK” applied to the document filed by the NFL suggest that the lawsuit has been assigned to Judge Richard H. Kyle.

Kyle could step aside or transfer the case to someone like Judge David Doty, who has a long history of handling NFL-related cases. Or Kyle could decide to handle the case on his own, and the political mindset that earned an appointment from Bush 41 could be good news for 345 Park Avenue.

Although the NFLPA privately recognizes that the NFL’s victory in the race to the courthouse could make the union’s filing in Minnesota moot, the NFLPA and Brady could be better off in New York, if Kyle stays true to the principles that made him attractive to President Bush — and if Berman stays true to the principles that made him attractive to President Clinton.

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NFLPA sues NFL and Management Council in Minnesota

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On Tuesday, the NFL filed a four-page lawsuit against the NFLPA in Manhattan. On Wednesday, the NFLPA filed a much longer lawsuit against the NFL and the NFL Management Council in Minnesota.

The 54-page petition requests that the the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota vacate the arbitration award in the Tom Brady case, arguing that the four-game suspension “defies” the Court’s decision in the recent Adrian Peterson case, “ignores” the “law of the shop” and essence of the labor deal, and “gives the back of the hand” to fundamental principles of “procedural fairness and arbitrator bias.”

The Peterson case is relevant because, according to the NFLPA, Judge David Doty concluded that the NFL is required to give players advance notice of potential discipline.

“Brady had no notice of the disciplinary standards that would be applied,” the petition says at page 3, “and no notice of the potential penalties.”

The petition also points out that the league and the NFLPA collectively bargained the punishment for “alleged equipment tampering by players,” and that the NFL was not permitted to disregard those provisions without advance notice.

The petition likewise explains that the “Competitive Integrity Policy” was “never given” to players, and that it specifically applies only to teams, not to players.

As to the allegation that Brady failed to cooperate with the investigation, the NFLPA argues that “a fine is the only penalty that has ever been upheld in such circumstances.” (In 2010, Brett Favre was fined $50,000 for failing to cooperate with an investigation regarding allegations that he texted inappropriate photos to a Jets employee.)

More generally, the petition claims that the discipline violates the “law of the shop” that requires fair and consistent treatment of players by basing Brady’s discipline on air-pressure tests that “did not generate reliable information,” and that the arbitrator (Commissioner Roger Goodell) was “evidently partial.”

As to the discipline based on air pressure, the NFLPA notes that the NFL first issued procedures for ball pressure testing only three days ago — “a stark concession that it had no procedures in place when the data on which Brady’s punishment was based was collected.”

At page 8, the petition calls the 20-page ruling from Commissioner Roger Goodell “little more than an exercise in rehashing the [Ted] Wells Report,” and accuses Goodell of making “unfounded, provocative and mystifying attacks on Brady’s integrity.”

As to that point, the NFLPA dusts off the ruling of former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in the bounty case of 2012, who found that the NFL has never suspended players solely for obstructing an NFL investigation: “In my forty years of association with the NFL, I am aware of many instances of denials in disciplinary proceedings that proved to be false, but I cannot recall any suspension for such fabrication. This is no evidence of a record of past suspensions based purely on obstructing a League investigation.”

Right or wrong, the fact that the NFL doesn’t, and hasn’t, suspended players for such behavior arguably means that the NFL can’t suddenly start doing it, without collective bargaining. Which means that the NFL technically cannot suspend Brady for failing to cooperate — and that no players can be suspended for failing to cooperate until the NFL secures the ability to do so at the bargaining table.

The document also contains a lengthy quote from the statement provided on Wednesday by Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Which really isn’t surprising. Kraft’s verbal challenge to the league office sounds a lot like the kind of rhetoric for which NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith often draws criticism.

This time around, the union Smith runs and the team Kraft owns have one big thing in common: They agree in their mutual strong criticism of the NFL.

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Raiders name Beth Mowins preseason play-by-play announcer

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The Raiders announced today that veteran announcer Beth Mowins will call play-by-play for their preseason games this season.

Mowins will be a rarity in the NFL as a female in a broadcast booth. Although many women work NFL games as sideline reporters, the play-by-play and commentator duties are almost always handled by men. Mowins is eminently qualified for the Raiders job, having spent two decades calling games for ESPN, including many college football games. Her presence in the Raiders’ booth is a positive step.

Former Raiders Tim Brown and Matt Millen will join Mowins in the booth.

“Calling games for one of the premier franchises in the NFL is a real privilege, especially alongside a Hall of Famer and a four-time Super Bowl champion,” Mowins said in a statement released by the Raiders. “The Raiders have always taken pride in being innovative and we are excited to engage with Raider Nation in what promises to be an exciting buildup to the new season.”

Photo via Beth Mowins on Twitter.

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Dolphins donning throwbacks in December

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The 2015 Miami Dolphins may not be able to rediscover the glory of years past, but they’ll at least look like the teams that competed for (and won) championships.

The Dolphins will dust off their now-defunct uniforms for a Monday night visit from the Giants on December 14.

It’s wise for the Dolphins to break out the throwbacks in December, given that they’ll close the season with four home games only four Sundays apart, starting December 6 and ending January 3. With the blackout policy suspended, the Dolphins need to do whatever they can to entice fans to show up four times in five weeks to close the season.

The Dolphins introduced their current futuristic, helmetless Dolphin logo in 2013. The fact that the base color for the helmet remained white permits the old uniform to be resurrected by swapping out the decals, since the NFL now requires players to use one helmet for the entire year.

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Nothing happening between the Giants and Eli Manning, yet

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Recent comments from Giants co-owner John Mara suggested that an effort will be made to get quarterback Eli Manning signed soon. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, no such efforts have commenced.

It means that the outside chance of Manning getting a new deal by the start of camp is really no chance.

This doesn’t mean the Giants won’t soon start the process, but they haven’t started it yet. And it likely won’t be a simple negotiation, given the position Eli plays and its value to an NFL franchise.

There’s no reason to think a deal won’t get done, eventually. Manning has consistently said he wants to stay with the Giants, and the Giants would have a hard time getting quality play out of the quarterback position without him.

Still, the process of locking Eli up with what probably would be a retirement contract has no yet begun.

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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

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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

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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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