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Adrian Peterson: Hamstring injury has hindered me mentally

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Vikings running back Adrian Peterson returned to a limited practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s session with a hamstring issues that’s been bothering him for several weeks.

Peterson said he bruised the hamstring more than a month ago and informed the team last week about the problem because he was feeling increased tightness. Peterson played against the Giants after being listed as probable, his first appearance on the injury report with the hamstring issue, but managed just 28 yards on 13 carries as the Vikings slumped to a 23-7.

Peterson said Thursday that he feels the hamstring injury has impacted him mentally in terms of not cutting loose on the field, something he doesn’t think will be the case against the Packers this weekend.

“I feel like it was definitely hurting a little bit,” Peterson said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I feel like it was more in my mind. It’s strange to say that, but I think I was kind of holding myself back, not being able to stretch out and really run. I think I was kind of hindering myself. Now that I’m able to be more relaxed and got a clearer mind, I think I’ll be able to go out there and go full speed.”

Getting more from Peterson this week would make the life of Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Tommy Kramer or whoever the Vikings stick at quarterback this week considerably easier, although there’s something of a chicken and egg situation because better quarterbacking would open more space for Peterson on the field. Wherever you come down on that question, a healthy Peterson in body and mind is something the Vikings absolutely need to have if they’d like to increase their win total anytime soon.

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Bengals sign Greg Little

Greg Little AP

The Bengals had a few veteran receivers in for workouts on Thursday and one of them emerged with a contract.

Greg Little will be back with the Bengals after being released in February. PFT has learned, via a league source, that Little, who played six games for the Bengals last season and made six catches for 69 yards, has signed a one-year deal with the team. The Bengals placed wide receiver James Wright on injured reserve with a knee injury this week after he passed through waivers unclaimed.

Little entered the league as a 2011 second-round pick of the Browns and spent three seasons in Cleveland. He caught 155 passes during that time, but drops and other mental miscues helped keep him from meeting the expectations for him.

The Bengals have A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones at the top of the depth chart. Little, Denarius Moore, Brandon Tate and 2015 seventh-rounder Mario Alford will vie for spots behind them.

Santonio Holmes and David Nelson also worked out for the Bengals.

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All quiet on the Russell Wilson front

Wilson Getty Images

For Throwback Thursday, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tweeted a link to “one of the best days of my life”: The 2014 NFC title game. Whether today becomes the subject of an eventual Throwback Thursday best-day-ever remains to be seen.

The final hours are ticking away before the arrival of the artificial-but-real deadline for working out a new contract for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tick away. And no one is saying anything about whether a deal will, or won’t, be done.

There’s not a word, from anyone connected to either side of the process.

It could mean that the two sides are working feverishly toward resolving the final details of the deal. It could mean that they’re stuck at one last impasse, with one side waiting for the other to blink, and vice-versa. It could mean that both sides realize that a deal isn’t getting done, and that neither side wants to be the one to declare it — or to leak it.

Whatever the current posture, failure to strike a deal will mean that Wilson has opted to pass on the last, best offer the Seahawks made before the end of the talks and instead to play for $1.542 million in 2015. Like the franchise-tagged players who signed long-term deals 15 days ago, Wilson will know what he could make on a long-term offer, what he will make on a one-year deal, and what the potential options will be after the deal expires.

Of course, the flip side is true for the Seahawks. The absence of a deal will mean that they opted not to pay Wilson what he wants now, getting one last year at a below-market rate and inviting a list of options for February that could result in paying him a lot more on a long-term deal, paying him $25 million for one year under the exclusive franchise tag, or seeing him leave Seattle for a pair of first-round picks under the non-exclusive tag or something else, if he’s traded under the exclusive tag.

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Aaron Kromer pleads not guilty, next court date on Sept. 2

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Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer was scheduled to enter a plea in his misdemeanor battery case in Florida on August 12, but sped up the process by a couple of weeks by submitting it in written form.

Mike Rodak of reports that Kromer has pleaded not guilty to the charge, which came after Kromer was accused of punching a boy in the face and threatening to kill his family during an argument over beach chairs earlier this month. Kromer’s son Zachary also faces a charge and also entered a not guilty plea. Both Kromers are due back in court on September 2.

Kromer is on indefinite paid leave from the Bills right now and assistant offensive line coach Kurt Anderson may take over his duties, although center Eric Wood said Wednesday that he doesn’t know what the plan is moving forward.

We’re just gonna try not to make it a distraction at all and move forward,” Wood said. “But as of right now I don’t know any more than you all do. I get my reports from Twitter and everywhere else. So I’m sure I’ll know a lot more tomorrow or maybe tonight, but as of right now I don’t know a whole lot about the situation.”

The Bills hold their first practice of training camp on Friday.

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Cutler on Brandon Marshall’s comments: No one likes their ex after breaking up

Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall AP

Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall hasn’t gone out of his way to say anything nice about Bears quarterback Jay Cutler this offseason.

Marshall and Cutler played together in both Denver and Chicago during seasons that saw Marshall put up big numbers, but Marshall opted to name Kyle Orton as the best quarterback that he’s ever played with in the NFL. He also left Cutler off a longer list of his best teammates, which leads one to believe, in the words of Taylor Swift, that there’s now bad blood where there used to be mad love.

Cutler doesn’t feel that way, though. When asked about Marshall’s comments about him and the Bears, who Marshall said lacked chemistry last season, during an appearance on NFL Network, Cutler said that he thought it was to be expected after the offseason split.

“No one really likes their ex-girlfriend just after a breakup,” Cutler said. “He’s fine and he’s been like that for as long as I’ve known him. He’s an incredible player, he did a lot for us here, it just didn’t work out. I could’ve been the guy that got shipped out of here as well. New staff, new GM, you just never know what’s gonna happen. He’s gonna do well with the Jets and I know he’s in unbelievable shape, I’ve seen him work out in Chicago a little bit, so he’s gonna do well.”

Wishing nothing but the best for Marshall is more reminiscent of the Adele songbook, but it’s a bit easier to smile and say good luck with the Jets and Bears in separate conferences and not on one another’s schedules.

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Tom Brady not only throws passes, but he catches them too in camp

Tom Brady

As it stands now, Tom Brady won’t be throwing any passes in the opener.

But on the first day or training camp, he was catching them.

According to Mike Reiss of, Brady made a one-handed catch of a Julian Edelman pass in the red zone, whipping the crowd into a frenzy by stretching the ball over the pylon for a touchdown.

Of course, that’s not going to be a staple of the Patriots offense (they tried the Tim Tebow thing already), as having a quarterback such as Brady makes you want to let him throw it.

As far as that, Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo each took plenty of reps, at one point working side-by-side during 11-on-11s.

So maybe at some point, Garoppolo can throw it to Brady.

Or maybe not.

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Bernard Pollard says he’s healthy and ready to play

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When safety Bernard Pollard requested his release from the Titans early in the offseason,  the Titans gave him what he wanted but no one else has signed the veteran to their roster for the 2015 season.

The big reason for that is likely the torn Achilles that Pollard suffered in Week Five of the 2014 season. Pollard says that he’s spoken to five or six teams and says that he understands their concern about his health, but says that everything has healed to the point that he’s ready to play.

“I’m only 30 — I’ve played this game at a high level and I can still play at a high level,” Pollard said, via the Tennessean. “Plenty of NFL teams are telling me that they’re really, really looking at me, but they’re like, `How’s the injury?’ I’m like, `It’s good. Yes, the injury happened, but I’m perfectly fine.'”

Pollard hasn’t visited any teams yet, although he says he’s had conversations with clubs about what he’s looking for and what they are willing to offer. Now that teams are in camp, those conversations could pick up with clubs that aren’t satisfied by their current safety options.

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Report: Santonio Holmes among receivers working out for Bengals

Santonio Holmes, Melvin White AP

Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said he wants to open Pandora’s box on offense this season, which may explain why Santonio Holmes was reportedly working out for the team on Thursday.

Holmes was one of three wideouts that NFL Media reports were vying for jobs with the team on the day that current members of the team were reporting to camp. Holmes signed with the Bears last August and caught eight passes for 67 yards in nine appearances for the team. It’s been several years since Holmes was both healthy and effective for the Jets, which probably doesn’t bode well for his chances of landing a job with the team.

Greg Little and David Nelson were the others trying out in Cincinnati. Little had six catches in six games for the Bengals last season, but was released in February after failing to make the Browns feel sorry for cutting him in last November’s game between the two Ohio clubs.

Nelson played for the Jets last season and recently expressed his belief that his charity work in Haiti was keeping teams from signing him as a free agent this year.

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Minnesota judge “strongly suspects” NFLPA was forum shopping

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In the four-page ruling that punted the lawsuit filed Wednesday by the NFLPA to New York City, where the NFL had filed its own lawsuit a day earlier, Judge Richard H. Kyle pulled no punches.

“The Court strongly suspects the Union filed in Minnesota because it has obtained favorable rulings from this Court in the past on behalf of its members,” Judge Richard H. Kyle wrote. “Indeed, the Union makes only a fleeting attempt to justify venuing this action in Minnesota, noting in two sentences of its 160-paragraph Petition that legal issues raised in the underlying arbitration ‘were directly related to’ legal issues addressed in the action disposed of by Judge Doty in February (concerning Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson). . . . However, the Court fails to appreciate how legal issues resolved in Peterson justify bringing this action here when it enjoys no other connection to Minnesota. Indeed, carried to its logical conclusion, accepting the Union’s premise would mean that a court that had decided, for example, a large corporation had engaged in racial discrimination would be the appropriate venue for every future racial-discrimination case against that corporation, no matter where the employee was located or where the alleged discrimination had occurred. Venue simply cannot be predicated on such a thin reed.”

In English, this means that  a case involving an employee who works in Massachusetts shouldn’t be filed in Minnesota, absent some other connection between Minnesota and the lawsuit.

Of course, Minnesota likely would have been an acceptable location for the lawsuit but for the fact that the NFL won the race to the courthouse. Actually, the NFL at one point preferred Minnesota as the jurisdiction for such cases, because the federal appeals court the governs Minnesota (the Eight Circuit) once issued a favorable ruling for the NFL in an antitrust case. It was so favorable that the Freeman McNeil litigation challenging Plan B free agency was filed in New Jersey, but the case was transferred back to Minnesota at (you guessed it) the NFL’s behest.

Minnesota then became the default location for antitrust litigation, given the favorable outcomes that the NFLPA and the players obtained there. With Judge Doty finding earlier this year that the NFL tried to suspend Peterson without proper notice of a change in the applicable rules, and with the NFLPA believing similar notice principles apply to Brady, it makes sense for the NFLPA to choose Minnesota.

It also makes sense for the NFL to not choose Minnesota, taking full advantage of Roger Goodell’s dual role as Commissioner and Arbitrator to get a head start on getting the case filed anywhere other than Minnesota.

So, yes, the NFLPA was forum shopping. And, yes, the NFL was forum shopping. And, yes, any lawyer worth his or her license considers all potentially available forums for filing a lawsuit and tries to shop for the best possible one.

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With daughter Leah doing well, Devon Still’s mind is on football

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When you’re dealing with cancer, especially childhood cancer, there’s a ceiling on how secure you can ever feel.

But Devon Still still has a job to do, and he knows it’s time to focus on it.

The best news is his daughter Leah’s cancer is still in remission, but Still admitted how difficult it has been, knowing it was now time to go to work.

“You know we were traveling down a good path for so long, and for that day to come right before I had to come out here for training camp is hard,” Still said, via Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s hard for any parent that’s dealing with cancer because that can change your whole world right back around from the result that you get. But luckily we were given positive results.”

Now he’s concentrating on keeping his job, and the work shows. He’s lost 27 pounds, down to a lean 295. Yet on a talented Bengals defense, he’s still not a sure thing to keep a roster spot.

But he wants you to know he’s not distracted in the least.

“My mind’s focused. Period. Point blank. Period. I’m focused,” he said. “I’m very inspired by what my daughter was able to accomplish over this past year and I’m looking forward to going out there and showing her what I can overcome.”

The Bengals have been patient with Still in the past, as he’s helped his daughter through a courageous fight. Now, he wants to make sure to hold up his end of the bargain, and let them know that his mind is on nothing but football.

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Brandon Graham: Tebow will make the team and play a lot

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Quarterback Tim Tebow, after two years in NFL exile, has another chance, with the Eagles. However, few think he’ll make the climb from the 90-man training camp throng to the final 53-man roster.

Teammate Brandon Graham is in the minority.

Via CBS Philly, Graham recently said he expects Tebow to be on the team, and on the field.

“Tim Tebow is going to shock a lot of people, because he is going to make the team,” Graham recently told Lauren Beasley of Hot 107.5 in Detroit. “And I think he will play a lot.”

It’s unclear whether Tebow will contribute as a change-of-pace quarterback, as the signal-caller for two-point conversions, or at a different position. And despite Graham’s confidence in Tebow, he still needs to earn both a job and playing time.

Tebow nevertheless once took the Broncos to the divisional round of the playoffs, which should count for something. Whether that translates to a meaningful role for the Eagles in 2015 remains to be seen.

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Packers have no word on when Andrew Quarless will report to camp

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Packers tight end Andrew Quarless is not at training camp, and coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t know when he’ll report.

“Andrew Quarless is dealing with an extremely difficult family situation right now. He will be gone as long as he has to be,” McCarthy said today.

Quarless was arrested in Miami this month on charges of firing a gun during an argument outside a parking garage. That case is pending, and Quarless could face discipline under the league’s personal-conduct policy.

But he apparently is dealing with other personal issues at the moment, and so there’s no word on when he’ll be with the team.

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Keith Rivers retires, Rolando McClain placed on PUP list

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The Cowboys are going to be without two of their veteran linebackers to start training camp and only one of them will be coming back.

The team placed Keith Rivers on the reserve/retired list Thursday after Rivers decided that he didn’t want to continue his NFL career. The team signed Rivers as a free agent during the offseason, but they’ll need to look elsewhere for help at the position. Rivers was the ninth overall pick of the 2008 draft and played for the Bengals, Giants and Bills before his short stay in Dallas.

One place they eventually hope to find it is with Rolando McClain, who has been placed on the physically unable to perform list after having offseason knee surgery. McClain is eligible to be activated at any time, but will be serving a four-game suspension to open the season due to a violation of the substance abuse policy.

Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Jasper Brinkley, Kyle Wilber, Andrew Gachkar and rookie Damien Wilson are the healthy linebackers for the Cowboys right now.

Running back Darren McFadden is also on the PUP list after being bothered by a hamstring injury this spring. He’s not expected to spend extend time on the list, but McFadden’s injury history isn’t too encouraging. Offensive lineman Chaz Green and linebacker Mark Nzeocha are also on the PUP list to start camp.

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Lardarius Webb fails conditioning test, isn’t cleared to practice yet

Mike Wallace, Lardarius Webb AP

The Ravens were without Lardarius Webb for the first practice of training camp, after the veteran cornerback failed his conditioning test.

According to Clifton Brown of, Webb will have to pass the test before the team lets him practice, and coach John Harbaugh said the player was disappointed in himself.

“The conditioning test measures anaerobic conditioning. It measures the ability to recover, get your heart rate way up and recover,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Webby is in really good shape in a lot of different ways. You can see it in the way he moves. But he’s not in the kind of anaerobic shape he needs to be in to come out here and practice. The idea being that if I go play after play after play, and I begin to get fatigued, and I can’t move the way I need to move, I’m going to have a fatigue type of injury.

“That’s why we don’t allow guys to practice until they’re aerobically in conditioning. He’s a little behind that way, certainly, and he’s going to have to make up the ground.”

Webb had to take a pay cut to hang around this season, as he wondered aloud if he was the next veteran out the door. He’s still valuable to them, provided he’s in shape.

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Terry Pegula: No hurry to get a new stadium

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Before the Bills were sold last year after Ralph Wilson’s death, there was a lot of discussion about the team getting a new stadium to replace the one that bears Wilson’s name.

That conversation will continue at some point, but Bills owner Terry Pegula said Thursday that there’s “nothing urgent” that needs to be discussed at the moment. Pegula cited the $130 million in renovations that were recently completed and a lease running through 2022 as two reasons why there’s no pressure at present.

“The only answer to that question is the state and county, there’s been a lot of money put into Ralph Wilson Stadium,” Pegula said, via the Buffalo News. “We’re in no hurry. We realize that if that work was just done, how foolish would you look if you start looking around for a new stadium when we’ve just renovated the one we have? We have time. We have an existing lease on the current stadium.”

Pegula also said that there were no plans to sell the naming rights to the stadium and that having Wilson’s name on the building was “a special thing.” It sounds like business as usual in Buffalo, although Pegula would surely like to see that change when it comes to the team’s on-field results.

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Jimmy Garoppolo says he’s not thinking about starting Week One

Jimmy Garoppolo AP

Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback while Tom Brady serves a suspension for the first four games of the season, but Garoppolo says he isn’t thinking about that.

Asked if he’s ready to start Week One, Garoppolo answered, “We’re not really looking that far ahead. I don’t think anyone is. It’s the first day of training camp, got with the guys and it felt good to get out here with all of them.”

Garoppolo has clearly learned from coach Bill Belichick that the Patriot Way when dealing with the media is to avoid saying anything substantive and to spout cliches whenever possible. At one point during his conversation with reporters, he was able to work both “take it one day at a time” and “take it day by day” into the same answer

Garoppolo did allow, however, that he’s in a different position this year than he was as a rookie last year, when no one expected him to get on the field outside garbage time.

“This year it’s completely different and I’ve got different goals,” Garoppolo said.

The Patriots’ goal will be to win four games with Garoppolo as the starter. Even if no one in Patriots camp is talking about those games yet.

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