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Desmond Bryant “absolutely hopeful” he can play this year after torn pec

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 18: Defensive end Desmond Bryant #92 of the Cleveland Browns against the Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Broncos defeated Browns 26-23.  (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns are more or less resigned to the fact defensive end Desmond Bryant will miss the entire season with a torn pectoral muscle.

But Bryant himself is ready to call it a year just yet, telling Mark Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer he’s hoping to return later in 2016 for the final six or seven games.

Absolutely, I’m hopeful that I can [come back this season],” Bryant said. “The timetable for rehab is 4-6 months, so it’s possible. I’ll do everything I can to get back as soon as I can.”

Of course, that’s probably an overly optimistic goal, but Bryant compared it to taking a year off prior to his senior year at Harvard, when his academic demands were weighing on him. He said that helped him as a student and a football player, and hopes this absence does the same for him.

“These times away from football, as an athlete, I just try to focus on everything I can as if I were playing, and trying to elevate everything to the next level,” he said. “I’m used to overcoming. When I get back, I’ll be good as new.”

Of course, that’s more likely to be next year, and the Browns will have to adjust to playing without their sack leader until he’s physically recovered.

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Sylvester Williams: Kubiak “kind of let us know” he’s going with Mark Sanchez

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06:  Mark Sanchez #3 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on prior to the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

Safety T.J. Ward said this week that he believes the Broncos can put together the best defense of all time, something that would surely cover for many shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball.

How many shortcomings there will be is likely to be linked in some respect to the play of their quarterback. When offseason work ended, coach Gary Kubiak said that Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian were pretty much even in their quest to land that job with rookie Paxton Lynch a bit behind. In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio with Tom Pelissero and Bill Polian, though, defensive tackle Sylvester Williams said that Kubiak’s message to the team was a bit different.

“Right now, they’re giving all three of those guys equal reps, so I don’t think either one of them has created any advantage at this point, because they haven’t consistently been with the ones yet,” Williams said. “But I think, going into the camp, I think Coach Kub kind of let us know he’s going to go with Mark and give Mark the opportunity to see what he can do and then go on from there.”

Sanchez is the most experienced of the three options in Denver, so it’s no great surprise that he’d get the first look at the position. It would also come as no surprise if that look led Kubiak to reshuffle the deck before or during the regular season as Sanchez’s experience falls well short of making him a sure thing for Denver.

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Thursday morning one-liners

during their game at Barclays Center on December 8, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Getty Images

The Bills have a safety net for S Aaron Williams.

It’s possible the Dolphins could be even worse this year.

Former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez is due in court with new lawyers.

Jets RB Matt Forte has an opportunity if he has anything left.

Ravens RB Justin Forsett is going to have to fight to hang onto his job.

Trying to determine the most valuable Bengals players.

Seth DeValve is making the transition from WR to TE in Browns camp.

The Steelers will be under the lights (stadium and television) during training camp.

Texans S Quintin Demps is reaching out to homeless students.

The Colts will have to adjust at TE despite having an incumbent starter.

The Jaguars are looking for a good third option in the passing game.

The Titans loaded up at RB for a reason.

Winning the division figures to be much tougher for the Broncos this year.

Getting the shoes right is the priority for the Chiefs equipment staff.

One possible Las Vegas site for a Raiders stadium has emerged.

Getting LT King Dunlap back to form will be key for the Chargers.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant’s busy week includes changing agents.

Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. found out being linked to Kardashians is bad news.

The Eagles should have a more physical training camp under Doug Pederson.

The consistent message from Washington G.M. Scot McCloughan is that he wants to keep QB Kirk Cousins.

The Bears have more questions than answers at TE.

Looking at the Lions with the most to prove.

The Packers have sold out their family night practice.

Vikings single-game tickets have sold out.

There are plenty of opportunities for rookies at Falcons camp.

Panthers QB Cam Newton is getting plenty of volleyball experience before camp.

Saints C Max Unger added stability to the line last year.

The Buccaneers unveiled some changes to Raymond James Stadium.

Cardinals single-game tickets go on sale Saturday.

All eyes will be on Rams QB Jared Goff next week.

49ers RT Anthony Davis is posting workout videos as if he’s preparing to show up for work.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is making a little extra money for using Facebook Live.

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Larry Fitzgerald: “Only better things” for Carson Palmer this year

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 24:  (L-R) Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals, Carson Palmer #3, and Drew Stanton #5 react after David Johnson #31 (not pictured) scored a touchdown in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers during the NFC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cardinals season ended in a 49-15 loss to the Panthers in the NFC title game that was fueled in large part by a flurry of turnovers from quarterback Carson Palmer.

Palmer threw four interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles in a game that went as far off the rails as possible given how well Palmer had played for Arizona all season. It was the best year of his professional career, but the ending was so ugly that some have wondered if Palmer will rebound to the same level in 2016.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was asked about that during an appearance on NFL Network and shared his belief that Palmer is “aging like fine wine.” As a result, Fitzgerald is expecting Palmer to climb even higher than he did while coming off a torn ACL last year.

“He’s getting better with time. Coming off of that knee injury last year, he played the best football last year at 35 years old and only better things are coming for him this year,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s really got a great grasp on what Coach [Bruce] Arians is asking him to do. [General Manager] Steve Keim and Coach Arians have put around him a lot of tremendous pieces that are at his disposal.”

Fitzgerald isn’t the first member of the Cardinals organization to express confidence in a Palmer rebound this season, although it would come as quite a surprise to hear anyone in Arizona writing his career obituary when he’s still the starting quarterback. For those outside the club, it may take seeing Palmer play well against the Patriots in Week One and in the weeks that follow before any doubts raised by the meltdown in Carolina fade away.

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Jordy Nelson well ahead of schedule in knee rehab

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 9:  Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers runs the football up the field in the first half of the NFL game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on November 09, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo Tom Lynn /Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is doing well 11 months after tearing his ACL in a preseason game.

Nelson is “well ahead of the curve in his rehabilitation,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In fact, Nelson even said he thought he could have played in the Super Bowl if the Packers had made it. (Nelson was placed on injured reserve and wouldn’t have been eligible to play in the Super Bowl, but he thought he was far enough along in recovery to do it.)

What remains to be seen is whether Nelson can be as good a player in 2016 as he was in 2014, when he had career highs in catches (98) and yards (1,519). Even if Nelson is completely healed, it’s probably not realistic to expect him to put up the same kind of numbers at age 31 that he put up at age 29. But from all indications, Nelson will be the Packers’ No. 1 receiver again.

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Report: Charles Tillman to join FOX pregame show

=c33 Getty Images

Having announced his retirement on Monday after 13 seasons in the NFL, former Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman is turning to broadcasting.

According to Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune, Tillman is set to join FOX Sports for their weekly pregame show “FOX NFL Kickoff.” The announcement is expected on Thursday.

Tillman played 12 seasons with Chicago before reuniting with Ron Rivera for a final season with the Panthers last year.

Tillman would effectively replace Randy Moss with FOX Sports. Moss joined ESPN earlier this week after spending the last three years with FOX.

Tillman joins Charissa Thompson, Colin Cowherd and Dave Wannstedt on the program.

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PFT Live invades U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  A Minnesota Vikings fan cheers on his team during the NFL International Series game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium on September 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images) Getty Images

PFT Live has hit the road, Jack. To Minnesota. The land of 10,000 lakes and one brand-new football stadium that officially opens on Friday.

I’ll be sneaking in Thursday to do three hours of radio, to tape some interviews for Friday, to join Paul Allen of KFAN for an hour of his own show, and then to tour U.S. Bank Stadium. Florio Jr. has made the trek, too, and we’ll both be taking a bunch of pictures and perhaps firing up some video on Facebook Live, if I can figure out how to do it.

Guests for Thursday include Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, and Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.

It all gets started at 6:00 a.m. ET. Which is 5:00 a.m. CT. Which means I’d better get to bed.

Listen on Sirius 213, XM 202, NBCSportsRadio.com, the NBC Sports Radio app, or any of our fine terrestrial affiliates throughout the country. The podcast also will be available at iTunes or audioBoom.

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Sheriffs release video of Denard Robinson crashing into pond

Denard Robinson, Malliciah Goodman AP

Jaguars running back Denard Robinson was cited for careless driving earlier this month after his car wound up in a pond.

Video released by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Wednesday shows Robinson is lucky he didn’t end up in a much worse position. Red light cameras show Robinson’s car headed through a red light, then to the wrong side of the road, then eventually off the road.

The police report said officers had to wake both Robinson and his passenger after the car ended up in a pond around 4 a.m.

Per First Coast News in Jacksonville, which posted the video online, the police report said Robinson “was passed out during the whole process” of being assisted out of the car and needed to be reminded multiple times to climb out of the passenger side door because the driver’s side door was in a pond.

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Cowboys to open shiny new training facility “The Star” Thursday

NFL Draft Cowboys Football AP

The Cowboys are ready to unpack the boxes and officially show off the new toys in their new training facility when it opens Thursday.

Everything’s bigger in Texas and with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and Jerry’s Other World comes at a reported price tag of $1.5 billion. It includes multiple practice fields, a hotel, club seating and a 12,000 seat indoor stadium.

The new facility in the suburb of Frisco has a fancy name, of course: The Star.

“Certainly [we have] so many tremendous, great memories at Valley Ranch,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s no different than [the team’s move into] AT&T Stadium. You can’t live in the past. It’s a new day for our franchise.

“It was tough to leave that and all the great memories that happened there at Texas Stadium. The same thing holds for Valley Ranch. I think The Star and our new facility out at The Star will be special.”

The Cowboys return from their California training camp in mid-August, and from there the team’s day-to-day business will be handled at the new Frisco facility.

Jerry Jones has already hinted at wanting to host the NFL Draft and the annual NFL Scouting Combine in his new digs.

Work on the new facility began in 2014. The team operated out of its old Valley Ranch facility for 31 years.

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Texans officially sign rookie defensive tackle Howard

HOUSTON - JULY 22:  Detail of the helmet of the Houston Texans on the practice field during training camp on July 22, 2002 at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans officially signed rookie defensive tackle Ra’Zahn Howard Wednesday.

The signing of Howard, who became a free agent after going unpicked in last week’s supplemental draft, was first reported late last week. Howard figures to play nose tackle for the Texans and will get training camp and the preseason to try to earn a chance to stick around.

He declared for the supplemental draft after three years as a contributor at Purdue.

The Texans waived-injured cornerback Richard Leonard to make room on the roster for Howard. Leonard, an undrafted rookie from Florida International, has a hamstring injury.

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Fran Tarkenton to speak at Republican Convention

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Mick Tingelhoff poses with his bust along with presenter Fran Tarkenton during the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Donald Trump finally has his quarterback.

After the Republican National Convention tried and failed to get quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Tim Tebow to speak on Trump’s behalf, a quarterback has stepped up and accepted the offer: Vikings Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton.

“I have never been very political or a very active Republican, but as you know, my passion is for small business,” Tarkenton said in a statement. “I love to support, encourage and advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs across America. They – I should say we – are the lifeblood that drives and grows our American economy. And our voices need to be heard.”

Tarkenton will be Thursday night’s first speaker. Trump will make his speech at the end of Thursday night’s festivities.

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Saints make a pair of roster moves

49ers Saints Football AP

When training camps open around the league, there are a flurry of roster moves involving players moving to the physically unable to perform or non-football injury lists as teams take stock of where everyone is at physically with the push to the regular season getting underway.

The Saints made a couple of those moves on Wednesday. They placed defensive end D.J. Pettway on the PUP list and tackle Avery Young on the NFI list, leaving both of the undrafted rookies unable to practice until they’re formally activated.

Both players still count against the 90-man roster limit, although they may not be around for long if the team decides they want healthier bodies on the field for practice.

The two moves aren’t likely to have a major impact on the Saints’ season, but the fact that teams are starting to do housekeeping on their roster is a nice reminder that training camps are opening soon and that another long offseason is about to give way to football.

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LeGarrette Blount’s job may be in jeopardy in Patriots camp

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 13: An injured LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots walks toward the locker room while the Patriots play the Houston Texans in the second quarter on December 13, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

Veteran running back LeGarrette Blount led the Patriots with 165 carries, 703 yards and six touchdowns last season. But that doesn’t make him a lock to make the roster this season.

That’s the word from Mike Reiss of ESPN, who reports that Blount will head into training camp with his job in jeopardy, and he’ll have to run hard in camp just to earn a spot on the 53-player roster.

The one-year contract Blount signed with the Patriots this year included a base salary of just $760,000, so he comes cheap. But if the Patriots aren’t satisfied with his work ethic in camp — or if he isn’t all the way back from the hip injury he suffered in December — New England could cut him and be out only the $100,000 signing bonus he already received.

If Blount doesn’t make the roster, the Patriots would likely have Dion Lewis as their starter and James White and Brandon Bolden backing him up.

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Packers add rookie cornerback Gatewood

Green Bay Packers v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

The Packers signed cornerback Warren Gatewood on Wednesday.

The signing of Gatewood, an undrafted rookie, puts the team roster at the preseason capacity of 90. The Packers open full training camp early next week because they open the preseason Aug. 7 in the annual Hall of Fame Game vs. the Colts.

Gatewood was a four-year contributor at Alcorn State and had eight college interceptions, including a career-best four last season.

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Odell Beckham: Josh Norman “so relevant” because of me

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) and Carolina Panthers' Josh Norman (24) battle during the first half of an NFL football game in East Rutherford, N.J. Beckham  isn't changing the way he plays, just the actions that led to his recent one-game suspension for multiple violations of safety-related playing rules. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File) AP

When cornerback Josh Norman signed with the Redskins earlier this offseason, plenty of people noted that he would be scheduled to face the Giants and wide receiver Odell Beckham twice during the regular season.

Beckham and Norman had a memorable battle during last year’s Giants-Panthers game that featured taunting, pushing, shoving and a running blow to Norman’s head from Beckham that led to a one-game suspension for the Giants wideout. The ugliness between the players also led to several flags during the game and influenced the league’s push to eject players with two unsportsmanlike penalties in the same game.

Beckham passed on commenting on Norman’s arrival in the NFC East when Norman signed, but the season is getting closer and he’s ramping things up on the verbal front. In an interview for the August 2016 edition of GQ, Beckham shared his opinion that Norman signing with the Redskins is “for sure” about his presence in the division.

“It goes back to what I was saying,” Beckham said. “If I wasn’t playing him twice a year, maybe people wouldn’t bring it up as much. But now it’ll be a lot more media attention for him, attention that I don’t really look for, attention that I don’t need. The reason he’s become so relevant is because of me.”

Beckham also discussed living in Drake’s house and rumors of a romantic fling with Khloe Kardashian while modeling clothes for the magazine, so it seems he’s doing just fine in the attention department.

Norman was well on his way to earning a big contract this offseason before he and Beckham went WWE on each other during last year’s game, but such trifles rarely get in the way of a good round of trash talking. There’s a good chance we’ll see some more before the players renew acquaintances on September 25.

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