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Frank Gore gets ready for football with boxing workouts

Frank Gore Getty Images

With every passing year, Frank Gore’s going to have to fight for his job.

He should at least be prepared.

The 49ers running back has prospered in recent years, swearing by an offseason regimen of boxing workouts. Along with some help from a former PED pariah, Gore has remained consistently productive and available.

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle takes a deep look at the workouts, which happen at the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos.

“You hear of fighters who don’t have knockout power?” trainer Brian Schwartz said. “If Frank was a fighter, he’d have knockout power. His punches are fast and snappy.”

“It helps you get your mind right,” Gore said of the boxing workouts, which includes sessions with actual boxers. “A mind thing, and also a challenge. I’m very competitive.”

“B [Schwartz] don’t let ’em go all out. He wants me to be safe, but I think I do a pretty good job. I know when I’m done, all the true boxers [are] surprised at what I know.”

Gore has been training with Schwartz the last three offseasons, using a combination of old school boxing techniques and new technology, such as a tent which replicates high-altitude conditions by pumping in lower-oxygen air while the athletes work out inside.

The tent was the idea of Victor Conte, infamous for his role in the BALCO doping scandal, who spent four months in jail in 2005 and 2006. Conte also has designed nutritional supplements for a number of 49ers players, something Gore says has helped him in recent years.

While the name might draw attention, you can also point to results, as Gore has remained consistent and productive into his 30s, a time when most running backs are headed out to pasture instead of turning into Raging Bulls.

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Good news for Dolphins: No PUP list for Branden Albert

Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears Getty Images

The Dolphins got some good news on the eve of camp, as left tackle Branden Albert appears to be on track for a healthy return.

According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, the left tackle is going to open training camp on the active roster, 10 months after he tore his ACL and MCL.

While they could have easily placed him on the active/physically unable to perform list (and activated him from it at any time), the fact they don’t feel the need to is a good sign in his recovery.

While he might not be ready to for full participation from day one, it’s still good news for a player at a key position, who was playing well at the time of his injury.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

toddgurley AP

Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio worked on building his core strength in offseason workouts with former NFL offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley.

Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller, two of the Dolphins’ better recent draft picks, are both heading into contract years.

Even in Boston, they acknowledge that destroying his phone is a bad look for Tom Brady.

Here’s a Q&A with Jets GM Mike Maccagnan.

Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk hopes to catch more passes this season.

Marvin Lewis doesn’t plan to leave Cincinnati without a Super Bowl ring.

Browns WR Terrelle Pryor believes he’s going to be the best.

The Steelers think WR Markus Wheaton can make a difference in the slot.

Brian Hoyer appears to be ahead of Ryan Mallett in the Texans’ quarterback competition.

Trading for CB Vontae Davis turned out to be one of the best moves the Colts have made.

Jaguars G A.J. Cann is eager to show other teams screwed up when they let him fall to the third round.

Perrish Cox should help the Titans improve in the secondary.

The Broncos are relying on Malik Jackson and Vance Walker to step up on the defensive line.

The Chiefs added CB Kenneth Penny to the training camp roster.

The Raiders, Oakland and the NFL are still discussing stadium issues.

The Chargers have a new team doctor.

The Cowboys are heading to camp with high expectations.

Jason Pierre Paul’s status is still a mystery to the Giants.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly is a big believer in Navy SEAL philosophies.

What can Washington expect from Robert Griffin III?

The Bears think Kyle Long can add some versatility to their offensive line.

The Lions aren’t afraid to say they’re thinking Super Bowl.

Green Bay’s defensive line has suffered from disappointing draft picks.

Vikings owner Mark Wilf is the most excited he’s been in a decade of ownership.

A famous Florida State ball boy is serving an internship with the Falcons.

The Panthers have depth on the offensive line, but they still have questions.

The Saints hope to see a lot from RBs C.J. Spiller and Mark Ingram in training camp.

Here’s a look at the Bucs’ backfield.

Cardinals assistant Jen Welter’s first paycheck for playing a professional football season was $12.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher has indicated that RB Todd Gurley will be playing sooner than people think.

It’s the start of a new era for the 49ers.

Is Russell Wilson happy and content enough in Seattle that he’d be willing to take less money to stay there?

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Tom Brady says NFL made no counteroffer


With the Tom Brady appeal resolved but the case far from over, a question remains regarding whether the controversy can be settled. In his Wednesday morning silence-breaking Facebook post, Brady makes it clear that the ball is still in the NFL’s court.

“I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season,” Brady said. “The discipline was upheld without any counter offer.”

While no formal, written counter offer may have been made, PFT reported last night that the NFL was willing to drop the suspension by “at least 50 percent” if Brady: (1) admitted to having knowledge of whatever John Jastremski and Jim McNally were doing to the footballs; (2) admitted to failing to cooperate with the Ted Wells investigation; and (3) apologized.

Because Brady wasn’t willing to admit to anything, and given his position that no counter offer was made, it’s likely that the league’s lawyers simply articulated to the NFLPA’s lawyers the general terms the NFL would need in order to settle the case. This happens all the time in litigation, with loose offers floated in a way that isn’t official or binding.

It happens for a variety of reasons. In some cases, a party to litigation doesn’t want to be squeezed away from a position through further negotiations. If, for example, someone wants $100,000 to settle a personal injury lawsuit, an official offer to settle for $100,000 guarantees that the back-and-forth ritual will force the number lower. So the lawyer says something like, “If your client would offer $100,000, my client would accept that. But my client is not officially demanding $100,000.”

The triple-dog-dare-style etiquette of offer-and-counteroffer routinely results in disputes over what was and wasn’t offered. In this case, the NFL may have never officially and formally offered to cut the punishment at least in half in exchange for Brady crying “uncle.” But we stand fully by the notion that the NFL communicated to Brady and company a willingness to resolve the case under those terms.

Moving forward, more settlement talks are inevitable — especially since most federal judges require them to happen. Some federal judges get personally involved in the settlement efforts, which can be very effective when a hard-headed litigant hears from the person wearing the black robe what will happen next if the case isn’t resolved voluntarily.

Still, if Brady refuses to admit blame of any kind, it becomes very difficult for any deal to ever be done.

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Jason Licht: It’s going to take more than Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston AP

The Buccaneers were convinced that quarterback Jameis Winston was the best choice with the first pick in the 2015 draft and they’ve been happy with what they’ve seen from Winston in his brief stint with the team, but General Manager Jason Licht isn’t losing sight of the fact that Winston is a rookie.

Licht said Tuesday that the team is doing all it can to minimize Winston’s struggles in his first NFL season, but knows that history says rookie quarterbacks throw a lot of interceptions and make other mistakes born of inexperience. As a result, Licht said the rest of the team is going to have to pick up their game around Winston in order for Tampa to succeed.

“We’re going to do our best and the coaching staff to make sure the weight of the world is not on [Winston],” Licht said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s going to take great defense, it’s going to take a lot of other things in the offense, not just him. He’s going to be a pivotal part of that when he’s playing. But it’s going to take more than that. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of pressure on the guy … but to me, he’s proven that he can handle pressure. I think he’s done a phenomenal job. He never came in and said, “Hey, look at me, I’m the leader.’ Until he’s the starter, he’s not the starter. He’s actually been a little quieter than I thought he was going to be.”

Every quarterback needs the help of his teammates in order to win games, but the weight of the results still tend to fall more heavily on their shoulders than on any other players. That’s especially true of quarterbacks taken with the first overall pick, which makes it important for the Bucs that Licht is right about Winston being cool under pressure.

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Charles Tillman is safe — and clean — after emergency landing

Charles Tillman AP

Charles Tillman is heading to his first training camp with the Carolina Panthers with a pure spirit.

And clean shorts.

According to WCNC, the veteran cornerback was on an American Airlines flight from Chicago to Charlotte that had to make an emergency landing in Indianapolis Tuesday night.

The plane was sent to Indy for what an airline spokesperson called an “indication of a mechanical issue.” But after it was checked out there, it was cleared to fly and continued to Charlotte.

Tillman tweeted out a video from inside a plane, showing emergency vehicles parked around it with the caption: “Hopefully this will be my first and only emergency landing… #changingmyunderwearnow #thankyoujesus”

It’s good to know that Tillman’s prepared, keeping a clean pair in his carry-on bag. And, you know, that he and all aboard were safe.

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Terrelle Pryor: I believe in my heart that I’m going to be the best

Terrelle Pryor AP

As part of his transition to wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor spent time working out this offseason with Randy Moss, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans and Josh Gordon and that training has helped his confidence heading into training camp with the Browns.

Pryor said that watching those players go through the workouts made him realize “there’s some stuff I look very similar with my cuts” and bolstered his belief that he can be a very successful NFL wideout.

“I believe I can do this,” Pryor said, via “When I work out and when I train to do something, I don’t do it just to be OK. I believe in my heart with my God-given ability that I’m going to be the best. That’s not being arrogant or cocky. No one outworks me, so I believe in my heart if I put my mind to anything, I can accomplish it. I believe you have to have that edge.”

Pryor also spent some time catching passes from Browns quarterback Josh McCown and getting a grasp on the team’s offense. Some of that has been made easier by his past relationship with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who coached Pryor in Oakland and is using a playbook that Pryor feels familiar with early in his time with the club.

A familiar scheme and Pryor’s athletic ability should help him acclimate himself into the offense this summer, but there are sure to be rough spots for a player switching to an entirely new position at this level. Pryor’s ability to overcome and learn from those obstacles will determine how high he can climb as a receiver and the Browns’ need for more firepower on offense should provide him ample opportunities to prove he can do it.

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Why didn’t Goodell increase Brady’s suspension?


As noted last night, the NFL has gotten plenty of things wrong in the #DeflateGate saga. But it has mastered the art and science of public relations.

The league delivered what seemed as of Tuesday afternoon to be the death blow to Brady’s case, at least in the court of public opinion, by declaring in Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 20-page ruling released to the media (curiously, the ruling in the Greg Hardy case that knocked the Commissioner’s punishment from 10 games to four was not released to the media) and in the press release accompanying the ruling that “important new information” was discovered during the appeal process.

“On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed,”  the four-paragraph press release states in paragraph three. “He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone. ‎During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.”

That paragraph evoked a “wow” from anyone who read it. Multiple members of the media declared that the revelation was “shocking.” It galvanized the opinions of those who believe Brady is guilty, and it left those who believe in him with one less reason to believe.

But here’s the biggest flaw of logic in that arguably trumped-up disclosure. If this really was “new information” that Brady concealed during his meeting with Ted Wells (as noted at the bottom of page 12 of the ruling), why didn’t “The Enforcer” attempt to impose greater discipline on Brady than the four-game suspension levied without knowing that he had “destroyed” his cell phone?

Goodell calls the development “very troubling” at page 13 of the ruling, accusing Brady of a “deliberate effort to ensure that investigators would never have access to information he had been asked to produce,” of “conceal[ing] potentially relevant evidence to undermine the investigation,” and of “conceal[ing] for months that he had destroyed the cellphone requested by the investigators.”

In other words, Goodell determined that this new information meant Brady hadn’t simply failed to cooperate with the investigation but that he had affirmatively obstructed it. Which, if true, should have resulted in new and enhanced penalties.

But the 20-page, single-spaced ruling never addresses the obvious consequence to the conclusion that, only five days before the hearing, Brady shot himself in the foot with a smoking gun that proves an intentional effort to hide evidence.

At a minimum, the case should have been immediately remanded to Troy Vincent (or to whoever actually made the original decision) for proceedings aimed at exploring whether Brady’s previously unknown conduct justifies separate discipline. But that didn’t happen, possibly (probably) because a full-blown examination of the issue would have undermined the very useful P.R. message that Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone.

Already, Brady has offered an alternative explanation, beyond the one that appeared tucked into footnote 11 on page 12 of the ruling. If the NFL had done what seemed logical and reasonable in light of this brand-new notion that Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone and commissioned a full-blown examination of the issue, the end result may have diluted the P.R. message that rocketed from coast to coast on Tuesday afternoon, on the trail that had been blazed by the seemingly outrageous disclosure from Stephen A. Smith on Tuesday morning that Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone.

The league wants us all to believe that. But if the league truly believed it, the league should have done more than simply use it to justify the suspension that already had been imposed.

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Sen’Derrick Marks, James Sample placed on Jags PUP list

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

When first-round pick Dante Fowler tore his ACL at rookie minicamp, the Jaguars knew that they wouldn’t open training camp at full strength but their injury concerns go beyond the rookie pass rusher.

Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and rookie safety James Sample will begin camp on the physically unable to perform list as they continue to rehab injuries. Marks tore his ACL in Week 17 last season and has set a goal of returning to the field for the first week of the regular season. Marks led the team with 8.5 sacks last season and they’ll need him to provide the same kind of push up front for their defense to succeed in 2015.

Sample, a fourth-round pick this year, broke his arm during offseason workouts and is expected to be ready to resume practicing around the middle of August. That won’t leave him much time to make his case for starting over veteran Sergio Brown, but he should be able to contribute to the team in some way this season.

The Jaguars also placed defensive end Nordly Capi on the non-football injury list.

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Tom Brady: I’m very disappointed, I did nothing wrong

Getty Images Getty Images

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has issued a statement denying any wrongdoing in Deflategate, and decrying NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to suspend him for the first four games of the season.

“I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me,” Brady wrote on Facebook. “I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either.

“Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was ‘probable’ that I was ‘generally aware’ of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused. He dismissed my hours of testimony and it is disappointing that he found it unreliable.

“I also disagree with yesterdays narrative surrounding my cellphone. I replaced my broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 AFTER my attorneys made it clear to the NFL that my actual phone device would not be subjected to investigation under ANY circumstances. As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward, nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.

“Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong.

“To try and reconcile the record and fully cooperate with the investigation after I was disciplined in May, we turned over detailed pages of cell phone records and all of the emails that Mr. Wells requested. We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone. In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go thru the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing. There is no ‘smoking gun’ and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.

“I authorized the NFLPA to make a settlement offer to the NFL so that we could avoid going to court and put this inconsequential issue behind us as we move forward into this season. The discipline was upheld without any counter offer. I respect the Commissioners authority, but he also has to respect the CBA and my rights as a private citizen. I will not allow my unfair discipline to become a precedent for other NFL players without a fight.

“Lastly, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support of family, friends and our fans who have supported me since the false accusations were made after the AFC Championship game. I look forward to the opportunity to resume playing with my teammates and winning more games for the New England Patriots.”

Although Brady didn’t specifically say so, his next step will be to go to court to attempt to have his suspension overturned. This battle isn’t over, and Brady doesn’t sound ready to give up the fight.

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Adrian Peterson “started off slow” in return to practice

Marshall Faulk, Adrian Peterson AP

Adrian Peterson got rave reviews from his Vikings teammates regarding his physical condition when he returned to the fold this spring, but it was still a long time since the running back was taking part in full practices with the team when training camp got underway.

It probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that Peterson wasn’t firing on all cylinders at the moment he stepped back onto the field this week. In a conversation with Marshall Faulk of NFL Media on Tuesday, Peterson explained what was missing in his first practice of the year.

“I kind of started off slow the first practice, 9-on-7,” Peterson said. “It was decent but really didn’t feel as explosive as I would have liked so I kind of had to grind, normally I do my hulk, little grind, wake myself up and felt a little spark and kind of got back into the groove. After that I feel pretty good. That hunger is there. I’m sure as we go through camp, get these pads on, it’ll just wake up even more.”

Peterson’s already shared his goal of 2,500 rushing yards for the season and told Faulk that he’s aiming to do “something the eyes haven’t seen before” in 2015, but none of that’s possible without knocking off almost a year’s worth of rust. That process is underway and the Vikings will be hoping none is left by the time Week One rolls around.

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Cowboys not interested in Ray Rice or Chris Johnson — yet

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

The Cowboys haven’t been afraid to line up players with checkered pasts, or big personalities.

But for the moment, they don’t appear ready to add either to their patchwork running back corps.

According to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Cowboys aren’t prepared to make a run at either Ray Rice or Chris Johnson at the moment.

They cut Ryan Williams Tuesday, making some wonder if they wanted to bring in a name-brand back to replace him. Instead, they signed a rookie from Stephen F. Austin named Gus Johnson. That leaves Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar as the three atop the depth chart after they let league-leading rusher DeMarco Murray go to Philadelphia.

The on-hand options are at least going to get a chance to prove themselves in camp before the team makes a move, although they’re the Cowboys, and may not be able to help themselves.

“Never know what will happen in a couple weeks,” a source there said.

If someone gets hurt or reveals themselves to be unprepared, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cowboys make a splashy move. Mainly. because they’re the Cowboys.

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Mike Brown takes blame for Bengals not honoring past players

Cincinnati Bengals v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Packers fans filled Lambeau Field earlier this month to celebrate Brett Favre’s entry into the team’s Hall of Fame and they’ll fill it again on Thanksgiving to celebrate Favre’s career again.

Plenty of other stadiums will play host to similar moments this season as teams guarantee their fans will have something to cheer about by welcoming back old heroes for another round of applause. Paul Brown Stadium will have no such events because the Bengals have no team Hall of Fame, Ring of Honor or anything else devoted to the achievements of players like Anthony Munoz, Ken Anderson or Ken Riley other than pictures by one entrance to the stadium.

Some former Bengals have complained about that and owner Mike Brown said Tuesday that he’s heard their complaints.

“I understand the players,” Brown said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “They want to be remembered. I think it is a good thing to do that. We have never traded here on nostalgia. That’s probably my fault. Because a little of it is a good thing. Fans like that sort of thing. What I’m saying is I’m stewing on it. I’m aware of the discomfort with our position. … We’ve had decades now of wonderful players here. I can understand why people feel we should have celebrated them more and perpetuated their achievements better than we have. I’m probably at fault.”

Brown’s admission isn’t a promise that the Bengals will immediately start doing things differently. While he admits the pictures hanging are “probably not” enough reference to the team’s history, Brown said that “maybe someone who comes after me can do better” when it comes to celebrating the past.

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Giants co-owner: Deal for Eli Manning coming soon, if not this week

Odell Beckham Jr, Eli Manning AP

While there hasn’t been much talk about the Super Bowl-winning quarterback entering the final year of his contract (no, we’re not talking about you, Russell Wilson), it does appear a new deal is on the horizon.

Giants co-owner John Mara told Steve Serby of the New York Post that it might not be by the time the Giants report to camp Thursday, but that a deal for Eli Manning could be done before the start of the regular season.

“I would doubt that that would happen in that quick a time frame,” Mara said. “We would hope to have it done at some point before the season. But if not, it’ll hopefully get done at some point after that.

Mara said “I don’t believe that anybody’s put any deadlines on it,” but made it clear he doesn’t want anyone else quarterbacking his team in the near future.

“Well we still believe that he can play at a very high level and win a championship for us,” Mara said. “He looked like a new man in the spring, his arm was very live, and he’s moving around very well. His play in 2014 was significantly better than it was in 2013, so I think the arrow is still up for him.”

Manning doesn’t make much of a flap about anything, so it’s not a surprise that a new contract seems inevitable if not quite imminent without a blow-by-blow accounting of the process. But it will be interesting to see how it slots in with other recent deals, to point to how the Giants truly value him.

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Todd Bowles will be ready for camp after knee surgery

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles talks to the media after practice at the team's NFL football rookie minicamp, Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz) AP

Todd Bowles might be glad there are no more two-a-days, and not just for the welfare of his players.

Via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, the Jets coach had a partial knee replacement on July 6, but is expected to be ready when the Jets report to camp and begin practicing this week.

The 51-year-old Bowles played in the NFL, so some wear and tear is expected. He joked about a sore knee when he got on a podium to talk to reporters earlier this spring, and wore a sleeve on one knee.

He’s not expected to be limited when practices start, keeping him from having to be listed on the physically unable to perform list.

We’ll see this week if he’s holding up better than 72-year-old Jerry Jones, as the Cowboys owner had his hip replaced last week.

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Bills release Chris Williams after failed physical

Chris Williams Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills released guard Chris Williams after he failed a physical with the team on Tuesday.

The former 2008 first-round pick of the Chicago Bears played in three games for the Bills last season after signing a four-year deal with the team last offseason. However, a back injury led to Williams being placed on injured reserve in October.

Williams hasn’t been able to perform at a high level consistently throughout his career. After five sub-par seasons with the Bears, Williams signed with the St. Louis Rams in 2012. He appeared in 19 games for the Rams over two season, including starting all 16 games in 2013 before moving on to Buffalo.

Richie Incognito appears to be the favorite to replace Williams as the team’s starting left guard this season.

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