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Browns’ Joe Thomas Says Team Not Relying on QB Johnny Manziel

Browns’ Joe Thomas Says Team Not Relying on QB Johnny Manziel Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Less than one year after being dubbed the quarterback of the future, Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns may already be the quarterback of the past. Before even entering the NFL, there were questions about Manziel's maturity and ability to be the face of the franchise. He did little to alleviate those concerns, according to All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas. "I think he's going to have to prove to the team that football is important and being 'the man,' being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, is important, it is his goal, his single goal in his life," Thomas told ESPNCleveland.com. "You know, I think he lost probably a lot of trust among the guys on the team last year by the way he handled himself once he became the starter. And I think he had a lot of time to reflect, I'm guessing, after the season was over by the comments he made in the media and by his actions, checking himself into rehab. ...I think those were really positive steps," Thomas added. Manziel entered voluntary treatment as a result of his partying lifestyle back on Jan. 28. In five games during his rookie season, Manziel completed 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards, two interceptions, and one total touchdown. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Josh Freeman Signs One-Year Deal With Dolphins

Josh Freeman Signs One-Year Deal With Dolphins Marc Serota/Getty Images (MIAMI, Fl.) -- The Miami Dolphins have signed quarterback Josh Freeman to a one-year deal  Freeman spent all of the 2014 season out of football, a decision he felt was best because, "personally, during the year, I felt it was better to let things cool down because it was a pretty rocky year the previous year." After being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers midway through the 2013 season, Freeman signed with the Minnesota Vikings, started one game and was let go in the offseason. He signed with the New York Giants, but was released again before the 2014 season. Through the team website, Freeman stated: “I feel like they have a really strong direction in their organization from a leadership standpoint,” Freeman said in an interview at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. “I’m familiar with Dennis Hickey and a number of staff members. (I was) in there with (quarterbacks coach) Zac Taylor and Coach (Bill) Lazor. We were in there talking about the offense and the direction. Also the conversations I had with Coach (Joe) Philbin were pretty awesome. I think it will be a great fit.”  Freeman was drafted in 2009 by the Buccaneers where Hickey, the Dolphins general manager, served as Director of College Scouting for Tampa Bay. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: NFL To Hire First Female Official

Report: NFL To Hire First Female Official NFL(NEW YORK) -- The NFL is set to hire its first full-time female official according to a tweet from the Baltimore Sun. Sarah Thomas, a former Conference USA official, is set to join a group of eight new members of the NFL's referee group, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. "The thing is, I've never set out to be the first, and that hasn't changed," said Thomas, who first started officiating football games in 1996. "I do this because I love it." In 2012, Shannon Eastin, who was a member of the replacement officials the NFL employed while the regular officials were locked out, became the first woman of officiate a regular season game. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Redskins Trade for Dashon Goldson

Redskins Trade for Dashon Goldson NFL via Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have traded safety Dashon Goldson to the Washington Redskins for a sixth-round draft pick in 2016. Goldson began his career with the San Francisco 49ers, and was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Bucs signed Goldson to a five-year, $41 million contract in 2013, but he never quite lived up to his billing with Tampa Bay, which also sent a 2016 seventh-round draft pick to the Redskins in the deal. Goldson issued a series of statements on Twitter to fans of both the Bucs and Redskins. "To Buc Nation, I'm sorry things didn't workout the way we both wanted them to," Goldson said. "... I've learned a lot in the 2 yrs spent there and it has been an honor to be part of the Buc nation, to play for the buccaneers and share my time with the community." Goldson is the 10th former Pro Bowler traded this offseason, among them LeSean McCoy, Brandon Marshall and Jimmy Graham. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Eagles Sign Miles Austin to One-Year Deal

Eagles Sign Miles Austin to One-Year DealScott Boehm/Getty Images (PHILADELPHIA, Pa.) -- The Philadelphia Eagles have signed wide receiver Miles Austin to a one-year deal, according to NFL Network. The deal is worth $2.3 million, with an opportunity to earn $700,000 in incentives, according t...

Browns GM Ray Farmer Suspended Four Games

Browns GM Ray Farmer Suspended Four Games NFL(NEW YORK) -- The National Football League suspended Browns general manager Ray Farmer without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season on Monday for sending text messages to team personnel during games in 2014. The league also fined Cleveland $250,000. Farmer’s suspension will begin on the midnight of the Sunday before the Browns’ Week 1 contest and concludes following the team’s Week 4 game. During the ban, Farmer won’t be allowed to deal with team business or permitted to be at the team’s facilities or games. “I respect the league’s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,” Farmer said in a statement. “Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to Jimmy Haslam, Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.” According to ESPN, Farmer texted an assistant coach and an unnamed team representative on the sideline that dealt with use of personnel and in-game strategy.  Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Not Concerned over Contract Situation

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Not Concerned over Contract Situation Kevin Casey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While Quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and even Joe Flacco are among the highest paid players in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson remains one of the best bargains in the league at $1.5 million, which he'll make next season. It's one of the lowest salaries for a starting quarterback in the NFL, let alone a Super Bowl champion. Still, with one year left on his current deal, Wilson isn't worrying about a new deal just yet. “In terms of my contract, I don’t really talk about that kind of stuff,” Wilson told the Everett Herald. “I love the game of football. I love playing the game of football. I try to put my best foot forward and I want to be the best to ever play the game. That’s the way I look at it." "I’ve been fortunate enough to win a lot of games at such a young age and to be able to play with some great guys and have some great comeback wins and win a Super Bowl, and go to back to back Super Bowls," he continued. "It’s been special. So that’s what I focus on. I focus on the next opportunity that I have. The rest will come." In just three NFL seasons, Wilson is already considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Panthers Claim Offensive Lineman Jonathan Martin Off Waivers

Panthers Claim Offensive Lineman Jonathan Martin Off Waivers National Football League(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Jonathan Martin has a new home as the Carolina Panthers have claimed him off waivers. Martin was released by the 49ers this past Thursday. He spent just one season with the team, appearing in 15 games, starting nine at right tackle.  "Our goal is to build the strongest roster possible and add competition at every position," Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman said in a team release. "Jonathan brings quality experience to our offensive line, having started 32 games in his career at both tackle spots.'' Martin was infamously the center of a bullying scandal when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins in 2013 by now Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito. Because of the incident involving Incognito and other Dolphins players, Martin lef the Dolphins in October 2013 and never played them again. As a result of claiming him off waivers, the Panthers are now on the hook for Martin's cap hit which will count around $1 million against the 2015 salary cap. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright ? 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Michael Sam: ‘I Am Not the Only Gay Person in the NFL’

Michael Sam: ‘I Am Not the Only Gay Person in the NFL’ Joe Robbins/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft, said on Thursday that there are more gay players currently playing in the NFL. In a Q&A session in Dallas Thursday, Sam said that other players have reached out to him to thank him for having the courage to be open about his sexuality. "I am not the only gay person in the NFL," Sam said, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL." "Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn't going to be a big deal," Sam continued. "Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there's gay NFL players. There's gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal." "The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I'm just saying there's some famous people, and I'm not the only one," he added. Sam failed to make the St. Louis Rams last year after being drafted by them and then played on the Dallas Cowboys practice team squad before being released on Oct. 21. "Hopefully I'm not being discriminated [against] because I'm gay," Sam said Thursday, according to the paper. "I don't believe that I'm being discriminated [against] because I'm gay. I just want to know if I'm truly not in the NFL, it's because of talent. Let it be because of my talents. But you've got to prove that I can't play this game. If you look at the film, clearly I can. So, I'll leave it at that." Sam participated in the first-ever veteran combine last weekend and ran the 40 in 4.99 seconds. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

49ers Waive OL Jonathan Martin

49ers Waive OL Jonathan Martin Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The San Francisco 49ers released offensive lineman Jonathan Martin on Thursday, the team announced. Martin spent one season in San Francisco, appearing in 15 games (nine starts) at right tackle. Martin played at Stanford and was a 2012 second-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, where he started all 16 games as a rookie. In Martin's second season with Miami, he left the team after a bullying controversy involving former teammate Richie Incognito. Martin played the first seven games but sat out the rest of the 2013 season, and then in the offseason the Dolphins traded him to the 49ers for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.  

Jason Garrett Backs Greg Hardy Signing

Jason Garrett Backs Greg Hardy Signing Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett backed the signing of defensive end Greg Hardy on Wednesday at the NFL meetings. Garrett said that the Cowboys in no way support domestic abuse, but after meeting with Hardy and speaking with him for over three hours, they feel they made the right choice. "We brought him in and spent a couple days with him, so we felt like understanding who he is as a person was a critical piece to this, evaluating who he is a player was a critical piece to it, the structure of the contract was critical to it," he explained. "At the end of the day, if we didn't believe he could become the right kind of guy for our football team, we wouldn't have signed him." Hardy could be suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy after being arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would not say when that ruling would happen. "They understood that we were reviewing his case for potential discipline," Goodell said on Wednesday. "That continues. We are trying to get as many facts as we possibly can to make the most informed decision we can so that we can uphold the standards that we put forth in our personal conduct policy. And so I expect that will conclude sometime in the near future and we’ll make a decision shortly after." Garrett believes that Hardy's issues are in the past and that he can play well for Dallas. "It's our job to bring the best out in all these guys, as players and as people," Garrett said. "So I think everyone understands we're trying to build the right kind of football team with the talent level, with also who they are. It's our job to create the environment, and it's the player's job to respond, and it's our job to hold the player accountable." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NFL Makes Rule Change Because of the Patriots

NFL Makes Rule Change Because of the Patriots Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- The New England Patriots gained a crucial first down against the Baltimore Ravens in their playoff game in January when running back Shane Vereen lined up as an ineligible slot receiver to confuse the Ravens. If they try that again next season, they will be penalized five yards.On Wednesday, the NFL passed a rule making it illegal for an offensive player wearing an eligible number between 1-49 and 80-89 to lineup outside of the tackle box and report as ineligible. If that were to happen next season, the violating team would be penalized for illegal substitution."Whatever it is, it is," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "It would affect a lot of other plays, the spread punt formation and stuff like that. Whatever the rule is, it is."According to competition committee co-chair Jeff Fisher, many teams felt there needed to be a rule in place to stop the kind of substitution the Patriots used in the playoffs. Fisher himself said without change, "this may get out of hand." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.  

Chicago Bears Sign LB Mason Foster to One-Year Contract

Chicago Bears Sign LB Mason Foster to One-Year Contract NFL(LAKE FOREST, Ill.) -- The Chicago Bears and free agent linebacker Mason Foster agreed to a one-year contract, the team announced on Wednesday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Foster was originally selected out of Washington by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft.  In four seasons (2011-2014) with the Bucs, the 26-year-old had 343 tackles, six sacks and five interceptions. The Bears finished the 2014 season with the league’s 30th-ranked defense. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New York Jets Bolster Offensive & Defensive Lines

New York Jets Bolster Offensive & Defensive Lines NFL(FLORHAM PARK, N.J.) -- The New York Jets signed offensive tackle Corey Hilliard and defensive end Stephen Bowen on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hillard was originally selected by the New England Patriots out of Oklahoma State in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL draft. The 29-year-old has spent the past six seasons with the Detroit Lions. He missed 15 games last year after suffering a season-ending foot injury in Week 1 against the New York Giants. Bowen signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra in 2006. In 168 regular-season games with the Cowboys and Washington Redskins, the 30-year-old has recorded 168 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin Gets One-Year Extension

Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin Gets One-Year Extension National Football League(NEW YORK) -- The Miami Dolphins front office is willing to give head coach Joe Philbin more time to take the team to the postseason as they've rewarded him with a one-year contract extension. Philbin was originally entering 2015 on the last year of his deal, making him a "lame duck" coach. With the new contract, the team seems to be standing behind their sometimes embattled head coach. Philbin came under fire for his handling of the Richie Incognito bullying scandal in 2013. "You don't get the best from someone when they're operating with a gun to their head," Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told reporters Monday. In the three years Philbin has been with the Dolphins, he's gone 23-25. The team has yet to finish above .500 under Philbin. With the signing of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and other free agency moves, the team is expected to compete for a playoff spot in 2015. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Adrian Peterson’s Agent: It’s Time to Leave Minnesota

Adrian Peterson’s Agent: It’s Time to Leave Minnesota Andy Lyons/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Despite the Minnesota Vikings desire to keep former Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson, Peterson's agent  said Monday a split is necessary. For the first time, Peterson's agent, Ben Dorga, commented on the situation between Peterson and the Vikings. "I don't think it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota," he said Monday. "Why would it be?" Despite spending his entire eight-year career with the Vikings, Peterson is upset with the organization for not standing behind him when was placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List after he disciplined his four-year-old son by hitting him with a switch. The problem is that Peterson is still under contract with the Vikings, and he has the highest salary of any other running back in the NFL. "The bottom line is Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings," Vikings co-owner and president Mark Wilf said. "He's represented us on and off the field. We're getting ready for the 2015 season and we fully expect him to join his teammates and be a part of what we feel is going to be a great season ahead." The two teams who have been linked to having interest in Peterson are the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NFL Considering Removing Disoriented Players from Game

NFL Considering Removing Disoriented Players from Game Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(PHOENIX, Az) -- Discussed at the NFL owners meetings was a proposed rule change would grant medical officials more power over the players on the field. If a medical advisor witnesses a player showing symptoms of disorientation or otherwise abnormal behavior, under the proposed rule, officials could stop the game and take the player to the sidelines for evaluation. Currently the league employs medical spotters that are seated in the press box to monitor and record any injuries to players. ''We got the (medical) spotters, they've got a really good vantage point, they've got technology in their booth, they're communicating pretty well with our trainers and doctors and we've got a pretty good rhythm going there,'' said Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee and president of the Atlanta Falcons. Both teams would then be allowed to substitute players if an event were to occur. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Browns Expect Manziel to Return in April

Report: Browns Expect Manziel to Return in April Elsa/Getty Images(CLEVELAND, Oh.) -- The Cleveland Browns are expecting Johnny Manziel to return to the organization for spring workouts, according to ESPN. Manziel has been in rehab since January 28 to treat his abuse of alcohol as well as, "be a better family member, friend and teammate," according to a statement from his attorney on Feb. 3. An exact date for Manziel's release was not provided.  Competing with Manziel for the starting position will be Josh McCown, whom the team signed this offseason after one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McCown signed a three-year, $14 million contract. The team is also exploring other options at quarterback. It was reported that the Browns offered one of their first-round picks to the Eagles after they acquired Sam Bradford from the Rams. The Browns are also potentially exploring a trade-up in the draft to select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns the Front Runners for “Hard Knocks”

Cleveland Browns the Front Runners for “Hard Knocks” Elsa/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- The Cleveland Browns appear to be the next team to join the Hard Knocks reality series. According to Vic Carruci of the Buffalo News, the Browns are the front runners to appear on the NFL's preseason documentary. Carruci is a former employee of the Browns. Browns head coach Mike Pettine is no stranger to the series as he appeared in 2010 while defensive coordinator of the Jets, when New York gained acclaim for their role on the program. Other teams that fall under mandatory consideration for the show include, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins. Last season the Atlanta Falcons were the prominent focus of Hard Knocks. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Stan Kroenke Has Designs for Two-Team Los Angeles Stadium

Stan Kroenke Has Designs for Two-Team Los Angeles Stadium Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rams owner Stan Kroenke will not let anything get in the way of his efforts to move an NFL franchise to Los Angeles. Kroenke has designed his proposed stadium in Inglewood, California to host two teams, according to the Los Angeles Times. The design model accommodates the NFL's idea that Los Angeles is a two-team city, and competes with the Raiders and Chargers proposal for a joint stadium in Carson, California. Kroenke has publicly stated that he does not intend to move the Rams from St. Louis, but it would be odd for an owner to create a stadium and not house his own team in it. The Rams have now switched to a year-to-year lease with the city of St. Louis, so a move would be rather straightforward, should it occur.  New York Giants owner John Mara has stated that he believes a team will play in Los Angeles next year. To move, a team would need 24 other owners to support the relocation.  The earliest that would happen would be January 2016. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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