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David Bruton retires after eight seasons

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Safety David Bruton’s 2016 season came to an end after four games because of a concussion and those four contests will be the final ones of his NFL career.

Bruton was released by the Redskins in December and had a workout with the Ravens, but said his heart wasn’t in it after suffering six concussions and dealing with other injuries over the course of his career. That meant it was time to follow a new path and the former Bronco has enrolled at the University of Colorado-Denver to pursue a future as a physical therapist.

“I’m burnt-out, definitely worry about my health,” Bruton said, via ESPN.com. “Another season was cut short by a concussion [in 2016] — that’s six. I’m a guy who likes to use his brain. Especially back in school, I need as many brain cells as possible with all these science classes. It came down to health, and I’ve definitely had my time in the league. I’m ready to move on.”

Bruton was a fourth-round pick by the Broncos in 2009 and spent seven years with the team as a core member of their special teams units. He was part of their Super Bowl team after the 2015 season, but did not play in the win over the Panthers due to a fractured fibula.

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Mike Glennon trying to stay in the moment

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In May, Bears quarterback Mike Glennon was asked about the team trading up to draft Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick of the draft and Glennon said that “this year is my year” and that he isn’t worrying about anything beyond the 2017 season.

Not worrying isn’t exactly the same as not thinking, however. Glennon signed a three-year contract in Chicago this offseason, but the presence of a highly drafted rookie at the same position is a hard thing to ignore no matter how hard you might try.

“I’m sure my mind will wander; that’s just being a human,” Glennon told the Chicago Sun-Times. “But whenever I feel that, I’m going to try to bring myself back down to the present. The biggest thing is just staying in the moment. When you worry about the future, it creates unnecessary stress. And a lot of those thoughts will be negative rather than positive.”

Glennon’s time in Chicago may have an expiration date, but he also has an opportunity to play and show he’s capable of leading an NFL offense. If he does, his future in the league will look pretty bright even if the uniform he’ll be wearing is uncertain.

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Monday morning one-liners

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What will the Bills do with DT Adolphus Washington?

Dolphins WR DeVante Parker enters the 2017 season with high expectations.

A look at the Patriots’ backfield options.

A Jets-eye view of the AFC East.

The Ravens are looking for a few good options on offense.

Which Bengals are in line for extensions?

Breaking down the Browns’ wide receivers.

A review of the football camps run by several Steelers players this offseason.

It’s shaping up to be a pivotal year for Texans WR Jaelen Strong.

Frank Gore is back for another year atop the Colts running back depth chart.

The Jaguars have questions along their offensive line.

What can the Titans expect from their defensive linemen?

The Broncos quarterback competition is heating up again.

Five things to keep an eye on as the Chiefs start training camp.

John Pagano’s impact on the Raiders defense is something to watch as the 2017 season unfolds.

Should the Chargers consider bringing back WR Vincent Jackson?

The Cowboys believe QB Dak Prescott is committed to raising his game.

Will Giants coach Ben McAdoo back up S Landon Collinsbig talk?

Everything to look forward to during Eagles training camp.

A projected 53-man roster for the Redskins.

Checking out the Bears’ inside linebacker options.

Who will step forward in the Lions backfield?

Breaking down the Packers’ outside linebackers.

The Vikings hope their rookies can hit the ground running this year.

Will Falcons QB Matt Ryan repeat last year’s success?

Tracking expectations for Panthers QB Cam Newton.

Running through the top Saints position battles.

There will be new murals of Buccaneers players at Raymond James Stadium this year.

The Cardinals are looking for a No. 2 cornerback.

Sean McVay is embarking on his first season as the Rams head coach.

The 49ers could use Carlos Hyde and Joe Williams as a 1-2 punch out of the backfield.

S Earl Thomas‘ return to health is expected to lift the Seahawks defense.

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Mike Zimmer expects Teddy Bridgewater to start camp on PUP list

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The Vikings have been encouraged by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s return from last year’s traumatic knee injury. But they know he’s not quite ready for a full workload as camp opens.

According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he expected Bridgewater would open camp on the physically unable to perform list.

“I think so, but again I haven’t seen him,” Zimmer said.

Bridgewater suffered a torn ACL and a dislocated knee in practice last August. He’s done some work with teammates during spring drills, and recently posted a workout photo without a knee brace.

He’s expected into camp Wednesday, at which point Zimmer can make a more detailed assessment, but Bridgewater not being ready at this point was fairly #asexpected.

Players can be activated from the PUP at any point during camp. If they stay on the list through the start of the regular season, it would rule him out for at least the first six weeks.

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Browns may make Duke Johnson their No. 1 slot receiver

AP

Cleveland’s Duke Johnson is a running back, but he’s had more receiving yards than rushing yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. In his third season, he may not be a running back at all.

Johnson is the leading candidate to be the Browns’ No. 1 slot receiver, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Last year Andrew Hawkins was the No. 1 slot receiver in Cleveland, but he left for New England in free agency.

As one of the few bright spots in Cleveland’s offense last season, Johnson caught 53 passes for 514 yards and ran 73 times for 358 yards.

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Antonio Brown talked to Le’Veon Bell, declares: “We need him”

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While some close to Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell are pointing out that he may not show up for training camp without a new contract, others are making sure the Steelers know how important he is to the process.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown said he spoke to Bell on the phone for two hours Saturday night, and though the conversation was “top secret,” Brown emphasized how necessary Bell was to their offense.

We need him. I need him,” Brown said. “If we’re going to do what we desire to do, we need every guy a part of the organization in a helmet to be there committed to the cause. He’s a special piece. Obviously, we know what he brings to the team, his dimension playing football, but he’s a special individual. I pray that we have him there.”

Bell hasn’t signed his $12.12 million franchise tender, which means he’s not subject to fines if he doesn’t show up for camp.

That’s not the only open question surrounding Brown. His receiving partner Martavis Bryant is back, after missing 20 games the last two seasons because of drug-related suspensions. Brown said that Bryant was “hopefully” their missing piece.

“I just encourage him, support him, push him to be the best,” Brown said.

He’s also pushing the Steelers, in his own way, to pay Bell and keep him happy.

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Who’s most responsible for Packers underachieving with Aaron Rodgers?

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PFT Live returns at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio (7:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN), and with camps opening throughout the week we have a question regarding a team that last won a Super Bowl seven seasons ago.

Who’s the most responsible for the Packers underachieving with quarterback Aaron Rodgers?

It’s a poll question this time around, with several choices below (including the opportunity to say they haven’t underachieved at all). It’s a topic Chicago-centric Barstool Big Cat will surely enjoy when he joins the show for the final two hours, although he probably wishes the Bears had underachieved as much as the Packers have over the past seven years.

Make your pick in the poll, make your case in the comments, and join us for our first show back in one month and one day.

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Cowboys hope to have extension for Zack Martin before camp ends

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The Cowboys hope to have a contract extension with Zack Martin completed during training camp. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said he expects to meet with Martin’s agent, Tom Condon, while in Southern California.

“We’d love to get Zack Martin done,” Jones said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We’ve made that real clear, and we’ll be going to work on him. I think he’s an important part of our future. He represents everything we want our players to be about. He’s not only a great player on the field, he’s a great person off the field. We’ll be hard at it, trying to do it.

“At the same time, it’s important. It’s going to be a big number, as we all know, and it has to be right in terms of not only for us, but for him. I feel confident that we’ll get something worked out.”

The Cowboys signed their other two All-Pro offensive linemen — left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick — to contract extensions during recent training camps. So it’s a good bet the Cowboys will get Martin locked up before they head home Aug. 18.

Martin likely becomes the highest-paid guard in the NFL, topping Cleveland’s Kevin Zeitler, who has a five-year, $60 million deal.

Martin enters the fourth year of his four-year, $8.968 million rookie deal due to make $1.643 million in base salary this season. The Cowboys exercised their fifth-year club option on Martin, putting him in line to make $9.3 million in 2018 if the sides can’t agree on an extension.

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Larry Fitzgerald not thinking 2017 is his last, while acknowledging it could be

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Larry Fitzgerald turns 34 next month. The Cardinals receiver reported to his 14th training camp still going strong, having caught 107 passes for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns last season.

I can still play at a high level,” Fitzgerald said Sunday, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “If my number is called, I can still make a play.”

Fitzgerald made it clear he isn’t going into this season thinking it’s his last, but he acknowledged it could be. He wants to decide on his own terms when he walks away, pointing to Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and NBA player Tim Duncan as examples.

“The end is never really pretty for elite athletes,” Fitzgerald said. “It never looks good for the most time. You watch Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards uniform or see Tony Dorsett playing for the Denver Broncos or Shaquille O’Neal playing for the Boston Celtics. It’s weird because you’re used to seeing them play at their most dominant stage, or Willie Mays running around with bad knees 20 years in. It’s not pretty. But for me, I really want to be able to play and do things at a high level and be able to walk away and still be someone who can play at a high level.”

With 1,125 receptions for 14,389 yards and 104 touchdowns, Fitzgerald already has Canton numbers. What he lacks is a championship. He played in Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.

“That’s huge,” Fitzgerald said of winning a title. “That’s the only reason I’m playing at this point. From a personal standpoint and the things I’ve accomplished, they’re fine. But the thing that you will say is out of you control because you’re in a team sport, is a championship.”

Coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer’s futures after this season are uncertain, too, but Fitzgerald said that won’t play a part in whether he returns in 2018.

“I don’t really make any decisions based on anybody else,” Fitzgerald said. “I never really have. I don’t know what the future holds. That’s why this year is so much more important because we don’t have to think about what we’re doing after Feb. 4. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the day until then and how we can improve and get better and do what we need to do to give ourselves an opportunity to just get into the playoffs and possibly win the division and try to win the NFC championship game and get to the Super Bowl.

“That’s really what’s important. The long term doesn’t mean anything at this point.”

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Jerry Jones dismisses allegations from Ezekiel Elliott’s accuser

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The initial quotes that emerged from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ Sunday remarks to the media suggested that he attached no credibility to the accusations made against running back Ezekiel Elliott. Other quotes make it obvious that Jones has decided that the alleged victim simply isn’t telling the truth.

“My opinion is there’s not even an issue over he said/she said,” Jones said, via Todd Archer of ESPN.com. “There’s not even an issue there.”

Given that the alleged victim clearly believes something happened, it’s clear Jones doesn’t believe her. More accurately, it’s clear Jones believes Elliott.

And that’s the way this one will go, truth be damned. Those who want to see Elliott on the field for the Cowboys will be inclined to believe him, those who don’t like the Cowboys will be inclined to believe the alleged victim, and whatever actually happened doesn’t matter because there’s only two people who know for sure and they’re locked in to their versions of the events.

A full-blown he said/she said hasn’t really emerged yet, because the “she” in that equation has yet to go public with specific claims and contentions against Elliott. Jones’ decision to publicly dismiss her story could potentially prompt her to react by telling her story, fully and completely.

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Eagles make moves as camp opens

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The Eagles commence the process of digging out of the NFC East basement, where they landed with a respectable 7-9 record, by making some moves before the opening of camp.

Gone is cornerback Dwayne Gratz, who joined the team last December. His roster spot was taken by quarterback Dane Evans, who has now officially signed with the team, several weeks after agreeing to terms.

Also, the Eagles have placed cornerback Sidney Jones and defensive tackle Beau Allen on the active/non-football injury list. Jones was drafted in April while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered at his Pro Day workout. Allen suffered a torn pectoral muscle while working out on his own in April.

The overriding question for both players will be whether they move to the active roster before Week One. If not, they’ll be required to spend at least six weeks of the regular season on the NFI list.

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DeAndre Hopkins expected to report to Texans camp unlike Duane Brown

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While the impasse between the Texans and left tackle Duane Brown likely will continue into training camp, receiver DeAndre Hopkins will report, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Hopkins held out one day last year as he seeks a new contract.

Negotiations on a long-term deal for the Pro Bowl receiver have been quiet as the Texans head to camp, according to Wilson, but both sides are highly motivated to reach an agreement.

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown signed a four-year, $68 million deal that included a $19 million signing bonus in the offseason. Brown’s $17 million average tops all NFL receivers, with A.J. Green making $15 million a year, Julio Jones $14.3 million a year and Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas both at $14 million a year.

Brown, though, is expected to continue to stay away after skipping the voluntary offseason program. The collective bargaining agreement allows for fines of $40,000 for each day missed.

Brown’s deal has two years remaining, including a non-guaranteed base salary of $9.65 million this season. The Texans have an unofficial policy not to renegotiate deals with two years left, with J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson being the exceptions.

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Eagles still expected to cut Ryan Mathews, but not at this moment

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The Eagles are still expected to cut Ryan Mathews, but just not yet, as they attempt to save some cash.

According to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News, the veteran running back is expected to hang around the roster for another few weeks, even though he isn’t expected to take the field.

Rookies, quarterbacks and veterans coming off injuries reported to Eagles camp Sunday. Since Mathews is coming off neck disk surgery, he’s not going to be on the field for practice Monday, or probably not ever.

If the Eagles cut him with a failed physical designation now, they’d be on the hook for $1.1 million. If they cut him later when he’s ready to pass a physical, they’d still eat the $1 million in dead money against the cap, but wouldn’t have to pay him if he passes a physical. His doctors apparently want to reevaluate him in August, so the Eagles seem inclined to wait.

They’ve moved on already, in terms of the depth chart. They signed veteran running back LeGarrette Blount, and drafted Donnell Pumphrey in the fourth round.

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Steve Atwater rejoins Broncos, in multiple roles

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One of the greatest defensive players in Broncos history has returned to the team.

Safety Steve Atwater will become both an insider for the team-owned website and the fan development manager, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Atwater, 50, spent 10 years with the team, winning a pair of Super Bowls and making it to the Pro Bowl eight teams. He was one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year.

He also was responsible for one of the most memorable hits in league history, flattening monstrous Chiefs running back Christian Okoye.

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Sam Bradford feels more comfortable in Vikings offense this year

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Though it was hard to tell, Sam Bradford struggled to learn what was expected of him last year.

But even with a mid-season change at coordinator complicating his hi-nice-to-meet-you first season with the Vikings, Bradford still set a record for highest completion percentage (71.6) in league history.

The good news is, he feels a little more settled this year.

“Obviously last year was pretty unique, I have never been in that situation, and I don’t think many people have been in that situation,” Bradford told Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But just to be here this offseason, to be able to go through the program, go through the meetings, the installs, really sit down and learn this offense and what we’re trying to do, it’s a much better situation than showing up here however many days, eight or nine, before the first game last year and trying to learn everything on the fly.”

While the trade from the Eagles just before the season was a shock to him, he benefited from the next change, as his background with Pat Shurmur eased the next transition after the departure of Norv Turner.

“I think the later we got in the year the better I felt with it,” Bradford said. “Obviously going through the change that we did kind of halfway through the season, having worked with Pat, I think that really helped me just because we have a really good relationship and I felt like we were able to communicate. Towards the end of the year I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on things.”

He responded with career highs in passer rating (99.3) and passing yards (3,877), but enters another season with uncertainty looming over him. Between the fact he’s entering the last year of his contract and the recovery of former starter Teddy Bridgewater from last year’s traumatic knee injury, Bradford knows there’s little beyond the immediate in his control, which makes familiar surroundings a good thing.

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