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Friday morning one-liners

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A look at how the Bills landed Rex Ryan as their head coach.

Damien Williams is looking forward to the running back competition at Dolphins camp.

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski hosted a football camp at Andrews Air Force Base this week.

Assessing the impact of DE Sheldon Richardson’s suspension on the Jets.

Ravens WR Michael Campanaro is on track for a training camp return from a quad injury.

Former Bengals players debate the seriousness of Deflategate.

Undrafted TE E.J. Bibbs has made a positive impression on the Browns.

Troy Polamalu makes an appearance on the list of best safeties in Steelers history.

Texans DE J.J. Watt has a fan in Snoop Dogg.

If you’re looking for tips on grilling salmon, Colts T Anthony Castonzo is your man.

How much have the Jaguars improved under General Manager David Caldwell?

A positive take on Kenneth Adams IV’s increased role with the operation of the Titans.

A golf tournament is among Broncos S T.J. Ward’s charitable efforts.

The Chiefs were looking for a franchise quarterback before the 1979 draft.

Previewing the competition in the Raiders secondary.

Chargers TE Ladarius Green is in line for a bump in playing time during Antonio Gates’s suspension.

Is Cowboys owner Jerry Jones right to be confident in the team’s cornerbacks?

Former Giants S Tom Longo died at the age of 73.

Ten players the Eagles can’t afford to lose to injury.

Can play action help Redskins QB Robert Griffin III in 2015?

The Bears won’t miss facing off with Ndamukong Suh twice a season.

Remembering the on- and off-field life of late Lions great Charlie Sanders.

In search of the right theme for a painted fence to commemorate Brett Favre’s entry into the Packers Hall of Fame.

Vikings LB Chad Greenway thinks RB Adrian Peterson can still win an MVP award.

The Falcons are working to build a better defense.

The Panthers sent strong messages this offseason through contract extensions.

Saints QB Drew Brees is selling a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS.

Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston enjoyed his visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

S Deone Bucannon has found a home in the Cardinals secondary.

St. Louis has earmarked more land to be used for a new Rams stadium.

Former 49ers LB Keena Turner discusses the close relationship between Aldon Smith and Charles Haley.

Seahawks S Earl Thomas is headed to the altar.

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Richardson suspension gives leverage back to Muhammad Wilkerson

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Jets knew defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson wanted more money when they used their first-round pick on Leonard Williams, seemingly giving them a bit of leverage in the negotiations.

Well, Wilkerson has it back now.

With defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, they have a potential problem up front if they can’t make Wilkerson happy.

He said when he reported to mandatory minicamp that he wanted to be rewarded for his work, and doesn’t seem to think his $7 million fifth-year option is a sufficient reward.

Wilkerson skipped all the non-mandatory offseason work, but that didn’t cost him anything. Holding out of training camp would cost him $30,000 a day, and it’s unclear if he’d go that route to prove his point. But the prospect of going into the season without a pair of starters on the line is something they have to consider as a possibility, or at least something Wilkerson wants them to consider.

Of course, drafting Williams could end up working against Richardson more now, as the suspension would probably make the Jets much less likely to think about ever extending his deal.

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Packers could be thin up front in the opener with suspensions

Atlanta Falcons v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Packers defensive end Datone Jones only got a one game suspension for his violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, but the Packers are likely going to be short more than one lineman for that game.

As noted by Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers are still awaiting word on an expected punishment for defensive lineman Letroy Guion, which could leave them down two key players for the opener.

Like Jones, Guión could be facing a shorter suspension, assuming he hasn’t failed any tests. He was arrested in February for possession of marijuana and a firearm, charges which were thrown out after he paid a fine. Of course, Florida officials are still holding his truck and $190,028.81, pending a civil forfeiture case, so it’s not like he got off easy.

Players who don’t test positive for drugs but are arrested on drug-related charges have gotten one-game suspensions previously, including running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

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Report: Cowboys think Dez is bluffing, needs his Week 1 paycheck

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Would Dez Bryant really decline to sign the franchise tag and skip Week One of the regular season, missing a $750,000 paycheck in the process? The Cowboys reportedly don’t think so.

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via the Dallas Morning News), the Cowboys are not budging from the offer they’ve made Bryant and will tell him to either sign their offer or play the 2015 season under the $12.8 million franchise tag. The reason the Cowboys think they have the leverage to hold the line with Bryant is that they believe he’s bluffing about missing games, and that he is having money problems and wouldn’t be able to afford to give up a $750,000 paycheck.

It’s unclear what kind of money problems Bryant is having. He has made enough money already in his NFL career that he should be set for life, but Bryant does have expensive tastes and was once sued for failing to pay a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry he purchased.

Ultimately, the Cowboys may simply decide to tell Bryant to play this season for $12.8 million. If they do, Bryant won’t have much choice but to take it.

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Colts sign linebacker Justin Shirk, waive Camaron Beard

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The Indianapolis Colts signed linebacker Justin Shirk and waived defensive end Camaron Beard on Thursday.

Shirk, an undrafted free agent out of Division II Bloomsburg, spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their rookie mini-camp in May. A transfer from the University of Oklahoma, Shirk was named as a first-team D2 All-American in each of his last two seasons at Bloomsburg.

He appeared in 45 games and racked up 392 tackles during his college career.

Beard, an undrafted free agent from Cincinnati, signed with the Colts after a tryout in their rookie mini-camp in May.

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NFL starts Fourth of July weekend with four-item bad-news dump

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When the dust settled for what was for many the last work day before the long Fourth of July weekend, the NFL had announced four suspensions in the span of roughly two hours. Starting at approximately 2:00 p.m. ET and ending at approximately 4:00 p.m. ET, the NFL had announced suspensions of Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain, Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones, and Chargers tight end Antonio Gates,

There are two possible explanations for this cluster of suspensions. Either all four cases happened to be resolved coincidentally in the same 120-minute window, or someone decided to hold them all until this afternoon, unveiling one after another at a time when media and fan attention will be diminished.

The latter explanation makes far more sense, but here’s the catch. Some in the league office insist that the NFL doesn’t engage in bad-news dumps, and that embarrassing or unfavorable information is disclosed when it’s disclosed, whether that’s at 5:00 p.m. ET on a Friday or 9:00 a.m. ET on a Monday.

From a P.R. standpoint, it makes sense to drop bad news into days and/or hours that will result in reduced attention. It also makes sense to not do it all the time, because then it becomes too obvious.

On Thursday, it became too obvious. On Friday, it’ll be interesting whether more obvious bad news will be unveiled.

Plenty of people won’t be working on Friday, but PFT will be on the clock — and yours truly plus producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera will be monitoring and reacting in real time from 12:00 p.m. ET to 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live.

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Mendenhall’s Roethlisberger story wasn’t completely accurate

Receipt Getty Images

The story told by former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sticking a rookie with a $25,000 tab was interesting. It would have been even more interesting if it were, you know, accurate.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it started as a dinner for offensive linemen at a steakhouse, not a club. The offensive linemen determined that former Steelers offensive lineman Tony Hills, a rookie at the time, would pay. (Hills, who currently plays for the Cowboys, was a fourth-round pick of the Steelers in 2008.)

The quarterbacks showed up as well, the linemen ran up a huge bill, and Hills wasn’t able to pay it.

Roethlisberger actually paid roughly half of the amount on the spot, with Hills reimbursing him later.

The practice of sticking rookies with huge bar and club tabs, which was one of the issues raised in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, has ended in Pittsburgh. It’s probably ended with most NFL teams.

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Ivory release continues new NFL trend


Before the Ray Rice debacle, NFL teams would react to a player getting arrested by issuing the same kind of perfunctory statement that the Texans issued on Thursday about defensive lineman Brandon Ivory — and then waiting for the legal process to play out before taking any further action.

After the Ray Rice debacle, the Texans followed the perfunctory statement issued on Thursday with decisive action, cutting the undrafted rookie free agent who faces charges in Alabama of first-degree burglary.

Who care if he’s innocent until proven guilty or if Ivory’s agent claims he’s innocent? Ivory is destined to be placed on the Commissioner-Exempt list, which means that any NFL team that employs Ivory will have to pay him to not play until the charges are resolved, after which point they’ll quite possibly be not paying him to not play.

Unless the player is a star, there’s no reason to deal with it. For that reason, more and more teams will be quickly dropping players who are accused of any crime that could result in their placement on paid leave.

That’s another problem with the NFL’s decision to use paid leave as a way to get players charged with certain crimes off the field until their legal situations are resolved. The league contends it’s not a disciplinary move because the player still gets paid. But if the trend will be to cut any non-essential player who is facing paid leave, the player won’t be allowed to play — and he won’t be getting paid.

Regardless of how anyone feels about any player who is accused of a crime, the NFL’s decision to supplement the criminal justice system in the name of public relations must be done in a way that respects labor relations. The NFL’s current approach doesn’t properly respect the rights of all players, which eventually will force the NFL Players Association to waste more money on legal fees.

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Lions great Charlie Sanders dies at 68

charliesanders AP

Charlie Sanders, a Hall of Fame tight end and one of the greatest players in Detroit Lions history, has died at the age of 68.

Sanders recently revealed that he was battling cancer.

Born and raised in North Carolina, Sanders played his college football at Minnesota, where he was an All-Big Ten tight end and helped lead the Gophers to a share of the Big Ten title during his senior season in 1967. The Lions selected Sanders with a third-round pick in the 1968 NFL draft.

In Detroit, Sanders made an immediate impact and became a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. When he retired after the 1977 season, Sanders had the all-time franchise record for catches, with 336 in his career.

Sanders remained with the Lions organization after retiring, working as a radio commentator, a wide receivers coach, and an assistant director of player personnel. In 2007 he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Datone Jones suspended one game for substance abuse violation

Datone Jones AP

Yep, it’s officially a Friday news dump, even though it’s Thursday.

Packers defensive end Datone Jones became the third player suspended today, getting one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

He follows Sheldon Richardson and Rolando McClain in getting suspensions on Thursday, before the league slides out to the Hamptons for the weekend.

Jones, the Packers 2013 first-round pick, was growing into a solid player, even though he hasn’t reached the heights of other guys drafted around him. And now, he won’t start working on it until Week Two.

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McClain, Richardson both failed to choose football

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NFL teams generally don’t care about players smoking marijuana. NFL teams care greatly when players have to choose between marijuana and football.

Most players who test positive for marijuana a single time immediately choose football over marijuana, avoiding any further positive tests and all potential discipline. For Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain and Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, they repeatedly failed to choose football.

For Richardson, it was marijuana. And the Jets, who used the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft on defensive lineman Leonard Williams, surely knew that Richardson was choosing marijuana over football enough times to worry about him missing games when they picked Williams.

For McClain, word emerged in February that he was facing a four-game fine under the substance-policy, only one violation away from a four-game suspension.

For both, they’ll have to choose football over marijuana or the next step will be a 10-game suspension. Then, a year.

For the next year, they’ll have to pass up to 10 drug tests per month to avoid further suspensions.

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Report: Sheldon Richardson suspended for marijuana use

Sheldon Richardson, Ryan Tannehill AP

The NFL announced Thursday that the Jets will open the season without defensive end Sheldon Richardson because Richardson has been suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The league does not disclose the specific violation, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that it is for marijuana use. Richardson issued a statement through the team when the suspension was announced and went on Twitter Thursday to offer further apologies for the suspension.

“I apologize for my mistake and for disappointing the people who mean everything to me,” Richardson wrote. “I vow to you, this will not happen again. My team will continue to push forward without me to start the season. I promise I will be there for them in every way that I can until I am able to return.”

It will be interesting to see if Richardson’s suspension impacts the Jets’ decision-making on the defensive line moving forward. Muhammad Wilkerson is in the final year of his rookie deal and stayed away from voluntary work this spring while trying to get a new one. Richardson has two year and a team option left on his deal and the Jets may warm to the idea of extending Wilkerson if the suspension gives them doubts about Richardson over the long term.

Richardson said last month that he thought Wilkerson was worth “Suh money.” His suspension may wind up pushing him closer to it.

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Texans cut Brandon Ivory

Alabama v Mississippi Getty Images

Rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory’s agent said that his client will be cleared of all charges related to his arrest on Wednesday.

Ivory and another man allegedly took cash and two iPads after breaking into a home in Alabama while one held an assault rifle and the other carried a knife, which resulted in first degree burglary charges for Ivory. The Texans either disagree or aren’t interested in waiting around to find out.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans have cut Ivory a day after the arrest and their statement that they were gathering facts about what happened.

Ivory was signed as an undrafted free agent after completing his career at Alabama and will likely now need to have those charges cleared in order to get a second chance at finding a job in the NFL.

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Ryan Kerrigan running after offseason knee scope

Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Hoyer AP

Washington did a lot of work to upgrade their defensive line in free agency by signing Stephen Paea, Terrance Knighton and Ricky Jean Francois to bolster the unit.

Their hope is that group can work well with outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan on the field this fall, a development that will require Kerrigan to make a full recovery from an offseason knee scope. Kerrigan appears to be well on his way to making that recovery.

“I’m running now,” Kerrigan said, via CSN Washington. “Now it’s just about building the strength. My leg feels really good and I’m glad I got the surgery — not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I’m glad I got it done. Now it’s just a matter of getting strong and getting into shape.”

Kerrigan’s presence in the lineup will benefit the Redskins as a team and it will give him a chance to make his best case for a new deal if he and the team don’t come to an agreement before the start of the season.

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Letroy Guion waiting to hear if he’ll face league discipline

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Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion reached a plea deal in March that had him pay a $5,000 fine plus court costs in Florida after police found marijuana and a firearm during a February traffic stop for erratic driving.

Guion’s plea also saw the charges dropped without adjudication of guilt because he was a first-time offender, which left him free to re-sign with the Packers for one year and $2.75 million a short time later. What it didn’t leave him free of was potential discipline from the league.

Guion’s agent Seth Katz told Rob Demovsky of that his client has yet to hear anything from the league about a possible penalty under the league’s personal conduct policy. Demovsky adds that the Packers and Guion have been “bracing” for a one-to-four game suspension.

Guion had 62 tackles and 3.5 sacks as a starter for the Packers last season. Green Bay also re-signed B.J. Raji, who missed last season with a biceps injury.

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