Nick Hardwick announces he’s leaving Chargers radio broadcast

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Former San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick announced Thursday he is leaving the radio broadcast of the Chargers after three years in order to spend more time with family.

The thing I value most in life is my family, and I believe that the time devoted to a subject should be in alignment with one’s values,” Hardwick wrote on the team’s website. “Simply, I am no longer able to miss out on as many weekends with my family as the football season requires.”

Hardwick worked on the sidelines for one season before moving into the booth as a color analyst the last two seasons.

Hardwick expressed frustration with the franchise a year ago upon the team’s relocation to Los Angeles saying he felt used in an effort to get a new stadium in San Diego. After briefly leaving the broadcast team, he reversed course rejoined in his former role with the team in Los Angeles.

Hardwick spent 11 seasons with the Chargers from 2004-14 before retiring and joining the radio world on the team’s broadcasts and as a talk show host on XTRA 1360. He appeared in 136 career games with a Pro Bowl appearance in 2006.

Former Cardinals QB Ryan Lindley takes graduate assistant job with San Diego State

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Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley is returning to his alma mater to serve on the team’s coaching staff.

San Diego State announced Thursday that Lindley was joining Rocky Long’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant secondary coach.

Lindley was a sixth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2012 and appeared in nine games with six starts over three seasons, including the team’s 27-16 Divisional Round playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers in 2014. He also spent time with the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and appeared in one game for the Indianapolis Colts in 2015.

He threw for 1,372 yards with three touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his 10 career regular season games played.

Lindley returned to the field last year in the CFL with the Ottawa Redblacks, completing 40 of 81 passes for 391 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Lindley has been working with college quarterbacks in the run up to the NFL Draft over the last few years, including Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Mitch Trubisky, C.J. Beathard and Luke Falk. Now he’ll put his coaching hat on full-time with the Aztecs.

DeMarcus Ware: Bradley Chubb gives Broncos “that tag-team again”

AP

DeMarcus Ware made 138.5 sacks in his career, eighth-most in NFL history. He now coaches the Broncos’ pass rushers as a consultant for the team.

That means he gets to work with Bradley Chubb, the Broncos’ first-round pick.

When Ware watches Chubb, he sees a young Ware.

You know what?” Ware said, via Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Sports Network. “He can be [like me]. He’s one of those guys who’s mature. He listens. And that’s what you want from a young guy. Because some of them come in very arrogant, saying, ‘OK, I’m in the league now.’ But to me, he has that ‘I just arrived’ mentality. ‘Now what do I need to do to deliver?’”

Having Von Miller as a teammate will help Chubb. Shane Ray, a former first-round pick now sidelined after more wrist surgery, hasn’t stepped into Ware’s cleats as the Broncos had hoped.

The Broncos had 41, 52 and 42 sacks in Ware’s three seasons in Denver. They had 33 last season after he retired.

Ware said Chubb gives the Broncos “that tag-team again.”

“Chubb is probably 6-4, 270,” Ware said. “He’s the guy who can come in and be that power guy and really help Von out.

“The attributes that he really brings to the game — stopping the run and being able to be that strong-side guy for Von — that’s what you need.”

Ravens have another strong-legged kicker

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The Ravens have enjoyed since 2012 the services of one of the strongest-legged kickers in the NFL. They may have a second one on the roster.

Via the Baltimore Sun, undrafted rookie kicker-punter Kaare Vedvik nailed a 70-yard field goal at the team’s practice facility on Wednesday.

There’s a big difference between making a 70-yard field goal with no one around and during game conditions, but it’s a positive sign for the player, who likely will have to go elsewhere if he hopes to land on a roster.

Justin Tucker, 28, is signed through 2019, at salaries of $2.95 million and $3.05 million. He has made more than 90 percent of his career field goals (with a long of 61 yards), and he has never missed an extra point.

Brandon Parker wins over his teammates by standing up for himself

AP

Raiders rookie Brandon Parker was ejected from practice for fighting with defensive lineman Fadol Brown at last week’s minicamp. But he won over his offensive teammates.

“Brandon stood up for himself,” left guard Kelechi Osemele said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “That was really cool to see. You always want to see that. You worry about a guy’s toughness. He’s a tough kid. He’s been playing well. He’s really intelligent. Really smart.”

Parker didn’t intend to get in a scuffle, but the North Carolina A&T product wasn’t about to back down either.

“You want to show the veterans that you’re not afraid of anything, and they you’ll go to battle with them like they’ll go to battle with you,” Parker said. “It’s more a matter of gaining respect than proving you’re the toughest guy out there.”

The Raiders used a third-round pick on Parker after spending a first-rounder on Kolton Miller. They expect the offensive tackles to be the long-term answers at the position.

“They’re smart kids. They listen,” center Rodney Hudson said. “They’re learning and working and asking questions, which I think is always important for young guys. To ask questions about where they can do better, and both of those guys do that.”

New AAF G.M. Moose Johnston will remain at FOX

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Moose Johnston will be busy this football season.

The former Cowboys fullback and the new G.M. of the San Antonio edition of the Alliance of American Football will continue to call NFL games, according to a FOX spokesperson.

The AAF announced on Thursday the hiring of Johnston and coach Mike Riley. With the inaugural season starting the Sunday after Super Bowl LIII, Johnston surely will be spending plenty of time putting the team’s roster together while also handling weekly games on FOX.

“The Alliance provides an opportunity for players to begin, extend or restart their careers,” Johnston said in the press release announcing his AAF assignment. “There are so many talented athletes who are right on the cusp of making an NFL roster but for one reason or another end up on a practice squad or out of football completely. We’re going to give them the chance to show the football world what they can do, that they DO belong. A number of these guys are from the great state of Texas, where football is a way of life, and we look forward to having them in Alliance San Antonio uniforms.”

The AAF will play a 10-week season in 2019, with teams in San Antonio, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Birmingham, Memphis, Atlanta, and Orlando.

Dez Bryant: The last problem I have is finding a team

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Dez Bryant is looking for “a creative graphic designer and a creative sketch artist.” The receiver also seeks an NFL job, though he doesn’t seem concerned about his continued unemployment.

Bryant posted a job listing on Instagram, though he didn’t say why. A user responded by asking the former Cowboys star if he shouldn’t instead spend his time looking for a new team.

Bryant wrote: “The last problem I have is finding a team. I’m in a world you will never understand.”

The three-time Pro Bowler turned down the Ravens’ multi-year offer and has had no other teams express interest publicly. A report earlier this month said Bryant has received phone calls but was waiting for the “for the perfect fit, a winning organization and a team willing to do a one-year, prove-it deal.”

Former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has speculated that Green Bay could be a fit for Bryant, though Aaron Rodgers essentially shot down that idea. Earlier this week, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw out New Orleans as a possible landing spot for Bryant.

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report said he continues to hear San Francisco could have interest in Bryant, but adding “that’s far from certain.”

The Cowboys released Bryant 68 days ago, and it appears he will remain unemployed for at least a while longer. Bryant, though, doesn’t think that’s a problem.

With or without Jameis Winston, Bucs may be staring at 0-3 start

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The Buccaneers may not have quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the season. And it may not matter very much.

The Bucs open with games at the Saints, at home against the Eagles, and at home against the Steelers, on a Monday night. Even with Winston, the Bucs may be staring at an 0-3 start. Without him, an outcome of no wins in three weeks becomes even more likely.

The fact that the Week Three game falls on a Monday will give him one less day to get ready for Week Four, at Chicago. That could make it much harder to avoid a Week Four loss, and it could make the team more tempted to give him a fourth game off, especially if Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well — and especially since the bye comes in Week Five.

So the start of the season could end up being an awkward and futile one for the Bucs. And if they lose the first three games, their margin for error will shrink considerably, especially in a division that sent three teams to the playoffs in 2017.

It also will increase the pressure on coach Dirk Koetter and G.M. Jason Licht, either or both of whom could be entering make-or-break seasons. If the first three games break against them, the end may be coming sooner than later.

Chris Thompson has found his niche on Texans’ special teams

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Devin Hester, Matthew Slater, Bill Bates and Steve Tasker are among the NFL players who established themselves as standout special teams players. Chris Thompson wants to do the same with the Texans.

The Texans list Thompson as a receiver on their roster. In truth, he’s more of a special teams player.

He played 99 snaps on offense and 269 on special teams last season after being promoted from the practice squad September 27.

I found my niche,” Thompson said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I just want to be the best at it.”

Thompson, who has 4.37 speed, had a 42-yard kickoff return against the Titans and averaged 21.7 yards on 17 kickoff returns.

Thompson also doubled as the gunner in kick coverage.

“He’s got good speed; he’s a tough guy,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “I mean, he only weighs about 160 pounds soaking wet, but he can run; and he’s tough; and he disrupts.

“He’s got a good knack for getting to the ball. He loves his role. He understands his role. For a young player, that’s pretty cool. He’ll just keep getting better and better.”

Thompson, who caught five passes for 84 yards last season on offense, will have to hold off a challenge from rookie Keke Coutee to keep his job.

Bengals sign Sam Hubbard to wrap up draft class

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The Bengals have signed all of their 2018 draft picks.

The team announced that third-round pick Sam Hubbard signed his four-year rookie deal with the team on Thursday. They also signed linebacker Malik Jefferson, who went one pick after Hubbard at No. 78 overall, to get all 11 of their picks under contract.

Hubbard grew up in Cincinnati and played at Ohio State, where he had 17 sacks in three seasons for the Buckeyes. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said recently that his early work with the team has gone well.

“He has been way ahead of the curve,” Lewis said. “We’re just excited about that. He’s going to really complement and add to our football team right away. I’m just excited because he’s probably out here a little mature beyond his years right now.”

With the two Bengals and Broncos first-round pick Bradley Chubb signing on Thursday, there are now 18 unsigned picks around the league.

Malik Jefferson signs rookie contract with Bengals

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Linebacker Malik Jefferson signed his rookie deal with the Bengals, his agency tweeted Thursday.

His signing leaves only Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard unsigned among Cincinnati’s 11 draft picks. Hubbard and Jefferson came off the board on back-to-back picks in the third round, with Hubbard going 77th overall and Jefferson 78th.

Jefferson left the University of Texas after his junior season. He finished his three-year college career with 233 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss and six pass breakups.

In 2017, Jefferson was co-Big 12 defensive player of the year, a second-team All-American and a semifinalist for the Butkus Award.

Saints waive Paul Turner

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Word that the Saints were signing running back Terrance West came over a week ago, but the deal did not become official until Thursday.

The NFL’s transaction report for Thursday includes West’s arrival in New Orleans as well as the corresponding move the Saints made to clear space on their 90-man roster. They have waived wide receiver Paul Turner.

Turner signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and spent most of the season on the practice squad. Turner was promoted to the active roster in November and caught nine passes for 126 yards in four games. He was out of the league last year after being waived by the Eagles in early September.

With Turner gone, the Saints have 12 wide receivers on the roster while West gives them seven running backs.

Training camp reporting dates for all 32 teams

AP

The end of offseason programs around the league last week have all 32 teams looking forward to training camp and the start of the push to the regular season.

All 32 teams have now announced the reporting dates for training camp. Many teams will have their rookies report ahead of their veterans and all teams will have all of their players in camp by July 27.

The first two teams to open camp are the Ravens and Bears. They will also open up the preseason schedule when they meet in the Hall of Fame Game on August 2 in Canton, Ohio.

The reporting dates for all 32 teams appear below:

Buffalo – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Miami – Rookies 7/18, Veterans 7/25

New England – Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/25

New York Jets – Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/26

Baltimore – Rookies 7/11, Veterans 7/18

Cincinnati – Rookies 7/23, Veterans 7/25

Cleveland – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Pittsburgh – Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/25

Houston – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Indianapolis – Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/25

Jacksonville – Rookies 7/18, Veterans 7/25

Tennessee – Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/25

Denver – Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/27

Kansas City – Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/25

Los Angeles Chargers – Rookies and Veterans 7/27

Oakland – Rookies 7/23, Veterans 7/26

Dallas – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

New York Giants – Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/25

Philadelphia – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Washington – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Chicago – Rookies 7/16, Veterans 7/19

Detroit – Rookies 7/19, Veterans 7/26

Green Bay – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Minnesota – Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/27

Atlanta – Rookies 7/23, Veterans 7/26

Carolina – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

New Orleans – Rookies 7/18, Veterans 7/25

Tampa Bay – Rookies 7/23, Veterans 7/25

Arizona – Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/27

Los Angeles Rams – Rookies 7/23, Veterans 7/25

San Francisco – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Seattle – Rookies and Veterans 7/25

Eagles give Jon Dorenbos a Super Bowl ring

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The Eagles had a little something up their sleeve, as they continue to be generous with the spoils of their Super Bowl victory.

Via the Associated Press, the Eagles gave a Super Bowl ring to former long snapper Jon Dorenbos, who didn’t play for them last season.

He spent 11 years with the Eagles, but was traded to the Saints in the preseason. Upon arriving there, a heart condition was discovered that ended his playing career. The Eagles posted a video of him accepting the ring on social media, and he’s clearly moved by the gesture.

Dorenbos is known outside football as a magician and a finalist on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

The Eagles have also given a ring to a secretary who was fired by Chip Kelly, and they’re raffling another one off to benefit charity.

Taylor Heinicke hoping to catch on with Panthers

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The Panthers are inexperienced at quarterback behind Cam Newton. After letting Derek Anderson walk in free agency, Carolina has Garrett Gilbert, its third-stringer last season, rookie Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke.

Heinicke, claimed by the Panthers on April 16 after the Texans waived him, took nine snaps last season in Houston. That’s nine more than Allen or Gilbert have in the NFL.

Gilbert remains the favorite to win the No. 2 job, but Carolina has carried three quarterbacks every year since 2014.

Hopefully I play well in the preseason,” Heinicke said, via Bryan Strickland of the team website. “Garrett is doing a great job. Kyle is doing a great job. Cam is coaching us up.

“I love it here. It’s probably my favorite locker room that I’ve been in. Everyone is getting along, having a good time, helping each other out. It’s a real family atmosphere.”

Heinicke threw for 132 career touchdowns at Old Dominion. He ran for 22 scores.

The Vikings, with Norv Turner as their offensive coordinator, signed him as a college free agent following the 2015 draft. The Panthers hired Turner as their new offensive coordinator this offseason.

“[The Vikings] signed Taylor as a free agent because he was an extremely productive college player,” Turner said. “[Assistant coach] Scott [Turner] went to Old Dominion and worked him out and was excited about his arm talent and his physical skills.

“He did a good job for us in Minnesota. Things work out different in different places, and it didn’t work out for him in Minnesota, but he did contribute in Houston. He’s a guy that can be a productive football player.”

After practice squad stints in New England and Houston last season, Heinicke earned a promotion to the Texans’ 53-player roster in December. He played in mop-up duty against the Steelers, completing his only pass attempt for 10 yards.

“It was cool to finally get that under my belt, to be able to finally say that I played in a regular-season game,” Heinicke said. “I know the feeling of that now, the speed of it.”

That’s more than the other backup quarterbacks on the team’s roster can say.