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Coral Springs PD says JPP won’t face charges for fireworks possession

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We’re still waiting to find out if Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is going to miss any time during training camp and the 2015 regular season because of the hand injuries he suffered while setting off fireworks last weekend, but we won’t have to keep an eye open for criminal charges.

On Tuesday, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com reported that the Coral Springs, Florida Police Department opened an investigation into the incident that could have led to Pierre-Paul facing charges of criminal fireworks possession. One of the things they were investigating was whether Pierre-Paul was in Coral Springs when he discharged the fireworks and it apparently didn’t take them long to find out.

Raanan updated his original report later on Tuesday afternoon with word from the Coral Springs police that they will not be pursuing charges against the Giant. Per the report, the investigation determined Pierre-Paul was not in their jurisdiction at the time. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that other police departments are monitoring and might launch their own investigation once jurisdiction is determined.

Avoiding criminal charges is always a positive, although Pierre-Paul has plenty of other consequences to deal with from his decision to light up the sky on July 4.

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Victor Cruz: Everyone’s under the assumption that I’m ready to go

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The Giants have spent the last few days trying to figure out when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will be able to return to the team after his fireworks injury over the weekend.

It doesn’t sound like they expect to deal with much uncertainty about wide receiver Victor Cruz, however. Cruz has maintained all offseason that he expects to be ready to go for training camp after tearing his patellar tendon last season and said on Tuesday that everyone with a say in the matter also feels confident that Cruz will avoid the physically unable to perform list when the team reports to training camp.

“From the training staff, the coaches and the front office people, I think everyone’s under the assumption that I’ll be ready to go,” Cruz said on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon. “I don’t think PUP will be an option. Obviously, if it comes about then that’s a conversation I have to have with my superiors. It seems like I’m on track to be ready for training camp and, God willing, be out there Week One.”

Cruz’s return to the field is a major milestone, obviously, but how he looks while on the field will be more significant to Giants hopes for the 2015 season. Torn patellar tendons have robbed some players of the speed and agility they rode to the NFL altogether and others have needed extended time before they return to form. Neither outcome would be a plus for the Giants, who are looking for Cruz to be part of a potent passing attack in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s second season.

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Shannon Sharpe: Antonio Gates “cheated the game”

Antonio Gates AP

When Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, he said he “never knowingly ingested” a banned substance and suggested that a supplement with incomplete ingredients triggered the violation.

His longtime teammate Philip Rivers said this week that he believes Gates is being honest and that it was “tough knowing” that Gates’s reputation might take a hit in the wake of the news. Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe thought that Gates was a “slam dunk” to join him in Canton before last Thursday’s suspension, but he thinks Gates’s whole career is up for reconsideration now.

During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Bob Papa and Vic Carucci, Sharpe said that he isn’t buying the latest explanation from a player that they accidentally took a banned substance and that he thinks Gates “cheated the game.”

“It calls into question everything that he’s ever accomplished,” Sharpe said. “If he does it at the beginning of his career because he was an undrafted free agent, people are gonna say he did it to get in the league. Now he did it Year 13, Year 14 — People are going to say he did it to remain in the league. It does, it makes you question everything someone has ever accomplished.”

If Gates were a baseball player, this suspension would likely leave him outside of the Hall alongside Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and others who were tarred by admitted or suspected PED use. The NFL hasn’t seen Hall of Fame candidates at Gates’s level in the same boat unless you’re making room for Ray Lewis and his deer antler spray.

Voters will weigh the positive test along with the rest of Gates’s career when his name does come up for consideration in the future. The rest of that career hasn’t seen Gates suspended for violating league policies, but that might not matter if Sharpe’s view is shared by a wide audience.

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Donovan McNabb arrested again for DUI

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Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb served a day in jail in Maricopa County, Arizona last year after being arrested on DUI charges and may be in line for more time in the custody of the state in the near future.

McNabb was arrested just before midnight on June 28 in Gilbert, Arizona and arrested on DUI charges after a traffic accident, according to a statement from the Gilbert Police Department that was provided to Deadspin.

“On 06/28/2015 at approximately 2335 hours, officers responded to a non-injury collision involving two vehicles which occurred just west of the intersection at E Chandler Heights Rd and S Higley Rd in Gilbert, AZ. Subsequent investigation revealed Donovan McNabb (11/25/76) was impaired by alcohol and collided in a rear-end fashion with another vehicle which was stopped at a red traffic signal. Donovan was arrested for DUI at 2358 hours and transported to the Gilbert/Chandler Unified Holding Facility for processing, after which, he was cited and released.”

If McNabb is prosecuted and convicted of the charge, his prior DUI may mean he has to spend more than 24 hours in jail this time since it seems the previous punishment didn’t serve as much of a deterrent.

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Catch up on Jason Pierre-Paul and more with PFT Live at noon ET

Jason Pierre-Paul AP

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul remains in a Florida hospital after suffering injuries to his hand while setting off fireworks last weekend and he’ll get some visitors from the team on Tuesday.

The Giants are trying to get a better handle on Pierre-Paul’s outlook for the early part of the 2015 season and their best path for working around his potential absence. Meanwhile, Pierre-Paul hasn’t signed his franchise tender and has some choices of his own to make about how to move forward on the contractual front.

On Tuesday’s PFT Live, Dave Smith, who is filling in for Mike Florio, will talk to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post about all of the possible paths that things can take once the full extent of Pierre-Paul’s injuries are known.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app.

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Tony Dungy expects some young Lions players to “really take off” this year

Jim Caldwell AP

Lions coach Jim Caldwell spent many years as an assistant to Tony Dungy on the Colts’ coaching staff and the two men helped lead Indianapolis to a Super Bowl title during their time on the sideline together.

Dungy isn’t predicting that kind of run for Caldwell and the Lions this year, but he does think that the team is going to build on the 11-win season that they turned in during Caldwell’s first year on the job. Dungy saw his teams in Indy and Tampa win more games in his second year on the job, something he credited to setting a strong foundation right off the bat. He sees the Lions poised to make the same kind of growth in 2015.

“The first year is teaching what you want and really getting the guys to buy in,” Dungy said, via the Lions website. “I think that’s what happened with the Lions. They started winning some games they hadn’t won in the past, overcoming adversity, and you could see them really buying in. Now, this year, that foundation is there and now it’s building on it. Some of those young players, I think, are really going to come together and really take off.”

Dungy didn’t point out any specific players, but the Lions would surely like to see more from tight end Eric Ebron and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Those two players were Detroit’s top two picks in the 2014 draft, but neither one added much to the Lions’ efforts as rookies. Growth from those players would make the Lions deeper on both sides of the ball and that would go a long way toward putting the Lions on the path for more wins in 2015.

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Andrew Luck isn’t circling Patriots game on his schedule

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The Colts have seen their last two seasons come to an end on the wrong side of blowout losses to the Patriots in the playoffs and they also took a thumping from New England during the 2014 regular season, leaving the unshakable impression that the Colts are going to need to find a way to beat the Patriots if they ever hope to win the Super Bowl.

Quarterback Andrew Luck thinks his team has a “realistic chance” of doing that after the 2015 season, although that doesn’t mean he’s looking at the team’s Week Six game as a referendum on how realistic those chances will be. The Colts will host the Patriots that Sunday night, but Luck says it is just one of 16 games.

“The Patriots are obviously the defending Super Bowl champs and our defending conference champs so there’s a high amount of respect for that team and what they do,” Luck said, via Neil Reynolds of Sky Sports and BritViewNFL.com. “They’re the kings of the league right now and everybody would like to de-throne them — we’d like to de-throne them but you have to look at the season as 16 games. There are fans and media who will hype up certain games and circle them in red on the calendar but, as a player, you lose sight of what’s important if you get into that mode.”

People are circling that game in red for reasons beyond the Patriots’ status as defending champions. The Colts were involved in getting the ball rolling on Deflategate and the Week Six matchup would be quarterback Tom Brady’s first week back with the Patriots if his suspension is not altered by Commissioner Roger Goodell as a result of Brady’s recent appeal.

Those sidebars and the results of the last three games with the Patriots make it feel like a lot more than one of 16 games even if the result will count the same as the result of the Jaguars’ visit to Indy in Week Four.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

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WR Caleb Holley is trying to overcome the odds and make the Bills.

Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry threw out the first pitch at a Marlins game.

CSN New England ranks OL Dan Koppen as the No. 22 player of the Bill Belichick era with the Patriots.

Forecasting LB Calvin Pace’s role on the Jets Defense.

Ravens rookie WR Breshad Perriman has his eye on a starting job.

Spreading optimism about the Bengals.

The Browns have announced their training camp schedule.

Steelers DE Ethan Hemer likes Pittsburgh more than he thought he would.

A couple of positive takes about what’s ahead for the Texans.

No defenses are overlooking Colts WR T.Y. Hilton.

Five Jaguars rookies to watch during training camp.

Fans visiting the Titans stadium for a soccer match weren’t impressed with how the facility handled the event.

Breaking down the tight ends and fullbacks with the Broncos.

Rookie Mitch Morse has made a good early impression on the Chiefs coaching staff.

The Raiders’ record book for kickers is heavy on Sebastian Janikowski’s accomplishments.

Everything you need to know about Chargers CB Brandon Flowers.

T Doug Free is the veteran leader on the Cowboys offensive line.

How does the Giants defensive line measure up to the one in Philly?

Eagles rookie WR Nelson Agholor already has some admirers around the league.

Is T Trent Williams going to get a long-term contract with the Redskins?

Rex Ryan and the Bills want their defense to perform like the one Buddy Ryan put together for the 1985 Bears.

WR T.J. Jones is fighting for a role with the Lions after injury ruined his rookie year.

Packers CB Casey Hayward could be asked to do more this season.

The Josh Robinson injury hasn’t left the Vikings too thin at cornerback.

Panthers QB Cam Newton hit Australia during his time off before camp.

The Saints have more intriguing matchups in 2015 than their meeting with the Jaguars.

Buccaneers fans can share their love for the team on a license plate.

Are opposing defenses worried about Cardinals QB Carson Palmer?

Some of the most impressive statistics in Rams history.

The first practice of 49ers camp will be open to the public.

The Seahawks are sorting out their offensive line.

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Harry Douglas: Mariota’s “unbelievable accuracy” will increase yards after catch

Marcus Mariota AP

During the Titans’ offseason program, wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson was impressed by quarterback Marcus Mariota’s “deadly accurate” passing during the team’s practices.

Mariota’s accuracy and overall feel for the offense left Jefferson feeling “giddy” about the future of the offense with Mariota at the controls and he’s not the only one feeling good about the rookie’s ability to put his teammates in position to succeed. Wide receiver Harry Douglas said that Mariota has shown “unbelievable accuracy” that he thinks will lead to bigger gains after the catch for him and his fellow receivers.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” Douglas said, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic — first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”

Kuharsky points out that a high completion percentage and yards after the catch totals don’t always go hand in hand and that they don’t always lead to great offenses when they are linked, as evidenced by Pittsburgh and Washington finishing in the top five of both categories last season. That may be the case, but it’s hard to see the Titans getting any better on offense if they aren’t a more accurate team throwing the ball and that’s obviously going to have almost everything to do with Mariota’s performance.

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Michael Irvin Jr. heading to The U

Miami Hurricanes v Florida State Seminoles Getty Images

Michael Irvin is one of the greatest players in the history of the University of Miami football program before going on to a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys.

His son is going to try to follow in his father’s early footsteps. Michael Irvin Jr. announced on Monday that he will attend his father’s alma mater after finishing high school next year.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” Irvin Jr. said, via 247Sports.com. “I like the coaches. They told me I would play all over for them. In the backfield, at tight end and at receiver. [My father] was proud of me when I told him of my decision and he thinks it will work out for me just like it did for him going there.”

Irvin Sr. is the Hurricanes’ all-time leader in touchdown catches and finished his career as their all-time leader in catches and receiving yards, although Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss later topped Irvin’s numbers in those categories.

Irvin Jr. is ranked as the No. 80 wideout in his class by Rivals.com and the No. 27 tight end prospect by 247Sports.

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Bengals DC Paul Guenther impressed by Steelers offense

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The AFC North has generally been a strong defensive division over the years, but 2015 saw things go the other way.

None of the four teams ranked higher than 18th in total defense and the Steelers won the division thanks to their potent offense putting up enough points to overcome a lagging defense. Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will be tasked with trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again this season and it’s a task that he believes will be difficult.

One of the lead reasons why is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who Guenther thinks became even more effective last season. Roethlisberger was sacked less frequently in 2014 than in any other year of his career, leaving him able to take full advantage of the weapons at his disposal.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Guenther said, via ESPN.com. “He’s taken a lot of shots and keeps getting up … He was getting hit a lot in the past while trying to throw some stuff downfield. The ball’s coming out a little faster, particularly on third downs. That’s probably part of it. He’s not running as much and he has enough pocket presence where he keeps a play alive. You’re talking about tight ends and wide receivers and running backs and an improved offensive line, that’s a pretty good combination. They’ve gotten better up front and run the ball effectively, which helps them. The ability for them to run the ball, mix it up and keep teams honest probably got him more looks.”

The Steelers beat the Bengals twice last season, including a Week 17 win that clinched the division for Pittsburgh and left the Bengals as a Wild Card visitor to Indianapolis. The Steelers gained 889 yards in those games, 667 of them through the air, and Guenther will need to come up with a better answer this time around to keep Cincinnati ahead of their rivals.

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Teddy Bridgewater: We have high expectations, but a long way to go

Teddy Bridgewater, Cordarrelle Patterson AP

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner was among the people impressed by the way that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater wound down his rookie season in Minnesota.

Turner said Bridgewater was “much more decisive” in his final six starts last season and complimented the rookie for making gains while playing behind a shifting offensive line and without running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson’s return from suspension, guard Brandon Fusco’s return from injury, the presence of a healthy Kyle Rudolph at tight end and the arrival of rookie T.J. Clemmings join the acquisition of wide receiver Mike Wallace as reasons for optimism that Bridgewater will continue on an upward trajectory this season.

Bridgewater said in early June that he was excited about the team’s offseason, but cautioned that it was too soon to talk about them as a contender. The final practices of the offseason didn’t do anything to make him change his mind about avoiding overly rosy projections well before the season gets underway.

“I have high expectations for myself, and this team has high expectations also,” Bridgewater said, via USA Today. “Right now, we’re not as good as what we think. We know that the ceiling is very high and the expectation level is very high — not only for the players, but from a coaching staff also. We know what’s being asked of us, but we have a long way to go.”

It’s not the kind of pom-pom waving we often see when the regular season is still somewhere over the horizon, but that’s not a bad thing for a Vikings team that has posted losing records four of the last five years. The Vikings have to prove they’re good before they can talk about being good, even though the need to toot their own horns won’t be too great if their on-field work lives up to expectations.

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PFT Live: Frank Wycheck, Broncos talk with Mike Klis

Marcus Mariota AP

We’re kicking off the week of PFT Live with a guest host, but you’ll still get your dose of Mike Florio.

Paul Burmeister will be sitting in for Florio as host, which frees PFT’s founder to join the show as a guest early in the program. They’ll talk about the latest news from around the league before moving on to more specific looks at several teams.

Former Titans tight end and current radio analyst Frank Wycheck will fill us in on the team’s attempt to finish up Marcus Mariota’s contract and Mike Klis of NBC 9 in Denver will bring updates on the Broncos as we close in on the deadline to sign wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to a long-term contract. Rich Tandler of CSN Washington and Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press Gazette will also be on hand during the show.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app.

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Geno Smith: Brandon Marshall is “a quarterback’s best friend”

Geno Smith, Brandon Marshall AP

Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall recently left Jay Cutler, who threw Marshall passes in Denver and Chicago, off a list of his favorite teammates from his various stops around the NFL over the years.

Geno Smith didn’t make that list either, which isn’t much of a surprise since the two men haven’t played a game together since the trade that brought Marshall to Jersey. Smith doesn’t feel the need to wait until September to talk about how much it means for him to play with Marshall, however.

“He’s a quarterback’s best friend … For one, he’s a veteran guy,” Smith said, via the team’s website. “He understands the game on and off the field. He’s a beast of a player. You can’t say enough good things about him.”

The arrivals of Marshall, Stevan Ridley and Devin Smith give the Jets the deepest cast of characters at skill positions they’ve had since taking Geno Smith in the second round of the 2013 draft. That’s part of the reason why Ron Jaworski and others think the needle is pointing up for Smith heading into the 2015 season, although that optimism is tempered by those who think the problems of his first two seasons have had more to do with Smith than with the players next to him on offense.

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Von Miller on contract: Do good things and it takes care of self

Josh Watson, Von Miller AP

The Broncos have nine more days left to hammer out a long-term deal with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas before the deadline to sign such contracts with players who received the franchise tag.

However things wind up playing out with Thomas, the process could serve as a practice run for next offseason. That’s when linebacker Von Miller will be eligible to become a free agent and the Broncos will have to make the same kinds of calculations that they’ve made with Thomas in order to hold onto the second overall pick of the 2011 draft.

If Thomas signs a multi-year deal, Miller can get the franchise tag but no new deal for Thomas would leave the Broncos with two key free agents and one tag after the 2015 season. For now, Miller’s not sweating those scenarios.

“But I just want to play the best I can,” Miller said, via ESPN.com. “Everything takes care of itself if we do good things and I play like I want to for this team … I think guys here worry about winning. The time for all that other stuff is after the season.”

Miller has plenty of company on defense when it comes to playing out the final year of a contract. Defensive linemen Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe, linebackers Danny Trevathan and Stephen Johnson and safety David Bruton are also headed toward free agency in what will likely be another busy offseason in Denver.

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