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Sam’s father struggles with his son’s revelation

Sam AP

As much as we’d all like to believe that a person’s decision to come out as gay is a non-issue in 2014, it is.  For some, it’s a very big issue.

Michael Sam already has found that out, based on his own father’s reaction to the news that Sam is gay.  Michael Sam Sr. tells the New York Times that he learned of his son’s sexual orientation last Tuesday, and that Sam Sr. has been struggling with the revelation.

The news came via a three-word text message — “Dad, I’m gay” — received while Sam Sr. was eating at Denny’s.

I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr. said.  “I don’t want my grand kids raised in that kind of environment.”

Sam Sr. explained that he’s “old school . . . a man-and-a-woman type of guy.”  To illustrate the point, Sam Sr. said he took one of his older sons to Mexico so that he could lose his virginity.

As the icing on the cake, Sam Sr. said that Hall of Famer Deacon Jones “is turning over in his grave” at the prospect of an openly gay player in the NFL.

And that’s coming from the father of the NFL’s first openly gay player.  We can predict and we can hope and we can wish that there won’t be problems for Michael Sam, but he’s already got a problem in his immediate family.  There surely will be strangers who feel the same way — and who express those views.

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Bills’ initial cuts include Jordan Palmer, Brian Moorman

Palmer Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have commenced the process of trimming the roster from 75 to 53.  To get there, the Bills got rid of one of their newest and oldest players.

Gone is quarterback Jordan Palmer, who signed with the Bills earlier this week.  Also gone is punter Brian Moorman, who spent 11-plus seasons with the team before being cut in 2012 and then re-signing with the Bills in 2013.

The Bills also have released linebacker Xavius Boyd, defensive tackle Landon Cohen, tight end Dominique Jones, cornerback Kamaal McIlwain, cornerback Sam Miller, fullback Evan Rodriguez, receiver Naaman Roosevelt, and center Jared Wheeler.

All teams must be at 53 teams by Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

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Aldon Smith hit with nine-game suspension

The NFL made a statement yesterday against domestic violence, and today’s is about repeat offenders.

The NFL announced that 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended for nine games for violating the NFL’s policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.

Smith will be eligible to return on Nov. 10, but that means the team will play half the season or more without two of their best defensive players. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is coming back from a knee injury in the playoffs, and isn’t expected back until mid-season.

Smith has been one of the league’s best pass-rushers in recent years, with 42.0 sacks in 43 games.

But he’s also been a persistent off-field headache, with a DUI from last September leading to a stint in rehab. The league said they’d take his voluntary leave into consideration when deciding penalties, but they’re not in a lenient mode at the moment after admitting they screwed up the Ray Rice penalty.

 

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Bolts bounce cornerback Crezdon Butler

Butler AP

Cornerback Crezdon Butler was believed to be on the roster bubble in San Diego.  He was.

Per a league source, the Chargers have released Butler.  A fifth-round pick of the Steelers in 2010, Butler has played for the Cardinals (2011), Washington (2012), Cardinals again (2012), Bills (2012) and Chargers (2013).

Despite no career starts, Butler appeared in 12 regular-season games last year for San Diego and both postseason games.  With four accrued seasons, he instantly becomes a free agent.

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Ahmad Dixon, Akiem Hicks fined for preseason infractions

Akiem Hicks AP

Add Cowboys safety Ahmad Dixon and Saints defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to the list of players fined for infractions during last week’s preseason games.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Dixon was fined $22,050 for striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area and that Hicks was fined $16,537 for roughing the passer.

Dixon was penalized for striking Dolphins wide receiver Matt Hazel high on a pass near the end zone in the fourth quarter of the game between Miami and Dallas. Hicks was fined for slamming Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to the turf during the first quarter of last week’s game. He was also penalized during the game.

Dixon can appeal to have the fine reduced as it is more than 25 percent of his weekly salary and it is his first offense. Hicks was fined for a hit late last season, which means he’d need to be fined more than 50 percent of his weekly pay in order to appeal on the grounds that it was excessive.

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Bears get rid of another converted college QB project

Philadelphia Eagles v Chicago Bears Getty Images

It wasn’t a good day to be a converted college quarterback with the Bears.

In addition to the previously reported wide receiver Armanti Edwards, the Bears also parted ways with former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Lynch was trying to make it as a running back after a standout college career, which saw him rush for more than 4,000 yards and pass for more than 6,000.

The Bears also announced the release of tight end Jeron Mastrud and offensive linemen Dennis Roland and Robert Turner.

Those five moves get them to 70, meaning 17 more will have to come tomorrow.

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Eagles will place Arrelious Benn on injured reserve

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The Eagles got on the road to 53 players by saying goodbye to quarterback G.J. Kinne on Friday and the moves have kept on coming.

PFT has learned that the Eagles will place wide receiver Arrelious Benn on injured reserve. It’s the third straight year that Benn has wound up on that list with this year’s concussion joining 2013’s torn ACL and a variety of injuries in 2012 as the reasons why his career has been sidetracked after catching 55 passes for the Bucs in his first two NFL seasons.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the team has also cut running back Henry Josey, who showed well at times during the preseason. Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that wide receivers Ifeanyi Momah and Quron Pratt have also been dropped from the active roster. All three players have practice squad eligibility.

With the previously reported moves, the Eagles are down to 69 players which leaves them with plenty of work to do before they are at the 53-man limit.

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Kirkpatrick gets fined $22,500 for hit on Ted Ginn

Kirkpatrick AP

One of the higher-profile hits from Week Three of the preseason didn’t draw a flag.  One of the lesser-known hits did.

On a first-quarter punt fielded by Cardinals receiver Ted Ginn, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick lowered the boom.

The helmet-to-helmet hit drew no flag, but it has drawn a $22,050 fine.  NBC’s Cris Collinsworth spotted it in real time.

“So here we are in preseason having seen a ton of flags,” Al Michael replied, “and the one time we should have seen one, we don’t.”

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Bengals release BenJarvus Green-Ellis

BenJarvus Green-Ellis AP

The Law Firm will no longer practice in Cincinnati.

The Bengals announced Friday that they have released veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The move has been discussed for some time with speculation growing by leaps and bounds when the team selected Jeremy Hill in May’s draft.

Hill was a workhorse on Thursday night while Green-Ellis sat out much of the preseason with a hip injury that probably sealed his fate in Cincinnati. Green-Ellis spent the last two seasons with the Bengals, running 498 times for 1,850 yards and 13 touchdowns, but the arrivals of Hill and Gio Bernard over the last two seasons made him expendable.

Green-Ellis doesn’t offer much in the passing game, but a team looking for a short yardage banger could probably do worse if Green-Ellis is healthy enough to get back to work. Given his status as a vested veteran, Green-Ellis may have to wait until the second week of the regular season to find new work if teams want to avoid guaranteeing his contract for the entire season.

The Bengals also announced that they have parted ways with linebacker Brandon Joiner, defensive tackle Lakendrick Ross and quarterback Tyler Wilson.

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Jags waive Stephen Morris, plan to put him on practice squad

stephenmorris AP

Rookie quarterback Stephen Morris is out in Jacksonville. For now.

A league source tells PFT that the Jaguars are waiving Morris. However, if he clears waivers their plan is to bring him back and put him on the practice squad.

Morris completed 16 of 25 passes for 120 yards in the preseason. He was always a long shot to make the 53-man roster in Jacksonville, where Chad Henne is the starter and rookie Blake Bortles is the franchise quarterback of the future.

Morris was the starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes for the last two seasons (and parts of the two seasons before that) and finished his college career with 7,896 passing yards.

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D.J. Swearinger not fined for hit that concussed Welker

Wes Welker, D.J. Swearinger, Jeff Tarpinian AP

Texans safety D.J. Swearinger earned the ire of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and a penalty for a hit in last week’s preseason game that left Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker with a concussion, but the league didn’t think he did anything that warranted further punishment.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Swearinger did not receive a fine for the hit. Manning was fined $8,268 for the taunting penalty he received for getting in Swearinger’s face and expressing his feelings about the hit that left one of his top receivers with his latest concussion.

Welker was hurt when Swearinger hit him shortly after he reeled in a 9-yard catch. Tom Curran of CSN New England and others argued that Manning bore some of the blame for Welker’s injury because he threw a pass to Welker in a spot where he was sure to be hit hard by one of the three defenders around him.

The league’s opinion on that matter will remain unknown, but we do know that they don’t think Swearinger crossed a line on the play.

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Bucs punt kicker Connor Barth for younger alternative

Connor+Barth+Carolina+Panthers+v+Tampa+Bay+amA1CE9Y95Gl Getty Images

The Buccaneers continue to do business faster than anyone, as they’ve made the majority of their cuts already.

The latest is kicker Connor Barth, per the Tampa Bay Times.

That leaves the kicking job to Patrick Murray, a second-year player from Fordham.

The 28-year-old Barth had been with the Bucs since 2009, but they’re going with the younger (i.e. cheaper) version. He was franchised and given a four-year, $13.2 million deal in 2012, but spent last year on the non-football illness list after he tore his Achilles in an offseason charity basketball game.

Barth’s been good enough for long enough that he’ll likely be a regular on the Tuesday tour of unemployed kickers, which we envision traveling from city to city together in a small car or bus.

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NFL does not fine Ndamukong Suh for roughing the passer

ndamukong AP

One of the NFL’s most-fined players caught a break this week.

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has been fined repeatedly and suspended once for on-field misconduct, was not fined for his roughing the passer penalty last week against the Jaguars.

Suh’s late hit on Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne was fairly egregious, enough so that Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he’d need to talk to Suh about not hurting his team with penalties. So it’s something of a surprise that the Lions didn’t dock Suh’s pay.

The NFL doesn’t explain the reasons when it doesn’t fine a player, so it’s hard to understand why Suh got away with this one. He’d be wise not to push his luck when the regular season begins.

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Rex Ryan: Too early to tell if Dee Milliner can play in opener

Dee Milliner AP

The Jets aren’t going to cut cornerback Dee Milliner, but they aren’t sure whether they’ll have him in the lineup for the regular season opener either.

Coach Rex Ryan said Friday, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, that “it’s still too early to tell” if Milliner will be recovered enough from his high ankle sprain to take the field with his teammates against the Raiders next Sunday. Milliner was injured on August 10, which means he’ll have a little less than a month to recover before the regular season kicks off.

Milliner’s injury is just one of the problems the Jets are dealing with at cornerback right now. There’s also the matter of Dimitri Patterson’s suspension for failing to show up for the team’s preseason game against the Giants. In a statement given to Josina Anderson of ESPN, Patterson said the Jets were being dishonest about saying they didn’t know where he was when he was absent and Ryan said Friday that he has not spoken to Patterson since his comments on Thursday.

Should they decide to part ways with Patterson and not have Milliner in the lineup, the Jets could be starting Darrin Walls and converted safety Antonio Allen, who is recovering from a concussion, at cornerback in Week One.

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Haloti Ngata fined for kicking Shawn Lauvao

Haloti Ngata AP

Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was able to avoid a flag for kicking Redskins guard Shawn Lauvao in the preseason game between the two teams last week, but it didn’t escape the notice of the league office.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Ngata has been fined $8,268 for unnecessary roughness. Ngata kicked Lauvao with his right foot after Lauvao laid out Ravens cornerback Dominique Franks at the end of a run by Washington running back Alfred Morris.

Ngata said after the game that he was trying to protect his teammate when he lashed out in the heat of the moment, but the video of the moment likely made the case for fining Ngata pretty clear for the league.

Ngata picked up previous fines from the league for hits on Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

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Bears part ways with receiver Armanti Edwards

02michigan.xlarge1 AP

Seven years ago this weekend, Armanti Edwards authored one of the greatest wins — not upsets — in college football history.

Tomorrow, he’ll have plenty of time to watch the rematch.

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears released the former Appalachian State quarterback, who led the Mountaineers to two national championships and a win over Michigan.

Edwards converted to wide receiver after the Panthers traded up to take him in the third round of the 2010 Draft. They cut him last year, and he had a short stint with the Browns.

The Bears kept his old Panthers teammate Jimmy Clausen, but there wasn’t enough room for him on the 53-man roster.

Just like there weren’t enough Wolverines to stop him in 2007.

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