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Marquise Goodwin leaves practice, enters concussion protocol

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14:   Marquise Goodwin #88 of the Buffalo Bills runs the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 14, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is in the NFL’s concussion protocol after leaving Tuesday’s practice.

Goodwin was examined by trainers and later escorted off the field after hitting his head on the ground while trying to make a catch.

The speedy Goodwin is trying to win a role in the Bills’ offense and has been impressive in camp. Two weeks ago, Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman praised Goodwin and said he appears to be “on a mission.”

Goodwin, who just missed qualifying for the Olympics in the long jump, is listed as a second-teamer on the Bills’ unofficial depth chart. He was limited to two games last year by injury and had 17 of his 20 career catches as a rookie in 2013.

Though the Bills expect Sammy Watkins to play in this weeks preseason game, they’re still shorthanded at receiver. Bills Coach Rex Ryan told reporters that Marcus Easley and rookie Kolby Listenbee aren’t close to returning.

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Jeremy Mincey announces retirement

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Former Cowboys, Broncos and Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey announced his retirement Tuesday.

Mincey, who played the last two seasons for the Cowboys, posted a picture on Instagram along with a thank-you letter in which he announced that he’s finished playing.

His contract with the Cowboys expired after last season. Mincey also had elbow surgery in the offseason after an elbow issue slowed him last season.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Mincey, 32, had offers from interested teams but opted to retire. Mincey had 26 sacks over nine NFL seasons and six in 2014 with the Cowboys.

A sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2006, Mincey also spent time with the 49ers before he made his regular season debut with the Jaguars in 2007. He played for the Jaguars until 2013, when he was released and finished the season with the Broncos.

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Steelers keep linebacker Vince Williams with extension

Vince Williams, Ryan Shazier AP

The Steelers announced Tuesday that they’ve signed inside linebacker Vince Williams to a new, three-year contract.

Williams, a sixth-round pick in 2013, has been a valuable inside linebacker and special teamer in all three of his previous seasons. He’s again listed second on the depth chart at one of the team’s two inside linebacker spots as the Steelers prepare for the 2016 season.

Williams has played in 47 games and started 13 in his career. He was very much in the middle of last year’s Steelers-Bengals heated moments that turned into offseason social media chatter that’s stoked the rivalry between the two teams.

Known as a run stopper, Williams also produced two fumble recoveries, a pass breakup and split a sack last season.

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Senquez Golson expects to return to Steelers this year

Senquez Golson AP

The first chapter of cornerback Senquez Golson’s Steelers career was a bust due to a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the entire season.

Chapter two didn’t get off to a better start. Golson has been out since suffering a Lisfranc injury early in training camp, but he said Tuesday that this season will not play out the same way as the last one. The 2015 second-round pick vowed to return to the field in time to make his Steelers debut.

“I’ll definitely be back this year,” Golson said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m thinking sometime in November. For sure by the end of November, I’ll be full speed back.”

November is a long time to wait for a player who hasn’t seen much practice time since the Steelers drafted him, but the rule change allowing teams to wait on designating a player to return would seem to leave that door open. It would likely shut quickly if the Steelers need to use that spot for a player who has been more involved in the last two years, however.

In the meantime, the Steelers are visiting with Keenan Lewis about joining a cornerback group with plenty of question marks beyond the ones about Golson’s status for this season.

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Hall of Fame Game lawsuit re-filed in California, dismissed in Ohio

Football fans express their displeasure as it is announced that the preseason NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was cancelled due to unsafe field conditions, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard) AP

The NFL’s decision to embrace L.A. as a location for the Rams also means the NFL will from time to time have to embrace the L.A. civil justice system.

The lawsuit seeking compensation for fans who attended the Hall of Fame Game earlier this month in Canton, Ohio has been voluntarily dismissed without prejudice from federal court in Ohio and re-filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. To support the choice of the L.A. area as the forum, the class representative, Greg Herrick, is a resident of L.A. who purchased a ticket to the Hall of Fame Game and traveled to Ohio for it.

The lawsuit also points out that the NFL has four teams in California “including one within this district” — the Rams.

The allegations aren’t significantly different than the prior version of the lawsuit; the biggest change appears to come from allegations based on statements made by Colts punter Pat McAfee in a podcast the day after the canceled game. It’s likely that revised legal claims eventually will be filed to allege, among other things, fraud in the concealment of the cancellation of the game from the fans who had assembled at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium for it.

The biggest reason for the decision to proceed in federal court in Los Angeles likely comes from the belief that the combination of the judge, the jury pool, and the appeals court will lead to a better outcome for the plaintiffs. For that reason, the NFL and the Hall of Fame likely will fight the choice of venue, attempting to secure a transfer of the case to a more favorable location.

Picking the best forum is a key aspect of good lawyering. The NFL did that last year, when filing the initial lawsuit regarding Tom Brady’s suspension in federal court in Manhattan, before the NFL Players Association could filed a lawsuit attacking the suspension in federal court in Minneapolis.

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Chuck Pagano: Antonio Cromartie is a perfect fit

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets warms up prior to playing the Oakland Raiders in their NFL game at O.co Coliseum on November 1, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie has been part of three teams that have sent the Colts packing from the playoffs over the course of his career, but if he has a hand in ending their season this year it will come while wearing a Colts uniform.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn’t seem to have much fear of that happening while discussing the decision to sign Cromartie on Tuesday, however. Pagano called Cromartie a perfect fit for the team’s defense who won’t need much time to catch up on the system because of similarities to systems he played in with the Jets and Chargers.

“Long, athletic, fast,” Pagano said, via the team’s website. “Ball skills, intelligent, smart, knows the game as well as anybody I’ve been around.”

What made Cromartie a particularly good fit for the Colts right now is the fact that he’s healthy. Cornerbacks Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson, Darius Butler, D’Joun Smith and Jalil Smith are all dealing with injuries of varying magnitudes, leaving a big hole to fill on the back end of the defense.

Cromartie didn’t look capable of filling it for much of last season with the Jets, although he says a groin injury contributed to his struggles and that he feels he can “still play at a high level” now that he’s healthy. If he can, his fit in Indianapolis will be a perfect one on several levels.

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Titans tight end Craig Stevens retires after eight seasons

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Most of the out-of-the-blue retirements happen before training camp, and involve guys who don’t have a job.

But this one is from a guy who was actually employed.

According to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News, Titans tight end Craig Stevens has decided to call it a career after eight seasons.

A solid blocker throughout his stint in the league, Stevens was part of an aging depth chart for the Titans, with Delanie Walker and Anthony Fasano. He re-signed with Tennessee this offseason on a one-year deal.

He started 11 games last year and had 12 catches. In his career, the former third-rounder caught 60 passes for 724 yards and six touchdowns.

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Joe Flacco will play against Lions on Saturday

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, right, talks with wide receiver Michael Campanaro on the bench during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler) AP

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco avoided the physically unable to perform list to open camp and his surgically-repaired knee hasn’t had any setbacks during practices, which leaves one big box to check on his comeback from a torn ACL.

Flacco hasn’t played in either of the team’s first two preseason games, but said on Tuesday that he will be on the field against the Lions this Saturday. Flacco expects to play the same amount he’d typically play during the team’s third preseason outing,

“It’s not super important to go out and play a game just because I need to play a game. You need to get back out there, you need to get your mind used to getting ready for a game,” Flacco said on Mad Dog Sports Radio with Adam Schein. “And then, yeah, I need to get over that last hurdle, which is going out there and being a live target for guys to hit and see how I react to it.”

Saturday’s game will be Flacco’s first with wide receiver Mike Wallace in the lineup and the Ravens hope that their connection helps fuel better production through the air than they had before and after Flacco got hurt last year.

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Josh Norman: Panthers wanted it about Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly

Josh Norman AP

Pulling a franchise tag from a player you wanted to keep around on a long-term deal is a pretty extreme move.

But the farther you get from Carolina’s decision to part ways with cornerback Josh Norman this spring, the clearer it becomes that a divorce was probably inevitable.

In the ESPN the Magazine cover story that promises to become a veritable fountain of quotes from the Washington cornerback, Norman made it clear he didn’t feel comfortable in the culture of the Carolina locker room.

“They kind of shunned me,” he said. “They turned down a lot of stuff for me, interviews, sponsorship deals, stuff I didn’t even know about. They wanted it to be about the two main guys, Cam [Newton] and Luke [Kuechly].”

While it’s entirely reasonable that there were times the Panthers wanted Norman to talk less, the idea that they took money out of his pocket (before pulling the $13.95 million tag) is a pretty bold allegation.

He said at one point he was asked to cut down on his trash talk, but he didn’t because “I’m not fake.”

Thus liberated — and paid $75 million over five years by Daniel Snyder — the Pro Bowl corner thinks he can “grow” in Washington.

“…[I]t feels like everybody can say whatever they want,” Norman said. “It’s a free-flowing kind of place. It’s like going from a dictatorship to freedom.”

Of course, Norman’s also free from the kind of talent he had around him in Carolina, the supporting cast that helped him land such a lucrative deal in Washington. And while he certainly grew as a player, the reality remains that he wasn’t in a position to outshine Newton and Kuechly for one significant reason — they’re better players than he is.

The Panthers play at Washington on Dec. 19.

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Dirk Koetter finds Bucs offense lacking in practice with Browns

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter stands on the field with quarterbacks Ryan Griffin (4, Jameis Winston (3) and Mike Glennon (8) and wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola) AP

Kicking isn’t the only thing troubling Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter right now.

The Buccaneers had a joint practice with the Browns on Wednesday and Koetter spent the day watching the offense struggle against Cleveland’s defense. Jameis Winston and Mike Glennon both threw interceptions, the blockers struggled against the Browns front and Koetter thought the energy level from his team was lacking as well.

“No juice. No juice,” Koetter said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “No one wanted to practice today. … We had balls tipped, we had poor throws and we had bad protection. Bad combination. … Overall, a bad day on offense.”

Koetter said the team wanted the extra work against a 3-4 defense because they play the Cardinals in the second week of the regular season and it seems they found out there’s plenty to work on between now and then.

The day wasn’t a total loss for Koetter. While the offense and placekicking are in need of improvement, Koetter passed along that defensive coordinator Mike Smith “said we did fine over there.”

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PFT Live simulcast returns to NBCSN on Wednesday

NBCUniversal Logos

The day after the Super Bowl, PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio moved from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET into the early-morning slot of 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., with the final hour of the show simulcast on NBCSN. The powers-that-be liked it. Or at least they didn’t hate it.

How much didn’t they hate it? Enough that the NBCSN simulcast returns starting Wednesday, August 24 — and doubles in size. Every weekday, two full hours of PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio will be televised on NBCSN, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET.

The show hits the ground sprinting from Day One, with visits from Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, and former NFL kicker Jay Feely. In addition to providing compelling guests who have something good to say, we’re committed to bringing you the best, most in-depth NFL analysis, with none of the rah-rah, cookie-cutter, same-old, least-common-denominator stuff that leaves you wanting finite chunks of your life back.

You may still want finite chunks of your life back after watching yours truly and producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera, but at least you will have learned something you didn’t previously know. Regardless of whether you wanted to know it.

So tune in tomorrow morning or set the DVR to NBCSN for the final two hours, and check out the first hour of the show on NBC Sports Radio. Or subscribe to the podcast. Or all of the above.

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Peanut punch-turned-rabbit punch in Panthers practice leads to fight

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 08:  Charles Tillman #31 and Roman Harper #41 of the Carolina Panthers react after forcing a fumble by the Green Bay Packers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers asked retired cornerback Charles Tillman to hang around practice this week, in part to teach their young corners how to do the “Peanut Punch.”

Little did they know people were going to start punching each other.

According to Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, cornerback Daryl Worley was trying to knock the ball away from wide receiver Devin Funchess — but accidentally punched his teammate in the neck.

The two squared off and immediately went to the ground and wrestled for a bit, before coaches tried to intervene. When they got to their feet, Funchess still had ahold of Worley’s facemask.

We were just working on our techniques,” Worley said. “But it’s football. People are going to go at it — testosterone — we’re all grown men at the end of the day.

“There’s no hard feelings. It’s behind us. We don’t hate each other or nothing.”

When asked his side, Funchess said: “You’re just trying to start a story that doesn’t need to be started. Nothing happened. It’s just football.”

Well, almost anyway. Tillman was able to force 44 fumbles in his career in part because he knew just when to punch, and where. And he knew that the neck of a teammate wasn’t that place.

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Aaron Rodgers expected to play, in perhaps his only preseason game

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws before an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns in Green Bay, Wis. Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeffery Phelps) AP

The Packers haven’t risked — or bothered — putting quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a preseason game.

But at some point, he has to get ready for the regular season, and this week figures to be the time.

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Packers associate head coach Tom Clements said it’s likely Rodgers will start Friday night against the 49ers, even if he doesn’t play at any other point in the preseason.

“Aaron has been very sharp in practice,” Clements said. “We haven’t discussed what the exact playtime will be, but I’m sure he’ll play. I anticipate that he’ll be sharp. But really you have to be moving around quicker than you do in practice. It tests your stamina a little bit more; you have to get used to that. You have to get used to — get reacclimated to the speed of the game because as I said it’s different than practice.

“But at this point it’s like riding a bike: You’ve been there, you’ve done it, you know how to do it and you just have to go in and practice it a little bit and get ready.”

Rodgers worked with the scout team in practice early in camp (as they were trying to get reps for Brett Hundley and undrafted rookies Joe Callahan and Marquise Williams), but has transitioned to working with the starting offense exclusively this week.

He skipped the Hall of Fame Non-Game, and was tucked safely away on the sidelines for the last two. And with starters scarce in the final game of the preseason anyway, Rodgers probably won’t play in that one.

Head coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t commit to a specific plan, but one game of exposure to the preseason is probably plenty for a 12th year player, especially when he’s a former MVP.

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Breshad Perriman: I know it will be worth the wait

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 22: Breshad Perriman #18 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on August 22, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Breshad Perriman Getty Images

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman is back on the practice field for the Ravens for the first time since partially tearing his ACL during an OTA practice in the spring, which means he’s a little bit closer to playing in his first game since the Ravens drafted him in the first round last year.

Perriman missed his rookie year with a PCL injury and said he “had a better attitude toward the whole rehab process” this time around and that he’s “not really trying to baby” his knee now that he’s back on the practice field because he wants to be playing in Week One.

“[I’m] very eager,” Perriman said, via the team’s website. “It’s coming real soon. I know it will be worth the wait. … I feel real good; I’m confident. I feel like my speed is there still, so I can’t complain at all.”

Now that he’s off the physically unable to perform list, Perriman will either be on the Week One roster, injured reserve or looking for other work. The last option is hard to imagine, making a bigger question how much he can do in the offense when healthy and how quickly he can start doing it. Perriman admits there’s “some work to do” with quarterback Joe Flacco and the sooner the better to get cracking on making the results worth the extended wait.

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Stashing Hackenberg on IR could solve the Jets’ quarterback quandary

christian-hackenberg-112015-getty-ftr_n3hpu71tkwrx1bzehdz2kw0w3 Getty Images

How does a team with four quarterbacks on the roster keep all of them without carrying all of them roster? By stashing one of them on injured reserve.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News makes the case for using IR as the spot for rookie Christian Hackenberg, allowing the Jets to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, and Bryce Petty on the roster once the season starts.

Technically, a player has to be injured to be placed on injured reserve. But if the player goes along with it, who’s to stop it from happening?

Teams misuse IR all the time. Some teams have been accused from time to time of using players on IR in practice, even though that’s never supposed to happen.

With each team now allowed to permit one player per year to return from injured reserve, Hackenberg could (in theory) be brought back to the 53-man roster, if for example the Jets were to find a trade partner for Petty or Smith.

If the Jets are reluctant to cut Smith or Petty, using IR as the landing spot for Hackenberg makes the most sense. Especially since they have yet to put him in either of the team’s two preseason games.

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