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Bengals decline to match Browns’ offer for Andrew Hawkins

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Andrew Hawkins is set to become the Browns’ No. 2 receiver, as the Bengals have decided not to match Cleveland’s offer.

Hawkins, a restricted free agent, agreed to a four-year offer sheet with the Browns at the start of free agency.

At first, the Bengals were expected to exercise their right to match the offer and keep Hawkins. But once the Bengals saw the way the contract was structured, they decided Hawkins wasn’t worth the investment. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Bengals officially informed Hawkins today that they will not be matching his offer.

The total value of the contract is $13.6 million, but the deal is front-loaded, and Hawkins makes $10.8 million in the first two seasons. That was the aspect of it the Bengals didn’t like.

So now Hawkins will head to Cleveland, where he joins one of the best receivers in the league, Josh Gordon. The Browns are putting together some good young talent. Now they need a quarterback.

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Bucs coach loves his QB depth, when other teams don’t have enough

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) throws a pass while pressured by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Smith (98) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) AP

At a time when several teams are looking for capable bodies or starters at quarterback, the Buccaneers have three they like.

And Bucs coach Dirk Koetter is willing to admit that might be one more than they want to keep.

With Mike Glennon and Ryan Griffin behind starter Jameis Winston, the Bucs have an experienced starter and a promising project in reserve.

“I feel great about that room. I think we have good depth,” Koetter said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “If it was a perfect world, we are getting to the point where it would be better for our football team if we could keep two quarterbacks because we’re going to have to let some guys go that we don’t want to let go. And I think the perfect set-up with the way the NFL is structured right now, is two quarterbacks and one on practice squad. But if you have a good one and you try to put him on practice squad, the league is so short of quarterbacks, he’ll get scooped up like that. . . . I believe in keeping two and a developmental guy, but we’re just not in that situation right now.”

“I believe in keeping two and a developmental guy, but we’re just not in that situation right now.”

Glennon’s the one they’d likely receive calls — and maybe listen — on. He has 18 starts in his career, has played acceptably well in the past but will become a free agent after the 2016 season. Griffin is the guy they’d like to develop a bit, and as long as Winston is well, that’s a fine plan.

But since they’d get a compensatory pick if Glennon leaves in free agency anyway, the Bucs would likely have to be blown away by an offer to move their backup at this point.

“I think it’s safe [to say] that we’re probably going to keep three quarterbacks,” Koetter said.

But if anyone’s looking, it can’t hurt to call.

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Baseball dreams accelerate endorsement realities for Tebow

Former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow works out for baseball scouts and the media during a showcase on the campus of the University of Southern California, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 in Los Angeles. The Heisman Trophy winner works out for a big gathering of scouts on USC's campus in an attempt to start a career in a sport he hasn't played regularly since high school. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) AP

Tim Tebow claims that his desire to play baseball is “definitely not about money.” I wonder how much money he’d be making if it was about money.

As it stands, he’s making plenty of money as part of an effort that’s definitely not about money. Tebow has been selling signed baseballs and bats at $125 and $175 a pop, respectively. And now, ESPN co-worker Darren Rovell reports that Tebow has signed a multi-year deal with Adidas.

“Sources said there was always an active dialogue between Tebow and shoe and apparel companies,” Rovell writes. “His attempt to make it in baseball accelerated that timeline.”

In other words, Adidas and others had been talking to Tebow when he was a football player in permanent limbo. Once he became a budding baseball player, a deal got done. The first manifestation of it occurred on Tuesday, when Tebow became essentially an Adidas sandwich board, wearing the company’s gear from head to toe.

But Tebow’s baseball excursion definitely isn’t about money.

It’ll be interesting to see how else this not-about-the-money baseball endeavor results in money being paid to Tebow for things other than, you know, actually playing baseball.

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Laremy Tunsil says he still has a lot of work to do

Miami Dolphins' offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil talks with the media, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, after practice at NFL football training camp in Davie, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) AP

Dolphins rookie offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil was a left tackle in college but is projected to start at left guard in Week One. That’s the position he’s been playing in the preseason, and a position where he still says he has a lot to learn.

“Looking at the film I feel like I played pretty good,” Tunsil said, via the Palm Beach Post. “I still need some improvement. I still need some work.”

While many starters sit out the final preseason game, Tunsil will play on Thursday night, as the Dolphins try to give him as much work as possible at his new position before he plays it in the games that count.

“I’m going to continue to get better every day,” Tunsil said. “Keep listening to the coaches, keep listening to the vets.”

That’s what the Dolphins will need Tunsil to do to be ready to start at left guard in 11 days.

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Report: Saints signing Paul Kruger

FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger (99) rushes the passer against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL football game, in Cleveland. The Browns have released linebacker Paul Kruger, a startling move in another step in the team's youth movement.
Kruger started 46 games and made 18 sacks in three seasons for Cleveland and was considered one of the team's leaders. At left is 49ers' Erik Pears (71). (AP Photo/David Richard, File) AP

The Saints finished Tuesday with 74 players on their roster, but it looks like they’ll be topped up at 75 soon.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Saints will sign linebacker Paul Kruger. Kruger visited with the Saints on Tuesday after being released by the Browns and also drew interest from the Chiefs, although they’ll have to look elsewhere for help filling in for Justin Houston.

The Saints were bidders for Kruger before he signed with Cleveland in 2013 and pass rushing help has been a consistent need in New Orleans over the years. This year’s push for it intensified after they lost Hau’oli Kikaha to a torn ACL in the spring and the team’s play in the preseason has done little to suggest that they had the right pieces on hand.

That’s why Kruger is reportedly coming to town and why the team traded for Chris McCain this week. They’ll try to get both players integrated into the defense in time to put pressure on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr come Week One.

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Parcells to Zimmer: This isn’t a situation where success is impossible

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 28: Head coach Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the sidelines pregame against the San Diego Chargers at US Bank stadium on August 28, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Vikings coach Mike Zimmer met with the media after quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury in Tuesday’s practice, he mentioned that he’d spoken to his former boss Bill Parcells after Bridgewater got hurt and before he spoke to the media.

Zimmer’s main message was that the Vikings will figure out a way to move forward without Bridgewater, something that Parcells told Peter King of was a big part of their conversation. Parcells said that Zimmer is resolute and determined, two things that he’ll need to be now that he’s “driving the train” with “100 sets of eyes” on him while he tries to move the team forward without their quarterback.

Parcells said he told Zimmer that “there are situations that won’t allow you to succeed,” but that this isn’t one of them. He recalled the need to turn to Jeff Hostetler in 1990 after Phil Simms was injured after a great start to the season and said the Giants figured out “ways to win those games” all the way up to a Super Bowl victory over the Bills. He believes the Vikings have the same potential and told Zimmer it’s up to him to figure it out.

“I told him, ‘The first thing you need to know is this: Everyone in the organization, and that includes some of the players and the coaches, are going to think they have an excuse now,'” Parcells said. “Once the shock is over, probably 48 hours from now, they’re all gonna come to you and look at you and say, ‘What are you gonna do?’ Because you’re charged with winning games now, no matter what you have on your team. You need to figure out what works — what recipe works. And tomorrow morning, once the shock wears off, nobody’s gonna give a s—. It’s his problem. He’s gotta figure out how to win now.”

Things didn’t always work out as well for Parcells as it did with Hostetler. In 1999 with the Jets, Parcells had a good team coming back from an AFC title game loss to the Broncos but quarterback Vinny Testaverde tore his Achilles early in the season opener. The Jets turned to Rick Mirer during a 1-6 start that sank their hopes of contending in Parcells’ final year as the team’s coach.

Zimmer’s task will be to avoid similar results and he has a little more than a week to put the pieces in place for Tennessee.

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Adam Gase: DeVante Parker has to learn “how to push through certain kinds of pain”

Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) loses his footing as he tries to get away from Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal (22) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) AP

The Dolphins will play without wide receiver DeVante Parker on Thursday night after Parker hurt his hamstring during Monday’s practice.

It’s not the first time Parker’s hamstring has forced him off the field this summer and a foot injury hindered the 2015 first-round pick for most of his rookie season. On Tuesday, Dolphins coach Adam Gase referenced Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas overcoming injury issues early in his career and said Parker needs to do “all the little things” needed during the week to make sure that you’re able to go on Sunday.

“Sometimes it takes some guys more time to learn more than others,” Gase said, via the Miami Herald. “Eventually you get tired of being the guy standing on the sideline. I do think he’s a little frustrated. He’s been the odd man out all the time. Eventually … he will know how to push through certain kinds of pain.”

Jarvis Landry remains the top target in the Miami passing game, but the preseason has seen Ryan Tannehill look for Kenny Stills more often than Parker. The absences from practice may play a role in that, which gives Parker more incentive to figure out a way to remain on the field as much as possible in the weeks and months to come.

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Hue Jackson says return TD loafing didn’t trigger Andy Lee trade

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Adam Humphries (11) outruns Cleveland Browns' Marlon Moore (15) to score on a 73-yard punt return during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken) AP

No, Browns coach Hue Jackson was not impressed with punter Andy Lee’s alleged effort to chase down a return touchdown last week.

But that’s not why Lee was traded.

The Browns sent the Pro Bowl punter to Carolina yesterday for a 2018 fourth-round pick, which was reason enough to jettison a high-earning player on what still figures to be a bad team.

It was easy to wonder if Lee watching Tampa Bay returner Adam Humphries go 73 yards for a touchdown — while barely jogging after him, far enough behind to stay safely out of the picture — had anything to do with it. Jackson lit into Lee on the sidelines for loafing, but said that didn’t prompt the deal.

No, that had nothing to do with it,” Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We see an opportunity to better our situation here for the future. I totally support our team as far as making those decisions. It is probably unheard of to get a fourth-round pick in that situation for a good player. He will go back to Carolina, and I’m sure he will help that football team, but there are also some punters out there . . . [who] give us a chance to still be successful in that area. . . .

“I can guarantee everybody that wasn’t it. Obviously, I was disappointed in what happened at that time and I told him so, but that had nothing to do with the decision that we made yesterday.”

The Browns also got punter Kasey Redfern in the deal, and sent Carolina their 2017 seventh-rounder. It was a high price to pay for the Panthers, who will expect better effort out of Lee.

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Jared Goff has “50-50 chance” to start Thursday

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) is pressured by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (48) and defensive end Jared Crick (93) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) AP

The Rams close out their preseason against the Vikings on Thursday and it’s fair to say that Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury has made Minnesota’s quarterback situation the bigger story heading into the game.

While the Vikings sort out their plan to move forward without Bridgewater, the Rams have a decision to make as well. They haven’t picked a starter for the game yet and coach Jeff Fisher said there’s a “50-50 chance” it will be rookie Jared Goff.

The other option would be Case Keenum, although he’s almost certainly starting Week One and teams often give their starters the night off in the final preseason game. Goff, who feels he’s made “really good strides” this summer, would like that chance.

“It would be great,” Goff said, via the Los Angeles Times. “It’s something I’m more used to, kind of getting out there and going in right away instead of trying to warm up again on the sidelines. Whatever it is, I’ll be ready.”

If Goff does start, it will be the first time he’s started this preseason and that illustrates the lack of a quarterback competition in the team’s first summer back in Los Angeles. Keenum has turned in solid work in the first three games while Goff has had enough of the expected rookie ups and downs that a push for the No. 1 job never really materialized.

That could change if the regular season is less kind to Keenum, but, for now, Thursday looks like Goff’s best chance to start in the near future.

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Packers swap out Tim Masthay for Jacob Schum at punter

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 20:  Punter Tim Masthay #8 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Seahawks 27-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Packers released rookie Peter Mortell on Monday, it seemed that Tim Masthay would be back for a seventh season as the team’s punter.

While Mortell was being cut, the Buccaneers were waiving Jacob Schum in favor of Bryan Anger and that caught the attention of the Packers. They claimed Schum off of waivers on Tuesday and dropped Masthay from the roster.

Schum was the Buccaneers’ punter last season and posted an average of 38 net yards per punt. Masthay’s net average was 39 yards over the life of his Packers tenure and he posted a career high of 40.2 yards last season.

Masthay was set to make $1.2 million this season while Schum will only cost the Packers $525,000, something that may have been part of the team’s desire to shuffle the deck at punter. Masthay was also the team’s holder, so Schum and kicker Mason Crosby will have to get comfortable with each other before the start of the season.

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Patriots extend special teamer Matthew Slater’s deal for a year

Chicago Bears v New England Patriots Getty Images

The Patriots have shown a willingness to take care of their fringe players, and have locked another one up for another year.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Patriots have signed wide receiver/special teamer Matthew Slater to a one-year contract extension.

The $1.8 million deal will carry him through 2017. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

While never much of a factor on offense, Slater has been to five Pro Bowls for his work on special teams, something coach Bill Belichick always values.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 04:  Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots and Grumpy Cat attend SiriusXM at Super Bowl 50 Radio Row at the Moscone Center on February 4, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM) Getty Images

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski was honored with a community service award.

Rex Ryan calls roster cutdown day “the worst time as a coach.”

Dolphins coach Adam Gase says WR Davante Adams needs to take better care of his body.

The Jets may have more good receivers than they can keep.

Browns coach Hue Jackson was upset at P Andy Lee for not trying to make a tackle on a punt return, but that isn’t why Lee was traded.

Ravens RB Justin Forsett is contributing to flood relief efforts in Louisiana.

Bengals RB Tra Carson thinks he has a great opportunity in Thursday’s preseason game.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley have a relationship built on trust.

The Texans like their depth at cornerback.

Colts backup QB Stephen Morris hopes to last longer in Indianapolis than he has in his previous NFL stops.

Jaguars S James Sample, a fourth-round pick who played in just four games last year, will play in zero games this year.

The Titans will tie their offensive identity to RBs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.

Said Jon Gruden of Broncos QB Trevor Siemian’s preseason performance, “You can look at the preseason all you want, but preseason football is not a real good gauge for how a first-time starter is going to get treated in the NFL.”

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles is confident he’ll be ready to go for Week One.

The Raiders want a good look at their backup quarterbacks on Thursday.

Some Chargers players are wearing custom cleats.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says there’s a lot of energy around QB Dak Prescott.

The Giants have some depth issues.

The Philadelphia Soul won the Arena Bowl, and now one of their players is trying to make the Eagles.

Washington QB Nate Sudfeld is excited for his opportunity in tonight’s preseason finale.

It didn’t take long for some in Chicago to see Teddy Bridgewater’s injury as an opportunity for the Bears.

Lions RB Ameer Abdullah wants to get some short-yardage carries.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and TE Jared Cook are working on their timing.

Here’s a look at the career of Vikings QB Shaun Hill.

The Falcons are looking to add a running back.

Can the Panthers’ defense come close to matching last year’s league-high 24 interceptions?

Saints OT Terron Armstead is sure he’ll be good to go for Week One.

The Bucs looked great in Friday’s preseason game, but does that matter?

Says Deone Bucannon of his position on the Cardinals’ defense, “I’m a rover. Rover is my position. Moneybacker. I don’t consider myself a linebacker at all.”

Public transportation isn’t big in Southern California, but it is big among Rams fans.

Colin Kaepernick’s biological mother has criticized his anthem stance.

Said Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, “I think my biggest thing is that I’m trying to be a master at protection. When I got back in the summertime, as I was watching film, just continuing to study and do all that. When you think of guys like Peyton Manning, like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, they’re great at it.”

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C.J. Wilson, Matt Shaughnessy among Saints cuts

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 20: Akeem Hunt #33 of the Houston Texans rushes past C.J. Wilson #69 of the New Orleans Saints during a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Saints parted ways with a pair of veteran defensive linemen on Tuesday as they made their first cuts of the summer.

Defensive tackle C.J. Wilson and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy were both released on a day that also saw the Saints officially add offensive lineman Khalif Barnes and defensive end Chris McCain to the roster. Wilson, who has played in 78 games since 2010, signed with the team in June and played in all three preseason games before getting dropped. Shaughnessy was out of the league last year after six seasons with the Raiders and Cardinals.

The Saints also waived wide receivers R.J. Harris, Jared Dangerfield and Reggie Bell; safety Jamal Golden; tight end Rashaun Allen; fullback Sione Houma; guards Cyril Lemon and Kaleb Eulls; linebackers Dillon Lee and Tony Steward; defensive back Jimmy Pruitt; long snapper Chris Highland and cornerback Brandon Dixon. Offensive lineman Avery Young was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list and defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha, who tore his ACL in the spring, was placed on reserve/PUP.

That left the Saints with 74 players and they met with former Browns linebacker Paul Kruger Tuesday. Kruger could help replace Kikaha in a pass rushing role in New Orleans.

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Brees elaborates on his Kaepernick comments

NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 26: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints sits on the bench during the second half of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 26, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Steelers won 27-14. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Getty Images

Saints quarterback Drew Brees had plenty to say on Monday about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. And others who thought Brees was saying something negative about Kaepernick’s core concerns said plenty about what Brees had to say.

On Tuesday, Brees added a little more to his remarks to ESPN, aimed at making his message as clear as possible.

“I’ll say one thing about it because obviously you saw my comments yesterday and this is the one thing I’ll say about it so that there’s no confusion,” Brees told reporters. “It does not matter who the player is. It happened to be Colin Kaepernick, it could have been anybody. It could have been a white player, and African-American player, somebody of any race, any color and it could have been any issue. It happened to be injustices against African-Americans. It could have been any issue, it could have been health care reform, who’s running for President, it could have been anything. The thing that I disagreed with is that there’s a person who’s disrespecting the flag of the United States of America to make that point, so it’s not that I disagreed with the protest. In fact, I agree, it’s very valid, his reasoning. What I disagreed with was the method by which he chose to protest, which is to sit down and disrespect the flag of the United States of America. End of discussion.”

And that was that. And that seems to be one of the most common sentiments raised regarding the issue in the four days since the issue became one of the biggest stories in the sports world: Agreement with the message, disagreement with the method.

Still, given the manner in which the method has teed the message up for discussion and debate, there may be a method to what some would call madness on the part of an American citizen who has realized the American dream, at least professionally. As time passes, it seems that more voices are embracing the method as the quintessential exercise of the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.

We’re not forced to stand and salute the flag. We can if we want to, and we can choose not to. We can choose to do whatever we want to do, as long as it complies with all applicable laws of the land. The moment that the law requires any of us to stand for the national anthem is the moment that our freedoms would suffer serious infringement.

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Boomer Esiason would like Colin Kaepernick to get off his lawn

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 17:  Questlove and Boomer Esiason speak onstage during the Samsung Hope For Children Gala 2015 at Hammerstein Ballroom on September 17, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Samsung) Getty Images

Depending on who you listen to over at CBS, Colin Kaepernick is either the worst person ever, or Muhammad Ali.

Former Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason showed he can still sling the hot takes with the best of them, saying Kaepernick should be ashamed for sitting through the national anthem last week.

“I cannot say it in the strongest, most direct way, that it’s an embarrassment and it’s about as disrespectful as any athlete has ever been,” Esiason said, via Bob Glauber of Newsday. “And I don’t care what the cause is. The NFL football field is not a place for somebody to further their political ambitions. Can you imagine if a player went out on the field with a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and let’s vote for (Donald) Trump? It’s the same thing.”

While it’s actually not, players have been making political and/or religious statements on the field for years, in far more noticeable ways that Kaepernick’s sitting, which he did for two weeks without anyone noticing because he wasn’t in uniform.

But Esiason apparently needed to bray, and trotted out the familiar themes about respect for the military and police. Of course, when Kaepernick complained about police brutality, some think the money he has made playing football makes him immune to such treatment or that he wasn’t talking about the treatment others are subject to.

“He is severely under-informed, and I welcome him to go ride in a cop car and take numerous 911 calls, going into places where guns and violence are everyday occurrences,” Esiason said. “Put on that blue [police] uniform and put the shield on and see what it’s like to put your life in harm’s way every single day, and then get back to me when you’re making $35,000 or $40,000 a year, as opposed to the $11 million he’s making.”

His CBS colleague, Bart Scott, took a more reasoned approach, saying Kaepernick’s protest was effective for one big reason — because we’re still talking about it and the issues that caused Kaepernick to do it.

“Every guy has the right to voice his opinion and his beliefs, and I support him, like any teammate should,” Scott said. “With the death of Muhammad Ali, I think it’s raising a lot of social consciousness in athletes. This icon of humanity passed, and you reflect on his life, and as a great athlete, you want to emulate that. [Kaepernick] is doing what he can do have his voice heard to speak for a movement.”

While Esiason was quick to rip Kaepernick’s timing, Scott said it was “always the right time to fight for justice and to fight for what you believe in. . . .

“It’s not equal justice and liberty for all. To stand up for what you believe in, to be willing to take the lumps and hits for what you believe in, I think he should be commended.”

Kaepernick has been by many, though Esiason won’t be one of them, not with all these people on his lawn.

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Eagles will start Lane Johnson if word on suspension doesn’t come down

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 13: Tackle Lane Johnson #65 of the Philadelphia Eagles watches play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 13, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Eagles won 31 - 20. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Lane Johnson remains in limbo, so the Eagles are left trying to figure out how to deploy their linemen with and without their potentially suspended right tackle.

Johnson still hasn’t gotten a ruling on his B sample, after the first one tested positive for a banned supplement which would cost him a 10-game suspension since it’s his second offense of the performance-enhancing substances policy. And until there’s some finality, the Eagles are playing him in the preseason, and would start him in the opener if there’s no official word by Sept. 11.

This is something that we wrestle with every day,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said, via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’ll tell you this: If he’s ready to go, then he’s our guy. You just go with that, because he’s got plenty of reps in training camp. . . . But we’ve got to cover all our bases one way or the other and just have a plan when we get to that point.”

Johnson would start at right tackle until a suspension comes. If or when that happens, left guard Allen Barbre would move to right tackle, with Isaac Seumalo and Stefen Wisniewski competing to fill Barbre’s old job.

Either way, Johnson’s going to play Thursday, though it could be his last game for nearly three months. While he ostensibly put them in this spot for failing the test (though he’s suing the supplement manufacturer because the banned ingredient wasn’t on the label) , having to wait so long to find out his fate puts the Eagles in a pinch, as they try to prepare for a season with plenty of other issues.

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