Monday morning one-liners

Getty Images

A look at where Bills QB Josh Allen comes from.

Catching up with the new faces on the Dolphins.

Who will be in attendance at Patriots OTAs?

Previewing the quarterback work at Jets OTAs.

Ed Reed has some thoughts on how the Ravens will use QB Lamar Jackson.

What does offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s past say about the Bengals’ future?

Breaking down each Browns position group with OTAs getting started.

Steelers LB Ryan Shazier helped out at a youth football camp.

Said Texans WR Sammie Coates, “”I’m a big guy. I’m fast. I can play special teams. I can give them offense and make plays. I’m versatile. Whatever they need me to do, that’s what I bring to this team.”

Colts QB Andrew Luck‘s shoulder seemed OK at a charity event last week.

Former Jaguars DE Austen Lane is training for his MMA fight with Greg Hardy.

The Titans held a 5K run recently.

The No. 2 QB competition is something to watch at Broncos OTAs.

A look at the Chiefs younger talent.

A call for the Chargers to sign DT Johnathan Hankins.

The Raiders released a statement about Billy Cannon’s death.

Examining WR Michael Gallup‘s fit with the Cowboys.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur threw out the first pitch at a Mets game.

Which Eagles veterans will be missing from OTAs?

RB Derrius Guice‘s health will be important to Washington’s chances this year.

Bears coach Matt Nagy has been winning over his players.

Willie Roaf sees big things in Lions C Frank Ragnow‘s future.

Packers P J.K. Scott has roots in Wisconsin.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said last season’s trip to the NFC Championship Game taught the team some lessons.

How did Falcons QB Matt Ryan measure up to his peers in 2017?

Prospective Panthers owner David Tepper shared some life lessons.

Will TE Deon Yelder turn out to be a steal for the Saints?

How confident are the Buccaneers in RB Peyton Barber?

Cardinals LB Josh Bynes likes the grit he’s seen from head coach Steve Wilks.

OTAs will have a different feel for the Rams this year.

John McVay is being honored for his work with the 49ers.

Fixing the run game remains a priority for the Seahawks.

Ryan Shazier works a youth football camp

Getty Images

Steelers outside linebacker Ryan Shazier was back on a football field over the weekend.

And though he’s far from being able to play again, he’s staying connected to the game he vows to return to.

Via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Shazier helped with a youth football camp, encouraging the crowd of 300 kids along with teammate Jesse James.

Shazier, who suffered a spinal injury last December, walked around the field with the assistance of canes. After walking to the podium to announce a Steelers pick at the draft, it’s a pair of high-profile appearances for a player who lost feeling in his legs from the hit in a game against the Bengals. He’s not going to play this season but hopes to return.

“It helps me out, but it helps the people on the outside looking in, also,” Shazier said in a video released by the Steelers. “They’re doing all this for me and they barely know who I am. It really means a lot for me, so when I get a chance to show people I’m doing better and come out here and help them and get the responses I’ve been getting, it makes me want to go even harder every day.”

Having a player suffer such an injury during a game could have been the NFL’s worst nightmare. But Shazier has become an inspirational figure, largely through his own positive attitude and determination to walk again.

Pending Panthers owner recalls overcoming childhood abuse

Getty Images

David Tepper had to do more than accumulate great wealth in order to get to the point he could buy a football team.

The soon-to-be-owner of the Panthers also had to move past some childhood experiences which were traumatic for him, and provided a great motivator for his future.

Via Sharon Eberson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tepper delivered a moving speech during his appearance at Carnegie Mellon University’s commencement Sunday.

Tepper told the crowd of graduates at his alma mater of the way his father taught him about work ethic, but was also physically abusive, something he vowed to never be with his own three children.

“In what is the proudest accomplishment of my life, I broke that cycle,” Tepper said, choking back tears.

Tepper has donated $125 million to the university, whose school of business is named for him. But he also spoke about his humble upbringing, working his way through undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and that he was turned down on his first job application (at McDonald’s).

He’s paying Jerry Richardson $2.2 billion in cash for the team, and will be approved by other NFL owners this week, with the sale closing in July. Tepper will have to sell his 5 percent stake in the Steelers which he bought in 2009 to complete the transaction.

But he also spoke about the days when he didn’t have that kind of money, recalling “a kid who couldn’t afford to go to an NFL game until he was 20 was on the verge of becoming the owner of the Carolina Panthers.”

He also spoke of leaving Goldman Sachs after he refused an order which he didn’t believe was ethical.

“In life, do what’s right,” he said. “You have many lives and opportunities ahead of you, and don’t let anyone tell you different.”

He closed by telling the graduates of their other responsibility: “When all of you become successful. Remember,” he said, “give back. Give back!”

Dalvin Cook will get limited work at Vikings’ OTAs

Getty Images

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was off to a promising start in his rookie season last year, rushing for 354 yards in four games before suffering a torn ACL on October 1. He’s now making solid progress toward getting healthy for his second season.

Cook will get limited work at the Vikings’ Organized Team Activities, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Zimmer described Cook as “ahead of schedule,” a designation that seems to apply to nearly every player recovering from a knee injury at this time of year.

Cook earned the starting running back job in Week One of his rookie season and was averaging 4.8 yards per carry at the time of his injury. After Cook went down, replacements Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon weren’t as productive.

The Vikings would love to see Cook playing like he did the first four games of last year, only doing it for 16 games in 2018.

Kaepernick collusion case proving that teams viewed him as a starting quarterback

Getty Images

Remember when quarterback Colin Kaepernick initially went unsigned after becoming a free agent in March 2017? Remember the false and overstated concerns that were being pushed to justify the position that he was unemployed for football reasons? Remember when some said that was all a bunch of crap?

As it turns out, it was.

If the subtle-on-the-surface shift that happened last July, when Kaepernick’s status went from being about only football to being about non-football considerations, wasn’t enough to prove that the “all about football” narrative amounted to nonsense, the ongoing collusion case is establishing that multiple teams viewed Kaepernick as a starting NFL quarterback in 2017, and that they continue to view him that way. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, internal franchise documents generated as part of the free-agency evaluation process and testimony from witnesses harvested via depositions in the collusion litigation has established that teams viewed Kaepernick as being good enough not simply to be employed by an NFL team, but to be a starting quarterback for an NFL team.

So why wasn’t he?

The real reason has been obvious for more than a year, and if anyone still believes that Kaepernick’s unemployment arose from the belief that he couldn’t perform at a sufficiently high level, that’s just simply not the case. (Although at this point there’s no chance anyone’s long-made-up mind will be changing on anything related to Kaepernick, facts notwithstanding.) The deeper question becomes whether Kaepernick and his lawyers can prove coordination among the teams and/or through the league office in connection with the decision to steer clear of Kaepernick based on his role at the forefront of protests that occurred during the national anthem.

Whether coordination can or can’t be proven, the collusion case will conclusively prove one thing, regardless of whether anyone wants to believe it: Multiple teams believed that Colin Kaepernick was still good enough to play after becoming a free agent more than a year ago. Which means that, at least as to Kaepernick, the notion that teams make decisions based only on trying to win football games doesn’t hold water.

Former Bucs defensive end Da’Quan Bowers retires

Getty Images

Former Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers is retiring from football, the Edmonton Eskimos announced.

The Bucs made Bowers a second-round pick in 2010. Bowers played 53 games with 10 starts in five NFL seasons.

He made 69 tackles and seven sacks in his NFL career.

Bowers, 28, has not played in the NFL since 2015. He spent last season in the CFL, making 17 tackles, seven sacks and an interception in 14 games with the Eskimos.

In March, he signed an extension with Edmonton through the 2019 season.

Joe Staley preparing Mike McGlinchey to one day take his job

Getty Images

The 49ers drafted Mike McGlinchey to start at right tackle. That’s the short-term plan. But offensive tackles drafted in the top 10 usually end up playing left tackle, which is where Joe Staley currently resides.

But Staley turns 34 in August and has two years remaining on his deal, so in all likelihood, McGlinchey will have Staley’s job by 2020.

That hasn’t stopped Staley from helping McGlinchey.

He’s been awesome; Joe is the best,” McGlinchey said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “. . . What you see is what you get with Joe. There’s no B.S. There’s nothing behind the scenes. He’s a good person. He’s a good player, and he’s willing to help his team in any way possible.

“He’s taking me under his wing and helped me out when I need him to, answering every question I have. Meeting with me whenever I need him to. Going over film. He’s been awesome.”

At Notre Dame, McGlinchey was coached by Brian Kelly, who coached Staley at Central Michigan. Many of Kelly’s assistants also coached with Kelly at Central Michigan in 2004-06.

“I’ve studied [Staley] for a long time on top of admiring him from afar,” McGlinchey said. “It’s going to be an unbelievable opportunity to play across from Joe.”

Manziel spends most of his time monitoring on his first day of CFL practice

AP

On Saturday, Johnny Manziel decided to join the CFL. On Sunday, he attended his first CFL practice.

But he didn’t do much practicing.

Via the Associated Press, Manziel was primarily an observer on Sunday, his first day of work with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“That’s because he doesn’t know the terminology, he doesn’t know anything,” Tiger-Cats coach June Jones said, via the AP. “[Quarterbacks coach] Dan [Morrison] was walking through each route as it was called. But [on Monday] guess what? We’re going to walk in and start taking a couple.”

Manziel realizes it will be an adjustment, especially as it relates to the options available to each receiver.

“Spacing is a little bit different on the defensive side if I had to look at anything,” Manziel said. “On offense, I’ve never ran this many routes that are predicated off of one defender . . . every route has an opportunity to break three or four different ways, which is different. . . . But I think it gives you the versatility and offensive weapons to be able to attack coverages more intensely than it would just running a fixed route. I know it’s going to take some time . . . .”

Jones predicts that, within two-and-a-half weeks, Manziel will be up to speed. Then the question becomes whether he can seriously compete for the starting job.

Vikings hope to extend Barr, Diggs, Hunter

Getty Images

Before the Vikings splurged on quarterback Kirk Cousins, coach Mike Zimmer spent time pushing back against the kind of cap-busting move that would make it hard to keep the team’s young core players in place. The Vikings apparently will be trying to do both.

With Cousins signed and linebacker Eric Kendricks extended, the Vikings have three other young stars they hope to keep in the fold: linebacker Anthony Barr, receiver Stefon Diggs, and defensive end Danielle Hunter.

Beyond Kendricks, the Vikings already have extended defensive end Everson Griffen, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and receiver Adam Thielen. Executive V.P. of football operations Rob Brzezinski has been negotiating the deals for more than 20 years, and he’ll be trying to continue to keep the current team together.

“I would be lying if I said you don’t feel some pressure, because you want to be able to keep this team together and keep all your best players,” Brzezinski recently told Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

G.M. Rick Spielman realizes that the Vikings may not be able to accomplish the effort to extend Barr, Diggs, and Hunter.

“We’re still going to try,” Spielman said. “Is it going to be easy? No.”

One thing they won’t have to worry about is ownership; Spielman said that the Wilfs have never refused a request from the front office to sign a given player.

Brezinzki calls the situation a “good problem to have,” but it remains to be seen whether this approach solves the problem that the Vikings have been plagued with for more than 40 years: Getting back to the Super Bowl, and perhaps this time winning it.

Saskatchewan Roughriders put Trent Richardson on suspended list

Getty Images

Johnny Manziel is headed to the CFL to try a comeback with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the same time that another former Browns first-round pick has landed on his CFL team’s suspended list.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced that they have placed running back Trent Richardson on that list as they open training camp for the 2018 season. Head coach Chris Jones said earlier this month that the team did not expect to have Richardson at the start of camp because he had “some situations going on at home.”

Richardson joined the Roughriders last year and played in four games. He ran 48 times for 259 yards and two touchdowns while also notching one reception.

Cleveland took Richardson third overall in 2012 and then traded him to the Colts for a first-round pick in September 2013. He was waived by the Colts in March 2015 and had short stints with the Raiders and Ravens that ended the same way before heading to Canada.

Junior Galette says he has offers, but may retire

Getty Images

Linebacker Junior Galette has not signed with a team for the 2018 season and he may not be signing with anyone either.

In a post to his Instagram account, Galette says he’s been offered deals with three teams but has not signed any of them because he’s not sure he wants to continue playing football.

“The real reason I haven’t signed is because I’ve contemplated retiring,” Galette wrote. “I have 3 Deals Currently on the table and will Plan Accordingly. All my fans i promise this will be my Best I’m not saying nothing else.”

Galette had 20 tackles and three sacks for Washington last season and missed the two previous seasons after two torn Achilles tendons. He had 22 sacks over the 2013 and 2014 seasons for the Saints.

There was word of interest from the Raiders and Browns early in free agency, but things have been quiet around Galette over the last couple of months.

AAF will play mainly on Saturdays, with some Sundays

Getty Images

As the Alliance of American Football systematically unveils the locations and coaches of its initial eight teams (five of each have been disclosed so far), more details about the new professional football league have emerged.

Via azcentralsports.com, Arizona State A.D. Ray Anderson said Friday that the league will be playing games mostly on Saturdays, with some Sundays. Arizona home games will be played at Sun Devil Stadium, which hosted the NFL’s Cardinals from 1988 through 2005.

The AAF will be avoiding weekday games, due to player safety and fan convenience concerns. By putting a team in Arizona, one of the goals will be to lure baseball fans who are visiting the state during spring training.

The AAF version of the pro game also will be faster paced. Co-founder Charlie Ebersol said at the press conference introducing Rick Neuheisel as head coach of the Arizona team that the games will not have TV timeouts, and that the AAF will use a “more interactive” fantasy game.

Aaron Rodgers reiterates plan to remain with Packers into his 40s

Getty Images

As the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers continue to be locked in a mildly awkward standoff over whether and when his contract will be extended, Rodgers recently made it clear that he intends to stay with the Packers beyond his 40th birthday.

“It’s sustained greatness I think is what drives me,” Rodgers said recently at the Wisconsin High School Sports Awards, via Aaron Nagler of PackersNews.com. “It’s to be the best and to be able to choose when I’m done playing.  I think as you’ve seen here recently with Jordy [Nelson] but even you go back a few years to whether it’s Julius Peppers or A.J. Hawk or John Kuhn or Brett Favre, the fairy tale ending of starting a career and ending it with the same organization rarely happens. So that’s kind of my goal, is to be able to be indispensable to this organization into my 40s to where you’ve got to keep me around.”

That sounds a lot like the same thing that motivates Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: Playing beyond 40 while staying with his one and only team, and performing so well that the team would never have the temptation or necessity to make a business/football decision to move on.

Favre brought it on himself by musing about retirement to the point where the Packers picked Rodgers in 2005, three years before Favre was nudged into a short-lived retirement. Rodgers hasn’t, and apparently won’t be, sending similar signals. Which means that, if/when a change is made before Rodgers is ready to retire, it will be the decision of the Packers, and no one else.

Adrian Clayborn injured quad during offseason workouts

Getty Images

With Phase 3 of the offseason program soon to begin in most NFL cities, the chances of a player injury will increase. Of course, the injury risk already was there during the less intense portions of the program.

Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that Patriots defensive end Adrian Clayborntweaked” a quadriceps muscle during offseason workouts.

Clayborn’s availability could be limited for the Organized Team Activities, which begin on Monday. Either way, he’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Reiss notes that the quad issue underscores concerns about Clayborn’s history of injuries, from an ACL tear (plus more knee damage) in 2012 to a torn biceps in one arm in 2014 to another knee injury in 2016 to a torn biceps in the other arm in 2016.

Clayborn had a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2017, six of which came in one game, against the Cowboys.

LSU and AFL star Billy Cannon dies at 80

AP

Billy Cannon, a legendary Heisman Trophy winner at LSU who would later become an all-star in the American Football League, has died at the age of 80.

Cannon is best remembered for his career at LSU, where he led the Tigers to the national championship in 1958 and won the Heisman Trophy in 1959. His all-around contributions to the team were almost impossible for fans of today’s brand of football to comprehend: He was the team’s top runner, receiver, defensive back, punter, kicker, punt returner and kickoff returner. On Halloween in 1959, with LSU trailing 3-0, Cannon returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead in the fourth quarter. He then made the game-saving tackle on defense at the 1-yard line to preserve the victory.

Cannon was the undisputed top player in college football and coveted by both the NFL and the upstart AFL, and he signed contracts with both the NFL’s Rams and the AFL’s Houston Oilers. A legal battle ensued, and he persuaded a judge that Rams General Manager Pete Rozelle had tricked him into signing a contract he didn’t understand, freeing him to play in the AFL and give that league some newfound legitimacy.

With the Oilers Cannon made an instant impact, helping the Oilers get to the first AFL championship game and gaining 259 all-purpose yards in that game to become the game’s MVP. In 1961 Cannon led the AFL with 948 rushing yards and 2,043 all-purpose yards. Cannon would spend four years with the Oilers, six with the Raiders and one final season with the Chiefs.

For all his success on the field, Cannon had plenty of problems off the field. He was convicted of theft in high school, and after retiring from football he went to prison for counterfeiting.

Despite those off-field issues, however, Cannon was a beloved figure particularly in Louisiana, where he remains considered by many the greatest player ever to play at LSU. And his Halloween punt return will live as an LSU legend forever.