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Kraft wants L.A. team within 2-3 years

Kraft AP

When it comes to talking about putting franchises in London or Los Angeles, the league routinely creates a sense of urgency that, when it comes to acting on it, doesn’t seem to actually exist.

Appearing Friday on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that a return to L.A. “within the next two to three years . . . would be in everybody’s best interest.”

The problem continues to be finding a stadium solution that is in the best interests of the NFL and the local interest that would be involved in building a stadium and buying all or part of a relocated team.  For years, it’s been believed that the NFL won’t make a deal to return to the NFL unless it’s the right deal, which the ongoing lack of a deal to return to L.A. would seem to confirm.

“We’ve gone a generation — almost 20 years — without a team in L.A.,” Kraft said, via SportsBusiness Daily.  “We have a generation of young people growing up not really branded and tied to a team. I think that kind of passion only comes when you have a team you can root for, and I think it’s very important.”

Kraft, who said he’d like to see two teams return to Los Angeles, hinted at one point about ESPN eventually televising a Monday Night Football game “from downtown L.A.,” a reference to the dormant-if-not-dead AEG proposal to build a stadium near Staples Center.  Whether an idle comment or deliberate, finding a location for a stadium continues to be one of the biggest challenges.

“It’s complicated, because L.A. is a [big] market, the weather is great, you have so many choices,” Kraft said.  “So we need to make sure we have ownership that’s passionate about the game, really feel that the franchise is one of the most important things in their life.  Then we’ve got to get the right venue.  Having the right venue is so critical because I don’t think we’ll get fans in the L.A. market to come if it’s not really special.”

Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times recently reported that the right venue could be a venue built and owned by the NFL.  Whatever the solution, there continues to be plenty of talk about returning to Los Angeles and expanding to London, but no action.

That doesn’t mean quick action isn’t possible, especially with the two teams that left L.A. in 1995 — the Raiders and the Rams — now operating on year-to-year leases.

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Tom Telesco: “I guess we’ll see” if Joey Bosa reports to camp

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 07:  Third overall 2016 NFL draft pick Joey Bosa of the San Diego Chargers throws out the ceremonial first picth prior to the start of the San Diego Padres game against the Atlanta Braves at PETCO Park on June 7, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the Chargers picked defensive end Joey Bosa with the third overall pick of this year’s draft, they said they had their eye on him throughout the entire pre-draft process and knew that he was they guy they would take once it was known quarterbacks would be the first two picks.

That was easy, but getting Bosa under contract hasn’t been quite so smooth a process. Bosa is one of three players from the draft without a deal as his agents and the Chargers squabble over offset language and the timing of when bonus money will be paid to Bosa. Those issues have been obstacles for some time without an agreement, which may explain why General Manager Tom Telesco basically shrugged his shoulders when asked if Bosa would report to camp.

“I don’t know,” Telesco said on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego, via ESPN.com. “I guess we’ll see. I really don’t know if he’ll [show up]. We’re still working on it. Hopefully we’ll get something done, but I don’t know.”

Telesco said that he understood some people were puzzled about the standoff since it is “not really over money,” but said that the Chargers believe in “certain things of consistency and doing things the same way for everyone on the team” when it comes to contracts. In this case, that consistency could keep the third overall pick they were so sure they wanted from practicing when training camp opens in part because the the team’s worried about how much he’ll get paid if he’s a total flop.

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Danny Woodhead feels “great” after offseason injury scare

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 3: Running back Danny Woodhead #39 of the San Diego Chargers is dragged down by free safety Bradley Roby #29 of the Denver Broncos during a game  at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 3, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

Chargers running back Danny Woodhead doesn’t go down easily, and doesn’t usually stay down long.

But when a teammate rolled into his ankle in June, the 31-year-old  was worried it was similar to the season-ending injury he suffered in Buffalo in 2014, so he might have been entitled to milk it for a little extra attention.

“Not everyone knows this, but when I was in Buffalo, it hurt and I couldn’t get up on it, but it wasn’t until 30 seconds to a minute after when I was like, ‘Oh. This is bad,’” Woodhead said, via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “So [this time] I kind of gave it the 30 seconds to a minute. It wasn’t out of trying to be a jerk or anything, but I was just like, ‘I don’t know if I’m good yet. Let’s see. Let’s wait this out.’ . . .

“It took a couple weeks, but now I’m as healthy as I’ve been in a long time. I feel great going into the season.”

Having Woodhead ready to contribute will be a good sign for the Chargers, after a productive 2015 season. He led the team in catches (81), receiving yards (755) and receiving touchdowns (six), remarkable numbers for a back on the wrong side of 30.

“In my rookie year and second year, I really didn’t play that much,” Woodhead said. “And then with the year I took off because of the ankle, that’s really three years that didn’t give me wear and tear. I really feel like I’m young. I feel like my body is young. . . . I feel like I’m 26. This might have been the best offseason I’ve had.

“If you were to ask me that five years ago, I would’ve said, ‘Yeah, right.’ But I still feel like I can do the same things as I did or better. As long as I can do the same things I was doing in year four, if I’m doing that or better, I don’t think it’s time for me to go for a while.”

At least he’s ready to go from the start of the season, which is a huge relief after his June scare.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Will the Bills defense be better this season?

Assessing potential improvements in the Dolphins secondary.

Where will Shea McClellin fit into the Patriots defense?

The Jets will have a players leadership council this season.

CB Jimmy Smith playing well is important to the Ravens defense.

Previewing the players heading into their second years with the Bengals.

Rookie WR Corey Coleman was motivated by criticism from Browns coach Hue Jackson.

An optimistic prediction for the Steelers offense despite players missing with suspensions.

Cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Kevin Johnson avoided the Texans PUP list.

A few under-the-radar Colts training camp storylines.

The Jaguars added K Sam Ficken to the roster.

Titans fans will be able to get QB Marcus Mariota’s autograph at training camp.

Rookie defensive backs will have to catch on quickly to get playing time with the Broncos.

Which Chiefs can boost their offensive production?

The Raiders are set with outside cornerbacks and holding a competition for slot duties.

The Chargers are looking for a big step forward from RB Melvin Gordon.

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley learned from Randy Moss in joint workouts.

Ben McAdoo’s style is geared toward younger members of the Giants roster.

CB Nolan Carroll was among the rehabbing veterans on the field for the Eagles Monday.

Will the Redskins look outside the organization for pass rush help?

The development of recent first-round picks will be important for the Bears this season.

Previewing the biggest position battles for the Lions.

The Packers need some inside linebackers to step up this year.

The Vikings offensive line changed again on Monday with tackle Phil Loadholt’s retirement.

Have the Falcons improved their pass rush?

Tracing Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin’s path back from a torn ACL.

The Saints don’t expect T Terron Armstead to have an extended stay on the PUP list.

In search of buzz about the Buccaneers.

DT Darnell Dockett returned to the Cardinals to say goodbye to the NFL.

QB Jared Goff isn’t the only Rams rookie trying to get noticed at training camp.

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner are excited to renew their college partnership with the 49ers.

Will coach Pete Carroll get an extension from the Seahawks soon?

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Police visit Tre Mason’s home five times in four months

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 03:  Tre Mason #27 of the St. Louis Rams rushes with the ball against Jimmie Ward #25 of the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

In early March, Rams running back Tre Mason had a bizarre incident with police, resulting in his arrest on various charges. He then failed to appear in court, before eventually doing so.

Since then, police reportedly have been called to his house on five different occasions. According to TMZ, the most recent incident happened on Saturday.

Per the report, Mason’s family is concerned about his mental health. During one of the police visits, he agreed to check into a facility. He apparently didn’t.

Mason has not yet been accused of assaulting family members. On one occasion, a family member told police that Mason hadn’t slept in days, and that the family member was concerned if Mason left the house “he will get hurt.”

Mason didn’t participate in OTAs this year, excused from the voluntary sessions for “personal reasons.” The next question for the Rams is whether Mason, a third-round pick in 2014, will be welcomed to training camp — and whether he’ll even show up for it.

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Pederson continues to commit to Bradford as Week 1 starter

bradford-sam082315-getty-ftrjpg_6qwfldz8wmio1w7qdzj8hpebh Getty Images

Eagles coach Doug Pederson remains committed to Sam Bradford as his starting quarterback.

“I’ve said all along that Sam’s the guy,’’ Pederson said after Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz completed their first training camp practice on Monday.

Pederson said he doesn’t see anything happening in the preseason that would change his quarterback depth chart.

“You’ve got to get through four games and a lot of preseason. But going into September 11, Sam’s the guy. I’ll stick with that. Chase is our No. 2, and Carson is our No. 3,” Pederson said.

The Eagles, more than any other team, poured resources into the quarterback position this offseason: They signed Bradford to a two-year, $35 million contract, signed Daniel to a three-year, $21 million contract and traded up to the second overall pick to draft Wentz. With all those resources going into the position, they’d better have a good starting quarterback. Pederson thinks they have one in Bradford.

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Derrick Morgan says NFL isn’t doing enough research on cannabis

Derrick Morgan AP

Now that Eugene Monroe has retired, Titans outside linebacker Derrick Morgan is the last active player who is willing to be an advocate for medicinal marijuana.

He hopes he’s not the only one for long, and has shared the research he’s done on the topic. But he hopes time will see the plant’s stigma subside, and that the league will spend as much time researching as he has.

“I just take the NFL for their word: If they say that long-term health and player safety are top priorities of the league, then why aren’t you looking into all the options for health care that are out there?” Morgan told Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “It’s definitely incumbent upon them to really delegate some time and some resources to look into it.”

Morgan is pushing the medical benefits of cannabis, and wants to draw the line between the possible pain-relief potential the plant holds and the recreational smoking many have made synonymous.

Morgan said he’s never failed a drug test for marijuana, and hasn’t used it because of the league’s rules against it. But he also thinks demonizing the drug by grouping it alongside things such as LSD and heroin keeps people from seeing the protection it could offer players.

“CTE, all this stuff is real … that’s unsettling as a player,” he said. “You want to be able to think that you are going to be there for your family in full capacity, that you’re going to be able to be an active member, contributing member of society. With something like that, I’ve got to look at what my options are. If this happens to be an option, which I think it will be, then I’m going to look into it, . . .

“Every player is in a different position. But at the root of it, if your motivation is being proactive about preserving your health, then I don’t think you should have to tippy-toe around anything.”

At the moment, he’s the only current player even tippy-toeing, but hopes more will join him.

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Former Patriots defensive tackle busted on drug charges on campus

8 Sep 1996:  Defensive lineman Mark Wheeler of the New England Patriots looks on during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.  The Bills won the game, 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport Getty Images

Longtime NFL defensive tackle Mark Wheeler, who once started a Super Bowl for the Patriots, has been arrested on drug charges in Texas.

According to KBTX, 46-year-old Mark Wheeler was taken into custody after Texas A&M police said they found him sitting in a truck on campus with marijuana and cocaine.

According to the report, the officer noticed a marijuana cigarette on the console of his truck, but he told them it was medical marijuana.

Upon searching, two bags of marijuana were found hidden in water bottles (less than 15 grams) and a small bag of cocaine inside a Tylenol bottle (setting up another medicinal defense).

A former third-round pick by the Buccaneers in 1992, Wheeler played eight seasons in the NFL. He started for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, and also played for the Eagles.

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Brandon Marshall has finally heard from Ryan Fitzpatrick, duo spending time together in Chicago

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 03:   Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets and Brandon Marshall #15 of the New York Jets watch the game against the Buffalo Bills from the sidelines during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall expressed concern recently when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick stopped returning messages in the lull before the start of training camp.

Marshall can now call off the search.

Fresh off playing in the American Century Championship golf tournament in South Lake Tahoe, Nev. this past weekend, Fitzpatrick has made a stop in Chicago to see his (former?) teammate. Marshall posted a photo to his instagram page on Monday night of Fitzpatrick and his two sons hanging out on a rooftop in the Windy City.

Fitzpatrick remains at an impasse in reaching a contract agreement with the Jets, despite multiple offers being floated by the team in hopes of finding a resolution. He didn’t renew the lease on his New York apartment and an end to the saga appears far from imminent.

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Kenny Anunike placed on PUP list by Broncos

Kenny Anunike AP

Promising pass rusher Kenny Anunike will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list for the Denver Broncos.

The third-year defensive end has been hampered by injuries early in his career. He missed all but three games last season due to a knee injury that required surgery in August and eventually landed him on injured reserve.

He flashed his raw ability in last year’s preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Anunike had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

He has just one tackle in his regular season career.

A player can be activated from the PUP list any time during the preseason. However, a player must be placed on PUP prior to the start of training camp in order to be eligible for the reserve/PUP list for the regular season.

It’s uncertain whether Anunike has suffered some kind of a setback from the issues that plagued him last season or if the move is just to provide the Broncos with roster flexibility and the time needed for Anunike to get back to full speed.

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Tom Jackson won’t be back at ESPN

ESPN commentators Tom Jackson and  Chris Berman during the ESPN Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams in St. Louis, Missouri on December 11, 2006.  The Bears won 42 - 27.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The report from Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News that Tom Jackson will leave ESPN provided some wiggle room for the veteran analyst to return to Sunday NFL Countdown for what would be his 30th season. Multiple industry sources tell PFT that the decision has been made: Jackson won’t be coming back.

As one source explained it, ESPN’s decision to bring back Trent Dilfer after his contract had expired and it appeared he would leaving arose in part from Jackson’s decision to leave.

Jackson had long been regarded as being tied at the hip with on-air partner Chris Berman. With Berman reportedly entering his last year at ESPN, it’s somewhat odd that Jackson wouldn’t want to do a victory lap with Berman.

Unless, of course, that victory lap will be all about Berman and/or consist of Berman complaining about the fact that ESPN management has apparently nudged him out.

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CFL expands use of coach-to-quarterback communication system

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 30:  Bo Levi Mitchell #19 of the Calgary Stampeders passes upfield during the 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at BC Place November 30, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Calgary won 20-16. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) Getty Images

The CFL often does thing differently than the NFL. In some cases, the CFL’s differences make the Canadian version of pro football better.

A little-known change for 2016 has invites speculation regarding whether a similar change in the NFL would be good for business.

As explained by Scott Mitchell of the Calgary Herald, the CFL for the first time in 2016 allows the coach-to-quarterback communication system to operate to the snap, and beyond.

Calgary Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson called the change an “executive decision” of which he wasn’t aware until the season began. Dickenson also said that his team has not yet used the system during a play to tell the quarterback what to do with the ball in real time.

“In theory, they can,” Dickenson said. “We don’t feel like it’s the best thing to say, ‘Go deep,’ or ‘Take the flat.’ The game’s going so fast and, I think, it might be easier from the booth to see stuff, what pops and what doesn’t pop, but I don’t yell into his ear. I think coaches, in that case, would be trying to be more important than they are. Just stay out of the way. You need to coach your quarterback well enough that he sees what he sees and he trusts his eyes and he throws it.”

“We kind of found out, I think, in Week One,” Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said. “I remember Dave coming and telling me about it and I was kind of skeptical about it at first because we didn’t do it in training camp.”

Bo Levi Mitchell has only one specific request when it comes to the use of the technology.

“I told him it was something that, ‘Hey, if you’re comfortable saying it then I trust you when you say things,'” Bo Levi Mitchell said. “Obviously, the only time I don’t want it is when I’m in the huddle trying to talk to guys. You can’t have somebody yelling in your ear and you can’t hear anything.”

For the NFL, where the system cuts off 15 seconds before the snap, the question becomes whether it makes sense to allow a coach to continue speaking to the quarterback beyond that point, including during the live play. Given that the CFL teams apparently didn’t know the change was coming until the season began, it’s still too early to know whether it will be an improvement, given that teams really didn’t get a chance to experiment with it or to plan for using it.

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Report: Tom Jackson may not be back on ESPN this year

ESPN commentator Tom Jackson on the set before  the Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on  Monday Night Football Nov. 13, 2006 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

If 2016 will be, as it appears, Chris Berman’s last year at ESPN, he possibly won’t be joined for his farewell tour by Tom Jackson.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News reports that the 65-year-old Jackson “likely will not return” to ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown this year.

“He’s still weighing his options,” an industry source told Raissman. “This will be Tommy’s call. It’s up to him. Tommy’s driving the train on this one. The situation is fluid.”

Regardless of whether it’s fluid, the clock is ticking toward the start of the season. Just last week, ESPN announced that Randy Moss will be joining the show. Charles Woodson and Matthew Hasselbeck also are in, and holdovers like Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, and Cris Carter are out. If Jackson goes — and Raissman’s source predicts Jackson will indeed leave — Berman will be the only common link among the core group on the show.

Jackson played 14 years with the Broncos before joining ESPN after the end of his career. The coming season would be his 30th at ESPN.

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Gordon says he’s “blessed,” excited to return to football

Cleveland Browns v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was conditionally cleared to return to the NFL Monday afternoon, and Monday evening Gordon issued a statement via his Twitter account.

I’m blessed and grateful to be granted this opportunity,” Gordon said. “I can’t wait to get back out there and play the game I love in front of the great fans of Cleveland. I want to thank the NFLPA, Commissioner Goodell, the Haslam family and Browns organization, my agent Drew Rosenhaus, as well as my mentors for their continuous support along the way.

“I’ve heard only good things from my teammates about the positive direction the organization is heading and I want to do everything I can to be there to help further that process not only for the team but to better myself as well. Thank you.”

Based on the team’s statement about Gordon’s reinstatement, the Browns sound like they’re willing to work with Gordon if he’s willing to play by the rules. He’s played in just five games the last two years due to suspensions but led the NFL in receiving in 2013.

Gordon will be suspended for the first four games of this season if he meets conditions of his reinstatement but will be allowed to participate in team meetings during those four weeks.

The Browns open full camp Friday, but rookies and injured players reported Monday. Gordon hasn’t been allowed to be around the team, so it’s expected he would fly from Los Angeles — he apparently was there when he was seen on Johnny Manziel’s Snapchat videos Monday morning — to Cleveland as soon as possible so the requisite meetings can take place and the team can lay down its ground rules for Gordon.

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Raiders will start camp without Helu, two rookies

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 04:  Roy Helu #26 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at Soldier Field on October 4, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders announced a host of pre-camp roster moves Monday, including the expected procedural move of putting veteran running back Roy Helu Jr. on the active/physically unable to perform list.

Helu had surgery on both hips last winter and didn’t participate in the team’s offseason program. Helu played in nine games as a backup running back and special teams player last season, his first with the Raiders after three seasons with the Redskins.

The Raiders also placed undrafted rookie defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. on active/PUP. Seventh-round offensive lineman Vadal Alexander was placed on the active/non-football injury list.

Players on active-PUP and active-NFI count against the team’s 90-man roster limit and can be activated during camp when they’re cleared by doctors.

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Cris Carter says he wouldn’t have made it to the Hall of Fame without Dennis Green

cris-carter-nfl-bounty-e1336607466184 Getty Images

Plenty of people have heaped plenty of praise on Dennis Green, the former Vikings and Cardinals coach who died three days ago at the age of 67. One Hall of Famer who played for Green admits that, without Green, the gold jacket and bronze bust never would have been issued.

“No, absolutely not,” receiver Cris Carter told PFT Live on Monday regarding whether he would have made it to the Hall of Fame without Green. “I mean, he made me the focal point of the offense. He challenged me in ways no one ever challenged me as a man. He challenged me every game. I mean his pregame speech was, ‘Football’s a team game but it’s individual battles and in those individual battles I need you to whoop your man.’ He would just single me out, be like, ‘Chris Carter, are you gonna whoop your man?’ and I was like, ‘Yes sir.’

“‘They’re gonna double team you probably sixty to seventy percent of the time, are you gonna whoop your man?’ and I’d be like, ‘Yes, sir,'” Carter added.

“We had a roll call and Denny would go down through the locker room and ask them, ‘Johnny Randle are you gonna whoop your man?’ and then he typically would finish [with], ‘Don’t worry, I’m gonna whoop the other coach.'”

Part of whooping the other coach was having a keen eye for talent and the ability to get the most out of that talent. When it comes to the many quarterbacks who thrived under Green, Cris Carter had very strong comments about a guy who started only 10 games during Green’s 10-year career as head coach.

“He did an unbelievable job with Jeff George,” Carter said. “Man, I wish we could’ve played more with Jeff George because his story would be totally different. The vibe that he had with Denny and the relationship he had with the other players, where he didn’t have to be a leader. . . . Jeff George was truly an amazing talent and, man, we had no problems, no issues with Jeff George. Loved him in the locker room and got great results from him on the field.”

George left the Vikings after only one season, joining Washington as a free agent. After a failed attempt to woo Dan Marino to Minnesota, Green opted to go with Daunte Culpepper, a 1999 first-round pick who carried the Vikings to the NFC title game in 2000, a season overshadowed by a 41-0 embarrassment against the Giants.

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