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Bruce Irvin: Move to linebacker saved my career

Bruce Irvin AP

The Seattle Seahawks made a surprising decision this offseason to convert Bruce Irvin from defensive end to strong-side linebacker.

Irvin had led all rookies in 2012 with eight sacks as a situational pass rusher after being selected with the 15th pick in the draft. However, when Chris Clemons was lost for the remainder of the postseason to an ACL tear against the Washington Redskins, Irvin struggled as an every down defensive end.

The Atlanta Falcons rushed for 167 yards against Seattle’s usually strong rush defense as the undersized Irvin struggled to hold up at the point of attack in the running game.

Seattle elected to move Irvin off the line of scrimmage and better utilize his speed and athleticism at linebacker. Irvin has been impressive at his new position. In four games since returning from a suspension to start the season, Irvin has racked up 19 tackles with two sacks and the first interception of his career.

Irvin believes the position change has been a big positive for him so far this season.

“I tell (linebackers coach) Ken Norton (Jr.) everyday ‘you saved my life. You saved my career making me a linebacker.’ I thank him every day and I just got to keep working hard to make him feel like he made the right decision,” Irvin said.

Against the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, Irvin had arguably his best game as a professional. He had nine tackles, a sack and an interception of Kellen Clemens on a pass intended for tight end Jared Cook 30 yards down field.

“Bruce had a fantastic game for us. he was all over the place, he had eight (solo) tackles, and he had a sack and a forced fumble and a pick,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “He just looked really comfortable playing the position and all of the different things that we’re doing with him. If there was a thought that this was an experiment at one time, it’s totally working out and we’re really excited about what he’s doing.”

Irvin initially was a safety at Mount San Antonio before being moved to the defensive line. Carroll had recruited Irvin while at USC before he elected to play his college football at West Virginia. He believes the move to linebacker allows him to show off more of his ability.

“I think it shows that I’m capable of doing more than just coming in on third downs or passing situations and rushing the passer, I can drop (into coverage). I’ve got a chance to show I can make open field tackles. Man-to-man containing the running backs, rushing the tight ends and the running backs. It’s more of a complete position than being a specialist as I was last year.”

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Wednesday’s PFT Live asks which undefeated team will be the last to lose

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Strong safety T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos tackles tight end Jack Doyle #84 of the Indianapolis Colts in the red zone in the third quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

Wednesday’s PFT Live features a visit from safety T.J. Ward of the 3-0 Broncos. Which meshes well with the question of the day: Which 3-0 team will be the last to lose?

The candidates are the Broncos, Eagles, Patriots, Ravens, and Vikings.

The Eagles definitely won’t lose this weekend; they don’t play. The other four do.

Cast a vote here, argue your case in the comments, and tune in at 6:00 a.m. ET on the radio side, 7:00 a.m. ET for the NBCSN simulcast.

Also joining us will be Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins face the Bengals on a short week, after narrowly defeating the Browns on Sunday.

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Antonio Brown confirms he was told to change shoes or stay in the locker room

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:   Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles breaks up a pass to Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown changed out of his yellow and blue shoes at halftime of last weeks loss to the Eagles, but not by choice.

On his weekly Pittsburgh radio show Tuesday night, Brown confirmed that game officials gave him a choice: Change his shoes or stay in the locker room.

That was first reported by Mark Kaboly of DKPittsburghSports.com.

Brown changed his shoes for the second half. His yellow and blue shoes were an NFL uniform violation.

When Brown was fined for his blue shoes and his touchdown dance in the season opener, he said the fines were “nothing to a boss.” But the boss wanted to keep playing, so he changed his shoes last Sunday.

He can expect another fine this week.

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Report: Cardinals to sign long snapper Aaron Brewer

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After parting with long snapper Kameron Canaday after a botched field goal snap that led to a Buffalo Bills touchdown last week, the Arizona Cardinals brought in a pair of long snappers for tryouts on Tuesday.

According to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com, former Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears long snapper Aaron Brewer won the competition and will be signed by the Cardinals.

Brewer and Tyler Ott both worked out for Arizona on Tuesday.

Ott has appeared in just one regular season game playing for the New York Giants last season. He has also spent time with the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams during previous offseasons.

Brewer has played in 64 games for the Denver Broncos over the last four seasons. He spent the offseason with the Chicago Bears before being released.

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Texans will sign Antonio Smith

Antonio Smith AP

The Texans are planning to sign veteran defensive end Antonio Smith to a one-year deal, PFT has learned.

The signing will become official Wednesday when the Texans place All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt on injured reserve. Watt re-injured his back in last Thursday night’s loss to the Patriots.

Smith, 34, played for the Texans from 2009-13. He played in all 16 games as a backup for the Broncos last season.

Smith has 47 career sacks in 173 career games, 133 starts. He entered the league as a fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2004.

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Colin Kaepernick calls debate “embarrassing to watch”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) AP

In the week of the first presidential debate, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton but Colin Kaepernick occupied the cover of Time. On Tuesday, Kaepernick was asked if he saw the 98-minute back-and-forth.

I watched a little bit of it,” Kaepernick told reporters, via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “To me it was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates. Both are proven liars and it almost seems they’re trying to debate who’s less racist. At this point . . . you have to pick the lesser of two evils but in the end it’s still evil.”

Plenty of people feel the same way as Kaepernick. Regardless, in a nation of 319 million people, these are our two primary options.

At a time when the country seems to be more divided than ever, we seem to be destined to become even more divided, regardless of the outcome of the election.

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J.J. Watt could miss rest of season with back injury

HOUSTON, TX- OCTOBER 09: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans celebrates an Indianapolis Colts fumble after he returned it for a touchdown in the fourth quarter in a NFL game on October 9, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Football’s top defensive player could be done for the year.

Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt has re-injured his back and is expected to miss significant time, possibly the rest of the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

According to the report, the Texans are still gathering information about the injury, which he apparently suffered Thursday night in New England.

Watt was dealing with a back injury throughout the offseason, and after he underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc, there were some reports over the summer that he might not be able to return in time for the beginning of the regular season. He has played all three games this year, but he hasn’t looked like himself.

Now the Texans may be looking at playing the rest of 2016 without the three-time NFL defensive player of the year. That would be a massive loss to the playoff hopes of the team that is currently leading the AFC South.

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Seahawks look at eight players, but no quarterbacks

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

If Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson can’t play on Sunday with a knee injury, the team apparently will be content to roll the dice with undrafted rookie Trevone Boykin.

On Tuesday, the Seahawks tried out eight players. None were quarterbacks.

Getting look-sees were running backs Bernard Pierce, Kenny Hilliard, Tommy Bohanan, and Darrel Young, defensive back Chimdi Chekwa, receiver Jamel Johnson, linebacker Randell Johnson, and defensive end Rufus Johnson.

Wilson has a sprained MCL. If it’s a low-grade tear, he should be able to play. Coach Pete Carroll has said that Wilson will practice on Wednesday.

The team’s interest in running backs comes from the leg injury suffered nine days ago by Thomas Rawls.

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Colts alter routine as they prep for London trip

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts talks to his players during the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Colts held what was basically a walkthrough Tuesday, normally a day off for players.

It’s not a normal week, though, as the Colts play the Jaguars in London Sunday. This marks the fourth straight year the Jaguars will play a home game in London, but the experience is new to the Colts.

“The theme is to keep the main thing the main thing, and that’s preparation, prepare, do everything, try to keep things as normal as possible from a preparation and practice standpoint,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said, per the team’s official transcript. “You have to make a few adjustments here and there, but at the end of the day it’s focus and mindset on one thing and one thing only, and that is getting win No. 2.”

The Colts, who rallied to beat the Chargers last Sunday, will fly to London Thursday evening and practice after arriving Friday morning. Pagano said the team kept things light Tuesday but felt that using the day to begin prepping for the Jaguars was necessary given the circumstances.

“We are just coming off a really physical and mental-draining game, as you know,” he said. “We had really good, long meetings, [an] introduction to Jacksonville. We will amp it up tomorrow. We will amp it up Thursday.”

Sunday’s game kicks off at 9:30 a.m. ET.

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Cardinals try out several punters and long snappers

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Punter Drew Butler #2 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field following the NFL game against the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cardinals will be adding a long snapper this week. They also plan to add a punter, too.

Per a league source, the Cardinals worked out Tim Masthay, Michael Palardy, and Ryan Quigley on Tuesday. Whoever gets the job will serve as the short-term solution while Drew Butler (pictured) recovers from an Achilles injury.

With Kameron Canady released, the Cardinals also tried out long snappers Tyler Ott and Aaron Brewer.

The next punter could have a chance to give Butler the boot; he is averaging a career-low 40.3 yards per punt in 2016, along with a career-low 33.7-yard net.

Butler will still serve as the holder. Botch field-goal attempts fueled by bad snaps have marred both of Arizona’s losses in 2016.

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Lions bring back Aaron Dobson

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01:  Aaron Dobson #17 of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups prior to Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s not quite the full-blown 54-man roster trick, because receiver Aaron Dobson still isn’t a vested veteran and must pass through waivers. Still, Dobson is emerging as the early bottom-of-roster option in Detroit for player who is cut in order to create a roster spot for a position of need and then re-signed the following week.

That’s precisely what the Lions have done with Dobson, waiving him last week and bringing him back this week.

A second-round pick of the Patriots in 2013, Dobson was cut by the Patriots as the 2016 rosters reduced to 53.

Some teams will cut a vested veteran last in a given week, allowing a practice-squad player to be promoted for game day. Then, the vested veteran will be resigned the following week, getting full pay for both weeks.

Per a league source, the Lions also kicked tires on Tuesday on four other players: defensive end Quinton Coples, linebacker Bjoern Werner, and tight ends Justice Cunningham and Adrien Robinson. None were signed.

Copies and Werner are former first-round picks who currently are looking for their next NFL opportunities. The Lions have a need at pass rusher, given the ankle injury suffered in Week Two by Ziggy Ansah.

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Bears signing defensive lineman C.J. Wilson

CJWilson Getty Images

The Bears are signing defensive tackle C.J. Wilson, his agents announced on Twitter.

Wilson, 29, spent time with the Raiders and Lions last season. He was released by the Saints in August.

He’s a veteran of 78 career games and 19 starts, and he’ll have a chance to contribute immediately on a Bears defense that’s dealing with multiple injury issues.

Wilson was part of a Bears tryout Tuesday that included running back Joique Bell, tackles Clay DeBord, Colin Kelly, and Arturo Uzdavinis, guard Austin Shepherd and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga. The Bears signed Bell to the active roster and signed Kelly to the practice squad.

The Packers selected Wilson in the seventh round of the 2010 draft and he played his first four seasons in Green Bay. He has 6.5 career sacks.

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Collins says he’ll rest for now, surgery decision will come later

La'el Collins AP

Cowboys guard La’El Collins told reporters Tuesday that he plans to rest his injured toe for two weeks before a decision is made on whether he needs surgery.

Collins has torn ligaments in his right big toe. He was placed on injured reserve Monday, but he’ll eligible to return in eight weeks if he’s healed and up to speed. Collins is wearing a protective boot and undergoing treatment in hopes the injury will heal without surgery.

There had been conflicting reports on whether or not surgery would be necessary, and also whether an eventual decision would be dictated by how much pain Collins could tolerate or if the injury would heal in time for a return this season.

Ronald Leary will move into the starting lineup at left guard.

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Panthers sign Michael Griffin

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 28:  Free safety Michael Griffin #33 of the Tennessee Titans in action during the preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 28, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers have made a veteran addition to their secondary.

The team announced Tuesday that they have signed former Titans safety Michael Griffin. Griffin was released by the Titans in February and signed with the Vikings in March, but didn’t make Minnesota’s roster coming out of the preseason.

Griffin, a 2007 first-round pick, played 141 games for the Titans over nine years with the organization. He was a two-time Pro Bowler during his run in Tennessee, but his play had slipped by the end of his time with the team.

He’ll join Kurt Coleman, Tre Boston and Colin Jones in Carolina with Dean Marlowe on injured reserve and Marcus Ball getting waived to make room for Griffin.

The Panthers also confirmed the signing of defensive tackle Kyle Love, who will help fill in for the injured Vernon Butler, and announced that defensive end Ryan Delaire is headed to injured reserve with a knee injury.

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Get to know Zachary Orr

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 11: Linebacker Zach Orr #54 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates in the first half of the Buffalo Bills vs. the Baltimore Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Ravens have one new first-year starter in 2016: Linebacker Zachary Orr. The undrafted free agent from North Texas in 2014 has made the most of the assignment, leading the team in tackles and notching the game-clinching interception to seal Sunday’s win at Jacksonville.

Orr joined PFT Live on Tuesday to discuss his team’s performance to date, the moment when he realized he belongs on the field with the rest of the Baltimore defense, and the strong temptation to keep running with the ball after he picked it off, in an effort to score a touchdown in a game the Ravens led by only two points.

Get to know him now, because based on the way he’s playing you’ll be hearing his name a lot more frequently throughout the rest of the season, and beyond.

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Cardinals dump Kameron Canaday two days after botched snap

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head Coach Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals watches his team warm up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on September 25, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made no attempt to hide his anger about long snapper Kameron Canaday launching a snap too high for holder Drew Butler to corral on a field goal attempt during last Sunday’s 33-18 loss to the previously winless Bills.

“Grow the hell up,” Arians said, via the Associated Press. “It has nothing to do with anything but what’s between his ears.”

The Bills returned the botched snap for a touchdown and the Cardinals will have a new player doing the snapping when they host the Rams in Week Four. The team announced Tuesday that they have waived Canaday.

The 1-2 Cardinals made a few other roster moves. They waived 2016 fifth-round pick Marqui Christian after the safety was inactive for the first three games of the season and placed tight end Troy Niklas on injured reserve due to a wrist injury.

Arizona promoted tight end Ifeanyi Momah from the practice squad, leaving them with two open roster spots. One will likely go to a punter as Butler has ankle and Achilles issues that will keep him from punting this week, although he is able to serve as a holder.

Assuming, of course, the new Cardinals snapper is able to get the ball to him.

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