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Monday morning one-liners

Indianapolis Colts Rookie Camp Getty Images

Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins says pressure isn’t a problem for him.

The offensive line will be a big focus of Dolphins camp.

Patriots LB Jamie Collins hopes more bulk leads to more playing time.

The Jets expect more from CB Dee Milliner this season.

Setting the stage for the Ravens defensive line.

How will the Bengals shape up on special teams?

Seneca Wallace is up next on the walk down Browns quarterbacks memory lane.

Steelers WR Martavis Bryant tries to model his game after Bengals WR A.J. Green.

Breaking the Texans down position by position.

Coach Chuck Pagano is a couple of days away from his third Colts training camp.

Will the Jaguars be favored in any games this season?

What to expect from Jake Locker and the other Titans quarterbacks this season.

Broncos S Rahim Moore’s experience with compartment syndrome has helped at least one Colorado resident.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid isn’t a fan of practicing with other NFL teams.

The Raiders website said farewell to Raiders fan James Garner.

What will the Chargers’ defensive line look like this season?

All you need to know about Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden.

A vote of confidence in Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

Eagles receivers are focused on beating press coverage this season.

John Clayton of ESPN thinks the Redskins could shoot for more than 70 offensive snaps per game in 2014.

The Bears have worked to put QB Jay Cutler into the best position to succeed.

A breakdown of the Lions secondary.

Running back has become a strength for the Packers.

Who will join Harrison Smith at safety for the Vikings?

Some optimism about the Falcons’ chances of rebounding this season.

Six-year-old George Gring’s wish to meet Panthers QB Cam Newton was granted.

Getting excited about the Saints’ move to West Virginia for training camp.

The Buccaneers website is making lists ahead of training camp.

Cardinals LB Larry Foote may not be well suited to pass coverage responsibilities.

Could LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar’s arrest lead to an opportunity for another Rams defender?

What’s the outlook for 49ers CB Dontae Johnson in his rookie season?

Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s charity softball game drew a huge crowd.

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Rex Ryan: David Harris is the most underrated player in the NFL

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

Jets linebacker David Harris has started every game that Rex Ryan has coached. Ryan thinks it’s about time that people start recognizing everything Harris does for the Jets’ defense.

Harris wasn’t listed as one of the Top 100 players on NFL Network’s recent countdown, and Ryan told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that he was outraged by that.

“David Harris is the most underrated player in the league,” Ryan said. “It ain’t close! It ain’t close! You could have a top 100 . . . and he’s not even mentioned. And I’m like, ‘What?!’”

Harris may be underrated in part because his personality is unlike Ryan’s: While Ryan will loudly proclaim his own greatness, Harris lets his play do the talking. But sometimes the players who let their play do the talking get overlooked. So Ryan will do the talking on Harris’s behalf.

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Chiefs officially begin process of turning page on playoff collapse

Reid AP

The Chiefs chased a 2-14 season in 2012 with an unlikely playoff berth.  And that wasn’t the most unusual development in Andy Reid’s first season with the team.

Up 38-10 in the second half of a wild-card playoff game against the Colts in Indianapolis, the Chiefs authored one of the all-time postseason collapses, losing 45-44.

With rookies, quarterbacks, and injured players reporting for camp on Sunday, the process of climbing out of the valley of 0-0 has begun once again, with higher expectations and an important lesson learned.

“[W]hat can we learn from that?” Reid said to reporters on Sunday.  “Heck, there’s a ton you can learn from that game right there on how to finish.  You have to know how to do that.  There is no time to let your foot off the accelerator.  That can make us a better team going forward.  That I think is a positive.  As much as it hurt and hurts when you lose any game and particularly a playoff game, those hurt, but at the same time, it’s something you can learn and build on for this coming year.”

The Chiefs will have to apply that lesson week in and week out, if they even hope to be in position to blow a 28-point lead in January.  The Chiefs took big hits on both lines of scrimmage in free agency, and the signs are pointing to a step back in Reid’s second year.

Then again, not making the playoffs at all could be better than a meltdown for the ages.

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Sammy Watkins wants to make impact, isn’t trying to be Superman

Watkins AP

Bills rookie receiver Sammy Watkins hasn’t made a Randy Moss-style vow to rip up the league.  But Watkins doesn’t need to.  The importance of ripping things up is implied in the all-in move the team made to get him — especially with a new owner coming.

After his first training-camp practice with the team that gave up a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2015 to move up five spots in the top 10 to get Watkins, the fourth overall selection was asked whether he can make an instant impact right away.

“With our offense, weve got a lot of explosive guys, so for me its just about coming in right away and trying to make plays,” Watkins told reporters in comments distributed by the team.  “Dont try and be Superman, but play my role and everything will work out.”

He may not try to be Superman, but the fans may have already fitted him for a cape.  Watkins already is a favorite at practice.

“It means a lot,” Watkins said.  “I came from a big Division I school in Clemson so we need our fans.  Thats what moved me and its great to hear the fans calling my name out and being active while were practicing.”

They’ll be even more active during games if Watkins can quarterback EJ Manuel can connect.  Per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, Manuel was four-for-four in passes thrown to Watkins during team drills on Sunday.

“It felt good,” Manuel told reporters regarding the throws to Watkins.  “You really just want to get it in a spot for him to catch it and get some yards after the catch.  That’s the biggest thing about a receiver like Sammy.”

Big things will be needed from Watkins and Manuel or big changes will be coming once the new owner is in place.

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PFT’s preseason power rankings reach the Fab Four

The Beatles Getty Images

Twenty-eight down, four to go.

The top four teams in PFT’s NFL preseason power rankings will be unveiled over the next two days. The fourth-ranked team will be announced Monday morning, while the third-rated club will take its spot on the medal stand on Monday afternoon.

The top two clubs will be announced Tuesday, with the runner-up in the morning and our No. 1-ranked club in the afternoon.

Before we get to the Fab Four, be sure to check out how we’ve ranked teams Nos. 5 through 32. All told, 14 AFC and 14 NFC clubs have been unveiled in our power rankings, which were determined by a vote of the PFT staff.

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Report: Chris Snee to announce retirement Monday

New York Giants v Washington Redskins Getty Images

Chris Snee’s career is reportedly at a close.

The Giants’ 11th-year right guard is expected to announce his retirement on Monday, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reported.

Snee, 32, has made 141 starts for the Giants since joining the club in 2004. He was a Pro Bowl starter in 2012, but hip and elbow injuries ended his 2013 campaign after just three starts, and his health reportedly looms an issue now as the Giants prepare to report to training camp on Monday.

A report indicating Snee would be retiring surfaced on Sunday on BigBlueInteractive.com, and various published reports since have only added to the sentiment that Snee’s long and productive stint in New York could be at an end.

Snee’s impending departure leaves wide receiver Victor Cruz, quarterback Eli Manning and fullback Henry Hynoski as the only offensive starters from the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI-winning squad still with the club.

UPDATE 11:06 p.m. ET:  A league source tells PFT that it’s a 100-percent certainty that Snee will retire.

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Jameis Winston is fine with not getting paid

Winston Getty Images

Maybe Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston should change his major to business.  Because it’s obvious that the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner doesn’t fully understand economics — and he doesn’t comprehend the manner in which the billion-dollar machine that is college football is screwing him.

As explained by John Taylor of CFT, Winston opened the ACC Media Days by launching into a passionate defense of simply getting room, board, and tuition in return for helping his college and its conference and, ultimately, NCAA Incorporated generate far more value that he’ll ever realize.

It’s very important to me,” Winston said.  “I was always raised as a student first and an athlete second. . . .

“I think that’s the main purpose in college.  Some athletes lose that perspective.  It’s about being a student-athlete, and not just getting that easy money and going to the league.  Even if kids leave early, I would want them to come back and get that degree. . . .

“We’re blessed to get a free education . . . and that’s enough for me.”

It shouldn’t be.  Winston’s talents and physical sacrifices generate revenue that isn’t being fairly shared with him, thanks to a system that quite possibly violates federal antitrust laws by allowing the various colleges to hide behind an artificial limitation on what an athlete can receive in return for his efforts.

Maybe Winston is simply accepting the fact that nothing will change in time for him to get any of the money, which means there’s no reason to complain about something that ultimately won’t matter.  But if that mindset prompts Winston to remain at Florida State after 2014 at a time when the NFL is ready to make him one of the top picks in the 2015 draft, he’ll be making a huge mistake.

Most if not all kids go to college to develop marketable skills.  Winston’s most marketable skills flow from his physical talents.  The longer he plays college football, the greater the chance those skills will be diminished by serious injury.  If/when the window opens for Winston or any other college player to be compensated for his abilities, the business savvy that would flow from a free education points to the unmistakable conclusion of getting paid now and finishing the education later.

Until then, Winston is unwittingly giving Florida State and the rest of the college system even greater value by aiding the process of influencing other kids to continue to get far less than they deserve for the services they are providing.  If, after all, a free education is good enough for Jameis Winston, it should be good enough for them, too.

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Reports: Ailing Chris Snee, Giants to meet on Monday

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Getty Images

A mainstay on the Giants’ offensive line is reportedly set to meet with the club on Monday to weigh his future.

Right guard Chris Snee, a starter for the last 10 seasons, will huddle with the Giants tomorrow, Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports and Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reported.

According to Vacchiano, “(r)etirement is an option” for Snee, a four-time Pro Bowler who’s started on a pair of Super Bowl-winning teams in New York.

The 32-year-old Snee has dealt with elbow and hip ailments and played just three games a season ago.

Via Garafolo, a poster on Giants-focused website BigBlueInteractive.com had indicated Snee was to retire on Monday, but Fox Sports and the Daily News report Snee hasn’t yet made a final call.

A Boston College product, Snee is the son-in-law of Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. He was a second-round selection of the Giants ten years ago.

John Jerry, Brandon Mosley and James Brewer are among the Giants’ potential other options at right guard.

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Dareus fails Bills conditioning test

Dareus Getty Images

Apparently, Bills defensive lineman Marcell Dareus can’t run like he drives.

The Pro Bowler, who was arrested in the offseason both for possession of synthetic marijuana and drag racing, landed on the non-football injury list to start training camp because he failed the pre-camp conditioning test.

He needs to focus on getting himself ready,” coach Doug Marrone told reporters regarding Dareus.

While a technicality of sorts, it’s a bad sign for a guy who has faced serious questions about his commitment after the off-field incidents.  With the team in his corner following the arrests, common sense suggests that Dareus would have redoubled his efforts to show gratitude for the loyalty, and to prove that his off-field issues won’t affect his job performance.

Dareus presumably will remain on the NFI list until he can pass the conditioning test, a drama that four years ago marked the beginning of the end for Albert Haynesworth in Washington.

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New book blames Kosar’s slurred speech on oxycodone from Browns

Kosar Getty Images

The post-NFL deterioration of former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar has been startling at times, made most alarming by slurred and at times incoherent speech.  A new book contends that Kosar’s problems trace to the Browns giving him a potent pain-killing medication in order to keep playing.

Via Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Blood Sport — Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroids Era traces Kosar’s problems to the use of oxycodone while playing pro football.  Kosar presumably developed an addiction to the drug while playing and continued taking it, causing slurred speech.

According to the book, Kosar eventually relied on the Biogenesis “anti-aging” clinic for medications that may have included steroids, testosterone, and HGH.  The book contends that Kosar received at least one $600 shipment of medication from Biogenesis, and that former Kosar college teammate Julio Cortes explained, “We can either do this or get back on the oxy. You read the papers about Kosar, and he’s a mess. He’s slurring his words from the medication, from the oxy that the Browns gave him.”

The disclosure comes at a time when the DEA reportedly is investigating the distribution of prescription medication to NFL players.  Which, given the assumption by many that team doctors have been handing out strong narcotics and other medications for years without dotting all i’s and crossing all t’s, invites speculation as to why investigations, prosecutions, and/or incarcerations haven’t already happened.

It’s a strange disconnect between the long-suspected reality of prescription drug abuse in NFL locker rooms and the apparent absence of a response from law enforcement.  While that may be changing in the wake of the lawsuit filed by former players against the NFL for providing medications without explaining the side effects, if the allegations made by the players are true, prosecutors could have been shooting quacks in a barrel for the last several decades.

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Jon Beason won’t run in conditioning test on Monday

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Getty Images

Giants linebacker Jon Beason is still planning to play in this year’s season opener after injuring his foot this offseason, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be practicing when the team opens training camp this week.

Beason told Tom Rock of Newsday that he won’t be running in the conditioning test that his teammates will be taking when camp opens on Monday. That suggests he’ll open up camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list that will bar him from practicing until the team feels sure his foot is ready after this spring’s ligament tear and fracture, although he told Rock he feels he could take the test and that he’s feeling great.

“We’re hitting all those benchmarks in terms of the prognosis. It’s getting better and better every day,” Beason said. “I feel fine right now. But then again I know that I’m not ready to go full speed and change direction and tackle people.”

Beason also added that he’s had seasons without any camp and hit the ground running, but the Giants would surely prefer things play out in a way that allows the veteran to get his feet wet before the games count. Beason’s arrival was a major turning point for the Giants’ defense last season and they are back in similarly undermanned straits at middle linebacker as long as he’s out of the lineup.

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Packers remain a top-five team, despite recent disappointments

Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers AP

The Packers have Aaron Rodgers.  That’s good enough to put them at the top of the league.

Whether the rest of the team is good enough to close the deal remains to be seen.

The defense has a few new pieces, and the offense has lost some parts.  But with Rodgers on the roster, the Packers will be good enough to win the NFC North and make a run deep into the postseason.

Since winning Super Bowl XLV, the Packers haven’t made it back to the NFC title game.  This year could be the year, but they’ll need to address some deficiencies — and hope Rodgers doesn’t get injured again.

So are we being too optimistic?  Too pessimistic?  Appropriately -istic?  Cast a vote below.

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Kluwe: NFL favors wife beaters, drunk drivers over gay rights supporters

Ray Rice AP

Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is continuing his campaign against the NFL for what he says is an attitude of intolerance both toward gays and to people like Kluwe who have advocated for gay rights.

In his latest comments, Kluwe told FOX Twin Cities that Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer should have been suspended for more than three games for making anti-gay remarks after Kluwe began speaking out for gay marriage. Kluwe contrasted Priefer’s suspension with the suspensions for other violations of league rules.

“Players who get caught smoking weed or DUI get four games, and you’re telling me the guy who made a comment like ‘let’s round up all the gays put them on an island nuke it till it glows’ — he’s only going to get a slap on the wrist?” Kluwe said.

Kluwe is a bit off on the suspensions that players get, as players who get DUIs usually aren’t suspended at all unless someone is injured or killed or it’s a repeat offense. Regardless, Kluwe thinks the NFL has misplaced priorities.

“The NFL is a league where you can get redemption for killing someone, for beating your wife in an elevator, for driving drunk, for a whole variety of things but when you speak out for civil rights, that’s the one thing you cannot get redeemed for,” Kluwe added.

When he mentions “beating your wife in an elevator,” Kluwe is clearly referring to Ravens running back Ray Rice, who assaulted his now-wife in an incident early this offseason. Kluwe seems to think the fact that Rice is still with the Ravens, while Kluwe was cut by the Vikings and then cut by the Raiders and is now out of the league, is evidence that the NFL is more forgiving of wife beaters than gay rights supporters.

The reality, however, is that Rice remaining in the NFL while Kluwe is out is not proof that the NFL thinks a player beating his wife is better than a player speaking out for gay rights. It’s proof that Rice is a better player than Kluwe. NFL teams will tolerate almost anything from a player who can help them win. That’s what the NFL really values.

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Rams linebacker arrested in South Beach

Dunbar

Soon, all NFL training camps will be open.  For many of the league’s coaches, that can’t come soon enough.

Players left to their own devices sometimes end up in trouble.  It happened early Sunday to Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar during a visit to South Beach.

According to CBS Miami, Dunbar was arrested for battery and disorderly conduct following an altercation outside the Dream Nightclub.  Also arrested was Donte Green, a free agent who was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft.

Dunbar provides the latest off-field complication for a Rams team that has had its share of arrests and suspensions in recent years.  Second-year receiver Stedman Bailey will miss the first four games of the 2014 regular season after testing positive for PEDs.

Dunbar missed the first four games of the 2013 season due to a violation of the PED policy.  A 16-game starter in 2012 and 10-game starter a year ago, Dunbar is due to earn a base salary of $751,157 in 2014.

[Photo credit:  Miami-Dade Police Department]

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Rex on Patriots: “They need to worry about us”

New England Patriots v New York Jets Getty Images

Rex Ryan really is back.  And while he has yet to talk about not kissing Bill Belichick’s rings or guaranteeing that Rex will be wearing one of his own, Ryan has found a way to get back to being the guy he was early in his career as a head coach.

During a June interview with Brian Costello of the New York Post that was published Saturday night, Ryan made it clear that:  (1) the Jets aren’t worried about the Patriots; and (2) the Patriots should worry about the Jets.

“Somebody asked me if we focus on New England. Bullsh-t,” Ryan said.  “We’re focused on us.  We’re focused on us and how are we going to be better.  I have to be honest, I don’t worry about them.  They need to worry about us.  I think that’s really where we’re at now.”

I’m a little worried Rex hasn’t looked at the standings from the 2013 season.  Or 2012.  Or 2011.  Each year, the Patriots won the AFC East.  The Jets didn’t.

And while a strong argument can be made that the Jets are moving in the right direction, the Jets have a long way to go to catch New England.

Ryan knows, regardless of whether the Jets catch the Patriots, that the Jets need to do more than finish at .500.

“8-8 is not going to be good enough for us, for anybody in this organization,” Ryan said. “Am I going to get fired if we’re 8-8 or whatever?  I don’t know.  But I can tell you one thing — our goals are set a hell of a lot higher than that.  I don’t care where they rank us or whatever.  I know what we’ve got.  That’s why I just can’t wait.  I can’t wait to get to prove it.  Not by me.  I’m going to prove it.  I am going to prove it.  But so is my team.  That’s the mission that we have.”

Last year, Ryan’s mission seemed to include saying a little as possible and, when doing so, to not be like the guy he previously was.  Maybe he’s more comfortable in his second year of working with G.M. John Idzik.  Maybe Rex believes that, if he’d been a little louder last year, the team would have finished better than 8-8.  Or maybe Rex just could no longer suppress his nature.

If the last explanation is the right one, good for Rex.  Life is hard enough without trying to be someone other than who a guy really is.  For 2014, it looks and sounds like Rex is going to be Rex again — for better, worse, or otherwise.

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