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Kyle Shanahan on tough 2013: It will make me and RGIII better in long run

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Kyle Shanahan is the new offensive coordinator of the Browns, which means that he is no longer one of the coaches guiding the development of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The first year of their partnership was a smashing success as Griffin shone on the field while leading the Redskins to an NFC East title. Then he smashed his knee in a playoff loss to the Seahawks, missed the offseason and never recaptured the heights of his rookie season during a 3-13 2013 season that also featured plenty of reports of animosity between Griffin and former head coach Mike Shanahan.

The younger Shanahan said Thursday that the season was a challenge, but that he and Griffin were able to keep their relationship intact throughout the season. He also believes that both of them will be better for the experience.

“I’m not going to say it was easy. Nothing’s easy when you go through something like that. But I do believe going through it, Robert and I in the long run, it’ll make both of us better,” Shanahan said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s something that is a challenge, and I do believe going through that, as hard as it was, will help me. I think when it’s all said and done and Robert and I look back on it, I’m really appreciative of some of the stuff he did for me, and I really believe he’ll be appreciative of some of the stuff I did for him.”

One way Shanahan believes it will make him a better coach is that he learned how to work with a promising rookie quarterback. Shanahan said you have to “make sure you put them in a situation to be successful” and work on the other parts of the quarterback’s game while focusing on what he does best early in his career. The Browns may be adding such a quarterback to the roster this year, so Shanahan’s feelings could get put to a quick test in Cleveland.

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HGH use up among high school students


Nearly three years ago, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to implement HGH testing.  And they’ve yet to actually implement it, due to a series of roadblocks and hurdles that currently has the two sides squabbling not over HGH testing but the Commissioner’s power when it comes to players disciplined for PED violations unrelated to positive drug tests.

Meanwhile, more and more kids are using HGH.  As mentioned earlier in the morning on The Dan Patrick Show, a new survey featured at shows that 11 percent of 3,705 high-school students admitted to using HGH without a prescription.  That’s an increase from five percent in 2012 and 2011.

It’s entirely possible that the ongoing discussion of HGH arising from the inability of the NFL and NFLPA to actually implement testing has increased national awareness of HGH, introducing more kids to the product.  And with the NFL still not testing for it, kids looking for a reason to justify the use of HGH could easily twist the lack of testing into a belief that the NFL doesn’t really think it’s a big deal.

The NFL acts like HGH is a big deal, but the NFL won’t do what needs to be done to get HGH testing rolling.  While it’s understandable that the league doesn’t want to set a bad precedent by yielding to the union a little-used slice of Roger Goodell’s authority, the league office is full of very smart people who should be able to find a way to craft a win-win.

As a result, the impression lingers that the league is trying to avoid a lose-lose, in which HGH testing would expose a major PED problem and sideline many of the men fans pay to watch play football.  Some even wonder whether the unspoken goal of the protracted delay is to allow players who require some sort of pharmaceutical enhancement to find a comparable product that isn’t detected via current testing or easily masked.

Regardless, in the three years since the league and union agreed to adopt something other than the honor system for HGH, more kids are using it.  Which makes it even more important for the NFL and NFLPA to make a strong statement by finally testing for HGH and suspending those caught using it.

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Justin Blackmon arrested for marijuana possession

Justin Blackmon AP

Justin Blackmon, the talented but troubled Jaguars receiver who is currently serving an indefinite suspension for substance-abuse violations, has been arrested again.

Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday night in Edmond, Oklahoma, according to Channel 6 News in Tulsa.

Police say Blackmon was initially pulled over for a traffic violation and officers could smell marijuana coming from his car. They searched, found marijuana and took Blackmon into custody.

Blackmon has previously been arrested twice for drunk driving.

The Jaguars spent the fifth overall pick on Blackmon in the 2012 NFL draft. He showed promise as a rookie but was suspended indefinitely after playing just four games in 2013. Even before this arrest the Jaguars were not counting on him to play for them at all this year, and his inability to stay out of trouble raises questions about whether he’ll ever play in the NFL again.

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Cowboys thinking Rolando McClain’s a good bet

Rolando McClain AP

The Cowboys were a little desperate for help when Sean Lee was lost for the season with a torn ACL in OTAs. And they certainly didn’t give up much to acquire Rolando McClain.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested that McClain’s financial situation might have played a part in his comeback, and he thinks he’s getting a motivated player.

“I have a known a lot of people, a lot of successful people, that quit and then got it together and turned it around and came back and really made something of what they quit actually, in many cases,” Jones said, via Tim McMahon of “I’ve seen it happen several times in sports. Certainly I have seen it happen in short periods of time with frustration.

“I have a little empathy. He’s got a very plausible experience as to what has impacted him off the field. We all say that you’ve got to be a pro and work through that stuff. I, too, have first-hand seen people that have worked through things better than others. If you get behind them, they can go on to very productive. So based upon his background, his story, based upon the nature of why he’s here — his health, which is good — all those things, in my mind, he’s a great opportunity for our team.”

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he talked about McClain’s college coach Nick Saban before making the move as well, and came away convinced it was worth the (low) risk.

“Certainly he’s had some issues since he’s been in the NFL,” Garrett said. “Played a couple of years, retired, unretired. And the research that we did, the due diligence we did, both with coach Saban and other people who have been around him, we felt like with his ability with the kind of person he’s demonstrated himself to be in the past, maybe we can help him through some of these issues he has and get this guy back playing at the level we all thought he was capable of playing.”

McClain will have to wait to make that impression, as he’s heading back to Alabama for a court date Friday. But they expect him to return to camp over the weekend, at which point the former No. 8 overall pick can start making the most of his latest chance.

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Aldon Smith expects to hear from the league very soon

Aldon AP

Ray Rice isn’t the only guy waiting for the league office to lower the boom.  49ers linebacker Aldon Smith also is on deck for some sort of discipline under the NFL’s personal-conduct policy and/or its substance abuse policy.

The difference in the those cases comes from the fact that Rice has had his meeting at the league office.  Smith hasn’t.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Smith had not yet been summoned to 345 Park Avenue for a review of his latest off-field issue, which culminated in a no-contest plea to three misdemeanor weapons charges and one DUI charge.

For Smith, it’s his second DUI incident.  The first one, in Miami, was reduced to reckless driving.  That history could influence the NFL’s handling of the latest DUI.

The recent reduction of the weapons charges from felonies to misdemeanors could help Smith’s cause before the Commissioner, but Smith has had enough incidents and situations during his three NFL seasons that anything other than a multi-game suspension would be a surprise.

The source believes Smith’s meeting at the league office will happen next week.  Either way, the hearing, the decision, and the appeal need to happen before Week One, when the 49ers travel to Dallas.

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Greg Olsen: Panthers “kind of tired” of hearing they don’t have any receivers

Jason Avant, Kealoha Pilares, Brenton Bersin AP

Whenever the Panthers came up this offseason, it didn’t take long before their situation at wide receiver was part of the discussion.

The team said goodbye to every wide receiver that caught a pass for them last season and plenty of people were underwhelmed by the replacements that General Manager Dave Gettleman brought to town. Jason Avant, Jerricho Cotchery, Tiquan Underwood and first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin may not be inspiring rave reviews outside of the team, but tight end Greg Olsen says that people are “going to be happy” with what the group does when the season gets underway.

“It’s kind of been the storyline of the offseason. Any time the Panthers have come up that’s kind of been the first comment made by everybody. I think guys are just kind of tired of it,” Olsen said, via the Charlotte Observer. “I think we feel confident about our group. I think people are eager to get there, get to work and put together what works for us as an offense.”

Olsen also pointed out that the Panthers offense wasn’t predicated on big passing numbers while they were on their way to a division title last year. Losing Steve Smith will sting, but Ted Ginn, Brandon LaFell and Domenik Hixon weren’t putting up huge numbers and the Panthers did just fine thanks to their running game and defense. Losses on the offensive line could threaten the running game, which could present a much bigger obstacle for the Panthers to overcome than their perceived shortage at wideout.

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Rice hasn’t been informed of suspension, yet

Rice AP

There’s apparently a rumor floating around that the NFL will suspend Ravens running back Ray Rice two games under the personal-conduct policy for his offseason assault on the woman who later became his wife.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Rice has not yet been informed of a suspension, or of the expected duration of a suspension.

For now, it appears that some loose chatter in league circles has bubbled up to the surface.  In the end, Rice very well may get two games.  Some would say he should get more — especially since Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got four games in 2010 without ever being arrested or charged.

The wild card in Rice’s case comes from the contents of the surveillance video showing the punch that rendered Janay Rice unconscious.  While Ray has defended himself (through a lawyer speaking in hypotheticals) by pointing to the notion that the one-punch knockout came after Ray absorbed several less potent blows, it’s safe to say the Commissioner won’t care — especially if that video contains images as troubling or worse than the video that has emerged of Rice dragging Janay out of an elevator after the incident.

Whatever the suspension, the sooner the Ravens know, the sooner they can plan for filling out the tailback depth chart in his absence.

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Ray Rice suspension expected to be two games

Ray Rice

The Ravens are bracing themselves for Ray Rice to be suspended, though they’re awaiting word on how long.

As it turns out, it might be shorter than anyone expected.

According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports, Rice is expected to get a two-game suspension, though no official announcement has been made.

If that’s the case, Rice will get half the punishment for being caught on tape knocking out his now-wife (who apologized for getting knocked out) that other players get for testing positive for Adderall.

If that’s the case, Rice will miss games against the Bengals and Steelers.

But perhaps more poignantly, he’ll be back on the field by October, when the NFL wraps itself in pink to remind us how valuable their female customers are to them.

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Evan Mathis still wants a new deal, but comes to camp

Evan Mathis AP

Evan Mathis wants a new contract, and likely deserves one.

But he won’t be holding out to get one.

According to Tim McManus of, Mathis has already reported to Eagles camp, after considering a holdout.

Mathis is set to make $5.15 million this year, coming off an All-Pro season. But he has three years left on his contract, which keeps him from having too much leverage in the situation.

The Eagles have locked up their entire offensive line for the near future, but will be without tackle Lane Johnson for the first four games, making Mathis’ presence even more important.

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Da’Quan Bowers: I haven’t been the kind of player I know I can be

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Getty Images

Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers landed in the news earlier this week when he was involved in an altercation that left an early member of Destiny’s Child under arrest for disorderly conduct.

The Buccaneers would surely prefer that Bowers was landing in the headlines because of his exploits on the football field, but they have been few and far between during his three professional seasons. Bowers has compiled 5.5 sacks and multiple injury issues since the Bucs made him a second-round pick in 2011, leading coach Lovie Smith to say that Bowers had something to prove this season.

General Manager Jason Licht said something similar on Wednesday and Bowers agrees with both men.

“No question about it, I owe it to this organization, owe it to this team. I’ve been here long enough, and I haven’t really been that player that I know I can be,” Bowers said, via the Tampa Tribune. “I think it’s time I really put forth that extra foot, to be that player that I know I’m capable of being.”

Bowers also said he feels better physically than he’s felt coming into camp the last two years, something that will come in handy in the competition for snaps at a defensive end position that offers no guarantees for a player who is running out of chances in Tampa.

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Josh Gordon’s appeal hearing now set for August 1

Gordon AP

Word emerged in May that Browns receiver Josh Gordon faces a one-year suspension under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.  Word has now emerged that Gordon’s appeal hearing is set for August 1.

Via Adam Schefter of ESPN, that’s when Gordon will travel to New York for the judge-jury-executioner session with the Commissioner’s designee.  A ruling thereafter will be issued, and the ruling will be final.

It remains possible that the NFL and Gordon’s camp will negotiate a reduced suspension.  Last year, a proposed four-game suspension for Gordon became a two-game suspension.  Also, a potential one-year suspension for Broncos linebacker Von Miller was reduced to six games, based on (reportedly) evidence that the sample collector was in cahoots with Miller.

For both Gordon and the Browns, time is of the essence.  A one-year ban would start immediately, keeping Gordon away from the team for 365 days.   The later it starts in 2014, the later he’ll be available to prepare for the 2015 season, when based on recent trends the Browns may have both a new head coach and a new G.M.

But the league moves at its own speed on matters of this nature.  For partial-season suspensions, it’s not as big of an issue.  For the Browns and Gordon, the lag could make it much harder for him to be ready to go if/when he’s reinstated in 2015.

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Modell family wants to press charges against grave urinator

Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell stands with the Vince Lombardi trophy Reuters

It’s one thing to take a grudge to the grave, but one Browns fans took his to an embarrassing new low.

After an unidentified Browns fan calling himself “Mr. BrownsFan4Life” made a video of himself urinating on the grave of former Browns-Ravens owner Art Modell, authorites in Baltimore are hoping to press charges.

The video has been removed from YouTube (Deadspin has a copy, if you want to see it), but the Modell family has expressed the appropriate outrage over the incident.

“To some people, the man in that grave is Art Modell,” son David Modell said, via Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. “But to me, my brother, my children, and my wife, that’s their father. That’s their grandfather. . . . Can any of your readers imagine, for one second, seeing someone do that to your parents’ grave?

“The act is so offensive, and I’d like to publicly say, isn’t enough enough? When is enough enough? It’s a vile, piggish act of online cowardice by Mr. BrownsFan4Life.”

David Modell also called it “incredibly distasteful, revolting, and mean-spirited” and promised to file charges.

“Whatever we can throw at him, that’s what’s going to happen,” he said.

Baltimore County Police are investigating the incident, and a police spokeswoman said they’re reaching out to the cemetery to see if they want to pursue charges.

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Fred Davis accused of throwing dirt at ex-girlfriend

New York Jets v Washington Redskins Getty Images

More details have emerged in the latest allegations against former Washington tight end Fred Davis, even if he were to regard them as “made up and flagellant.”

Vergie Arandid shared with FOX 5 in D.C. the details regarding an incident that happened on June 2 at a D.C.-area restaurant.  Davis allegedly confronted Arandid and a male friend.

“He told me that he would hit me and he referred to my friend as the ‘infamous rapper’ 2 Chainz,” Arandid said regarding Davis, with whom she has a “brief romantic history.”

“He came out of nowhere, pushes my shoulder down, twists my body so my backside was facing my friend and that’s when he said, ‘What are you even doing with her? She ain’t got no ass.  Look at her,’” Arandid said.

Embarrassed by the incident, Arandid said she went outside for a cigarette.  Davis allegedly followed her, grabbing “a handful of dirt from a pot that was hanging from [a] railing and throw[ing] it at me,” she said.

At that point, it nearly escalated.  With condiments.

“Out of impulse, I grabbed a ketchup bottle and I was going to spray him to be honest,” Arandid said.  “You’re way taller than me, 280 pounds, you’re a football player, I’m 4’11”, why are you so intimidated by me?  Why would you throw dirt at me and humiliate me like that in public?  It’s not right.  I just wanted to set an example.”

While Davis shouldn’t place his hands on anyone without his or her consent (or throw dirt at them), this seems like a technical assault, at best.  Arandid said she wasn’t injured, but of course she may nevertheless sue.

Hopefully, he’ll represent himself again.

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Thursday morning one-liners

Logan Mankins AP

Bills QBs Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis split the reps with the twos as they compete for the backup up.

All it took was LeBron James leaving and the Dolphins going to camp to make Miami a football town again.

Patriots G Logan Mankins is still trying to prove himself, and is clean-shaven for a change.

Jets TE Jeff Cumberland was excused from the start of camp after a death in the family.

Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs is looking forward to their defense being “fast and violent.”

The Bengals new faster pace could be a challenge for QB Andy Dalton.

The Browns are expecting a full house for the first few camp practices.

The Steelers are dealing with higher expectations as they head to camp.

The Texans solidified their offensive line with veteran T Tyson Clabo.

Colts WR Reggie Wayne arrived at training camp in style.

The Jaguars did some bottom of the roster shuffling.

The Titans will at least have better food this season.

Broncos boss John Elway was emotional when discussing the decision for owner Pat Bowlen to step aside because of Alzheimer’s.

Chiefs QB Alex Smith is ready for his offense to pick up where it left off.

Raiders S Charles Woodson wants a different mentality in camp this year.

Chargers TE Antonio Gates is back with the team after missing time to attend to personal matters.

The Cowboys remain open to bringing DT Josh Brent back.

There’s no countdown clock this year, but Giants G.M. Jerry Reese thinks they should be a “really good football team.”

The Eagles are counting on S Malcolm Jenkins to bring a new attitude to the defense.

The Redskins placed four players on the PUP list to begin camp.

Bears backup QB Jordan Palmer opens camp with a slight edge over Jimmy Clausen.

Lions TE Eric Ebron has an opportunity to become a leader.

The Packers’ secondary is looking for redemption.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer remains close with Hall of Famer Bill Parcells.

The Falcons are hopeful that rookie RB Devonta Freeman can make a difference.

Here’s a new one: The Panthers aren’t asking for more public money for stadium renovations.

Fans welcomed the Saints to their West Virginia home for the summer.

The Bucs want to continue an NFC South habit of worst-to-first.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians thinks his defense is getting stronger.

Rams rookie Deantre Harlan is focusing on one sport now.

Should pain slowed 49ers DE Justin Smith last year, he admitted.

What the loss of Sidney Rice means to the Seahawks WR corps.

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Falcons, Roddy White agree on extension

Roddy White AP

The Falcons and wide receiver Roddy White were talking contract extension earlier in the offseason, but tabled things for a while after White’s brother was killed.

They have both resumed and completed those talks. On Thursday morning, the Falcons announced that they have agreed to terms with White on a four-year contract extension that will keep him tied to the Falcons through 2018.

There are no financial terms to pick through yet, but if White sees it to the end there’s a good chance it will be the last contract he’ll ever sign as he’ll turn 37 in the final year of the deal. It would also mean that he spent his entire career in a Falcons uniform and that he’d further cement himself as the best receiver in Falcons history.

White battled injuries last year and caught 63 passes for 711 yards, his lowest season totals since the 2006 season. Better health for him and for the rest of the Falcons offense should lead to a better season all around.

UPDATE 9:28 a.m. ET: According to multiple reports, it is actually a three-year extension and the announcement from the Falcons rolled the existing year on his deal into the extension. That means White is signed through 2017 rather than 2018.

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Alex Smith hopes Chiefs offense picks up where it left off

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

The Chiefs made sure running back Jamaal Charles would be in camp on time by reaching agreement on a revised contract that gives Charles a salary more in line with his role on the team’s offense.

Among the people who should be thrilled with that development is Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Smith is looking for a contract of his own, but he surely knows that his chances of putting up another strong season leading the K.C. offense are greatly enhanced by Charles’ presence and Smith hopes that’s just one way that the Chiefs offense will resemble the one they rolled out as last season came to a close.

“I felt at the end of last season we were doing some good things offensively,” Smith said, via the Kansas City Star. “We were really on a roll those last six weeks … moving the ball, scoring some points and protecting the football. We had a great off-season and want to get back into it.”

The Chiefs didn’t make any big additions at wide receiver this offseason, but the group they had on hand was enough to help Smith throw for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions over the final two months of the regular season. Smith also had a huge game against the Colts in a playoff contest the Chiefs might have won if Charles had not been injured during the proceedings.

That bodes well for the Chiefs offense this season and Smith’s chances of getting a deal that keeps him in Kansas City a little while longer.

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