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Doug Martin expects medical clearance next week

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The Buccaneers have been busy this offseason as they’ve changed coaches, jettisoned Darrelle Revis and signed a slew of free agents to remake their roster.

They’ve also changed uniforms and they showed them off in Tampa the other night at an event that offered a reminder that running back isn’t a place where they’ve added any new blood. Doug Martin was at the event and the Bucs are counting on him making a return to his 2012 form after a shoulder injury wiped out most of his second NFL season.

Martin’s return to full strength appears to be going well. He told reporters that he anticipates medical clearance to return next week, which should make him a participant when the Bucs kick off their offseason work next month.

“It’s been too long since I’ve been in the game,” Martin said, via the Lakeland Ledger. “I can’t wait to get back on the field.”

The Bucs cobbled together some strong running performances from Bobby Rainey and Mike James after Martin went down last year, although a healthy Martin is a better bet for productivity moving forward. Things will look different as the team has moved on from several starting offensive linemen and changed quarterbacks, but Martin is sure to be front and center as long as all is right with his shoulder.

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Quarless allegedly fired shots during argument with group of women

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More details have emerged regarding the Miami misadventures of Packers tight end Andrew Quarless. And they don’t make the situation any better for Quarless.

According to the Miami New Times, the police report claims Quarless fired two shots — one into the air — from a semiautomatic .45 caliber handgun during an argument with a group of women.

The argument happened as Quarless and another man were leaving a parking garage in a Porsche Panamera (product placement!). The men approached another car containing several women. An attendant at the parking garage heard one of the women yell, “No, get away, leave me alone!”

According to the police report, Quarless produced the gun and fired two shots, one straight into the sky. One of the women later told police that Quarless fired the shots “in an attempt to emphasize his dominance and manhood.”

The parking attendant called police. According to the police report, Quarless left the Porsche and tried to hide the gun in a potted plant. Police found the gun and matched the shells found at the garage with the gun.

Quarless is charged only with a misdemeanor, but that won’t matter to 345 Park Avenue. Firing a weapon twice in public — including the firing of a round into the air — during a dispute with a group of women Quarless didn’t know will undoubtedly provoke harsh consequences in the post-Ray Rice NFL.

It also could provoke the Packers to consider dumping Quarless and his $1.3 million salary, unless they’re willing to pay him to not play, because Quarless is likely headed for paid leave pending the resolution of his case.

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Josh Robinson has partially torn pectoral muscle

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The good news? Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson has more time to tweet. The bad news? Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson has more time to tweet.

Per multiple reports, Robinson has a partially torn pectoral muscle. The injury happened before the team’s mandatory minicamp last month.

It’s unclear when Robinson will be ready to practice or to play.

The fourth-year veteran appeared in 16 games last season, working mainly in the nickel package. If he can’t play, it means that the Vikings will need more from Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn, 36-year-old Terence Newman, and rookie Trae Waynes.

Robinson was recently in the news for controversial remarks following the Supreme Court’s decision allowing gay marriage. Robinson compared homosexuality to pedophilia in a tweet that he deleted and for which he later apologized.

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Report: Andrew Quarless arrested in Miami for firing a gun, twice

Quarless Getty Images

Another Packers player may not be available as of Week One.

With Datone Jones suspended and Letroy Guion likely the next to be disciplined, Green Bay tight end Andrew Quarless has joined the march to the sidelines after reportedly being arrested in Miami on Saturday morning.

According to the Miami New Times, Quarless was involved in a fight at South Beach, which allegedly prompted him to fire a gun twice into the ground. He tried to flee, but Quarless was apprehended by a pair of police officers.

A spokesman for the Miami Police Department confirmed the arrest and its detail to the New Times. An incident report is expected to be released later today.

Under the new Personal Conduct Policy, Quarless could be headed for paid leave pending the resolution of these charges and the imposition of league discipline. Thereafter, he’d potentially serve an unpaid suspension.

Quarless appeared in 16 games with 11 starts in 2014, catching 29 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns.

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Saturday one-liners

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Patriots.com wants to know which member of the organization you’d like to vacation with.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross isn’t ready to invest in Cuba.

Keep an eye on Bills RB Karlos Williams, a fifth-round rookie who looked good in offseason workouts.

Here’s a closer look at where Jets RT Breno Giacomini currently stands.

If/when WR Josh Gordon is reinstated, will the Browns trade him?

Get to know Steelers CB Doran Grant.

Baltimore police are looking for a suspect who apparently looks like Ravens QB Joe Flacco.

In 1989, the Bengals executed an onside kick while leading the Oilers 45-0.

The stadium where the Jaguars play will host the 2016 game between Notre Dame and Navy.

On Friday night, the U.S. men’s soccer team recently scored four goals during a game at Nissan Field in Nashville — which is only 11 points less than the Titans averaged there last year.

Colts P Pat McAfee apparently doesn’t like his Jeep very much.

Snoop Dogg loves Texans DE J.J. Watt: “He’s a dog, on the leash, off the leash. Bite, growl. He do it all. He’s the dog of all dogs. He’s a dog!”

One key question regarding a potential new Raiders stadium in Oakland is this: Who pays for the inevitable cost overruns?

The time is now for Chargers TE Ladarius Green.

The Chiefs are hosting a fantasy camp on August 25 and 26.

Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar is loud, and the players seem to like it.

The Cowboys may not have one true starting tailback in 2015.

Former Giants first-rounder Justin Pugh is doing everything he can to prepare for his third season, which includes moving to a new position: Left guard.

Eagles TE Zach Ertz will be in Vancouver on Sunday to see his girlfriend, Julie Johntson, play in the World Cup final.

Yes, Washington CB DeAngelo Hall can do a backflip after tearing an Achilles tendon last season, but the team is being careful with him when it comes to football activities.

Thanks to a nasty toe injury suffered last year, Packers OL Josh Sitton thinks artificial turf should be “outlawed.”

Lions third-round rookie CB Alex Carter is hoping for a chance to cover the slot.

The Vikings have offered to pay up to $3.5 million for a pedestrian bridge to the team’s new stadium.

The Grateful Dead are playing three shows this weekend at the Bears’ home stadium. (Maybe that’s what they should name the grass there.)

Falcons QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones are one of the top pass-catch tandems since Jones arrived in 2011.

The Panthers apparently plan to move DE Charles Johnson around in 2015.

Saints OT Andrus Peat is working on his footwork.

Former Buccaneers CB Elbert Mack has opened a barbershop.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald is lobbying LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

While playing in New York, 49ers special-teamer Nick Bellore lived with K Nick Folk’s family, serving as a “manny” for Folk’s twin sons.

Only two Seahawks remain from the roster prior to the arrival of coach Pete Carroll and G.M. John Schneider in 2010.

Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will host the 11th annual Tiger Golf Classic next week, which given Williams’ history possibly includes the use of actual tigers on the course.

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Damarious Randall locked in at cornerback, not safety, in Green Bay

Damarious Randall

Damarious Randall was viewed as the best coverage safety in this year’s NFL draft. The Packers, who took Randall in the first round, think he’s good enough in coverage to play cornerback.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN reports that the Packers are set on playing their first-round pick at cornerback. That’s where he’s been working at minicamp and Organized Team Activities, that’s where he’ll work in training camp and that’s where they want to see him on the field in the regular season.

The Packers like the safeties they have, with Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix starting and Micah Hyde and Sean Richardson both capable of playing well at safety as well. Randall has a better chance of getting on the field and making an impact at cornerback.

The Packers also spent their second-round pick on a cornerback, Quinten Rollins. That’s a lot of draft resources to put into one position, a strong sign that they’re seeking improvement at cornerback in Green Bay.

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Cutler doesn’t make the cut on Marshall’s list of best teammates

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Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall spent three seasons as teammates with the Broncos and three more as teammates with the Bears, and at times they were close. But this year the Bears traded Marshall to the Jets, amid talk that he and Cutler weren’t seeing eye to eye.

In an indication that Cutler and Marshall’s relationship remains strained, Marshall omitted Cutler when asked by a fan on Twitter to name the best teammate he ever played with. Marshall named several teammates from the Broncos, Dolphins and Bears: Mike Pouncey, Brandon Stokley, Ryan Clady, Alshon Jeffery, Elvis Dumervil, Brian Urlacher, Israel Idonije, Matt Forte, Rod Smith, Chris Simms and Chad Pennington. Cutler didn’t make the cut.

When asked by a fan how his relationship with Cutler is now compared to before he was traded, Marshall answered, “Same.” But it doesn’t appear that their relationship is the same as it was when Marshall arrived in Chicago.

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Datone Jones suspension arises from marijuana possession

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As expected, the one-game suspension imposed on Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones came from a violation of the law relating to a banned recreational substance.

According to Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com, Jones was cited for marijuana possession in Green Bay on January 19, one day after the Packers lost the NFC title game in Seattle.

The following month, Jones paid an $880 fine to dismiss the charge. It now gets a lot more expensive, due to the suspension.

He’ll lose $65,088 in base salary for the one-game suspension (1/17th of his 2015 salary of $1.106 million), and he’ll be subject to the forfeiture of $57,677 in signing bonus money (1/17th of the 2015 allocation of his $3.922 million signing bonus).

That’s a total cost of $122,765 for possession a substance that is now legal in two of the 22 states in which the NFL does business — including the state where Jones had been simply one day before he was caught with marijuana in his possession.

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Talk of imminent Dez Bryant deal won’t go away

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For four days now, rumors and reports have suggested that a long-term deal between the Cowboys and receiver Dez Bryant is imminent. For four days now, nothing has happened.

The latest rumors and reports point to a deal maybe, possibly being announced Monday. Which would be a fairly impressive feat; as one source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT, Cowboys owner/G.M. Jerry Jones and COO Stephen Jones currently are in Italy.

In theory, that doesn’t stop a deal from getting done by Monday. And it doesn’t keep a deal from already being in place, with the two sides simply waiting for the right time to unveil it.

But it would be very hard to keep a true accord under wraps. Bryant or someone close to him would say something to someone, and inevitably it would be leaked. In this specific case, there are enough hints of a looming deal to invite curiosity regarding whether something is happening.

Something may indeed be happening. And if something is going to happen, it’ll happen by Wednesday, July 15 or not until after the 2015 regular season.

If it does indeed happen, it’ll cut against months of inaction fueled by a fundamental disagreement regarding what Bryant wants and what the Cowboys will pay him. If a deal is going to be announced early next week, it means that the two sides have found a way to bridge the gap with only scattered rumors and reports pointing to a deal but nothing concrete to suggest that the longstanding impasse has been broken.

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Hernandez judge allows juror misconduct investigation to proceed

Jurors AP

When a Judge E. Susan Garsh ruled declined earlier this week to throw out the guilty verdict against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd, it didn’t end her work on the case. Still pending is the question of whether Judge Garsh will allow the attorneys to investigate whether a juror lied regarding knowledge of other allegations against Hernandez.

Via Jenny Wilson of the Hartford Courant, Judge Garsh has authorized Hernandez’s lawyers to subpoena Verizon for phone records that would reveal the identity of the person who provided an anonymous tip to defense lawyer James Sultan regarding the alleged juror misconduct.

The tipster told Sultan that the juror in question was present for discussions regarding the separate double-murder case pending against Hernandez, arising from an unrelated shooting in Boston nearly a year before Lloyd was killed. Evidence regarding the other case was barred from the trial regarding Lloyd’s murder.

Judge Garsh stopped short of allowing any additional efforts to investigate the situation.

“Whether the defendant can make a colorable showing sufficient to warrant a post-verdict interview of the juror may well depend on specific details yet to be proffered by the caller and the caller’s credibility, all of which cannot be determined as long as the caller remains anonymous,” Garsh said in the written ruling, via the Courant.

In English, this means that the investigation starts with finding out who made the tip to Sultan, and then learning more about the tipster’s story. Which probably is more than the tipster bargained for when calling Sultan from a blocked number.

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Reason for Datone Jones’ one-game suspension not known

Jones Getty Images

Thursday’s quartet of suspensions included three guys who were suspended for four games each, and one player who was suspended for only one game.

Packers defensive end Datone Jones received a one-game suspension under the substance-abuse policy. But no one will talk about the specific violation that triggered the one-game suspension.

The formula for discipline under the substance-abuse policy doesn’t include a one-game suspension. It’s possible Jones initially faced a longer suspension than one game, and that the suspension was reduced to one game via negotiations between the NFL and NFL Players Association.

It’s also possible that the one-game suspension was imposed upon Jones for a violation of the law relating to substances other than alcohol. For example, an arrest for marijuana possession typically results in a one-game suspension, if the case is resolved with the player taking any type of responsibility for the infraction.

As to Jones, Green Bay’s first-round pick in 2013, no reports have emerged of any brushes with the law. Which would be unusual given the current obsession with NFL news.

But it wouldn’t be unprecedented. Two years ago, Rams running back Isaiah Pead received a one-game suspension. There were no reports of any brushes with the law, but it turned out that he’d been arrested for marijuana possession the prior year.

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NCAA scrutiny on potential Top 5 pick Laremy Tunsil

Laremy Tunsil AP

Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil, a potential Top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, is facing scrutiny from the NCAA about his contact with agents.

Tunsil was arrested last week and accused of punching his stepfather. Now his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, has com forward to say that the fight between them started when Miller warned him to stay away from agents.

Miller told the Clarion-Ledger that he is aware of NCAA violations and has met with the NCAA. Tunsil is permitted to meet with agents, but Miller says their contact has gone beyond just meeting and includes gifts in violation of NCAA rules.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has been supportive of Tunsil, both regarding the NCAA investigation and regarding the arrest for the altercation with his stepfather.

“We are aware that Laremy and his family have met with potential agents, which is within his NCAA rights as a student-athlete,” Freeze said in a statement. “Regarding the altercation, we will continue to gather facts and cooperate with the proper authorities.”

Tunsil is only two years out of high school, so he would not have been eligible for this year’s regular draft, or the supplemental draft. If the NCAA rules that he can’t play for Ole Miss, he won’t be playing football at all until he gets to the NFL next year.

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If Dez is going to skip games, he needs to say so

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Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has threatened to miss regular-season games if he doesn’t get the contract he wants by July 15, the deadline for signing franchise-tagged players to a multi-year deal. It was obvious from the moment owner Jerry Jones said he’s confident Bryant will be leading the charge in Week One against the Giants that the Cowboys don’t buy it.

And so the latest report that the Cowboys don’t buy it wasn’t a surprise. Neither was the report that the Cowboys believe Bryant needs the money; as Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said on Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, the Cowboys have known all about Bryant’s total financial condition for years, since the team has been helping him manage it.

To get the Cowboys to take his threat seriously, Bryant will have to something surprising, to the point of shocking. He’ll need to publicly declare that he will not show up for the regular-season opener if he doesn’t have a new contract before July 15. And he’ll need to be prepared to reiterate that vow after July 15, if he doesn’t get a new contract.

Meanwhile, there are indications that a new contract is possible before July 15. Earlier this week, some in Dallas believed a deal was imminent. (A source with knowledge of the situation told PFT that nothing would be happening soon.)

With 12 days to go until the window closes on a long-term deal, time is running short. And in a deadline-driven business like the NFL, the time is getting ripe to work something out.

Ultimately, the question is whether an intersection can be found between what Bryant wants and what the Cowboys will pay. It’s easy to protect the team against potential off-field issues. The more significant challenge will be to come up with a structure and a total payout that gives Bryant what he deserves, especially since he could make more than $28 million under the tag over the next two years before hitting the market in 2018.

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Poll in San Diego has large majority picking comic books over Chargers

SAN DIEGO - JULY 24:  Comic-Con attendees pose during Comic-Con 2010 on July 24, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) Getty Images

The city of San Diego has been able to hang onto one of its civic institutions, and apparently, it’s the more important one.

According to U-T San Diego, the city has signed a two-year extension to its deal to host Comic-Con, keeping the pop-culture convention there through 2018.

The eye-opening part is that people there may prefer that to the Chargers, by a pretty large margin.

In a poll on the newspapers website, a one-or-the-other choice between a comic book convention and NFL football has the guys in tights with a 17-point edge. (That’s as of the moment this was published, with 887 of the 1511 votes cast going against the Chargers, or 58 percent.)

Granted, this is far from scientific, or an apples-to-apples choice. While the convention sells out plenty of hotel rooms and pumps money into the local economy, it’s a one-shot deal compared to 10 games and storylines that fill the calendar.

But it may also signal the civic ambivalence that has kept San Diego from getting a stadium built, which has the team looking for greener pastures in Los Angeles.

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Rush Limbaugh: Media “kind of mean” to RGIII because he’s Republican

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In 2003, Rush Limbaugh resigned from a shortly held job on ESPN after his opinion that the media overpraised Donovan McNabb because it was “very desirous” to see an African-American quarterback do well in the NFL was met with much criticism.

More than 10 years later, Limbaugh finds the media singing a different tune when it comes to another African-American quarterback. On his radio show Thursday, Limbaugh was discussing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III’s recent address to the United Nations about protecting the oceans. Limbaugh wasn’t crazy about that message — “we couldn’t destroy the ocean if we tried” — but also found something to criticize about the media’s coverage of Griffin.

“RGIII, the quarterback — don’t know for how long — of the Washington Redskins, came into the league amidst great fanfare,” Limbaugh said, via CBS DC. “First-round draft choice. Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, traded up to get RGIII, and he’s had some injuries and he just hasn’t maxed his potential. Well, some people think he’s bombed. And the media, it’s kind of strange, because here we have an African-American quarterback and yet the media has been kind of mean to RGIII. And one of the reasons is that it’s suspected that RGIII is a Republican.”

There’s one notable bit of Griffin criticism that involves his presumed political leanings — Limbaugh’s fellow former ESPNer Rob Parker’s stance that Griffin isn’t authentically African-American named his support for Republicans as one of the reasons — but the majority of the criticism of Griffin has been directly related to his play over the last two seasons. Just as it has been for Geno Smith, EJ Manuel, JaMarcus Russell and several other African-American quarterbacks (including McNabb) who have come under fire in the media regardless of their political opinions.

The opposite has been true for Peyton Manning, whose donations to GOP candidates hasn’t led to much of a backlash from a media that’s named him the NFL’s MVP five times.

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Mike Tice talks up the Raiders’ offensive line

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Mike Tice is in his fourth different stop as an NFL offensive line coach this season with the Raiders, and he thinks he now has his most physically imposing group yet.

“I’m pretty excited about the group I have to work with. First of all, it’s the biggest – I was telling my wife and some friends the other day – it’s the biggest, most athletic group of guys I’ve worked with before,” Tice said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Tice singled out Gabe Jackson, a 2014 third-round pick who started 12 games for the Raiders as a rookie.

“I think the guys on the offensive side are very impressive. We have a good blend of older and middle-aged and some younger guys that are going be to rising stars in the league,” he said. “I think a guy that’s had the best offseason of everybody, and that’s Gabe Jackson out of Mississippi State. [I’ve] had some familiarity with him in the Senior Bowl two years ago, when we coached the Senior Bowl when I was in Atlanta, he was on the opposing team and I got to spend some time with him. Gabe is a big, athletic, strong — great football background. His dad was a high school football coach. I think he’s a rising star. I think he has a chance to be a really good one.”

The Raiders think they have their franchise quarterback in place in Derek Carr. If Tice is right about the talent he inherited, they’ve also got a line in place to keep Carr healthy at the helm for years to come.

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