Rumors fly that Bucs are trying to move up to No. 2

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There aren’t all that many juicy rumors flying as the draft approaches.  But here’s a good one.

There’s chatter in league circles that the Buccaneers could end up being the team that moves up to No. 2 from No. 7.

It’s unclear what it would take to make the leap by five spots.  It’s also unclear who/whom/whatever the Bucs would target with the second pick.

After the trade of receiver Mike Williams and the age (31) of Vincent Jackson, the Bucs could use a receiver like Sammy Watkins.  But then there’s Johnny Manziel, who with a stout Lovie Smith defense would be fascinating in Tampa.

Kam Chancellor had hip surgery


In March, John Clayton of ESPN reported that Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was going to have “minor” hip surgery this offseason.

Chancellor contradicted the report on Twitter — writing “Huh? No surgery here. Ready to win.” — but General Manager John Schneider still faced questions about it last week.

“Um, I’m not going to get into that right now,” Schneider said, via Curtis Crabtree of PFT. “That’s not something I want to discuss. I think that I would like to just not talk about it. I just don’t think it’s appropriate right now. We can talk about it later. Not later today, later.”

Now Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Chancellor did indeed have surgery and the team hopes that he’ll be recovered in time for preseason action. Rapoport adds “nothing is certain,” though, so it will certainly be something to watch for the rest of the offseason.

The Seahawks held onto Jeron Johnson by giving him the second-round tender as a restricted free agent and he’d be the likeliest replacement if Chancellor does wind up missing any time.

UPDATE 5:48 p.m. ET: The Seahawks confirmed with Crabtree that Chancellor had surgery about a month ago.

Redskins terminate Tanard Jackson’s contract

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Earlier today, the Redskins said they “might” give Tanard Jackson a chance.

And then again, they “might” not.

According to the league’s transaction wire, the Redskins terminated Jackson’s contract today.

Jackson had missed the last two seasons because of suspensions for substance abuse violations, and he would have had to have been on a serious training program to be ready to contribute right now.

Teams will likely continue to monitor him, and if he’s serious about a comeback, someone might call. He’s only 28, so it’s not unreasonable to think he could, if he wants to.

Goodell sees no need to talk to owners about Donald Sterling matter

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When the owners get together this month for their quarterly meeting, they may decide to talk among themselves about disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  But Commissioner Roger Goodell won’t be talking to them about the situation.

“I believe that our ownership understands the world that we live in and how much we value diversity,” Goodell tells Rich Eisen of NFL Media.  “That’s something that is one of the essential parts of what makes our league successful and has over the decades.  So, no, I don’t see a need to do that. I believe that our owners understand the importance of doing things the right way.”

They definitely understand the consequences after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dropped the hammer on Sterling, banning him . . . FOR LIFE, and ordering him to sell the team.

Goodell could never do anything less than this if an NFL owner engages in similar conduct.  The owners surely realize that, and they’d collectively be wise to consider beefing up the screening procedures to ensure that they welcome to the club people who not only have the financial wherewithal to buy the team but also the requisite character.

Broncos add three to their Ring of Fame

The Broncos reached deep into their history to find one of the three new members of their Ring of Fame.

Gene Mingo was a member of the first Broncos team in 1960 and had the first punt return for a touchdown in AFL history in the first AFL game. That was a Broncos victory over the Patriots and Mingo contributed to many more wins as a halfback and kicker through the 1964 season. According to a release from the Broncos, Mingo was also the first African-American kicker in professional football.

Mingo will be honored alongside former head coach Dan Reeves and wide receiver Rick Upchurch. Reeves led the team to three AFC titles and five division championships between 1981 and 1992. He ranks second in franchise history in regular season and playoff wins behind Mike Shanahan.

Upchurch spent nine years with the Broncos and made the Associated Press All-Pro team three teams as a kick returner. Upchurch, who had eight career punt return touchdowns, was also named the returner on the NFL’s All-1970s team.

[Photo credit: Denver Broncos Football Club]

Giovani Bernard visits PFT Live on Tuesday

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It’s two days until draft day, and Pro Football Talk on NBCSN keeps getting you ready for it.

Even with only 30 minutes, we’ll jam as much info as we can into the program, going over the latest pre-draft rumors and previewing the running back position and interviewing the first running back taken last year.

Bengals tailback Giovani Bernard joins the program by phone, and he talks about what the team will do without offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, what Bernard would do if he were the team’s G.M., and what advice he’d give to rookie running backs.

We’ll also have some stuff from Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso and plenty of other content as we continue to count the hours until the time comes to start picking players.

Until the time comes to turn the channel to NBCSN (5:30 p.m. ET), cast your vote on today’s PFT Planet poll.  We’ll close the show with the results.


Buccaneers retire Derrick Brooks’ jersey in September


No one has worn No. 55 for the Buccaneers since Derrick Brooks walked off the field, and now, no one will again.

The Buccaneers announced that Brooks will have his jersey retired on Sept. 14, making him the third player in franchise history so honored. Lee Roy Selmon (63) and Warren Sapp (99) are the other two.

The announcement was made by Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer, and continues a string of honors for Brooks, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.

“Today is a very important day in my life and to have my number retired is extremely special on top of that,” Brooks said. “No one has worn it since I left, but to know that it’s part of this franchise’s history is a tremendous honor. I’ve had the opportunities to have my number retired in high school and college, but this is a little bit different for me, because every time something goes on in that stadium and they see that number up there they get a piece of me.”

The honor from the Bucs is appropriate, since Brooks gave so much of himself — on and off the field — to make himself an icon in the Tampa community.

Bradie James announces retirement

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Linebacker Bradie James signed a contract with the Cowboys on Tuesday, but it won’t bring him back to the team for the 2014 season.

James signed a one-day deal in order to retire as a member of the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. James went on to play 142 of 144 games for the Cowboys over the next nine seasons. According to a release from the team, James compiled 1,009 tackles as a member of the team to make him the sixth player to make at least 1,000 stops in a Dallas uniform. James also had 15.5 sacks and 11 forced fumbles during his Cowboys career.

James moved on to the Texans for the 2012 season, where he played for former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, and started 15 games.

James didn’t play at all last season and there wasn’t any talk of a return for the 2014 season floating around, so the news of his retirement doesn’t really come out of left field.

Ravens likely blowing smoke on Ebron


As the draft approaches, plenty of rumors will be surface.  And plenty of those rumors will be smokescreens deliberately created by teams with an agenda.

Case in point, the report from Tony Pauline of that the Ravens covet tight end Eric Ebron at No. 17 feels like an effort to ensure that Ebron, a player the Ravens don’t need, will be gone before the Ravens pick, pushing someone the Ravens actually want farther down the board.

With tight end Dennis Pitta returning on a big-money deal, tight end Owen Daniels joining the team, and the Ravens adding receiver Steve Smith and re-signing receiver Jacoby Jones, it makes no sense to ignore one of the various other needs — like right tackle — at No. 17.

If the Ravens truly want Ebron, the Ravens are never going to let that cat out of the bag.  The far more likely explanation is that the Ravens want others to think they want Ebron, in order to help them get the guy they really want.

Rick Spielman: No specific talks with Rams about Bradford

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One of the many bits of chatter swirling about ahead of the draft had the Vikings and Rams discussing a possible trade involving Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and General Manager Rick Spielman was asked about it at a Tuesday press conference.

Spielman said, via Ben Goessling of, that he had not had any specific talks with the Rams about a deal for Bradford. The Rams maintain that they are committed to Bradford as their starting quarterback as well, although they have done their homework on some of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.

Now comes the time for the obligatory draft week note that neither Spielman nor any other team employee is going to telegraph their intentions for the next few days. No specific talks on Tuesday can become very specific by Wednesday morning, which means that Spielman’s vow not to trade Ponder during Tuesday’s press conference should also be taken with a grain of salt.

Maybe less of a grain with that one, though. Spielman also had told reporters that he isn’t afraid to take a quarterback because of how things turned out with Ponder, which doesn’t say much for the quarterback’s trade value.

Marqise Lee hopes to land with the Jets


On the offensive side of the ball, there’s no more intriguing prospect this year that USC receiver Marqise Lee.  (Other than, you know, Johnny Manziel.)

The 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner, Lee’s production slipped dramatically in 2013.  So which guy will show up at the next level?

The receiver-needy Jets could be eyeballing Lee at No. 18.  He hopes they are.

They’re a great organization,” Lee told Brian Costello of the New York Post.  “They made me feel at home and made it feel like a place you want to play.”

Lee continues to attribute last year’s subpar play to injury.

“Unfortunately I had [a knee] injury that I couldn’t control,” Lee said. “That caused me to miss [three] games and didn’t let me perform to my potential.  That’s really about it.  I’m 100 percent now and I’m back to where I am.  Nothing has changed. I’m going to come out and do what I’m supposed to.”

While some believe Lee will slide out of round one, others think he’ll go in the 18-to-26 range.  At No. 18 are the Jets, and while the pick would be gutsy, the upside would provide more of exactly what the Jets need on offense.

Wrapping up the draft previews with a look at the Colts


If the NFL Draft brings optimism to every fan base, it’s simply because it gives every team a chance to get better.

Unless you’re the Colts.

The Colts traded their first-rounder for running back Trent Richardson a year ago, and nothing he did as a Colt makes it look like a better deal now than it did then.

So instead of the possibility of a top play-making safety or one of the top guards in the game with the 26th pick, the Colts get to wait until Friday night before they use the 59th overall selection.

They’re also short a fourth-rounder from another deal with the Browns, giving them just five total picks. As good as they are, they need to hit on at least two of them to fill some relatively glaring needs.

You can read the full preview by clicking right here, and then vote in the poll below on what you think their biggest need is.

Draft needs: Indianapolis Colts


With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. Up next is the one which will wait until late Friday night to get started, the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have just five picks, after trading their first-rounder and their fourth-rounder to the Browns in separate moves (for Trent Richardson, and a draft-day trade last year).

Offensive line: They were hoping that signing free agent Phil Costa would help shore up the middle of their line, but his sudden retirement left that hole blank again. After cutting veteran Samson Satele, there’s nothing left at center, so it’s clearly something they’ll have to address. But the need in the middle goes beyond having someone to snap the ball. They need to upgrade at guard as well.

If they’re committed to Richardson and want to make good use of him, the best bet might be giving him some blocking to take advantage of his alleged physical style.

Then there’s the small matter of protecting Andrew Luck.

He’s the franchise, as long as he’s standing upright, but he’s taken far too many hits his first two seasons. Pep Hamilton’s offense is built on power, and adding some help up front is going to have a trickle-down effect for the entire offense.

Safety: Losing Antoine Bethea in free agency to the 49ers was a blow, one they can’t cover with bargain signings such as Colt Anderson.

If you’re going to play LaRon Landry, his partner needs to be able to cover some ground, so using a Friday pick on someone with range is a strong possibility, if not a likelihood.

Wide receiver: It almost feels like this is going to be a perpetual problem for the Colts.

T.Y. Hilton has emerged as someone you can trust, and bringing Hakeem Nicks in on a one-year deal was good business while they see what Reggie Wayne has left.

Free agent wideouts are going to want to continue to come to Indy to work with a quarterback such as Luck, so it’s possible that cycling through short-term replacements is the way to go here.

Outside linebacker: Robert Mathis is still very good at his job, and Erik Walden is exactly what the world thought he was when the Colts make a quick run at him last offseason — a solid but unspectacular player.

Maybe the presence of Mathis (a former fifth-round pick) makes them think they can find one anywhere, but they need to add some pressure to their defense around a solid front.

PFT Live: Who’s going No. 1 overall?

Corey Chavous from joins Mike Florio on PFT Live to get the latest draft news a few days ahead of the event at Radio City Music Hall. As it is in most years, the debate about who will be selected first overall rages on and Chavous gives his expert take.

Redskins “might give” Tanard Jackson a chance


During his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen confirmed Monday’s report that safety Tanard Jackson is being reinstated from suspension by the NFL after missing the last two seasons.

According to Allen, though, that reinstatement doesn’t mean Jackson is definitely going to be with the Redskins.

“Later today, he’ll be taking his physical exam,” Allen said, via CSN Washington. “And if he meets all of those conditions that the NFL has laid out for him, and after meeting with him, we might give him a chance, yes.”

Allen didn’t elaborate on what the conditions of his reinstatement are, although one imagines that steering clear of the substance abuse violations that caused the suspensions are right at the top of the list. Allen also said that Jackson’s change in status would not impact their draft strategy at safety, where they currently have Brandon Meriweather, Ryan Clark, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.