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Tuesday morning one-liners

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 27:  Max Bullough #53 of the Houston Texans wraps up Harry Douglas #83 of the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

When serving as a Bills assistant gets frustrating, Ed Reed hits golf balls.

An attempt to project Dolphins WR Kenny Stills‘ output for the coming season.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman will hold a football clinic for women.

The Jets will hold six public practices during training camp.

LB Zachary Orr is pushing for a starting job with the Ravens.

Kim Wood reminisces about his long run as the Bengals strength coach.

Browns LB Scooby Wright found some admirers during offseason work.

The Steelers spent about $1 million to restore a sculpture on one of Pittsburgh’s bridges.

TE Stephen Anderson generated some positive buzz with the Texans this spring.

Rookie LB Antonio Morrison’s toughness impressed the Colts heading into the draft.

The Jaguars picked a company to install new video displays at their stadium.

Will WR Harry Douglas make the Titans this year?

Running back for the Broncos seems a better career pursuit than portrait artist for C.J. Anderson.

Chiefs wide receivers Chris Conley and Albert Wilson hope working out with Jeremy Maclin leads to improvement.

Former Raiders LB Kirk Morrison shared some thoughts with the team’s rookies.

Chargers WR Tyrell Williams made a big first impression on the field last season.

Will WR Devin Street win a spot on the Cowboys roster?

Andre Williams is facing new competition in the Giants backfield.

Eagles LB Jordan Hicks is heading to the altar.

Confidence is rising for Redskins QB Kirk Cousins.

The Bears have 34 players left from last year’s opening roster.

Is Lions QB Matthew Stafford one of the league’s most overpaid players?

The Packers want RB John Crockett to take on a bigger role that includes special teams.

Mark Brunell thinks the Vikings are set up well for the coming season.

If CB C.J. Goodwin makes the Falcons, Mel Blount will get some credit for getting him on the NFL radar.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen’s 1969 Camaro sold to NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick for $100,000 at a charity auction.

Cooper Kupp, grandson of former Saints G Jake Kupp, could be a high draft pick in 2017 as a receiver.

The Buccaneers expect to make several roster tweaks in the next couple of months.

The relationship between Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and coach Bruce Arians is a strong one.

Linebackers coach Frank Bush was miked up for a recent Rams practice.

49ers LB Navorro Bowman had 500 kids at his football camp.

Marshawn Lynch is expected to be at Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s charity softball game next month.

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Rita Benson LeBlanc says she’ll still own part of Saints after settlement

LeBlanc Getty Images

Even after a settlement reached earlier this month between Saints owner Tom Benson and a group of his former heirs, the granddaughter who was effectively cut out of the will maintains she’ll still have a role.

Rita Benson LeBlanc, who was fired by her grandfather in December 2014, told Bruce Schoenfeld of Sports Business Daily that she’d always have some connection to the Saints and Pelicans.

“No matter what happens in the litigation,” she said, “I’ll still be a partial owner.”

Details of the settlement have been few. In fact, the settlement may have been hastened along specifically to keep details of the family businesses out of the public eye. But throughout the ugly family squabble, LeBlanc (who was fired along with her mother and her brother) has stayed out of the public eye.

She’s still involved in many local charitable affairs, but no longer attends league meetings or has any other apparent dealings with the team.

“I wouldn’t say I’m happy,” she said. “I’m fulfilled. I don’t have a private life. There’s miserable things in the press and miserable things that aren’t being reported. No family should have to go through this.”

The story details some of the uglier parts of the split with the family, and describes her as someone saddened by her loss of contact with other NFL owners as well as her grandfather. It’s not much of a peek behind the curtain at a woman who was the presumptive heir to the franchise, but it does underscore how bitter the squabble truly became.

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Irving Fryar released after 8 months of 5-year prison sentence

Irving Fryar, Allene McGhee AP

Former NFL wide receiver Irving Fryar is out of prison after serving just eight months of a five-year sentence for mortgage fraud.

Fryar was released this month and placed in New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program for nonviolent offenders, Philly.com reports.

At the time he was convicted of conspiring with his mother to defraud various lending institutions, Fryar was pastor at the New Jerusalem Church of God. He will return to that position now that he’s been released.

Fryar and his mom fraudulently used the same property to take out mortgages from multiple lenders. His mom got three years of probation.

The 53-year-old Fryar was an All-American at Nebraska, the first overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft and a five-time Pro Bowler for the Patriots, Dolphins and Eagles, although his off-field issues sometimes overshadowed his on-field excellence. He missed the AFC Championship Game in his second NFL season because he had injured his hand in a fight with his wife and was arrested on weapons charges a couple years after that. He retired after the 2000 season with 851 catches for 12,785 yards and 84 touchdowns.

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NFL making $10 million donation to sexual violence prevention groups

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The NFL is preparing to put its wallet behind efforts to end sexual violence.

According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, the league is going to announce $10 million in funding over the next five years to a group of non-profits working to prevent sexual violence.

“What I can’t stress enough is the potential for this progress and how excited we are to be standing behind these organizations because their goals are so lofty and this is such a huge moment in sexual violence. To be able to use these moments and actually make real change, it’s something that we really believe in,” Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility said. “The coalition really believes they can end sexual violence in a generation and they’ve convinced the NFL that they can do it, and that’s really huge and exciting and something that we’re going to be watching closely and following for many years.”

Of course, the league’s going to have to convince plenty of people they’re serious about the efforts, after Ray Rice initially drew a two-game suspension for punching his wife in the face — before video of the incident emerged and caused them to handle such matters more seriously.

The new donations are going to a group called Raliance, a coalition between the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

The NFL met with the NSVRC after the Rice and Greg Hardy situations, and helped to fund sexual assault hotlines. Now, they’re taking a step to become a more active partner with the groups trying to bring changes in patterns of behavior, hopefully doing more than writing a check.

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Bills are in no hurry to build a new stadium

GettyImages-493260416.0 Getty Images

The league is nudging the Bills to begin the process of replacing Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills aren’t budging, yet.

“We have not met and discussed anything relative to all the noise,” Bills president Russ Brandon said regarding a public and private group formed previously for discussing a new stadium, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. “We have not met since April [2014], right after Ralph [Wilson] passed away, on a new stadium. . . . We’re going to take a very slow, quantitative, objective view on what makes sense.”

Here’s what makes sense: With the national mood (except in Las Vegas) changed dramatically when it comes to subsidizing billionaires with taxpayer money for football stadiums, any effort to force the issue now would likely force ownership to pay for most of it themselves — which would force them to consider the basic nuts-and-bolts business decision regarding whether to pay for their own stadium in one of the smallest markets in the league, or whether to pay for their own stadium in a considerably larger market.

Carruci points out that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has criticized the NFL for pushing the Bills to build a new stadium that would generate all sorts of new revenue, in theory. Brandon isn’t sure that a new stadium would have that effect.

“The key is to realize that we are not L.A.,” Brandon said. “We are not Atlanta. We’re not Minneapolis. People say, ‘Oh, we’re very similar to Minneapolis.’ They have 28 Fortune 500 companies in that community. We have zero. We have to be a regional operation. We know that. That’s proven.”

The absence of a large corporate presence means that there will be far fewer buyers for high-end products like suites.

“With a new stadium comes new economics,” Brandon added. “And with new economics comes a public-private partnership, [Personal Seat Licenses], a lot of infrastructure cost. So we have to look at it in a very macro view and make sure that, as a community and as an organization, that there’s a partnership that exists that makes sense.”

That’s another way of saying that the Bills won’t be building a new stadium without taxpayer money. With taxpayer money currently harder to come by, the Bills aren’t willing to force the issue at a time when the issue could force the team out of town. If/when the Bills believe sufficient public money is available, that’s when a new stadium would likely be pursued.

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Medicinal marijuana advocates speak with NFLPA officials

NFLPA

The medicinal marijuana movement started by former Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe seems to be gaining some steam, and they’re trying to pick up a significant ally in the process.

According to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, one of the doctors Monroe’s working with the advocate research into cannabidiols as a pain management option has talked to NFLPA officials about their role in advancing the cause.

Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said he spoke with Nyaka Niilampti, the union’s director of player wellness. Much like a recent call with a pair of NFL medical officials, the session was informational, offering background on their research and the possible benefits.

“It’s really with the PA more than it is the league at this point, because they’re the ones from whom we need help,” Bonn-Miller said. “They’re in the process of circling back around to us to continue the conversation about whether they can help us out.”

Monroe, a growing number of former players and now Titans outside linebacker Derrick Morgan has been beating the drum for more research into compounds called CBDs as an option to the league’s use of opioid pain-killers.

But the researchers hope that adding the NFLPA in their fight against an NFL that has seemed hesitant at best to change their view on anything regarding marijuana (which is legal in two of the 31 cities they do business in).

“Our conversation with the NFL and Players Association has not been about policy,” Bonn-Miller said. “They are reaching out to us to learn more about the research. That’s honestly the most I could ask for at this point — a productive dialogue.”

It’s at least a first step, but getting the players union on board would likely only embolden more players to become advocates, as Monroe and Morgan have.

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Sexual assault trial of C.J. Spillman to begin Monday

C.J. Spillman Getty Images

Former NFL cornerback C.J. Spillman will finally be tried on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2014 incident at the team hotel of the Dallas Cowboys.

According to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, Spillman’s trial is set to begin Monday at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, Tex.

Spillman was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Tex. on Sept. 20, 2014. Spillman wasn’t officially charged until June 30, 2015 and Spillman played the remainder of the 2014 season with the Cowboys while charges were pending.

He has not been on an NFL roster since the conclusion of the 2014 season.

The charges against Spillman are for second degree felony sexual assault, which could bring between two and 20 years in prison, if convicted.

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Alan Roach to leave Broncos to become Vikings public address announcer

microphonegetty Getty Images

After 16 years as public address announcer of the Denver Broncos, Alan Roach is returning home to Minnesota to become the public address announcer of the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

In a post on his own website, Roach announced the move back to his Minnesota roots.

“Having grown up in Minnesota my entire childhood, the Minnesota Vikings have always provided for me what I see in the eyes of Bronco’s fans,” Roach wrote. ” I was raised and trained as a Bronco, but long ago I was born a Viking.  I will become the PA announcer at the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the Minnesota Vikings starting this August.  I’ll be living a dream!”

Roach joined the Broncos in 1999 after the consecutive Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 1998. He’s worked with the Broncos, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rockies, and four Winter Olympics. He also served as the public address announcer for eight straight Super Bowls beginning with Super Bowl XL in 2005 between the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers, and concluding with Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.

Roach is originally from Slayton, Mn.

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Jaelen Strong, George Atallah join Tuesday’s PFT Live

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 09:  Jaelen Strong #11 of the Houston Texans makes a catch against Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at NRG Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

Slow time or not, there’s still plenty happening in the NFL. On Tuesday morning, we’ll devote three hours (as we do every weekday morning) to reviewing all of the latest in the sport that never has any actual downtime — even in the down time.

Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio includes visits from Texans receiver Jaelen Strong and NFLPA spokesman George Atallah.

Strong, who recently conducted a football camp in Philadelphia, will talk about the improvements he has made entering his second season and the team’s prospects with a new starting quarterback in the fold.

Atallah’s appearance is tied to the ongoing dispute over the investigation sparked by the Al Jazeera PED allegations. We’ve also invited the NFL to have someone address the situation, either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Later in the week, we’ll have Cardinals president Michael Bidwill and Cardinals running back David Johnson, both of whom will discuss the NFL Films All or Nothing series that debuts Friday on Amazon.com.

All PFT Live shows are available via podcast at iTunes or audioBoom. Subscribe now, and all shows will be delivered to your chosen device for listening at your leisure.

But don’t be too leisurely. With three hours of new content every day, you’ve got to keep up.

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Report: Lombardi’s split from Patriots may not have been mutual

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When word first emerged that former Brown G.M. Mike Lombardi no longer is working for the Patriots, it was suggested that the split was mutual. A new report suggests that it may not have been as mutual as initially believed.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes that an unnamed league source characterized the move as Lombardi wanting to stay but the Patriots choosing not to renew his contract.

Volin suggests that the Patriots’ decision to move on coincided with the conclusion of Lombardi’s Cleveland contract. The Patriots, in theory, could have paid Lombardi a relatively small amount, with the Browns on the hook for the difference between the amount received from the Patriots and the amount that Lombardi was due to receive from the Browns.

Also, Volin writes that it’s believed Lombardi had only one ally in the building — coach Bill Belichick — and Volin contends that Lombardi’s contributions over the last two years were “a bit overstated.”

Lombardi worked in the media before joining the Browns and then the Patriots. He’s believed to be looking for work in the media again.

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Lawyer says Skuta was the victim, not the aggressor

dan-skuta2

The lawyer representing Jaguars linebacker Dan Skuta has done something far more conventional than accidentally text strategic secrets to the media. Mark NeJame has declared his client’s innocence.

NeJame told TMZ that the allegation of Skuta shoving the head of a woman who refused to provide her phone number into a window was made up.

“Eyewitnesses who we have already received statements from in our initial investigation will attest that Dan was alongside his girlfriend when this fabricated event supposedly took place,” NeJame said.

Skuta contends, via NeJame, that the accuser and another female were harassing Skuta and his group.

“Dan was then struck in the face by one of the women, as is evidenced by his mugshot which clearly shows where he was struck,” NeJame said.

The mugshot does indeed show Skuta with an abrasion under his right eye.

“Dan never placed his hands on anyone,” NeJame said.

That explanation may indeed be persuasive to a judge or a jury, but it didn’t keep Skuta from being arrested. If the version from Skuta’s lawyer is accurate, Skuta eventually should get off scot-free.

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Cowboys feel good about depth of their wide receiver group

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 27:  Cole Beasley #11 of the Dallas Cowboys runs after the catch past Ron Brooks #33 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 27, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the subject of wide receivers has come up around the Cowboys this offseason, the conversation usually tilts to Dez Bryant’s recovery from a pair of surgeries and his prospects for turning in a healthier season than he had in 2015.

Bryant isn’t the only wideout on the roster, however, and the Cowboys would like to see some of their other receivers thrive as part of the effort to turn things around from last year. The team didn’t make any big moves at the position this offseason, but it’s clear from wide receivers coach Derek Dooley’s take on Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Vince Mayle, Lucky Whitehead and Devin Street that they don’t see that as a problem.

Dooley called the group the deepest “top-to-bottom” that the team has employed since he joined the staff in 2013, an assessment that was met with agreement by Beasley.

“We’ve had some good groups, but this one has been a really good one, just as far as obviously talent, but guys knowing what to do and really studying and taking it upon themselves to learn everything,” Beasley said, via the Dallas Morning News.

As much as the Cowboys might like their depth, the group without Bryant isn’t one that’s going to strike much fear into opposing defenses. It’s good news for them, then, that Bryant is on track to be all systems go at training camp.

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Aaron Hernandez friend pleads guilty to accessory charge in Odin Lloyd murder

Carlos Ortiz AP

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd in April 2015 and sentenced to life in prison.

One of the friends that helped Hernandez on the June 2013 night he killed Lloyd in Massachusetts is headed behind bars as well. Carlos Ortiz faced charges of first-degree murder and accessory to murder after the fact for his role in that night’s activities and plead guilty to the latter charge on Monday.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn announced that Ortiz has been sentenced to 4.5-7 years in prison. Hernandez’s other accomplice, Ernest Wallace, was found guilty of the same charge earlier this year and received the same sentence.

Prosecutors said Ortiz and Wallace were in a car with Hernandez when they picked up Lloyd and drove him to an industrial park so Hernandez could shoot him. The Associated Press reports Ortiz told the judge in his case that he saw Hernandez and Lloyd walk off together, heard a shot and then Hernandez returned to the car alone.

Hernandez still faces charges in a 2012 double murder in Boston. He has pleaded not guilty.

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Tony Grossi see Robert Griffin as “underwhelming” in offseason workouts

BEREA, OH - APRIL 21, 2016: Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Cleveland Browns drops back to pass during a voluntary mini camp on April 21, 2016 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Robert Griffin III Getty Images

The Browns have yet to hand quarterback Robert Griffin III the starting job, because they want him to earn it. If he truly is required to earn it, the question now becomes whether he actually will.

Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com has covered the Browns for decades. He shared his assessment of Griffin’s first offseason with the Browns during a Monday appearance on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio.

“Well, if he was looking fantastic you’d be hesitant to overstate it during the OTA and minicamp season,” Grossi said. “I mean, it’s touch football and Hue Jackson constantly reminds everyone of that. But the fact is he’s been underwhelming in that environment and I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or it’s just a sign that they haven’t started playing real football yet. He is learning a new offense. First of all he is healthy, he’s very healthy. He looks physically like the old Robert Griffin in that he’s moving great, he can zing the ball pretty well, but that’s just the first step. So I guess the positive is that he looks very healthy and we’ll have to see when they go to camp July 29th is if he’s really taken advantage of the minicamp season and learned the offense because he has been underwhelming.”

Griffin has been overwhelming in one specific way: When throwing the ball away, he has thrown it over a high fence on multiple occasions. Should fans wonder whether this is Griffin’s way of expressing displeasure with the fact that he’s being repeatedly told to throw the ball away?

“Well, I had that concern and I’d been watching that also,” Grossi said. “I’ve been covering practices at their facility for, they’ve been there since the ’90s in that location, I’ve never seen a quarterback throw the ball over the fence and they doubled the height of the fence this year to 16 feet. This is the first quarterback I’ve seen throw the ball in the neighborhood yard. So there’s a concern because it’s almost another ‘look at me’ moment there on the practice field for [Griffin].

“Hue Jackson had talked of [Griffin’s] humbleness and all that when he interviewed him for two days. Not only has [Griffin] thrown the ball over the fence, on a number of occasions he’s done the slide, he’s done the stand-up slide and jumped up and shouted, ‘Who says I can’t slide?’ and stuff like that. You know, if you’re on the team and you’re the coaching staff who’s aware of his background, you’re cringing at that because you don’t want to see that. You don’t see [Tom] Brady and [Peyton] Manning and the great ones doing those little ‘look at me’ moments. Maybe he’s just having fun in the drudgery of minicamp, but it’s something to watch as training camp begins later in July.”

The Browns are trying to change Griffin’s mechanics, and they also are surely trying to strip him of the sense of entitlement that was created the moment Washington traded up to the No. 2 spot in the draft four-plus years ago to take him. If he’s going to become a successful quarterback on a consistent basis, Griffin needs to eradicate both sets of flaws.

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Monte Kiffin, Wade Phillips win Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman award

Wade Phillips AP

In this week’s installment his weekly column for TheMMQB.com, Peter King took some time to update readers on how his former Sports Illustrated colleague and legendary football writer Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman is doing after suffering a series in strokes in 2008.

Zimmerman, who lives at an assisted living facility in New Jersey, has unfortunately not been able to resume the writing career that made him an essential part of the football landscape for so many years. That place in the landscape is honored each year when the Pro Football Writers of America present an award in his name to recognize the lifetime achievement of NFL assistant coaches.

The PFWA announced on Monday that Monte Kiffin and Wade Phillips are this year’s winners.

Kiffin was out of coaching last year, but returns to the NFL with the Jaguars as a senior defensive assistant this season. It’s the seventh team he’s worked for in a career that began as a graduate assistant at Nebraska in 1966 and reached its pinnacle when he constructed the Buccaneers defense that helped the team to the Super Bowl XXXVII title in January 2003.

Phillips joined Kiffin as a Super Bowl winner this February when his Broncos unit stifled the Panthers on the way to the third championship in franchise history. The ring was something Phillips was chasing since taking a job on his father Bum’s staff with the Oilers in 1976, which makes getting it pretty sweet even if the name on the bauble was initially incorrect.

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