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Texans bringing Teddy Bridgewater in for a visit next week

Teddy Bridgewater AP

The Jaguars will be taking a second look at Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater over the weekend and one of their AFC South rivals will also be bringing Bridgewater in for a meeting.

Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com reports that the Texans will host Bridgewater next week as they continue to peruse the quarterback options available to them in this year’s draft.

There was a time when Bridgewater was considered a possibility with Houston’s first overall pick, but it is harder to find people who think things will break that way. That doesn’t mean that he won’t wind up in Houston, however.

The Texans also have the first pick of the second round and they could opt to go for Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick before using that pick on a quarterback. Bridgewater could be in play for them if they stay put at the top of the round or if they decide to move back into the first round using that pick as part of a trade package.

That might not be where Bridgewater thought he’d wind up being selected when the process started, but there would be worse landing spots than Houston for a quarterback with designs on starting.

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Report: Rolando McClain expected to work with Ravens soon

Rolando+McClain+San+Diego+Chargers+v+Oakland+EbS0xbCdJoxl Getty Images

Rolando McClain’s comeback attempt didn’t get off to such a hot start, but the Ravens are apparently letting him continue to attempt it.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, the plan is for McClain to join the Ravens “as soon as Monday” for the offseason program.

He was reinstated from the reserve/retired list this week, despite reportedly faring poorly in his conditioning test.

At this point, he’s a low-risk/no-risk investment.

If he’s interested in being a football player again, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome (a fellow Alabama man) appears inclined to give him a chance. If McClain doesn’t get in shape, the only thing they’ve wasted is time and a roster spot, of which there are 90.

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Andrew Luck had to get away from football for a few

Andrew Luck, Richard Sherman

Some quarterbacks decompress over the offseason by burying themselves in football (and possibly violating the CBA).

Others take a difference approach.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck spent a few months traveling the world, getting away from football before returning to work next week.

You do have to get away, at least in my mind you do, so I did,” Luck said, via the team’s official website. “I made sure I gave myself a solid month-and-a-half, two months to get back into football shape before starting this voluntary workout session.

“It’s something I think I did better this year than last year. Every year, hopefully [I’ll] continue to do better in balancing that time. I know getting away from football is as important almost as making sure your mind’s fresh and clear as the training aspect.”

Luck said his football itch returned in March, leading him to the feeling of, “I’ve really got to get this thing cranked up again.”

Luck made solid strides from his rookie year to his second, especially in terms of limiting turnovers (at least until the postseason). Now, he has a new weapon with which to work, after the Colts brought in Hakeem Nicks.

“I haven’t had a chance to throw with him. We’ve talked, though,” Luck said. “He’s a winner, a vet, a good football player. I’m very excited.

“Every off-season is key in building rhythm. That’s one of the bigger focuses as a quarterback. [It’s] either build on the rapport you have with guys like a T.Y. [Hilton] or Reggie [Wayne]. Also to integrate the new guys, sort of feel each other out football-wise. The work you put this off-season hopefully will pay dividends when the season comes.”

But for Luck, the work starts next week, when offseason conditioning begins.

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Saints re-sign WR Robert Meachem

Wild Card Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

One of the Saints’ primary deep threats is back for another season in New Orleans.

The club said Friday it had signed wideout Robert Meachem to a one-year contract. The 29-year-old Meachem caught 16 passes for 324 yards and two TDs in regular season play for New Orleans in 2013, then added three receptions for 109 yards in the playoffs.

The Saints’ first-round pick in 2007, Meachem (6-2, 215) has caught 171 passes for 2.800 yards and 27 touchdowns in his NFL career. He has played six seasons with New Orleans, including a five-season stint (2007-2011) at the outset of his career. He signed with the Chargers before the 2012 season but struggled in his time with San Diego, catching just 14 passes for 207 yards and two TDs in his lone campaign away from New Orleans.

Forty-two of Meachem’s regular season receptions have gone for 20 yards or more. What’s more, he had three catches of 40 yards or longer in the 2013 regular season, then hauled in receptions of 40 and 52 yards in the postseason.

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Jaguars doing more homework, working Bridgewater out

Bridgewater AP

The Jaguars have already had Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in for a visit.

Now, they want to see a little more.

According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, Bridgewater will have a second meeting and workout tomorrow with the Jaguars.

This comes right as reports are building that Bridgewater’s stock might not be as high as previously thought.

The Jaguars desperately need a long-term answer at quarterback. They also own the third overall pick in the draft. And the 39th.

Whether they think Bridgewater is more worthy of one than the other may dictate their interest. But after he had a lackluster pro day, he has a chance to convince them on a one-on-one basis tomorrow.

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PFT Live: Falcons talk with D. Orlando Ledbetter, PFT Planet calls and tweets

Mike Smith AP

The Falcons own the sixth pick in next month’s draft and they have sent some pretty clear signals about what direction they’d like to go with their top selection.

They’ve been meeting with the top offensive tackles and defensive front seven players as they try to formulate their plan for May 8. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution will join Mike Florio on Friday’s edition of PFT Live to discuss those options and we’ll find out what Ledbetter thinks is the team’s smartest course of action.

We’re also interested in hearing what’s on your mind as another week draws to a close. We’ll be taking questions from PFT Planet again, so send them in on Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or by giving a call to 888-237-5269 during the show. 

It all gets underway at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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Lots of teams looking at Demarcus Lawrence

M.J. McPeek, Demarcus Lawrence AP

The ability to get after the quarterback is prized by every team in the league, so it probably shouldn’t come as much surprise that Boise State defensive end/linebacker Demarcus Lawrence is taking a lot of visits ahead of next month’s draft.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that Lawrence is expected to meet with the Redskins, Cowboys, Saints, Vikings, Steelers, 49ers and Jets before the draft. In addition, he’s also met with the Falcons and done private workouts with the Saints and Seahawks as teams try to determine where Lawrence will come off the board.

The variety of teams showing interest in Lawrence and the variety of the schemes they run suggest a feeling that Lawrence can fit as an edge rusher in either a 4-3 or 3-4 base defense. Lawrence’s college production backs up that feeling, although teams are likely also interested in finding out whether the off-field issues that led to three one-game suspensions for Lawrence at Boise are under control as he moves into the professional ranks.

Lawrence has been projected as a second-round pick, but could move into the first day if a team decides he’s the answer for their pass rushing needs.

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Manning, Gase “visit” to Saban may have violated offseason rules

Manning AP

The meeting between former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning and current Alabama coach Nick Saban will raise plenty of eyebrows among Volunteers fans who voluntarily wear on Saturdays in the fall an objectively unattractive shade of orange.

The session also should raise some eyebrows at 345 Park Avenue, for entirely different reasons.

As Saban explained it, Manning was accompanied by offensive coordinator Adam Gase.  Saban also said that Manning and Gase were “making some visits.”

“To be honest with you, [Manning] was just trying to learn so he could be a better player,” Saban said.  “I think a lot of people would say, ‘Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, and certainly from a career standpoint probably about as good as anybody’s been in the history of the league.  After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he’s going out and trying to seek more knowledge and understanding of the game of football so he can play better.”

That’s admirable.  It’s also a potential CBA violation.

The new labor deal, struck in 2011, places clear limits on offseason activities.  Under Article 21, Section 2(a)(ii), players “are not permitted to participate in . . . group or individual meetings with coaches” prior to the start of the team’s official offseason workout program.

The Broncos have yet to start their official offseason program.  Gase and Manning aren’t allowed to meet.  Either Saban is lying (because “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach“), it looks like they met.

Per a league source, Saban’s characterization of Manning and Gase making arm-in-arm visits to college coaches could be incorrect.  The Manning-Gase-Saban meeting at Alabama may have happened by chance, with Manning coming in to meet Saban and Gase, who once worked for Saban, happening to be in the area at the same time.

Regardless, it appears there was a meeting between player and coach before the start of Denver’s offseason program.

The Broncos declined comment on the issue.  The NFL has not yet responded to an email message seeking confirmation that the rules prohibit meetings between players and coaches prior to the start of the team’s offseason program.

Then again, confirmation likely isn’t necessary.  The rule is clear.  In the three years since the rule was created, it’s the first time evidence has arisen of a potential violation.

UPDATE 11:27 a.m. ET:  NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells PFT that the league is looking into the situation.

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Ron Rivera learns NASCAR lessons can apply to football

RonRivera AP

When it’s the offseason, NFL coaches are limited in the work they can do with players, so they have to learn from each other.

But instead of turning to other football coaches, Panthers coach Ron Rivera spent time with NASCAR crew chief Chad Knaus, who has led Jimmie Johnson to six titles.

The geographic proximity makes it easy, but Knaus also had some experience in a similar situation to the one Rivera’s in now.

In 2010, with three races to go in the season, Knaus once replaced his entire seven-man pit crew, which — without knowing much about car racing — seems vaguely analogous to Rivera blowing up his wide receiver corps this offseason.

This guy may jack the car up a 10th of a second faster, but he doesn’t work as well together with others,” Rivera said via David Newton of ESPN.com, “while this guy may be a 10th of a second slower, yet he works well with everybody. We’re the same way. It’s about, ‘How does this guy fit in the locker room?’”

That sound you hear is a bus being driven over Steve Smith, an obvious shot at the best player in franchise history, who was cut earlier this offseason for reasons that had nothing to do with football.

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Chuck Pagano: It’s an important offseason for Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson AP

The Colts kick off their offseason program on Monday and it promises to be a big one for running back Trent Richardson.

Richardson’s in-season arrival in a trade with the Browns cost the Colts a first-round pick and got them a back who wound up being benched in favor of Donald Brown near the end of the season. The Colts have maintained faith in Richardson and the back said after the season that he thought his struggles were due in part to insufficient time to pick up the offense, something coach Chuck Pagano says Richardson has to do this offseason.

“It’s going to be very, very important for [Richardson] to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will,” Pagano said, via the team’s website. “He wants to be great. He’s got all the talent. He’s got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn’t believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign.”

Brown is in San Diego now, but Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw are back in Indy and we’ve already seen the Colts move on from Richardson when they felt there were better options. There’s no reason to expect anything different next season if Richardson hasn’t shown that his slow start with the team was just a matter of being in unfamiliar surroundings.

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Jimmy Clausen looking for a second chance to compete

Jimmy Clausen AP

When the Panthers drafted Jimmy Clausen in the second round of the 2010 draft, the hope was that he’d develop into their starting quarterback.

That never happened. Clausen played poorly in 13 games as a rookie and the Panthers drafted Cam Newton after going 2-14, leaving Clausen with a seat on the bench that he never relinquished the next two seasons. Clausen then hurt his shoulder in preseason last year, forcing him to injured reserve before his contract with the Panthers came to an end.

Clausen is working out with trainers and says his shoulder is almost 100 percent, but that hasn’t helped him get a job yet this offseason. Clausen hopes that changes so that he can resume his quest for a starting job in the league.

“That’s what I want. The only thing I can ask for is an opportunity — a legit opportunity to compete to be a No. 2 and hopefully work my way up,” Clausen said, via USA Today It’s tough. Obviously, I’m a competitor and want to get somewhere and compete.”

There hasn’t been much tape of Clausen for teams to evaluate since that dismal rookie year and there hasn’t been so much as a murmur of interest in his services around the league this offseason, which doesn’t bode well for a resurrection of his stalled career. Perhaps that changes if a team feels the need for an extra arm in camp this summer, but things look dim for Clausen on the second chance front.

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Popp says Johnson isn’t trying to get back to the NFL

Chad AP

Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Johnson has become new CFL receiver Chad Johnson.  (Or, perhaps eventually, Chad Quatre-Vingt-Cinq.)

Regardless, Johnson supposedly has no aspiration to parlay his arrival in the CFL into a return to the NFL.  That’s what long-time Alouettes G.M. Jim Popp told Ross Tucker and Brad Hopkins of SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday.

Popp also insisted that adding Johnson, who last spent time in the NFL nearly two years ago with the Dolphins after a lackluster 2011 season with the Patriots, isn’t a publicity stunt.

It may not be a stunt, but it’s definitely generating publicity.  The question is whether it will result in productivity.  While plenty of young players have used the CFL as a way to attract the attention of the NFL, precious few aging NFL players have gone to Canada and made an impact.  If Johnson plays at a high level, it will be noteworthy in large part because it will be unprecedented.

Until then, NFL fans and NFL media will pay more attention to the CFL.  Which means more publicity.  Even if the goal wasn’t to get more publicity.

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Charles Tillman now has a street that crosses RG3′s

Robert Griffin III, Charles Tillman AP

If you’re looking for the intersection of NFL greatness on both sides of the ball, you can always go to Copperas Cove, Texas.

There, you can roll down the newly named Charles Tillman Way, which intersects with Robert Griffin III Boulevard.

According to KWTX, Tillman had his street named after him last week. The NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year said he was flattered by the recognition of his hometown.

I really am humbled and thankful that you guys allowed me to be an ambassador for Copperas Cove,” the Bears cornerback said. “I will continue to do my part and try and change as many lives as we can.”

Now we just need an investigation to see if any strings were pulled.

During an interview with his fellow Copperas Cove graduate, Tillman joked that Griffin was a much bigger deal in his hometown.

“It’s him!” Tillman said in February, via the Washington Post. “Ask me do I have a street named after me.”

Griffin then replied: ““We’re gonna start the campaign today to get Charles Tillman a street in Copperas Cove.”

Whether Griffin had anything to do with it or not, it’s still a neat way for the town to honor two of its most prominent natives.

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Colts haven’t retired No. 88, but they won’t let Nicks wear it

Marvin Harrison AP

Technically, the Colts have not retired the 88 jersey which the team’s all-time leading receiver, Marvin Harrison, wore during his 13 seasons in Indianapolis, and which Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey wore for nine seasons in Baltimore. But the Colts aren’t giving No. 88 out anymore.

That became clear when the Colts’ website announced that Hakeem Nicks, the newly arrived free agent who wore No. 88 with the Giants, will instead wear No. 14 with the Colts.

Nicks had previously said he wanted to keep wearing No. 88 but that he didn’t know if he could in Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows I love those eights on my chest, but we’ll have to see how that pans out,” Nicks said when he signed with the Colts.

The Colts are running out of numbers in the 80s, with Raymond Berry’s 82 and Gino Marchetti’s 89 both retired, and Reggie Wayne’s 87 likely to be retired some day as well. But they should also retire 88, and when they do they should honor both Harrison and Mackey.

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Arizona judge denies bail for Darren Sharper

Sharper AP

Former NFL player Darren Sharper currently has so many legal problems that even former NFL player Aaron Hernandez would say, “That guy’s got a lot of legal problems.”

Sharper’s problems became more complicated on Thursday.

Via Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, a judge in Arizona determined on Thursday that Sharper should not be released on bail for the rape charges he’s facing in that state.  Sharper also has been accused of rape in California and Louisiana, with potential charges also in Nevada and Florida.

In Arizona, Sharper’s conduct resulted in three alleged victims, labeled as A, B, and C.

“The court finds proof evident and the presumption great that Victim B was the victim of a sexual assault committed by Mr. Sharper,” Granville said. “The court will therefore affirm the no-bond finding with respect to [sexual assault].”

The evidence consists of DNA material matching Sharper.

He currently remains in jail in California while the wheels of justice churn in three different jurisdictions.  He is expected to be tried initially in California.

Sharper played for the Packers, Vikings, and Saints.  He was a key member of the 2009 New Orleans team that won Super Bowl XLIV.  Most recently, Sharper worked as an analyst for NFL Media.  Initially suspended after the California case came to light, the league fired Sharper after an arrest warrant was issued in Louisiana.

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