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Vikings Extend TE Kyle Rudolph’s Contract

Vikings Extend TE Kyle Rudolph’s Contract

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(NEW YORK) –  The Minnesota Vikings have rewarded tight end Kyle Rudolph with a contract extension, the team confirmed on Monday.
The deal is reportedly for five years and worth a minimum of $36.5 million, with $19.4 million guaranteed.  It could wind up being worth as much as $40 million.
“I’m extremely excited to get this extension completed and continue my career with the Minnesota Vikings,” Rudolph said in a statement. “I’ve said all along I wanted to stay in Minnesota. I love the fans, the community and, most importantly, I’m excited about where this team is going. I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and helping this organization reach our ultimate goal.”
The 24-year-old Rudolph has 109 receptions for 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns in 39 games over three seasons with Minnesota.  The team selected Rudolph in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
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Jets’ Smith and Milliner Make a Pair of Bold Proclamations

Jets’ Smith and Milliner Make a Pair of Bold Proclamations

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(CORTLAND, N.Y.) — The one thing the New York Jets are not short on during training camp is confidence. Second-year players Geno Smith and Dee Milliner both think they’re on the verge of stardom.
In a recent survery compiled by ESPN, Smith was ranked the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, something he plans on changing.
“The thing about it is, you have to climb up,” Smith told ESPN.com on Saturday after practice. “If I’m No. 32, by this time next year or the year after, I expect to be in the top 5.”
In his rookie year, Smith threw 12 touchdowns compared to 21 interceptions.
Meanwhile, sophomore cornerback Dee Milliner made an even bolder claim.
“The best corner in the league? Me,” Milliner told the New York Daily News in an interview Saturday. “I ain’t gonna say that somebody else is better than me.”
Milliner’s rookie season was categorized by many as inconsistent at best. He made 56 tackles in 2013 to go along with three interceptions.
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49ers Running Back Kendall Hunter Tears ACL

49ers Running Back Kendall Hunter Tears ACL

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — Just one day into training camp and the San Francisco 49ers are already dealing with a tough injury as running back Kendall Hunter will miss the entire upcoming season with a torn ACL.
Hunter hurt himself on Friday when he was catching a screen pass. He was able to walk off the field on his own, but the injury still proved to be serious.
This a tough blow not just to the 49ers, but to Hunter personally. Entering his fourth NFL season, Hunter was hopoing to stay near atop the depth chart at running back for the team, who are loaded at the position.
Aside from Hunter, the team has veteran Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Marcus Lattimore and rookie Carlos Hyde.
In 16 games for the team last season, Hunter had 358 rushing yards on 78 carries while scoring three touchdowns.
Hunter is a free agent after this season.
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Packers Reward Wide Reciever Jordy Nelson with New Contract

Packers Reward Wide Reciever Jordy Nelson with New Contract

Leon Halip/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — One of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets will be staying in Green Bay as the Packers and wide receiver Jordy Nelson have agreed on a contract extension.
ESPN is reporting that Nelson’s new deal is for four years and worth $39 million, with an $11.5 million signing bonus.
“Jordy Nelson is an outstanding football player and a great ambassador for the Green Bay Packers,” said coach Mike McCarthy. “Obviously an excellent family man. It’s something that everybody’s excited about and [I'm] glad to see Jordy will be here for some time. I was just made aware of it on the field. Hey, Jordy’s so consistent and he shows up each and every day, performs at a very high level consistently and he’s the ultimate pro.”
The 29-year-old Nelson his spent his entire career with the Packers, and is entering his seventh season with the team.
Over the past three seasons, Nelson has caught 30 touchdowns. Last season he caught a career-high 85 passes for 1,314 yards.
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ESPN: Colts RB Ballard Tears Achilles Tendon

ESPN: Colts RB Ballard Tears Achilles Tendon

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(ANDERSON, Ind.) — Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard tore his left Achilles tendon, according to ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.
Ballard was injured Friday at training camp when trying to catch a ball during a non-contact drill and had to leave the field on a golf cart.
“When you see someone like Vick Ballard go down who’s worked so hard to get back, it’s tough, but it happens,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said. “As soon as you get to camp, those things happen. He’s still young, and he’s got a full career ahead of him, so we have to do an MRI and see exactly what it is and then go from there. But you really hope to not hear any of that kind of news.”
Ballard only played in one game last season after tearing his right ACL in September.
With Ballard gone, Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw will compete for the starting running back position.
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Guard Carl Nicks Parts Ways with Bucs

Guard Carl Nicks Parts Ways with Bucs

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) –Offensive guard Carl Nicks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers mutually agreed to part ways Friday.
The two-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $47.5 million deal in 2012 with the team but has been dealing with ailments that have allowed him to play in only nine games the last two seasons.

“I’d like to thank the Buccaneers organization for working with me as I have attempted to get myself back on the football field,” Nicks said in a statement. “However, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to step away from the game. This was by no means an easy decision, but I believe that it is what is best for me and my family, as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The 29-year-old Nicks has played in six NFL seasons, including four with New Orleans where he won a Super Bowl.                                         

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Falcons Reward Roddy White with Four-Year Extension

Falcons Reward Roddy White with Four-Year Extension

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — One of the longest tenured members of the Atlanta Falcons is sticking around even longer as the team has agreed on a four-year extension with wide receiver Roddy White.
White’s new deal is worth up to $30 million, which includes $18 million over the next two seasons.
“I always wanted to be back in Atlanta,” White told ESPN.com. “Once we got to the guaranteed money that I wanted to get to that I felt would secure my future as a football player, then I could sign a contract. When we got it done, I was happy, because I don’t want to go anywhere. I love this place. I wanted to be here. And I’m going to be here for the next four years.”
The 32-year-old White has been with the Falcons since he was drafted 27th overall by the team during the 2005 Draft. From 2007-2012, White averaged nearly 1,200 receiving yards. Since entering the NFL, his 685 receptions rank eighth among active players, while his 9,436 receiving yards rank fifth.
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ESPN: Chiefs Agree to Contract Extension with Jamaal Charles

ESPN: Chiefs Agree to Contract Extension with Jamaal Charles

Jason O. Wastson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles’ contract dispute with the team was short lived: ESPN is reporting that Charles will report to training camp after he and the team agreed on a two-year contract extension.
Charles did not report to training camp on Wednesday at Missouri Western State University, but he is on his way to camp now that a deal has been reached.
His original deal had two years remaining on it, but his new deal runs through 2017. The new arrangement will pay Charles $18.1 million for the additional two years. He will make an extra $5.1 million over the next two seasons, including a $4.4 million raise this year.
The 27-year-old Charles is arguably one of the biggest offensive weapons in the NFL. This past season for the Chiefs, he ran for 1,287 yards, had 70 catches for 693 yards, and scored 19 total touchdowns in 2013.
He also provided a league-high 35.3 percent of the team’s yards from scrimmage, and has a career average of 5.6 yards per carry.
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Seahawks Wide Receiver Sidney Rice Retiring at Age 27

Seahawks Wide Receiver Sidney Rice Retiring at Age 27

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — After seven seasons in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice has decided to retire from the sport of football at the age of 27.
ESPN is reporting that Rice is walking away from the game because of a history or concussions.
“After careful consideration and seven wonderful years playing in the National Football League, including the last three for the Seattle Seahawks, I have decided to retire from playing in the National Football League,” Rice said in the statement. “I have enjoyed my experiences with all of my coaches, teammates and passionate Seahawks fans.”
Rice was a second-round draft pick out of South Carolina in 2007 by the Minnesota Vikings. His best season came in 2009 when he caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards with eight touchdowns.
Injuries have kept him off the field for much of the time since that season. He played a full season in 2012, but he’s missed 25 games from 2010-20-13.
Rice had re-signed with the Seahawks for $1 million during the offseason.
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Rob Gronkowski Cleared for Training Camp

Rob Gronkowski Cleared for Training Camp

Elsa/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) — New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play by doctors and will be ready for training camp on Thursday, head coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday.
“It’s a positive,” said veteran offensive lineman Logan Mankins, one of the Patriots’ captains. “We were all hoping Gronk would have a good recovery and so far he has. Anytime you can have Gronk on the field, it’s great.”
Gronkowski underwent surgery on his right ACL on Jan. 9 and has fully recovered.
Gronkowski said last week that he plans on playing in all 16 games this season. “I’m always antsy to get back on the field, no matter when it is. I just want to play football. I love playing the game,” he said then.
The Patriots open up against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 7.
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Bills DT Marcell Dareus Fails Conditioning Test

Bills DT Marcell Dareus Fails Conditioning Test

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(PITTSFORD, N.Y.) –  The Buffalo Bills opened their 2014 training camp over the weekend, but one of their best defensive players did not come prepared.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus failed a conditioning test when he reported to camp, the team has confirmed.  Dareus remained on the active/non-football injury list as the Bills held their first training camp practice Sunday evening.
“He’s not the only one, but obviously you want your players to come in and be ready to go,” coach Doug Marrone said Sunday. “We’re here for a long period of time and we’ll make up for it.”
Dareus reportedly will not re-take the conditioning test until Thursday, at the earliest. 
The Pro Bowler was also arrested twice this offseason and could face a suspension from the NFL.  Nonetheless, Marrone expects him to play at a high level this season.
“He’ll be in shape and ready to play,” Marrone said. “Right now he needs to focus on getting himself ready, getting himself on the field, and focus on football.
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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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49ers Reward Tackle Joe Staley with Two-Year Extension

49ers Reward Tackle Joe Staley with Two-Year Extension

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — One of the strengths of the San Francisco 49ers is their offensive line, which is why they’re rewarding tackle Joe Staley with a two-year extension that will run through the 2019 season.
This means St…

Calvin Johnson: ‘We Need to Win a Super Bowl’

Calvin Johnson: ‘We Need to Win a Super Bowl’

Leon Halip/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Detroit Lions Pro-Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson believes the team needs to come through big in 2014.
Johnson joined the NFL Network on Wednesday and said the expectations are simple, Super Bowl or bust.
“We need to win a Super Bowl,” Johnson said. “That’s the No. 1 thing. That’s the No. 1 thing [and] should be for every team going into the beginning of the year.”
“We’re definitely in a place where we feel we could do that.”
Johnson will be playing for new head coach Jim Caldwell after the Lions parted ways with Jim Schwartz in the offseason.
“It’s an overall change and vibe here, and we love it,” Johnson said of working under Caldwell. “We’re going to go out and bust our butts every day because Jim is such a great guy, a great leader for our team. And he’s helped bring us together, and we’re doing a lot of stuff on our own off the field to keep that camaraderie going.”
Johnson had 84 receptions for 1,492 yards and pulled in 12 touchdowns last season.
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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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NFL Suspends Colts’ LaVon Brazill for Entire Season

NFL Suspends Colts’ LaVon Brazill for Entire Season

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — The NFL has announced that they’ve suspended Indianapolis Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill without pay for the entire 2014 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
This is the second time in his career that Brazill has been suspended by the NFL. He was banned the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the same policy.
Last summer when his first suspension was announced, Brazill said “it’s either money or marijuana. I know any of you would choose money any day.”
The latest suspension puts Brazill’s future with the Colts, and even in the NFL, in serious jeopardy.
The 25-year-old Brazill was entering his third NFL season, all with the Colts. He was battling it out for one of the final roster spots to make the team.
In 2013, he caught 12 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
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Ravens Trade Linebacker Rolando McClain to the Cowboys

Ravens Trade Linebacker Rolando McClain to the Cowboys

NFL via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Dallas Cowboys are so desperate for defensive help, they’ve acquired now un-retired linebacker Rolando McClain from the Baltimore Ravens.
Dallas sent Baltimore a 2015 sixth-round pick while Baltimore will also send over a 2015 seventh-round pick.
McClain retired in April because he claimed he had lost his passion for football. His agent, Pat Dye, thinks McClain can resurrect his career in Dallas with the recent injury to starter Sean Lee.
“I see and Rolando sees the Dallas situation as a great opportunity given Sean’s injury and you’re talking about a great franchise and a great organization,” Dye said. “I’ve described to any of the clients we’ve had through the years there, Emmitt Smith, Dexter Coakley, DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Keith Brooking, DeMarco Murray, that playing for the Cowboys in football is kind of like playing for the Yankees in baseball. Just an iconic franchise.
The 24-year-old McClain was the eighth overall pick by the Oakland Raiders back in the 2010 Draft out of Alabama.
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Chiefs OL Watkins Suspended Four Games

Chiefs OL Watkins Suspended Four Games

David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – The NFL suspended Kansas City Chiefs’ Rokevious Watkins for the first four games of the 2014 season for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. The reserve offensive lineman will not receive pay during his suspension.
Watkins will be allowed to partake in training camp and preseason games with the suspension beginning on Sept. 7 when the Chiefs open the year at home against Tennessee. Watkins will also miss games against Denver (9/14), Miami (9/21), and New England (9/29). He is eligible to return following the Monday night game against the Patriots.
After playing three games last season, starting one for Kansas City, Watkins was competing for a backup role with the Chiefs. Three offensive lineman have been signed away as free agents in the offseason.
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Kiko Alonso Suffers Torn ACL

Kiko Alonso Suffers Torn ACL

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Buffalo Bills suffered a hit to their defense on Tuesday.  Top linebacker Kiko Alonso is expected to miss the entire 2014 season with a torn ACL injury.
“We feel badly for Kiko because he has worked very hard this offseason in preparation for the upcoming season, but we look forward to his return with his style of play that made him one of the league’s outstanding rookies in 2013,” Bills general manager Doug Whaley said in a statement on Wednesday.
Alonso was recovering from hip surgery this offseason. 
Alonso won the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season and finished third in combined tackles.
The Bills begin training camp on July 18.
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