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Gronkowski Participates in First Full-Team Drills

Gronkowski Participates in First Full-Team Drills

Elsa/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) — For the first time this preseason, the New England Patriots watched as Tom Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown pass during practice Monday afternoon. It was the first time Gronkowski had participated in full-team drills since having offseason surgery to repair a torn ACL. 
“It’s definitely huge to get it going again,” said Gronkowski. “I’ve been working with Tom since I’ve been out here, but we haven’t been doing it vs. the defense or anything. So it was good to be out there and ‘Boom!’ it was just like it was never missed before.”
Gronkowski has said that he plans to play all 16 games this season after playing a combined 18 games the last two seasons. There was no full contact for Gronkowski, but rather some minor hitting that included having the ball stripped from him by rookie corner Malcolm Butler.
Gronkowski, 25, has been participating in some drills since the start of camp on July 24 and is planning to suit up for week one. However, there has been no word on if he will play in one of New England’s final two preseason games.
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Manziel Flips the Bird in Preseason Loss

Manziel Flips the Bird in Preseason Loss

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(LANDOVER, Md.) — It was not a good night for the Cleveland Browns offense, and the frustration showed when backup quarterback Johnny Manziel flipped the bird to the Washington Redskins sideline late in a 24-23 preseason loss.
The incident occurred late in the third quarter after an incomplete pass in front of the Washington bench. As Manziel trotted back across the field, he raised his right hand and extended his middle finger in the direction of his opponents. The rookie admitted post-game that he exchanged words with the bench, and he should have responded better.
“I felt like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night, and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up,” said Manziel.
While the play was not flagged, Manziel is subject to a fine of $11,025 from the NFL.  He can appeal the fine and have it limited to 25 percent of a weekly check, roughly $6,200.
Manziel, like the entire Cleveland offense, struggled last night, going 5-for-13 with only 49 passing yards. The rookie did however connect with Dion Lewis for a short touchdown pass as the Browns fought to come back.
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Ohio State’s Miller Re-Injures Shoulder

Ohio State’s Miller Re-Injures Shoulder

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Ohio State football fans had cause to be excited about the upcoming 2014 season. That excitement has been put on hold after it was revealed quarterback Braxton Miller re-injured his right shoulder during practice Monday.
According to a source, Miller sustained a non-contact injury and was helped off the field by medical staff. Earlier in the day, the senior declared himself 100 percent cleared to play. Miller underwent offseason shoulder surgery, a minor procedure, in February and was slowly being eased back into football.
The Buckeyes were picked fifth in the preseason AP poll, while Miller was projected to be a Heisman trophy finalist. In his last full season in MLB, Miller threw for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for 12 more.
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Cam Newton Debuts in Preseason Win

Cam Newton Debuts in Preseason Win

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — For the first time since undergoing offseason ankle surgery, Cam Newtown put on his shoulder pads and helmet, walked onto the gridiron, and played football. The Carolina Panthers (1-1) quarterback made his preseason debut on Sunday night in a 28-16 win over Kansas City (1-1).
Newton was reasonably rusty to open the game, starting with three straight three-and-outs. He missed five of his first six passes and was sacked for a 13-yard loss as part of those three drives. Carolina did rebound though when Jonathan Stewart was inserted into the running back position.
Stewart ran for only 26 yards on four carries, but capped off consecutive scoring possessions with touchdown scampers.
“If we can run the ball effectively with the backs and not have to rely on [Cam] running we would much rather do that,” said head coach Ron Rivera on the running attack.
Newton also settled down a bit towards the end of his day. The four-year veteran completed four of nine passes for only 65 yards but connected on his last three attempts.
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Graham Penalized, Scolded for Touchdown Dunks

Graham Penalized, Scolded for Touchdown Dunks

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) — It didn’t take long for Jimmy Graham to violate the rule many feel was put in place because of him. Following both of his touchdown receptions in Friday’s 31-24 preseason win over Tennessee, Graham proceeded to dunk the football through the goalposts and was penalized 15 yards for it.
The second celebration drew the ire of head coach Sean Payton, who tracked his tight end down on the sideline to scold him. In total, the Saints committed 22 penalties throughout the game. Graham declined interviews as he left the locker room while Payton would not directly comment on the incidents.
The celebration of “dunking” a ball through the goalposts was lumped in with other taunting penalties where the ball is used as a “prop”. Many have referred to the rule chance as the “Jimmy Graham rule”.
“I understand Jimmy’s frustration with that rule change. I understand what he’s doing,” said offensive tackle and team captain Zach Strief.  “And yet it’s something, look, if this is a regular-season game, Jimmy’s not dunking over the goalpost. Coach Payton was completely, I think, correct to jump on him. Any of us, I think would expect it.
New Orleans was once again without quarterback Drew Brees who sat with an oblique strain. He is expected to be 100% healthy come the regular season. Wide receiver Marques Colston was also not dressed for action, but for an undisclosed reason.
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Orlando Scandrick Suspended Four Games

Orlando Scandrick Suspended Four Games

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(OXNARD, Calif.) — Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick was suspended by the NFL for four games on Monday for violating it’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Sources say the violation stemmed from a supplement taking by Scandrick, which included a substance banned by the league.
“I would like to apologize to my children, my family, the Jones Family, my coaches, my teammates and my fans,” Scandrick said in a statement released by his agent, Ron Slavin. “Failing a drug test is far out of my character, and although I never knowingly took a performance-enhancing drug/banned stimulant while on vacation in Mexico, I take full responsibility for what goes in my body and more importantly for the embarrassment of a failed drug test. It’s my goal by issuing this statement to clear my name and more importantly to be judged by what happens to me in the future.”
The seven-year veteran is coming off the best year of his career, recording 64 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks. Scandrick beat out Morris Claiborne for the starting job last summer and was doing so again in 2014.
Slavin placed blame for the suspension on the NFL and the NFL Players Association for their failure to pass an agreement on the use of human growth hormone testing.
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Bears Reinstate Suspended TE Bennett

Bears Reinstate Suspended TE Bennett

National Football League(BOURBONNAIS, Ill.) — Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has been reinstated following a fine and indefinite suspension. The suspension ended up lasting just six days, as Bennett rejoined his teammates on the practice field Sunday at Olivet Nazarene University. 
The punishment was a result of an altercation involving Bennett and rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller that saw Bennett slam the first-year player to the ground. Bennett was initially unapologetic but has reversed course in the last couple days.
“I think I could’ve handled the situation differently,” Bennett said. “We can talk about it right now, but (I would have handled it) any way differently than I did. I think everything in life is about learning lessons.”
Bennett was unable to play in the preseason opener and said it was difficult to watch because of how much he wanted to play. The tight end also expressed how happy he was to be back with his teammates.
“They love me. I love the guys,” Bennett said. “I got a lot of hugs and high-fives, slaps on the butt, all that good stuff, a lot of jokes. The moment they saw me, most guys just started laughing because they wanted me to say something funny.”
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Linval Joseph Returns to Practice After Shooting Incident

Linval Joseph Returns to Practice After Shooting Incident

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(MANKATO, Minn.) — One day after being struck by a stray bullet at a nightclub, Linval Joseph was back at practice on Sunday for the Minnesota Vikings. Joseph, who was hit in the calf, is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.
“I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and concerns over the past 24 hours. I am extremely thankful that this was a minor injury for me,” said Joseph in a statement released by the team. “My thoughts are with all of the victims at this time. I am looking forward to getting back onto the field with my teammates in the near future.”
The shooting occurred near the back of 400 Soundbar in Minneapolis where the defensive tackle and some teammates spent several hours after their first preseason game. A total of nine people were wounded when a gunman opened fire in what police are calling a gang-related shooting. 
“He’s pretty good, really, for the most part,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “He was in the meeting this morning and paying attention to what corrections he needs to make when he was playing. He’s a fairly quiet guy anyway so I’m sure it shook him up like it shook all of us up. He’s a very high-character, high-quality young man.”
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Manziel Impresses in Preseason Debut

Manziel Impresses in Preseason Debut

Elsa/Getty Images(DETROIT) — It wasn’t the most glamorous of debuts, but Johnny Manziel raised some eyebrows in his first NFL preseason game. The rookie quarterback played four series for Cleveland in a 13-12 loss at Detroit on Saturday night. 
While completing 7-of-11 pass attempts for 63 yards, Manziel also rushed for 27 yards on six carries. His longest of the night, a 16-yard scamper, gave fans a glimpse into the possible future of “Johnny Football” in the NFL. 
“For me it was a good start,” Manziel said. “Have to start somewhere and set a foundation.”
Brian Hoyer got the starting nod for Cleveland and was 6-of-11 for 92 passing yards, leading a pair of drives that resulted in field goals. Hoyer, who was the starter last year for the Browns, has not voiced a concern about potentially losing his job to Manziel.
“That decision has not been made yet,” said Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine. However, a source has told ESPN’s Bob Holtzman there is a “very good chance” Manziel starts next week against Washington.
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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/8/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/8/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — MLB: Tampa Bay Rays 4 (56-59) – Chicago Cubs 3 (49-64) 10 Innings
Baltimore Orioles 12 (66-49) – St. Louis Cardinals 2 (61-53)
New York Mets 5 (55-61) – Philadelphia Phillies 4 (52-64)
Pittsburgh Pirates 2 (62-53) – San Diego Padres 1 (52-62)
Miami Marlins 2 (56-59) – Cincinnati Reds 1 (59-57)
Detroit Tigers 5 (63-50) – Toronto Blue Jays 4 (61-56)
New York Yankees 10 (61-54) – Cleveland Indians 6 (57-59) 
Kansas City Royals 4 (61-53) – San Francisco Giants 2 (62-54)
Milwaukee Brewers 9 (64-52) – Los Angeles Dodgers 3 (66-51)
Atlanta Braves 7 (59-56) – Washington Nationals 6 (62-52)
Houston Astros 4 (48-68) – Texas Rangers 3 (45-70)
Arizona Diamondbacks 5 (50-66) – Colorado Rockies 3 (45-70)
Oakland Athletics 6 (71-44) – Minnesota Twins 5 (51-63)
Seattle Mariners 4 (61-54) – Chicago White Sox 1 (55-62)
Boston Red Sox 4 (51-64) – Los Angeles Angels 2 (67-48)
NFL Preseason: Atlanta Falcons 16 (1-0) – Miami Dolphins 10 (0-1)
Jacksonville Jaguars 16 (1-0) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 (0-1)
Buffalo Bills 20 (1-0) – Carolina Panthers 18 (0-1)
Minnesota Vikings 10 (1-0) – Oakland Raiders 6 (0-1)
New Orleans Saints 26 (1-0) – St. Louis Rams 24 (0-1) 
Chicago Bears 34 (1-0) – Philadelphia Eagles 28 (0-1)
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BREAKING: Judge Rules Against NCAA

BREAKING: Judge Rules Against NCAA

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In a landmark decision on Friday, a federal judge has ruled in favor of former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, and 19 others, saying the NCAA can not stop college football or men’s basketball players from selling the rights to their names and likenesses.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled against the NCAA in a lawsuit that claimed college athletics’ governing body was in violation of the nation’s antitrust laws. 
“The Court finds that the challenged NCAA rules unreasonably restrain trade in the market for certain educational and athletic opportunities offered by NCAA Division I schools,” Wilken wrote in her 99-page decision. 
Wilken went on to say that the NCAA’s defense “do not justify this restraint and could be achieved through less restrictive means”.
There was one minor victory for the NCAA. Wilken did say that a cap could be put on just hoe much money is paid to athletes, putting the limit at $5,000 a year for big school football and basketball players.
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Packers to Induct Favre into Hall of Fame, Retire Jersey in 2015

Packers to Induct Favre into Hall of Fame, Retire Jersey in 2015

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images(GREEN BAY, Wisc.) — Brett Favre’s relationship with the team he spent the majority of his career playing for is apparently just fine. Both the quarterback and the Green Bay Packers announced on Sunday that Favre will be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and have his number 4 jersey retired during the 2015 season.
The joint announcement originally came from Favre’s website on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a tremendous honor to play 16 years for the Green Bay Packers. Now to have my name placed among others such as Starr, Hornung, Kramer, Taylor, Lambeau, Nitschke, Lombardi, Davis, White and Hutson is a special honor that I share with all of my teammates and coaches, and that would not have been possible but for the foresight of Ron Wolf, the greatest GM in the history of the NFL,” Favre said in the statement.
Green Bay will make an official announcement at 1:30 p.m. on Monday with Favre participating via telephone. Packers Hall of Fame Inc. president Perry Kidder, Packers president Mark Murphy and former Packers president Bob Harlan will all take part.
Favre joined the Packers on Feb. 11, 1992 after being traded by the Atlanta Falcons who drafted him. He led Green Bay to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XXXI, and also won three MVP awards for 1992-2008. Favre announced his retirement that summer but decided he wanted to return and was eventually traded to the New York Jets where he played one season before finishing his career in Minnesota, playing two more years.
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Giants Beat Buffalo in Hall of Fame Game

Giants Beat Buffalo in Hall of Fame Game

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(CANTON, Ohio) — Backup quarterback Ryan Nassib connected with rookie wide receiver Corey Washington on a 73-yard strike in the fourth quarter to help give the New York Giants a 17-13 win over the Buffalo Bills in the preseason-opening Hall of Fame game.
The Giants (1-0) debuted their new offense, courtesy of first-year coordinator Ben McAdoo, and showed off a balanced attack. Most impressive was the combination of Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams in the backfield. The rookie Williams led the Giants with 43 rushing yards on seven carries. His best run, a 21-yard scamper, led to New York’s first touchdown of the night and gave them a 7-3 first quarter lead.
Buffalo (0-1) countered with a two-yard pass from Jeff Teul to Robert Woods in the second quarter before heading into halftime tied at 10-10. The Bills then took the lead on a Dan Carpenter field goal and held that advantage until Nassib and Washington connected.
Starting quarterback Eli Manning was 6-for-7 in three series for 43 yards but lost a fumble. EJ Manuel struggled in his two series, completing just two passes for only 19 yards.
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Longhorns Dismiss Four More Football Players

Longhorns Dismiss Four More Football Players

Brian Bahr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — There’s a new sheriff in Austin and Charlie Strong is making his presence known. The first year head coach has already kicked at least six players off his team since taking over the Longhorns, adding four more to the list on Friday.
Safety Josh Turner, running back Jalen Overstreet, defensive back Chevoski Collins and senior running back Joe Bergeron have all been dismissed from the team according to multiple sources. Turner, Overstreet, and Collins were all dismissed for violating team rules while the reason for Bergeron’s dismissal is not yet known. The University has not made mention of any suspensions or dismissals.
A projected starter, Turner has played 37 games with five starts in his Longhorns career. Overstreet ran for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2013 as a freshman after switching to running back from the quarterback position. Collins was a redshirt player last season and listed as a backup safety while Bergeron had faced academic issues in the spring. 
Fullback Chet Moss and defensive back Leroy Scott were also kicked off the team back in the spring for a violation of team rules. A source close to the Longhorns said has many as five more players could face disciplinary action for similar infractions. Strong has also suspended receivers Kendall Sanders and Montreal Meander after the two were arrested on sexual assault charges Thursday night.
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Big 12 Commissioner: “Cheating Pays”

Big 12 Commissioner: “Cheating Pays”

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(DALLAS) — During his annual state of the league address at the Big 12 media day, commissioner Bob Bowlsby proclaimed Monday that “cheating pays” in intercollegiate athletics.
“Enforcement is broken. The infractions committee hasn’t had a hearing in almost a year,” said Bowlsby. “It’s not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions.”
Bowlsby continued by saying he does not believe cheating is a widespread epidemic, but that he fears for the future of the NCAA and its student-athletes.
“We certainly are operating in a strange environment in that we have lawsuits,” explained the commissioner. “I think all of that in the end will cause programs to be eliminated.”
While slamming college sports’ governing body, Bowlsby did come to the defense of the collegiate model, saying that he was against the unionization of student-athletes.
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Chris Snee Reportedly Set to Announce Retirement

Chris Snee Reportedly Set to Announce Retirement

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Chris Snee is reportedly ready to hang up his cleats and shoulder pads. A source close to the New York Giants lineman says he has scheduled a meeting for Monday morning with team officials to tell them he’s considering retiring.
While his final decision is not 100% made, the 32-year-old would not be able to start the season on time anyway thanks to a longer than expected recovery from elbow surgery in November.
After missing the team’s minicamp in June because of the extended rehab, New York and Snee each began weighing their options. The Giants gave the majority of reps to third-year player Brandon Mosley while also letting their second-round pick, Weston Richburg, see some time.
Snee, a four-time Pro Bowler, could be entering his 11th season as an offensive lineman for the Giants.
Snee played just three games in 2013 and was placed on injured reserve on October 4 due to an ailing hip injury. The 2004 draft pick out of Boston College helped the Giants to two Super Bowls in his 10-year career. He is also the son-in-law of Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
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Vikings Suspend Coach for Anti-Gay Remarks

Vikings Suspend Coach for Anti-Gay Remarks

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Minnesota Vikings suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer for three games on Friday after an independent investigation found Priefer made a homophobic comment in the 2012 season.
In a statement released by team owner Ziggy Wolf and president Mark Wilf, the Vikings apologized for the incident. 
“In this instance, Coach Priefer fell short of what is expected. Accordingly, we have decided to suspend Coach Priefer without pay for the first three games of the 2014 regular season. In addition, he will be required to satisfactorily complete specialized workplace training that will include an emphasis on the managing of diversity and sexual orientation.”
Allegations over an alleged anti-gay comment came from former punter Chris Kluwe, who claimed that he was released by the organization because of his advocacy for the LGBT community. While the report found Priefer had made disparaging comments, no evidence was obtained to support Kluwe’s claim as to why he was released.
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Alabama Picked to Win SEC

Alabama Picked to Win SEC

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(HOOVER, Ala.) — Despite not even reaching the national championship game last year, SEC media members selected Alabama as the preseason favorite to win the conference this college football season.
The poll was revealed on Thursday, the final of four SEC media days. It showed what was a surprise to no one: Alabama vs. Auburn for the conference title.
The Crimson Tide (154) earned more votes than every other Southeastern Conference school combined. Auburn (75), South Carolina (32), Georgia (19), and LSU (9) rounded out the top 5.
“Arguably, they’ve got the greatest collection of football players ever assembled for a college team,” said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. “If the recruiting services are correct, and they’re pretty much correct.”
Alabama also led the conference with nine players named to the preseason first-team. Wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back T.J. Yeldon were the top two vote-getters among all players.
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Josh Gordon Arrested for DWI

Josh Gordon Arrested for DWI

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon continues to find himself in trouble. Already facing a possible year-long ban, Gordon was arrested Saturday in Raleigh, North Carolina, and charged with driving while impaired.
Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said that Gordon was taken into custody after going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone around 3 a.m. Saturday. While no official word was given as to whether the impairment was alcohol or drug related, WNCN in Raleigh reported that the wide out’s blood-alcohol level was .09. The legal limit in North Carolina is .08.
Gordon was released on $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on August 26. Neither Gordon, nor his agent Drew Rosenhaus, had a comment on the arrest.
“We are aware of the matter and are disappointed to learn of this situation. We will comment further at the appropriate time,” Brown general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement.
The 23-year-old could be banned for the entire upcoming season after failing a second drug test. Gordon was suspended four games in 2013 for what he said was the use of codeine.
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Chad Johnson Makes CFL Debut

Chad Johnson Makes CFL Debut

Elsa/Getty Images(MONTREAL) — It wasn’t in the NFL and it wasn’t with his usual flash and flare, but Chad Johnson was back in professional football on Friday. The former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver made his debut for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in the final preseason game for the squad.
An 11-year veteran of the NFL, Johnson amassed over 11,000 receiving yards with both the Bengals and the New England Patriots. In his first real game action since 2011, Johnson caught one pass for 13 yards. The Alouettes fell to the Ottawa REDBLACKS, 26-10, in their final tune-up before the regular season begins.
“It felt good. Nervous, butterflies, it was cool,” said Johnson on his return to professional football. “I have a lot of work to do but it felt good.”
The outspoken wide out played 10 years for the Bengals, earning six Pro Bowl selections before signing with the Patriots in 2011, helping the team reach the Super Bowl. In 2012 he signed with the Miami Dolphins but was released following an arrest for domestic battery to which he pleaded no contest.
Montreal opens up the 2014 CFL regular season on June 28 when they take on Calgary.
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