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Appeal of Graham ruling not expected

Graham AP

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has until 4:00 p.m. ET to file an appeal of the arbitration decision concluding that he’s a tight end, not a receiver, for franchise-tag purposes.  Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s currently unlikely that an appeal will be filed.

According to the source, no steps have been taken to direct the NFLPA to file the notice of appeal on Graham’s behalf.  With less than an hour to go until the ability to appeal the decision is waived, it strongly suggests that there will be no appeal.

Which strongly suggests that a long-term deal is coming.  With a long-term deal, Graham wouldn’t need to roll the dice on the $5.3 million in 2014 salary that would come from a successful appeal.

If no appeal is filed, it means that Graham will either sign a long-term deal by Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET or be eligible for a one-year, $7 million contract in 2014.  With the Saints offering a deal worth $9.5 million per year and presumably at least $15 million if not much more in fully-guaranteed money at signing, it would be a surprise if Graham doesn’t take the rather large bird in the hard.  Especially if as of 4:00 p.m. ET he officially stops chasing the much larger bird in the bush.

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Tony Romo might not play in preseason opener

Tony Romo

Even though Dr. Jerry Jones has proclaimed Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo100 percent,” it’s far from certain he’ll play a full preseason schedule.

Via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com, Romo said he will play at some point in the preseason, though he’s not sure if he was going to suit up for the Aug. 7 opener against the Chargers.

“You’re constantly evaluating it and you’re constantly, I don’t want to say adjusting because you stick to the plan, but it’s a progression,” Romo said. “It’s leading up to San Francisco [regular season opener]. I am going to play in the preseason, obviously. I think it’s important. The first game, we’ll talk about it as we move into the weekend.”

Romo’s getting periodic days off after offseason back surgery, and everyone says he’s going to be fine. He said it was more of a matter of adapting to a new routine of strengthening his back and supporting muscles,

“It’s just a little unknown so you’d rather play it safe than be silly and just go out and do everything over and over again and all of a sudden have to sit out for a week or so,” Romo said. “I think more than anything we’re playing the long game and I think that’s smart.”

It’s probably early to start the panic, as he didn’t play in last year’s preseason opener either. But until he proves the owner right and shows that he’s 100 percent, it’s reasonable have concern.

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Difference of opinion on Lynch fines

Lynch AP

There’s no dispute that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch returned to the fold on Thursday with an adjusted contract that moves money around but gives him no new dollars, in theory.  (It nevertheless makes $1 million a lot easier to earn, and nudges $500,000 from 2015 to 2014.)

In contrast, there’s a sharp dispute over whether Lynch’s fines in the amount of $30,000 per day will be collected.  One source with direct knowledge of the situation tells PFT the fines will be forgiven.  Another source with direct knowledge of the situation tells PFT the fines won’t be forgiven.

As former Steelers receiver Hines Ward said in June on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk, teams routinely opt not to enforce the fines associated with training-camp holdouts.  For his own holdout in 2005, Ward said that the team did not collect the money.

Any no-fine arrangement typically entails a no-talk-about-the-no-fine provision, which ensures that other players don’t believe they’ll be able to stay away from training camp without consequence.

In this case, with the Seahawks very concerned about the precedent that would be set by giving Lynch a new contract only two years into his current one, the Seahawks are likely just as concerned about the precedent that would be set by giving Lynch a pass on his fines.

Bottom line?  The Seahawks are forgiving the fines, unless they aren’t.

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Texans add a pair, including former Panthers fourth-rounder

Joe Adams AP

As training camps drag into their second week, teams find themselves needing cover at certain positions.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans signed wide receiver Joe Adams and offensive tackle Brice Schwab.

Schwab spent time with the Bucs and on the Patriots practice squad, while Adams has a little more pedigree.

A former Panthers fourth-round pick from Arkansas, he had explosive return ability, but also treated the ball like it was about to explode. That fumbling problem led him to the CFL, where he played for Edmonton.

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Julio Jones on contract: I want to make Falcons want me for rest of my career

Julio Jones AP

The Falcons and wide receiver Roddy White agreed on a contract extension this summer that will likely keep White in a Falcons uniform until he’s done playing.

Julio Jones would like to see his career end the same way. The Falcons exercised their fifth-year option on Jones’ rookie deal, so they’re not at risk of losing him before the end of the 2015 season. That means there’s not a tremendous amount of urgency to get an extension done right now and Jones says he’ll use the time to offer more arguments in favor of keeping him in Atlanta for the long term.

“That’s on them to decide. I just have to come here and show up and work every day. I’ve got to make them feel like they want me here for the remainder of my career. The only thing I can do is keep working and keep my nose clean and just do the right things,” Jones said, via ESPN.com. “When it comes, I’ll deserve it. I don’t like anybody giving me anything. I like to work hard for everything I get.”

If Jones makes a full return from last year’s foot injury, it is hard to imagine the Falcons letting him go at any point in the near future.

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Friday morning one-liners

Tim Jennings AP

The Bills only have two healthy tight ends for the Hall of Fame Game.

Shelley Smith is trying to learn a couple of positions on the Dolphins offensive line.

The Patriots offense hopes to benefit from facing a physical defense in practice every day.

Jets T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold have forged a strong bond after entering the league together.

Fitzgerald Toussaint looked good on punt returns for the Ravens in Thursday’s practice.

Strong practice performance is key for players hoping to get a shot on special teams with the Bengals.

S Jim Leonhard just signed with the Browns for what he expects will be his final NFL season.

LB Terrence Garvin hopes versatility earns him a role with the Steelers.

Texans RB Jonathan Grimes and LB Trevardo Williams were cleared to practice on Thursday.

The Colts are short on experience on the interior of their offensive line.

Jaguars S Winston Guy says that he’s learned from his mistakes.

The Titans cranked up the noise during practice for the first time this summer.

Broncos players and coaches got a rules review from officials on Thursday.

Can Cairo Santos beat out Ryan Succop for the Chiefs kicker job?

Chimdi Chekwa has stepped in at cornerback for the Raiders with D.J. Hayden injured.

S Eric Weddle thinks he has seen the Chargers secondary take strides this summer.

G Ronald Leary has started practicing for the Cowboys.

If David Wilson is out, it could create opportunities for Giants RB Michael Cox.

The Eagles won’t have great depth on the offensive line early in the season.

Things are blander around the Redskins this year.

Bears CB Tim Jennings is battling a quad injury.

Said Lions C Dominic Raiola of the offensive line, “Who are you? Are you going to be the same group? Because now, if we fall off any, we’re going to hear it. So we have to keep our level of play up there or better, because we don’t want to be the group that holds this team back.”

The Packers are looking for more production from their recent first-round picks.

Kain Colter is trying to catch on as a punt returner with the Vikings.

Falcons LB Pat Angerer will miss some time with a concussion.

C Ryan Kalil has taken over as the leader on the offensive line for the Panthers.

T Terron Armstead looks comfortable on the left side of the Saints offensive line.

Buccaneers LB Mason Foster is adjusting to a leaner frame and a new defense.

Five former Cardinals players are coaching interns with the team this year.

Rams T Jake Long and DL William Hayes took part in team drills for the first time this year.

CB Perrish Cox had a pretty good day practicing against the 49ers offense.

The Seahawks and their fans were treated to a Helocast demonstration by Marines following Thursday’s practice.

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Still sick, Jim Kelly won’t miss Andre Reed’s enshrinement

kellyreed Getty Images

Jim Kelly, the great quarterback of the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, is still ailing as he battles cancer. But no matter how sick Kelly is, he wouldn’t dream of being anywhere other than Canton, Ohio, this weekend to witness his receiver Andre Reed’s induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kelly’s wife, Jill Kelly, told the Buffalo News that it won’t be easy for Jim.

He’s pushing it,” Jill said. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if he’s all better and good to go. There’s still the looming test in August, the not knowing if treatments worked, the fact that he’s still on a feeding tube. His life is still in that place of uncertainty, not knowing really what’s going to happen with all of this. So he’s still beat down; he’s still tired, he still gets sick quite a bit. But he would not miss this for the world.”

Kelly wants to be there for Reed in large part because Reed has been there for Kelly, traveling with him to support him during cancer treatments.

“Andre was at the hospital,” Jill Kelly said. “He was at the house the day we flew to New York City. He came to New York and again when we got back. Every time Andre was there, Jim was down and out, struggling. But it was always the conversation. It was a given that Jim was going to be at the Hall of Fame.”

Kelly will stay in Canton for a day after Reed’s enshrinement, as he’s been chosen to toss the coin at the start of the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night.

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Expect more defensive holding, illegal contact flags this year

hochuli-den Getty Images

NFL rules have already done plenty to favor the passing game, but this year may be the biggest passing season yet.

That’s because, as explained by veteran referee Ed Hochuli, NFL officials are planning to emphasize defensive holding and illegal contact this season. Hochuli said that early in the year, when defensive backs haven’t yet learned how strictly the officials are going to call the penalties, the flags will fly frequently.

“I would expect there may be more fouls called in the first preseason game and the first regular-season game,” Hochuli told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The big one is holding. We’ve also tightened up the rule on illegal contact. We’ve always given a little leeway on that.

Opposing offenses complained last season that the Super Bowl champion Seahawks were grabbing and holding and not getting flagged for it. This year the Seahawks may have to adjust their style. And offenses across the league may put up even bigger numbers than ever before.

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Report: Seahawks workout tight end Steve Maneri

Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks could be on the lookout for additional help at the tight end position after veteran Anthony McCoy suffered a torn left Achilles tendon on Tuesday.

While the team isn’t pursuing Jermichael Finley, the team did bring in another veteran tight end for a workout this week.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Seahawks brought in Steve Maneri for a workout on Thursday.

Maneri is a former offensive tackle that was converted to a tight end by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. In five years, Maneri has played for the Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Chiefs, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Maneri was released by the Buccaneers in May. With his former offensive line background, Maneri is a proficient blocker at the tight end position. Behind starter Zach Miller, the rest of Seattle’s current tight end group is far more proficient as pass catchers than blocking options.

Maneri has six receptions for 51 yards in 23 career games.

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Michael Vick wants to play until he’s 40 years old

Michael Vick AP

On the heels of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees saying he wants to play until he’s 45 years old, another veteran quarterback has expressed a desire to play into his 40’s.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick says he wants to play until he’s 40.

Vick, 34, signed a one-year deal with the Jets earlier this offseason to serve as a veteran backup to second-year starter Geno Smith.

While Vick doesn’t view his skills as being relegated to that of a backup quarterback, he has accepted his role as a backup and mentor to Smith for the Jets.

“You never envision yourself being in this role (when you’re younger),” Vick said. “But as you grow older, you start to (realize) it’s inevitable. You know it’s going to happen. At the same time, I just try to keep myself in shape and keep trying to be the best that I can be, because you never know what can happen.”

Vick threw for 1,215 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions in seven games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season before an injury handed the starting job to Nick Foles.

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Bears sign offensive tackle Dennis Roland

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Bears added a right tackle with starting experience Thursday, announcing the signing of Dennis Roland to a one-year deal.

The 31-year-old Roland has played in 71 regular season games (30 starts). He has experience both as a tackle and an extra blocker. Roland appeared in five games for Cincinnati a season ago, all as a reserve.

Roland’s most extensive starting experience came in 2009 and 2010, when he made nine starts apiece at right tackle.

Roland’s signing comes one day after Bears reserve tackle Eben Britton suffered a hamstring injury.

In a corresponding roster move Thursday, the Bears waived undrafted rookie free agent tackle Cody Booth.

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“Slight chance” of a Josh Gordon settlement

Gordon

With the hearing officer assigned to the appeal of Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s suspension facing an all-or-nothing mandate, the player and the league have extra incentive to try to control the outcome via a negotiated compromise.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a “slight chance” of a resolution exists.  Any deal presumably would entail a suspension for Gordon that lasts less than a year.

If one side is less inclined to negotiate than the other, it’s possible that the hearing officer will send signals, indirect or explicit, that it would be wise for that party to be more open-minded.  Which could get a deal done during the hearing or after it.

A ruling is expected fairly soon.  The substance-abuse policy requires only that the decision be issued with a “reasonable time.”

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49ers, Harbaugh pull plug on contract talks until after the season

Jim Harbaugh AP

Whatever 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wants on a new contract, whatever the 49ers have offered isn’t good enough.  And so Harbaugh and the team have agreed to table any discussions on a new deal until after the season.

“We actually just had this conversation [Wednesday],” owner Jed York said on CSN Bay Area’s Yahoo! SportsTalk Live.  “Lots of people were talking to him about it.  We just said, ‘You know what, let’s not do anything during the season.  Let’s sit down a week or so after the season is over and let everybody know we’re not focused on anything that’s off the field right now.’

“Jim and I will sit down a week or so after the season is over and we’ll figure out where we go.”

Where they go after the season will depend in large part on where they go during the season.  If Harbaugh wins the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 20 years, his leverage and price go up.  If he has another season that entails knocking on the door but not kicking it in, he may still want more than the 49ers want to pay.

And if that’s the case, the 49ers will have to decide whether to let Harbaugh coach out his contract and become a free agent, allow him to leave if a college program offers him the money he wants, or trade him to another NFL team — as they came a lot closer to doing with the Browns than anyone will admit.

If the 49ers make it to the playoffs, the potential universe of NFL openings will be known before York and Harbaugh have their chat.  And with most owners inclined to fire coaches of bad teams making up their minds to make a change well before the end of the season, there’s a good chance that the 49ers will have a good idea what they could get for Harbaugh, if they decide to swap the final year of his deal for draft picks.

So this could indeed be Harbaugh’s last year with the 49ers.  And now any potentially interested college or NFL program can decide whether to include him on their wish list.

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LeSean McCoy gets quicker by cutting out junk food

LeSean McCoy AP

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing and yards from scrimmage last season, but McCoy says he’s faster now than he was last year.

After making a concerted effort to cut out junk food (particularly late-night snacking on Doritos), McCoy says that he’s down about five pounds from the 215 he weighed last season, and he can feel the difference.

“At a lighter [weight], I feel like I’m so much more effective,” McCoy said, via CSNPhilly.com. “I looked at all my old film and saw how much quicker I was when I was 210 [pounds], 209. It’s a big difference. And I’m feeling like that again.”

McCoy says a five-pound weight loss might not mean anything to a back who makes plays by running through tackles, but McCoy says that with his running style, every extra pound counts.

“I play with leverage,” McCoy said. “Certain guys are different. A guy like Marshawn Lynch, he’s more of a running through a guy. Mine is to get a guy off balance and going through an arm tackle, go through a shoulder, those types of things. Get them going one way and try to hit the other side.”

McCoy will hit the other side just a little bit more quickly this season. That’s well worth resisting a late-night craving for Doritos.

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Johnny Manziel admits he’s having growing pains

Johnny Manziel, Brian Hoyer AP

For all the attention he’s gotten thus far, Johnny Manziel is still the Browns backup quarterback.

He admitted Thursday it’s going to take him a minute to push through that, but the Browns appear willing to let him ease into it a little at a time.

It’s a process for me,” Manziel said, via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com. “It’s not something that I should just come in here naturally because I played well in college and just know how to run this offense.

“It’s a complete 180 from everything that I’ve been used to. And it’s going to take time. It’s a process coming from a spread, air raid system in college to a pro style system that’s very unfamiliar [to] me as far as terminology and routes.”

Now, for a player of his — for lack of a better word — swagger, that sounds almost like humility. But Manziel said he thinks he will be able to make the adjustment with time.

“I think I’ll play whenever these coaches decide that I’m ready,” Manziel said. “I don’t think there’s any rush. For me, it’s whenever coach [Mike] Pettine, coach [Kyle] Shanahan and the staff here decide that. I don’t think they want to throw me into a situation I’m not ready for or something I can’t handle. I don’t know if they drafted me necessarily thinking that I should come in and start Week 1. I think they wanted to see where I’m at and how I progress.”

Using Manziel as part of specific packages is an option, as he brings and athleticism to the position Brian Hoyer doesn’t have. But the acknowledgement he has some ground to cover is probably a good one for the rookie, who will end up with the job eventually.

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Seahawks bumped up Marshawn Lynch’s 2014 salary

Marshawn Lynch, CJ Spiller AP

The Seahawks got their starting running back in camp today, and Marshawn Lynch got something out of his brief holdout.

A league source tells PFT that the Seahawks agreed to bump up Lynch’s base salary to persuade Lynch to report.

Under Lynch’s previous contract, he was due to make a $5 million base salary this year, plus $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses, and he could have earned another $500,000 in incentives if he had rushed for 1,500 yards. Now Lynch gets a base salary of $6 million (meaning the Seahawks effectively guaranteed the $1 million he previously would have had to earn), plus they’re taking $500,000 that he had been scheduled to get paid in 2015 and giving it to him now instead. In all, Lynch will make $6.5 million this year.

The Seahawks also agreed not to enforce the fines that they were entitled to dock him from the work he has already missed. We’re also hearing that the league office was pressuring the Seahawks to go after some of Lynch’s signing bonus money if he refused to report, as teams are permitted to do under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. But the Seahawks resisted that.

Instead, the Seahawks and Lynch reached a deal amenable to both sides, and Lynch is in camp, making more money in 2014 than he was scheduled to make under his old deal.

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