Robert Kraft gives Donald Trump a Super Bowl ring

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Once upon a time, Vladimir Putin decided to walk away with one of Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl rings. Donald Trump didn’t have to be so bold.

Via Tom Curran of CSN New England, Kraft gave Trump a Super Bowl LI ring, commemorating the Patriots victory over the Falcons.

But it wasn’t Kraft’s ring. Instead, it was an extra ring that was presented because the Patriots were the first championship team to visit the White House since Trump became the 45th President of the United States.

Curran’s report clarifies a suggestion from THE MOOCH that Kraft give his own ring to Trump.

Leonard Fournette, Marqise Lee, A.J. Bouye won’t play in game this week

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Running back Leonard Fournette, receiver Marqise Lee and cornerback A.J. Bouye will not play for the Jaguars in their dress rehearsal against the Panthers on Thursday night, coach Doug Marrone said Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Marrone also ruled out running back T.J. Yeldon (hamstring) and tight end Mychal Rivera (hand).

Fournette’s last practice came Aug. 12, with a left foot injury keeping him out since. Lee injured his right ankle Aug. 13. Both expect to play in the season opener against the Texans, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, with Fournette reporting his foot is “most definitely” better than last week.

It’s very frustrating,” Fournette said. “You want to be out there with your team and your boys and just compete. I’m working my way back.”

Bouye’s injury has not been disclosed, but it kept him out of the first two preseason games as well.

Colts’ roster moves include signing CBs Chris Culliver, Corey White

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The Colts signed free agent cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Corey White. They placed cornerback Darryl Morris on injured reserve and waived Blake Muir with an injury designation. If Muir clears waivers, he will revert to the team’s injured reserve list.

Culliver, 29, has played in 52 career games, with 26 starts. He has made 137 tackles, seven interceptions, 34 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his time with Miami (2016), Washington (2015) and San Francisco (2011-14).

He has played in five postseason games, with two starts, making 21 tackles and an interception and defensing four passes.

Culliver originally was selected by the 49ers in the third round (80th overall) of the 2011 draft out of South Carolina.

White, 27, has played in 66 career games, with 24 starts. He has made 151 tackles, six interceptions and 22 pass breakups in his time with Buffalo (2016), Arizona (2015), Dallas (2015) and New Orleans (2012-14).

He has played in two postseason contests, with two starts, making eight tackles.

White originally was selected by the Saints in the fifth round (162nd overall) of the 2012 draft out of Samford.

Morris has played in 48 career games, with three starts, making 73 tackles, 12 pass breakups and two interceptions in his time with the Colts (2016), Texans (2014-15) and 49ers (2013).

Muir signed with the Colts as a free agent on May 15. He spent time on the practice squads of Atlanta and Green Bay as a rookie in 2016.

Scott Tolzien “didn’t play bad” hardly a ringing endorsement from Chuck Pagano

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Andrew Luck‘s absence has shown the Colts two things: They are a one-man team, and Scott Tolzien isn’t the answer. Coach Chuck Pagano seemed to be talking himself into believing Tolzien “didn’t play bad” against the Cowboys on Saturday night, using the phrase three times in a three-sentence answer.

Scotty didn’t play bad,” Pagano said, via Mike Wells of ESPN. “Scotty didn’t play bad. It takes 11 guys hitting on all cylinders offensively, defensively and special teams, so Scotty did not play bad.”

But Tolzien didn’t play good, either.

He remains the starter for now after completing 12 of 19 passes for 94 yards and no touchdowns in two preseason games.

Luck remains on the physically unable to perform list, making it less and less likely by the day that he will be ready for the season opener against the Rams.

Stephen Morris has put up the best numbers so far among the team’s four quarterbacks, completing 24 of 35 passes for 205 yards while leading the Colts to their only two touchdowns of the preseason while playing in the fourth quarter. He took second-team snaps in practice Monday ahead of rookie Phillip Walker, according to Wells.

Pagano didn’t rule out Morris supplanting Tolzien, saying, “We’ve got two preseason games left” when asked why Tolzien is starting ahead of Morris.

Belichick unfazed by removal of intermediate cuts


In past years, NFL teams cut the rosters twice, from 90 to 75 and then from 75 to 53. This year, the deadline comes in one fell swoop, with all rosters dropping by 37 spots on the same day.

For Patriots coach Bill Belichick, it’s no big deal.

“I mean, it’s not that much different than what it was before,” Belichick told reporters on Monday. “I mean, a lot of the guys that went at the 75 cut — I mean, the better players came from 75 to 53 than from 90 to 75. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

He also rebuffed the notion that players on the roster bubble should regard the extra opportunities as being any more important.

“Every day’s important,” he said. “Every opportunity is important. Hopefully, everybody’s taking advantage of all of them, no matter what their situation is — you know, for roster spots, for playing time, for preparation for the season. I mean, it’s all important to me. . . . I don’t think there’s any switch that flips. There’s just different stages that we go through. Hopefully, we’ve been working hard all the time.”

The sad reality, though, is that plenty of players too will have their hard work end in no reward, other than the satisfaction of having worked hard, and the per diem. But plenty of guys who get cut will be claimed elsewhere on waivers, one of the basic realities of the one-man’s-trash-is-another-man’s-treasure dynamic that happens when a team has too a glut of good players and one position, and another team has a shortage.

For that reason, don’t rule out a rash of trades as teams hope to secure dibs on a player who otherwise would be thrown onto the waiver wire.

Trevor Siemian believes he can become long-term answer for Broncos

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The Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch to be their franchise quarterback after Peyton Manning. But it’s Trevor Siemian, a former seventh-round pick, who looks more like that guy right now.

Or so he hopes.

I hope so. I think I can,” Siemian said of being the long-term answer at the position for the Broncos, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post. “I’ve got a long way to go. I know where I can get better. I also know some of the things I do well. For me, even getting to go back to when I came in the league, I’ve tried to do a good job of taking it one day at a time and one rep at a time, and at the end of the season, I’ll go back and figure out where I’m at and go from there.”

The Broncos named Siemian the starter for the 2017 season after he outplayed Lynch in last week’s preseason game against the 49ers. Coach Vance Joseph said he wants Siemian to “just be Trevor.”

Siemian threw 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in going 8-6 last season after winning the job over Mark Sanchez and Lynch. He had to compete all over again this year after Joseph replaced Gary Kubiak in the offseason.

“Honestly, I think you have to compete for your job every day and every week, and that’s one of the things when I was here and watched Peyton [Manning], that guy wasn’t content,” Siemian said. “He was a Hall of Famer. But every day, every week, I think you have to earn your job, and quarterback is no different certainly.”

Paxton Lynch: I’m disappointed, will stay prepared


The Broncos made their choice for their Week One starting quarterback on Monday and it was Trevor Siemian for the second year in a row.

That wasn’t a great surprise given the way things had played out during training camp and the first two preseason games and it leaves 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch to start another season on the bench. After coach Vance Joseph made the announcement, Lynch said he isn’t going to “pout” about the fact that Siemian got the nod because pouting won’t do anything to change the situation.

“I am disappointed. I have to be prepared. I believe in myself to be a starter. But coaches’ made the decision,” Lynch said, via Troy Renck of The Denver Channel.

Lynch made a couple of starts when Siemian was injured last season and didn’t set the world on fire in either of those appearances. Should another shot come his way this year, better work could change the situation in Denver moving forward while more of the same might leave the Broncos ready to move on from a player who many gave a good chance of winding up with the job this year.

Broncos claim RB Stanley Williams off waivers

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The Broncos claimed running back Stanley Williams off waivers, releasing running back Bernard Pierce in a corresponding move.

Williams, 21, was an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Kentucky. He signed with the Bengals on May 5 before being waived Sunday.

In three seasons at Kentucky, Williams appeared in 33 games with 22 start. He led the team in rushing three times. Williams had 366 carries for 2,511 yards (6.7 avg.) with 18 touchdowns, while catching 38 passes for 292 yards (7.7 avg.) with two scores during his collegiate career.

Williams joins C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Jamaal Charles, Juwan Thompson and De'Angelo Henderson as backfield options, although Booker remains out with a wrist injury.

Eagles deal tackle Matt Tobin to Seahawks

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The Seahawks need tackles after the season-ending injury suffered by projected Week One starting left tackle George Fant. And they got one on Monday.

The Eagles have announced a deal that sends Matt Tobin and a 2018 seventh-round pick to Seattle for a 2018 fifth-round pick. Listed as a tackle in the announcement, Tobin also can interior offensive line.

Tobin arrived in Philly four years ago as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa. He has appeared in 42 games with 21 starts, but he landed on injured reserve last December with a knee injury.

In 2015, Tobin appeared in every game, starting 13.

And so, if healthy, he’ll instantly contend for playing time in Seattle. The fact that Seattle got him for a swap of low-round picks suggests that Tobin may have been destined for the looming roster cuts.

He’s under contract through 2017 at a base salary of $850,000. The Eagles take a cap charge of only $50,000 by dealing him.

John Brown back at Cardinals practice for a day

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Cardinals wide receiver John Brown‘s health was a popular topic of conversation around the Cardinals last week as Brown said he would return from a quad injury when he was ready in response to coach Bruce Arians citing Brown’s unavailability among the things about the receiver group that made him unhappy.

Brown also said that the sickle-cell trait he carries slowed down his recovery time, something Arians acknowledged while also saying that the team would have to look elsewhere if Brown wasn’t able to remain on the field. They didn’t have to look elsewhere on Monday as Brown was back at practice, but it will be a cameo appearance.

Arians said, via Josh Weinfuss of, that Brown will leave the team to attend a funeral and miss practice on Tuesday and Wednesday as a result. He will rejoin the team in Atlanta, where they will face the Falcons on Saturday night.

It’s not clear if Brown has a chance to play in that game, although it would seem somewhat unlikely given his limited practice schedule this summer and the possibility that he’s just now getting past the quad injury.

Damarious Randall to Bryce Treggs: You shouldn’t play dirty

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Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs was fined $25,000 for a illegal hit in an Aug. 10 preseason game and didn’t seem particularly pleased.

“I made league minimum last year and I just got fined 25K. I’m starting a gofundme to pay it,” tweeted Treggs, who made $450,000 last season.

The tweet didn’t particularly please the recipient of Treggs’ hit, Packers cornerback Damarious Randall, who retweeted Treggs’ tweet with a reply.

“Yo broke ass shouldn’t play dirty then,” Randall wrote. Treggs’ hit left Randall with a concussion.

“I tried to hit him in the shoulder, but I think the top of my helmet caught him in the chin, from the film that I watched,” Treggs said last week, via Les Bowen of “I just gotta be more precise with my target area, just a little bit lower, and I think I’ll be fine next time.” 

No pun intended.

Treggs, who caught seven passes for 91 yards in the first preseason game, has since missed time with leg soreness.

Packers sign a defensive tackle

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The Packers claimed defensive lineman Shaneil Jenkins off of waivers from the Seahawks last week, but his stay with the team turned out to be a short one.

Jenkins was waived a couple of days after joining the team with a failed physical designation, leaving the team with a spot to fill on both the defensive line and the 90-man roster.

They filled those spots with a roster move on Monday. The team announced that they have signed defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou.

Heurtelou signed with the Broncos after going undrafted out of Miami last year and stuck with the team until the end of August. He didn’t land with another team the rest of the year or during the offseason, which may not be a good sign for his chances of sticking with Green Bay any longer than he did with Denver.

Free Madden contest launching now on PFT’s Twitter page

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I’ve had a somewhat complicated relationship with the Madden game over the years. I was one of the early adopters of the franchise, buying it back in 1991 for the Sega Genesis and every year thereafter, on every platform. I wasn’t happy (to say the least) when EA bought the exclusive license, killing the superior 2K series and ending with the stroke of a pen what was a serious threat to the Madden franchise.

I then spent several years not impressed with, but inevitably buying, a new copy of Madden every year, from Sega Genesis to Ninentdo 64 to XBox to Xbox 360 to, eventually, PS4. I was whining about the game particularly loudly a couple of years ago. And then I bought Madden 16. And then I played it. And then I discovered Madden Ultimate Team. And then I was hooked.

A year later, I’m bidding farewell to Madden 17 with a team that I’d meticulously worked into an overall 98, with a phalanx of 99-ranked players on both sides of the ball. I wanted to end my Madden 17 MUT run with a bang, and that happened last night, with a 37-34 win after falling behind 34-22 with less than 1:30 to play.

So as I was waiting (impatiently) for the new Madden game to be released on August 25, my buddy Mike McFadden (a/k/a @MUTGuru) slid into my DMs with a surprise: 10 free downloads for the standard edition of Madden 18. Five for PS4 and five for XBox One.

I’m keeping one for PS4 (it’s currently downloading), and I gave one to Stats because then I can continue to rip him every morning on PFT Live with somewhat less guilt. We’ll be giving away the other eight free downloads (four for PS4 and four for XBox One) through the PFT Twitter page.

Throughout the rest of the night and possibly into tomorrow (if codes are remaining), I’ll be launching various Jim Irsay-style contests at the PFT Twitter page — trivia questions, funniest gif, best one-liner, best overt begging, whatever I think of in a given moment. All decisions will be made by me, all decisions will be final, and I’ll send the code to the winner via DM.

So get to Twitter now, follow @ProFootballTalk (if you aren’t already), and wait for further instructions. Or you can just buy the thing for $59.99 on Friday.

Falcons starting right guard spot still up for grabs

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The Falcons are not ready to name a starting right guard, with Ben Garland (pictured) and Wes Schweitzer still competing for the job.

“I’d rather go through a couple of days here and see how their week goes,” coach Dan Quinn said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s kind of that close.”

Quinn clearly has concerns about pass protection from that spot, per Ledbetter, after Chris Chester decided to retire in the offseason. Garland started the first preseason game and Schweitzer the second.

Garland also played some center against the Steelers on Sunday. As Ledbetter pointed out, that could provide a clue as to who Quinn thinks will win the job: The backup needs to play both positions.

“Both of them have really good run-game stuff where they can get onto the second level and get guys,” Quinn said. “Wes is a little bigger and has a little more bulk. Ben has almost the same size, but when he latches on he can really latch onto a guy down the field with his quickness. They are a little different in that way. . . . We really have two players who are playing at a high level.” 

Garland has no starts but has played in 24 games, including all 16 last season for the Falcons. Schweitzer, a sixth-round pick last season, has never played in a regular-season game.

Bears say they haven’t made decision about first-team work for Trubisky


The Bears used Mitchell Trubisky as their third quarterback in each of their first two preseason games and they aren’t ready to say whether that will remain the case when they face the Titans this Sunday.

Coach John Fox said Monday, via multiple reports from Bears practice, that the team has yet to make a decision about whether to get Trubisky work with the first team over the course of the week or during the matchup with Tennessee. Fox was quick to say that the team would not alter the depth chart at quarterback, which has Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez ahead of Trubisky, after the first game of the preseason.

Trubisky turned in a much stronger performance than Glennon in that game, leading some to wonder if the team would rethink their plan to have Glennon as the starter in the regular season. The difference wasn’t as stark against the Cardinals on Saturday night, although Glennon threw another interception while Trubisky avoided turnovers for the second straight game.

If Trubisky has any shot of shooting to the top of the depth chart, one would imagine the Bears would want to see him with the first team against a starting defense. The third preseason game is often seen as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, which would seem to make it an ideal time to take that look. Should they opt against it, it will likely mean the rookie is going to wait for a chance to play at a later point in the regular season.