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NFL “monitoring” situation in UK

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Everyone is trying make sense of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. That includes the NFL.

“We are monitoring and have been in contact with our UK office,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email. “We head into the 2016 season in strong shape with the 3 UK games already nearing sell outs again — a testament to the strong and passionate fan base there — and all key media, sponsorship and licensing partnerships locked in.”

For the NFL, the bigger question becomes the viability of the British experiment beyond 2016. With Prime Minister David Cameron already resigning, major changes seem to be coming to United Kingdom. At some point, those changes could make the league’s ongoing relationship with the nation not viable.

At a minimum, any talk of a team moving to England will surely subside until more is known about the future of the UK following the vote to leave the EU.

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Shaun Suisham calls Hall of Fame Game injury “catastrophic”

Shaun Suisham AP

When Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a knee injury in last year’s Hall of Fame Game, attention immediately turned to the turf at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Now that Suisham has been released by the Steelers, more questions should be raised about that turf.

Suisham released a statement after the Steelers cut him suggesting that the injury will prove to be career-ending.

“Unfortunately, the injury I sustained in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game last preseason was catastrophic and has proven to be critical to continuing to my career. My journey in the NFL has come to a crossroads,” Suisham wrote. “I will mis the challenge of game day and the preparation that is required. Change is hard, but I’m comfortable with where I am in life as a husband and father.”

Although Suisham did not actually say he’s retiring, the statement came across as a retirement announcement. Suisham did not say whether he plans to take legal action against the Steelers, the NFL or the Hall of Fame in order to recoup the millions of dollars of lost future income that a forced retirement will cost him.

Whether Suisham sues or not, it’s incumbent on the NFL to ensure that every stadium where football is played — the 31 home stadiums as well as stadiums that host preseason games, International Series games and the Pro Bowl — is safe. If the Hall of Fame Stadium can’t install turf that’s up to the standards that NFL players demand, then the Hall of Fame Stadium shouldn’t host NFL games.

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Affleck stands by his #Deflategate rant

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After actor and Patriots fan Ben Affleck appeared on HBO’s Any Given Wednesday with a demeanor suggesting that he possibly had ingested a shot of every given liquor, many became keenly interested in learning more about what happened.

Officially, there’s not anything to learn. In additional to the “nothing to see here” tweet from Bill Simmons, Affleck has offered a pair of messages on Twitter that make no reference to his overall condition when talking about the #Deflategate controversy.

‘For those of you keeping score at home, I gave exactly 18 f*cks about my Pats,” Affleck said in reference to the frequency with which he used the word that Ralphie used when the lug nuts went flying. “Upon reflection, 12 probably would have been sufficient.”

He added, “We Boston fans have always been known for our subtlety. One of my favorite interviews; hope you get to see the entire episode.”

Many (including me) agree with much of the substance of Affleck’s remarks. However, there was no effort by Affleck to explain a delivery that was unusual, to say the least. He’s not compelled to do so, but the absence of any attempt to address what everyone who saw the segment is thinking will tend to make people think that, whatever it was, Affleck would prefer that everyone simply forget about it and move on.

Which is what many would like to do at this point about #Deflategate generally.

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Nelson Agholor sexual assault investigation sent to Philadelphia D.A.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 16: Nelson Agholor #17 of the Philadelphia Eagles catches the ball and then runs past Deveron Carr #38 of the Indianapolis Colts on August 16, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Eagles defeated the Colts 36-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor became the subject of a sexual assault investigation in Philadelphia earlier this month after a dancer at a strip club accused him of raping her and Agholor’s attorney quickly issued a statement proclaiming confidence that his client would not be charged with a crime.

That decision is now in the hands of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’ office. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told Philadelphia Magazine on Thursday night that their investigative work has been sent to the D.A. for review before a decision is made about charges. The D.A.’s office had no comment.

“We’ve been in touch with the investigators, but I can’t comment on the progress of the investigation,” Agholor’s attorney Fortunato “Fred” Perri said. “It’s always difficult when something like this happens. [Agholor] has been staying close with his family and doing the best he possibly can.”

Reports at the time of the allegation against Agholor had him and the dancer in a dispute over money before the allegation was leveled. Agholor’s teammates Connor Barwin and Fletcher Cox were allegedly with him at the strip club on the day in question and both issued statements saying they had no knowledge of anything that might have transpired.

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NFL, Jaguars, Dolphins and Buccaneers donate $400K to OneOrlando Fund

HONG KONG - JUNE 13:  A man holds up a 'we stand together with Orlando' poster as people take part in a candlelight vigil for the victims of a shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 13, 2016 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. The vigil is put together by Betty Grisoni   co-director of Pink Dot and co-founder of local lesbian group Les Peches   with Double Happiness, Les Peches, Out in HK and Pink Alliance joining in as supporting organisations.  (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL and the three teams located in Florida have announced a donation to the OneOrlando Fund established to support the survivors and families of those who died in the attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12.

The league, the Dolphins, the Jaguars and the Buccaneers made a joint announcement of a $400,000 donation to the fund created by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. Dyer said the donation shows that “we are not in this alone” and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league “will continue to look for ways to lend our support” to the community.

“In the face of this tragedy, the Jaguars stand in solidarity with the citizens of Central Florida,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “In addition to our team contribution, our fans are also supporting our Central Florida neighbors by donating at http://www.jaguars.com/jaxfororlando. Along with the NFL and our fellow Florida teams, the entire Jaguars family offers our condolences and continued support for the city of Orlando.”

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and a spokesman for the Glazer family offered similar sentiments in their own statements while Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has joined former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and others in spending time with survivors of the attack in recent days.

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Muhammad Wilkerson is running as broken leg rehab continues

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 13: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets celebrates after sacking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter during a game at MetLife Stadium on October 13, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Steelers defeated the Jets 19-6. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson hasn’t signed his franchise tender or a long-term deal with the team, leaving him unwilling to say whether he’ll report to training camp on time next month.

If he does decide to show up, it doesn’t look like the broken leg that he suffered in the final week of the 2015 season will stop him from doing too much. Wilkerson posted a video of himself running on Instagram Friday that showed no signs of limitations as a result of the injury.

While the leg injury was a serious one, there hasn’t been a sense that questions about his ability to return from the injury have been the stumbling block in any contract talks with the Jets. The bigger issue appears to be the Jets’ feeling that the presence of Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams on the defensive line makes signing Wilkerson to a huge contract less of a necessity than it might be under other circumstances.

There’s still time before July 15 for the two sides to come together, but the way things have played out the last few months makes it seem like a better bet that Wilkerson is doing his running in a different uniform come 2017.

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Dorial Green-Beckham more confident, comfortable in second season

Dorial Green-Beckham, Harry Douglas AP

Seven receivers came off the board before the Titans selected Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round of the 2015 draft and only one of them had more catches, yards and touchdowns during their rookie seasons.

That didn’t stop Titans coach Mike Mularkey from saying that he wants more from the team’s receiving corps this season and it didn’t stop the team from bumping rookie Tajae Sharpe ahead of Green-Beckham on the depth chart during offseason work. Pushing Green-Beckham may have been part of that alignment as Mularkey said he wants more consistency from Green-Beckham, who says he finished OTAs feeling “more comfortable” in the offense.

“I had a good offseason,” Green-Beckham said, via the team’s website. “I had a hamstring problem that set me back early, but other than that I have been taking care of myself, learning the playbook, and have done my best to play fast. My confidence is up there. But I know these next 5-6 weeks I am going to have to keep busting my tail and get in the playbook and stay motivated.”

Green-Beckham didn’t play at all while spending the 2014 season at Oklahoma, so it had been a while since he was on the field when he joined the Titans. If things continue to come together for him in training camp, it could lead to another shuffling of the depth chart and the emergence of a wideout who can help the Titans do some shuffling in the standings as well.

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Joe Cullen isn’t happy with the Gerald McCoy report

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Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy laughed off a report that he didn’t work hard enough in coach Lovie Smith’s defense. Former Buccaneers defensive line coach Joe Cullen had a much less jovial reaction.

Cullen, best known in league circles for a clothing-optional trip to the Wendy’s drive-through, strongly disputed the report in comments to PewterReport.com.

You tell him to tell his source to put his name on it,” Cullen said. “That is total BS. Gerald worked his ass off. I’ve coached some good ones around the league but no one worked harder than Gerald. He was limited at times because of injury but no one in that building worked harder. You can put MY name on that as a source. Total BS. Tell that guy he can call me.”

Cullen’s reaction serves only to underscore the possibility that someone said something about McCoy to Vaughn McClure in the hopes that it would get back to McCoy and, in turn, that it would coax an even higher level of performance out of him moving forward.

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Steelers cut veteran kicker Shaun Suisham

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Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham admitted recently he wasn’t ready to kick.

The Steelers decided Friday to not wait for him.

The team announced they were releasing Suisham with a failed physical designation, and signing running back Brandon Johnson to fill the roster spot.

“Unfortunately Shaun incurred a setback in his recovery from knee surgery that won’t allow him to compete in a timely manner,” Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “Shaun has played a significant role in our success during his time in Pittsburgh. He has been the consummate professional on the field and in our community. We wish he and his family all the best in the future.”

Suisham tore his ACL last year in the preseason, and wasn’t sure he was going to be able to kick when training camp opened. Now, he’s going to have to get himself well on his own, and look for another job.

The Steelers now turn to Chris Boswell, who kicked reasonably well for them after they signed him last October.

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No progress seen on the Kirk Cousins contract front

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins looks for an open receiver against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Expect Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to play this season on his one-year guaranteed salary of $19.95 million.

That’s the word from Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com, who reports that both sides assume they’re stuck on the one-year deal for 2016 and will have to reassess in 2017. Breer describes contract talks as “going nowhere.”

If Cousins were to get franchised again next season, he’d be guaranteed at least $23.94 million for 2017. And if he doesn’t get franchised again next season, he’s a free agent who can shop his services to any team. So unless the team is willing to guarantee him more than $44 million over the first two years of any long-term deal, there’s no reason for Cousins to sign.

And from all indications, Washington isn’t ready to commit that kind of money to Cousins, who played very well over the second half of last season but still isn’t very experienced.

If Cousins has a big season in 2016, Washington is going to have to pay him a fortune in 2017, either on the franchise tag or on a long-term deal. (And the quarterback market will only grow, as Andrew Luck and the Colts may agree on the biggest contract in NFL history within the next month.) So Cousins would be in a very good negotiating position if he plays in 2016 like he played over the second half of 2015.

But for Washington, that would be a good problem to have: If Cousins proves himself as a franchise quarterback this year, Dan Snyder will happily pay him a fortune. That just isn’t going to happen this year.

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Carlos Hyde: Players buying into Chip Kelly’s offensive system

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 04:  Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers in action against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Things didn’t end well for Chip Kelly with the Eagles, but they appear to be off to a good start with the 49ers.

Kelly and the 49ers have wrapped up an offseason spent installing his offensive scheme and one of the players who figures to fill a major role on the unit says that he and his teammates have jumped on board. Running back Carlos Hyde has previously talked about his personal excitement about what Kelly does on offense and says that he thinks his teammates are feeling the same way after a couple of months working in the new system.

“It’s been great having Coach Kelly there,” Hyde said on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Maurice Jones-Drew. “I feel like the team has bought into his system. Even though it’s new to most guys, I’m kind of familiar with the system from college. But I definitely feel like everybody has bought into the system and guys are just really looking forward this season. Guys are really looking forward to making a name for themselves.”

Hyde should get every opportunity to do that in an offense that has generally given plenty of work to the No. 1 running back and Kelly’s said he plans to have Hyde more involved in the passing game than he has been over the last two seasons. How things will play out at other positions is less clear, but success for Hyde would be a good building block for the entire offense this season.

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Marvin Lewis likes to keep things in-house for continuity

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 6: Head coach Marvin Lewis looks on while playing the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Bengals won the game 37-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has run a successful program, which means he’s had to replace assistants who earn promotions.

So when offensive coordinator Hue Jackson got the Browns head coaching job this offseason, he stayed in-house for a replacement, moving quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese up a chair.

It’s the same way he replaced promoted coordinators Mike Zimmer (with Paul Guenther) and Jay Gruden (with Jackson) last offseason, and there’s a reason he prefers to do it that way.

I didn’t want to start over again, where we’re teaching a new coach, or teaching a new offense,” Lewis said, via Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. “Hue was here as part of the offense when he became the coordinator so the transition was fairly smooth. This will be a smooth transition in terms of nomenclature and verbiage, which is important for our players to not have to take a step sideways. That way, we can continue to forge forward.”

While it’s a bit of a concern any time a staff loses human talent, Lewis hopes that the overall plan he’s built in Cincinnati will help them adjust. He cited lessons he learned from Tony Dungy, when he was an assistant with aspirations.

“Sometimes, the guys just have to make a tackle,” Lewis said. “Tony Dungy told me that back in the spring of 1997, that was my first year as the coordinator in Baltimore. ‘Marvin, sometimes, they just have to make a tackle, whether it’s second-and-3 or first-and-10.’ You can’t worry about all the what-ifs. You gotta have a sound system, you have to believe in your system, and then the players gotta go play.

“I think that’s the thing as a playcaller. You gotta put a great plan together, and we know we’re gonna be sound with it, and then we gotta let the players go play.”

So while there’s pressure on Zampese to keep the Bengals offense going this year, after losing a pair of very good wide receivers in free agency, there’s also enough structure in place to support him. And they still have an impressive base of talent on that side of the ball, which creates not only an opportunity on the field for the team, but for Zampese’s career as well.

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Friday morning one-liners

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 28: Ryan Kalil #67 of the Carolina Panthers walks off the field after beating the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 28, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

WR Terrell Owens didn’t play for the Bills too long, but was back in Buffalo for a high school graduation Thursday.

A look back at when John Bosa played for the Dolphins and was the highest draft pick in his family.

The Patriots like cornerbacks who can contribute on special teams.

Jets rookie LB Jordan Jenkins is trying for a starting role.

The Ravens like what they’ve seen from CB Jerraud Powers this offseason.

Will the Bengals make any other veteran additions?

Joe Kim has returned to teach Browns players martial arts.

Any Steelers hopes for success in 2016 start with staying healthy.

The Texans hope to see continued development from DT Christian Covington.

Colts scouts share some of their thoughts on rookie T Le’Raven Clark.

What did the Jaguars learn about themselves this offseason?

Former Titans OL Fred Miller’s son committed to Vanderbilt, where former Titans RB Eddie George’s son also plays.

Dennis Smith checks in on the list of the best Broncos safeties.

Breaking down RB Spencer Ware’s fit on the 2016 Chiefs.

Raiders TE Colton Underwood is involved in the fight against cystic fibrosis.

Another proposal for a Chargers stadium has surfaced.

DL Cedric Thornton explains why he signed with the Cowboys.

Breaking down the Giants safeties.

Chris Pantale could be the Eagles’ choice at fullback.

Doug Williams likes the receiver group the Redskins have put together.

Former Bears offered some advice to the team’s rookies about transitioning to the pros.

Graham Glasgow is in the mix for the Lions’ center job.

A call for the Packers to retire Paul Hornung’s number.

A home in Houston owned by Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is on the market for $8.5 million.

What do the Falcons have at tight end?

Panthers C Ryan Kalil and former teammates Jordan Gross and Geoff Hangartner have teamed up to write a book about life as a rookie in the NFL.

A look back at when Bum Phillips roamed the sidelines for the Saints.

Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston visited survivors of the attack in Orlando.

Where do things stand with the Cardinals defense after offseason work?

The Rams don’t want to be overly reliant on RB Todd Gurley.

A few notes about the 49ers special teams units.

The Seahawks haven’t settled on a strong-side linebacker yet.

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Falcons officials “pretty confident” stadium construction on target

Rich McKay AP

The Falcons gave reproters a tour of their new construction site yesterday, and were confident their new stadium would be complete well before the start of the 2017 season.

According to Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons president Rich McKay said they were “pretty confident” that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be finished by the June 1, 2017 target date.

“June 1 is a good date for us,” McKay said. “We’re working pretty confidently towards that date, and we feel very good about it. I would say that we’ve really picked up the pace on steel. You see the steel going up. We’re in a pretty good place.”

The original target date was March 1, 2017, but that was pushed back because of issues with the steel structures that will support the retractable roof and the video boards.

The hope is that owner Arthur Blank’s MLS team, Atlanta United, will be able to open the building. But McKay hinted at some other options as well.

“I’m not sure we know yet,” McKay said. “There is a very good chance Atlanta United opens the stadium and has the first event. That’s probably what we think at this point in time. But, . . . there are a couple of out-of-the-box ideas that have been brought to us that are really cool and would be neat for Atlanta and for a world-wide stage. “

But he was more certain that none of the delays would impact the Falcons, saying: “No, I do not.”

Getting the stadium was a key move for Blank and the Falcons, if only because it gave them the hook they needed for a Super Bowl bid.

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Texans pouring resources into sports science department

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 03: DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 3, 2016 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Houston Texans are attempting to create an edge off the field with the addition of a sports science department, which General Manager Rick Smith started this offseason. But if you want to know exactly what a sports science department does, Smith won’t tell you.

“It is new and it’s emerging,” Smith told ESPN. “And the fact that we have spent a considerable amount of time, effort, energy and resources on it, yeah, some of it is proprietary. . . . I’m not interested necessarily in letting everybody know all the stuff that we’re doing. So beyond that I’m not going to get into real detail about what we’re doing.”

Texans players wear a tracker around their chests while they practice, allowing the team to track data, although the team declines to say which data is tracked. The Texans are also taking a more scientific approach to monitoring players’ nutrition and sleep patterns.

Many coaches and teams across the NFL are leaning more on sports science departments to provide them with information. Some players, however, are skeptical.

“I think it helps for sure, but I’m from the country,” Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. “Just go out there and play football.”

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