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Brandon Magee gets advice from Bo Jackson

Magee AP

Officially, former Buccaneers linebacker Brandon Magee remains committed to football.  Unofficially, he’s giving baseball a try — in spring training with the Red Sox.

As he does, Magee is heeding advice from one of the last great two-sport stars, Bo Jackson.

“Some of them I can tell you, some of them I won’t,” Magee said Sunday regarding the pointers he has gotten from Jackson, via Rick Weber of ESPN.com.  “He’s a great guy.  He’s been here before.  He gives me encouragement all the times I talked to him.  He just told me to stay humble and try to keep working hard and outwork everybody out here.  That’s his main key.”

While he still may be interested in playing football, Magee seems to be all in with baseball, at least for now.

“Every day, I’m learning something new,” Magee said, via Weber.  “I’m getting adjusted to it.  It’s a lot different than playing football.  You’ve got a lot flexibility things I’m working on — getting my arm ready, getting my swing right.  I’m enjoying every minute.

“It’s been 90 feet every day so far.  I think starting tomorrow we’re going to ramp it up even more — taking four rounds of BP tomorrow.  So I’m excited about that.”

So how focused is Magee on football?

“I’m just focusing on spring training,” Magee said.  “And I take it one at a time.  When I’m playing football, it’s to help the team win.  When I’m playing baseball, I’m focusing on getting better, helping the team win.  Now I’m just focusing on getting better every day.”

Still, Magee needs to eventually pick a lane.  As Jackson said last year, times have changed since he played baseball and football at the highest levels.  He conceded that he probably wouldn’t be able to pull off playing both sports in 2015.

Currently, the lane necessarily is baseball, because no NFL team has given him a job.

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Tisch says St. Louis, Oakland, San Diego are “kind of in the fourth quarter”

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When it comes to Los Angeles, the NFL has a tough balancing act on its hands.  The desire to go to L.A. on one side, the importance of giving the cities where the potential L.A. franchises currently play a fair chance at keeping them on the other.

Ultimately, one or two current NFL cities will be losing their teams.  And while the NFL tries to say all the right things (presumably in order to prevent three stadiums from being empty or close to it in 2015), the cat is far enough out of the bag to make it clear that St. Louis, Oakland, and/or San Diego will be losing their franchises, as soon as next year.

This could come to a vote in a year,” Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said at the league meetings, via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Tisch added that the league has made it “very clear” that those three cities must “get their proposals to their respective teams sooner rather than later.”

“Is it crunch time? Is it a two-minute warning yet? No,” Tisch said, via Thomas.  “But . . . those three cities are kind of in the fourth quarter.”

As Thomas points out, St. Louis seems to be much farther along in the process than Oakland or San Diego.  But owner Stan Kroenke remains, as Thomas characterizes it, on a “bullet train” to L.A.

Which makes the theory that has gathered momentum in recent weeks the most sensible one yet:  The Rams and Chargers go to L.A., and the Raiders slide from Oakland to St. Louis.  Which will mean that only two cities will lose the NFL, but that three teams will be getting new stadiums.

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Dixon arrested after moped incident

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Saints cornerback Brian Dixon was arrested for resisting arrest, but not for anything else.  Which raises a legitimate question about what he was being arrested for when he resisted arrest.

That logic still seems to be lost on the authorities in South Beach, but Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate offers some additional details about the incident.

Per Underhill, police say Dixon was driving a moped.  A police officer pulled him over.  Dixon then questioned the officer.  And the officer arrested Dixon.

Without knowing what Dixon said, it’s hard to know whether the arrest was justified.  It’s nevertheless odd that Dixon was arrested for resisting an arrest that still has not been specified.

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Packers to remain “smart” about how they use Eddie Lacy

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The Packers wanted Eddie Lacy to show he could be an effective three-down running back in 2014 and Lacy was successful in that effort.

Lacy averaged over 10 yards a catch on 42 receptions and did a solid job as a pass blocker in his second NFL season, leaving coach Mike McCarthy without too much to tell Lacy about where to improve heading into the 2015 season. The conversation will instead be about continuing to use Lacy in a way that he can be an effective offensive force without putting him at risk of overuse over the course of the season.

McCarthy said he thought the team was “really smart” in how they used Lacy last season. He ran the ball 246 times in the regular season, good for 13th in the league, and it sounds like McCarthy would be happy with a similar total next season.

“I go back to past experience,” McCarthy said, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I went through this, really. Ricky Williams [who was with the Saints when McCarthy was on New Orleans’s staff] was the first running back that I went through the how-many-attempts, how-many-runs [discussion]. It’s a learning experience. I’m conscientious of how many times each guy touches the ball, how much each guy plays, especially the running back. I think you have to be smart there.”

Lacy added 40 more carries while continuing to run well in the postseason, which makes it tough to argue with the contention that the team came up with a good plan for their top running back. As long as Lacy is healthy, they should be able to find the same formula this time around.

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League, Irsay still silent on Indiana law

Irsay AP

The NFL still hasn’t said a word about a law that passed last week in Indiana.  Last year, when a similar law nearly passed in Arizona, the league said plenty publicly — and reportedly was privately considering moving Super Bowl XLIX, with Tampa Bay being the first option.

The league has remained silent regarding the Indiana law even as hundreds rallied Saturday against the law that prohibits the placement of a “substantial burden” on the ability of a person, an institution, a business, or an association’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs.  The provision has been interpreted as permitting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence says a bill clarifying the new law is now in the works.

“I just can’t account for the hostility that’s been directed at our state,” Pence said, via the Associated Press.  “I’ve been taken aback by the mischaracterizations from outside the state of Indiana about what is in this bill.”

However it plays out, the NFL’s silence in 2015 makes little sense, given the noise it made in 2014 when Arizona was poised to do the same thing.

Meanwhile, the Colts have said nothing, either.  Which seems a little odd, given the fairly high profile owner Jim Irsay has assumed on Twitter.  Though he recently has been tweeting about roster moves and the league meetings, Irsay hasn’t said a word via Twitter for the last six days.

If the league had said nothing a year ago regarding Arizona, saying nothing now wouldn’t be so glaring.  But if the league were indeed planning in 2014 to pull the plug on a Super Bowl due to be played in a matter of months, complete silence in 2015 makes no sense.

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Erin Henderson set for visit with Jets

Jermaine Gresham, Erin Henderson AP

Erin Henderson’s search for a chance to resume his NFL career will be heading to New Jersey.

Henderson met with the 49ers last week after sitting out the entire 2014 season following his release in Minnesota, but didn’t sign a contract with the team. The Niners have moved on to a scheduled meeting with Lance Briggs and Henderson’s agent says his client is moving on to a meeting with the Jets.

Jim Chapman told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee that Henderson has scheduled a visit with the AFC East club. The Jets re-signed David Harris as free agency opened and have Demario Davis back as well, which leaves Henderson as a depth option at inside linebacker.

The Vikings dropped Henderson last February after a pair of arrests for drunk driving. He started 33 games during his final three seasons with the Vikings and was a fairly effective player before his off-field trouble led to his on-field hiatus.

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Saints cornerback arrested in Miami Beach

Dixon Getty Images

Saints cornerback Brian Dixon has been arrested in Miami Beach for resisting arrest without violence.  Per multiple sources, the arrest occurred early this morning.

It’s unclear why Dixon was being arrested in the first place.  He’s charged only with resisting arrest.

The Saints will now have to decide whether to resist the temptation to sever ties with Dixon, who was undrafted in 2014 coming out of Northwest Missouri State.

UPDATE 12:24 p.m. ET:  Dixon reportedly was arrested after being pulled over while driving a moped.

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Sealver Siliga still in walking boot after foot surgery

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

The Patriots played most of last season without defensive tackle Sealver Siliga in the lineup, but they made good use of him once he returned from injured reserve late in the year.

Siliga started the final three games of the regular season and all three New England postseason victories, recording 31 tackles and a pair of sacks on the way to a Super Bowl title. Siliga seems likely to remain in that spot come next season as long as he’s healthy.

Right now, Siliga isn’t quite there. The foot injury that kept Siliga out for nine games wasn’t totally healed, though, and he had surgery after the season to set things right. Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports Siliga is still using a walking boot as he recovers from the operation. There’s no word on whether he’ll continue to be wearing it when the team starts OTAs, but it seems a good bet that Siliga will be somewhat limited during offseason work.

With Vince Wilfork now in Houston, Siliga and Alan Branch are the biggest bodies on the interior of the defensive line in New England. They could add another option in the draft and may have to look for more help if Siliga’s foot issue continues to linger.

 

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Cardinals to give Logan Thomas “a ton of work” this offseason

Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

When the Cardinals lost Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton for the season with injuries last year, they briefly considered starting Logan Thomas in the regular season finale before opting to stick with Ryan Lindley for that game and in their playoff loss to the Panthers.

Arians said at the time that he didn’t think Thomas, who was drafted in the fourth round last year, was ready for action and he repeated the point at last week’s league meetings. Arians said he wasn’t going to let Thomas fail because “once you fail those scars never go away” and that part of the plan this offseason is to make sure Thomas won’t fail if he’s forced into action in 2015.

“He’s going to get a ton of work and those reps are invaluable,” Arians said, via the team’s website. “Just in decision-making, how fast you’re getting it out of your hand, where you’re going with it, where you’re going when ‘one’ and ‘two’ are still covered. Are you still scrambling around or are you going to find your outlets? That growth process comes strictly from reps.”

Arians indicated that most of Thomas’s reps would come on Field Two with younger members of the squad, but there should be opportunities with the first team as well with Palmer and Stanton coming off of injuries. If Thomas shows well during those chances, he may start making a case to be Palmer’s backup and/or possible successor in the Cardinals lineup while also allowing the team to avoid any further dips into the Lindley bucket.

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Sunday morning one-liners

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The Bills tried to leave themselves without much work to do in the draft.

Winning more games is the next step in Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill’s development.

Patriots QB Tom Brady put on his basketball shoes for a game with Michael Jordan.

Todd Bowles had several mentors on his way to becoming Jets head coach.

CB Lardarius Webb hopes to retire with the Ravens after restructuring his contract.

Tracing DE Michael Johnson’s path away from and back to the Bengals.

Two ways of looking at the best Browns of all time.

Plenty of coaches praised Steelers S Troy Polamalu during last week’s league meetings.

The Texans need G Xavier Su’a-Filo to step up in his second season.

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton and TE Coby Fleener are both a year away from possible free agency.

A call for the Jaguars to find space for WR Greg Jennings.

The five biggest developments of the Titans offseason.

Holdovers on the offensive coaching staff are helping the Broncos transition under head coach Gary Kubiak this offseason.

Former Chiefs TE Sean McGrath is part of the recent group of young players leaving the NFL.

Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie is one of several linebackers to wear No. 54 as a player with the team.

A music video is part of the effort to keep the Chargers in San Diego.

Would Michigan DE Frank Clark be an option for the Cowboys in the draft?

The Giants were part of the contingent of teams at LSU’s pro day.

Is scheme or talent the most important thing for the Eagles?

A look at possibilities for the Redskins to trade back from the fifth pick.

West Virginia WR Mario Alford’s speed could make him attractive to the Bears.

Would Indiana RB Tevin Coleman be a good fit with the Lions?

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson isn’t likely to change his approach to the draft.

Captain Munnerlyn expects to retain a starting cornerback job with the Vikings.

G Mike Person likes what he’s seen of the Falcons blocking schemes.

Jarrett Boykin may have taken the Panthers out of the running for other free agent wideouts.

The least successful free agent signings in Saints history.

The Buccaneers signed free agents familiar with their defense.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald played the world’s longest par 3 in South Africa.

Coach Jeff Fisher broke down the Rams’ moves on defense.

What led the 49ers to hold onto QB Blaine Gabbert as Colin Kaepernick’s backup?

This weekend marked the anniversary of the trade that brought CB Shawn Springs to the Seahawks.

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Stevan Ridley close to medical clearance, lines up visits this week

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

Free agent running back Stevan Ridley is healing from a torn ACL and looking for work.

Ridley has his first free agent visits of the offseason scheduled this week, Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports.

A 2011 third-round pick of the Patriots who has spent his entire career in New England, Ridley had 94 carries for 340 yards and two touchdowns in the first six games before a season-ending injury last year. He is now about six weeks away from being cleared medically.

Given the injury and the fact that Ridley has spent most of the last two years as a backup, it’s unlikely that Ridley can get much more than a minimum contract. But as a 26-year-old who’s a couple of years removed from a 1,263-yard season, Ridley will probably draw interest from a few teams. And if he’s fully healthy, he may turn out to be a bargain.

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Bob McNair thinks Vince Wilfork won’t be another Ed Reed

Wilfork Getty Images

Two years ago, the Texans gave $5 million in guaranteed money to an 11-year veteran defender who had just won a Super Bowl.  It didn’t work out.

This year, the Texans once again gave $5 million in guaranteed money to an 11-year veteran defender who had just won a Super Bowl.  Some wonder whether it will work out.

Obviously, owner Bob McNair believes Vince Wilfork won’t be another Ed Reed.  Otherwise, the Texans wouldn’t have taken a chance on a player that Patriots coach Bill Belichick opted to not keep around.  So what’s the difference between Reed and Wilfork?

“I think the difference is when you have someone at a position where they have to be able to run, then age is more of a consideration,” McNair said at the league meetings, via Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com.  “We thought Ed was in good shape and was going to be able to come down and play and he was a big disappointment.  At nose tackle, you don’t have to run that much.  He’s got to be strong.  So there’s some positions you can play for more years and you aren’t taking as much risk.”

The notion that old guys are more likely to lose speed than strength seems a little simplistic.  Plenty of fast guys retain their speed well into their 30s.  Plenty of strong guys lose their strength well before turning 40.

The biggest difference between Reed and Wilfork is that Reed was damaged goods when he signed with the Texans.  The Texans didn’t notice that Reed needed hip surgery when giving him a passing grade on his physical.

So it’s less embarrassing for the Texans to distinguish Reed and Wilfork based on the speed vs. strength of older players, and not to remind everyone that whoever gave Reed a clean bill of health in 2013 made a major mistake.  Ultimately, Reed’s short stay in Houston had a lot more to do with the hip problem the team didn’t spot than an age-related reduction in his speed.

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Donald Stephenson gets a clean slate in Kansas City

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Last year, Donald Stephenson was expected to start at right tackle for the Chiefs.  A four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy derailed that plan.

Entering 2015, G.M. John Dorsey says Stephenson gets a fresh shot at becoming the starting right tackle.

“There’s some things that occurred last year, but it’s a clean slate,” Dorsey said at the league meetings, via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.  “So what he has to do is set the little things into motion that professionals do in terms of obtaining that starting position.

“So what you do is take little steps, ultimately building toward bigger goals that you set for yourself. And I think you go in and challenge yourself on a daily basis.  You go in and do the little things it takes to be truly professional — do not take this game for granted.”

The Chiefs have overhauled their line this offseason, adding guards Ben Grubbs and Paul Fanaika and letting center Rodney Hudson leave via free agency.  Stephenson ultimately started no games in 2014, but he appeared in each of the 12 that followed his suspension.

Stephenson and Jeff Allen most likely will be the primary competitors for the starting job at right tackle.

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Desmond Bishop to visit 49ers on Monday

Bishop Getty Images

The 49ers need linebackers.  The next one they add may be one that was on the team at the end of the 2014 season.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports that Desmond Bishop will visit the 49ers on Monday.  He appeared the final two games of the season.

Bishop spent time with the Cardinals in 2014 after one season with the Vikings and five with the Packers.

A member of Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV championship team, the 29-year-old Bishop has 27 career regular-season starts.

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Russell Wilson hits HR in cameo appearance in Rangers camp

Russell Wilson AP

Russell Wilson was a mediocre pro baseball player before he became an outstanding pro quarterback.

But Saturday, he showed a flash in the batting cage similar to his early run in the NFL.

According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, Wilson sent one over the fence during his batting practice with the Texas Rangers in Surprise, Ariz., surprising even himself.

I haven’t swung a bat in about two years,” he said.

Wilson also took ground balls, during his second annual cameo in Rangers camp. Texas chose Wilson in the Rule 5 Draft giving them the right to have the Seahawks quarterback hang around.

Wilson was drafted by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 draft as a second baseman, when he was also playing football at N.C. State.

He hit .229 in 93 games, giving no indication there was much of a future in it. Saturday’s swing notwithstanding, it seems he made the right call.

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