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McAdoo steps in Adrian Peterson tampering pothole

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 03:  Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

By announcing on Tuesday that they won’t pick up an option on running back Adrian Peterson’s contract, the Vikings gave every other team a chance to tamper with Peterson by negotiating with his agents in Indianapolis. With Peterson still under contract until March 9, no one technically can speak to Peterson’s agents until next Tuesday, when the annual legal tampering period opens.

But illegal tampering will indeed happen. It’s rampant in Indianapolis, with all teams and all agents present for the Scouting Combine. But it’s also important that tampering happen discreetly, subtly. And it’s critical that no coach or G.M. publicly declare an interest in Peterson prematurely.

Apparently, Giants coach Ben McAdoo did. While not a major violation of a rule that will be blatantly violated with no paper trail or other proof in the coming days in Indianapolis, it’s an unforced error from McAdoo no different than Jets owner Woody Johnson’s gratuitous comments from two years ago about Darrelle Revis. (The Jets were fined $100,000.)

With most cases of tampering hard to prove and with nearly every team (if not every team) doing it, the league only acts when a team allows itself to get caught. McAdoo has done just that, and now the league will have to strike the balance between enforcing a rule that most if not all teams are currently breaking and creating the impression that the league office is going easy on the Giants, again.

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Sashi Brown: Browns won’t panic if Terrelle Pryor leaves

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 24:  Terrelle Pryor #11 of the Cleveland Browns runs after the catch against the San Diego Chargers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

The franchise tag deadline will pass at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday and Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said that the team’s plans haven’t changed regarding wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.

Speaking from the Scouting Combine, Brown said, via Mary Kay Cabot of, that the team is not going to use the tag on Pryor and that they know that “means he’s effectively a free agent” even if free agency doesn’t officially get underway until next week. It doesn’t mean that he won’t be with the Browns in 2017, however.

Brown said that he plans to speak to Pryor’s agent Drew Rosenhaus in Indianapolis and termed Pryor’s return a “priority” for Cleveland as the offseason gets underway. While that’s the case, Brown knows that Pryor’s status makes his departure a real possibility and added that “we won’t panic if he’s not on our roster.”

Pryor caught caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns in his first full year in Cleveland’s offense as a wide receiver and ranks among the top free agents at the position this offseason.

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Giants will look at Adrian Peterson

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts on December 18, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

Well before he was released from the Vikings, running back Adrian Peterson mentioned the Giants as a team that he might like to play for in the event he left Minnesota.

That comment was revisited recently when Peterson tweeted about the Giants making “interesting moves” early in the offseason, which kept the New Jersey club on many minds as a possible destination for Peterson.

With the Vikings confirming this week that Peterson will be free to talk to other teams on March 7 and sign with them on March 9, the running back’s future was an obvious topic for Giants coach Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Wednesday.

McAdoo said, via Dan Duggan of, that the Giants will look at Peterson and evaluate him in the same way that they would any free agent who might be on their radar. Outside observers have noted the Giants’ frequent use of shotgun alignments and infrequent use of fullbacks as reasons why Peterson might not be a great fit for the Giants, but the team’s view will obviously trump any of those opinions when it comes time for the team to decide on a course of action in the backfield.

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Ravens won’t tag Brandon Williams, hope to bring him back

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 29: Defensive tackle Brandon Williams #98 of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced prior to the start of a preseason game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Matt Hazlett/ Getty Images) ***Local Caption*** Brandon Williams Getty Images

The Ravens won’t place the franchise tag on defensive tackle Brandon Williams, Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Harbaugh said the Ravens hope they can still bring Williams back on a new deal. Free agency and the new league year begin next week, March 9.

Harbaugh said the Ravens have been “negotiating” with Williams and two other potential priority free agents, right tackle Rick Wagner and fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Both Williams and Wagner rank in the top 25 on PFT’s Hot 100 Free Agents list.

Williams, who’s become one of the game’s best run-stuffing defensive tackles, figures to draw attention from multiple teams if the Ravens can’t keep him off the open market. Williams and Dontari Poe of the Chiefs, who also won’t be getting the franchise tag, figure to be the top options for teams looking for interior defensive help.

Williams said last month he was unsure about his future and understood that he might hit the open market.

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No franchise tag expected for Dontari Poe

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Dontari Poe #92 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 16, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs assured that safety Eric Berry would stay off the open market by signing him to a six-year extension on Tuesday that will make Berry the highest-paid safety in the league and allow them to avoid doing the franchise tag dance for the second year in a row.

It appears they will also avoid doing that dance with defensive tackle Dontari Poe. According to multiple reports, the team will not use their franchise tag on Poe before Wednesday afternoon’s deadline.

That will put Poe on the path to become an unrestricted free agent next week. He could still sign an extension with the Chiefs before the new league year starts on March 9, although it seems unlikely that he’d do that without at least hearing what other teams have to say during the “legal tampering” window that opens a couple of days before the new league year.

It may also be a difficult contract for the Chiefs to put together if they’re going to have much flexibility to make other moves after extending Berry and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif this week.

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Kyle Long won’t have shoulder surgery this offseason

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 11:  Kyle Long #75 of the Chicago Bearswatches from the sidelines as teammates take on the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field on August 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 22-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bears guard Kyle Long was slated to have two surgeries after going on injured reserve last November, but one of those surgeries won’t happen so that Long can concentrate on ankle rehab.

Long went on injured reserve as a result of ligament damage in his right ankle and he’s had surgery to address that injury, but will not have an operation to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder. Long played through the torn labrum last season and signed an extension with the Bears last September after suffering the injury.

Long’s father Howie told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that his son “struggled with medication” related to the ankle surgery and that he has lost 40 pounds since the surgery. Some of that weight loss was prescribed to help with his ankle recovery, but Biggs says that will now be an “extended process” that will require more focus than Long could devote if he was also rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

There’s no word on just how extended that process is going to be and the change in plans suggests that Long will a limited participant at best through the offseason program.

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Bills announce Kyle Williams will remain on the team in 2017

Johnny Manziel, Kyle Williams AP

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams isn’t going anywhere.

Bills coach Sean McDermott announced at the Scouting Combine this morning that Williams will remain in Buffalo for 2017.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kyle, what he’s done for the Bills’ organization, one of our leaders, and I can announce at this time that Kyle is coming back and we look forward to working with Kyle,” McDermott said.

There had previously been talk that the Bills might cut Williams to avoid an $8.3 million cap hit for a 34-year-old. McDermott did not say whether Williams had agreed to a pay cut to stay in Buffalo, but it’s now clear that one way or another, Williams will remain a Bill.

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Tony Romo/Jerry Jones meeting expected “sooner than later”

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:   Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up on the field prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last weekend that no decision has been made about the future of quarterback Tony Romo, who is not expected to be back with the team to serve as a backup to Dak Prescott again in the 2017 season.

The new league year is rapidly approaching and it would seem to be an impetus for the Cowboys to make a move so that they can set themselves up to make other moves that will impact the team that takes the field come September. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said no meeting has been scheduled between his father and Romo or his agents during this week’s Scouting Combine, but that it shouldn’t be long before it happens.

“I would say it’s going to come,” Jones said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I think Jerry’s going to be due to meet with him sooner than later, but I wouldn’t say there’s a definitive meeting as of yet.”

Jones went on to talk about how much Romo has meant to the franchise, something that’s been a frequent refrain since the back injury that opened the door for Prescott last summer without changing the fact that a parting of the ways is the most realistic way for things to play out in the coming days.

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Wednesday morning Scouting Combine one-liners

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 04:  Denver Broncos GM John Elway before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 4, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Getty Images

Will Broncos G.M. John Elway have anything to say about Cowboys QB Tony Romo at the Combine?

This year’s draft class looks deep at defensive back and pass rusher.

Indianapolis estimates the Combine puts $10 million into the local economy, which has other cities thinking of making a bid.

The Patriots will keep a close eye on the tight ends at the Combine.

Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert says he has a pretty good idea about the top players in the draft, but the Combine may give him some other ideas.

USC’s Adoree Jackson hopes to show off his speed at the Combine.

That deal you’ve heard about where a record-breaking 40 time at the Combine can win the runner an island? It’s not as good as it sounds.

Browns LT Joe Thomas doesn’t think much of the Combine.

The Giants will be looking at some offensive firepower at the Combine.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock says Norte Dame’s DeShone Kizer is “the prototype quarterback in the NFL.”

Here’s the Panthers’ to-do list at the Combine.

Offensive linemen, running backs, punters and kickers have arrived in Indianapolis and begun interviewing with teams.

Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers can answer some questions if he runs a good 40.

Some team executives think the Combine costs too much money.

Here’s a look at six Combine workouts.

Jeff Foster, who runs the Combine, asked teams what is most important to them. All 32 teams said the medical exam.

Opinions are mixed on Michigan State DT Malik McDowell.

The NFL has announced an outdoor fan festival at the draft in Philadelphia.

The Dolphins may no longer be looking at first-round tight ends after agreeing to trade for Julius Thomas.

Here’s a look at some of the players the Falcons will consider.

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Chris Johnson: I know I can still make plays

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 02:  Running back Chris Johnson #23 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 17-13.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Running back Chris Johnson got off to a great start in 2015 by running for 814 yards on 196 carries in the Cardinals’ first 11 games, but a leg injury sent him to injured reserve.

That opened the door for then-rookie David Johnson to take on a bigger role and it proved to be a good thing for the Cardinals offense that extended all the way through the 2016 season. Chris Johnson was back for the first four games last year, but groin surgery brought things to an end at that point and left the veteran with nothing to do but rehab the rest of the way.

Johnson is looking for more this year. He told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt of SiriusXM NFL Radio that he knows he “can still make plays” and that while he feels interest from the Cardinals in continuing their relationship, he sounds like he’d be interested in a place with a less-entrenched starter at running back.

“I think I want to go out there and see what options I have first,” Johnson said. “I feel at this point in my career if it’s not a situation where a team wants to bring me in to be a starter, I definitely need to be somewhere where I have a role. I need to be involved. At this point in my career, I don’t want to sit on the sideline. I want to get in the game.”

A clear starting role might be a bridge too far for Johnson at this point in his career, but the prospect of more playing time than he’d get in Arizona doesn’t seem too farfetched. Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor are also set for free agency, so there may be a different look on a few fronts in the reserve ranks for the Cardinals this year.

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Chad Kelly not going to Indianapolis after all

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 29:  Defensive lineman Marlon Davidson #3 of the Auburn Tigers puts pressure on quarterback Chad Kelly #10 of the Mississippi Rebels  as he throws a pass during the 2nd half of an NCAA college football game on October 29, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images) Getty Images

First Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was invited to the Scouting Combine. Then the NFL rescinded his invitation. Then Kelly said he might go to Indianapolis anyway. Now he’s not.

Kelly’s representatives told the Buffalo News he has decided not to go to Indianapolis.

The NFL barred Kelly, former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and a couple of other players from the Combine under a new policy that prevents players from participating if they have been convicted of certain crimes. Kelly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he was arrested and accused of punching two bar bouncers and threatening to get a gun and shoot up the place.

Kelly will meet NFL teams at the Ole Miss pro day on April 3.

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Report: NFL considering revising celebration penalty rules

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Defensive end Michael Bennett #72 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after making a first half tackle against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL has been dubbed “The No Fun League” for ages due in part to penalties and fines being levied for excessive celebration.

But for the first time in a long time, the league may be open to the idea of scaling back such penalties.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the NFL competition committee is expected to meet with former players and members of the NFL Players Association at the NFL combine this week with the subject of revising the penalties on the table.

Via Pelissero, there appears to be momentum toward making changes to the rules. There were 30 such penalties assessed last season after just 34 penalties were enforced over the previous three seasons combined. The apparent emphasis point seems to be toward the league only wanting to focus on particularly lewd and inappropriate celebrations and overly lengthy demonstrations while scaling back enforcement of shorter celebrations.

Penalties were assessed last season to Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott when he jumped into a Salvation Army bucket after a touchdown and Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas when he hugged an official after he returned an interception for a touchdown. Other penalties of harmless celebratory gestures were flagged as well. Displays like these would seem to be at the heart of the league’s interest in rolling back the degree of penalty enforcement.

Certain displays are always going to be considered excessive but the league has gone too far in cracking down on celebrations. Understanding that and being open to scaling back is a good step forward.

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Stephen Jones bullish on outlook for Jaylon Smith

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates with Cole Luke #36 after recovering a fumble against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on September 19, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys certainly had some optimism that Jaylon Smith would eventually be able to play for them when they used a second-round draft pick to select him last year. Smith missed his entire rookie season while recovering from a significant knee injury that left him with nerve damage and an uncertain future.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones has been one of the most optimistic entities within the Cowboys over Smith’s potential to contribute in Dallas this season. Ahead of the start of the NFL combine on Wednesday, Jones expressed his belief that Smith can play with the necessary brace and be an effective player for the Cowboys.

We think he’s going to be real effective, but how effective remains to be seen, and that’s why I think it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, we expect him to be the dominant player he was at Notre Dame.’ That’s probably high expectations. Is it possible? Absolutely,” Jones said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Smith’s knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl for Notre Dame left him with a torn ACL and MCL. The damage to his peroneal nerve left him with a condition called “drop foot,” which affects his ability to lift his foot at the ankle. Smith has said the nerve has begun to regenerate and he is getting increased feeling back in his foot.

With his improvement, Jones expects that Smith will be able to contribute for the Cowboys this season.

“I think the sky’s the limit,” Jones said. “I think he’s got a great opportunity, if he keeps on his current path, to be a dominant player for us. Now to say I expect that when he’s not there yet? That’s tough to have that expectation. But I think we do expect him to contribute and be a big part of our defense this year. The question is how physically well he gets by the start of next season in terms of some of what he still has hampering him somewhat. But our guys are convinced he can play in his current condition, and it should only improve as we go.”

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Report: Jets won’t pursue $6 million from Darrelle Revis

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23:  Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets and Marcus Williams #20 are seen in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets will release cornerback Darrelle Revis, avoiding a $2 million roster bonus due next week but absorbing $6 million in guaranteed salary for 2017. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reports that the Jets will not try to keep the $6 million.

As explained by Vacchiano, the team looked into whether a recent arrest in Pittsburgh provides grounds for invalidating the guarantee. They correctly decided that it doesn’t; absent a league-imposed suspension or justifiable grounds for a team-imposed suspension for conduct detrimental to the team (surely, offseason off-field misconduct is not), the money remains guaranteed.

So the Jets had to decide whether to pay $2 million now in order to wait and see whether there’s a way to avoid the $6 million later. It was an easy decision, especially since the $6 million has offset language, giving the Jets a dollar-for-dollar credit for the first $6 million Revis makes elsewhere.

Thus, while the Jets may privately couch their strategy as reflecting a conscious decision to take the high road, it’s really the only road that the Jets could have taken.

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Hall of Fame voter essentially tells T.O. that complaining will keep him out

IRVING, TX - NOVEMBER 23:  Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a touchdown pass reception against Nate Clements #22 and Keith Lewis #28 of the San Francisco 49ers at Texas Stadium on November 23, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

At a time when I had hoped the flow of Terrell Owens stories regarding his latest snub from the Hall of Fame had ended, some of those who should want the fire to die down continue to throw logs on it.

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, who would take Michael Irvin over Owens and who also downplayed T.O.’s performance in Super Bowl XXXIX, shares a story regarding the gold jacket Owens previously said he ordered for himself.

Citing a Hall of Famer who for some reason insisted on anonymity (at least Bill Polian has the balls to put his name to his criticism of Owens), Myers writes that Owens told the unnamed Hall of Famer that Owens had his career statistics placed on the back of the jacket. The unnamed Hall of Famer, who scoffed at the gesture, had some advice for Owens.

“I told him he is dividing the selection committee just like he divided locker rooms,” the unnamed Hall of Famer said. “I told him to be quiet, let the process work and he will get in.”

Myers then followed the quote with a Dan Fouts-style warning that Owens is hurting himself by having the audacity to complain that he has been snubbed.

“Owens is not going about this the right way,” Myers writes. “The more he criticizes the process, or says it’s no longer important to him, the harder he makes it for himself. Just like he alienated his quarterbacks, particularly Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo, the anti-T.O. voters are becoming even more entrenched in their position by Owens’ insults and the insults of the non-voters in the media who are campaigning for his election.”

That’s a stunning admission from Myers, which serves only to underscore legitimate concerns about the validity of the process. If Myers or any other voter genuinely will become more entrenched in the opposition to Owens because people like Owens, me, or anyone else is willing to express a belief that his performance should have gotten him in the Hall of Fame by now, those voters are unfit to serve on the selection committee and should resign. If they don’t resign, the Hall of Fame should drop them.

Think for a moment about what Myers is suggesting. Essentially, he’s saying that Owens’ refusal to sit down and shut up will make it harder for Owens to get in. (Meanwhile, the bust of a double murderer remains in Canton, in plain view for every mother or father to explain to every daughter or son who visits a museum whose curators are taking themselves way, way, way too seriously.)

Beyond admitting that Myers will consider factors wholly unrelated to Owens’ on-field performance, Myers has offered a healthy dose of get-off-my-lawn condescension for the younger folks in the media who believe that T.O. is a no-brainer Hall of Famer.

“Many of the outspoken pro-T.O.ers in the media not on the HOF committee have covered the NFL for only a handful of years and lack the perspective to be able to identify what makes a Hall of Famer,” Myers writes. “Many of them were not even covering the NFL when Owens was playing and come off like callers to sports talk shows. I have been covering the NFL since 1978 and can at least compare Owens to Michael Irvin, who gained election on his third try and was a better player than T.O., and Drew Pearson, one of the best and most clutch receivers in his generation. Pearson is not in the HOF. Comparing Owens’ numbers to Pearson’s is not fair. It was a different game then when receiving stats were not bloated. But given the choice, I would take Pearson over Owens. Easy decision.”

That’s a slippery slope onto which Myers has stepped, inviting full scrutiny of every current and future member of the Hall of Fame selection committee who may lack the same credentials, experience, and insight that Myers believes must be possessed before a reliable opinion can be formed regarding who should and shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. Also, the we-know-more-than-the-rest-of-you attitude expressed by Myers will do little to get the fans and non-voting media to sit down and shut up.

If anything, the clumsy, thin-skinned pushback against those who dare question the process will make those with concerns about the process stand taller and speak louder, as to Owens and anyone else who gets snubbed in the future.

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