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Bills, Giants to meet in Hall of Fame Game

2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony Getty Images

The 2014 preseason will begin on Sunday, August 3 when the Bills meet the Giants in the Hall of Fame Game.

The NFL announced the two participants in the annual preseason kickoff today. The matchup makes sense, as longtime Bills wide receiver Andre Reed and longtime Giants defensive end Michael Strahan are among the members of the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Reed, Strahan, Derrick Brooks, Ray Guy, Claude Humphrey, Walter Jones and Aeneas Williams will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 2.

The Hall of Fame Game kicks off at 8 p.m. Eastern at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, and will air on NBC.

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Report: Seahawks to waive seventh-round RB Zac Brooks

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25:  Running back Zac Brooks #30 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Dallas Cowboys during the preseason game at CenturyLink Field on August 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks are slowly working their way toward the 75-man roster maximum upcoming on Tuesday afternoon.

According to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com, the Seahawks are set to waive running back Zac Brooks.

Brooks was a seventh-round pick out of Clemson in May. He was the third of three running backs Seattle selected in the draft.

Brooks always had an uphill battle for a roster spot. The re-emergence of Christine Michael has added a somewhat unexpected wrinkle to the group as well as Michael appears set to make the roster and contribute alongside Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise this season. Brooks suffered a hamstring injury a week into camp that kept him from making a significant push for a roster spot.

Brooks carried six times for 17 yards and caught one pass for 4 yards in two preseason games with Seattle.

The Seahawks made six moves official on Monday. Seattle released Brandon Browner, placed Sealver Siliga on injured reserve, waived/injured receiver Deshon Foxx and waived defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, wide receiver Montario Hunter and linebacker/fullback Kyle Coleman.

Guard Kristjan Sokoli is also expected to be released and the team is trying to trade center Patrick Lewis, which will likely result in his release if unable to do so.

That would leave Seattle with six more moves to make before the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday.

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Report: Tim Tebow offered contract with Venezuelan Winter League team

Tim Tebow AP

Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is working out for supposedly more than 20 Major League Baseball teams on Tuesday in an attempt to become a professional baseball player.

Regardless of the outcome of that showcase, Tebow already has a professional baseball contract offer.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Tebow has been extended a contract by Aguilas del Zulia of the Venezuelan winter-ball league.

“He’s a great talent,” Aguilas general manager Luis Amaro said. “He’s an athlete. He’s won the Heisman. He’s won two national championships. I know baseball is a hard game, but he’ll either adjust and show he’s ready to play pro ball or not. I think it’s low risk, high reward for Zulia.”

Winter ball provides a decent level of competition should Tebow accept the offer to join Aguilas del Zulia. Many young MLB players and players recovering from injuries head to Venezuela to play in the league to continue their development or get live game action to supplement the rehab process.

It would be a decent chance for Tebow to get a start should MLB teams initially pass on offering him a minor league deal.

It’s a long shot for Tebow, but he’s at least getting interest and a chance to chase a career change.

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Richard Sherman understands Kaepernick’s message, questions the platform

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks lines up against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Plenty of people who have reacted to the decision of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to refuse to stand for the national anthem due to his belief that African-Americans and people of color are oppressed in this country by embracing the message but questioning the method. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman took that position in remarks to reporters on Monday.

“Obviously, what he meant to do was in a good place,” Sherman said, via comments distributed by the team. “He wanted to make a stand, anytime you don’t stand during the national anthem people are going to criticize it. That’s the unfortunate part of it, you can’t ever stand against the flag and things like that, a lot of people sacrifice and things like that for it, but there is also a deeper meaning to what he did.

“He’s talking about the oppression of African=Americans in this country and that has been going on for a long time and I think a lot of the focus has shifted away from his message, and for some people rightfully so, to him taking a stand against the nation, etc, etc. I think there’s also things about this nation that people need to remember and take heed of and also acknowledge. This country is also the same country that had whites and colored signs on the bathroom. We’re still in that country, we’re still in that nation, and that need to be acknowledged and that needs to be changed.

“There’s people with that mentality that still exist, and that needs to change. There are still people that treat people of color with subjectivity, they treat them a certain way, they categorize them. They put them in a category, in certain statistics that are put out there to make sure that police profile certain people in certain neighborhoods, and that needs to change. There is some depth and some truth into what he was doing. I think he could have picked a better platform and a better way to do it but every day they say athletes are so robotic and do everything by the book, then when somebody takes a stand like that, he gets his head chopped off.”

Sherman then pointed out that society at large could learn from the color blindness that occurs naturally in competitive sports.

“When you play football you’re not concerned about whether you’re throwing to a black guy or a white guy or orange guy or Asian guy,” Sherman said. “You’re concerned about getting the ball there, executing your job, winning. You’re concerned about playing for the next guy, playing for your brother. I think that’s something the nation can take from sports. The Olympics was also a great example of how different countries — everybody comes together. Nobody’s sitting there saying I’m not going to run against this guy because he’s black, white, orange, blue. They’re running to compete for their nation to win. They don’t care what color the people on their team are. They’re supporting them. They’re supporting their country and that’s how it should be all the time regardless of circumstance. I think it’ll be a long time before we get there but hopefully we’re trending in that way.”

Hopefully we are. In the grand scheme of things. open and blatant racism happened routinely not that many years ago. Changes have been made, but plenty of changes still need to occur. And while Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem will be criticized, his actions have spurred thought and discussion and reflection about where we are as a people, where we’ve come from, and where we need to go. Our ability to discuss and debate those topics in a frank and civilized manner arguably is reason enough to stand in honor of a flag that gives all citizens of the nation the freedom to react to Kaepernick’s words and actions, to form their own opinions, to express them freely and openly, and possibly to emerge with a better understanding of each other’s positions.

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Lawyer seeks order limiting NFL communications with Hall of Fame Game customers

Fans leave Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium after it was announced that the preseason NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts was cancelled due to unsafe field conditions, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

As the Hall of Fame Game class action gets started, the lawyer representing the persons suing the Hall of Fame and the NFL for compensation arising from the cancellation of the game hopes to prevent the process from becoming short-circuited.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti seeks an order limiting the communications of the Hall of Fame and the NFL directly with customers. Avenatti points to the enhanced refund policy, which offers more than the face value of the tickets purchased and extra benefits in exchange for a full waiver of legal claims.

The motion seeks the nullification of any releases already obtained and other relief, including a requirement that no settlement communications be made directly to class members without first obtaining permission from the court.

Avenatti contends that he has attempted to resolve this issue directly with the Hall of Fame and the NFL, but that his requests have been ignored.

The case remains in its infancy; Avenatti initially filed the case in an Ohio federal court but then dismissed it and re-filed the lawsuit in a California federal court. The NFL failed to respond to an offer from Avenatti to settle the case in exchange for the payment of $450 to each of the persons who purchased tickets to the game between the Packers and Colts.

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Seahawks release 2015 sixth-round pick Kristjan Sokoli

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 14:  Defensive end Kristjan Sokoli #67 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on August 14, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

After announcing a handful of cuts on Monday afternoon as the team begins to trim its roster to the league maximum of 75 players by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, the Seattle Seahawks released a member of their 2015 draft class on Monday evening.

Per his agent Brett Tessler, the Seahawks are releasing offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli, a sixth-round pick last year.

Sokoli was a defensive lineman at the University of Buffalo that Seattle believed could develop into a strong offensive line prospect due to his athletic ability. The Seahawks made a similar conversion with J.R. Sweezy after selecting him in the seventh round of the 2012 draft and tried the same with 2013 seventh-round pick Jared Smith.

Seattle believed Sokoli could develop into an intriguing center prospect, but he never managed to work ahead of the third-team offensive line in training camp this year.

Tessler contends that Sokoli would be better off being moved back to the defensive side of the ball. He appeared in just one game for Seattle last year and played just eight snaps on special teams.

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Bucs-Redskins preseason finale moved to Wednesday due to weather

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 9:  Storm clouds over the stadium as the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium September 9, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  Tampa won 16 - 10. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buccaneers have announced that their preseason finale vs. the Redskins has been moved up a day due to the threat of severe weather.

The teams will now play Wed. Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. ET.

The Buccaneers announcement on the change from the originally scheduled date of Thu. Sept. 1 said the team has been in contact with local officials and the National Weather Service and is making an effort to avoid anticipated severe weather from Tropical Depression Nine.

“This decision was made by both teams in conjunction with the National Football League and local authorities in an effort to ensure the safety of our fans, players and stadium staff,” the team’s statement said.

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Chargers cut James Jones

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The Chargers released veteran wide receiver James Jones on Monday.

Jones had signed earlier this month following a tryout with other veteran wide receivers. The Chargers were looking for more experience in their receiving corps after losing Stevie Johnson for the season.

Jones, 32, caught eight touchdown passes for the Packers last season after spending 2014 with the Raiders.

Jones has 433 career receptions over his nine NFL seasons, 51 for touchdowns.

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Former Army Ranger, current Steelers LT says Kaepernick’s method isn’t “most effective”

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 3:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a first quarter interception in front of Alejandro Villanueva #78 and Desmond Bryant #92 of the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who graduated from West Point and did three tours of duty as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan before starting his NFL career, told reporters Monday that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “unfair” to veterans by refusing to stand for the national anthem.

Villanueva said Kaepernick should be “a little more careful” because of the platform he has and make sure he doesn’t “mislead people who truly wake up every morning trying to give everything — including their lives — to protect this country.”

Though Villanueva said he agrees with Kaepernick that something needs to be done to change the way minorities are treated in America, his comments about Kaepernick’s method of protest were similar to those made Monday by Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

“I will be the first one to hold hands with Colin Kaepernick and do something about the way minorities are being treated in the United States — the injustice that is happening with police brutality, the justice system, the inequalities in pay and education,” Villanueva said. “I will be the first, but you can’t do it by looking away from the people who are trying to protect our freedom in our country.”

Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Villanueva initially didn’t want to talk about Kaepernick but opened up when he was asked about standing for the national anthem and the responsibilities athletes have related to that.

Kaepernick has said he’s refusing to stand for the national anthem because he’s going “to stand with the people that are being oppressed.” Villanueva said he will continue to “stand proudly and sing every line” of the national anthem, which he’s been doing since he first enrolled at West Point.

“There are people fighting, so you can say and do whatever you please,” Villanueva said. “I agree that America isn’t perfect and there are a lot of issues with minorities in this country, and I agree that we should do something about it. I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem of a country that’s providing you freedom, and is providing you $16 million a year when there are black minorities who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and protecting our freedom for less than $20,000 a year.”

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Brees says American flag is “sacred,” speaks out against Kaepernick’s method of protest

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 17:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers talks after the game to Dree Brews #9 of the New Orleans Saints at  Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 17, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the 49ers 23-20.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Saints quarterback Drew Brees told ESPN he “wholeheartedly disagrees” with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated during the national anthem, in part because Brees believes the American flag is “sacred.”

“He can speak out about a very important issue, but there’s plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn’t involve being disrespectful to the American flag,” Brees said.

Players and coaches across the league have been weighing in Kaepernick’s protest. At least thus far, Brees has made some of the strongest on-record comments against Kapernick’s choice.

“The great thing about this country is that we have the freedoms that allow you to speak out openly about any issue, so I’m not commenting on the issue itself because any person has the right to speak out on any issue they want,” Brees said. “That’s the great thing about being an American. But the American flag is what represents those freedoms. It represents the very freedom that Colin Kaepernick gets the opportunity to exercise by speaking out his opinion in a peaceful manner about that issue.

“Like, it’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.”

Brees reinforced his opinion when he tweeted Monday night that he agrees “with his protest” but not Kaepernick’s method.

Brees has family members who served in the military and has long been involved with groups and events that support the military.

“When I look at that flag, I think about [my family members] too,” Brees said. “I think about a lot of things. Like when I stand and listen to the national anthem with my hand over my heart, there [are] emotions that well up inside of me.

“Like, I could shed a tear every time the national anthem plays if I would allow myself because it’s that powerful.”

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San Francisco Police Officers Association seeks apology from 49ers, NFL

<> on May 5, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has explained his decision to not stand for the national anthem by pointing to the actions of certain police officers toward African-Americans and other persons of color. On Monday, the San Francisco Police Officers Association responded with a letter that criticizes Kaepernick for his views and asks his team and the league to apologize.

The letter, sent to 49ers owner Jed York and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, calls Kaepernick’s comments “ill-advised” and explains that the police officers “will not stand by while he attacks police officers in this country with statements such as, ‘People are on paid leave while people of color are killed.'”

The letter, signed by SFPOA president Martin Halloran, accuses Kaepernick of “an incredible lack of knowledge regarding our profession” and a “total lack of sensitivity towards police officer.”

“Ironically it is those officers who on numerous occasions have protected Mr. Kaepernick and have ensured that the venue where the NFL holds its events are fully protected,” Halloran writes.

“I only wish Mr. Kaepernick could see the emotional and psychological challenges that our officers face following a fatal encounter. Some are so affected they never return to the streets. In short, Mr. Kaepernick has embarrassed himself, the 49ers organization, and the NFL based on a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.”

Halloran then points out that 40 police officers have been murdered in recent months, and that more than 100,000 law-enforcement officers have been assaulted in the past year. Halloran also cites “over 8,000 murders that African Americans have inflicted on one another in 2015.”

“The law enforcement community cannot be continuously blamed for all of society’s problems, including racial divide, in our country,” Halloran writes. “It isn’t fair and it isn’t true.”

Halloran specifically asks York and Goodell to “denounce [Kaepernick’s] foolish statements and separate yourself” from Kaepernick’s words and actions. Halloran also invites Kaepernick to visit the San Francisco Police Department Academy “and partake in any of the simulations that recruits participate in during their training.”

Ultimately, Halloran asks the 49ers and the NFL “to do the right thing and at least apologize to the many police officers Mr. Kaepernick has disrespected for no apparent reason.”

Halloran’s letter doesn’t address the various, well-publicized incidents from recent months and years involving apparently unnecessary violence against minority citizens; that’s the gist of Kaepernick’s criticism. Halloran also doesn’t specifically address Kaepernick’s claim that people holding a “curling iron” have more training than those on the front lines of American law enforcement, charged with making life-and-death decisions in the heat of the moment.

While Halloran and any other police officer have the right to disagree with Kaepernick, he didn’t seem to be targeting the entire profession. His concern is that the system, as designed, creates situations in which some people with minimal training and experience enter challenging situations with a badge and a gun but perhaps an insufficient plan for how to most responsibly use either one.

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Dolphins trade defensive end Chris McCain to Saints

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Chris McCain #58 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after a play in which quarterback Sam Bradford #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles was injured (not pictured) in the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 15, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) Getty Images

Needing a better pass rush, the Saints are adding depth on the defensive line.

Chris McCain, a defensive end who has spent his first two NFL seasons with the Dolphins, has been traded to New Orleans.

The teams announced that the trade is for an undisclosed draft pick. It is likely a conditional seventh-round pick.

An undrafted free agent who signed with the Dolphins in 2014, McCain has just two sacks in his 18 career games, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll make any difference to the Saints’ defense. But he probably wasn’t even going to make the roster in Miami, and in New Orleans he has a chance.

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Trump weighs in on Kaepernick situation

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. Trump promises on Twitter that he'll make a major speech on illegal immigration on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, carrying his self-declared "immigration week" into a second. Trump appears unable to make a decision on what his policy on his signature issue ought to be, an odd place for a candidate 10 weeks before Election Day and a dark harbinger of indecision for a potential president. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) AP

It was only a matter of time until presidential candidate Donald Trump weighed in on the Colin Kaepernick situation. And it was only a matter of time until Trump said exactly what you would expect him to say about Kaepernick.

“Well, I have followed it, and I think it’s personally not a good thing,” Trump told The Dori Monson Show, via Buzzfeed.com. “I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won’t happen.”

The argument that Kaepernick’s concerns about the only country in which he ever has lived mean he should leave it easily can be turned around, however, to Trump and anyone else who is convinced that America needs to be made “great again,” which implies a clear belief that it’s currently not. And those people surely would say they have the right to stay here and try to make things better, which is precisely what Kaepernick is trying to do.

On Sunday, Kaepernick criticized both of the major-party presidential candidates, saying that Hillary Clinton has “called black teens or black kids super-predators” and has “deleted emails and done things illegally,” and calling Trump “openly racist.”

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Patriots cut Stork, place Jackson on reserve/PUP

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

The Patriots officially released center Bryan Stork Monday, a few days after trading him and the same day Stork failed a physical with the Redskins that voided that trade.

Stork had contemplated retirement before deciding to report to the Redskins, who keep the seventh-round pick they’d pledged to acquire him in the trade.

The Patriots also officially released veteran defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, a move that had been previously reported, and placed guard Tre’ Jackson on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

The reserve/PUP designation means Jackson will miss at least the first six games of the regular season.

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Seahawks announce some roster moves

Sealver Siliga, Joe Flacco AP

Every team has to have its roster down to 75 players by Tuesday, and the Seahawks made an initial wave of roster moves Monday en route to getting there.

As previously reported, cornerback Brandon Browner was released. Releasing Browner and placing defensive tackle Sealver Siliga on injured reserve were the most notable moves made by the team Monday.

Siliga had a calf injury early in camp and then aggravated it while warming up for the team’s preseason opener. Siliga started 13 games and played in 25 over the last three seasons for the Patriots.

The Seahawks also waived fullback Kyle Coleman, wide receiver Montario Hunter and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson. Wide receiver Deshon Foxx, who spent some time on the team’s practice squad last season, was waived-injured.

The Seahawks still have to make nine roster moves by Tuesday’s deadline.

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Vikings shopping center John Sullivan

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

It’s apparently time to trade a center. Or at least test the market for potential trades involving centers.

The Vikings are shopping veteran center John Sullivan, PFT has confirmed.

On the same day Bryan Stork’s failed physical restarted the Redskins’ search for help at the position and rumors surfaced that the Seahawks will listen to offers for Patrick Lewis comes news that the Vikings are willing to trade Sullivan.

While Lewis has slipped to No. 2 on the depth chart in Seattle, the Vikings still list Sullivan as their starter. Sullivan, 31, missed all of last season due to a back injury and the Vikings still have Joe Berger, who started all 16 games last year at center, on their roster.

Sullivan started the first two preseason games but was held out of the third.

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