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Lions part ways with Drayton Florence

Drayton Florence AP

If the Lions are going to have experienced depth at cornerback on their roster this season, it isn’t going to come from Drayton Florence.

The Lions announced Tuesday that they have released Florence. The move comes 12 days after they signed Florence, who previously spent the 2012 season playing in Detroit.

Florence had a successful year with the Panthers in 2013, but the Lions don’t seem to think that he can replicate that effort for them this season. That they came to that conclusion without a particularly strong group of cornerbacks is not a great sign for the 33-year-old’s future in the NFL, although there are always injuries opening up opportunities at the position around the league.

Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis are slated to start at corner in Detroit with Bill Bentley, Nevin Lawson, Cassius Vaughn and Jonte Green among those vying for roles in sub packages.

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Alterraun Verner not sure if he’ll make Buc debut this week

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The Buccaneers made a big acquisition at cornerback last year, but had to wait until the regular season to see how Darrelle Revis looked in their defense because rehab from his torn ACL kept Revis out of the lineup in the preseason.

Revis is in New England now, but there’s still a familiar feeling around the Bucs this summer. Signing Alterraun Verner was their major move in the secondary this time and they’re again playing the waiting game as Verner recovers from a hamstring injury that’s kept him out of the lineup in each of the first two preseason games. Verner returned to individual drills last week and the team wants to get Verner into this week’s game against the Bills, but Verner’s not sure he’ll be ready to go.

“I feel fine. I mean, it’s going to see as we increase my reps during practice and see how I respond, but I wouldn’t want to say, you know, 100 percent I’ll be playing [against Buffalo],” Verner said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “We’re going to do what’s best and see how I feel. But if I do play I can’t tell you how long. I’m going to play as long as they need me to play. I look forward to being out there. Hopefully, everything holds up so I can play.”

While getting Verner some run in the preseason would be ideal, it wouldn’t be worth a setback that puts him at risk of missing any regular season time so the final call on his status for Saturday will likely come later in the week.

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With Darnell Dockett out, Cardinals taking a look at Brett Keisel

Keisel Getty Images

There’s not a like-for-like replacement for injured defensive tackle Darnell Dockett at the moment, but the Cardinals are at least looking into someone they know well.

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the Cardinals are bringing in longtime Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel for a physical today.

Keisel would lend some gravity to a defense that has taken a number of hits this offseason.

The Cards still like what Frostee Rucker offers, and he’d likely take the snaps which Dockett was going to take. But Keisel has been a solid player, and one that coach Bruce Arians is well-familiar with.

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Montee Ball back at practice

monteeball AP

Broncos running back Montee Ball said that he expected doctors to clear him for practice on Monday, and that apparently happened.

Although there has been no official word from the Broncos about Ball’s recovery from an appendectomy, reporters in Denver are passing along word that Ball is on the practice field for the Broncos today.

The Broncos have a non-contact practice today, so Ball is just doing drills, but the fact that he’s on the practice field suggests that he’s making good progress in his recovery. Other players have typically missed about two weeks after having an appendectomy, and it appears that Ball is on the same schedule.

It seems unlikely that the Broncos would put Ball on the field in either of the two remaining preseason games, just because they’ll want to play it safe. But expect Ball to be the Broncos’ first-string running back when the regular season opens.

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Irsay’s operating while intoxicated trial pushed back

jim-irsay Getty Images

Colts owner Jim Irsay may get his court date pushed back, but he’s expected to have to face charges while his team is playing this season.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Irsay’s court date on operating while intoxicated charges will likely come in late October or early November.

His attorney asked for a continuance, and the D.A. is not opposed to the move.

But before that one, he may have to appear at a conference involving the custody of two children who live with their mother in a million-dollar home Irsay paid for earlier this year.

The case was brought by the ex-husband of the mother, who said he was concerned about the safety of the children in Irsay’s presence.

“As a father, I do not want my children subjected to this type of behavior and lifestyle,” Greg Martin wrote in a letter to the court. He added that “money does not buy morals or self-respect.”

The league has only said that Irsay was “under review,” as many wonder whether they’ll apply the same firm standards to an owner as they do players.

The silence from New York as to whether that’s true seems deafening, but the delay at least gives Roger Goodell time to consider how to punish one of his 32 bosses.

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Colts fear Delano Howell has serious neck injury

Steven Hauschka, Delano Howell AP

The Colts are looking for a safety to pair with LaRon Landy and it looks like it will have to be someone other than Delano Howell.

Howell has not practiced in a couple of weeks because of a neck injury. He missed most of last season with neck issues as well, which explains why Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said that the team is “looking with a fine-tooth comb” to find out the extent of the injury.

“Anytime there’s anything with a neck, you’ve got to cross your t’s and dot your i’s,” Grigson said, via the Indianapolis Star. “That’s a serious area. It’s something that’s been nagging him. He’s going through the whole entire process of seeing multiple people so he can formulate that opinion with his wife and his agent, himself and all of us and make the decision that’s best for Delano. He’s seeing another specialist so we can pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Hopefully he’s back out there playing for us soon.”

Even if Howell proves to be fine, Grigson suggested that the missed time will hurt him in his competition for snaps with Mike Adams and Sergio Brown. That duo has been filling in for him now and one could wind up as a starter if Howell doesn’t get good news from his doctors soon.

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Odell Beckham back on sideline for Giants

Odell Beckham Jr. AP

Giants first-round pick Odell Beckham returned to practice last week after a lengthy absence caused by a hamstring injury and raised hopes that he’d be able to make his preseason debut against the Jets this weekend.

Those plans may need to be put on hold, however. Multiple people on the Giants beat report that Beckham is on the sideline doing individual rehab work with other injured players while the rest of the team goes through practice in full pads.

There’s no word on a specific issue for Beckham, who had to leave Monday’s practice early after pulling up at the end of a sprint. The Giants said that Beckham, who didn’t return to practice, was fine but it seems that being fine and being able to practice are mutually exclusive in this case.

Beckham’s hamstring also limited him during spring work, so he hasn’t had much time at all to work in the new offense since being drafted in May. That’s probably not the leading  reason for the unit’s August difficulties, but it isn’t helping get things on track either. If Beckham’s out for much more time, it may be hard for him to make much of an impact in his first season as a professional.

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Dolphins kicker can’t fight for his job this week

Miami Dolphins Minicamp Getty Images

Caleb Sturgis is fighting for his job, but he won’t be able to fight for it this weekend.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Sturgis won’t be able to kick in Saturday’s preseason game against the Cowboys because of a groin injury.

Last year’s fifth-round pick was good early in the 2013 season, but has been inconsistent and plagued by injuries since then.

He aggravated a persistent groin injury before last weekend’s game against the Buccaneers, and John Potter hit field goals from 48 and 51 yards. Sturgis is expected to be back for the preseason finale, but Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he wasn’t sure who’d be kicking in the regular season opener against the Patriots.

“We’ll see. We’ve got a lot of time, ” Philbin said. “We’re open to anything. We haven’t named any kicker. I don’t know who’s going to be kicking for the New England game yet.”

Draft picks usually get plenty of chances, at least a year’s worth, but it’s worth noting that Sturgis was a pick of a General Manager who no longer works there, which could erode any support he might have.

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PFT Live: Redskins talk with Rich Tandler, PFT Planet calls and tweets

Cleveland Browns v Washington Redskins Getty Images

PFT Live is back on Tuesday at a new time.

The show will be kicking off at 1 p.m. ET and we’ll jump right into things by talking about the Redskins a day after they closed out the second full week of the preseason on Monday Night Football against the Browns. Rich Tandler of CSN Washington will join Mike Florio to discuss the play of quarterback Robert Griffin III on a night that saw he still has a long way to go when it comes to avoiding the kinds of hits that could knock him out of the lineup.

They’ll also touch on other matters from Monday night’s game and training camp in general as the team prepares for Jay Gruden’s first season as their head coach.

We’ll be taking questions from PFT Planet as well. Florio will answer queries sent in on Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or by calling 888-237-5269 during the show to let us know what’s on your mind.

It’s all getting started at 1 p.m. ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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Jerry Jones doesn’t dispute that son talked him out of Manziel

Larry Allen, Jerry Jones AP

While the team might have denied that Jerry Jones had the Johnny Manziel card snatched from his hand by his son on draft day, Jones himself didn’t dispute the spirit of the claim.

On the “Shamn and RJ” Show on 105.3 The Fan, Jones did nothing to deny the story of how close he was to drafting the Texas A&M quarterback himself.

Figuratively speaking, it got close to that,” Jones said. “It certainly was a big debate going on, if no place else other than my mind.”

The Cowboys had cameras in their draft room, so Jones pointed out that any physical snatch of the card by his son Stephen would have been visible now. But he also admitted that Stephen would be one of the few people with the kind of swing to talk him out of it.

“If anybody could talk me out of it, Stephen could. Let’s leave it at that,” Jerry Jones said. “I like where we ended up, but there’s no doubt, there was a long thought — at least on my part. Stephen certainly had his ideas. The rest of the room had their ideas.”

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, as he’s Cleveland’s to deal with now. But with everyone in Dallas watching the back of their old quarterback, the what-might-have-beens will only continue — even if only in Jones’ mind.

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Cleveland-Washington second highest rated NFL preseason game in ESPN history

Minnesota Vikings v Houston Texans Getty Images

For a preseason game, Monday’s Cleveland-Washington preseason game drew a lot of attention — and viewers.

But it wasn’t the most viewed NFL exhibition contest in ESPN’s history.

According to ESPN’s Bill Hofheimer, Cleveland-Washington drew a 4.8 overnight rating, the second-highest rating ever for an NFL preseason game on the network.

So which ESPN exhibition game outdrew Johnny Manziel’s second-ever preseason game?

As it turns out, Brett Favre’s second-ever game with Minnesota garners the award. According to Hofheimer, the 2009 Minnesota-Houston exhibition got a 5.5 overnight rating.

From a ratings standpoint, advantage, Favre.

But from a memorability standpoint? Advantage, Johnny Football.

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Report: Santonio Holmes gets minimum salary deal from Bears

Santonio Holmes AP

The Bears’ addition of wideout Santonio Holmes reportedly comes at a relatively low cost for Chicago.

In fact, it may cost the Bears no salary at all.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Holmes received a one-year deal for a non-guaranteed salary of $855,000 — the veteran minimum.

If the 30-year-old Holmes doesn’t make the club, the Bears won’t be on the hook for any more compensation. But if he proves a solid third option behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, the Bears will have made quite the value signing.

For Holmes, the deal functions as a one-year “prove-it” contract. If healthy and productive with Chicago, Holmes could improve his value entering free agency in 2015. He may still be young enough to garner one more multiyear deal if he has a bounce-back year with the Bears.

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Victor Cruz: Don’t worry about offensive struggles because we haven’t shown a lot

Victor Cruz AP

The struggles of the Giants offense through their first three preseason games have drawn plenty of attention and varied responses.

Coach Tom Coughlin threatened to play the starters in the final week of the preseason if things don’t improve this week while quarterback Eli Manning took his lead from Alfred E. Neuman when asked if he was worried about the dismal production thus far. Wide receiver Victor Cruz has also weighed in and he’s playing a similar tune to the quarterback who has yet to complete a pass that counted to Cruz this summer.

Cruz says that there’s no reason for great concern at this point because the Giants have been keeping things simple.

“Mainly because we haven’t shown a lot,” Cruz said, via NJ.com. “We haven’t given a lot of plays, tipped our hands on a lot of things we’re showing [in practice]. It’s pretty base stuff [in preseason games]. “We just have to do a better job of executing.”

No team likes to show too much in the preseason, especially if they’re playing a team they will see again in the regular season as was the case with the Giants’ matchup with the Colts last weekend. That said, the Giants were dreadful regardless of what other plays they have in the hopper and it is only natural that those who care about the team would have some concern about that after watching the Giants stumble their way through last season.

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Vikings, Chris Kluwe announce settlement of dispute over Kluwe’s departure

San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

Last week, word came from the lawyer for former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe that his client and the team had reached agreement on a settlement of the issues related to Kluwe’s departure from the team in 2013.

The two sides made that settlement official on Tuesday with a joint press release.

“As a family we have long-supported equal rights causes, including marriage equality,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf in the release. “We are glad a resolution of this matter has been reached, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to create positive awareness of these issues.”

“I’m pleased that the issue has been resolved,” said Kluwe. “I intend to continue to speak out on behalf of marriage equality, and I am pleased to be a part of the impact the Vikings material charitable contributions will have on LGBT and related causes.”

Kluwe alleged that he was let go by the team because of his outspoken support of marriage equality and that special teams coach Mike Priefer made homophobic remarks during the 2012 season. The Vikings released the report of an investigation into the allegations that found Kluwe was released for football reasons and the team suspended Priefer for up to three games for what the report said was one homophobic comment. Kluwe contemplated litigation, but the settlement puts an end to that possibility.

As part of the settlement, the Vikings will donate money to five LGBT groups over the next five years. The amount of money was not disclosed, though Kluwe’s lawyer Clayton Halunen called it “substantial”

“Everybody knows the numbers we have been talking about over the past seven months,” Halunen said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “It’s substantial … Chris will receive absolutely nothing from this settlement.”

In the release, the Vikings also promised to “continue to enhance its sensitivity training policy” in the wake of Priefer’s suspension.

 

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Blake Bortles got handful of reps with starters on Monday

Jacksonville Jaguars v Chicago Bears Getty Images

The Jaguars did as they promised on Monday and gave quarterback Blake Bortles time with the starting offense.

They never promised to give him a lot of time with the starters, however, and Bortles didn’t spend much time working with the first team. Coach Gus Bradley said after practice that Bortles took three reps during 11-on-11 and four or five more during 7-on-7 drills, an experience that the coach feels will help the rookie adjust to the speed of NFL defenses.

“As I was sitting back there I thought it was really good for him to go against the ones like that to get a feel for the speed, to get a feel for the rush,” Bradley said, via the team’s website. “Sitting back there and watching it, I just felt like that was good for him.”

Bradley indicated that Bortles would get a similar number of snaps with the first team on Tuesday and is expected to play about a quarter with the starters on Friday against the Lions. He’ll enter the game after Chad Henne, who is expected to start when the season opens although offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch told Peter King of MMQB.com that the team will be “giving Blake every chance to make the decision super-hard for us” because “nothing is set in stone.”

 

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