Posts by Brad Biggs

49ers will be shorthanded as camp gets going

The San Francisco 49ers will be well short of a full squad when they get on the practice field Thursday for the first time in training camp.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that four rookies were placed on the active/non-football injury list and five veterans will also not

The San Francisco 49ers will be well short of a full squad when they get on the practice field Thursday for the first time in training camp.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that four rookies were placed on the active/non-football injury list and five veterans will also not be available.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, will either be placed on injured reserve with the chance of returning or on the physically unable to perform list. Fellow wide receivers Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams, running back Kendall Hunter and linebacker Darius Fleming are all on the active/physically unable to perform list.

As far as rookies go, running back Marcus Lattimore, defensive linemen Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial and offensive tackle Luke Marquardt are on the NFI list.

Per the report, Hunter and Williams might not be far off from being cleared to return and Fleming also could be back in the relatively near future. Players can be returned from PUP or NFI at any point during camp.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Giants safety Will Hill nets another 4-game suspension

New York Giants safety Will Hill was suspended for four games last October for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, claiming that he had tested positive for Adderall.

Now, Hill will sit out the first four games of the 2013 season after he was suspended for violating the league’s policy on substances

New York Giants safety Will Hill was suspended for four games last October for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, claiming that he had tested positive for Adderall.

Now, Hill will sit out the first four games of the 2013 season after he was suspended for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse. Hill will be eligible to participate in all of training camp and preseason but will miss the first four games of the season – and will not be paid for the first four weeks.

Hill was undrafted following his college career at Florida and the New York Daily News reports there were “rumors of drug use.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Current, former Cowboys listed as possible witnesses for Brent trial

The Dallas County, Texas, district attorney’s office expects the case against former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent to go to trial beginning in September.

Asked about the possibility of a plea for Brent, who is accused of intoxication manslaughter in the death of former teammate Jerry Brown, assistant district attorney Heath Harris said,

The Dallas County, Texas, district attorney’s office expects the case against former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent to go to trial beginning in September.

Asked about the possibility of a plea for Brent, who is accused of intoxication manslaughter in the death of former teammate Jerry Brown, assistant district attorney Heath Harris said, “We’re ready to go to trial, to let the citizens of Dallas County decide how strict our intoxication laws are going to be,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The report also indicates six current or former Cowboys have been listed by prosecutors as potential witnesses to be called in the trial. Those are safeties Barry Church and Danny McCray and cornerback Orlando Scandrick and retired safety Gerald Sensabaugh, ex-cornerback Michael Jenkins and released fullback Lawrence Vickers.

Brent has twice tested positive for marijuana while he has been awaiting trial. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Missouri governor waiting to hear from Rams on stadium issue

Officials in Missouri are waiting to see what the next step is by the St. Louis Rams after plans to a $700 million renovation plan for the Edward Jones Dome was formally shot down by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission.

The Rams will be able to opt out of their lease

Officials in Missouri are waiting to see what the next step is by the St. Louis Rams after plans to a $700 million renovation plan for the Edward Jones Dome was formally shot down by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission.

The Rams will be able to opt out of their lease following the 2014 season but most expect owner Stan Kroenke to work to find a solution in St. Louis. Whether that means upgrades for the current stadium or potentially a new one, no one knows.

Gov. Jay Nixon said he is waiting for the team to take the first step, according to Tim Logan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“The ball’s in their court to say what they need for long-term stability,” Nixon said. “We look forward to hearing from them.”

Nixon said any talks between him and Kroenke would remain private but it appears that the governor could hold a key role in how this situation could be resolved in the future.

As we know with most stadium situations, they are delicate operations involving lots of moving parts and lots of power brokers. It’s going to take considerable time before something is accomplished here.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Report: Cowboys expected to sign Demetress Bell

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to add veteran offensive tackle Demetress Bell to fill one of four open spots on the team’s 90-man roster.

Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reports that Bell is expected to join the mix as a potential swing tackle. The team had been in talks with

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to add veteran offensive tackle Demetress Bell to fill one of four open spots on the team’s 90-man roster.

Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reports that Bell is expected to join the mix as a potential swing tackle. The team had been in talks with him after the Philadelphia Eagles cut him in a cap move in February as it was uncertain how the Doug Free situation would play out.

Bell joined the Eagles last year after Jason Peters was lost to injury, signing a $35 million, five-year contract. He started only five games but has ample starting experience from his days with the Buffalo Bills. Bell can be a credible backup on both sides of the line.

Per Archer, the Cowboys are also expected to add quarterback Alex Tanney and wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Daunte Culpepper forfeits home worth millions

Former Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper surrendered a nearly 10,000-square foot home in Broward County, Fla., to SunTrust Bank to avoid foreclosure.

Culpepper, a former star for the Minnesota Vikings, bought the $3.6 million home after he joined the Miami Dolphins in 2006, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The

Former Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper surrendered a nearly 10,000-square foot home in Broward County, Fla., to SunTrust Bank to avoid foreclosure.

Culpepper, a former star for the Minnesota Vikings, bought the $3.6 million home after he joined the Miami Dolphins in 2006, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The bank agreed to drop a lawsuit against Culpepper earlier this month. The bank claimed he owed $3 million.

Injuries curtailed Culpepper’s career and he last played in the United Football League in 2010. He also spent time with the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Teammate tried to get $1 million from Ahmad Brooks after fight

When Lamar Divens could not get $1 million out of teammate Ahmad Brooks for allegedly beating him with a beer bottle last month, he tried to press charges against the San Francisco 49ers linebacker.

But authorities have opted not to pursue criminal charges against Brooks, who for a brief period

When Lamar Divens could not get $1 million out of teammate Ahmad Brooks for allegedly beating him with a beer bottle last month, he tried to press charges against the San Francisco 49ers linebacker.

But authorities have opted not to pursue criminal charges against Brooks, who for a brief period of time was facing a felony warrant for his arrest.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports the Santa Clara County district attorney said there was a previous incident between the two players at a barbecue in May in which Brooks received a cut. In the June 8 incident, Brooks allegedly repeatedly struck Divens in the head with the bottle and punched him in the face. Divens required stitches.

Divens initially told police he would press charges and then changed his mind because it would be bad for the careers of both platers. When Brooks would not pay Divens $1 million, Divens changed his mind again and tried to pursue charges.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Rodgers says it will be ‘different’ without Jennings, Driver

Times are changing in Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers admitted it “is a little different” without veteran wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver this season.

Jennings exited via free agency to the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings and Driver, the leading receiver in Green Bay Packers history, is retired.

Times are changing in Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers admitted it “is a little different” without veteran wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver this season.

Jennings exited via free agency to the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings and Driver, the leading receiver in Green Bay Packers history, is retired.

“Not having those two and a good friend of mine, Charles Woodson, who I played with for a long time just like those guys — that’s different,” Rodgers told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “So, we’re a different football team. Lacking a little in the experience part, but making up for it in the talent and the young guys that we brought in.”

That puts pressure on the group that was most productive last season when injuries sidelined Jennings for much of the year. Randall Cobb led the team with 80 receptions. James Jones and Jordy Nelson are also at wide receiver with Jermichael Finley in the mix as the tight end.

Rodgers also likes some less heralded players.

“You have Jarrett Boykin, who came on last year and I think his role can increase,” Rodgers said. “You have Jeremy Ross, who made some big plays for us. And you’ve got some undrafted and some drafted guys who are going to be in the mix.”

If Rodgers has the kind of season he is capable of, he’ll likely develop some of that young talent.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Pierre Garcon cleared to return from shoulder injury

Pierre Garcon’s right shoulder has checked out and the wide receiver will be cleared to practice when the Washington Redskins head to training camp next week in Richmond, Va.

Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports that Garcon, who underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum, had a positive visit with

Pierre Garcon’s right shoulder has checked out and the wide receiver will be cleared to practice when the Washington Redskins head to training camp next week in Richmond, Va.

Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports that Garcon, who underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum, had a positive visit with Dr. James Andrews earlier this week.

The injury kept Garcon out of the entire offseason program, forcing him to do rehabilitation work. A major free-agent addition last season, Garcon missed six games because of a toe injury. He chose not to have surgery on the toe in his right foot in the offseason because there was no assurance that it would solve the problem for him.

Garcon is dealing with the toe issue by wearing inserts in his practice and game cleats. He will have a custom cleat, per the report.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Bucs replace injured Barth with Tynes

Typically when kickers are signed at this time of year, a team is seeking a camp leg, someone to help them get through the grind of practices and preseason.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wish they were so fortunate. They have added former New York Giants veteran Lawrence Tynes after learning that Connor Barth

Typically when kickers are signed at this time of year, a team is seeking a camp leg, someone to help them get through the grind of practices and preseason.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wish they were so fortunate. They have added former New York Giants veteran Lawrence Tynes after learning that Connor Barth will miss the entire season after he ruptured his right Achilles tendon in a charity basketball game in his hometown of Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.

Barth declined comment according to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune but he told a television outlet in North Carolina he was feeling good following surgery and hoped to be kicking again in another six months. Barth was placed on the non-football injury list.

Barth is the all-time leader in Bucs history with a field-goal percentage of 84.3. Tynes is a good find on the street at this point. He’s proven to be a clutch performer in postseason.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Teammate says Kaepernick made ‘huge mistake’ with Dolphins lid

Maybe when they finally get on the field and start practicing football the story will go away.

But until then, we’re still reading about Colin Kaepernick wearing a Miami Dolphins hat to a party earlier this summer. Now, one of his teammates says it was a bad move.

Yes, San Francisco 49ers

Maybe when they finally get on the field and start practicing football the story will go away.

But until then, we’re still reading about Colin Kaepernick wearing a Miami Dolphins hat to a party earlier this summer. Now, one of his teammates says it was a bad move.

Yes, San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman told the NFL Network it was a bad move.

This is a huge mistake by Kaep,” Bowman said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “I’m sure he understands that now. In his defense, we’re young. In our era these days, we like to match our snapbacks with our outfits.

“The hats now these days are very important to the outfit, so Kaep I understand what you did, but let’s stay away from the NFL teams. Stick to NBA, go to college or the baseball hats.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Report: Rams expected to sign LB Will Weatherspoon

The St. Louis Rams are expected to sign linebacker Will Weatherspoon and give the veteran a second tour with the team.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Rams have been seeking some help at the position and are expected to bring Weatherspoon on board before training camp begins.

The St. Louis Rams are expected to sign linebacker Will Weatherspoon and give the veteran a second tour with the team.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Rams have been seeking some help at the position and are expected to bring Weatherspoon on board before training camp begins. Weatherspoon played for the Rams from 2006 to 2009 and has also played for Rams coach Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.

Weatherspoon led the Rams in tackles in 2006 and 2007 before he was traded to the Eagles in the deal for Brandon Gibson. Per Thomas, the Rams have only three linebackers with tangible experience on the roster right now.

The Rams also waived-injured offensive tackle Terrell Brown and linebacker Phillip Steward, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon doing rehab work last week. Both players were undrafted free agents. Brown, from Ole Miss, weighed 403 pounds when he arrived.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Jason Peters on a roll heading toward training camp

Jason Peters has some positive momentum going for him as he prepares to head to training camp.

First, he wiggled his way out of trouble in Louisiana following an arrest for drag racing last month. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Peters paid a $656.50 fine for driving with an illegal

Jason Peters has some positive momentum going for him as he prepares to head to training camp.

First, he wiggled his way out of trouble in Louisiana following an arrest for drag racing last month. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Peters paid a $656.50 fine for driving with an illegal muffler. Originally, he was charged with drag racing, drag racing on a public road, and resisting by flight after an officer had to pursue him at speeds of more than 100 mph following what police said was a road race.

Then, per the report, Peters won nearly $2 million to settle a civil lawsuit vs. Kline & Specter, the manufacturer of Roll-A-Bout alternative crutches. Peters claimed the device he was using following surgery to repair a ruptured tendon failed and he re-injured the tendon as a result.

Peters missed the entire 2012 season but he returned to action in the spring and the plan is for him to man the left tackle spot.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Eagles add hulking offensive tackle

The Philadelphia Eagles added a big boy to the mix for their offensive line with training camp right around the corner.

Offensive tackle Michael Bamiro was signed as a free agent after the Stony Brook product was denied an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA and deemed ineligible for the NFL’s supplemental

The Philadelphia Eagles added a big boy to the mix for their offensive line with training camp right around the corner.

Offensive tackle Michael Bamiro was signed as a free agent after the Stony Brook product was denied an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA and deemed ineligible for the NFL’s supplemental draft. Baimro, who started his college career at Pitt in 2008, didn’t realize last fall would be his final season playing in college. He redshirted a year at Stony Brook and that is what cost him.

Bamiro started 33 games at right tackle and is massive at 6-8, 344 pounds. Some believe he would have been a late-round prospect and more than a handful of teams were looking at him in recent weeks. The Pennsylvania native will get a shot to stick with the Eagles.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Victor Cruz believes he’s worth more than he signed for

When it comes right down to it, Victor Cruz thinks he’s worth more than the $45.879 million he is signed for over the next six seasons.

If that’s the case, maybe the New York Giants wide receiver should not have agreed to his contract extension last week. Right? Otherwise, it’s going to be

When it comes right down to it, Victor Cruz thinks he’s worth more than the $45.879 million he is signed for over the next six seasons.

If that’s the case, maybe the New York Giants wide receiver should not have agreed to his contract extension last week. Right? Otherwise, it’s going to be a long road for him ahead.

Cruz talked about the situation during a visit on SiriusXM NFL Radio, admitting he took less than he originally wanted and less than what wide receivers are getting paid on the open market. It’s important to note that Cruz was a restricted free agent, far from being on the open market.

I’m not going to lie, it’s tough. It’s tough,” Cruz said, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “When you understand from a numbers standpoint, and the numbers you put up you feel like deserve a certain amount of money … and you want your team to owe that to you. But I think playing in New York, you can’t take that away.

“You have to hold that up to an account at some point when you’re going through these negotiations. You ask yourself, ‘Would you want to play for this amount in New York and play in the best city in the world and play football, and — I’m a hometown kid — be close to home and your mom and your family?’ Or do you want to take a big pay day and go somewhere like Kansas City or Minnesota where your family might not be able to come as often as you want and you’re living in a city you’re not too familiar with and it’s an adjustment for you? So you have to take all those things into account as well.

“But I’m not going to say it’s easy when you see guys getting these huge paydays and you feel like you’re at the same caliber, if not better than some of those guys.”

Hopefully, Cruz will feel comfortable playing at home. If he doesn’t, this contract thing could eat at him for a while and he should be credited for doing a nice job of handling the situation over the last year-plus when he clearly was deserving of a raise.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Chris Cooley joins Redskins radio broadcasts

Chris Cooley has announced his retirement from the NFL and he’s going straight to the Washington Redskins radio booth.

It’s a natural fit for the team after Sam Huff retired following 38 seasons in the team’s radio booth.

According to the Washington Post, Cooley isn’t replacing Huff per se and he will

Chris Cooley has announced his retirement from the NFL and he’s going straight to the Washington Redskins radio booth.

It’s a natural fit for the team after Sam Huff retired following 38 seasons in the team’s radio booth.

According to the Washington Post, Cooley isn’t replacing Huff per se and he will be an “in-game contributor.” Cooley was very popular during his nine-year career with the club. He was cut during training camp last year but re-signed following an injury to starter Fred Davis.

I’m pumped,” Cooley told Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “This is a great deal for me. I really want this job and I want to do it for a long time.

“I had other opportunities. I had other offers. This is the only job I wanted. The Redskins have been great to me and this is a perfect situation for me.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Packers will not retire Favre’s No. 4 this season

There has been considerable healing between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in recent months, really this entire offseason.

Favre has admitted that maybe he didn’t handle things in the best possible way in leaving the organization, and he’s expressed an interest in patching things up with the organization. Team

There has been considerable healing between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in recent months, really this entire offseason.

Favre has admitted that maybe he didn’t handle things in the best possible way in leaving the organization, and he’s expressed an interest in patching things up with the organization. Team officials also have the same stated goal.

But as much feel-good as there has been between the parties, it doesn’t sound like there will be a grand celebration at a home game this season with No. 4 being retired.

I don’t anticipate it happening this year,” team president Mark Murphy said today while addressing the team’s financial state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But we will definitely retire his number. It’s just a question of when.”

Plenty of planning will have to go into this event for Favre. The bet here is it’s not too far off. Maybe 2014 will be the year.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Financial records show Packers had a good year

Business was good for the Green Bay Packers this past season, very good.

The publicly owned team opened up its financial records today, as required by law, and showed that for the fiscal year ending March 31 the team’s net income, profit and total revenue all reached record highs.

According

Business was good for the Green Bay Packers this past season, very good.

The publicly owned team opened up its financial records today, as required by law, and showed that for the fiscal year ending March 31 the team’s net income, profit and total revenue all reached record highs.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, net income rose to $43.1 million and profit jumped more than 26 percent to $54.3 million. Total revenue was up 2 percent to $308.1 million.

The Packers expect more growth as a 7,000-seat expansion at Lambeau Field will be opened this season. Team president Mark Murphy said the current collective bargaining agreement, reached after the lockout in 2011, is a factor in the team’s bottom-line success.

“We are seeing the benefit of that in a number of ways,” Murphy said, according to the report. “Just having the stability of a long-term labor agreement has allowed the league to enter into long-term contracts with our TV partners, and long-term agreements with sponsors. Same thing for us.”

There will be adjustment to the figures next year when the massive contract extensions for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews hit the books. Team expenses actually dipped this past year in comparison to the year before. That will go up this time.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Oldest son of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson dies

Jon Richardson, the former president of the Carolina Panthers stadium and the son of owner Jerry Richardson, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 53.

Richardson was the oldest son of Jerry Richardson and was president of the stadium venture until resigning in 2009. According to the Charlotte

Jon Richardson, the former president of the Carolina Panthers stadium and the son of owner Jerry Richardson, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 53.

Richardson was the oldest son of Jerry Richardson and was president of the stadium venture until resigning in 2009. According to the Charlotte Observer, he was a wide receiver at North Carolina and led the team in receptions in 1981. He had a tryout with the Baltimore Colts in 1982. Jerry Richardson played for the Colts.

Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com, who covered the Panthers for a long stretch, has a wonderful piece on Richardson. He described him as an every-day guy.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Falcons have a monster sandwich created for training camp

The Atlanta Falcons are unveiling a monster of a sandwich for training camp.

Not for the players but for fans attending workouts at the team’s facility in Flowery Branch, Ga.

The yet-to-be-named creation was revealed on the team’s web site. It features pulled pork, mac and cheese, cole slaw, onion

The Atlanta Falcons are unveiling a monster of a sandwich for training camp.

Not for the players but for fans attending workouts at the team’s facility in Flowery Branch, Ga.

The yet-to-be-named creation was revealed on the team’s web site. It features pulled pork, mac and cheese, cole slaw, onion rings and a slice of bacon on a bun. From the picture, yes, it looks like there is some BBQ sauce as well.

The 1.5-pound sandwich is only $5. The Falcons are asking fans to help name the behemoth. You can do so via Twitter by sending a message to @Atlanta_Falcons with the hashtag #aftcsandwich. Here is a look at the team’s practice schedule if you’re fixing to make this a part of your dinner plans.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Cowboys easily top Forbes list in value for NFL franchises

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys remain atop the NFL.

At least according to Forbes magazine, which released its annual ranking of the value of sports franchises around the world.

The Cowboys are fifth overall and No. 1 in the NFL with an estimated value of $2.1 billion, according to the report.

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys remain atop the NFL.

At least according to Forbes magazine, which released its annual ranking of the value of sports franchises around the world.

The Cowboys are fifth overall and No. 1 in the NFL with an estimated value of $2.1 billion, according to the report. They are the only NFL team to top $2 billion and trail only three soccer teams – Real Madrid ($3.3 billion), Manchester United ($3.1 billion) and Barcelona ($2.6 billion) – and the New York Yankees ($2.3 billion).

It’s a dip for the Cowboys in the world wide market, according to the Dallas Morning News. They ranked second behind only Man-U in 2011. A year ago, they were tied with the Yankees in third place at $1.85 billion. Still, if the values are close to accurate, we’re sure Jones has no problem with where he is at in the global picture.

The next four in the NFL are: New England Patriots ($1.63 billion), Washington Redskins ($1.6 billion), New York Giants ($1.468 billion) were and Houston Texans ($1.3 billion). It goes to show you what a difference Cowboys Stadium makes for Jones.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Cardinals using NFC West schedule to boost ticket sales

The Arizona Cardinals have sold out every home game since they opened University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006.

But it hasn’t always been easy.

It used to be difficult for the team to sell tickets to games vs. NFC West foes but now the team is using games against the San Francisco

The Arizona Cardinals have sold out every home game since they opened University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006.

But it hasn’t always been easy.

It used to be difficult for the team to sell tickets to games vs. NFC West foes but now the team is using games against the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks to boost sales to other games. According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the team’s “Protect the Nest” ticket plans are now directly tied to the 49ers and Seahawks.

To get a ticket to the 49ers game on Dec. 29, fans must also buy one to the Panthers game on Oct. 6. To get a ticket to the Seahawks game on Oct. 17, fans must also buy one to the Aug. 17 preseason game vs. the Cowboys.

In previous years, Protect the Nest plans forced fans to buy tickets to a total of three games. The Seattle game was a concern for the team just last season so it tied tickets to the Bears game with the Seahawks game to boost sales.

Now, the NFC West looks like the toughest division in football and the Cardinals hope that helps them at the ticket window. The packages go on sale to the general public beginning Friday.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Packers reward 1 millionth fan to take Lambeau Field tour

The Green Bay Packers caught fan Noah Bolton by surprise on Monday when he showed up at Lambeau Field to take a tour of the stadium.

They rewarded him for being the one-millionth visitor to take the stadium tour, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Spring Green, Wis., resident was

The Green Bay Packers caught fan Noah Bolton by surprise on Monday when he showed up at Lambeau Field to take a tour of the stadium.

They rewarded him for being the one-millionth visitor to take the stadium tour, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Spring Green, Wis., resident was given a custom jersey with “Tour 1M Fan” on the nameplate. He also received a large cupcake, a liftetime pass for stadium tours and the Packers treated him to lunch.

It wasn’t Bolton’s first tour. He took one 10 years ago.

“I wasn’t sure if (the tour manager) was serious or not,” Bolton said. “I’m definitely going to come take a tour every time I’m up here now. We were planning on coming up here yesterday, but I’m really glad we waited until today.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Packers get deal done with Morgan Burnett

With a little more than a week to go until training camp opens, the Green Bay Packers locked up another core player for the future.

Big deals for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews highlighted the offseason previously. Now, safety Morgan Burnett, only 24, has a four-year extension as he was

With a little more than a week to go until training camp opens, the Green Bay Packers locked up another core player for the future.

Big deals for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews highlighted the offseason previously. Now, safety Morgan Burnett, only 24, has a four-year extension as he was preparing to enter the final season of his rookie contract.

The Packers were reportedly working on a deal for Burnett last week and they hammered it out quickly. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Burnett’s deal is worth $24.75 million and he receives a signing bonus of $8.25 million.

Burnett made 123 tackles last season with two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. The Packers also signed linebacker Brad Jones to a multi-year deal this offseason. The next big contract could be for defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who is entering the final year of his contract.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Victor Cruz apologizes for tweet following Zimmerman trial

Victor Cruz chose the silent approach this offseason as he waited for the contract extension that eventually came his way earlier this month.

He would have been better off keeping his thoughts to himself on Saturday following the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before

Victor Cruz chose the silent approach this offseason as he waited for the contract extension that eventually came his way earlier this month.

He would have been better off keeping his thoughts to himself on Saturday following the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up with him,” Cruz wrote on his Twitter account, according to Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger. That was before Cruz went back and deleted his remark.

Many have been upset by the decision of the jury to acquit Zimmerman of charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. Cruz wasn’t the only player in the NFL to express dismay. But he came around on what he said.

“My tweet last night was my initial interpretation of the reaction I was reading on twitter,” Cruz wrote Sunday, per Orr. ”I immediately realized my tweet was a mistake and I apologize, that’s why I deleted it. I believe conversation not confrontation leads to change and progress. I never have and never will advocate violence under any circumstances and I pray that we all encourage and educate each other. The death of Trayvon Martin is an unthinkable tragedy that is any parent’s worst nightmare. As a father, I want my daughter to grow up in a country that uses this tragedy to heal and grow and progress. My prayers continue to go out to Trayvon Martin’s family.”

The good news is football is right around the corner. That’s when football players will be talking more about the game they play.

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Journeyman QB Rosenfels calls it a career

Sage Rosenfels announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday night, admitting it was a decision that was made more by the league’s 32 teams than him.

Adam Caplan of the Sideline View picked up on the announcement first. Rosenfels, 35, played for five different organizations and was last a backup

Sage Rosenfels announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday night, admitting it was a decision that was made more by the league’s 32 teams than him.

Adam Caplan of the Sideline View picked up on the announcement first. Rosenfels, 35, played for five different organizations and was last a backup for the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. Originally drafted by the Washington Redskins, Rosenfels also played for the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and New York Giants. He appeared in 44 games and made 12 starts, going 6-6. Rosenfels had a 4-1 record as a fill-in starter for the Texans in 2007.

Rosenfels left a long and meaningful note on his Facebook page in explaining the decision. He even thanked a sports writer.

I always knew the day would come,” he wrote. “I just didn’t think I’d be 35 when it finally happened. I will soon be turning in my paperwork to the NFL and formally retiring after a 12 year career. Like most NFL players, I wish I could have played a couple more seasons, but usually the league is done with you before you are done with it.

“It definitely was a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs and not a lot of years where I felt comfortable with my standing on a team. A dozen years of battling every day to make it another year and to prove myself against some of the best athletes in the world.”

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Stafford doesn’t doubt Megatron can improve on 2012

Matthew Stafford does not doubt Calvin Johnson can top his 2012 season but he best be careful about what the wide receiver wishes for.

Johnson set an NFL record with 1,964 yards receiving last year – coming oh so close to being the first to top 2,000 yards. He broke the record that

Matthew Stafford does not doubt Calvin Johnson can top his 2012 season but he best be careful about what the wide receiver wishes for.

Johnson set an NFL record with 1,964 yards receiving last year – coming oh so close to being the first to top 2,000 yards. He broke the record that previously belonged to Jerry Rice and also had 100-yard performances in eight consecutive games.

But racking up ridiculous stats didn’t help the Lions do much winning. How many times was Stafford firing to Johnson late in a ballgame as the Lions were trying to play comeback in one of their 12 losses? Sure, the 49ers were always an NFC threat with Rice racking up big yards but more often than not big passing numbers mean a team is playing from behind far too much. The Lions finished second in passing offense last season.

He thinks he can (top 1,964 yards), which is all that matters,” Stafford said on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” last week, according to the Detroit Free Press. “That guy works harder than anybody I know, and he thinks he can get better, so I wouldn’t put anything past him. He’s a guy that can obviously run all of the routes — inside, outside — make all of the catches and is a smart football player and a really good teammate.”

Johnson wants to win first and foremost and he would surely trade some catches and yardage for running plays late in some victories this season. If he challenges 1,964 yards, chances are the Lions are racking up losses again this season.

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Teammate says Kaepernick will be butt of jokes

At least one teammate says Colin Kaepernick is going to catch some grief when he shows up at training camp.

And it’s not for wearing the Miami Dolphins lid to a party earlier this summer.

Instead, 49ers safety Donte Whitner says he expects Kaepernick to be the butt of a

At least one teammate says Colin Kaepernick is going to catch some grief when he shows up at training camp.

And it’s not for wearing the Miami Dolphins lid to a party earlier this summer.

Instead, 49ers safety Donte Whitner says he expects Kaepernick to be the butt of a joke or two after posing in the buff for ESPN The Magazine’s “body issue.” That is what Whitner told the Bull and Fox radio show, according to CBS Sports.

I would never do that,” Whitner said. “To each his own. I don’t know about all the naked pictures and the lower body. I’m a little bit against that, but to each his own.

“He’s the man right now, and that’s what he chose to do. But he’s going to receive some flak in the locker room.”

Probably not too much though. Kaepernick quickly emerged as a leader for the 49ers last season and he enters his third training camp as the established starter.

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49ers holding off on Austin Collie right now

The San Francisco 49ers could still be a player for Austin Collie but first they want to see how their wide receivers look when training camp opens.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports the team remains “interested” in the former Indianapolis Colt but that nothing is likely to happen until

The San Francisco 49ers could still be a player for Austin Collie but first they want to see how their wide receivers look when training camp opens.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports the team remains “interested” in the former Indianapolis Colt but that nothing is likely to happen until after camp kicks off.

Collie worked out for the 49ers last month. He missed most of last season with a knee injury and has a well-documented history of concussions. The 49ers will be without their top wide receiver Michael Crabtree for the majority of the season as he suffered a torn Achilles tendon earlier in the offseason. Still, the club wants to see its younger players and determine if any of them are poised to flourish.

Depth could be an issue because there is not a clear starter right now opposite Anquan Boldin.

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Report: NFL likely to address Josh Brent situation soon

The Dallas Cowboys will make their way to Oxnard, Calif., for training camp at the end of next week and before then it should learn the status of defensive tackle Josh Brent.

It’s somewhat surprising, at least from our standpoint, the team has stood behind Brent as it has since he was charged

The Dallas Cowboys will make their way to Oxnard, Calif., for training camp at the end of next week and before then it should learn the status of defensive tackle Josh Brent.

It’s somewhat surprising, at least from our standpoint, the team has stood behind Brent as it has since he was charged with manslaughter intoxication in the death of linebacker Jerry Brown last December. More recently, Brent has been in jail 11 days for violating terms of his bond as he reportedly tested positive for marijuana twice.

Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reports right now Brent is eligible for training camp and preseason even though he sat out the entire offseason program. But the Cowboys will likely receive word from the NFL office in the near future on the eligibility of Brent, who also reportedly has consumed alcohol while free, another violation of his release.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended players in the past well before the legal system has run its course.

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Chip Kelly comfortable taking his time picking QB

Most figure Michael Vick will eventually be named the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. But Chip Kelly has made it clear he’s not going to rush into things.

Vick is in competition with Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley and as much as the team was able to accomplish in the spring,

Most figure Michael Vick will eventually be named the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. But Chip Kelly has made it clear he’s not going to rush into things.

Vick is in competition with Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley and as much as the team was able to accomplish in the spring, it wasn’t against live action.

We’re going to have to name a starter at some point in time,” Kelly said, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s why I think it would be unfair right now, because there hasn’t been enough situations to evaluate. If someone said, ‘Hey, we have to play a game tomorrow,’ we have to make a decision. But we don’t have to play a game tomorrow.

“We have until Sept. 9, so we’ll see how it works itself out.”

The Eagles will open training camp July 25 and the longer Kelly waits, the bigger this story will grow. If it plays out through preseason, it has the possibility of becoming a distraction. At some point, the Eagles need to make a decision and stick with a guy so he can get the bulk of the reps. The truth is, it’s about impossible to have a three-way competition too.

“You want to make sure you take the whole body of work into consideration,” Kelly said. “If in practice three they have a (bad) practice, do they come back in practice four and bounce back pretty good? Or have you made your decision after practice three? We’re not forced to make a decision soon, and I don’t think the positives of making an early decision outweigh making sure we make the right decision.

“It’s the nature of the game. I understand that there always seems to be a question; I’ve had it every time we’ve had to make a decision on the quarterback. Every day we come off the practice field they want to know, ‘How did the quarterbacks do?’ No one was like, ‘How did the gunner on the punt team do? Did you make your decision on that?’ For us, as coaches, we evaluate every position similar to evaluating the quarterback position.”

We’ll see what Kelly’s timetable looks like when training camp kicks off.

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Report: Packers working on extension for Morgan Burnett

The Green Bay Packers accomplished their biggest goals for this offseason by signing outside linebacker Clay Matthews and quarterback Aaron Rodgers to massive contract extensions.

Now, there could be another extension coming along if the sides can find some common ground. Safety Morgan Burnett could be next for a new deal with the

The Green Bay Packers accomplished their biggest goals for this offseason by signing outside linebacker Clay Matthews and quarterback Aaron Rodgers to massive contract extensions.

Now, there could be another extension coming along if the sides can find some common ground. Safety Morgan Burnett could be next for a new deal with the Packers as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports the club is working to “hammer out a new deal” for Burnett, who was drafted in the third round back in 2010. Burnett is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is set to earn $1.323 million this season.

Burnett made a career-high 123 tackles last season with two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Packers coach Mike McCarthy has talked up Burnett this offseason and the team has a leadership void to fill with the departure of Charles Woodson.

The next major deal for the club could involve defensive tackle B.J. Raji. Green Bay has put a premium on extending its own players under general manager Ted Thompson.

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Jonathan Stewart questionable for start of training camp

At the outset of the offseason there was considerable speculation whether or not the Carolina Panthers would unload at least one of their running backs.

They did not and maybe depth is a good thing right about now. That is because coach Ron Rivera tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer that Jonathan

At the outset of the offseason there was considerable speculation whether or not the Carolina Panthers would unload at least one of their running backs.

They did not and maybe depth is a good thing right about now. That is because coach Ron Rivera tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer that Jonathan Stewart, maybe the back the team likes the most, might not be ready at the outset of training camp.

Stewart underwent surgery on both ankles this offseason and while Rivera says he is “progressing well,” he might not be set in time for the start of camp. That’s not a problem for Carolina provided the veteran doesn’t suffer a setback when he eventually does get on the field.

Stewart will be in the mix with DeAngelo Williams and to a lesser extent fullback Mike Tolbert. It will be interesting to see if new offensive coordinator Mike Shula puts a greater emphasis on the running attack, one former general manager Marty Hurney certainly made a priority when he signed both Stewart and Williams to large contracts.

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Kaepernick without Dolphins hat (or anything else) on magazine cover

Talk about some fortuitous timing for Colin Kaepernick.

With his fashion sense being questioned by San Francisco 49ers fans upset he was wearing a Miami Dolphins hat at a party earlier this summer, Kaepernick has been unveiled as the cover boy for the ESPN The Magazine “body issue.” That takes the conversation in

Talk about some fortuitous timing for Colin Kaepernick.

With his fashion sense being questioned by San Francisco 49ers fans upset he was wearing a Miami Dolphins hat at a party earlier this summer, Kaepernick has been unveiled as the cover boy for the ESPN The Magazine “body issue.” That takes the conversation in an entirely different direction, that much is certain.

That means Kaepernick is on the cover without a Dolphins hat on – or anything else. The San Francisco Chronicle provides a sneak peek at Kaepernick, who has always been willing to share his tattoos. They are there for examining. The magazine hits newsstands on Friday.

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Could Ndamukong Suh be next big contract for Lions?

Who’s got next?

Calvin Johnson got a $132 million, eight-year contract extension from the Detroit Lions last offseason and the team knocked out a new deal for Matthew Stafford earlier this week, a $53 million, three-year extension that keeps him in place through 2017.

The Stafford deal also frees up

Who’s got next?

Calvin Johnson got a $132 million, eight-year contract extension from the Detroit Lions last offseason and the team knocked out a new deal for Matthew Stafford earlier this week, a $53 million, three-year extension that keeps him in place through 2017.

The Stafford deal also frees up roughly $7 million in cap room for the organization, putting the team in position to go about securing other players for the long haul. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, that is in the plans.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh could be next although the team isn’t talking specifically about how the resources will be used. Suh’s cap figure is a whopping $21.4 million in 2014, so something needs to be done before then.

“You know I don’t get into details on negotiating them, but I think we’ve been consistent in that we want to keep our young nucleus of players together for as long as we can,” team president Tom Lewand said, per Birkett. “That’s sometimes easier said than done in the salary cap era, but I think with the extension we did with Calvin last year, now with Matthew in the fold, we’ve shown an ability to do that and we’re going to continue along those same lines with that philosophy.”

A major deal for Suh is something that will no doubt take time to come together. In the meantime, the Lions have flexibility and more importantly they have their quarterback in place.

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Seahawks moving Bruce Irvin to outside linebacker

Earlier this offseason Bruce Irvin was hit with a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, meaning he will not be available until the Week 5 game at Indianapolis on Oct. 6.

When Irvin does make it back, he’ll be doing so at a new position. Eric Williams of

Earlier this offseason Bruce Irvin was hit with a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, meaning he will not be available until the Week 5 game at Indianapolis on Oct. 6.

When Irvin does make it back, he’ll be doing so at a new position. Eric Williams of the Tacoma Tribune reports the Seahawks are transitioning the first-round draft pick from 2012 to outside linebacker from defensive end. As a situational pass rusher last season, Irvin led all rookies with eight sacks.

The hope is he’ll be even more productive getting after the quarterback while giving the team versatility. Irvin is permitted to participate in all of training camp and the preseason to work at his new position.

He’s extremely versatile, and that’s why we’ve loved him from the start,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, per the report. “He’s really fast. He’s 250 pounds, and he’s exactly fitting the right kind of body type to play outside backer in the 3-4 system. We’re a 4-3 personnel system that plays 3-4 looks. He’s extremely valuable for us.”

Irvin is 6-3, 245 pounds and he’s probably not big enough to be effective as an every-down end.
The Seahawks also boosted their depth at end by signing Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency. If Irvin can play in space, he could garner more playing time at linebacker while playing with his hand in the dirt on third down. He should challenge Malcolm Smith for the starting job.

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Stafford knows Super Bowl ring separates him from elite

Matthew Stafford knows full well what separates him from the quarterbacks at the top of the food chain in terms of pay. It’s real simple.

A Super Bowl ring,” Stafford said earlier today, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

He’s right about that. But while the $76.5

Matthew Stafford knows full well what separates him from the quarterbacks at the top of the food chain in terms of pay. It’s real simple.

A Super Bowl ring,” Stafford said earlier today, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

He’s right about that. But while the $76.5 million the Detroit Lions quarterback will earn over the next five years doesn’t come close to where Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco are on the pay scale, it’s still a whopping $15.3 million per season. That still puts Stafford among the top-10 players in the NFL.

As importantly, it puts Stafford to get back to the bargaining table when this deal ends and he is 29 years old, still in his prime.

“That’s what those guys have. League MVP, Super Bowl rings, years of experience doing it,” Stafford said. “All of that. And I think that’s what is a great opportunity for me in the next four or five years is to get to that level, and hopefully, stay with this organization for a long time.”

Stafford, who has already earned $50.5 million, considered playing out his deal and gambling like Flacco did this past year. In the end, that didn’t motivate him.

“There were people out there that wanted me to do that, and I thought about it,” he said. “But I wanted to do what was right for the club and what was right for me. Like I said months ago, and you guys didn’t believe, I said I’m not in it to sign mega contracts, I’m in it to win games. I’m happy to be here, and I’m happy to do what I can to help this club and get as many players around as we can.”

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CenturyLink Field will shoot for Guinness world record

CenturyLink Field has been considered the loudest stadium in the NFL for some time. Now, Seahawks fans will have a chance to prove it.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports that Volume 12, a Seahawks fan group, has filed an application with the Guinness Book of World Records to make

CenturyLink Field has been considered the loudest stadium in the NFL for some time. Now, Seahawks fans will have a chance to prove it.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports that Volume 12, a Seahawks fan group, has filed an application with the Guinness Book of World Records to make a run at it in the Sept. 15 home game against the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers.

The 12th Man will have to top the record of 131.76 decibels, which was set at a Turkish soccer game in March 2011 in Istanbul.

Joe Tafoya, a former defensive end for the Seahawks, was hired by Volume 12 to help with social media and he came up with the idea.

“It occurred to me late one night, like at 3 in the morning, that there was an opportunity to do something really cool by breaking the world record,’’ Tafoya told Condotta. “I didn’t even know how to do it so I went online and saw the Guinness site and filled out an application and they responded relatively fast and accepted the application.

“The goal would be to put a noise meter somewhere that is visible for the fans to see and then get an attempt and watch the needle peak past 131.77 decibels.”

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Bucs will break out ‘Creamsicle’ uniforms Sept. 29

Bucco Bruce will be back again this season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the team will wear their “Creamsicle” throwback jerseys for the Sept. 29 game vs. the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

That means the winking pirate, known as Bucco Bruce, will be on the side of the helmets. It

Bucco Bruce will be back again this season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the team will wear their “Creamsicle” throwback jerseys for the Sept. 29 game vs. the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

That means the winking pirate, known as Bucco Bruce, will be on the side of the helmets. It marks the fifth consecutive season the club will use its former uniform design for a game, according to the Tampa Tribune.

The Bucs wore the uniforms from their inception in 1976 through the 1996 season before changing to the pewter and red design and ditching Bucco Bruce. For what it’s worth, Tampa Bay is 1-3 in throwback games the past four years.

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Offset language holdup for Lane Johnson

The Philadelphia Eagles have yet to sign right tackle Lane Johnson, the fourth overall pick in the draft.

With about two weeks to go until the start of training camp, this wouldn’t qualify as news in the past. But since the change in the CBA in 2011, draft picks are signed in a

The Philadelphia Eagles have yet to sign right tackle Lane Johnson, the fourth overall pick in the draft.

With about two weeks to go until the start of training camp, this wouldn’t qualify as news in the past. But since the change in the CBA in 2011, draft picks are signed in a smoother fashion with slotting controlling the money going to each pick.

The hang up for most players unsigned? Offset language. As Tim McManus of Philly Magazine explains that is indeed the case with Johnson. Offset language doesn’t impact the value of a fully guaranteed contract. But it does prevent the player from double dipping in the rare instance where he is cut, clears waivers and signs a new contract with another club. For example, offset language would prevent the Eagles from having to pay Johnson for a fourth year in 2016 if after having been released he re-signed elsewhere. Players are saying a full guarantee should be just that a full guarantee. Teams say that with offset language the player still receives maximum value of his contract, even if it comes from another team.

“I’m just trying to get a similar deal to everyone else,” Johnson told McManus. “I just want to do what everyone else has done, the picks above and below me.

“I think it will be resolved, especially in the next week or two. I don’t want to hold out. I want to be there with the guys. I want to be with the team and I think something will happen in the next week or so.”

There is going to need to be some action for some of the picks near the top of the draft to see some movement.

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Victor Cruz: ‘I’m done with the back and forth’

Victor Cruz had been candid about wanting a new deal that was commensurate to his value for the longest time.

Then, the New York Giants wide receiver went silent after the end of this past season, not participating in any public negotiations and skipping out on the club’s voluntary offseason program.

He

Victor Cruz had been candid about wanting a new deal that was commensurate to his value for the longest time.

Then, the New York Giants wide receiver went silent after the end of this past season, not participating in any public negotiations and skipping out on the club’s voluntary offseason program.

He was finally rewarded today when the club extended him with a five-year deal worth $43 million. Adding the restricted free agent tender he had signed last month, Cruz is now locked up for six years at $45.879 million, and $15.6 million is guaranteed, according to Fox Sports.

It doesn’t come close to approaching the bar-setting deal for wide receivers that Mike Wallace received from the Miami Dolphins. But Wallace was on the free market and Cruz was an RFA. Cruz said he couldn’t play on the RFA tender of less than $3 million because it would have created a distraction.

I wanted to have some security and positivity going into the season with the comfort of a long-term deal,” Cruz said, per the report. “I just felt like it was time. I’m done with the back and forth. What’s on the table is a really good deal. I’m really excited about it and it’s going to provide security for my family for a very long time. So I felt like today was the day.”

Now, the Giants can turn their attention to securing another one of Eli Manning’s top targets – fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. If Nicks can remain healthy, he’ll be coveted. Cruz wants him to stay put.

“I’m definitely going to put the pressure on him to come back and see if he wants to play with me for the long haul,” Cruz said. “We’ll see if we can do this together for a couple more years.”

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Report: Victor Cruz gets $43 million, 5-year extension

The New York Giants expressed optimism throughout the entire offseason that eventually a deal would get done for Victor Cruz.

The wide receiver is getting paid now with training camp about two weeks away.

Cruz will sign a $43 million, five-year extension that will be added to the one-year contract

The New York Giants expressed optimism throughout the entire offseason that eventually a deal would get done for Victor Cruz.

The wide receiver is getting paid now with training camp about two weeks away.

Cruz will sign a $43 million, five-year extension that will be added to the one-year contract he is under after signing his tender as a restricted free agent last month. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported the news.

That means the Giants will get the explosive playmaker to training camp on time and in the right frame of mind after he chose to sit out the voluntary offseason program. Now, the Giants have to go about signing fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who is entering the final year of his contract.

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LT’s son charged with raping minor, sodomy

Lawrence Taylor Jr., the son of the Hall of Fame New York Giants linebacker, has been arrested and charged with statutory rape and two other crimes.

Taylor Jr. was arrested in Georgia on Sunday, according to the New York Daily News, and was also charged with sodomy and child molestation. His

Lawrence Taylor Jr., the son of the Hall of Fame New York Giants linebacker, has been arrested and charged with statutory rape and two other crimes.

Taylor Jr. was arrested in Georgia on Sunday, according to the New York Daily News, and was also charged with sodomy and child molestation. His father faced rape charges after his encounter with an underage hooker in 2010 in New York. The father is a registered sex offender and is on probation still.

Taylor Jr., 31, remains in jail in Powder Springs, Ga., not far from Atlanta. He reportedly performed oral sex on a girl under 18 at his home on Saturday. A girl that police say is under 16 also told police she had sex with Taylor Jr. five or six times more than a year ago.

Last year, Taylor Jr. auctioned off his father’s Super Bowl XXV ring. If he still has money from that, perhaps he’ll put it toward a defense fund.

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Lance Easley takes part in Seahawks charity event

Lance Easley isn’t going to live down the blown call in the Packers-Seahawks game last fall that cost Green Bay the game and expedited the return of regular officials to the NFL.

So, he’s living it up and donating some time to charity as he goes. Easley is writing a book about his

Lance Easley isn’t going to live down the blown call in the Packers-Seahawks game last fall that cost Green Bay the game and expedited the return of regular officials to the NFL.

So, he’s living it up and donating some time to charity as he goes. Easley is writing a book about his experience following the controversial Golden Tate touchdown. He showed up at the charity softball game operated by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on Sunday. All in good fun.

I’m here for charity, and I would do the same for (Packers) charities,” Easley, a former Marine, said according to John Boyle of the Everett Herald. “I have no ill-will against any team, I’m not a Seahawk fan, I’m not a Green Bay fan. I stopped being a fan years ago.

“That’s why I’m here, to give back.”

Easley dressed for the part as a referee and posed for pictures. He said it was fun. He also said he would not change the call.

“Oh yeah, I wouldn’t change it. I can’t,” he said, per the report. “The NFL upheld it, I’ve looked at plenty of video, I’ve talked to my replay guys, there’s nothing to turn it over,” Easley said. “The fact is, if you want to say that the defender had control of it in the air—which is loosely used, because really process of a catch you have to have two feet, or another body part, and control the ball when you touch the ground in bounds—the ball could have come loose anywhere in that process for a second, which nobody can really see even with all the cameras, and if it did, then it’s a loose ball but it didn’t touch the ground, so if they’re both on it, it goes to the offense.

“So it was just one of those calls. It’s just a play that will live in NFL history.”

There was some pass interference that was definitely missed. Hopefully the exercise for charity – Sherman’s game supported a group that helps wounded veterans and their families – was a success.

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Dan Connor ‘cooperating’ following arrest with knife at airport

New York Giants officials say linebacker Dan Connor is cooperating with authorities after he was arrested when a switchblade was discovered in his luggage at Philadelphia International Airport.

According to the Associated Press, TSA employees located the knife when his bag was entered in an X-ray machine. Connor was arrested by

New York Giants officials say linebacker Dan Connor is cooperating with authorities after he was arrested when a switchblade was discovered in his luggage at Philadelphia International Airport.

According to the Associated Press, TSA employees located the knife when his bag was entered in an X-ray machine. Connor was arrested by police and then released on his own recognizance.

Pat Hanlon, a Giants spokesman, said Connor is “cooperating with the authorities in Philadelphia.”

Unfortunately, this is an entirely preventable offense, the kind that people should not make.

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Josh Brent out of jail

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was in jail for less than two weeks after a failed drug test while awaiting charges on inxotication manslaughter.

Brent was inexplicably released from the Dallas County jail on Sunday morning, according to the Dallas Morning News, after a court order. Brent, of course, is

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was in jail for less than two weeks after a failed drug test while awaiting charges on inxotication manslaughter.

Brent was inexplicably released from the Dallas County jail on Sunday morning, according to the Dallas Morning News, after a court order. Brent, of course, is awaiting trial on charges he killed teammate Jerry Brown in a drunken crash in December. He reportedly had a blood-alcohol level more than two times the legal limit.

Brent was free on bond before being jailed June 27 after testing positive for marijuana. He failed drug tests in June and May, according to the report.

The Cowboys have kept Brent on the roster. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Maybe we’ll find out why he’s back on the street soon.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Tavon Austin says Sam Bradford ‘definitely believes in me’

In what is arguably the most difficult division in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams are hoping to make a splash in the NFC West.

The Rams were 4-1-1 in division play last season, a better mark then the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks had, but just 7-8-1 overall. This year, some

In what is arguably the most difficult division in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams are hoping to make a splash in the NFC West.

The Rams were 4-1-1 in division play last season, a better mark then the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks had, but just 7-8-1 overall. This year, some believe the Rams can make the jump into the postseason.

For the Rams to ascend they will need better and more consistent play from quarterback Sam Bradford and to do that they’ve outfitted him with some help. Tavon Austin, the rookie wide receiver from West Virginia, is one significant addition. Austin tells the NFL Network that he’s already clicking with Bradford.

He looked for me a lot at practice,” Austin said, according to NFL.com. “He definitely believes in me and I definitely feel good about myself. He kind of talked to me, let me know the things I’m doing good, the things I’m doing bad as far as landmarks, if I should have kept the corner high or should I bend it off. I definitely believe he got a lot of trust in me and I got trust in him.

“I can say I’m one of his new toys. Me and Jared (Cook) and Stedman (Bailey) probably one of the new toys that came to the family. I just hope that my number gets called a lot and then at the end of the season he can really say I was one of his toys.”

It’s a big year for Bradford. If he uses his “toys” successfully perhaps he’ll be viewed in a new light after the season. If so, the Rams just might be in the playoffs.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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St. Louis not footing bill for $700 million in upgrades to Dome

The St. Louis Rams and the city remain at odds on potential upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome, putting the team in position to break its lease at the conclusion of the 2014 season, if it desires.

According to the Associated Press, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, which operates the stadium,

The St. Louis Rams and the city remain at odds on potential upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome, putting the team in position to break its lease at the conclusion of the 2014 season, if it desires.

According to the Associated Press, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, which operates the stadium, officially informed the Rams earlier this week it would not put into motion $700 million in publicly funded upgrades for the building. It was an expected move after the team won an arbitration with the CVC earlier this year.

The CVC had proposed far less sweeping upgrades for the stadium, and the team’s lease allows it to opt out if it does not have a stadium in the top quarter of the NFL.

The Rams did not have comment. Owner Stan Kroenke has said he is committed to remaining in St. Louis. It would not be surprising if this situation drags out slowly with the team and NFL eventually pushing for a new stadium. As long as Los Angeles remains without a team, the NFL has strong leverage.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Tyrann Mathieu calls rookie symposium ‘educational, inspiring’

All eyes are on Tyrann Mathieu this season.

The Arizona Cardinals invested a third-round draft pick in the former LSU cornerback. The Cardinals are converting him to free safety with the hope he can be a playmaker for them.

Off the field, pressure is on Mathieu to prove he is a changed

All eyes are on Tyrann Mathieu this season.

The Arizona Cardinals invested a third-round draft pick in the former LSU cornerback. The Cardinals are converting him to free safety with the hope he can be a playmaker for them.

Off the field, pressure is on Mathieu to prove he is a changed man like he proclaims after being dismissed from LSU late last summer. Mathieu believes there were some lessons for him at the NFL Rookie Symposium last month in Aurora, Ohio.

I didn’t look at it redundant, I looked at it as more people trying to help me,” Mathieu said, according to Darren Urban, who writes for the Cardinals’ web site. “My process is a bit different than the rest of the rookies there. For me, it was an experience I needed.”

Mathieu is trying to look at his journey in a positive light and not focus on the stories that have entrapped so many players.

“I try not to put those negative thoughts in my head, that I’d be out of the league in three years,” Mathieu said. “Brian Dawkins and Aeneas Williams said it best: Stop saying you’re going to go broke, stop saying you’re going to be out of the league, start speaking things into existence. Positive things.

“For me, (the symposium) was real educational, inspiring and one of those reality checks.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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Follett pursuing workers’ comp case vs. Lions in California

The Detroit Lions and their insurance carrier are contesting a workers’ compensation claim made by former linebacker Zack Follett in California based on the grounds of jurisdiction.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Follett, who runs a coffee shop in Clovis, Calif., now, has filed a claim because his attorney

The Detroit Lions and their insurance carrier are contesting a workers’ compensation claim made by former linebacker Zack Follett in California based on the grounds of jurisdiction.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Follett, who runs a coffee shop in Clovis, Calif., now, has filed a claim because his attorney claims the ex-player is in “severe pain” from neck and shoulder injuries suffered in two seasons in the NFL.

Follett was taken off the field in 2010 during a game against the Giants after a helmet-to-helmet collision left him with a serious neck injury. It was the final game he ever played in as he missed the remainder of the season and was released shortly after the NFL’s lockout ended in 2011.

According to the report, Follett’s contract required him to file a workers’ compensation claim in Michigan. So, the club and Liberty Mutual are battling him over filing in another state. Players have long flocked to California to make claims against teams because of the state’s liberal laws there. They make claims based on playing a single game or a handful of games in the state during their career.

The NFL has been pushing hard to stop this. We’ll see where Follett’s case goes.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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