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Steelers RB’s Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount Await Punishment

Steelers RB’s Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount Await Punishment

Pittsburgh Steelers/NFL(PITTSBURGH) — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is not worried about being without both his running backs come the season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

Everything’s on the table,” Tomlin said regarding punishment coming to running backs, LeGarrett Blount and Le’Veon Bell.

The two were charged with marijuana possession and driving under the influence during their trip to play the Philadelphia Eagles last week and both could be suspended at the start of the regular season.

Veteran wide receiver Lance Moore defended his teammates.

“We don’t spend a lot of time talking about what happens off the field. Obviously what’s going to those guys is going to happen to those guys, and nothing we can do or say here is going to change that,” he said. “We’re not going to disown them or treat them differently. Obviously it’s a situation that we would like to have not have happened, something that maybe could have been avoided. They made a decision, [but] once we walk through these doors, it’s all work.”

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Dez Bryant Still Seeking Long-Term Deal with Cowboys

Dez Bryant Still Seeking Long-Term Deal with Cowboys

Rich Schultz/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Texas) — Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and if a deal is not done before week 1 of the regular season, he won’t be talking about it during the year.

Bryant will be paid $1.78 million this season and is seeking a long-term deal.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” Bryant said Monday evening after an event to announce the Cowboys’ corporate sponsorship deal. “Put it behind me. I love this game. Either way, I feel like I can’t be distracted once I’m on the football field.”

“We’re in conversation,” Bryant added. “I’ll say that. We’re talking. We are talking. It only gets better from there. Let’s see what happens.”

Bryant is hoping to have a deal done before they open up on Sept. 7 against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Cowboys remain positive that both sides will be able to work out a deal.

“He obviously feels in the right circumstances he wants to get something done. We do, too. That can be good,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of negotiations.

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Brandon Meriweather Suspended Two Games

Brandon Meriweather Suspended Two Games

NFL Shield(ASHBURN, Va.) — Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was suspended for the first two games of the season by the NFL on Monday.

The punishment comes after another helmet-to-helmet hit from Meriweather on Baltimore’s Torrey Smith over the weekend.

“Meriweather delivered a forceful blow to the head and neck area of a defenseless receiver with no attempt to wrap up or make a conventional tackle of this player,” said NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent in a statement.

Meriweather said after the game on Saturday that he did not believe there was anything wrong with the hit on Smith.

“I’m trying to do what the NFL asked me after going through the offseason, and working on the things I need to work on, and the first chance I get, it seems like I failed,” he said.

Meriweather has been fined five different times by the league over the course of his career, including a $42,000 fine for a hit on Packers running back Eddie Lacy in 2013. The safety was also suspended two games last year, but had it reduced to one game following an appeal.

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Broncos’ Prater Apologizes for Suspension

Broncos’ Prater Apologizes for Suspension

National Football League(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) — One day after being suspended by the NFL for violating it’s substance abuse policy, Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater apologized to his friends, teammates, and fans. 

“I’m definitely going to make some changes in my life,” Prater said following Monday’s practice. “Not drink at all or risk doing anything stupid like that [and] keep myself out of certain situations like not go to places where people are drinking.”

“Now I’m going to dedicate myself to working out and getting stronger in the time I have off,” he continued. “I’ll come in here and be here five days a week hitting the weights and I’ll have to kick at a high school field.”

The violation, which is alcohol-related, could have earned Prater a year-long suspension, but it was reduced to just four games. Because of a bye week in Week 4 for Denver, Prater will not be able to compete until a Week 6 matchup with the New York Jets on October 12.

Prater will be allowed to attend team functions and use the weight room, but cannot be on the field or sidelines with the team during his suspension.

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Cam Newton Suffers Fractured Rib

Cam Newton Suffers Fractured Rib

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will not play in the teams final preseason game this week after he suffered a hairline fracture of the ribs during Saturday’s game, head coach Ron Rivera said in an announcement Sunday.

Coach Rivera added he expects Newton to play in the regular season opener.

“I do, but a lot of it is he had to get past the soreness, which we expect, and we’ll see how he starts to progress,” Rivera said.

Newton underwent both an MRI and a CAT scan after showing up to practice in a great deal of pain. The tests showed that the quarterback suffered the break when New England’s Jamie Collins stepped on his back in a vulnerable spot on the flak jacket Newton was wearing.

The 2011 number one pick was 8-for-12 passing with 88 yards in Saturday’s affair, but missed some key opportunities in his return from offseason ankle surgery.

Rivera hoped to give his quarterback one more game to work on his timing. Instead, Newton will be re-evaluated over the weekend in preparation for the Sept. 7 opener at Tampa Bay.

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Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford Tears ACL, Out Entire 2014 Season

Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford Tears ACL, Out Entire 2014 Season

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, and the St. Louis Rams are dealing with a devastating injury. Quarterback Sam Bradford will miss the entire season with a torn ACL.

Bradford suffered the injury during the team’s preseason win over the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. This is the same ACL that Bradford tore last season that caused him to miss the final nine games of the season.

“Anyone that’s gone through that procedure and the rehab understands and to have it happen again within the calendar year is very, very difficult,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. “We’re thinking of Sam. I met with him this morning. He’s left the building to spend time with his parents. I really can’t give you any timetable as to when he’s going to have this procedure done.”

The Rams by all accounts have one of the better rosters in the NFC, but play in the ultra-competitive NFC West, so this will certainly have an effect on their playoff hopes.

Bradford was entering his fifth season in the NFL, all with the Rams.

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Welker Leaves Game with Concussion

Welker Leaves Game with Concussion

Hyoung Chang/Denver Post(DENVER) — Wes Welker missed three games during the 2013 season after suffering a pair of concussions. On Saturday night, the Broncos wide receiver left the game when he sustained another one following a hit from Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger.

“It was determined it was a concussion,” said Denver head coach John Fox. “He’ll go through the protocol. The biggest thing on him is, of course, player safety.”

The hit came late in the second half as the Broncos were driving. Welker caught an 11-yard pass from Peyton Manning on the previous play, and as Manning went back to him on the next snap, Welker went into a slide and Swearinger made the tackle.

Replays showed that as the wideout slid, Swearinger led with his shoulder and forearm, hitting Welker in the head. The safety was assessed a personal foul as Welker got up and walked to the sideline before entering the locker room.

There is no timetable for Welker to return to game action. Denver went on to lose 18-17 to the Texans.

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Sam Bradford Hurts Knee against Browns

Sam Bradford Hurts Knee against Browns

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) — St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford left Saturday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter after getting hit in the left leg by defensive lineman Armonty Bryant.

Bradford limped off the field on his own power after doctors and the team staff made sure he was able to.

Bradford received tests which showed no initial damage to his surgically repaired leg, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports.

“I’ve talked to Sam,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said after the game. 

“He’s fine, he’s upbeat,” Fisher continued.  “We’ll see.”

Bradford suffered a torn left ACL injury against the Carolina Panthers last October and was making his second preseason start.

Bradford was 4 of 9 for 77 yards before the injury.

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Jets Name Geno Smith the Starting Quarterback

Jets Name Geno Smith the Starting Quarterback

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(FLORHAM PARK, N.J.) — Despite the signing of Michael Vick in the offseason, the New York Jets have named Geno Smith the team’s starting quarterback.

“I think he’s taken off from where he left off [last season],” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “I expect great things in the future.”

Smith was the team’s starting quarterback last year, and played well at times as he navigated through his rookie season. Even though Vick has been a Pro Bowl quarterback, he will start the season on the sidelines.

“I think it’s great for Geno,” Vick said. “I knew the entire time that Geno was going to be the starter, but Geno went out and proved that he’s capable of running this team and putting this team in a position to win.”

In five quarters of play in the preseason, Smith threw only one interception. He also completed 70 percent of his passes with one touchdown.

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ESPN: Manziel Fined $12K

ESPN: Manziel Fined $12K

Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) –Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel was fined $12,000 by the NFL for making an obscene gesture toward the Washington Redskins sideline during a preseason game Monday night, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The incident occurred after Manziel threw an incompletion in the third quarter of the Browns 24-23 loss to the Redskins.                                                                                                                                                 

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Manziel’s agent Erik Burkhardt says the rookie hasn’t decided whether to appeal the fine.                                                                                                                                                  

The 21-year-old Manziel, who was recently beat out by teammate Brian Hoyer for the starting quarterback job, was selected with the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/22/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/22/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — MLB: Chicago Cubs 4 (56-72) – Baltimore Orioles 1 (73-53)

Tampa Bay Rays 8 (63-65) – Toronto Blue Jays 0 (65-63)

Philadelphia Phillies 5 (57-71) – St. Louis Cardinals 4 (69-58)

San Francisco Giants 10 (68-59) – Washington Nationals 3 (73-54)

Houston Astros 5 (55-75) – Cleveland Indians 1 (64-62)

New York Yankees 4 (65-61) – Chicago White Sox 3 (59-69)

Seattle Mariners 5 (69-58) – Boston Red Sox 3 (56-72)

Kansas City 6 (71-56) – Texas Rangers 3 (49-78)

Atlanta Braves 3 (68-61) – Cincinnati Reds 1 (61-68) 12 Innings

Pittsburgh Pirates 8 (66-62) – Milwaukee Brewers 3 (71-57)

Arizona Diamondbacks 5 (54-75) – San Diego Padres 1 (59-68)

Minnesota Twins 20 (57-70) – Detroit Tigers 6 (68-58)

Los Angeles Dodgers 6 (73-57) – New York Mets 2 (60-69)

Oakland Athletics 5 (75-52) – Los Angeles Angels 3 (76-51)

Miami Marlins 13 (64-63) – Colorado Rockies 5 (50-77)

NFL Preseason: New England Patriots 30 (2-1) – Carolina Panthers 7 (1-2)

Detroit Lions 13 (2-1) – Jacksonville Jaguars 12 (1-2)

New York Giants 35 (4-0) – New York Jets 24 (2-1)

Green Bay Packers 31 (2-1) – Oakland Raiders 21 (1-2)

Seattle Seahawks 34 (2-1) – Chicago Bears 6 (2-1)

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ryan Blaney wins the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Saints’ Graham Fined $30K for Dunks

Saints’ Graham Fined $30K for Dunks

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was fined $30,000 on Friday by the NFL for dunking on the goalpost twice during a preseason game against Tennessee last week. 

The new rule, instituted this season, re-defines unsportsmanlike conduct to include any act using the ball as a prop. Many have referred to the new interpretation as the “Jimmy Graham rule” directed at the veteran tight end’s signature touchdown celebration.

Graham twice dunked the football after scoring touchdowns against the Titans, resulting in a pair of 15-yard penalties. The acts also drew some frustration from head coach Sean Payton as the Saints committed a total of 28 called penalties. 

League rules state that players can be fined at least $11,025 for a their first unsportsmanlike penalty, and $22,050 for a second offense if the league deems necessary. Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was fined $12,000 for making an obscene gesture towards the Washington Redskins bench on Monday night.

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Cowboys Linebacker DeVonte Holloman Advised to Retire

Cowboys Linebacker DeVonte Holloman Advised to Retire

Darrin Kilmek/Thinkstock(IRVING, Texas) — Due to neck injuries, doctors have advised Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeVonte Holloman to retire from football.

Holloman missed seven games last season with a bruised spinal cord.

Just 23 years old, Holloman received a second opinion from a doctor who recommended he immediately retire. He will reportedly seek out a third opinion.

“I don’t want to get into anything medical about it,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “I don’t know that much about it, and there’s a lot of very specific things regarding that. But it has to do with his neck and he had that injury last year and he dealt with it again this year.”

It’s a very challenging, difficult thing for a young man who has dreams of being an NFL football player, achieves those dreams,” he added.

In what could be his final NFL game, Holloman recorded 11 tackles and two sacks in Week 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Holloman was selected in the sixth-round of the 2013 Draft. He made 26 tackles in nine games during his potentially lone season in the NFL.

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Steelers RB’s Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount Face Pot Charges

Steelers RB’s Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount Face Pot Charges

Pittsburgh Steelers/NFL(NEW YORK) — Steelers running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount were charged with marijuana possession on Wednesday.

The Steelers were on their way to Philadelphia for their third preseason game against the Eagles Thursday and were found with marijuana at a traffic stop.

Ross Township traffic officer Sean Stafiej pulled over a Camaro operated by Bell around 1:30 p.m. after smelling a strong odor of marijuana.

“We are aware of the reports and still gathering information,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said. “We will have no further comment at this time.”

The NFL is also expected to review the incident.

Both runningbacks are still expected to play against the Eagles.

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Browns Name Brian Hoyer Starter over Manziel

Browns Name Brian Hoyer Starter over Manziel

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(BEREA, Ohio) — The Cleveland Browns announced that Brian Hoyer will be the starting quarterback entering the 2014 season on Wednesday.

Hoyer and Johnny Manziel were in a quarterback competition all camp and preseason, but Hoyer’s veteran experience is what put him over the top.

“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” Browns head coach Mike Pettine said in a statement. “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.”

The announcement comes after the No. 22 pick in this year’s draft gave the middle finger to fans during their Monday night game against Washington.

“I need to earn everything for me to get in,” said Manziel.. “Nothing should be given to me, I completely understand that. I need to continue to come in here every day and get better and be around these guys and let them know who I am and how I am.” Coach Mike Pettine said after Wednesday’s practice that there are no plans to develop a package of plays for Manziel, who starred at Texas A&M but has been slow to adjust to playing under center and learning a new playbook. Manziel said the coach gave him no reason for the decision.”

Hoyer has only four starts in his career and completed 2-of-6 passes for 16 yards on Monday night.

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Steelers Ink Gilbert to New 6-Year Deal

Steelers Ink Gilbert to New 6-Year Deal

Pittsburgh Steelers/NFL(PITTSBURGH) — The Pittsburgh Steelers inked right tackle Marcus Gilbert to a new six-year contract Tuesday.

The 26-year-old Gilbert was in the final year of his contract, and ESPN’s Scott Brown reports the deal is worth up to $30.8 million and includes a $7.65 million signing bonus.

“It means I am locked in hopefully as a Steeler for the rest of my career,” Gilbert said on the team website. “It’s a blessing to work for a great organization, the Rooney family, Kevin Colbert and Coach (Mike) Tomlin. Just to be around in Pittsburgh, where they show you so much love, I couldn’t be happier and in a better place.”

Gilbert was selected with the 63rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Steelers. During his three seasons in Pittsburgh, Gilbert has started 34 games, including all 16 last season.

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Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett Out Entire Season with Torn ACL

Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett Out Entire Season with Torn ACL

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(GLENDALE, Ariz.) — Before a single regular season game has been played, the Arizona Cardinals have lost one of their best defensive players.  Defensive end Darnell Dockett has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Dockett suffered the injury during practice on Monday on a passing play during an 11-on-11 period.

“Thank you all for your support & get well wishes. I really do appreciate it. This will be a tough road to recovery but I’ve been through worse,” Dockett tweeted early Tuesday morning.

The 33-year-old Dockett is a three-time Pro Bowl pick who was set to enter his 11th season with the Cardinals.

“He’s a great player, a guy we count on day-in and day-out to be a leader and take us where we want to go,” defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. “…Hopefully he’ll come back soon.”

Last season, Dockett recorded 46 tackles to go along with 4.5 sacks. He was a key part of a Cardinals’ defense that was ranked first overall in stopping the pass, and ranked sixth overall in the NFL.

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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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Scoreboard Roundup – 8/18/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 8/18/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — MLB: Chicago Cubs 4 (54-70) – New York Mets 1 (59-67)

Washington Nationals 5 (70-53) – Arizona Diamondbacks 4 (53-72) 11 Innings

Atlanta Braves 7 (65-60) – Pittsburgh Pirates 3 (64-61)

Philadelphia Phillies 4 (55-70) – Seattle Mariners 1 (67-57)

Los Angeles Angels 4 (73-50) – Boston Red Sox 2 (56-68) 

Baltimore Orioles 8 (71-52) – Chicago White Sox 2 (59-66)

Kansas City Royals 6 (69-55) – Minnesota Twins 4 (55-68)

St. Louis Cardinals 6 (67-57) – Cincinnati Reds 5 (61-64) 10 Innings

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