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Looking ahead at future Hall of Fame classes

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The seven members of the 2014 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have received their busts in Canton, Ohio, and now that enshrinement weekend is behind us, let’s look ahead at the players, coaches and contributors who could comprise the next five Hall of Fame classes.

2015

Junior Seau will be eligible for the first time next year, and he’s the one man who looks like a lock for the class of 2015. Seau’s enshrinement will bring up stories about his suicide and questions about whether brain damage on the football field could have led to his depression, but his enshrinement should also be a celebration of one of the greatest linebackers ever to play the game.

Paul Tagliabue, the former commissioner, may be the biggest beneficiary of the Hall of Fame’s new policy of voting on contributors separately from players and coaches. In past Hall of Fame votes, Tagliabue has lost out, but now that he’s no longer competing with players and coaches, there’s a good chance that he’ll be enshrined next year.

Steve Sabol would also be a good choice in 2015, when there will be two Hall of Fame finalists from the separate contributors category. Sabol’s father Ed is already in the Hall of Fame, but both Sabols deserve busts in Canton for building NFL Films.

Kurt Warner is, after Seau, the player with the best chance of being enshrined in his first year of eligibility next year. Some may say Warner’s greatness was too short-lived to merit Hall of Fame induction, but a player with two regular-season MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP award is probably going to end up in Canton.

Orlando Pace protected Warner’s blind side in St. Louis and was one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL for a decade, and he’ll also be eligible for the first time next year.

Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce were the top two receivers on the Greatest Show on Turf, and they both retired after the 2009 season, making them eligible in 2015. (You can be forgiven if you’ve forgotten that Holt was in Jacksonville and Bruce was in San Francisco in 2009.) It would really be something if they were both inducted along with Warner and Pace. That, however, is awfully unlikely. Wide receivers have had a hard time getting into Canton in recent years, and Holt and Bruce may end up competing against each other and therefore hurting each other’s chances in much the same way that Steelers greats John Stallworth and Lynn Swann did for many years.

Jerry Kramer, the great Packers offensive lineman, would be a strong choice as a senior candidate. Next year will be a harder year for seniors to get in, as only one senior finalist will be nominated. But Kramer may be the most deserving senior candidate eligible.

2016

Brett Favre is a sure thing to be inducted in 2016, and the Packers have already begun the process of turning the year before his induction into a long ceremony honoring Favre, who will have his number retired in 2015.

Terrell Owens also becomes eligible in 2016, but he’s a long shot. Owens is second only to Jerry Rice on the all-time receiving yards list and third behind Rice and Randy Moss in receiving touchdowns, but Owens acted like such a jerk, so often, that he’s remembered as much for becoming a disruptive force in the locker room as he is for being a dominant force on the field.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former 49ers owner, may benefit from the new contributors category and be enshrined soon. The question is whether Hall of Fame voters will reward DeBartolo for his role in building the great 49ers teams of the 1980s and 1990s, and overlook the circumstances that led DeBartolo to be forced out of the NFL.

Jerome Bettis may finally get his bust in Canton in 2016, as a relatively weak crop of first-year eligible players will make room for those who have previously been passed over.

Will Shields, the great guard for the Chiefs, would also seem likely to benefit from a lack of first-year eligible players, although there have been so many great offensive linemen enshrined in Canton in recent years that it’s hard for any one to gain recognition over all the others.

Marvin Harrison was voted down this year, but he had so many great seasons as a receiver for the Colts that it seems like just a matter of time before he gets in, and 2016 may be the year.

Randy Gradishar and Ken Stabler are a couple of good senior candidates who may be enshrined in 2016, when two seniors will be eligible. (Only one senior is eligible in 2015, 2017 and 2019.)

2017

LaDainian Tomlinson becomes eligible for the first time in 2017, and with 13,684 career rushing yards, Tomlinson looks like a good bet to make it. Only four players have more yards than Tomlinson (Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin) and all four are already in the Hall.

Jason Taylor becomes eligible in 2017 as well, and he has a good case, although he may be joining a crowded field of pass rushers, as we’ll detail momentarily.

Kevin Greene was voted down as a Hall of Fame finalist last year, but with 160 sacks in his career, he seems sure to get in eventually: The only players with more career sacks than Greene were Bruce Smith and Reggie White, two of the greatest players in NFL history. The 2017 class may be the one that finally makes room for Greene.

Charles Haley also might finally get his Hall call in 2017. He’s been voted down five times already, but his contributions to Super Bowl winners in both San Francisco and Dallas should be enough to earn him a bust at some point.

Hines Ward was a great wide receiver and a Super Bowl MVP winner, and he’ll be eligible for the first time in 2017. But Ward’s career numbers (1,000 catches for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns) are dwarfed by those of some other recent receivers, and Ward may suffer by comparison.

Brian Dawkins was a nine-time Pro Bowl safety who also becomes eligible in 2017, but he seems unlikely to be selected in his first year of eligibility. Dawkins was a beloved player both on and off the field, and at some point the voters may put him in Canton, but that point probably won’t be until he’s on the ballot for at least a few years.

George Young, the former Giants general manager, is just the kind of person that the new “contributors” category is designed to recognize, and the 2017 class may be the year that the late Young gets his due.

Don Coryell would appear to be a likely choice as a senior candidate some day, and 2017 may be when that day comes. Coryell never won a championship as a coach, but he was such an innovator of the passing game that he’s a significant figure in the history of football.

2018

Ray Lewis will be an easy choice as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. There’s no room for debate on that.

Randy Moss may leave some room for debate, as his numbers are comparable to those of Terrell Owens, who looks like a long shot. But Moss at his best was such a game-changer that he just feels like exactly the kind of player who belongs in Canton.

Brian Urlacher, who like Lewis and Moss becomes eligible in 2018, has a very good case for enshrinement as well. Although he’ll suffer in comparison to Lewis, there will probably be enough support for Urlacher to get him enshrined in his first year of eligibility.

Steve Hutchinson was a great guard and also becomes eligible in 2018, but he won’t get in on his first year of eligibility. Hutchinson may be a finalist many times, but getting the necessary 80 percent of the vote will be tough.

Tim Brown is a longtime finalist who feels like he accomplished enough in the NFL (usually while serving as the only decent threat in his teams’ passing games) that he should be recognized eventually. The 2018 class may be the year.

Art Modell has been voted down several times, and the opposition to his candidacy is strong from some who say that taking the Browns out of Cleveland was an unforgivable sin. But the new contributors category gives Modell a much better chance, and 2018 could be his year.

Bob Kuechenberg and Cliff Harris are among the best senior candidates who haven’t been selected yet.

2019

Tony Gonzalez becomes eligible for the first time in 2019, and he’s just about a sure thing as one of the greatest tight ends ever to play the game.

Ed Reed also becomes eligible for the first time in 2019, and he also looks like a sure thing as one of the greatest safeties ever to play the game.

Tony Dungy was voted down in his first year of eligibility last year and may be voted down a few more times, but he’s likely to get in eventually, and 2019 could be the year.

Morten Andersen was also voted down this year in his first year as a Hall of Fame finalist, but he also has a good case to make it eventually. Andersen, the NFL’s all-time leader in points scored, would join Jan Stenerud and Ray Guy as the only kicking specialists in the Hall of Fame.

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Report: Seahawks, Bobby Wagner work out a deal

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On Friday, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner responded to the news of a new deal for quarterback Russell Wilson by tweeting: “Can’t keep everyone.”

Wagner may be right, but the Seahawks will be keeping him.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Seahawks and Wagner have agreed to terms on a contract extension.

No other details have yet been reported or released. For Seahawks fans, they don’t matter; the team’s two biggest pending free agents as of 48 hours ago now aren’t.

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Von Miller exits substance-abuse program

Cardinals Broncos Football AP

Two years ago, Broncos linebacker Von Miller missed the first six games of the season as part of a negotiated resolution under the substance abuse policy, based on allegations that he conspired with a sample collector to beat drug tests.

Now, Miller has stayed clean long enough to exit the substance-abuse program entirely, according to Mike Klis of KUSA-TV.

Miller’s exit from the program is one of the new wrinkles of the substance-abuse policy as revised in 2014. Previously, a player who landed in Stage 3 of the program remained there for the rest of his career. Now, the player has a path not only out of Stage 3 but also out of the program entirely, if he avoids any violation for 24 months.

The development increases Miller’s marketability, as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. It also means that, like all players not in the program, he faces only one substance-abuse test per year, in a window that ironically opens on 4/20. After that, he won’t be tested against until the next year.

If Miller fails one of the annual tests, he would return to Stage 1 of the program. He’d then be subject to the new formula for determining disciplining: two-game fine, four-game fine, four-game suspension, 10-game suspension, and minimum one-year banishment.

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Eagles trade Brandon Boykin to Steelers

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In an unusual trade at the start of training camp, cornerback Brandon Boykin is heading from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

The Steelers gave up a conditional 2016 fifth-round pick to get Boykin from the Eagles.

At 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Boykin was viewed as too small for what the Eagles were trying to do defensively. Still, this trade comes as a surprise, especially considering that Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis had been saying that Boykin was one of his favorite players and could start in the slot.

In Pittsburgh, Boykin joins a secondary where Cortez Allen and William Gay are the likely starting cornerbacks. Pittsburgh also drafted cornerback Senquez Golson in the second round and cornerback Doran Grant in the fourth round.

A 2012 fourth-round pick of the Eagles, the 25-year-old Boykin is heading into the final season of his rookie contract.

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Typo for now: NFL calls San Antonio a “team market”

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When I was a kid, I’d study the back of the cereal box while eating breakfast. In time, it became the baseball box scores from the local newspaper — back when they actually put box scores in the local paper and still had, you know, local newspapers.

Now, I’ve trade the Crunch Berries box and the box scores for the NFL Record & Fact Book. An annual publication I’ve acquired every year since 2000, it’s a great tool for eating with one hand and flipping pages with the other, with virtually stop teaching me something I didn’t already know or giving me an idea for something to share with you.

Here’s something that caught my attention, at page 320 of the 2015 edition, which has Malcolm Butler making an interception and Tom Brady hoisting a trophy on the cover.

At page 320, the book lists the top 100 TV markets for 2015, with NFL team markets in bold. Sandwiched between Columbus at No. 32 (not in bold) and Salt Lake City at No. 34 (not in bold) is San Antonio at (you guessed it) No. 33. In bold.

First thought: Maybe it’s a team market because it’s close enough to Dallas or Houston. So I checked the 2014 version. San Antonio was No. 36, and it didn’t appear in bold print.

It’s surely a typo, with whoever formatted the page accidentally putting San Antonio in bold even though San Antonio isn’t an NFL team market. Still, with the Raiders unable to work out a new stadium deal in Oakland, with the Rams and Chargers hoping to get the two seats in L.A., and with limited temporary locations for a pair of teams to play in Los Angeles while the new stadium is built, San Antonio remains a viable destination for the Raiders, either as a permanent home or as a temporary alternative to L.A., if the Raiders get the green light to return to Southern California.

Ten years ago, San Antonio provided a temporary location for three Saints games after a hurricane ravaged New Orleans. Last year, the Raiders openly flirted with San Antonio. And San Antonio presumably remains interested in bringing the Raiders or another team to town — especially since it’s bigger than five markets that already host NFL teams: Cincinnati (No. 36), Jacksonville (No. 48), New Orleans (No. 51), Buffalo (No. 52), and Green Bay (No. 68).

Again, it undoubtedly was a typo. But the fact that someone who works for the league saw “San Antonio” and mistakenly thought “team market” shows that San Antonio is indeed on the fringes of cities that could lure a team — especially if San Antonio is willing to kick in the kind of taxpayer money that plenty of other cities currently aren’t.

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Hall of Fame softens its stance on Sydney Seau speaking

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Five-year-old policies were made to be modified.

Sydney Seau, daughter of deceased linebacker Junior Seau, will be given opportunities to speak at next week’s Hall of Fame induction activities, according to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com.

She won’t be giving an induction speech in place of her late father. However, Sydney and her three brothers will participate in the unveiling of Seau’s bust, and Sydney will be interviewed on stage after the sheet is removed from the permanent bronze memorial to Junior Seau.

Sydney also will be given an opportunity to make remarks during Thursday night’s “Gold Jacket” ceremony, which will be televised by NFL Network.

“Our goal was to try and keep our policy but also show some compassion and understanding,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker told FOX Sports. “Through all the conversations, Sydney has always been great.”

In 2010, the Hall of Fame adopted a policy preventing speeches to be given on behalf of deceased inductees. Failure to publicize or communicate the policy helped create a controversy regarding whether Sydney Seau was being silenced, due to the family’s pursuit of a lawsuit against the NFL alleging that concussions triggered Junior Seau’s 2012 suicide.

“She will have the opportunity to say whatever she wants to say but we will still maintain our policy,” Baker said. “We want this to be a great day for Sydney and her family. Should she choose not to speak afterward, that should be OK.”

The induction ceremony also will include an extended video presentation on behalf of Seau. At 6.5 minutes, the Seau video exceeds the normal video introduction by three minutes.

Now, here’s hoping that the speeches given by the living inductees will each come in at under 30 minutes. Or 20. Or ten.

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Haslam: Despite what you’ve heard, we still believe in Manziel

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Reports out of Cleveland this offseason that the Browns have given up on Johnny Manziel were unfounded, according to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

“Despite what everybody reads and says, we’ve not at all given up on Johnny,” Haslam said, via Cleveland.com. “We think he has the potential to be a good football player. Now, having the potential and doing it are two different things, but I think we’ve said numerous times that you’re not going to win consistently in this league without a good quarterback and we’re trying to make that happen.”

Haslam said the Browns are willing to be patient with Manziel and wait for him to be their starter. Josh McCown is expected to start this year, although Browns coach Mike Pettine has said McCown isn’t just being handed the job.

“I think it’s important — everybody forgets he’s barely 22 years old,” said Haslam. “He’s still young, so I think over the next couple of years we’ve got to see if Johnny can be a legitimate quarterback or not. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him or our coaches to say it has to happen this year.”

Still, if Manziel doesn’t show anything this year, that would be two seasons in which he gave the Browns nothing. That’s not what they thought they were getting when they chose him in the first round of the 2014 draft. At some point, Manziel has to show he can play, or the Browns really will give up on him.

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Report: Devin Smith has punctured lung

Devin Smith AP

With the inevitable launch of training camps comes the inevitable parade of injuries. For the Jets, it turns out that the broken ribs suffered by rookie receiver Devin Smith also include damage to an internal organ.

Via Dom Cosentino of NJ.com, Smith suffered a “slightly” punctured lung as part of the injury that occurred after making a leaping catch at training camp.

His status for the regular-season opener against the Browns remains unknown. He’s expected to at least miss the rest of camp.

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Eli Manning doesn’t care about Russell Wilson’s contract

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Is Eli Manning a better quarterback then Russell Wilson? One way to determine that could be to compare their paychecks.

Eli Manning isn’t interested in that approach.

“No, I’m not into the comparison about how much money you’re making,’’ Manning said Friday, via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “That’s not my concern.’’

So what is his concern?

“Right now my concern is getting on this practice field for our first practice,” Manning said before the team’s initial session of training camp. “I’m excited about that and just let the business side of it just work itself out.”

Instead, he’s worried about a different set of numbers.

“Our goal is to try to get 27 to 30 points per game,” Manning said.

Another key number is 70. That’s the percentage of passes he hopes to complete. (Last year he connects on 63.1 percent.)

Before any of that happens, Manning and the Giants could indeed work out a new contract. Wherever the process ends, it begins with Aaron Rodgers at $22 million per year in new money, and with Wilson right behind Rodgers at $21.9 million per year in new money.

With $17 million already due in 2015, Manning would need a five-year, $105 million deal to match Rodgers. Anything more than that would make Eli Manning the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL — and highest-paid player in league history.

Until, of course, Philip Rivers signs a new deal. And then until Andrew Luck signs a new deal. And so on, as the cap keeps going up and the best quarterbacks in the game keep signing new contracts.

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Broncos’ Kyle Williams out for season with torn Achilles

Kyle Williams AP

Broncos receiver Kyle Williams suffered a season-ending injury at today’s training camp practice.

Williams has confirmed that he tore his Achilles and won’t play in 2015.

“Unfortunately, today I suffered an injury to my Achilles and will consequently be missing this season,” Williams wrote on Instagram. “It’s hard for me at this point to make sense of all of this but at the end of the day I understand and trust God’s plan for me. My determination to get back and my work ethic will not diminish and I will eventually get back to full strength. I appreciate all those who have reached out and all of those who are praying. You all mean more to me than u know. Thank you.”

Williams’s long injury history makes it questionable whether he’ll be able to make it back to the NFL. His 2013 season ended with a torn ACL, and in 2014 he didn’t play beyond the preseason after suffering a shoulder injury.

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Saturday one-liners

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Bills coach Rex Ryan says he’d do his job for “a heck of a lot less [money]; way, way, way less.”

For the Dolphins, when the pads come on the focus turns to the battle at left guard.

Patriots RB James White starts his second training camp with a “more aggressive approach.”

The Jets may have “personal agendas” interfering with success, based on comments on Friday from former head coach Rex Ryan.

Steve Smith could be the 2015 punt returner for the Ravens.

Browns WR Dwayne Bowe has “no doubt” that Terrelle Pryor will make the roster.

The Steelers are focusing on their kickoff return unit in training camp.

WR Nate Washington could be starting across from DeAndre Hopkins for the Texans.

Here are five priorities for the Colts during training camp.

Jaguars WR Marqise Lee was “noticeably inconsistent” during his first practice of training camp.

Titans NT Sammie Hill says he’ll likely sit out the first week or two of camp due to a sprained knee suffered during offseason workouts.

Broncos DE Malik Jackson strained his left calf on the first day of training camp.

Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson is ready to prove that he still has it.

Raiders WR Michael Crabtree looked like a playmaker in his first practice with the team.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon is bracing for the speed of training camp.

Cowboys TE Jason Witten isn’t afraid to talk about the team’s goal of winning a Super Bowl.

Giants rookie LT Ereck Flowers says he’s made a lot of progress, and that he hopes to keep progressing.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants a bigger indoor practice facility. (And there’s one of the reasons he’ll potentially cite if/when he tries to finagle a jump to Tennessee after the season.)

A mere 3,341 fans showed up for the first day of training camp practice for Washington.

Bears DE-turned-LB Willie Youngdoesn’t know anything” about his new position, but he’s “ready for whatever”; “I go fishing and the forecast says it isn’t going to rain, but it might rain,” Young said.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell has no concerns about the right tackle situation.

Packers WR Jared Abbrederis suffered a concussion on Thursday.

Vikings DE Everson Griffen has big goals; “I want to be the world. But it’s up to me to put in the consistency and the hard work, starting right now, to get where I want to go. I want to be great, so Hall of Fame, I’ve got to work.”

Falcons RB Antone Smith is healthy and confident heading into camp.

Panthers LB Thomas Davis is adding “Sr.” to his jersey, at his seven-year-old son’s request.

Saints WR Brandin Cooks has no doubt about his ability to become the team’s No. 1 option in the passing game.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans says last year’s team was “the best 2-14 team ever.” (The 1996 Jets were a Week 17 field goal away from getting into the conversation.)

It’s all systems go for Cardinals QB Carson Palmer.

Rams RB Todd Gurley participated in 15 minutes of individual drills during his first training camp practice.

49ers DL Arik Armstead has made a good impression so far.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett is focused on becoming a team leader.

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Jets promote Jacqueline Davidson to director of football administration

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Jacqueline Davidson, who has spent nine years working in the NFL, has been promoted by the Jets to the position of director of football administration.

Davidson will replace Rod Graves, who recently left the Jets’ front office to take a position in the league office.

During her tenure with the Jets, Davidson has been the team’s top negotiator on player contracts, and she received credit this offseason when the Jets landed one of the biggest prizes in free agency, Darrelle Reivs. Davidson’s responsibilities also include managing the salary cap and ensuring that the team complies with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and league personnel rules.

“Jackie has served as an integral part of our football administration efforts under Rod Graves this offseason,” Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan said. “She’s bright and talented and she has earned this opportunity.”

The appointment makes Davidson one of the highest-ranking women to work in an NFL front office. Along with the hiring of Jen Welter as a Cardinals assistant, Beth Mowins as the Raiders’ play-by-play voice and Sarah Thomas as an official, this news points to positive progress in the NFL.

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Andy Dalton shrugs at All-Star boos

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Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton played in the celebrity softball game held in conjunction with the All-Star Week festivities in Cincinnati. He heard boos. He prefers to focus on the cheers.

They didn’t boo when I hit my two home runs,” Dalton said Friday, via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I think I heard lots of cheers. I think that whole thing, it wasn’t everybody. I think if you look at a video or two it makes it seem like it’s more than it was.

“There’s a lot of loyal fans, a lot of people that have backed me and have supported me. That’s all I’ve heard. So it’s unfortunate that was the reaction, initially, but after hitting a couple home runs it was a lot of cheers.”

In Dalton’s fifth NFL season with no playoff wins, the real question is whether there will be cheers in January — or justifiable boos before then.

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Broncos’ Kyle Williams carted off practice field

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Broncos receiver Kyle Williams’s bad luck with injuries has continued.

Williams was carted off the practice field at training camp in Denver today after suffering an apparent right knee injury while returning a punt.

In 2013, Williams suffered a torn ACL in his first game with the Chiefs. In 2014, Williams suffered a shoulder injury in the Chiefs’ final preseason game and didn’t make the regular-season roster.

Williams was once viewed as a promising young receiver and special teams player for the 49ers, but his inability to stay healthy may cut his career short.

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Bernard Pollard: I don’t like Tom Brady, but he shouldn’t be suspended

T. Brady B. Pollard AP

Bernard Pollard and Tom Brady aren’t exactly simpatico. It was Pollard who ended Brady’s 2008 season with a Week One shot to the knee, and Pollard and Brady have clashed in other games as well.

But when it comes down to Brady vs. Roger Goodell, Pollard takes Brady’s side.

“I do not like Tom Brady as a competitor, somebody that’s playing against him because he is a competitive player. I respect the piss out of him because the guy knows how to win. The guy, you can say whatever you want about him, but he is a true champion,” Pollard said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Pollard says he suspects that other quarterbacks have thrown deflated footballs and just haven’t been caught, and Pollard doesn’t believe a four-game suspension is appropriate.

“Do I feel that he should be suspended four games? I’m going to tell you, no,” he said. “This dude is a competitor, man. I don’t think he should’ve been suspended for four games. But I’m not the commissioner, I’m not on that committee that suspended him, and I know he’s going to fight tooth and nail like he does on the field to get back on the field with his team.”

Brady isn’t done fighting to get back on the field. And even some of the opponents who don’t like him are rooting for him to win his fight against Goodell.

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Russell Wilson’s full guarantee at signing? $31.7 million

Wilson

In the aftermath of the news that the Seahawks had signed quarterback Russell Wilson to a new deal, many said, “I knew it. The Seahawks won’t never let Wilson get away.” This implies that the Seahawks blinked, making Wilson the highest-paid player in the NFL and/or paying him as if he were already a free agent and/or fully guaranteeing an enormous percentage of the contract.

The Seahawks didn’t blink.

Apart from the fact that the Seahawks will pay Wilson considerably less now than they would have paid Wilson if he had gotten to February healthy and effective (and possibly with another Super Bowl appearance or win), the Seahawks won convincingly on the much-discussed topic of guaranteed money.

Like many big-dollar contracts without big amounts of fully-guaranteed money, initial reports mentioned Wilson’s guaranteed payout of $60 million without specifying how much of it is fully guaranteed at signing, beyond the signing bonus and the first-year base salary. In this case, that’s because none of the amount is fully-guaranteed beyond the signing bonus and the first-year base salary.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms, the $31 million signing bonus and the $700,000 base salary for 2014 are fully guaranteed. The rest of the guaranteed money is guaranteed for injury only.

Which makes it not really “guaranteed.”

On the fifth day of the 2016 waiver period, Wilson’s $12.342 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. On the fifth day of the 2017 waiver period, Wilson’s $12.6 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. On the fifth day of the 2018 waiver period, $4.9 million of Wilson’s base salary of $15.5 million becomes fully-guaranteed.

It means that $31.7 million is fully guaranteed at signing, and that another $29.842 million is guaranteed only for injury at signing. It also means that Seahawks owner Paul Allen won’t have to place any portion of the future injury-guaranteed money into escrow.

For Wilson, he swapped a $1.542 million base salary for 2015 and the possibility of getting a lot more later for a fairly large bird in the hand now. Whether it’s viewed as $21.9 million per year in new money or $17.8 million per year in total value, it’s a lot more than Wilson has made in three NFL seasons. And it was the smart and prudent choice to make.

Besides, if he’d decided to finish the rookie contract and push for more in 2016, at some point he would have risked alienating fans who may have perceived him as selfish. Even though players should grab every last dollar they can while they can, it remains a team sport. And if a player is going to work hard (i.e., “Go ‘Hawks!”) to create the impression that he puts the team above himself, it becomes awkward if it appears that he’s putting himself above the team.

As to the guaranteed money, the reality is that franchise quarterbacks typically cash every check of their contracts, regardless of whether the money is fully guaranteed. Barring developments unforeseen and unlikely, Wilson will be with the Seahawks through 2019 — and probably beyond.

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