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Robert Mathis not cleared for camp

Mathis Getty Images

The big news on the Monday after the start of the 2015 regular season would have been the torn Achilles suffered by Colts linebacker Robert Mathis while working out on his own during a four-game PED suspension, but for the whole Ray Rice video thing.

Nearly a year later, Mathis still isn’t ready to return to practice. And it’s still not clear when he will be.

“The good news is Robert is trending in the right direction,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said Monday, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “We’re all very excited and pleased with the progress that he’s making. The timetable is unknown. Will it be October 15? Will it be September 15? . . . At this point, no one knows.”

Mathis has vowed to be back for Week One.

“We just want to make sure that he’s ready-ready when it’s time to go,” Irsay said. “He can come in, have a couple of years with us at this point in his career, and be the difference-maker he was.”

Two years ago, he was a difference maker indeed, with 19.5 sacks. At 34, he still may have some gas in the tank.

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Rams sign Isaiah Battle

Battle Getty Images

When the Colts signed a pair of third-round picks on Friday, all 2015 draft picks were under contract. On Monday, the entire 2015 supplemental draft class agreed to terms.

It was a class of one.

The Rams have announced that Clemson tackle Isaiah Battle is under contract, 18 days after being taken in the fifth-round of the supplemental selection process.

The Rams gave up their corresponding pick for 2016 to get Battle, and they undoubtedly gave Battle a slotted contract based on the contract given to the player taken in the same spot during the regular 2015 draft.

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Texans place Jadeveon Clowney on PUP list

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Getty Images

The Texans’ team doctor said recently that linebacker Jadeveon Clowney’s recovery from microfracture surgery has been “spectacular” but that’s enough for him to avoid the physically unable to perform list to start training camp.

The Texans have placed Clowney on the PUP list, which means he won’t be practicing with the team until they’ve had more time to make sure his knee is ready for a full workload. It also keeps open the possibility that the Texans could put him on the regular season version of the list if he’s not able to practice this summer.

That option would keep Clowney from rejoining the team for at least the first six weeks of the year, which is obviously not what the Texans would like but it’s the most prudent approach for a player coming off that kind of procedure.

The Texans also placed linebacker Akeem Dent on the PUP list. Offensive lineman David Quessenberry is on the non-football injury list as he continues to recover from lymphoma and wide receiver Alan Bonner is on the non-football injury list. All four players can be activated at any point during training camp.

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Buccaneers bring back defensive end Da’Quan Bowers

San Francisco 49ers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

The Buccaneers haven’t needed Da’Quan Bowers all offseason.

But now that camp’s about to start, they realized some depth at defensive end might not be bad to have.

The Bucs announced they had re-signed the free agent, who had sat on the market untouched all offseason.

Bowers, who might have been a top-10 pick before a knee injury in college derailed his career, was ultimately picked in the second round by the Bucs.

He’s responded with 7.0 sacks in four seasons, but could still contribute, as he’s versatile enough to play inside as well. But the fact they brought him back also speaks to their depth chart at the position, where Jacquies Smith and George Johnson are the starters.

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DUI arrest of former Colts QB generates massive blood-alcohol reading

Trudeau Getty Images

The headline is the former Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau was arrested for DUI. The real story is the amount of alcohol that was in his system at the time.

Via the Associated Press, portable breath-testing showed Trudeau’s blood-alcohol concentration to be 0.31 percent.

That’s nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and it’s at the low end of the “life threatening” range of alcohol poisoning.

The Sunday night arrest includes a charge of intimidating a police officer.

A second-round pick in 1986, Trudeau played for the Colts through 1993. He also spent time with the Jets and Panthers.

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Paolantonio says owners aren’t pressuring Goodell

Goodell AP

A Friday appearance by ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio on the Mighty 1090 in San Diego, coupled with prior reports suggesting that NFL owners are lobbying Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding appeal of the four-game suspension imposed on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, sparked Sunday’s statement from Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti that he’s not pressuring Goodell.

On Monday, Paolantonio appeared on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore to explain the situation in further detail. And, as some may characterize the remarks, to backpedal like Darrell Green in his prime.

“He hasn’t put any pressure on Roger Goodell,” Paolantonio said of Bisciotti. “And he hasn’t talked about DeflateGate at all, publicly or privately from what I was told. . . . Reports up in New England were that I said that owners were pressuring Goodell. . . . I never said that owners were pressuring Goodell. But what I said about Steve Bisciotti, I shouldn’t have even said that. Because it’s pretty clear when he read his statement, that it sounds like he doesn’t care what the Commissioner does. He just wants the Commissioner to act. . . .

“I think I was wrong to say what I said, because clearly it sounds like Steve Bisciotti doesn’t care. And what I was able to find out pretty clearly is that the owners are not pressuring Roger Goodell, at all. So I never would have reported that. And the other thing too is that it was not a report. It was just me talking on a radio station. It was my opinion, and it was speculation.”

Here’s what Paolantonio initially said on the Mighty 1090: “If they do vacate the suspension and exonerate Brady, then of course you’re totally undermining [executive V.P. of football operations] Troy Vincent . . . and you’re undermining the authority of the very Commissioner making the ruling, since he was the one that signed off on the initial four-game suspension in the first place. Not only that, you’re angering some of the hard core owners out there, And I know who they are, and I’m gonna name them right now. Jim Irsay of the Colts, Steve Bisciotti of the Ravens and others in the AFC who believe that the Patriots have gotten away with murder for years and have not been publicly punished properly.”

Paolantonio didn’t say that Bisciotti, Irsay, or anyone else was “pressuring” Goodell. Instead, Paolantonio said that Bisciotti and Irsay (and others) would be angered by a reduction. Some in the media apparently took the prior report that a small group of owners are pushing Goodell to uphold the suspension and the opinion/speculation/whatever from Paolantonio that Irsay and Bisciotti would be angered by a reduction as the parts of a two-piece puzzle.

And that would have been the easiest way for Paolantonio to explain the reaction to his comments from Friday.

Still, regardless of whether their potential anger with the outcome ever became affirmative pressure on Goodell, it’s possible that some owners would be angry with a reduction, but that those owners aren’t overtly pressuring Goodell.

It’s also possible that Bisciotti chose the term “pressure” in his Sunday statement not as a pun (although it was a good one) but in recognition of the possibility that he and other owners have merely communicated their views on the subject to the league office, without applying any “pressure” to the Commissioner.

Does anyone really think owners haven’t been lobbying the league office on this issue? One of the clearest points to emerge from the murky morass known as #DeflateGate is that teams piss and moan to 345 Park Avenue about so many issues that the league has gotten numb to the complaints. Otherwise, the league would have done a much better job checking the Patriots footballs only one day after the Colts complained about suspicions of underinflation. (At a minimum, referee Walt Anderson would have put two and two together when the balls went missing before the game, for the first time in his career.)

Likewise, does anyone think other owners were placated by the punishment imposed on the Patriots, and that they’ll all simply shrug if the Commissioner reduces or eliminates the Brady suspension? If that were the case, the suspension surely would have been reduced or eliminated by now.

With or without pressure, lobbying, or influence, the Commissioner understands the various pros and cons of his options. And that’s perhaps one of the reasons why he has yet to select one.

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Shane Ray declares himself “100 percent” healed from toe problem

Shane Ray AP

Broncos first-rounder Shane Ray fell to 23rd in the draft in part because of concerns about his health.

But the rookie outside linebacker said that won’t be the case when training camp opens, as the toe problem that plagued him through the offseason is behind him.

“I’m 100 percent—full go,” Ray said in comments distributed by the team. “All drills, 100 percent. The issue was that I didn’t have any time to rest during the pre-draft process and get the proper treatment. As soon as I got here, I got the things that I needed, the treatment that I needed and the orthotics that I needed, and my recovery happened like it was supposed to. Now it is not an issue.”

With that issue behind him, Ray said he’s ready to get back to “having fun.” He didn’t have as much of that this offseason, as the marijuana possession arrest just before the draft also contributed to his slide.

But the benefit of falling in the draft also meant he gets to work his way into the NFL behind a pair of productive veterans in DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, giving the Broncos a potentially explosive group of pass-rushers for new coordinator Wade Phillips to work with.

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Osi Umenyiora expected to sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

When the offseason was getting underway, Osi Umenyiora said that he had no plans to retire.

Whether because of a change of heart or lack of the desired interest level in his services around the league, it appears that Umenyiora has had a change of heart. Dan Graziano and Adam Caplan of ESPN reported Monday that Umenyiora is talking to the Giants about signing with the team, but not as an option to help them while Jason Pierre-Paul is healing. It will be a one-day contract to retire with the team he spent most of his career with and several other Giants beat writers have subsequently reported the same plan.

Umenyiora played for the Giants from 2003-2012 and recorded 75 sacks for the team as a defensive end. That’s good for fourth all-time in team history and Umenyiora also won a pair of Super Bowl rings during his time in New Jersey. Those highlights were interspersed with frequent complaints about his contract and/or role, but the sum total of Umenyiora’s time with the Giants were positive for both the team and the player.

He spent the last two seasons in Atlanta, recording 7.5 sacks in 2013 before slumping along with many other Falcons last season.

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Mike Pettine won’t close door on Terrelle Pryor playing QB down the road

Terrelle Pryor AP

When Terrelle Pryor was released by the Bengals last month, it led him to make a change that many people think is necessary for him to have a lasting career in the NFL.

Pryor decided to make the move from quarterback to wide receiver and promised to work as hard as possible to become a great wideout after landing with the Browns on waivers. Pryor’s pre-camp preparation has included workouts with Randy Moss, Josh Gordon and other receivers and coach Mike Pettine said Monday that Pryor is “1000 percent” focused on learning the position.

Pettine also said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that he wouldn’t close the door on Pryor making a move back to quarterback at some point in the future. The circumstances that would lead to such a reversal weren’t laid out, but having Pryor on the roster could allow the Browns to go with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and create a situation where he’d find himself back under center.

Pryor’s not likely to get much better as a quarterback while working as a receiver and the Browns probably wouldn’t have him at receiver if they thought he’d be a better option than the other quarterbacks on the roster, so it seems like an emergency would be the likeliest path back to a temporary return to the position.

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Jonathan Martin to retire

Jonathan Martin AP

Jonathan Martin, the offensive lineman who became a household name when he left the Miami Dolphins amid bullying in the locker room, has decided to retire.

Martin will file his retirement papers, in part because of a back injury that would have forced him to miss this season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The 25-year-old Martin was a second-round draft pick of the Dolphins in 2012 and started all 16 games for them as a rookie and seven more games in 2013 before the bullying incident, which caused a much-publicized investigation into the Dolphins’ locker room culture. Last year Martin started nine games for the 49ers, and this year he was claimed by the Panthers after the 49ers cut him.

Now Martin will walk away from the game, and begin a new chapter in his life.

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Manti Te’o feeling better, recognizing things more quickly

Manti Te'o, Eric Weddle AP

Manti Te’o was beginning to catch up to the game, when foot injuries caught up with him.

But the Chargers linebacker said he feels better physically and mentally now, which he hopes translates into an ability to recognize plays more quickly going into his third season.

“Oh, way faster — I can’t tell you how much different it is,” Te’o said, via Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It feels so comfortable out there, to finally be out there and just play ball. . . .

“I’m not being the guy being told things, I understand things on my own. Now I can help other people out. With that comes a lot of confidence and a lot of responsibility, and it’s something that I’m very appreciative to have.”

Of course, it would help to be on the field, as a pair of foot fractures limited his ability to stay on the field, which kept him from making the kind of impact he had hoped — or the Chargers had hoped.

“I’m doing everything that I can in my power, just working out, eating right, just trying to be in the best shape that I can,” he said. “And that’s all I can do — take care of my body and take care of my feet.”

By the end of the season, Te’o was playing solid football, giving him plenty of reason to look forward to the season, now that he knows what to look for.

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Norv Turner: The only evaluation of Bridgewater that matters is ours

Teddy Bridgewater AP

The offseason is full of media-generated rankings of teams, players and more designed to fill the time until there’s actual football to occupy our time.

ESPN has done a couple of rankings of the league’s quarterbacks and Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn’t do particularly well in either one. A poll of coaches and talent evaluators ranked Bridgewater at No. 23 while Ron Jaworski’s own list placed Bridgewater at No. 27 among the league’s signal callers.

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner doesn’t put much stock in those rankings or in any others that might be done by anyone outside the organization.”

“There’s only four or five guys I would trust in talking to about evaluating quarterbacks because I don’t think there are many guys that understand what you’re trying to do at the position and understand the evaluation process,” Turner said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “The one evaluation we care about is ours. And based on where we got to last year and where we think we’re going, I think we have a top flight quarterback.”

Turner pointed to the reaction to a pair of games against the Bills last season as illustrations of how outside evaluations can be lacking. When the Vikings lost to the Bills, Turner said that people asked what was wrong with Bridgewater and that a subsequent Bills win over the Packers led to praise for the Buffalo defense rather than criticism of Aaron Rodgers.

The argument isn’t that Bridgewater and Rodgers are on the same plane, but that all quarterbacks have off days and that the Vikings believe Bridgewater’s going to have less of them in his second season. We’ll find out if they’re right before too much longer.

UPDATE 2:52 p.m. ET: The original version of this post had Turner calling Bridgewater a “top-five quarterback” as reported by the Star-Tribune. The newspaper reached out to PFT to amend the quote to “top flight” after listening to tape of Turner’s comments again and editing the quote in their report.

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NFL reviewing Justin Hunter case

Tennessee Titans v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Titans receiver Justin Hunter has been arraigned for felonious assault in connection with an allegation that he punched a man, breaking his jaw and cracking a tooth. But so far neither the NFL nor the Titans have taken any action against Hunter.

Although the league has put some players on paid leave immediately when they are accused of violent crimes, all the NFL will say with Hunter is that they’re looking into the case.

The matter is under review,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Terry McCormick of 247 Sports. “That is the extent of what we can say at this point. . . . Can’t speculate on outcomes.”

Hunter has been something of a disappointment as a 2013 second-round draft pick: Although he’s a big-play threat, with an average of 18.5 yards a catch, he has just 46 catches for 852 yards and seven touchdowns. The Titans would like to see more from Hunter on the field, but it’s possible they’ll be seeing less from him, if his off-field actions lead to a suspension.

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Colt McCoy “fully supportive” of RGIII, but still confident he can start in NFL

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Getty Images

Quarterback Colt McCoy had the chance to sign with another team as a free agent this offseason, but he opted to return to Washington for a second season under head coach Jay Gruden.

McCoy would only say “possibly” when asked if he had opportunities elsewhere that would have given him a better chance at winning the starting job than he has with the Redskins, who have again anointed Robert Griffin III as their No. 1 quarterback while setting up McCoy and Kirk Cousins in a competition to be his backup. McCoy says he has no regrets about his decision and that he’s “fully supportive” of Griffin despite his belief that he’s capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.

“I don’t think I would be continuing to play if I didn’t believe in my heart that I could start every week in this league,” McCoy said on 980 ESPN, via the Washington Post. “I did it in Cleveland. Unfortunately, we just had a lot of inconsistency there and I shouldered the blame for a lot of that. … But at the same time, I can take those experiences, and I can take the things I learned when I was out in San Francisco for a year, and then I can take the starts I have under my belt last year and feel really confident moving forward.”

McCoy started four games last season and one of the things he’s likely learned in his stops around the league is that a quarterback who’s been benched once can wind up being benched again if they don’t show improvement. If Griffin stumbles again this year, McCoy will likely get one more chance to show that he should be someone’s first choice as a starter the next time around.

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Bills president Russ Brandon will also be president of Buffalo Sabres

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

After Saints owner Tom Benson bought the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, he increased Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis’s portfolio by making him the head of basketball operations as well.

Bills president Russ Brandon may be asking Loomis for some advice about handling jobs for two teams at the same time. Terry and Kim Pegula also own the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL and the Sabres announced on Monday that Brandon will take over as the president of the team.

“Since we purchased the Buffalo Bills last October, we have been highly impressed with the business acumen that Russ has shown with the Bills,” the Pegulas said in a statement. “Now is an appropriate time to give him additional responsibilities with the Sabres. Russ will work with Pegula Sports & Entertainment to create strong synergies between the Sabres and Bills. With Russ’ strong ties to the area business community and sponsorship partners, he will effectively position both organizations for future growth. We are grateful to [former president] Ted Black for all he has done for the Sabres organization and wish him much success in his future endeavors.”

Brandon’s future with the Bills appeared uncertain earlier this year when the team was involved in conversations with Bill Polian about a return to their front office, but he ultimately remained in broadcasting and Brandon appears to have broad support from the Pegulas.

Brandon will be responsible for the business and marketing operations of both teams while also working on ways to create synergy between the clubs in the future. Sabres General Manager Tim Murray will remain in his current role and continue to report to the Pegulas.

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