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Full text of Goodell’s letter to NFLPA regarding Tom Brady appeal

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On Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected the NFLPA’s request that he recuse himself from hearing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal of the four-game suspension the league handed down last month as a result of the investigation into the use of deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game.

The full text of the letter that Goodell sent to the union appears below.

Our Collective Bargaining Agreement provides that “at his discretion,” the Commissioner may serve as hearing officer in “any appeal” involving conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football.  I will exercise that discretion to hear Mr. Brady’s appeal.

I have carefully reviewed the NFLPA’s recusal motion of May 19 as well as Mr. Nash’s response of May 22.  (Neither party requested to be heard on the matter.)  Based on the unambiguous language and structure of the CBA, as well as common sense, I conclude that none of the arguments advanced by the NFLPA has merit.

First, the NFLPA argues that I may not serve as hearing officer because Mr. Brady’s discipline letter was signed by NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent rather than by me.  I disagree.  The identity of the person who signed the disciplinary letter is irrelevant.  The signatory’s identity does not influence in any way my evaluation of the issues; any suggestion to the contrary defies common sense.  (I note that NFL executives other than the Commissioner have signed disciplinary letters in numerous proceedings in which the Commissioner or his designee later served as hearing officer.  I am not aware of any objections by the Union to that practice.  To the contrary, as Mr. Nash’s letter points out, the Union has confirmed its acceptance of this procedure.)

There can be no dispute that this is an appeal of Commissioner discipline:  As the letter signed by Mr. Vincent explains in its first sentence, “The Commissioner has authorized me to inform you of the discipline that, pursuant to his authority under Article 46 of the CBA, has been imposed upon you ….”  I did not delegate my disciplinary authority to Mr. Vincent; I concurred in his recommendation and authorized him to communicate to Mr. Brady the discipline imposed under my authority as Commissioner.

Even if there were a procedural issue raised by the identity of the signatory to a discipline letter that I authorized, no reason or logic — and certainly nothing in the CBA — would support recusal as the remedy.  After all, the CBA provides that “the Commissioner may serve as hearing officer in “any appeal” involving conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game.

Second, the NFLPA argues that recusal is required because it believes that I may be a “necessary” and/or “central” witness in the appeal proceeding.  I have carefully considered this argument and reject its premise.  I am not a necessary or even an appropriate witness, much less a “central witness” as the NFLPA contends.

I do not have any first-hand knowledge of any of the events at issue.  (That fact makes this matter very different from the Rice appeal, in which there was a fundamental dispute over what Mr. Rice told me in a meeting at the league office.)  Nor did I play a role in the investigation that led to Mr. Brady’s discipline.  Furthermore, there is no reasonable basis for dispute — or for any testimony — about authority for the discipline reflected in the letter signed by Mr. Vincent.  The letter itself is clear on this point.  And there is no basis for my testifying about prior instances in which discipline was considered or imposed for similar conduct; if that were the case, the NFLPA could seek my recusal in every conduct detrimental proceeding, directly contrary to our agreement that I have the “discretion” to hear “any” appeal.

Regardless, my knowledge of any underlying facts in this matter would not provide a basis for recusal.  The CBA contemplates such knowledge and expressly provides that the Commissioner may hear and decide “any” appeal of conduct detrimental discipline.

Accordingly, there is no basis upon which I could properly be asked to testify in the appeal proceeding, which under Article 46 of the CBA is designed to afford Mr. Brady an opportunity to bring new or additional facts or circumstances to my attention for consideration.

Third, the NFLPA argues that recusal is required because I have “prejudged” the matter and cannot fairly evaluate the potential testimony of league staff members.  After carefully considering this argument, I reject it.

The process by which discipline is imposed for conduct detrimental, and by which appeals of disciplinary decisions are heard, has been in place for many years and is well known to the parties. That includes the role of league staff in the proceedings and the likelihood that the Commissioner will have some knowledge of the underlying facts.

When the parties agreed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement to continue the provisions confirming the Commissioner’s “discretion” to hear “any” appeal of a player facing discipline for conduct detrimental, they clearly understood (a) that such appeals regularly involve testimony by league staff about the issues and events in dispute and (b) that if the Commissioner has taken some action against the player for conduct detrimental and given him notice of impending discipline, he necessarily would have reached an initial conclusion about the player’s actions.  Nonetheless, the parties’ agreement that the Commissioner may serve as hearing officer in “any appeal” could not be more clear.  Thus, neither of those two factors can serve as a basis for recusal.

Nor have I “prejudged” this appeal. I have publicly expressed my appreciation to Mr. Wells and his colleagues for their thorough and independent work.  But that does not mean that I am wedded to their conclusions or to their assessment of the facts.  Nor does it mean that, after considering the evidence and argument presented during the appeal, I may not reach a different conclusion about Mr. Brady’s conduct or the discipline imposed.  That is true even though the initial discipline decision was reached after extensive discussion and in reliance on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game.  As I have said publicly, I very much look forward to hearing from Mr. Brady and to considering any new information or evidence that he may bring to my attention.  My mind is open; there has been no “prejudgment” and no bias that warrants recusal.

I have considered the cases cited by the NFLPA, MorrisErving, and Hewitt.  I agree with Commissioner Tagliabue’s reasoning in the Bounty proceeding, in which he denied the NFLPA’s motion that he recuse himself.  Those cases are not applicable in an appeal governed by a collective bargaining agreement, especially one that so clearly reflects the parties’ intentions about the Commissioner’s authority, discretion, and role.  As Commissioner Tagliabue stated:  “No change in the Collective Bargaining Agreements between 1977 and the present day has ever abrogated the sole authority of the Commissioner to preside” in appeals involving discipline for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game.  This recusal motion, and others like it, represent nothing more than an effort by the NFLPA to renegotiate Article 46 of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, signed in August 2011.

Because protecting the integrity of the game is the Commissioner’s most important responsibility, I decline to rewrite our Collective Bargaining Agreement to abrogate my authority and “discretion” to hear “any appeal” in a conduct detrimental proceeding.

The motion for recusal is denied. We will proceed with the hearing on June 23, as previously scheduled.

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Kraft: I disagree with Goodell, but I accept it and we won’t appeal

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced today that his team will not fight NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to strip the team of a first-round draft pick, a fourth-round draft pick and $1 million as punishment for Deflategate.

In a long statement at the league meeting, Kraft explained that he thinks it’s in the best interests of the league if the Patriots take their medicine, even if they disagree with Goodell’s decision. Here is Kraft’s statement:

“It’s been an emotionally charged couple of weeks as all of you know, and I’ve been considering what my options are. And throughout this whole process there have been two polarizing audiences. At one end of the spectrum we’ve had Patriots fans throughout the country who have been so supportive and really inspirational to us and believing in us. But, also mindful, at the other end of the spectrum, there are fans who feel just the opposite. And what I’ve learned is the ongoing rhetoric continues to galvanize both camps. And I don’t see that changing, and they will never agree.

“But the one thing that we all can agree upon is the entire process has taken way too long. And I don’t think anyone can believe that after four months of the AFC Championship Game, we are still talking about air pressure and the PSI in footballs. I think I made it clear when the report came out that I didn’t think it was fair. There was no hard evidence, and everything was circumstantial. And at the same time, when the discipline came out, I felt it was way over the top. It was unreasonable and unprecedented, in my opinion.

“So I have two options: I can try to end it, or extend it. And I have given a lot of thought to both options. The first thing that came to mind is 21 years ago, I had the privilege of going to a meeting similar to what we have here, in Orlando, and being welcomed in an NFL owners’ meeting. So here’s a fan and a former season ticket holder, living a dream and being welcomed in that room. And I got goosebumps that day. And I vowed at that time that I would do everything I could do to make the New England Patriots an elite team, and hopefully respected throughout the country and at the same time, do what I could do to help the NFL become the most popular sport in America.

“You know, what I’ve learned over the last two decades is that the heart and soul and strength of the NFL is a partnership of 32 teams. And what’s become very clear over those very two decades is at no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the full 32. So I have a way of looking at problems that are very strong in my mind, and before I make a final decision, I measure nine times and I cut once. And I think maybe if I had made the decision last week it would be different than it is today.

“But believing in the strength of the partnership, and the 32 teams — we have concentrated the power of adjudication of problems in the office of the commissioner. And although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe that he’s doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of the full 32. So in that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. And we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriot fans are going to be disappointed in that decision. But I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL. And I hope you all can respect that.

“You know, I would normally take questions, but my desire is truly not to continue the rhetoric, and so I’m going to leave this discussion exactly here. Thank you very much.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady still plans to appeal his four-game suspension. But Kraft is done fighting.

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After further review, a theory on how #DeflateGate initially unfolded

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The problem with the real-time news cycles is that anyone who presses pause on the generation of content to process information, to gather more information, and to carefully consider the situation fails to serve the audience — and in turn loses money. People want instant analysis; if one content provider isn’t providing it, the people will go to a provider that is.

At PFT, the goal is to provide instant analysis but also to keep an open mind, which means that analysis can be adjusted based on further information and consideration. It’s not easy to balance immediate-term and longer-term thought processes, but it’s necessary — especially when a story is constantly changing and evolving.

A full seven days into the life of the Ted Wells report, I’m ready to set forth a theory as to what happened at the outset of the investigation. The following assertions are opinions based on facts that have been reported and information I have gathered via many phones calls and other communications with league sources.

1. Before January 18, 2015, football air pressure had never been a big deal for the NFL.

Rule 2 of the official NFL playing rules states:  “The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind.” For decades, the 12.5-to-13.5 PSI range had been the prevailing standard. It’s the way it always was, and no one ever gave it much thought.

Despite the intense scientific analysis applied to the air pressures measured at halftime of the AFC title game, the issue of air pressure was not, as former NFL official and former supervisor of officials Jim Daopoulos said on Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, an exact science. Daopoulos added that officials generally didn’t know that footballs lost air pressure in cold weather; thus, even though Rule 2 seems to mandate that the ball “shall be” inflated in the range of 12.5 PSI to 13.5 PSI at all times, many games over the years were played with footballs at significantly lower pressures — especially when officials set the pressures to the lowest end of the range before kickoff.

“The practice has been to for the officials to check the pressure pre-game, then play the game,” a league spokesman told PFT on Tuesday. This means that, consciously or not, the NFL has allowed hundreds of games to be played with footballs having an air pressure that was increasingly less than 12.5 PSI.

2. Teams routinely make complaints to the league office before games, few of which are taken seriously.

Early in the development of this story, the fact that the Colts had alerted the league office to concerns about the Patriots tampering with football air pressure had considerable significance. The league’s receipt of the complaint and failure to act on it before the game created the impression that someone from the NFL had set a trap for the Patriots.

It was a compelling and troubling notion. In lieu of warning the Patriots and reserving the right to spot-check air pressure during the game, the NFL apparently opted to allow the game to proceed with non-complying footballs, in the hopes of catching the Patriots in the act.

The more likely reality is that the NFL simply didn’t take the complaint seriously. The league didn’t take the complaint seriously because teams routinely make complaints about opponents, whether due to paranoia, delusion, or gamesmanship.

The best evidence of the league’s failure to take the complaint seriously comes from referee Walt Anderson’s failure to insist that the footballs be kept out of play after the footballs went missing for the first time in Anderson’s 19 years as an official. If Anderson regarded the complaint as credible, Anderson likely wouldn’t have allowed the game to be played with footballs that may have been deflated during the time that they were beyond his supervision.

3. The Colts weren’t hoping to catch the Patriots cheating.

The Colts chose to share the information with the league the day before the game not to catch the Patriots in the act but, I believe, to ensure that the Patriots would be prevented from tampering with the footballs.  The timing of the complain suggests that the Colts hoped the Patriots would have minimal notice of the change in procedures, and in turn minimal time to adjust to not having the footballs at the preferred pressure. Based on the traditional nonchalance that applied to the filling of footballs with air, the Colts also may have been hoping that the officials would simply put extra air in the footballs for good measure, which would have resulted in the balls being inflated well above quarterback Tom Brady’s preferences.

4. Walt Anderson made a big mistake after losing track of the footballs.

Rule 2 states that “the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.” That didn’t happen prior to the AFC title game; for the first time in Anderson’s 19 years as a game official, he lost the footballs. When he found them, Anderson used them.

He should have required that the alternate balls be used, and he should have ordered that the original balls be taken inside and tested. This would have avoided the use of potentially tainted footballs during the first half, and it would have provided much better evidence regarding whether the air pressures had been deliberately reduced below 12.5 PSI.

5. The game officials and league executives didn’t know about the application of the Ideal Gas Law.

The Wells report explains that, after the Colts made another complaint based on the perceived reduction in air pressure in the football intercepted by linebacker D’Qwell Jackson in the second quarter, two alternate officials (Clete Blakeman and Dyrol Prioleau) tested the pressure in the footballs, with league officials Alberto Riveron and Troy Vincent present. The 11 Patriots footballs were each below the 12.5 PSI minimum; the four Colts footballs tested by the officials were in the vicinity of 12.5 PSI. (It’s unclear whether the men conducting the testing or observing it realized that the Colts’ footballs had a higher initial inflation amount of 13.0 to 13.1 PSI.)

Based on the explanation on Tuesday’s PFT Live from long-time game official and supervisor of officials Jim Daopoulos that officials generally weren’t aware that air pressure shrinks during cold-weather games, the visceral reaction at that moment by the folks in the room quite likely may have been that the Patriots had been caught in the act.

6. The NFL initially made the numbers seem worse than they actually were.

Fueled by PSI measurements that seem low to someone who doesn’t instantly realize that air pressure drops significantly during prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, the league promptly launched an investigation. But NFL executive V.P. Dave Gardi inexplicably told the Patriots in the initial letter explaining the investigation that one of the balls was determined to have a pressure of only 10.1 PSI, even though none of the footballs had a pressure that low.

Then, someone from the league (it surely wasn’t someone from the Patriots) leaked to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that 11 of the 12 balls were a full two pounds below the 12.5 PSI minimum. The measurements reveal that this information was false.

The false information leaked to Mortensen gave the story more traction and a higher degree of significance. It also placed the Patriots on the defensive without the Patriots knowing the specific PSI measurements against which they were defending. If true and accurate information had been leaked to the media or given to the Patriots, coach Bill Belichick’s notorious Mona Lisa Vito press conference would have been far more persuasive, because the data from one of the two significantly conflicting gauges used to determine the air pressure generated measurements in line with the expected loss in pressure during 90 minutes in the elements of a January day in Foxboro.

Think of how different the narrative would have been if, in the early days of the scandal, the prevailing information from one of the largest sports-media outlets in America had been not that 10 of the 12 balls were two pounds under the minimum but that all 12 balls (including the one that had been intercepted by Jackson) tested within the range consistent with the application of the Ideal Gas Law.

Also, think of how different the narrative would have been if, in the early days of the scandal, the league had acknowledged that the officials used two different gauges with dramatically different readings generated.

It’s impossible to know exactly what happened within the confines of the Ted Wells ensuing investigation without having access to the raw transcripts of interviews and the full range of text messages. For now, though, it’s clear that this investigation proceeded aggressively despite a history of less-than-zealous attention to air pressure, an apparent lack of immediate understanding regarding the Ideal Gas Law, and a non-accidental attempt to make the tampering seem more obvious than the facts suggest it was. And that makes it hard not to wonder what other flaws may be lurking within the 243-page report and the underlying evidence on which it was based.

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NFL statement on Deflategate discipline

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The New England Patriots were notified today of the following discipline that has been imposed for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game of this past season:

For the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will forfeit the club’s first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Patriots have more than one selection in either of these rounds, the earlier selection shall be forfeited. The club may not trade or otherwise encumber these selections.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft advised Commissioner Roger Goodell last week that Patriots employees John Jastremski and James McNally have been indefinitely suspended without pay by the club, effective on May 6th. Neither of these individuals may be reinstated without the prior approval of NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. If they are reinstated by the Patriots, Jastremski is prohibited from having any role in the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs to be used in NFL games during the 2015 season. McNally is barred from serving as a locker room attendant for the game officials, or having any involvement with the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs or any other equipment on game day.

Quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL. Brady may participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.

Commissioner Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, pursuant to the commissioner’s disciplinary authority under the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.

“We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report.”

Following are excerpts from Troy Vincent’s letters to the Patriots and Tom Brady:

From Troy Vincent’s letter to the Patriots:
“On May 6th, independent investigator Ted Wells issued his report regarding the footballs used by the Patriots in this year’s AFC Championship Game. That report established that the footballs used by the Patriots were inflated at a level that did not satisfy the standard set forth in the NFL’s Official Playing Rules and that the condition of the footballs was the result of deliberate actions by employees of the Patriots. The activities of the Patriots’ employees were thoroughly documented in the report, including through a series of text messages and telephone communications, as well as evidence of a breach in pre-game protocol. In addition, the conclusions were supported by extensive scientific analysis, as detailed in the report.

“Based on the extensive record developed in the investigation and detailed in the Wells report, and after full consideration of this matter by the Commissioner and the Football Operations department, we have determined that the Patriots have violated the NFL’s Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules, as well as the Official Playing Rules and the established guidelines for the preparation of game footballs set forth in the NFL’s Game Operations Policy Manual for Member Clubs. In making this determination, we have accepted the findings contained in the comprehensive report independently prepared by Mr. Wells and his colleagues.

“In determining that a violation occurred, we applied the standard of proof stated in the Integrity of the Game Policy: namely, preponderance of the evidence, meaning that ‘as a whole, the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not.’ This is a well-recognized legal standard, which is applied in courts and workplaces every day throughout the country. The evidence gathered during the investigation and reviewed in the report more than satisfy this standard and demonstrate an ongoing plan by at least certain Patriots’ employees to deflate footballs, to do so in a secretive manner after the game officials have certified the footballs as suitable for play, and to hide these activities even from their own supervisors.

“As you know, we regard violations of competitive rules as significant and deserving of a strong sanction, both to punish the actual violation and to deter misconduct in the future. In this case, the footballs were intentionally deflated in an effort to provide a competitive advantage to Tom Brady after having been certified by the game officials as being in compliance with the playing rules. While we cannot be certain when the activity began, the evidence suggests that January 18th was not the first and only occasion when this occurred, particularly in light of the evidence referring to deflation of footballs going back to before the beginning of the 2014 season.

“It is impossible to determine whether this activity had an effect on the outcome of games or what that effect was. There seems little question that the outcome of the AFC Championship Game was not affected. But this has never been a significant factor in assessing discipline. There are many factors which affect the outcome of a game. It is an inherently speculative exercise to try to assign specific weight to any one factor. The key consideration in any case like this is that the playing rules exist for a reason, and all clubs are entitled to expect that the playing rules will be followed by participating teams. Violations that diminish the league’s reputation for integrity and fair play cannot be excused simply because the precise impact on the final score cannot be determined.

“Here, there are several factors that merit strong consideration in assessing discipline. The first is the club’s prior record. In 2007 the club and several individuals were sanctioned for videotaping signals of opposing defensive coaches in violation of the Constitution and Bylaws. Under the Integrity of the Game Policy, this prior violation of competitive rules was properly considered in determining the discipline in this case.

“Another important consideration identified in the Policy is ‘the extent to which the club and relevant individuals cooperated with the investigation.’ The Wells report identifies two significant failures in this respect. The first involves the refusal by the club’s attorneys to make Mr. McNally available for an additional interview, despite numerous requests by Mr. Wells and a cautionary note in writing of the club’s obligation to cooperate in the investigation. The second was the failure of Tom Brady to produce any electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information. Although we do not hold the club directly responsible for Mr. Brady’s refusal to cooperate, it remains significant that the quarterback of the team failed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

“Finally, it is significant that key witnesses – Mr. Brady, Mr. Jastremski, and Mr. McNally – were not fully candid during the investigation.

“In accepting the findings of the report, we note that the report identified no evidence of wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of any member of the coaching staff, including Head Coach Bill Belichick, or by any Patriots’ staff member other than Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally, including head equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld. Similarly, the Wells report is clear that Patriots ownership and executives did not participate in any way in the misconduct, or have knowledge of the misconduct.

“Nonetheless, it remains a fundamental principle that the club is responsible for the actions of club employees. This principle has been applied to many prior cases. Thus, while no discipline should or will be imposed personally on any owner or executive at the Patriots, discipline is appropriately imposed on the club.”

From Troy Vincent’s letter to Tom Brady:

“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge. Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.

“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question.”

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Statement from Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Wells report

New England Patriots v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

The Patriots released the following statement from owner Robert Kraft regarding Ted Wells’ investigation and report stemming from alleged football deflation in the 2014 AFC Championship game. Here is the full text of his remarks:

“When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 – over 14 weeks ago – I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation. That sentiment has not changed.

“I was convinced that Ted Wells’ investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.

“What is not highlighted in the text of the report is that three of the Colts’ four footballs measured by at least one official were under the required psi level. As far as we are aware, there is no comparable data available from any other game because, in the history of the NFL, psi levels of footballs have never been measured at halftime, in any climate. If they had been, based on what we now know, it is safe to assume that every cold-weather game was played with under inflated footballs. As compelling a case as the Wells Report may try to make, I am going to rely on the factual evidence of numerous scientists and engineers rather than inferences from circumstantial evidence.

“Throughout the process of this nearly four-month investigation, we have cooperated and patiently awaited its outcome. To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship game, would be a gross understatement. In addition, given our level of cooperation throughout the process, I was offended by the comments made in the Wells Report in reference to not making an individual available for a follow-up interview. What the report fails to mention is that he had already been interviewed four times and we felt the fifth request for access was excessive for a part-time game day employee who has a full-time job with another employer.

“While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me. Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.”

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2015 undrafted free agents by team

2015 NFL Scouting Combine Getty Images

The following undrafted rookie free agents have signed with or agreed to deals with clubs. All signees were announced by clubs:


Buffalo Bills: Illinois State tackle Jermaine Barton, Florida tight end Clay Burton, N.C. State tackle Tyson Chandler, South Florida wide receiver Andre Davis, Louisiana-Lafayette defensive tackle Justin Hamilton, Washington linebacker Andrew Hudson, Utah State defensive end B.J. Larsen, Wake Forest cornerback Merrill Noel, Baylor punter Spencer Roth, Stanford linebacker Stanford A.J. Tarpley, Western Kentucky cornerback Cam Thomas, Bethune-Cookman defensive end Erik Williams.

Miami Dolphins: Arizona offensive lineman Mickey Baucus, Tennessee punter Matt Darr, Georgia defensive end Ray Drew, RPI placekicker Andrew Franks, Penn State linebacker Mike Hull, Alabama wide receiver Christion Jones, Kansas wide receiver Nigel King, Illinois State offensive lineman Michael Liedtke, Cincinnati linebacker Jeff Luc, UCLA defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, Bowling Green defensive end Kendall Montgomery, Oklahoma offensive lineman Dionte Savage, Utah State linebacker Zach Vigil, USC offensive lineman Aundrey Walker.

New England Patriots: Georgia center David Andrews, Michigan wide receiver Devin Gardner, California wide receiver Chris Harper, UAB defensive back Jimmy Jean, Auburn defensive back Brandon King, Ball State defensive back Eric Patterson, Vanderbilt defensive lineman Brandon Taylor.

New York Jets: Penn State defensive end Deion Barnes, Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge, Clarion linebacker Julian Howsare, Michigan State linebacker Taiwan Jones, Florida International safety Demarkus Perkins, South Alabama tight end Wes Saxton, Lincoln defensive lineman Davon Walls, Tennessee defensive end Jordan Williams.


Baltimore Ravens: Colorado State-Pueblo linebacker Darius Allen, Ohio State tackle Darryl Baldwin, Michigan linebacker Brennen Beyer, Cal State-Sacramento wide receiver DeAndre Carter, Mississippi State tackle Blaine Clausell, Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest, Harvard tackle Nick Easton, Rutgers guard Kaleb Johnson, Prairie View A&M quarterback Jerry Lovelocke, LSU running back Terrence Magee, Louisiana-Monroe punter Justin Manton, Alabama safety Nick Perry, BYU tackle De’Ondre Wesley, Oklahoma cornerback Julian Wilson, East Carolina wide receiver Cam Worthy.

Cincinnati Bengals: Oregon cornerback Troy Hill, Marshall offensive lineman Chris Jasperse, Wisconsin-Whitewater wide receiver Jake Kumerow, Eastern Kentucky tight end Matt Lengel, Concordia-St. Paul kicker Tom Obarski, Texas A&M safety Floyd Raven Sr., Nebraska linebacker Trevor Roach, Louisville center Jake Smith, Azusa Pacific running back Terrell Watson, Iowa fullback Mark Weisman, Clemson defensive tackle DeShawn Williams.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Texas A&M tight end Cameron Clear, Saint Augustine’s defensive tackle Nigel Crawford-Kinney, Liberty defensive end Dominique Davis, Penn State offensive guard Miles Dieffenbach, Auburn offensive guard Reese Dismukes, Kansas State center B.J. Finney, Boston College wide receiver Tyler Murphy, Illinois State defensive end Brandon Pate, Indiana offensive guard Colin Rahrig, Louisville wide receiver Eli Rogers, Lafayette running back Ross Scheuerman and Utah State offensive tackle Kevin Whimpey.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Miami (Fla.) linebacker Thurston Armbrister, Syracuse defensive tackle Eric Crume, Auburn running back Corey Grant, Oregon State tight end Connor Hamlett, Auburn cornerback Nick Marshall, Minnesota-Mankato offensive guard Chris Reed, Maryland linebacker Matt Robinson, Pittsburgh linebacker Todd Thomas, Kansas State quarterback Jake Walters,

Indianapolis Colts: Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Bryan Bennett, Auburn wide receiver Quan Bray, Western Michigan cornerback Donald Celiscar, San Diego State linebacker Cody Galea, Cincinnati linebacker Terrell Hartsfield, Harvard linebacker Zachary Hodges, Nebraska cornerback Joshua Mitchell, San Diego State wide receiver Ezell Ruffin, West Chester cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz, Massachusetts tight end Jean Sifrin, Purdue tight end Justin Sinz, Clemson safety Robert Smith, Toledo linebacker Junior Sylvestre, Yale running back Tyler Varga, Northwestern center Brandon Vitabile.


Denver Broncos: Nebraska linebacker Zaire Anderson, Clemson center Kalon Davis, Mississippi State center Dillon Day, Boise State wide receiver Matt Miller, Oklahoma defensive tackle Chuka Ndulue, Wyoming offensive tackle Connor Rains, Nevada offensive tackle Kyle Roberts, Rice wide receiver Jordan Taylor, Clemson defensive lineman Josh Watson.

Oakland Raiders: BYU cornerback Rob Daniel, South Florida offensive lineman Quinterrius Eatmon, Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo, Utah linebacker Jacoby Hale, Northwester safety Jimmy Hall, Fresno State wide receiver Josh Harper, Purdue tight end Gabe Holmes, Stephen F. Austin running back Gus Johnson, Eastern Washington safety Tevin McDonald, Arkansas linebacker Braylon Mitchell, Florida defensive tackle Leon Orr, Louisiana Tech safety Terrell Pinson, UNLV linebacker Josh Shirley and Delaware State wide receiver Milton Williams.

San Diego Chargers: Northwestern outside linebacker Ikechi Ariguzo, Boston College cornerback Manuel Asprilla, Mississippi State offensive guard Ben Beckwth, Minnesota defensive end Cameron Botticelli, Cincinnati offensive tackle Tyreek Burwell, Western Kentucky offensive tackle Cameron Clemmons, Central Michigan wide receiver Titus Davis, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo linebacker Nick Dzubnar, Ball State tailback Jahwan Edwards, Marshall tight end Eric Frohnapel, Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant, Nevada outside linebacker Brock Hekking, Sacred Heart defensive back Gordon Hill, Texas A&M placekicker Josh Lembo, Iowa safety Johnny Lowdermilk, Kansas State linebacker/fullback Ryan Mueller, Albany tight end Brian Parker, West Virginia tailback Dreamius Smith, Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt, Western Oregon wide receiver Tyrell Williams, Arkansas wide receiver Demetrious Wilson.


New York Giants: Western Michigan safety Justin Currie, Tulane offensive tackle Sean Donnelly, Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand, Cincinnati defensive end Brad Harrah, Purdue running back Akeem Hunt, Illinois tight end Matt LaCosse.

Philadelphia Eagles: Delaware Valley wide receiver Rasheed Bailey, UNLV offensive guard Brett Boyko, UCLA offensive guard Malcom Bunche, New Hampshire center Mike Coccia, UNLV wide receiver Devante Davis, Duke linebacker Jordan Dewalt-Ondijo, Michigan State tight end Andrew Gleichert, Texas wide receiver John Harris, Nebraska-Kearney offensive guard Cole Manhart, Purdue running back Raheem Mostert, San Jose State defensive end Travis Raciti, Coastal Carolina defensive back Denzel Rice, Oklahoma State punter Kip Smith, UTEP tight end Eric Tomlinson, UCF tight end Justin Tukes.

Washington: San Diego wide receiver Reggie Bell, Arkansas offensive line Brey Cook, Clemson defensive end Corey Crawford, Syracuse linebacker Dyshawn Davis, Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, Northwestern wide receiver Tony Jones, UAB placekicker Ty Long, BYU tight end Devin Mahina, Central Florida linebacker Terrance Plummer, Dubuque wide receiver Tyler Rutenbeck and Texas A&M running back Trey Williams.


Chicago Bears: TCU LB Jonathan Anderson, Rice CB Bryce Callahan, East Carolina QB Shane Carden, East Central CB Qumain Black, Toledo PK Jeremiah Detmer, Central Florida CB Jacoby Glenn, Coastal Carolina OG Chad Hamilton, UCLA S Anthony Jefferson, Arkansas OT Cameron Jefferson, Old Dominion LS Rick Lovato, Illinois State WR Cameron Meredith, Baylor WR Levi Norwood, Miami (Fla.) DE Olsen Pierre, Washington LB John Timu, Alabama TE Brian Vogler.

Green Bay Packers: Louisiana-Lafayette running back Alonzo Harris, Colorado State cornerback Bernard Blake, Miami cornerback Ladarius Gunter, Stanford linebacker James Vaughers, LSU linebacker Jermauria Rasco, Bethune-Cookman linebacker Tavarus Dantzler, Pittsburgh offensive lineman Matt Rotherham, Arizona offensive lineman Fabbians Ebbele, Fayetteville State offensive lineman Marcus Reed, Western Kentucky tight end Mitchell Henry, Mississippi defensive tackle Lavon Hooks, Kentucky wide receiver Javess Blue, Stony Brook wide receiver Adrian Coxson, Missouri wide receiver Jimmy Hunt, Texas A&M-Commerce wide receiver Larry Pinkard, Old Dominion wide receiver Larry Pinkard, North Dakota tailback John Crockett.


Atlanta Falcons: North Texas linebacker Derek Akunne, Tarleton State defensive tackle Chris Brown, Central Oklahoma wide receiver Marquez Clark, Azusa Pacific offensive lineman Cody Clay, Louisville safety Terell Floyd, Northern Arizona tight end Beau Gardner, Wisconsin defensive tackle Warren Herring, Fort Valley State cornerback Mike Lee, Cincinnati offensive tackle Eric Lefeld, Oregon linebacker Derrick Malone, Houston defensive tackle Joey Mbu, Central Florida cornerback Jordan Ozerities, Florida Atlantic safety Damian Parms, Ottawa University wide receiver Joshua Stangby, Auburn safety Robenson Therezie, New Mexico State center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, Oregon State tailback Terron Ward, Texas Central cornerback Kevin White and Indiana wide receiver Shane Wynn.

New Orleans Saints: Clemson defensive lineman Tavaris Barnes, Mississippi State defensive lineman Kaleb Eulls, Notre Dame College guard Doniel Gambrell, New Hampshire wide receiver R.J. Harris, Syracuse tackle Sean Hickey, Texas A&M wide receiver Malcome Kennedy, North Texas guard Cyril Lemon, Texas-San Antonio defensive lineman Ashaad Mabry, West Texas A&M linebacker Marcus Pierce-Brewster, Indiana defensive lineman Bobby Richardson, SMU linebacker Stephon Sanders, New Hampshire tight end Harold Spears, North Carolina tight end Jack Tabb.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Iowa linebacker Quinton Alston, Louisville running back Dominique Brown, Idaho defensive tackle Quayshawne Buckley, Brown long snapper Courtland Clavette, Towson defensive end Ryan Delaire, Texas A&M cornerback Deshazor Everett, TCU safety Chris Hackett, UCF wide receiver Rannell Hall, Boston College linebacker Josh Keyes, Tusculum defensive tackle Caushaud Lyons, UCF wide receiver Josh Reese, Kansas linebacker Michael Reynolds and Jones County Junior College defensive end Jamal Young.


Arizona Cardinals: Adams State cornerback Cariel Brooks, N.C. State tackle Rob Crisp, BYU linebacker Alani Fua, Shippensburg wide receiver Trevor Harman, Georgia Southern linebacker Edwin Jackson, Florida Atlantic linebacker Andrae Kirk, BYU running back Paul Lasike, Bowling Green linebacker Gabe Martin, Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell, Colorado State-Pueblo cornerback C.J. Roberts, Texas wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, Missouri State tight end Gannon Sinclair, Montana linebacker Zack Wagenmann, Northern Iowa nose tackle Xavier Williams.

St. Louis Rams: Texas tailback Malcolm Brown, Northwestern State defensive back Imoan Claiborne, Arkansas Pine-Bluff wide receiver Isiah Ferguson, Texas State tailback Terrence Franks, South Alabama defensive back Montell Garner, Liberty defensive back Jacob Hagen, Mississippi State defensive back Jay Hughes, Georgia Tech fullback Zach Laskey, Northwestern Missouri State defensive lineman Matt Longacre, Syracuse linebacker Cameron Lynch, Bacone linebacker Keshaun Malone, Texas Tech wide receiver Bradley Marquez, New Mexico Highlands wide receiver Tyler Slavin, Iowa defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat, South Florida offensive lineman Darrell Williams.

San Francisco 49ers: Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson (Utah), Duke wide receiver Isaac Blakeney (Duke), Washington wide receiver DiAndre Campbell (Washington), Henderson State wide receiver Darius Davis, Auburn offensive lineman Patrick Miller, Michigan State defensive lineman Marcus Rush, South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson, Alabama wide receiver DeAndrew White.

Seattle Seahawks: Texas long snapper Nate Boyer, Idaho tackle Jesse Davis, Arizona wide receiver Austin Hill, Norfolk State safety Keenan Lambert, LSU safety Ronald Martin, Georgia Tech linebacker Quayshawn Nealy, Central Michigan running back Thomas Rawls, Auburn cornerback Trovon Reed, West Georgia defensive end Tory Slater, dismissed former Ohio State running back Rod Smith and UT-San Antonio safety Triston Wade.

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Fifth-year options picked up for 20 of 32 first-round picks

Trent Richardson AP

Of the 32 players chosen in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, 20 got their fifth-year options picked up.

Today was the deadline for NFL teams to decide whether to pick up those fifth-year options, and for the second consecutive year most teams decided to pick the option up. Last year (the first time teams were faced with fifth-year options under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement) 21 fifth-year options were picked up.

Seven players had their fifth-year options declined: Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, Rams safety Mark Barron, Seahawks pass rusher Bruce Irvin, Bears linebacker Shea McClellin, Texans pass rusher Whitney Mercilus, Packers linebacker Nick Perry and Buccaneers running back Doug Martin.

Three first-round draft picks from 2012 have no fifth-year options to pick up because they’ve already been cut: Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and A.J. Jenkins.

And two other first-round draft picks from 2012 have no fifth-year options: Giants running back David Wilson retired after suffering a neck injury, while Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon’s contract has been placed on hold while he’s suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

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2015 NFL Draft Trades

Melvin Gordon AP

The following trades were made during the 2015 NFL Draft. Trade terms were furnished by and cited from the league:


San Diego Trades: Selection Choices: Round 1, 2015 (17), Round 4, 2015 (117), Round 5, 2016.

San Francisco Trades: Selection Choice: Round 1, 2015 (15).

Chargers selected Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon at No. 15.

49ers selected defensive lineman Arik Armstead at No. 17 and Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell at No. 117.

Denver Trades: Selection Choices: Round 1, 2015 (28), Round 5, 2015 (143) from Chicago, Round 5, 2016, center/guard Manny Ramirez.

Detroit Trades: Selection Choice: Round 1, 2015 (23).

Broncos selected Missouri defensive end Shane Ray at No. 23.

Lions selected Duke offensive guard Laken Tomlinson at No. 28. Pick No. 143 was traded to Minnesota.


New York Giants Trade: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (40), Round 4, 2015 (108), Round 7, 2015 (245) from Denver.

Tennessee Trades: Selection Choice: Round 2, 2015 (33).

Giants selected Alabama S Landon Collins at No. 33.

Titans selected Missouri wide receiver Dorian Green-Beckham at No. 40, Alabama fullback Jalston Fowler at No. 108 and William and Mary wide receiver Tre McBride at No. 245.

Carolina Trades: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (57), Round 3, 2015 (89), Round 6, 2015 (201).

St. Louis Trades: Selection Choice: Round 2, 2015 (41).

Panthers selected Michigan tight end/wide receiver Devin Funchess at No. 41.

Rams selected Wisconsin offensive tackle Rob Havenstein at No. 57, Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion at No. 89 and Missouri wide receiver Bud Sasser at No. 201.

Cleveland Trades: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (43), Round 7, 2015 (229).

Houston Trades: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (51), Round 4, 2015 (116), Round 6, 2015 (195).

Texans selected Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney at No. 43. Pick No. 229 was traded to the Jets.

Browns selected Utah defensive end Nate Orchard at No. 51 and Mississippi State tight end Malcolm Johnson at No. 195. Pick No. 116 was traded to Arizona.

Miami Trades: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (47), Round 6, 2015 (191).

Philadelphia Trades: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (52), Round 5, 2015 (145) from St. Louis, Round 5, 2015 (156).

Eagles selected Utah cornerback Eric Rowe at No. 47 and Kansas cornerback JaCorey Shepherd at No. 191.

Dolphins selected Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips at No. 52, Memphis cornerback Bobby McCain at No. 145 and Michigan State wide receiver Tony Lippett at No. 156.

Arizona Trades: Selection Choice: Round 2, 2015 (55).

Baltimore Trades: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (58), Round 5, 2015 (158) from Detroit.

Ravens selected Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams at No. 55.

Cardinals selected Missouri defensive end Markus Golden at No. 58 and West Virginia defensive end Shaquille Riddick at No. 158.

Indianapolis Trades: Selection Choices: Round 2, 2015 (61), Round 4, 2015 (128).

Tampa Bay Trades: Selection Choices: Round 3, 2015 (65), Round 4, 2015 (109) from St. Louis.

Buccaneers selected Hobart and William Smith center Ali Marpet at No. 61. Pick No. 128 was traded to Oakland.

Colts selected Florida Atlantic cornerback D’Joun Smith at No. 65 and Central Florida safety Clayton Geathers at No. 109.


Seattle Trades: Selection Choices: Round 3, 2015 (95), Round 4, 2015 (112) from New Orleans, Round 5, 2015 (167), Round 6, 2015 (181) from New York Jets.

Washington Trades: Selection Choice: Round 3, 2015 (69).

Seahawks selected Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett at No. 69.

Washington selected Florida running back Matt Jones at No. 95, Alabama offensive guard Arie Kouandjio at No. 112 and Virginia Tech safety Kyshoen Jarrett at No. 181. Pick No. 167 was traded to the Saints.

Houston Trades: Selection Choices: Round 3, 2015 (82), Round 5, 2015 (152), Round 7, 2015 (229) from Cleveland, wide receiver DeVier Posey.

New York Jets Trade: Selection Choice: Round 3, 2015 (70).

Texans selected Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong at No. 70.

Jets selected Louisville linebacker Lorenzo Maudlin at No. 82 and Texas A&M offensive guard Jarvis Harrison at No. 152. Pick No. 229 was traded to Jacksonville.

Kansas City Trades: Selection Choices: Round 3, 2015 (80), Round 6, 2015 (193).

Minnesota Trades: Selection Choice: Round 3, 2015 (76).

Chiefs selected Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley at No. 76.

Vikings selected Louisville defensive end B.J. Dubose at No. 193. Pick No. 80 was traded to Detroit.

Detroit Trades: Selection Choices: Round 3, 2015 (88), Round 5, 2015 (143) from Chicago.

Minnesota Trades: Selection Choice: Round 3, 2015 (80) from Kansas City.

Lions selected Stanford cornerback Alex Hunter at No. 80.

Vikings selected LSU DE Danielle Hunter at No. 88 and Southern Illinois tight end MyCole Pruitt at No. 143.

Cleveland Trades: Selection Choices: Round 4, 2015 (111), Round 5, 2015 (147), Round 6, 2015 (202) from Baltimore.

New England Trades: Selection Choices: Round 3, 2015 (96), Round 7, 2015 (219) from Tennessee.

Browns selected Washington State defensive tackle Xavier Cooper at No. 96 and USC linebacker Hayes Pullard at No. 216.

Patriots selected Florida State offensive guard Tre’ Jackson at No. 111 and Arkansas tight end A.J. Derby at No. 202. Pick No. 147 was traded to Green Bay.


Carolina Trades: Selection Choices: Round 4, 2015 (124), Round 5, 2015 (161), Round 7, 2015 (242).

Oakland Trades: Selection Choice: Round 4, 2015 (102).

Panthers selected Oklahoma offensive guard Daryl Williams at No. 102.

Raiders selected Florida linebacker Neiron Ball at No. 161 and Kansas cornerback Dexter McDonald at No. 242. Pick No. 124 was traded to Tampa Bay.

Jacksonville Trades: Selection Choice: Round 4, 2015 (103).

New York Jets Trade: Selection Choices: Round 4, 2015 (104), Round 7, 2015 (229) from Cleveland.

Jets selected Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty at No. 103.

Jaguars selected Louisville safety James Sample at No. 104 and Notre Dame tight end Ben Koyack at No. 229.

Detroit Trades: Selection Choice: Round 3, 2016.

Philadelphia Trades: Selection Choice: Round 4, 2015 (113) from San Francisco.

Lions selected Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright at No. 113.

Arizona Trades: Selection Choices: Round 4, 2015 (123), Round 6, 2015 (198), Round 7, 2015 (241).

Cleveland Trades: Selection Choice: Round 4, 2015 (116) from Houston.

Cardinals selected Delaware State defensive tackle Rodney Gunter at No. 116.

Browns selected Washington State wide receiver Vince Mayle at No. 123, USC tight end Randall Telfer at No. 198 and Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomus at No. 241.

Oakland Trades: Selection Choice: Round 4, 2015 (124).

Tampa Bay Trades: Selection Choices: Round 4, 2015 (128) from Indianapolis, Round 7, 2015 (218).

Buccaneers linebacker LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander at No. 124.

Raiders selected Miami (Fla.) offensive guard Jon Feliciano at No. 128 and Tennessee State offensive lineman Anthony Morris at No. 218.


Atlanta Trades: Selection Choices: Round 5, 2015 (146), Round 6, 2015 (185).

Minnesota Trades: Selection Choice: Round 5, 2015 (137) from Tampa Bay.

Falcons selected Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett at No. 137.

Vikings selected Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs at No. 146 and Oklahoma offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson at No. 185.

Green Bay Trades: Selection Choices: Round 5, 2015 (166), Round 7, 2015 (247).

New England Trades: Selection Choice: Round 5, 2015 (147) from Cleveland.

Packers selected UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley at No. 147.

Patriots selected Navy long snapper Joe Cardona at No. 166 and Marshall cornerback Darryl Roberts at No. 247.

Indianapolis Trades: Selection Choices: Round 5, 2015 (165), Round 7, 2015 (244) from Dallas.

San Francisco Trades: Selection Choice: Round 5, 2015 (151).

Colts selected Stanford nose tackle David Parry at No. 151.

49ers selected Clemson punter Bradley Pinion at No. 165 and Florida offensive guard Trenton Brown at 244.


New Orleans Trades: Selection Choices: Round 6, 2015 (187), Round 6, 2016.

Washington Trades: Selection Choice: Round 5, 2015 (167) from Seattle.

Saints selected Georgia cornerback Damian Swann at No. 167.

Washington selected Ohio State wide receiver Evan Spencer at No. 187.


New York Jets Trade: Selection Choice: Round 7, 2015 (224) from Chicago.

St. Louis Trades: Running back Zac Stacy.

Rams selected Baylor linebacker Bryce Hager at No. 224.

Dallas Trades: Selection Choice: Round 6, 2016.

San Francisco Trades: Selection Choice: Round 7, 2015 (246) from Indianapolis.

Cowboys selected Texas tight end Geoff Swaim at No. 246.

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The final PFT mock draft

Draft AP

We’ve been tinkering with a final mock draft since Sunday night.  It’s a process that has entailed more and more tinkering as more and more 11th-hour information emerges on guys that causes guys like Shane Ray to fall, guys like La’El Collins to slide out of round one (and perhaps the next six, too), and teams like the Eagles to do whatever it takes to reunite quarterback with coach.

So here it is.  Second and final version.

Read it, critique it, bash it, trash it.  At this point, we just want to get the draft started.

1.  Buccaneers:  QB Jameis Winston, Florida State.

2.  Eagles (from Titans):  QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon.

3.  Jaguars: LB Dante Fowler Jr., Florida.

4.  Raiders:  WR Amari Cooper, Alabama.

5.  Washington:  DT Leonard Williams, USC.

6.  Jets:  WR Kevin White, West Virginia.

7.  Bears:  LB Vic Beasley, Clemson.

8.  Falcons:  LB Bud Dupree, Kentucky.

9.  Giants:  OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa.

10.  Rams:  OT Ereck Flowers, Miami.

11.  Vikings:  WR DeVante Parker, Louisville.

12.  Titans (from Eagles through Browns):  WR Breshad Perriman, UCF.

13.  Saints:  DT Malcom Brown, Texas.

14.  Dolphins:  RB Todd Gurley, Georgia.

15.  49ers:  CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest.

16.  Texans:  WR Nelson Agholor, USC.

17.  Chargers:  OT D.J. Humphries, Florida.

18.  Chiefs:  OL Cameron Erving, Florida State.

19.  Browns:  DT Danny Shelton, Washington.

20.  Titans (from Eagles):  DT Arik Armstead, Oregon.

21.  Bengals:  OT Andrus Peat, Stanford.

22.  Steelers:  CB Byron Jones, Connecticut.

23.  Lions:  CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State.

24.  Cardinals:  DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska.

25.  Panthers:  OT T.J. Clemmings, Pitt.

26.  Ravens:  DE Mario Edwards, Florida State.

27.  Cowboys:  S Damarious Randall, Arizona State.

28.  Broncos:  LB Eli Harold, Virginia.

29.  Colts:  S Landon Collins, Alabama.

30.  Packers:  LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA.

31.  Saints:  WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma.

32.  Patriots:  LB Shane Ray, Missouri.

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Draft trades still follow the chart

jimmy_johnson_424_370x278 Getty Images

The old draft trade chart popularized by Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys has been around so long that it feels like it must have grown obsolete. Surprisingly, it hasn’t.

A look at the trades from last year’s draft shows that teams still more or less follow the chart to determine what constitutes a fair trade. The trade chart assigns point values for every pick, and gives teams a general idea about whether they’re getting a good deal if they make a particular trade. For instance, the 16th pick is worth 1,000 points, the 26th pick is worth 700 points and the 60th pick is worth 300 points. So if a trade swapped No. 16 for No. 26 and No. 60, that would be a fair deal for both sides. If you believe the chart.

And teams do believe the chart. On the first day of the 2014 NFL draft, there were four trades involving only 2014 picks, and all four of them more or less followed the chart:

Minnesota sent No. 8 (1,400 points) to Cleveland for No. 9 (1,350 points) and No. 145 (33.5 points).

Arizona sent No. 20 (850 points) to New Orleans for No. 27 (680 points) and No. 91 (136 points).

Philadelphia sent No. 22 (780 points) to Cleveland for No. 26 (700 points) and No. 83 (175 points).

Seattle sent No. 32 (590 points) to Minnesota for No. 40 (500 points) and No. 108 (78 points).

Draft trades rarely result in exactly equal swaps of points because two teams looking to trade rarely have the picks that would add up to an exactly equal trade. But they’re usually pretty close.

What does that mean for this year? Here’s about what it would take for a few different teams to trade up to the No. 2 pick (2,600 points) and get Marcus Mariota:

The Browns have the ammunition if they want to do it. Cleveland could package No. 12 (1,200 points), No. 19 (875 points), No. 43 (470 points) and No. 77 (205 points) for a total of 2,750 points. That’s a deal the Titans would have a very hard time turning down.

The Jets would have to trade their entire draft and it still wouldn’t add up: The Jets’ picks are No. 6 (1,600 points), No. 37 (530 points), No. 70 (240 points) No. 104 (86 points) No. 223 (2.3 points) and No. 224 (2 points). That adds up to 2,460 points, which isn’t enough for the No. 2 pick to be a fair trade for the Titans. The Jets would have to trade not just this year’s first-round pick but also next year’s first-round pick for the Titans to bite.

The Eagles can’t even come close. Philadelphia’s entire draft adds up to about 1,544 points: The Eagles own No. 20 (850 points), No. 52 (380 points), No. 84 (170 points), No. 113 (68 points), No. 145 (33.5 points), No. 156 (29 points) and No. 196 (13 points) and No. 237 (a fraction of a point). If the Eagles are moving up to get Mariota, they’ll have to give up players or future draft picks, because this year’s picks won’t cut it.

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32 former players scheduled to announce second-round picks

Jim Kelly, Kim Pegula AP

For the fifth straight year, the NFL will have former NFL players announce second-round picks during the draft and they announced the list of participants on Thursday.

All 32 teams are currently scheduled to make a selection in the second round, but it seems inevitable that some of these players will be delayed until the third round by trades once the draft is underway.

Arizona Cardinals: Safety Adrian Wilson

Atlanta Falcons: Center Todd McClure

Baltimore Ravens: Cornerback Duane Starks

Buffalo Bills: Quarterback Jim Kelly

Carolina Panthers: Safety Pat Terrell

Chicago Bears: Linebacker Dick Butkus

Cincinnati Bengals: Running back Ickey Woods

Cleveland Browns: Cornerback Hanford Dixon

Dallas Cowboys: Safety Darren Woodson

Denver Broncos: Wide receiver Rick Upchurch

Detroit Lions: Linebacker Chris Spielman

Green Bay Packers: Wide receiver Donald Driver

Houston Texans: Safety Eric Brown

Indianapolis Colts: Wide receiver Bill Brooks

Jacksonville Jaguars: Fullback Greg Jones

Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback Gary Green

Miami Dolphins: Center Dwight Stephenson

Minnesota Vikings: Linebacker E.J. Henderson

New England Patriots: Cornerback Ty Law

New Orleans Saints: Tackle Jon Stinchcomb

New York Giants: Safety Shaun Williams

New York Jets: Running back Emerson Boozer

Oakland Raiders: Cornerback Willie Brown

Philadelphia Eagles: Tackle Jon Runyan

Pittsburgh Steelers: Cornerback Mel Blount

St. Louis Rams: Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa

San Diego Chargers: Wide receiver Anthony Miller

San Francisco 49ers: Defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley

Seattle Seahawks: Safety Kenny Easley

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Fullback Mike Alstott

Tennessee Titans: Tackle Michael Roos

Washington Redskins: Safety Brig Owens

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NFL statement on Greg Hardy’s 10-game suspension

Greg Hardy AP

The NFL announced Wednesday it had suspended Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy for 10 games for violating multiple league rules. Below is the full text of the NFL’s statement:


Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys was notified today that he is suspended without pay for the team’s first 10 games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the league in violation of the NFL Constitution and By-Laws, the NFL Player Contract, and the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

In a letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell, Hardy was informed that an extensive two-month NFL investigation following the dismissal of his case in North Carolina state court determined that there was sufficient credible evidence that Hardy engaged in conduct that violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances.

The investigation was led by Lisa Friel and T&M Protection Resources. Prior to joining the NFL staff two weeks ago, Friel was vice president of the sexual misconduct consulting and investigations division of T&M. During a 28-year career as a Manhattan prosecutor, Friel was head of the sex crimes prosecution unit in the New York County district attorney’s office for more than a decade. Friel is now NFL senior vice president and special counsel for investigations.

The NFL’s investigation involved numerous interviews with witnesses and experts, a review of hundreds of pages of court records, documents and exhibits, photographs, police reports, medical records, and reports and opinions of medical experts retained by Hardy’s attorneys and by the NFL office.

In addition, Hardy and his counsel, along with representatives of the NFL Players Association, met with NFL staff and investigators on March 4, at which time Hardy’s counsel made a detailed presentation and shared additional information. Hardy and his counsel also met on March 10 with the independent investigators, at which he was afforded the opportunity to discuss and respond to questions about the events of May 13, 2014. And, after having the opportunity to review certain photographs recently made available by the district attorney’s office in North Carolina, Hardy and his counsel had a further opportunity to discuss the evidence and provide a supplemental report from Hardy’s medical expert.

The NFL’s investigation concluded that Hardy violated the Personal Conduct Policy by using physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances. First, he used physical force against her which caused her to land in a bathtub. Second, he used physical force against her which caused her to land on a futon that was covered with at least four semi-automatic rifles. Third, he used physical force against her by placing his hands around Ms. Holder’s neck and applying enough pressure to leave visible marks. And fourth, he used physical force to shove Ms. Holder against a wall in his apartment’s entry hallway.

“The net effect of these acts was that Ms. Holder was severely traumatized and sustained a range of injuries, including bruises and scratches on her neck, shoulders, upper chest, back, arms and feet,” Commissioner Goodell wrote. “The use of physical force under the circumstances present here, against a woman substantially smaller than you and in the presence of powerful, military-style assault weapons, constitutes a significant act of violence in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.”

Commissioner Goodell noted that Hardy engaged in conduct detrimental to the league and that a suspension of this length would be appropriate under any version of the Personal Conduct Policy or its predecessors.

Despite numerous efforts to interview Ms. Holder, the NFL was unable to do so. It is not known whether that is the result of her entering into a civil settlement with Hardy or other factors. The commissioner’s decision is based on findings that are supported by credible corroborating evidence independent of Ms. Holder’s statements and testimony, such as testimony of other witnesses, medical and police reports, expert analyses, and photographs.

The NFL’s investigation also concluded that Hardy failed to provide complete and accurate information to NFL investigators and members of the NFL staff.

Hardy was initially arrested as a result of the May 13 incident and charged with Assault on a Female and Communicating Threats following an altercation with Ms. Holder at his residence in Charlotte, North Carolina. On July 15, he was found guilty of these charges by a state court judge following a bench trial at which both Hardy and the victim testified under oath, and during which photographic and other evidence was admitted in open court and discussed in the presence of the public and the news media. Following the judgment of conviction, Hardy was sentenced to a period of incarceration (which was suspended) and probation.

Hardy then noticed an immediate appeal and was granted a jury trial in accordance with North Carolina law. Under North Carolina law, his appeal had the effect of setting aside the conviction and sentence, and a jury trial was eventually scheduled for February 9, 2015. On September 17, Hardy agreed to be placed on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt list pending the resolution of the criminal proceeding and subsequently received the entirety of his 2014 salary. After the season, his contract with the Panthers expired and he signed a new contract with the Cowboys.

On the scheduled date of the jury trial, the district attorney for Mecklenburg County moved to dismiss the charges. In his dismissal notice, he said Ms. Holder had “made herself completely unavailable” for purposes of the trial, despite what the district attorney called “extraordinary measures” by law enforcement agencies to find her, and the resulting unfairness of going forward without her live testimony. Both in his filing with the state court and his public statements explaining his decision, the district attorney stated that he had “reliable information” that Ms. Holder had reached a civil settlement with Hardy that was directly related to the events that occurred at his residence on May 13. The district attorney went on to say that Ms. Holder “appears to have intentionally made herself unavailable to the State.” Despite repeated requests, Hardy’s attorneys refused to provide the NFL office with a copy of the settlement agreement or even acknowledge that a settlement agreement exists.

Given the seriousness of the allegations and the guilty judgment after the state court judge’s bench trial, Commissioner Goodell determined that further investigation by the NFL was necessary.

As part of his decision, Commissioner Goodell directed Hardy to obtain a clinical evaluation to be conducted by a qualified professional of his choosing. Should counseling or treatment be recommended, Hardy will be expected to comply with those recommendations and provide appropriate releases to allow the NFL office to monitor his compliance with the evaluation and any follow-up care.

Hardy’s suspension will begin on September 5, the day of final roster reductions for NFL teams. He may participate in all preseason activities, including the offseason workout program, organized team activity days, minicamps, training camp, and preseason games. He will be eligible for reinstatement following the Cowboys’ 10th game of the regular season.

“You must have no further adverse involvement with law enforcement and must not commit any additional violations of league policies,” Commissioner Goodell wrote. “In that respect, you should understand that another violation of this nature may result in your banishment from the NFL.”

Hardy may appeal the decision within three days.

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PFT mock draft 2015

Jameis Getty Images

This first (possibly only) PFT mock draft for 2015 does not factor in trades, although trades can (and probably will) happen.

Comment, discuss, complain, whatever in the comments below.

This mock draft was compiled with the direct assistance of someone who gets paid plenty of money to scout players for an NFL team.  So, basically, if you think it stinks, blame him.

Speaking of things that stink, the bottom two thirds of the first round isn’t exactly stellar.  The PFT consultant had an easy time filling out the top 10, but a hard time with the next 22.  There just aren’t 32 first-round talents in 2015, even though there continue to be 32 spots.

1.  Buccaneers:  QB Jameis Winston, Florida State.

2.  Titans:  DT Leonard Williams, USC.

3.  Jaguars:  LB Dante Fowler Jr., Florida.

4.  Raiders:  WR Amari Cooper, Alabama.

5.  Washington:  LB Vic Beasley, Clemson.

6.  Jets:  QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon.

7.  Bears:  WR Kevin White, West Virginia.

8.  Falcons:  OT La’El Collins, Louisiana State.

9.  Giants:  DT Malcom Brown, Texas.

10.  Rams:  WR DeVante Parker, Louisville.

11.  Vikings:  OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa.

12.  Browns:  S Landon Collins, Alabama.

13.  Saints:  LB Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky.

14.  Dolphins:  OT D.J. Humphries, Florida.

15.  49ers:  DE Mario Edwards, Florida State.

16.  Texans:  CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State.

17.  Chagers:  RT Ereck Flowers, Miami.

18.  Chiefs:  CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest.

19.  Browns:  OL Cameron Erving, Florida State.

20.  Eagles:  DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska.

21.  Bengals:  OT Andrus Peat, Stanford.

22.  Steelers:  OT Donovan Smith, Penn State.

23.  Lions:  DT Danny Shelton, Washington.

24.  Cardinals:  RB Todd Gurley, Georgia.

25.  Panthers:  WR Jalen Strong, Arizona State.

26.  Ravens:  WR Breshad Perriman, Central Florida.

27.  Cowboys:  RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin.

28.  Broncos:  DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma.

29.  Colts:  LB Shane Ray, Missouri.

30.  Packers:  WR Nelson Agholor, USC.

31.  Saints:  WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma.

32.  Patriots:  CB Marcus Peters, Washington.

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PFT’s 2015 All-Unemployed Team

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Below is PFT’s list of the best unsigned veteran players at each position. Each player’s age as of September 1, 2015 is in parentheses.

Rotoworld’s free agent rankings were a valuable resource in putting together the All-Unemployed Team, as was the NFL’s official list of free agents.

Only unrestricted free agents — players with expired contracts and street free agents — were considered in our rankings. Restricted free agents and unsigned franchise free agents were excluded.

Players unsigned at this stage of the offseason are as such for a variety of reasons, including age, durability/injury concerns and position value. The majority of free agents left, should they sign, would figure to be role players.

Our list will be updated as events warrant during the offseason. Players added in our latest update are italicized.


Quarterback: Michael Vick (35), Jason Campbell (33), Tarvaris Jackson (32), Matt Flynn (30).

All four passers listed could be decent-enough backups, and it would be surprising if at least one or two didn’t find jobs by September.

Running back: Pierre Thomas (30), Steven Jackson (32), Chris Johnson (29), Ahmad Bradshaw (29).

Thomas catches the ball well. Jackson could handle 6-to-8 carries in a rotation. Bradshaw’s injury history is his drawback. Johnson was wounded in the shoulder in March and has an offseason arrest to sort out.

Fullback: Jed Collins (29), Chris Ogbonnaya (29).

Collins has made 28 starts over the last four seasons in stints with New Orleans and Detroit. Ogbonnaya can also play tailback.

Wide receiver: James Jones (31), Jerrel Jernigan (26), Mike Williams (28), Brad Smith (31), Wes Welker (34).

Jones (73 catches, 666 yards, six TDs in 2014) is far-and-away the best receiver on the market. Jernigan missed most of 2014 with a foot injury, but he flashed potential at the end of the previous season, and his age works in his favor. Williams’ age also gets him a spot here, but his Buffalo form was regrettable. Smith can contribute on special teams and gadget plays. Welker caught 49 passes in 14 games a season ago and might be a one-season slot-receiver solution for a contender.

Tight end: Jermaine Gresham (27), Zach Miller (29), Phillip Supernaw (25).

Gresham had surgery on a herniated disc in March. When healthy, he’s a serviceable starter. Miller has had some ankle issues. Supernaw has had stints with Houston, Baltimore and Kansas City.

Offensive tackle: Anthony Collins (29), Jake Long (30), Gabe Carimi (27).

Collins can play left tackle, which helps his value, but he’s been a third tackle most of his career, and he disappointed in his lone season with Tampa Bay. Long comes with considerable durability concerns. He visited the Giants on May 28, per ESPN. Carimi has played tackle and guard in the pros.

Offensive guard: Justin Blalock (31), Rob Sims (31), Chris Chester (32), Davin Joseph (31).

Every guard on this list started double-digit games a season ago, so teams have some options.

Center: Chris Myers (33), Samson Satele (30), Lyle Sendelin (31), Scott Wells (34).

Myers, Satele, Sendelin and Wells have ample experience, adding to the glut of serviceable unsigned players at the position.


Defensive end: DaQuan Bowers (25), Red Bryant (31), Osi Umenyiora (33), Luther Robinson (24).

There is not much left in the edge-rushing department, with Umenyiora one of the few notable options. Bowers, Bryant and Robinson offer some positional flexibility; all could kick inside if needed. Bowers has a history of knee issues.

Defensive tackle: C.J. Mosley (32), Kevin Williams (35), Mike Patterson (32), Barry Cofield (31).

Teams in need of veteran depth inside still have a few choices, with Patterson and Mosley among the most appealing candidates. Cofield had offseason hip surgery, per ESPN.

Inside linebacker: Terrell Manning (25), Colin McCarthy (27), D.J. Williams (33), Lance Briggs (34).

The post-draft signings of Brandon Spikes (New England) and Darryl Sharpton (Arizona) further thinned the market at this position. Briggs had a wonderful career at outside linebacker in Chicago; San Francisco, which needs inside linebackers, has reportedly expressed some interest. Williams, like Briggs, was a Chicago starter in 2014.

Outside linebacker: Ashlee Palmer (29), Quentin Groves (31), Dwight Freeney (35) Jacquian Williams (27).

Palmer and Williams are fits in 4-3 schemes, while Groves and Freeney could appeal to 3-4 clubs looking to add to their depth along the edges.

Cornerback: Jarrett Bush (31), Tarell Brown (30), Javier Arenas (27), Carlos Rogers (34).

Bush is a special teams standout. Brown was a starter with San Francisco and Oakland; a foot injury ended his 2014 season. Arenas adds special teams value. Rogers appeared in just seven games a season ago but has significant NFL experience.

Safety: Thomas DeCoud (30), Danieal Manning (33), M.D. Jennings (27).

DeCoud is a couple of years removed from top form. Manning can provide depth and contribute on special teams. Jennings started 26 games from 2012 through 2013 for Green Bay.


Kicker: Jay Feely (37).

Feely could be a solid short-term fill-in. He lacks leg strength, particularly on kickoffs.

Punter: Mat McBriar (36).

McBriar’s net average has really fallen off the last four seasons. However, special teams coaches love experienced punters, and he knows what to do.

Returner: Javier Arenas (27).

Has averaged 21.1 yards on 73 kickoffs and 9.8 yards on 106 punts. He can also contribute at cornerback.

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2015 NFL Preseason Schedule

Tom Brady AP

The following is the 2015 NFL preseason schedule as released by the league on April 9. Exact dates and times of games, unless already specified, will be announced later in the offseason. All information was furnished by the NFL:

Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio

Sunday, August 9

Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota (NBC, 8 p.m. Eastern)

Week One

August 13-17

Carolina at Buffalo

Dallas at San Diego

Denver at Seattle

Green Bay at New England

Indianapolis at Philadelphia

Kansas City at Arizona

Miami at Chicago

New Orleans at Baltimore

N.Y. Giants at Cincinnati

N.Y. Jets at Detroit

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville

San Francisco at Houston

St. Louis at Oakland

Tampa Bay at Minnesota

Tennessee at Atlanta

Washington at Cleveland

Week Two

August 20-24

Buffalo at Cleveland (ESPN, August 20)

St. Louis at Tennessee (FOX, August 23)

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay (ESPN, August 24)

Atlanta at N.Y. Jets

Baltimore at Philadelphia

Chicago at Indianapolis

Dallas at San Francisco

Denver at Houston

Detroit at Washington

Green Bay at Pittsburgh

Jacksonville at N.Y. Giants

Miami at Carolina

New England at New Orleans

Oakland at Minnesota

San Diego at Arizona

Seattle at Kansas City

Week Three

August 27-30

Detroit at Jacksonville (CBS, August 28)

Seattle at San Diego (CBS, August 29)

Houston at New Orleans (FOX, August 30)

Arizona at Oakland (NBC, August 30, 8 p.m. Eastern)

Atlanta at Miami

Chicago at Cincinnati

Cleveland at Tampa Bay

Indianapolis at St. Louis

Minnesota at Dallas

New England at Carolina

N.Y. Jets at N.Y. Giants

Philadelphia at Green Bay

Pittsburgh at Buffalo

San Francisco at Denver

Tennessee at Kansas City

Washington at Baltimore

Week Four

September 3-4

Arizona at Denver

Baltimore at Atlanta

Buffalo at Detroit

Carolina at Pittsburgh

Cincinnati at Indianapolis

Cleveland at Chicago

Houston at Dallas

Jacksonville at Washington

Kansas City at St. Louis

Minnesota at Tennessee

New Orleans at Green Bay

N.Y. Giants at New England

Oakland at Seattle

Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets

San Diego at San Francisco

Tampa Bay at Miami

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Taking a look at fifth-year options for 2012 first-round picks

Griffin and Luck shake hands at midfield after their NFL preseason football game in Landover, Maryland Reuters

NFL teams are now deciding whether or not to pick up the fifth-year options on 2012 first-round draft picks. Here’s a rundown of where each team stands:


The Colts have announced the obvious, they will pick up the option and pay first overall pick Andrew Luck $16.2 million in 2016.

The Chargers have picked up the $7.8 million option on linebacker Melvin Ingram.

The Steelers have picked up the $8.1 million option on guard David DeCastro.


The Dolphins have made clear that they will pick up the $16.2 million option on quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The Panthers will certainly pick up the $11.1 million option on linebacker Luke Kuechly.

The Bills will pick up the $11.1 million option on cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The Chiefs will pick up the $6.1 million option on defensive tackle Dontari Poe.

The Rams will pick up the $6.1 million option on defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

The Seahawks will likely pick up the $7.8 million option on linebacker Bruce Irvin.

The Titans will pick up the $7.3 million option on receiver Kendall Wright.

The Patriots will pick up their options on both of their 2012 first-round picks, a $7.8 million option on defensive end Chandler Jones and a $7.8 million option on linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

The Bengals will pick up the $8.1 million option on guard Kevin Zeitler.

The Vikings will pick up the $5.3 million option on safety Harrison Smith.


The most interesting decision on the board is whether Washington will pick up the $16.2 million option on Robert Griffin III. Fifth-year options are guaranteed for injury, and given Griffin’s injury history, it seems unlikely that Washington would give him that kind of money with an injury guarantee.

The Vikings will probably pick up the $11.1 million option on left tackle Matt Kalil, although he was a disappointment last season and has had a knee injury, so that won’t be an easy decision.

The Cowboys will probably not pick up the $11.1 million option on cornerback Morris Claiborne, given that injuries have forced him to miss most of the last two seasons.

The Rams have a decision to make on safety Mark Barron, who was drafted by the Buccaneers but has since been traded to St. Louis. Barron probably hasn’t played well enough to justify an $8.3 million option.

It’s anyone’s guess what Chip Kelly will decide to do with Fletcher Cox, the Eagles defensive end who would get $7.8 million in 2016 if his option is picked up.

The Bengals seem to like the talent of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, but they may decide that a $7.5 million option is too much for a player who has started only five games in three seasons.

Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd has played well, but well enough for a $7.3 million salary in 2016?

It’s unclear whether the Jets’ new decision makers see defensive end Quinton Coples as a good fit, so his $7.8 million option is up in the air.

Riley Reiff is the Lions’ starting left tackle, which would seem to make him a good bet to get his $8.1 million option picked up, although the team has said no decision has been made.

The Texans will have a tough time deciding whether to pick up the $7.8 million option on pass rusher Whitney Mercilus. With the likes of J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork and Jadeveon Clowney in Houston, the Texans may decide that they can’t afford another big salary on the defensive line.


The Bears aren’t likely to pick up the option on Shea McClellin, who has been a disappointment.

The Packers probably won’t pick up the option on Nick Perry, who has mostly been a backup in his three years in Green Bay.

Doug Martin looked like a star in the making during his rookie year in Tampa, but a lot has changed since then and the new brass doesn’t seem enamored with him. He’s a long shot to have his option picked up.


Neither of the Browns’ 2012 first-round picks have fifth-year options to pick up: Trent Richardson was traded to the Colts, cut and signed by the Raiders, while Brandon Weeden was cut by the Browns and signed by the Cowboys.

The 49ers’ first-round pick, A.J. Jenkins, was a major disappointment and is now out of the NFL.

The Giants’ first-round pick, David Wilson, retired because of a neck injury.

The Jaguars’ first-round pick, Justin Blackmon had his contract put on hold when he was suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. It’s unclear when or if the Jaguars will get Blackmon back, but it will be at least another year before they would have a fifth-year option decision to make.

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NFL offseason workout dates for all 32 teams

Clint Gresham AP

The draft is quickly approaching, but that’s not the next major milestone on the offseason schedules of the 32 NFL teams.

Offseason workout programs will be kicking off as soon as next Monday, marking the first point since the end of last season that players can work with their coaches on the field or in the weight room. Most of the sessions are voluntary, including up to 10 days of organized team activities or OTAs, although each team is permitted one mandatory minicamp that all players under contract must attend or risk fines from their teams.

Teams that hired new coaches are also permitted one voluntary minicamp for veteran players before the draft and they will also kick off their offseason conditioning program earlier than teams with incumbent coaches. There will also be rookie minicamps for each team after the draft, but those dates have not been announced yet. The rest of the dates appear below.

Arizona Cardinals – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 19-21, May 26-28, June 1-4; Mandatory Minicamp: June 9-11

Atlanta Falcons – First day of workouts: April 6; Voluntary Minicamp: April 27-30; OTAs: May 26-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Baltimore Ravens – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 1-3, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Buffalo Bills – First day of workouts: April 6; Voluntary Minicamp: April 28-30; OTAs: May 26-27,May 29, June 1, June 3-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Carolina Panthers – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Chicago Bears – First day of workouts: April 13; Voluntary Minicamp: April 28-30; OTAs: May 27-29, June 1-3, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Cincinnati Bengals – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Cleveland Browns – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-27, May 29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, June 11-12; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Dallas Cowboys – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-10; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Denver Broncos – First day of workouts: April 13; Voluntary Minicamp: April 28-30; OTAs: May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4, June 15-18; Mandatory Minicamp: June 9-11

Detroit Lions – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Green Bay Packers – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 27-29, June 2-4, June 9-12, Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Houston Texans – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, June 11-12; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Indianapolis Colts – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 18-20, May 26-28, June 1-4; Mandatory Minicamp: June 9-11

Jacksonville Jaguars – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, June 11-12; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Kansas City Chiefs – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 9-12; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Miami Dolphins – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-27, May 29 June 1-2, June 4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Minnesota Vikings – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

New England Patriots – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26, May 28-29, June 1, June 3-4, June 8-9, June 11-12; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

New Orleans Saints – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

New York Giants – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, June 11-12; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

New York Jets – First day of workouts: April 6; Voluntary Minicamp: April 28-30; OTAs: May 19-21, May 26-28, June 2-5; Mandatory Minicamp: June 9-11

Oakland Raiders – First day of workouts: April 7; Voluntary Minicamp: April 21-23; OTAs: May 19-21, May 26-28, June 1-4; Mandatory Minicamp: June 9-11

Philadelphia Eagles – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Pittsburgh Steelers – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

St. Louis Rams – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: June 2, June 4-5, June 8-9, June 11, June 15-16, June 18-19; Mandatory Minicamp: None

San Diego Chargers – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 1-3, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

San Francisco 49ers – First day of workouts: April 7; Voluntary Minicamp: April 28-30; OTAs: May 19-21, May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4-5; Mandatory Minicamp: June 9-11

Seattle Seahawks – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-27, May 29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Tennessee Titans – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs: May 26-28, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

Washington Redskins – First day of workouts: April 20; OTAs:  May 26-28, June 2-4, June 8-11; Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18

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As Rex Ryan knows, Patriots just keep dominating the AFC East

bradybelichick AP

Bills coach Rex Ryan has been talking up his team this offseason, saying Buffalo’s offseason moves — and some offseason departures from New England — have closed the gap in the AFC East.

But Ryan acknowledges that until the Bills actually get to the top, the Patriots are the kings.

“New England is perched up there, they’ve won like 14 of 15,” Ryan said. “They’re clearly the team to beat, but we’re coming after them.”

Ryan is actually overstating New England’s dominance a bit. The Patriots haven’t won 14 of 15 division titles. They’ve won 12 of the last 15, failing to win the AFC East in 2000 (before Tom Brady was the starting quarterback), 2002 (Brady’s second season as the starting quarterback) and 2008 (when Brady was lost for the season with a torn ACL). But there’s no question that the Patriots have dominated the division — to a greater extent than any other team has dominated any other division.

And the flip side is, Ryan’s new team has fallen far short. The Bills are one of just four NFL teams (along with the Browns, Jaguars and Lions) that haven’t won a division title under the current eight-division format.

Here’s how many times each team has won each division since the divisions were realigned in 2002:

AFC East
Patriots 11
Jets 1
Dolphins 1
Bills 0

AFC North
Steelers 6
Ravens 4
Bengals 3
Browns 0

AFC South
Colts 9
Titans 2
Texans 2
Jaguars 0

AFC West
Chargers 5
Broncos 5
Chiefs 2
Raiders 1

NFC East
Eagles 6
Giants 3
Cowboys 3
Washington 1

NFC North
Packers 8
Bears 3
Vikings 2
Lions 0

NFC South
Panthers 4
Buccaneers 3
Falcons 3
Saints 3

NFC West
Seahawks 7
49ers 3
Cardinals 2
Rams 1

Even if Ryan is right that the Bills are closing the gap, it’s a huge gap to close. No team in the NFL dominates its division like the Patriots.

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2015 NFL Draft Order

Draft Getty Images

With the league distributing the 32 compensatory draft picks Monday night at the league meetings in Arizona, the 2015 NFL Draft order is now officially set.

Of course, the order is subject to change barring trades before the draft and certainly with the myriad of trades seen during the event itself. In fact, the 2015 draft has already seen 43 picks involved in trades up to this point.

The full order is listed below.

(Round – Pick in Round – Overall)


1- 1- 1 Tampa Bay
1- 2- 2 Tennessee
1- 3- 3 Jacksonville
1- 4- 4 Oakland
1- 5- 5 Washington
1- 6- 6 New York Jets
1- 7- 7 Chicago
1- 8- 8 Atlanta
1- 9- 9 New York Giants
1-10-10 St. Louis
1-11-11 Minnesota
1-12-12 Cleveland
1-13-13 New Orleans
1-14-14 Miami
1-15-15 San Francisco
1-16-16 Houston
1-17-17 San Diego
1-18-18 Kansas City
1-19-19 Cleveland from Buffalo
1-20-20 Philadelphia
1-21-21 Cincinnati
1-22-22 Pittsburgh
1-23-23 Detroit
1-24-24 Arizona
1-25-25 Carolina
1-26-26 Baltimore
1-27-27 Dallas
1-28-28 Denver
1-29-29 Indianapolis
1-30-30 Green Bay
1-31-31 New Orleans from Seattle
1-32-32 New England


2- 1-33 Tennessee
2- 2-34 Tampa Bay
2- 3-35 Oakland
2- 4-36 Jacksonville
2- 5-37 New York Jets
2- 6-38 Washington
2- 7-39 Chicago
2- 8-40 New York Giants
2- 9-41 St. Louis
2-10-42 Atlanta
2-11-43 Cleveland
2-12-44 New Orleans
2-13-45 Minnesota
2-14-46 San Francisco
2-15-47 Miami
2-16-48 San Diego
2-17-49 Kansas City
2-18-50 Buffalo
2-19-51 Houston
2-20-52 Philadelphia
2-21-53 Cincinnati
2-22-54 Detroit
2-23-55 Arizona
2-24-56 Pittsburgh
2-25-57 Carolina
2-26-58 Baltimore
2-27-59 Denver
2-28-60 Dallas
2-29-61 Indianapolis
2-30-62 Green Bay
2-31-63 Seattle
2-32-64 New England


3- 1-65 Tampa Bay
3- 2-66 Tennessee
3- 3-67 Jacksonville
3- 4-68 Oakland
3- 5-69 Washington
3- 6-70 New York Jets
3- 7-71 Chicago
3- 8-72 St. Louis
3- 9-73 Atlanta
3-10-74 New York Giants
3-11-75 New Orleans
3-12-76 Minnesota
3-13-77 Cleveland
3-14-78 New Orleans from Miami
3-15-79 San Francisco
3-16-80 Kansas City
3-17-81 Buffalo
3-18-82 Houston
3-19-83 San Diego
3-20-84 Philadelphia
3-21-85 Cincinnati
3-22-86 Arizona
3-23-87 Pittsburgh
3-24-88 Detroit
3-25-89 Carolina
3-26-90 Baltimore
3-27-91 Dallas
3-28-92 Denver
3-29-93 Indianapolis
3-30-94 Green Bay
3-31-95 Seattle
3-32-96 New England
3-33-97 New England (Compensatory Selection)
3-34-98 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)
3-35-99 Cincinnati (Compensatory Selection)


4- 1-100 Tennessee
4- 2-101 New England from Tampa Bay
4- 3-102 Oakland
4- 4-103 Jacksonville
4- 5-104 New York Jets
4- 6-105 Washington
4- 7-106 Chicago
4- 8-107 Atlanta
4- 9-108 New York Giants
4-10-109 Tampa Bay from St. Louis
4-11-110 Minnesota
4-12-111 Cleveland
4-13-112 Seattle from New Orleans
4-14-113 Philadelphia from San Francisco through Buffalo
4-15-114 Miami
4-16-115 Cleveland from Buffalo
4-17-116 Houston
4-18-117 San Diego
4-19-118 Kansas City
4-20-119 St. Louis from Philadelphia
4-21-120 Cincinnati
4-22-121 Pittsburgh
4-23-122 Baltimore from Detroit
4-24-123 Arizona
4-25-124 Carolina
4-26-125 Baltimore
4-27-126 San Francisco from Denver
4-28-127 Dallas
4-29-128 Indianapolis
4-30-129 Green Bay
4-31-130 Seattle
4-32-131 New England
4-33-132 San Francisco (Compensatory Selection)
4-34-133 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
4-35-134 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
4-36-135 Cincinnati (Compensatory Selection)
4-37-136 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)


5- 1-137 Minnesota from Tampa Bay through Buffalo
5- 2-138 Tennessee
5- 3-139 Jacksonville
5- 4-140 Oakland
5- 5-141 Washington
5- 6-142 Chicago from New York Jets
5- 7-143 Denver from Chicago
5- 8-144 New York Giants
5- 9-145 Philadelphia from St. Louis
5-10-146 Atlanta
5-11-147 Cleveland
5-12-148 New Orleans
5-13-149 Miami from Minnesota
5-14-150 Miami
5-15-151 San Francisco
5-16-152 Houston
5-17-153 San Diego
5-18-154 New Orleans from Kansas City
5-19-155 Buffalo
5-20-156 Philadelphia
5-21-157 Cincinnati
5-22-158 Baltimore from Detroit
5-23-159 Arizona
5-24-160 Pittsburgh
5-25-161 Carolina
5-26-162 Tampa Bay from Baltimore
5-27-163 Dallas
5-28-164 Denver
5-29-165 Indianapolis
5-30-166 Green Bay
5-31-167 Seattle
5-32-168 Tampa Bay from New England
5-33-169 Carolina (Compensatory Selection)
5-34-170 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
5-35-171 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)
5-36-172 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)
5-37-173 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)
5-38-174 Carolina (Compensatory Selection)
5-39-175 Houston (Compensatory Selection)
5-40-176 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)


6- 1-177 Tennessee
6- 2-178 New England from Tampa Bay
6- 3-179 Oakland
6- 4-180 Jacksonville
6- 5-181 Seattle from New York Jets
6- 6-182 Washington
6- 7-183 Chicago
6- 8-184 Tampa Bay from St. Louis
6- 9-185 Atlanta
6-10-186 New York Giants
6-11-187 New Orleans
6-12-188 Buffalo from Minnesota
6-13-189 Cleveland
6-14-190 San Francisco
6-15-191 Miami
6-16-192 San Diego
6-17-193 Kansas City
6-18-194 Buffalo
6-19-195 Houston
6-20-196 Philadelphia
6-21-197 Cincinnati
6-22-198 Arizona
6-23-199 Pittsburgh
6-24-200 Detroit
6-25-201 Carolina
6-26-202 Cleveland from Baltimore
6-27-203 Denver
6-28-204 Baltimore from Dallas
6-29-205 Indianapolis
6-30-206 Green Bay
6-31-207 Indianapolis from Seattle
6-32-208 Tennessee from New England
6-33-209 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
6-34-210 Green Bay (Compensatory Selection)
6-35-211 Houston (Compensatory Selection)
6-36-212 Pittsburgh (Compensatory Selection
6-37-213 Green Bay (Compensatory Selection)
6-38-214 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
6-39-215 St. Louis (Compensatory Selection)
6-40-216 Houston (Compensatory Selection)
6-41-217 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)


7- 1-218 Tampa Bay
7- 2-219 New England from Tennessee
7- 3-220 Jacksonville
7- 4-221 Oakland
7- 5-222 Washington
7- 6-223 New York Jets
7- 7-224 New York Jets from Chicago
7- 8-225 Atlanta
7- 9-226 New York Giants
7-10-227 St. Louis
7-11-228 Minnesota
7-12-229 Cleveland
7-13-230 New Orleans
7-14-231 Detroit from Miami through Baltimore
7-15-232 Minnesota from San Francisco through Miami
7-16-233 Kansas City
7-17-234 Buffalo
7-18-235 Houston
7-19-236 Dallas from San Diego
7-20-237 Philadelphia
7-21-238 Cincinnati
7-22-239 Pittsburgh
7-23-240 Detroit
7-24-241 Arizona
7-25-242 Carolina
7-26-243 Dallas from Baltimore
7-27-244 Indianapolis from Dallas
7-28-245 New York Giants from Denver
7-29-246 San Francisco from Indianapolis
7-30-247 Green Bay
7-31-248 Seattle
7-32-249 Atlanta from New England through St. Louis
7-33-250 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
7-34-251 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
7-35-252 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
7-36-253 New England (Compensatory Selection)
7-37-254 San Francisco (Compensatory Selection)
7-38-255 Indianapolis (Compensatory Selection)
7-39-256 Arizona (Compensatory Selection)

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Competition Committee announces 2015 rule proposals

Referee AP

The NFL has announced that the following rule changes, bylaw changes and resolution changes will be discussed by the Competition Committee and considered by the owners at next week’s league meetings:

Rule changes

— Allow any call to be challenged.

— Allow penalties to be challenged.

— Allow coaches to challenge personal fouls.

— Allow personal fouls to be reviewed, but not necessarily on coaches’ challenges.

— Make all fouls that result in automatic first downs reviewable.

— Allow replay review of rulings related to hits on defenseless receivers.

— Review every foul for hits on defenseless players.

— Increase the number of coaches’ challenges from two to three.

— Add the game clock at the end of the half and end of the game to the list of things that can be reviewed on replay.

— Add the play clock to the list of things that can be reviewed on replay.

— Put fixed cameras on all boundaries of the playing field, sidelines, goal line.

— Allow a “bonus try” after a two-point conversion.

— Do not allow players to push rushers when a team is punting. (This is already the rule on field goals and extra points.)

— Guarantee both teams a possession in overtime.

— Ban peelback blocks by any offensive player.

— Give defensive players “defenseless receiver” protection on interceptions.

— If there’s a dead ball foul, unsportsmanlike conduct or taunting at the end of the first half, it will carry over to the second half.

— Ban running backs from chop blocking outside the tackle box.

— Allow linebackers to wear jersey numbers 40-49 in addition to 50-59 and 90-99.

— If an eligible player reports as an ineligible receiver to the referee, he must align within the tackle box.

Bylaw proposals

— Eliminate the 75-player cutdown.

— Expand rules to allow teams more contact with draft eligible players.

— Permit teams that play on Thursday to designate one player eligible to return to the active list from injured reserve.

— Permit players on Physically Unable to Perform to begin practicing earlier.


— Allow teams with retractable roofs to open their roofs during halftime shows.

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