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Mike Priefer: I’ve learned a hard lesson

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The Vikings suspended special teams coach Mike Priefer last Friday night after an investigation into claims by the team’s former punter Chris Kluwe that Priefer made homophobic remarks while speaking to the team.

Priefer made his first public comments about the suspension, which is for three games with the potential to go down to two games after Priefer completes sensitivity training, and said he made a mistake that went “way below the bar” by making the remarks. Priefer reiterated the apology that he made on Friday and said he’s learned a lesson.

“I’m not going to change the way I coach and I’m not going to change the way I teach,” Priefer said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I’ve learned a lesson. I have learned a lesson here. That’s a great thing about this situation, I’m going to look back and say something good had to come from this. But I learned a hard lesson, I’ve got to be sensitive to other people in what I say and that’s not going to happen again.”

Priefer didn’t go into specific detail about what he said and will undergo sensitivity training during the first week of the regular season. General Manager Rick Spielman indicated that the team considered firing Priefer, but thought a suspension was more appropriate. Coach Mike Zimmer said he stands behind Priefer because he’s a good person that made a mistake.

“We all make mistakes,” Zimmer said. “We all try to learn from our mistakes. And I think this guy is a very high-character, quality person that I want to stand behind. Honestly, I want to stand behind him because I know what is inside of him, I know what’s in his heart. And he made a mistake, and if anyone here hasn’t made a mistake, I want you to raise your hand, because I know I’ve made plenty.”

Kluwe and the Vikings are working toward a settlement that would avoid a lawsuit from Kluwe alleging wrongful discharge and defamation of character. Should that happen, Priefer and the team will be closer to fulfilling Priefer’s desire to “move on” from the investigation.

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Raiders trade LB Sio Moore to Colts

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The Colts are trading a late-round draft pick to the Raiders for linebacker Sio Moore, both teams announced Friday night.

Moore, a third-round pick in 2013, started 22 games in two seasons with the Raiders and should get an immediate chance to contribute with the Colts, who need help at linebacker and on defense in general.

Moore has never played in a 3-4 defense but he had 3 sacks last season and 4.5 as a rookie. It’s unclear which position he’ll play with the Colts or where he’ll fit in a linebacker corps that’s probably not settled.

The Colts added veteran Trent Cole in the offseason and hope to have Robert Mathis back soon but might not have seen enough from backup outside linebackers Bjoern Werner and Jonathan Newsome in the preseason. Werner, a first-round pick in 2013, had 4 sacks last year; Newsome had a strong rookie year getting after the quarterback and had 6.5 sacks.

Moore, who’s recovering from hip surgery, had fallen out of the rotation this summer with the Raiders.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the compensation the Raiders will receive for Moore is a sixth-round pick.

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Seahawks, Fred Jackson agree to one-year deal

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Fred Jackson’s career will march on to Seattle.

Jackson, the aging veteran running back who was cut by the Bills this week, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The 34-year-old Jackson appears to have lost a step and is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-low 3.7 yards a carry. But he can still provide valuable depth behind Marshawn Lynch in the Seahawks’ backfield, and he’s also excellent at picking up the blitz, which will help keep Russell Wilson upright behind an unproven Seattle offensive line.

Lynch and Jackson were previously teammates in Buffalo, and they remain close friends. Now they’ll be the 1-2 punch in Seattle.

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McDaniels says Brady suspension never affected preparation

Tom Brady AP

Shortly after Tom Brady was suspended, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels vowed that any looming suspension wouldn’t affect how the offense prepared. Now that Brady has had his suspension rescinded, McDaniels says the Patriots never allowed it to become an issue.

“Quite honestly, it hadn’t changed a whole lot of what we had done up to this point, and our preparation for the Steeler game should be normal. That’s kind of how it had gone the last so-many months anyway, trying to get everybody prepared for the season,” McDaniels said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.

The Patriots’ mantra is “do your job,” and McDaniels says that’s exactly what Brady has done.

“Tom’s a veteran player with a lot of experience, and he’s had to deal with different types of adversities and distractions in the past, whether it be injuries or personnel or something else,” McDaniels said. “I thought he went out and practiced and improved, tried to do his job, worked at his craft and put in a lot of hard work in different areas of playing the position of quarterback. He was prepared, studied hard for practice and games, the OTAs, and all those things we’ve done. That’s the best way to try to go about — control the things you can control — and I thought he did a good job of that.”

Brady did not play well in the preseason, completing just 10 of 22 passes for 107 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. But if McDaniels is to be believed, that’s not a cause for concern in New England. Brady is as ready for this season as he has been for any other.

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Patriots work out DE Lawrence Okoye

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The Patriots worked out nine players Friday, per a league source, including defensive end Lawrence Okoye.

Cut by the 49ers earlier this week, Okoye is a former Olympic discus thrower and rugby player from England. He spent the previous two seasons on the 49ers practice squad while trying to transition to American football.

At 6’6, 304, he’s the kind of project Patriots coach Bill Belichick has taken on before.

The Patriots also worked out running backs Joe Don Duncan and Joey Iosefa, wide receivers Nathan Palmer and Marquez Clark, defensive linemen Derrick Lott and Jimmy Staten, quarterback Jeff Tuel and defensive back Justin Coleman.

Coleman signed with the Patriots after his workout. He’s an undrafted rookie who was cut by the Vikings earlier in the week.

Tuel started two games for the Bills in 2013. The Patriots released quarterback Ryan Lindley Friday, a day after a federal judge overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension in time for Brady to start next Thursday’s season opener.

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Matt Cassel: Every indication is that Bills will keep three QBs

Matt Cassel AP

The Bills parted ways with Matt Simms on Friday, leaving them with three quarterbacks on the roster with Saturday’s deadline to set a 53-man roster fast approaching.

We know the plan is for Tyrod Taylor to start Week One, which makes him highly unlikely to wind up on the waiver wire. How EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel fit is less clear and coach Rex Ryan cited “strategic purposes” as the reason he wasn’t willing to discuss the team’s plans for them on Friday.

Cassel was a bit more forthcoming.

“I don’t know if they want to go into depth about what the conversation was about, who’s going to be No. 2 or No. 3,” Cassel said, via ESPN.com. “But every indication was made that we’re probably gonna keep three quarterbacks, and that’s all I can go off of right now.”

Indications don’t mean anything until the moves are submitted to the league, obviously, and the team could decide to move forward with just two quarterbacks or bring in a different player to hold the No. 3 job if someone they like shakes loose from another team. For now, though, Cassel thinks he’ll be spending the next few months in Buffalo along with Manuel and Taylor.

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Patriots cut Ryan Lindley and nine others

Devon Kennard, Ryan Lindley AP

It’s not every year that a team cuts a quarterback that started a playoff game the previous year, but, then, it’s not every year that events conspire to allow a quarterback like Ryan Lindley to start a playoff game.

Lindley was forced into action with the Cardinals late last season and led the offense in their playoff loss to the Panthers before hitting the ranks of the unemployed this offseason. The Patriots signed him last month and he started Thursday’s preseason finale, but there wasn’t much need for him on the 53-man roster now that the team is assured of having Tom Brady in the lineup next week.

Lindley will be joined by running back Tony Creecy, wide receiver Zach D’Orazio, wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, guard Ryan Groy, tackle Caylin Hauptmann, tackle Chris Martin, linebacker James Morris, defensive tackle A.J. Pataiali’i and defensive tackle Casey Walker on the list of former Patriots.

The Patriots signed cornerback Justin Coleman, who was dropped by the Vikings last weekend. The moves leave them with 66 players and 13 moves to go before Saturday’s deadline to set a 53-man roster.

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Jets work out Brandon Bostick, four receivers

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Brandon Bostick, the tight end best known for not recovering the onside kick in last year’s NFC Championship Game that allowed the Seahawks to complete an improbable comeback, worked out for the Jets Friday.

Per a league source, the Jets also worked out four wide receivers — Shane Wynn, DeAndre Carter, Vernon Johnson and Alan Bonner — and quarterback Matt Blanchard.

Bostick, 26, was released earlier this week by the Vikings. He caught nine passes over the last two seasons with the Packers.

Wynn caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Manziel in the second preseason game but was waived earlier this week, mostly because the Browns already have a bunch of smaller wide receivers. Bonner was a sixth-round pick of the Texans in 2013 and was also let go earlier this week.

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Jaguars cut 18, including two 2015 draft picks

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The Jaguars are down to 57 players after saying farewell to 18 members of their roster, including four players drafted by General Manager Dave Caldwell in the seventh round in last three years.

Running back Storm Johnson was a seventh-round pick last year and ran for 86 yards on 29 carries as a rookie, but the arrival of T.J. Yeldon and Bernard Pierce this offseason likely pushed him off the roster. Cornerback Jeremy Harris, a 2013 seventh-rounder, was also axed.

Wide receiver Neal Sterling and tight end Ben Koyack have both been waived after arriving in the final round of the draft this year. Both could be candidates for the practice squad if they don’t catch on somewhere else in the roster shuffling that will go on this weekend.

The Jags also waived quarterback Stephen Morris, which leaves them with Blake Bortles and Chad Henne as the only quarterbacks currently on the roster.

Jacksonville rounded out this wave of cuts by parting ways with defensive tackle Richard Ash, defensive end Camaron Beard, defensive end Cap Capi, wide receiver Kasey Closs, guard Will Corbin, tight end Connor Hamlett, defensive end Ike Igbinosun, wide receiver Erik Lora, guard Chris Reed, cornerback Rashaad Reynolds, linebacker Todd Thomas, cornerback Peyton Thompson and wide receiver Tony Washington.

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Dolphins cut Josh Freeman

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After throwing a pair of interceptions in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Buccaneers, quarterback Josh Freeman vowed to “exhaust every option” available to him before giving up on his hopes of resuming his NFL career.

That didn’t sound like a man who was confident in his chances of making the Dolphins’ 53-man roster and it looks like he’ll have to find his next chance somewhere other than Miami. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reports that the Dolphins have released the former Buccaneers first-round pick.

It’s the second time that the Dolphins have released Freeman since initially signing him in April, but they came into the cut to 53 players with three quarterbacks already on the roster and it’s hard to imagine that they would let Freeman go free at this point if they had their hearts set on having him on the team in 2015.

Freeman, who last played in a regular season game with the Vikings in 2013, was 23-of-48 for 332 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions with the Dolphins in the preseason. Those aren’t numbers that would seem to make anyone else’s heart set on having him on their roster, but one can never predict how often the quarterback carousel will spin in a given season.

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League office must find a way to restore credibility

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The dictionary (do they even make dictionaries anymore?) defines credibility as “the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real, or honest.”

Based on that definition, and on the topic of discipline imposed for violations of the Personal Conduct Policy or for conduct detrimental to the game, the National Football League currently has no credibility.

Harsh? Possibly. True? Absolutely.

Moving forward, who will believe the league office or accept as true, real, or honest anything the NFL has to say regarding investigations conducted or discipline imposed under policies that give Commissioner Roger Goodell final say? I sure won’t. And no one else should, either, not without reading all documents with a skeptical eye, asking tough questions, doing independent research, and contemplating whether someone possibly is embellishing, exaggerating, or fabricating facts.

The NFL has earned the inherent lack of trust since 2012, from: (1) imposing cap penalties on Dallas and Washington for contracts executed in the uncapped year that were approved when filed to (2) trumping up “bounty” charges against the Saints based on players getting a modest amount of cash for the application of clean, legal hits that they already had an incentive to apply to (3) ignoring the fact that other teams had been using “bounties” for years (including teams coached by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the mastermind of the bounty scandal) to (4) hiring an outside lawyer to provide the patina of legitimacy to an investigation which found in part that Anthony Hargrove shouted “Bobby, give me my money!” when closer inspection of the audio and video is conclusive at best to (5) a second suspension of Ray Rice that clearly violated his rights under the CBA to (6) the manipulation of league policies to keep Adrian Peterson off the field for the 2014 stretch run against the Vikings because someone apparently had decided in September that Peterson wouldn’t be playing again this year to (7) the sudden abandonment of a 95-year history of not paying any attention to the air pressure in footballs in the apparent hopes of catching the Patriots cheating to (8) the complete lack of any understanding that the air pressure in footballs decreases on cold days to (9) the leak of grossly false air-pressure information to a pair of prominent journalists in order to create a national presumption of cheating to (10) the failure to correct that blatantly false information to (11) the hiring of a lawyer for an “independent” investigation that clearly wasn’t independent to (12) the review of the “independent” investigator’s report by the league’s general counsel to (13) the refusal to make the league’s general counsel answer questions about his role to (14) suspending Tom Brady for “general awareness” of an equipment violation, in violation of the CBA and the “law of the shop” to (15) expressing righteous indignation over Brady “destroying” his phone in the hopes of swaying public opinion against him to (16) attempting to suspend Brady for obstructing an investigation even though no player had ever been suspended for obstructing an investigation, the findings and conclusions of the league office as currently constructed on matters of discipline cannot be accepted at face value.

So how can that change? Taking final say from the Commissioner in all matters of player discipline would be a good start. But even for teams, coaches, and other non-players who aren’t protected by a union, the Commissioner should no longer have final say. Earlier this year, the Missouri Supreme Court found that the Commissioner can never be objective when handling an arbitration involving a former employee of one of the NFL’s 32 teams and one of the 32 teams that employs the Commissioner.

The Missouri Supreme Court is right. And the fans, media, and players finally have figured it out. No matter how or why it got to this point, the best interests of the NFL aren’t served by the Commissioner having final say, because the NFL has abused final say enough times in recent years to make any exercise of final say subject to skepticism, criticism, and derision.

The NFL likes to say that final say is exercised to protect the integrity of and public confidence in the sport of professional football. Over the last three years, however, has any one thing done more damage to the integrity of and public confidence in the sport of professional football than the way the league office has exercised this power?

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Falcons clearing the decks at QB, cutting Rex Grossman and T.J. Yates

T.J. Yates AP

On a day when Tim Tebow appears to have sewn up a job in Philadelphia, all the news about iconic quarterbacks is not so happy.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Falcons have released veteran quarterback Rex Grossman.

The Falcons signed him just over a week ago, so he clearly didn’t have a chance to establish himself there. That leaves just Sean Renfree behind starter Matt Ryan, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that they’re also cutting T.J. Yates.

Grossman hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2011 in Washington. He did appear in last night’s preseason finale, going 4-of-9 passing for 41 yards.

Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

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Browns will name acting GM by Saturday

Ray Farmer, Jimmy Haslam AP

Like 31 other teams, the Browns are busy trimming their roster and exploring options to bolster it through the weekend as teams explore trades and rosters are trimmed to 53.

The work won’t end across the league after the initial round of waiver claims and practice squad additions this weekend, but it will end for Browns general manager Ray Farmer for 30 days, starting at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 7.

That’s when Farmer begins serving a 30-day suspension for breaking the NFL’s rules on gameday communication last year. It’s hard to call what Farmer did a “scandal” — and it’s even worse to call it TextGate — but Farmer admitted to sending texts to the sideline during games last season. He later cooperated with the NFL by turning over his phone during the investigation, unlike some other guy who’s been in the news lately.

Friday, Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters on a conference call that the team would release a statement on Saturday announcing who will serve as acting general manager during Farmer’s absence. The acting GM will likely be either Bill Kuharich, who came to the team when Farmer was hired and carries the title of executive chief of staff, or Morocco Brown, the team’s vice president of player personnel.

We’re talking about the Browns, though, so anybody from the team president to a guy on the sidewalk or even Sonny Weaver could end up with the job while Farmer serves his suspension.

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Eagles ship Matt Barkley to Arizona for conditional draft pick

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Eagles quarterback Matt Barkley lost the third-string quarterback job to Tim Tebow on Thursday night, and now Barkley is heading to Arizona.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that the Cardinals are sending a conditional draft pick to Philadelphia to acquire Barkley. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles get a seventh-round pick from the Cardinals if Barkley is on the Cardinals roster for six games.

A fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2013, Barkley has played sparingly in Philadelphia. With Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez firmly ahead of Barkley on the quarterback depth chart and Tebow out-playing Barkley in the preseason as well, it appeared that Barkley was on the verge of getting cut.

But the Cardinals, whose season fell apart last year after injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, have decided that it’s worth giving a late-round pick up to acquire a third-string quarterback with some potential. And the Eagles get something out of a player who was going to give them nothing.

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Titans cut nine more, including linebacker Andy Studebaker

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The Titans continued to whittle away at the roster Friday, making nine more moves to get their roster to 65.

The biggest name among this round of cuts was probably veteran linebacker Andy Studebaker, who was just signed two weeks ago. He has now been cut by 75 percent of the AFC South after previous stints with the Jaguars and Colts. He’s also been with the Chiefs and Eagles.

The Titans also released fullback Zach Boren, cornerback Ri’Shard Anderson, center Gabe Ikard, defensive back Khalid Wooten, defensive back Jemea Thomas, defensive lineman Isaako Aaitui, wide receiver Josh Stewart and linebacker Kaelin Burnett.

The Titans took care of another spot by trading guard Andy Levitre to the Falcons, meaning they have to make 12 more moves tomorrow.

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49ers release Philip Wheeler, Joe Looney and Craig Dahl

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Darnell Dockett isn’t the only veteran that failed to make the cut to 53 players with the 49ers.

The team announced Dockett’s release on Friday afternoon along with five other moves that leave the roster at 69 players. They’ll need to pare that number to 53 by Saturday afternoon.

Guard Joe Looney was released, which leaves the team without any players from their 2012 draft class. He was a fourth-round pick of the 49ers and started four of the 19 games he played for the team over the last three years.

Safety Craig Dahl and linebacker Philip Wheeler are gone as well.  Dahl restructured his contract for the second straight year and played in every game for the team over the last two seasons, but that wasn’t enough for him to hold onto a roster spot. Wheeler signed with the 49ers after being released by the Dolphins in March after playing just two years of a five-year, $26 million deal.

The 49ers also released wide receiver Isaac Blakeney and offensive lineman Patrick Miller.

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