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Flacco gets knee brace, will be limited in practice

Flacco Getty Images

We reported last night that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will take it easy over the next few days after being hit by a helmet below the knee on Monday night.

The Ravens have provided a more concrete explanation of what that means.  The team announced on Wednesday that he has been fitted with a knee brace, and that he’ll be limited in practice.

While Flacco reportedly didn’t need an MRI to assess potential damage to his knee, it’s obvious that there’s an injury of some sort.  And the use of a brace confirms what we all saw on Monday night — the low hit from Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy scared Flacco.

The inability of Flacco to fully prepare for Sunday’s date with the Patriots should give them some concern, too, as the defending Super Bowl champs try to extend a late-season four-game winning streak.

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Is it Jared Abbrederis time in Green Bay?

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis #84 of the Green Bay Packers brings in a 15-yard pass against safety Charles Woodson #24 of the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter on December 20, 2015 at Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Packers won 30-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

With receiver Jeff Janis recuperating from a broken hand and otherwise having a lackluster camp, the door is open for someone else to step up. And that someone else could be receiver Jared Abbrederis.

Rob Demovsky of pegs Abbrederis as the team’s potential breakout player this year, and for good reason. He’s currently listed as a second-string receiver behind Randall Cobb. That puts him on potentially equal footing with Davante Adams, who didn’t perform the way many had expected after Jordy Nelson tore an ACL last year in the preseason.

Last year, Abbrederis caught nine passes for 111 yards in 10 games. This year, who knows? Abbrederis could end up being a name to watch, even if plenty won’t quite know how to pronounce it and possibly will end up just saying, “Abbacadabra.”

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H.B. Blades agrees to pay back money he was mistakenly paid

CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 14: H.B. Blades #54 of the Washington Redskins celebrates a defensive play during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 14, 2008 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

In February we learned of an odd lawsuit against former Washington linebacker H.B. Blades, who was accidentally overpaid by the team. That lawsuit has now been settled.

Blades has agreed to pay the team $20,658.88 to settle the matter, via attorney Daniel Wallach. The team had initially said Blades owed $40,000, but Blades said he should owe less because taxes were deducted from the $40,000 he was overpaid.

The team says it paid Blades $40,000 in 2013, long after he was done playing for the team, as a result of a clerical error.

Washington drafted Blades in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL draft and he spent four seasons with the team, playing in all 16 games every year from 2007 to 2010. He was cut at the end of the 2011 preseason.

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Giants owner says there’s no reason to cut kicker Josh Brown

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 19: John K. Mara President and Chief Executive officer of the New York Giants looks on during warms ups prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 19, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

Giants owner John Mara decided Wednesday to not leave his first-year head coach as the organization’s sole spokesman on the topic of Josh Brown.

Mara stepped out to talk to reporters today, and said the team was aware of their kicker’s 2015 arrest in Washington for domestic violence when they signed him to a new contract this offseason.

We did our homework here,” Mara said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

The initial charges against Brown were dropped, but his ex-wife told police of more than 20 incidents of violence against her and her teenage son. There were also reports that she kicked him in the ribs during an incident in New Jersey, but no charges were ever filed there.

The league suspended Brown for one game (rather than the new baseline of six) because his ex-wife did not cooperate with their investigation.

Mara said he wanted to give Brown a chance, saying that domestic violence “is such a complex and emotional decision.”

They’ve brought veteran Randy Bullock to cover them for a week, and Mara pointed out that the easy course of action would be to simply find a new kicker. But they’re apparently confident in Brown’s side of the story, and Mara is finally willing to attach his name to that endorsement.

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Bruce Arians, John Elway added to competition committee

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 24:  Head coach Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the field prior to the NFC Championship Game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he was taking a “leave of absence” from the competition committee, but they may have filled the job on him.

According to Adam Schefter of, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and Broncos executive John Elway have been added to the committee, which sets the agenda for rules changes.

Fisher said at the Scouting Combine that he wanted to step away from the committee to focus on his team’s move to Los Angeles. Committee chairman Rich McKay had been suspended after the Falcons’ fake crowd-noise scandal, but he had been reinstated a year ago.

It’s unclear if there was another departure to the committee to make room for the new guys.

The other members of the committee include Giants owner John Mara, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, Packers president Mark Murphy, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Texans G.M. Rick Smith, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

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Chargers owner’s plane in Florida, but not to pick up Joey Bosa

DENVER, CO - JULY 14:  A radar screen tracks incoming and outgoing flights for air traffic controllers at the Terminal Radar Approach Control center on July 14, 2011 at the Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is marking 75 years of federal air traffic control in the United States today. Beginning with just 15 employees in 1936, the FAA now has some 15,000 air traffic controllers and technicians working nationwide. In 2010, the Denver International Airport was the 4th busiest airport in the world, with some 650,000 flights per year and 52 million passengers passing through the airport.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Getty Images

In the absence of news about Joey Bosa’s contract negotiations, Chargers fans are scrambling for anything to cling to.

But the latest shiny object should not be confused with a glimmer of hope.

According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chargers fans were stirred up by reports that the Spanos family’s private plane was in Fort Lauderdale, which happens to be Bosa’s hometown.

But there’s no indication the negotiations have moved, and a team official said the plane was in Florida on unrelated business.

Thus, the last remaining unsigned rookie has effectively turned Chargers fans into a bunch of reporters chasing college coaching searches, tracking tail numbers in search of clues.

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Josh Gordon will be a restricted free agent after 2016 season

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 24:  Wide receiver Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns catches a touchdown pass over cornerback Ike Taylor #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) Getty Images

Why would another team want to trade for a receiver who is entering his fourth NFL season, will miss the first four games of it, and potentially will be hitting the open market next year? Because he won’t be hitting the open market.

Browns receiver Josh Gordon will be a restricted free agent in 2017, according to multiple league sources.

Gordon arrived in round two of the 2012 supplemental draft, and he obtained accrued seasons toward free agency in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, however, a 10-game league-imposed suspension coupled with a one-game suspension imposed by the team kept him from participating in six games — and from in turn obtaining a year of credit toward free agency.

Per the sources, the grievance filed by Gordon challenging the suspension was eventually dropped, which means that 2016 will be his third accrued year for free agency purposes. His four-year contract will expire, but he won’t be eligible for unrestricted free agency.

So whoever holds his rights after the season will be able to keep him in place another year under one of the various RFA tenders. Which would make him a little more valuable as a potential trade target.

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Norv Turner sees no signs Adrian Peterson is slowing down

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is greeted by Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson after a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, in Seattle. The Vikings won 18-11. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing attempts last season with 327, marking the first time he’s led the league in that metric and the fourth time that he’s run the ball at least 314 times in a season.

Only a handful of running backs 30 or older have run the ball that many times in a season and many of them saw their production drop in subsequent seasons. Peterson showed no signs that such a drop was in his immediate future in 2015 and offensive coordinator Norv Turner says that none have presented themselves during training camp either.

“From this camp, I have not seen anything,” Turner said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He’s got burst. He’s got such a quick start and we know he’s powerful in breaking tackles and running through. He finishes runs out here. We’ve all seen him take off and run the length of the field. … Obviously, it’s training camp. But he keeps such good care of himself. And we did a good job last year of taking care of him through the season. He doesn’t look like he’s slowing down to me.”

Turner said earlier this summer that he expects to get Peterson about 20 carries a game, which is right on line from last season and would provide plenty of opportunities to test whether time is taking a toll on a player poised to move into the all-time top 10 in rushing yards.

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Shoulder injury keeping Kyle Long out of practice

Chicago Bears tackle Kyle Long, left, speaks to his brother, New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long, right, at midfield after a preseason NFL football game Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) AP

When training camp opened, Bears guard Kyle Long missed a bit of time with a calf injury but he returned well ahead of the start of the preseason schedule.

The Bears are hoping that the same will be true of a shoulder injury that has kept him out of the last three practices. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that it is a labrum issue and that the team is evaluating how serious an issue it is. Biggs quotes one source as being “not optimistic” while another expressed confidence that Long will be ready for the regular season.

Coach John Fox wasn’t breaking any ties on Tuesday.

“It doesn’t really matter what I think,” Fox said. “There are medical people involved and when he’s cleared, he’ll play.”

The Bears have already lost center Hroniss Grasu for the season to a torn ACL, forcing them to move Ted Larsen to the pivot. Larsen kicked back over to guard to replace Long in a recent practice with Cornelius Edison playing center and the Bears also have Khaled Holmes and Amini Silatolu as interior depth should they need to fill in for Long in the coming weeks.

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Ali Marpet in walking boot at Bucs practice

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 15: Ali Marpet #74 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on during the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 15, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Buccaneers 26-16. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter wasn’t happy with the way his offense performed in Tuesday’s joint practice with the Browns and his mood probably didn’t get any better once he got word of an injury to right guard Ali Marpet.

Marpet has his right foot a walking boot at Wednesday’s practice for the two teams after showing no obvious signs of an injury when Tuesday’s practice concluded. At that point, Marpet told that his biggest concern was getting experience against Cleveland’s 3-4 front as he rarely saw them in college and had a hard time when facing them in his rookie season.

There’s no word on the severity of Marpet’s issue at this point, but it comes at an inopportune time for the Bucs as they are already missing prospective left guard J.R. Sweezy due to a back injury. Recent reports have pointed to Sweezy starting the regular season on the PUP list, so any extended absence for Marpet would leave the team thin on the interior of the line.

Kevin Pamphile has been in Sweezy’s spot and backup center Evan Smith is a likely replacement for Marpet with inexperienced options behind them on the depth chart.

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New Miami offense making opponents sick, literally

Dallas Cowboys' Anthony Hitchens (59) and Morris Claiborne, rear, tackle Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry after a short catch and run in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) AP

The Dolphins have a new offense, and they have a new tempo to the offense. That new tempo is causing opponents to lose their ability to lose old foodstuffs.

Receiver Jarvis Landry told the story on Tuesday as it relates to the Week Two preseason game against the Cowboys, via Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“I think you look at that game there were a couple of guys on their team throwing up while we were driving, so it’ll be interesting to see for four quarters if those d-lines can hold up against our tempo and the way we want to move the ball down the field,” Landry said.

Miami offensive lineman Billy Turner was unable to confirm Landry’s version of the events.

“I have no idea,” Turner said. “I didn’t see it, thank God.”

Regardless, Turner sees the benefit of the offense moving quickly.

“Whenever you’re in an offense where you don’t huddle, and don’t have to huddle, and you’re always on the ball, that creates a sense of chaos for the defense so they’re running around trying to get the right personnel on the field,” Turner said.

If it helps the Dolphins move the ball, it will help them score points. Which will help them win games (duh).

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Doug Baldwin admits agitating after practice-fight with Richard Sherman

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with teammate cornerback Richard Sherman #25 after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett talked about upholding the “code,” after he was thrown out of practice for fighting.

But for Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, some things supersede the code, as their offense tries to establish its identity after an offseason of change.

“I mean, yes, there is a code. But Mike B. doesn’t always necessarily operate by that code, either,” Baldwin said, via Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune.

That didn’t stop Baldwin and cornerback Richard Sherman (longtime teammates going back to their days at Stanford) from going at each other, in what was described as quite the fight. After Baldwin got behind the Seahawks secondary for a long touchdown in practice, Sherman went across the line of scrimmage to go after Baldwin, throwing punches as the two yelled at each other before coaches separated them. Baldwin had a dark bruise and what appeared to be about stitches off the side of his nose, which Baldwin attributed to his helmet coming down on it.

“No, it wasn’t orchestrated,” Baldwin said. “Obviously, tempers flare. Sherm’s really upset that we keep destroying him in practice.

“He’s upset that the receivers are getting the best out of him and the defensive backs this year. So he takes offense to that.”

That fight was one of many the Seahawks have had in camp, but Baldwin said he wasn’t bothered by it.

“Not concerned with it, as long as it doesn’t spill over into our play on Sunday — or, Thursday, this week, I guess you should say,” Baldwin said. “But we always like that level of chippiness, because it brings out the true level of competitiveness in all of us. I’ll admit it: I’m kind of an agitator in that, at times. But it’s because we need it. We don’t like it just to be peas and carrots all the time in practice. We want to bring out that competitive nature. We want to see the dog in guys so we can bring out the best in their abilities.

“So, yeah, not too concerned about it. We’ll probably taper it down here a little bit as we get closer to the season, to make sure we are all healthy and focused on the task at hand.”

There’s a certain degree of competitiveness coaches want to see in practice, and at a certain level, it’s good for star players to be the ones to show it. But the Seahawks also have a lot of money invested in guys who keep putting themselves in spots to potentially be injured or injure a teammate. They’ve been fortunate so far it hasn’t gotten out of hand, and it will be interesting to see if they can throw the switch as easily as Baldwin suggests.

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Report: Pats adding Nate Washington to discard pile

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 8:  Wide receiver Nate Washington #85 of the Tennessee Titans walks along the sideline before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 8, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots have started paring down their roster well ahead of next week’s cut to 75 players with center Bryan Stork, running back Donald Brown and cornerback E.J. Biggers among those given their release.

Tom Curran of CSN New England reports that veteran wide receiver Nate Washington has been added to that list.

Washington signed with the Patriots in March and was part of what coach Bill Belichick called “probably as good” a competition for roster spots at the position as the team has had during Belichick’s tenure. Washington never made his way to the front of that competition, catching one pass for eight yards in two preseason outings, and will now have to find another team if he’s going to play a 12th NFL season.

With Washington gone, the Patriots are left with rookie Malcolm Mitchell, Keshawn Martin, Aaron Dobson and Chris Harper in the hunt for spots behind Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan. Amendola remains on the PUP list and Mitchell has an elbow injury, which could impact the decisions still to be made in the coming weeks.

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Patriots to cut starting center Bryan Stork

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

In a surprising move, the Patriots are cutting their starting center, Bryan Stork.

A fourth-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2014, Stork finished last season as the starting center and is listed as the starter on the Patriots’ depth chart as of Wednesday morning.

But despite his status as a starter, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Patriots have decided to release Stork today. When last we heard from Stork he was getting kicked out of a practice last week, although there obviously has to be more going on than just one practice fight to get him booted out of New England.

David Andrews will now be the Patriots’ starting center, and Stork will go on waivers, where it seems likely some team would claim him. Stork surely has some NFL playing time ahead of him, but that time will not be in New England.

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Sean Payton: I’d try to get Michael Thomas in fantasy football

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 11: Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints runs in to position during a preseason game with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

Plenty of people will be taking part in fantasy football drafts in the coming weeks and they’re likely looking high and low for an edge that can put them in the winner’s circle come the end of the season.

Saints coach Sean Payton might not be the likeliest tipster for such information, but he’s offering it up all the same. Payton was talking about rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas on Tuesday and used fantasy football as a way to illustrate how high the expectations are for Thomas heading into the season.

“I’ve got high expectations from him,” Payton said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Listen, I think he’s going to contribute early. And I don’t follow fantasy football, but, shoot, I’d try to have him. I think he’s going to do well.”

Thomas is behind Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead on the depth chart at the moment and tight end Coby Fleener should also get the ball a fair amount, so drafting Thomas in the early rounds may not wind up paying the biggest dividends. Having another receiver who can stretch the field for Drew Brees should be a boost for the Saints in reality football, however, and that will likely be enough to soothe Payton if his career as a fantasy pundit doesn’t take off.

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Browns may have planted Gordon trade story to drum up interest

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 23:  Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 23, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Adam Schefter of ESPN reported yesterday that the Browns had fielded trade offers for receiver Josh Gordon, he added that a Browns source told him the team is not looking to trade Gordon. But now another ESPN reporter is suggesting that the Browns may have planted that story precisely because they’re considering trading Gordon.

Longtime Cleveland reporter Tony Grossi writes today, “There is a cynical point of view out there that the Browns floated the story of interest in Gordon to promote more activity.” The headline of Grossi’s piece at is, “There’s something fishy about the Josh Gordon trade rumors.” That’s an interesting headline for ESPN to use, seeing as those “rumors” were started by ESPN.

The cynical point of view makes sense: Who else but the Browns would know that multiple teams have expressed interest in trading for Gordon? And who else but the Browns would benefit from a perception around the league that if a team is going to trade for Gordon, that team will need to make a good offer?

Would the Browns want to trade Gordon? On its face, that doesn’t seem like a great idea: Gordon is the Browns’ most talented player, a player who led the league in receiving yards in 2013 despite missing two games. But Gordon has a long history of off-field issues, and if the Browns think he’s going to screw up again and get himself suspended again, they’d be wise to get anything they can for him in a trade now.

The truth is, the Browns would surely trade Gordon if some team bowled them over with a great offer. The Browns haven’t received such an offer yet, but floating a story about a Gordon trade may be a way to generate a good offer.

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