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Tre Mason disputes report he needs wrist surgery

AP

According to a published report, Auburn tailback Tre Mason will require wrist surgery that could keep him out until the preseason.

However, the running back himself took to Twitter on Friday to say he would not be having surgery.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Mason has been found to have a bone in his wrist that needs surgery to repair, with the discovery coming at the NFL Scouting Combine. According to Rapoport, Mason was one of the players who has gone through a medical recheck after the Combine. The medical recheck is common for players who are coming off of injuries or were found to have a potential issue at the Combine in February, where medical testing for all invited prospects occurs.

However, Mason responded to Rapoport’s report on Twitter — with Rapoport responding that NFL teams had been told of Mason’s injury:

Mason also tweeted the following regarding his health:

Mason rushed for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2013 for Auburn, garnering 2013 SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors. According to NFL.com, he is projected as a second-round pick and is the second-highest graded back in the Class of 2014.

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Ryan Cowden, Scott Fitterer the latest names in Chiefs G.M. search

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Two outside candidates are part of the Chiefs General Manager search.

Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer are both on the Chiefs’ radar, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

Cowden is a former Panthers scout who left Carolina last year for a better job in Tennessee. Fitterer has previously interviewed for G.M. openings in San Francisco and Indianapolis.

The Chiefs made the surprising decision to fire G.M. John Dorsey last week and are now looking for someone to replace him.

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Justin Pugh: I’m “good with” Odell Beckham’s offseason absence

AP

Giants co-owner John Mara said last week that he wishes his club had a dozen players like wide receiver Odell Beckham, which is a pretty good sign that Mara’s not harboring bad feelings about the wideout’s decision to skip the voluntary portion of the team’s offseason program.

That feeling extends to one of Beckham’s fellow starters on the Giants offense. Left guard Justin Pugh said he’s “good with” Beckham’s approach to the offseason after Beckham returned “in great shape” for mandatory minicamp this month. Pugh also said that he thought too much was made of Beckham’s absence.

“Odell, I’ve been with him for three, four years now. I know how he is,” Pugh said on NFL Network. “It’s gotta be tough being him though. I always try to look at things from his perspective and see what he goes through. I see that, and I’m like, ‘Come in, get ready to work,’ he’s in great shape. I wonder if we could get a list of all the guys that didn’t go to OTAs. I guarantee, put them all together and they didn’t get as much publicity as Odell.”

Pugh doesn’t have to look far for a player who fits exactly what he was saying about the reaction to Beckham’s absence. Defensive end Olivier Vernon didn’t attend the Giants’ voluntary workouts either and it was noted with a sliver of the attention paid to his teammate.

Both were back for mandatory work and both will be there for the Giants in the regular season, which is the time of year when true judgments will be rendered for all the members of the team.

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Cam Newton throwing again, vows “100 percent” by training camp

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It wasn’t on the practice field during minicamp as coach Ron Rivera suggested was a possibility, and it wasn’t even on a field at all.

But Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is throwing again.

Last week, Newton did some throwing inside the stadium with head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion, his first since undergoing surgery on March 30 on his throwing shoulder.

Newton described the process to Bill Voth of the team’s official website in an exclusive interview/staff meeting.

“Cool, a lot of anticipation,” Newton said. “Obviously, it’s still not 100 percent, but seeing the ball come out of my hand in a throwing motion was good. . . .

“When I say it’s not 100 percent, I’m noting the range of motion part. Like if you sleep with your legs hanging off your bed the whole night, you’re going to wake up and be super stiff. Or like sitting on your hands, or sitting in an awkward position and finally getting up and moving – that’s how I feel.”

Newton acknowledged that waiting so long to have surgery was a difficult decision, since he played the last meaningless month of the season with the injury. But he insisted he stayed on the field at something less than full power because of his commitment to the team.

“I knew something was wrong,” Newton said. “I knew it was going to hurt, continuously hurt. No matter what the treatment was, it takes just one hit or fall and it’s going to inflame again. And it did. Some of it was stubbornness, but I wanted people to know what I’m willing to do for this franchise. At the end of the day, no one could say I quit. . . .

“I figured it would heal on its own. I was trying to get the proper treatment, overtreatment. Get it stretched, get a massage, get the ice, stem, everything. Over time I was like, ‘You know what? It’s just not getting better.’  So when I came back to Charlotte, I got another MRI, and by that time, everything had pretty much cleared up. It wasn’t as swollen as it was during the season so they could see and it showed up as a partially torn rotator cuff.”

Newton said “There’s no doubt” he’d be ready for training camp in a month, saying he should have the kinks worked out in two weeks. It’s an important time for him and the team, as they’re tweaking the offense to make things easier on him, and he’s done little more than watch through the entire offseason.

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Chiefs to interview in-house Brett Veach for G.M. job

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The Chiefs have been turned down at least once, but they have one known candidate for their vacant General Manager job.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, they’ll interview internal candidate Brett Veach to replace fired G.M. John Dorsey.

Veach has background with coach Andy Reid, which can’t hurt since there’s at least the perception that Reid emerges from the recent upheaval with more power. Their structure has been to have a coach and a G.M. who each report to owner Clark Hunt.

Veach’s name came up in Buffalo, primarily because LeSean McCoy was pumping his candidacy.

But having him around could help the Chiefs navigate what has been a tumultuous time for a team with a good roster and what had been perceived as some stability, at least until this offseason.

Minnesota’s George Paton has turned down a chance to interview, and ESPN’s Louis Riddick disputed reports he was on the list.

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Report: George Paton turns down Chiefs G.M. interview

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After being considered for a couple other G.M. jobs, Vikings Assistant General Manager George Paton has decided not to interview for another.

Paton declined an interview for the Chiefs G.M. vacancy, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

The Colts and 49ers both considered Paton for their G.M. vacancies in January, so his name has been bandied about a lot in the NFL this offseason. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a G.M. job next year.

But this year, he’ll remain in Minnesota, and the Chiefs will keep looking, with no word yet on who the strongest candidates are.

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Michael Floyd heads back to court on Monday

AP

As soon as today, Vikings receiver Michael Floyd will find out whether he’ll be sent back to jail and/or otherwise punished for testing positive for alcohol while on house arrest due to, Floyd claims, drinking apparently copious amounts of kombucha tea.

The court hearing, scheduled for Monday in Arizona, has been enhanced by the Vikings’ decision to send a letter supporting Floyd’s belief that kombucha tea doesn’t contain alcohol. It’s not all that implausible to think Floyd truly wasn’t aware that the beverage contains a certain amount of booze, given that he was subject to periodic, unannounced dates with an in-home breath-testing machine.

Arizona doesn’t screw around with DUI offenses; Floyd admitted to extreme DUI, which included a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.217 percent, well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Many jurisdictions view house arrest as a privilege. For Floyd, that privilege was extended to a decision to let him complete the sentence in Minnesota, so that he could attend offseason workouts with the Vikings.

Much of the outcome will depend on the judge’s attitude toward deviations from the terms of house arrest in DUI cases, along with an assessment of whether Floyd is telling the truth. The magnitude of his BAC — 0.055 percent — will make it easier for the judge to conclude that Floyd was simply rolling the dice and hoping he wouldn’t be tested, perhaps with the kombucha tea defense tucked into his back pocket.

Regardless, an answer as to whether Floyd will get a pass or a trip back to prison could come by the time Tuesday arrives.

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Le’Veon Bell looks healthy on basketball court

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Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell had core muscle surgery in March and it looks like his recovery is moving along well.

Bell shared a video (the language in the video isn’t safe for most workplaces) of his participations in a basketball game on Sunday and it shows him moving well as he knifes through the lane for a couple of layups. Two snippets of action on video don’t make for a sound medical analysis, obviously, but it would seem that Bell is well on his way to a full recovery.

That could come at the start of training camp, although Bell’s health wasn’t the only thing keeping him off the field during the Steelers’ offseason workouts this year. Bell has not signed his franchise tender and has not agreed to a long-term contract, so he did not join the team for that work.

Bell and the Steelers have until July 17 to work out a longer deal and it will be up to Bell to decide about making an on-time arrival to camp if one doesn’t come to fruition. If he does decide to show up, the glimpse of his basketball moves suggests he’ll be ready for football action as well.

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OTT may not be the future of the NFL, for much of the country

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‘Member when getting online consisted of hearing the dial tone, the rapid succession of the numbers being punched up by the modem, and the inevitable screeching and squawking until silence returned and the slow wait commenced for the images to gradually appear and the speakers to proclaim, “You’ve got mail”? For many, it’s not a memory.

So as the NFL plots a future of game-content delivery that consists of OTT services that rely on the high-speed Internet connections that many have taken for granted, it’s important to keep in mind the reality that millions are still living in AOLworld. Consider this June 15 article from the Wall Street Journal, dubbed “Rural America is Stranded in the Dial-Up Age.”

“Delivering up-to-date broadband service to distant reaches of the U.S. would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, experts estimate, an expense government, industry and consumers haven’t been willing to pay,” explains the item from Jennifer Levitz and Valerie Bauerlein. As a result, high-speed Internet access is either not available or ridiculously expensive in much of the country.

Which means that, while plenty have ditched cable or satellite TV for devices that deliver the images and sound just as quickly and reliably, plenty of people continue to be limited to the traditional means of receiving and digesting TV programming. And that doesn’t even include the millions who live in areas that have high-speed Internet available, but who due to economic limitations rely only on the free, over-the-air signals captured by rabbit-ear antennas.

Thus, while it’s a major part of the NFL’s future when it comes to Internet users who opt out of cable and satellite, OTT can’t be a replacement for those who don’t have that luxury.

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Jamal Adams draws “unbelievable” review for offseason work

AP

The offseason has not been filled with positive stories about the Jets, but there’s at least one exception to the overall tone around the team heading into the 2017 season.

Safety Jamal Adams was the team’s first-round pick in April and he was ticketed for the starting lineup even before Calvin Pryor was dealt to the Browns for linebacker Demario Davis. Coach Todd Bowles has called Adams “very instinctive” while mostly sticking to coachspeak about the rookie, but cornerback Morris Claiborne has been more effusive about what he’s seen from Adams in his first practices as a pro.

“The things he has done so far? He’s unbelievable,” Claiborne said, via NJ.com. “He’s been out here playing lights out. Picking up the defense, checking to different things, knowing what he wants to check to. He’s having fun doing it, too. His spirit is awesome. He’s having fun doing what he knows how to do, and that’s football. I can’t be more impressed with a young guy coming into the league, and, especially playing on that backend, doing the things he’s done so far.”

It will take more than hitting on one safety for the Jets’ rebuild to be a success, but every journey has to start somewhere. Adams making good on the hype he generated at LSU would be as good a departure point for the Jets as any.

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Monday morning one-liners

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Bills S Jordan Poyer is happy to be able to play after last year’s kidney injury.

Special teams work was a big reason why DB Michael Thomas got a new contract with the Dolphins.

A look at some of the rookies the Patriots will play against this season.

Jets CB Juston Burris has his eyes on a starting job.

The biggest competitions for roster spots at Ravens training camp.

Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick was on the same side as Antonio Brown when Brown turned out for Kirkpatrick’s football camp.

The Browns have high hopes for TE Seth DeValve.

Steelers DL Javon Hargrave talked about what he learned during his rookie season.

The start to Wes Welker’s coaching career with the Texans has gone well.

Former Colts LB Robert Mathis shared his thoughts on Pacers star Paul George’s possible departure.

Can Cam Robinson handle playing guard for the Jaguars during his rookie season?

Titans WR Harry Douglas likes what he’s seen from the team’s rookie wideouts.

The Broncos’ chefs are sharing the recipes they whip up for the team.

Zach Fulton is trying to hold onto his starting guard spot with the Chiefs.

Raiders T Marshall Newhouse took in a NASCAR race at Sonoma.

The Chargers hope CB Jason Verrett is ready to go at training camp.

A look at the competition for backup tight end spots with the Cowboys.

The Giants’ only kicker isn’t a well-known player at this point.

Who will return kickoffs for the Eagles?

What is quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell working on with Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Markus Wheaton believes people underrate the Bears wide receivers.

The Lions are expecting contributions from several running backs.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers made a winning visit to the “$100,000 Pyramid.”

LB Eric Kendricks expects the Vikings will be more successful this season.

Falcons LB Duke Riley plans to work out with Odell Beckham Jr. in the near future.

How does Panthers coach Ron Rivera measure up to his peers?

A call for the Saints to leave the door open for Peyton Manning to have a role in the organization.

Until they get on-field results, the Buccaneers won’t get much national respect.

Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu hopes his football camp inspires constructive work from the campers.

An optimistic prediction for Rams QB Jared Goff’s second season.

Is Mike Shanahan’s presence around the 49ers a good thing for the team?

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett and his brother/Packers TE Martellus Bennett were recognized for their philanthropic work.

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Mets G.M. on Tim Tebow: “We recognize this is not a usual circumstance”

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The traditional stats might not seem to merit a promotion, but the Mets are seeing things in Tim Tebow to justify moving him up a level in their minor league system.

Despite hitting .220 for the  low-A Columbia Fireflies, the Mets promoted him to high-A St. Lucie yesterday.

“His on-base, his isolated power, his swing, exit velocity. A lot of different things have been much better in the last 15 games or something like that,” Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said, via Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. “On the other hand, we recognize this is not a usual circumstance, but we just felt, everything involved, it was about the right time for him to move to high-A ball.”

Tebow has 23 RBI and three home runs, but he’s also second on the team with 14 doubles. He strikes out a lot (69 times in 214 at bats), and he’s also 29 years old.

“I think we’re pleased with the first half of the season. It’s not like he’s tearing up the league, but at the same time all the indications are positive in terms of various things we look at, chase rates, exit velocities and other things,” Alderson said. “The bottom line is the average isn’t there, but he’s improving. . . .

“There was a chance he would completely bomb in spring training, that didn’t happen. His performance there justified assignment to a full-season club. He went to Columbia. I wouldn’t say he’s excelled there, but I would say what he’s done there, given all the circumstances, justifies the promotion to St. Lucie.”

That’s just about the definition of damning with faint praise, but Tebow has continued to work on his second sport, and get high marks for his intangibles. That’s always been the case, regardless of sport.

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“Annoyed” by hearing about Antonio Brown’s work ethic, Joshua Dobbs now witnesses it

AP

Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs used to hear a lot about receiver Antonio Brown. Now Dobbs understands why.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones previously coached at Central Michigan, where Brown played college football. And Jones still points to Brown as an example of the kind of effort he’s looking for, to the point where some of his current players get sick of hearing about it.

“I heard a lot of talk about him from Coach Jones,” Dobbs said during a Sunday night visit to NewsChannel5 in Nashville, “and you almost got annoyed to the point of talking about his work ethic. But then when you get to camp and you see the attention that he puts into each and every rep, how hard he works, and then the amount of hours that he puts into his craft outside of the complex, you definitely see where the coaches were coming from and the point they were trying to make.”

And so the guy who made the most out of his free education in Tennessee (graduating with a degree in mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering) is already getting the most out of his paid education in Pittsburgh, where he quickly learned one other important lesson during the Stanley Cup Final: He ditched the Nashville Predators sweater for a Pittsburgh Penguins sweater.

“I am guilty,” Dobbs said.

If he hopes to win hearts and minds in Pittsburgh, he’s not being guilty. He’s just being smart.

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Charcandrick West raves about Patrick Mahomes’ arm strength

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Chiefs running back Charcandrick West has caught some practice passes from rookie first-round quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and he’s feeling it in his hands.

West told NFL Media that it forced him to take notice when he saw how quickly the ball was getting to him when Mahomes throws it.

“Man, this kid can throw the football,” West said. “Man, I mean, I ran I think a slant route and I was like, woah. It was crazy. He’s got a cannon on him.”

Having a cannon is not something anyone would say about the Chiefs’ starting quarterback, Alex Smith. So whenever Mahomes supplants Smith, Mahomes will bring something to the table that Smith does not.

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Raiders taking pride in a new, cleaner image

AP

The Raiders have an image, and they know it. To be honest, they cultivated it for a long time, and successfully.

But as a new team prepares to move to a new city in a few years, they want to make sure the people of Las Vegas know they aren’t some marauding band of felons, descending upon their city.

As noted by Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders have the longest streak in the NFL of not having a player arrested (going back to 2014).

And coupled with the programs they run for players throughout the year, they are taking pride in being something other than what they were perceived to be for years.

“The people that know the Raiders in Las Vegas, they know the Oakland Raiders, the Los Angeles Raiders, through parents, uncles and aunts,” Raiders director of player engagement Lamonte Winston said. “There was a certain persona. Well, that’s totally changed. . . . These are the new Raiders where we have educational platforms, where our guys are going back to school, where our guys are establishing businesses. We want young people in Las Vegas, student-athletes, to know that character counts with us. It really is important to us.

“Before we put the pads on and start knocking heads, (for) the men who put on those helmets, character counts. Professionalism counts. Academics count. Respect counts. That’s what we want to bring to the community.”

At the moment, it’s all on the upswing for the Raiders, with an ascending team on the field, full of likable stars who seem just plain nice. That’s not always what the Raiders have sold, but this seems to work for them now.

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Cam Jordan: Saints are ready to win Super Bowl now

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Saints quarterback Drew Brees raised eyebrows when he told PFT Live in March that his team is “very close” to getting back to the Super Bowl. One of his teammates has now taken the next step.

“We’re building a team to win a Super Bowl,” defensive end Cam Jordan tells Greg Bishop of SI.com, who guest-wrote Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column this week. “We’re not building for the future. It’s hard not to believe in our team. We’re ready to win it now.”

So how much of that is the glass-half-full optimism/delusion that litters the league in June, and how much of it is real? The Saints have put together three straight 7-9 seasons despite having an abysmal defense. If the defense improves a little, they get to the playoffs. If the defense improves a lot, they’ll be partying like it’s 2009, with the kind of record that forces the road to Minnesota through Louisiana.

The team continues to be led by a 38-year-old quarterback whose teammates still believe in him. Zealously.

“Is there a better quarterback?” Jordan said regarding Brees. “You tell me how many 5,000-yard seasons have been produced in NFL history.”

There have been nine, in the 98-year history of the league. Brees has five of them. Every other quarterback who ever has played the game combined has four.

The Saints also have Adrian Peterson, a potential secret weapon that the team hasn’t been trying very hard to keep secret. Multiple players have praised his lingering abilities. If, when paired with Brees, Peterson can perform like he has throughout his career when healthy, many who should have seen it coming will be saying “we should have seen it coming.”

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