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Rolando McClain out of OTAs after knee scope

Rolando McClain AP

The Cowboys re-signed Rolando McClain to be in the middle of a linebacking group they hope will be improved this season with the return of Sean Lee from a torn ACL that cost him all of last season, but they’ll have to wait a bit before seeing how the defense looks with both of those guys in the lineup.

Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday that McClain is missing organized team activities while rehabbing from recent arthroscopic surgery on his knee. McClain has had knee problems in the past and will be working out in Alabama while the rest of the team continues the offseason program. Garrett didn’t express much concern about McClain’s long-term outlook.

“He just had his knee swell up a bit but we think he’s OK,” Garrett said, via Patrick Claybon of NFL Media.

McClain’s absence will have the Cowboys reshuffling their linebackers. Lee is expected to start on the weak side of the defense across from Anthony Hitchens and the team signed Jasper Brinkley, Andrew Gachkar and Keith Rivers as free agents to go with draft picks Damien Wilson and Mark Nzeocha.

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Jaguars sign second-round pick T.J. Yeldon

T.J. Yeldon AP

A rookie who could have a major role in the Jacksonville offense in Year One has signed with the club.

The Jaguars and second-round pick T.J. Yeldon have finalized a four-year deal, the team said Wednesday, posting a picture of the former Alabama star tailback signing his contract.

The No. 36 overall selection, Yeldon (6-1, 226) is likely to push for regular playing time in the Jaguars’ backfield, with Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart the primary veteran competitors for carries.

Yeldon had a sparkling three-season run for the Crimson Tide, racking up 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns on 576 carries. One of the few knocks on him is his straight-line speed; he was timed at 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.

With Yeldon now under contract, the Jaguars’ lone unsigned pick is offensive guard A.J. Cann, a third-round selection from South Carolina.

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Ereck Flowers opens Giants OTAs at left tackle

Ereck Flowers AP

The pectoral injury suffered by Giants left tackle Will Beatty last week will keep him out of the lineup into the fall, which means the Giants will have to find someone else to hold down the spot on Eli Manning’s blind side.

First-round pick Ereck Flowers is getting the first crack at the job during organized team activities. According to multiple reports from Giants headquarters, Flowers is lined up at left tackle as the Giants do their first team work of the offseason.

Flowers hasn’t drawn rave reviews from scouts — one told Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com that Flowers has “some of the worst technique I’ve ever seen in a player drafted that high” — which was part of the reason why most people had him ticketed for a right tackle competition with Justin Pugh to kick off his NFL career.

The Giants appear open to moving Pugh, who didn’t have a good 2014 season and is at left guard in OTAs with Marshall Newhouse at right tackle, but they may need to make a bet that Flowers will adapt quickly to the NFL in order to lock down an important position on a line that has to improve on last year’s production.

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PFT Live: Dolphins talk with Armando Salguero, Bills talk with Vic Carucci

Bill Lazor, Ryan Tannehill AP

The Dolphins liked what they saw from defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and wide receiver DeVante Parker at Tuesday’s organized team activity, which is a good development since they were two of the team’s biggest acquisitions this offseason.

On Wednesday’s PFT Live, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald will join Mike Florio for a closer look at which other players have also opened some eyes during the offseason program. From there, we’ll check in with three other teams for an OTA update.

Florio will talk Browns with Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland, 49ers with Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area and Bills with Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News during the program.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

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Washington parting ways with veteran cornerback Tracy Porter

LANDOVER, MD November 16: Washington Redskins cornerback Tracy Porter (22) knocks away a pass intended for Tampa Bay wide receiver Louis Murphy (18) bringing up a fourth down in the first quarter at FedEx field on November 16,  2014 in Landover, MD.    (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images) Getty Images

It sounded like it was just a delay and a long layover.

But Tracy Porter’s plane to Washington was apparently canceled, as the team released the veteran cornerback today.

According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, the decision to part ways with Porter saves $2.2 million in cap space. He was signed to a two-year, $6 million deal last year, but appeared in just two games.

When Porter and left tackle Trent Williams didn’t show for OTAs yesterday, Washington coach Jay Gruden said they had “flight issues.”

Here’s hoping Porter packed a parachute.

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Report: Washington releasing Chris Chester

Washington Redskins' OTA's Getty Images

Washington is parting ways with its starting right guard.

The club will release Chris Chester, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Chester has started 64 straight regular season games for Washington. Overall, he has started 111-of-137 contests since entering the NFL with Baltimore in 2006.

Chester was set to make $3.5 million in salary in 2015, per NFLPA data.

Second-year pro Spencer Long could be among the options to replace Chester at right guard. A Nebraska product, Long was a third-round pick of Washington in 2014, and he was listed as the top backup to Chester as a rookie.

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Freeman starts OTAs as starting tailback in Atlanta

Freeman Getty Images

Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman may indeed be sharing touches in Atlanta this year. But one of them needs to be the starter.

And Freeman has started OTAs as the starter, as explained by D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“I love the competitive attitude that Devonta brings,” coach Dan Quinn said Tuesday, via Ledbetter. “For me, when I talk about having the best offseason you’ve ever had, he’s one of the guys who says, ‘Coach I’m here. I’m ready.’ That shows you what kind of competitor that he is. . . . He doesn’t back down from anything. That’s one of the things I love about Devonta the most, [he’s ready for] every challenge.”

When Freeman appeared before the draft on PFT Live, he was even ready for the possibility of the Falcons taking running back Todd Gurley with the eighth overall pick in the draft. And the rest of Freeman’s teammates seem to be ready for the upcoming season, too; per Ledbetter, Quinn had 100-percent participation in the first OTA session of his head-coaching career.

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Texans look to be the choice for Hard Knocks

HardKnocksGetty Getty Images

Their head coach may not want it, but he’s apparently going to get it.

With all signs pointing to the Texans being the team that serves as the focal point for Hard Knocks in 2015, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says via Twitter that he expects the Texans to officially get the assignment.

Coach Bill O’Brien, who comes from the Bill Belichick School of Absolute and Total Secrecy, probably isn’t happy about it. And as McClain noted during a Tuesday visit to PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, O’Brien may have to watch his language with the NFL Films microphones littering the practice field. (Then again, that didn’t affect Rex Ryan.)

The Texans may not be the most popular choice, but they’ll have some intriguing story lines, including a quarterback competition, a star running back who has a history of being standoffish and obtuse with the local media, one of the very best defensive players in the game, and a No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft who is trying to regain his form after microfracture surgery. Plus, profane or not, O’Brien likely will be an engaging, entertaining, and compelling figure.

So while NFL Films and HBO could have done better, they also could have done a lot worse. The fact that they’ll be doing this year’s show with a team whose coach likely would have preferred to pass the baton suggests that maybe more teams coached by men who would be inclined to find a way out of the assignment will accept the fact that, eventually, every team will be doing it.

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FIFA indictments are a warning to other sports leagues, including NFL

fifa-logo-getty Getty Images

After years of being widely regarded as a thoroughly corrupt organization, the international body that runs the sport of soccer has been targeted aggressively by the U.S. government.

“Two generations of soccer officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release, “frequently through an alliance with unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks.”

Regardless of how this plays out for the nine FIFA executives who have been indicted and for FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has not been indicted yet but could be once the nine indicted FIFA executives begin clamoring to cut deals with prosecutors, it’s a warning to every other sports league, including the NFL. If you become big enough and sufficiently controversial and notorious, the feds eventually will start poking around your business. And your business had better be in proper order, or the feds will keep poking around your business until there’s enough evidence to begin to present facts about your business to a grand jury.

Let’s be clear on this. There’s no specific reason to believe that the NFL or anyone connected to it currently is doing anything that would attract a full-blown federal prosecution. But enough issues and problems have arisen in recent months and years to possibly spark general curiosity regarding whether a crime or two may be lurking behind certain aspects of the NFL’s great fortune.

During his recent appearing on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, former federal prosecutor turned NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith pointed out the difference in treatment experienced by players who get in trouble and by owners who get in trouble.

“You have the cases of Mr. Irsay, where somebody unfortunately overdosed to death in his house, you have the case involving the owner in Cleveland where the business that he was connected with was found to be in violation of federal law, and you have the case of the [Wilfs] where a state court judge ruled that the owners of the Minnesota Vikings engaged in fraud,” Smith said. “One one hand you have a Commissioner who was overturned three times” in disciplining Saints players for the bounty scandal, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson, “and on the other hand you have a Commissioner who has looked the other way three times.”

In recent years, Congress has become the political body most commonly mentioned as potentially inclined to not look the other way when an NFL controversy goes mainstream. But the work of Congress typically occurs in public. Privately, prosecutors can scratch the surface and peel the onion and systematically compile the evidence that may or may not ever lead to an affirmative attack on what has become a very large American target.

Again, there’s no specific reason to believe that the NFL or anyone connected to it currently is doing anything that would attract a full-blown federal prosecution. But the FIFA case should serve as a warning to all sports leagues that the smoke of perceived incompetence could result in someone with subpoena power choosing to search for the fire of actual corruption.

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Derek Carr taking snaps, but isn’t throwing

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Getty Images

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was held out of last week’s practices because of a right ring finger injury that coach Jack Del Rio and Carr’s agent both suggested was a relatively minor concern.

Carr wasn’t a full participant in Tuesday’s practice, but he looks like he’s on the road to proving them correct. Carr didn’t throw the ball during the session, but handed it off while taking part in individual drills.

“Derek was able to take some snaps,” Del Rio said, via Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “We’ll bring him along. Things with him are progressing.”

Bair reports there’s “some hope” that Carr will resume throwing by next month’s minicamp and a stronger belief that all will be well for training camp, an outlook supported by the fact that the team is comfortable enough with Carr’s condition to have him on the field at all this week.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

NFL Draft Football AP

The Bills want to run as many plays as possible at OTAs.

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin wants to see how his players finish. (If they don’t finish in the playoffs, Philbin may be finished.)

Here’s a look at the Patriots’ rookie class.

The Jets hired seven new scouts.

Ex-Ravens DT Terrance Cody has an August court date on felony animal cruelty charges.

The Bengals demand versatility from their linebackers.

Browns coach Mike Pettine saw some sloppiness on the first day of OTAs.

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell says he has no one to blame but himself for his suspension at the start of the season.

After canceling yesterday’s OTA due to severe weather, the Texans’ OTA schedule now features practices today and tomorrow, plus June 1-2, 4, 8-9 and 11-12.

Colts DT Art Jones says last season was “frustrating as hell.”

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley isn’t thrilled that DE Chris Clemons has chosen to skip voluntary offseason work.

There’s really no quarterback competition in Tennessee, where the job is Marcus Mariota’s.

Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison loves the give and take with Peyton Manning.

Justin Houston is staying away from the Chiefs, but teammate Tamba Hali says they’re in touch.

Raiders rookie TE Clive Walford is standing out at OTAs.

In San Diego, Melvin Gordon is trying to get No. 25 from Darrell Stuckey.

Here’s a look at the top players on the Cowboys’ roster.

Tom Coughlin has shied away from joint practices in the past, but the Giants have agreed to hold one with the Bengals.

Did the Cowboys’ line make DeMarco Murray, and if so, what kind of player will he be in Philadelphia?

DeSean Jackson skipped OTAs to watch basketball.

Ex-Bear Marcus Spears is ripping his former team.

Lions backup QB Dan Orlovsky says RB Theo Riddick is too good not to put on the field.

Here are some of the questions facing the Packers at the start of OTAs.

What can the Vikings expect from rookie LB Eric Kendricks?

Falcons coach Dan Quinn is taking a hands-on approach to the team’s pass rush.

The Panthers want to see what they have from rookie WR Devin Funchess.

Saints rookie Hau’oli Kikaha was one of the best pass rushers in college football history.

Will the Glazers pony up to get Tampa a Super Bowl?

The Cardinals need their running game to take a step forward.

Former Rams G Davin Joseph and LB Will Herring remain unrestricted free agents, the only two players from the Rams’ free agent pool who haven’t signed contracts yet.

After 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick made a mess on social media on Tuesday, former Packers TE Tom Crabtree called him “#7tupid.”

There’s still no progress on a new contract for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

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DeVante Parker draws rave reviews for early OTA work

Parker Getty Images

With most of the NFL conducting OTA sessions on Tuesday, it was hard for any one player to stand out. Dolphins rookie receiver DeVante Parker did.

Praise popped up for Parker on Twitter throughout the team’s practice session. Afterward, quarterback Ryan Tannehill added his two cents.

DeVante was great today,” Tannehill said, via the team’s official website. “We’ve been seeing [it] for the past few weeks just working on air, but today against the defense you got to see him make some tough catches with defenders on his back in traffic, and that’s what you want to see. You’ve got a guy with a big body who’s able to make strong catches with his hands in traffic. That’s when you’re able to cut it loose.”

Via Omar Kelly and Chris Perkings of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Parker was “catching everything thrown his way,” and he was “impressive” against veteran defenders like cornerback Brent Grimes.

Parker still has a long way to go before he’s making those plays in pads against full contact, and an even longer way to go before getting it done in games against guys like Darrelle Revis. But at a time when this is the closest thing to football we’ve seen since football season ended, it’s encouraging for Dolphins fans that they may have used the 14th overall pick in the draft on a player who is poised to become a difference maker — especially since they got him for a lot less than what they paid to get Ndamukong Suh.

It was also smart of the Dolphins to unload disgruntled wideout Mike Wallace onto the Vikings. If Minnesota hadn’t acquired him before the draft, the Vikings may have used pick No. 11 to reunite Parker with fellow former Louisville standout Teddy Bridgewater.

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Adrian Peterson set to show up, for Adrian Peterson Day

Detroit Lions v Minnesota ViKings Getty Images

Some things are just bigger than OTAs.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who is staying away from the team’s practices, will make his first extended public appearance next month.

What’s the occasion? Well, none other than Adrian Peterson Day in his hometown of Palestine, Texas.

According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Peterson is expected to attend the June 13 shindig, which has been held each year since 2007.

Adrian will be there; that’s the plan,” family friend Kenneth Abrams said. “It will be business as usual. We’re a small town [of about 18,000] and everybody supports him, but I think it will be bigger this year.”

Peterson’s not busy with OTAs, as he’s still exerting whatever leverage he has (not much) to get loose from the Vikings. But they’ve got no real reason to let him go, and don’t seem particularly interested in doing so.

So it might be worth checking out the parade at Adrian Peterson Day, just to see who sponsors a float.

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Bills giving all their quarterbacks chances with the ones

mattcassel AP

As the Bills begin installing their revolutionary offense-without-a-quarterback, they’re going to let all the guys on the roster have some degree of a shot at running it.

According to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, the Bills split reps evenly among the four passers in OTAS Tuesday.

Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel each took snaps with the starters, while Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel worked with the backups.

The Bills are working on two fields at the same time, a plan designed to create maximum repetitions during the preseason work. And they plan to rotate, with Manuel and Taylor working with the starters today, with Cassel and Tuel with the reserves.

“You just keep rotating your guys like that,” Ryan said. “So they’re all going to get to work with each other. It’s not that big a deal right now. But the big thing is you want to evaluate all your players, not just the first team or second team. You want everybody and to give guys fair chances and a lot of times, the cream will rise to the top and you’ll see something.

“Some guy will pop off the tape that maybe you weren’t so sure of, and now you feel pretty good about him. And then, likewise, you might have somebody that you think you were counting on that really isn’t showing up.”

Ryan, as is his custom, praised a lot of guys, and said Manuel showed flashes that belie the idea that he might be on the bubble.

“The thing that stands out to me, it appears that EJ is getting a pretty good grasp of this system,” Ryan said. “He’s believing in what he’s seeing and he’s letting it rip. And that’s kind of what you want from the guy.

“Know what you’re seeing, believe in it, be right and pull the trigger. Let it fly. And I think that’s what we’re trying to do with all of these quarterbacks. It seems like it was pretty sharp.”

The Bills already have a good defense, and they’ve collected a bunch of impressive parts on offense. But until or unless they can get baseline competent play from any of their quarterbacks, it might not matter.

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Raiders sign seventh-rounder Dexter McDonald

Kansas v Kansas State Getty Images

The Raiders waited until the seventh round to add a cornerback in this year’s draft, but they won’t have to wait any longer to get Dexter McDonald under contract.

The team announced that they have agreed to a four-year deal with McDonald. McDonald is the eighth member of the team’s draft class to agree to a contract, leaving second-round defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. and third-round tight end Clive Walford as the only members of the group without deals.

At 6-1, McDonald looks the part at corner and he has 4.42 speed in the 40 to go with that size, but, as you could probably guess from his spot in the draft, the play he put on tape at Kansas wasn’t quite as appealing as his physical traits. There’s other examples of that in Oakland’s draft history, although taking a flier in the seventh round is far better than banking on athletic ability alone in the early rounds.

D.J. Hayden is going to be at one cornerback spot for the Raiders, but things are pretty open as you move down a depth chart that skews young.

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