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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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Chiefs Suspend Wide Reciever Dwayne Bowe One Game

Chiefs Suspend Wide Reciever Dwayne Bowe One Game

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Kansas City Chiefs will start their season without one of their best play makers as the team has suspended wide receiver Dwayne Bowe one game for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Bowe will now miss the team’s season opener against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 7. He will be allowed to play in the Chiefs final three preseason games.

“I am extremely sorry that I can’t be on the field for the first game of the 2014 season because I made an error in judgment,” Bowe said in a statement. “I take responsibility for my mistake, and it will not happen again. I hope that my teammates, coaches and Chiefs fans accept my sincere apology.

“I will be supporting my teammates in Week 1, and I cannot wait to get back on the field to help us win in Week 2 and beyond as we work towards our goal of winning the Super Bowl.”

The 29-year-old Bowe has spent his entire seven-year career with the Chiefs.

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Dolphins Sign Quarterback Brady Quinn

Dolphins Sign Quarterback Brady Quinn

Leon Halip/Getty Images(MIAMI) –  Brady Quinn is receiving one more chance to prove himself in the NFL.

The Miami Dolphins signed the 29-year-old quarterback after he and several other free agents worked out at the team’s facility on Monday. Quinn is expected to compete for a backup job behind starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Also in attendance at the workout were QB’s Rex Grossman and John Skelton.

Quinn has played in 24 games over seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and St. Louis Rams. The former 2007 first-round pick has thrown for 3,403 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions over the course of his career.

In a corresponding roster move, the team released quarterback Pat Devlin.

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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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Vikings’ Joseph Struck by Bullet, Released by Hospital

Vikings’ Joseph Struck by Bullet, Released by Hospital

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Minnesota Vikings defensive end Linval Joseph was struck in the calf by a stray bullet fired in a nightclub in downtown Minneapolis early Saturday morning.  

Joseph’s injury was minor and he was treated at a local hospital and released.

“The entire Vikings organization is extremely thankful that Linval was not seriously hurt, and our thoughts are with all of the victims of this shooting,” the team said in a statement. “The team will defer any further comment to the Minneapolis Police Department during its ongoing investigation.”

Joseph signed a five-year, $31.25 million deal with the team in March and isn’t expected to miss more than two weeks, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports.

Police are still searching for the shooter, who injured nine people in the nightclub, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

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Rams Defensive Lineman Michael Sam Makes NFL Preseason Debut

Rams Defensive Lineman Michael Sam Makes NFL Preseason Debut

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — On Friday night, Michael Sam’s dream of playing in the NFL came true as he made his preseason debut as member of the St. Louis Rams.

Sam is the first openly gay athelte in NFL history, so his pro debut was no small feat.

Against the New Orleans Saints, Sam was solid in opener. He had a tackle as well as a quarterback hit for the team.

“You know, I can play in this league,” Sam said. “I can play in this league.”

“He’s unpolished like a lot of rookies,” Rams defensive end Chris Long said of Sam. “But he pleasantly surprised you when he went out in a game situation and played pretty well.”

Sam was selected by the Rams in the seventh round after a productive collegiate career at Missouri. He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and now Sam will get every chance to make the talented Rams defensive unit.

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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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Jets Have Faith in Geno Smith

Jets Have Faith in Geno Smith

Nick Lahem/Getty Images(CORTLAND, N.Y.) — New York Jets veteran quarterback Michael Vick believes second-year quarterback Geno Smith will be “10 times” better than he was last year.

The Jets signed Vick to be the backup to the young Smith in the offseason and he’s taken it in stride.

“He’s going to be great,” Vick said Tuesday after practice. “He’s going to be 10 times better than where he was last year, and I’m looking forward to it.”

“You see guys around the league, around his age, having success and doing good things for their ball club, and I think he wants to fall right into that echelon,” Vick continued.

Smith will start the preseason opener on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I want to see some production,” head coach Rex Ryan said of Smith. “I think we’ll see it. I know [Smith] will have the command. Let’s have the production, too.”.

Ryan, who is relying on the success of the team for another contract, believes that having Vick as a backup is a good thing for Smith.

“When you have a Mike Vick come in here, you’d better be at the top of your game,” Ryan said.

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Bears Suspend Bennett for Training Camp Fight

Bears Suspend Bennett for Training Camp Fight

Tom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images(BOURBANNAIS, Ill) — The Chicago Bears fined and suspended tight end Martellus Bennett for conduct detrimental to the team after getting in a fight with cornerback Kyle Fuller during practice Monday.

“Last night (Monday), we made a decision to fine and suspend Martellus Bennett for an undetermined length of time,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said. “This is a process that we’re working with Martellus. We are in contact with him. Our goal is to have Martellus back as soon as possible. He’s a very loved and respected teammate. We want him back, but it’s a process we have to work through.”

The 27-year-old Bennett pushed and then body-slammed Fuller after Fuller tried stripping the ball from Bennett during Monday’s training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University. 

Bennett had to be calmed down by teammates. The situation led to head coach Marc Trestman to end practice early.

“Everybody talks about friendships, but really we are all preparing to win a championship,” Bennett said. “If we make friends along the way, cool. But I’m just trying to help the Bears win a championship and do the job to the best of my ability.”

No details were released on the length of the suspension or the amount of the fine Bennett received.

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ESPN: Bengals Reward Quarterback Andy Dalton with Six-Year Extension

ESPN: Bengals Reward Quarterback Andy Dalton with Six-Year Extension

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Cincinnati Bengals see quarterback Andy Dalton as the the face of their franchise, which is why the team has reportedly signed him to a six-year extension worth $115 million.

“I’ve been impressed with him since I’ve gotten to be the coordinator, but I’ve been really impressed with him over the last couple of days, because I think he’s really starting to buy into the urgency, getting the ball out of his hands and making great decisions,” Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. “That was a great throwaway when we were backed up. There were times in the past the ball might have gone someplace else.”

Dalton is entering his fourth NFL season and was set to make just less than $1.7 million in the final year of his deal.

The 26-year-old Dalton has proven to be a solid starting quarterback during his time with the team. He’s led the team to three-straight postseason appearances, but he’s never won a playoff game.

In those three playoff games, Dalton has thrown just one touchdown and six interceptions.

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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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Bon Jovi Writes a Letter to Bills Fans

Bon Jovi Writes a Letter to Bills Fans

Paul Zimmerman/WireImage(CANTON, Ohio) — New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi wrote a letter to Bills fans as the location of their team moving forward is in question.

The Buffalo News published a letter by Bon Jovi on Sunday that showed his intentions to keep them in Buffalo.

“There has been a lot of conjecture, so we think it’s important to clarify our intentions to the fans of the team and people of Buffalo,” Bon Jovi wrote. “I know how much the Bills mean to the people of this region. So I want you to hear this from me: I’m not risking it all to let you down. If we are given the chance to be the next owners of the Buffalo Bills, I promise you that we will bring the same passion that you do every Sunday, every day.”

The Bills lease in Buffalo runs through the 2022 and the Bills Fan Alliance, a group of fans and business leaders still questioned Bon Jovi’s letter.

“While we appreciate his sentiment, it’s worth noting that nowhere in his letter does he write or directly state that he will ‘not move the Bills from Buffalo,’ ” wrote the Alliance’s directors, Matt Sabuda, Brian Cinelli and Steve Brady.

“Anything short of formal action taken on their part will be viewed as nothing more than rhetoric,” the Alliance directors wrote.”

Bon Jovi did not name the Toronto partners that are on his team in the letter published on Sunday.

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Reed, Strahan Lead Those Inducted into 2014 Hall of Fame

Reed, Strahan Lead Those Inducted into 2014 Hall of Fame

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images(CANTON, Ohio) — Receiver Andre Reed, defensive ends Michael Strahan and Claude Humphrey, defensive back Aeneas Williams, linebacker Derrick Brooks, offensive tackle Walter Jones and punter Ray Guy were all inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night.

Reed, who played in four Super Bowls with the Bills in the 90′s, reflected on playing with quarterback Jim Kelly.

“I wanted the ball every single time,” Reed said while talking to Kelly who was in the audience. “I wanted you to be proud of me and know that you could count on me at any time. You know our old saying bro…12 plus 83 always equals six.”

Strahan, who is fifth in the NFL in career sacks, explained how his dad helped him transform from a huskie child into a football player.

“He didn’t know about about the weight lifting part,” Strahan said of his father who would go to the gym with him. “But Muscle and Fitness or whatever it was that he took these programs out of I can’t read one to this day because of that. I remember being in the gym and I didn’t want to be there, and my dad looked at me and said, ‘son, one day it will pay off.’ And dad I’ve got to say it payed off.”

Ray Guy became the first punter ever inducted into the Hall.

“It’s been a long, long overdue but now the Hall of Fame has a complete team,” Guy said.

Aeneas Williams played 14 seasons split between the Cardinals and the Rams.

“If you would have told me, ‘Aeneas, you have to the potential to be one of the best cornerbacks,’ I would have thought you were crazy and hit you with my right hand,” Williams said. “I’ll just take a moment to soak this all in.”

Derrick Brooks is a former Defensive Player of the Year who won the Super Bowl in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Walter Jones played his entire 12-year career for the Seahawks and made nine Pro Bowls.

Claude Humphrey was a six-time Pro Bowl selection.

“Now they tell me I only had 10 minutes up here, but let me start off by telling you that I’ve waited 30 years to get to this podium, so don’t rush me guys,” Humphrey said.

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ESPN: 49ers’ Glenn Dorsey out for Season with Torn Biceps

ESPN: 49ers’ Glenn Dorsey out for Season with Torn Biceps

National Football League(NEW YORK) — The San Francisco 49ers stout defense took a hit over the weekend as ESPN is reporting that defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey will miss the entire 2014 season after suffering a torn biceps.

It was stroke of bad luck for Dorsey, who was hurt on Friday during pracitce, which also happened to be his 29th birthday. He will undergo surgery on Monday.

Coming off a productive season with the 49ers in 2013, Dorsey is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2014 season.

Dorsey was the fifth overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 but failed to live up to the lofty expectations placed on him. But with the 49ers, he became a key member of the defensive unit at nose tackle.

He recorded 41 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 16 games for the team in 2014.

Quinton Dial and Ian Williams are expected to see an increase in playing time in Dorsey’s absence.

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Ray Rice Breaks His Silence

Ray Rice Breaks His Silence

Rob Carr/Getty Images(OWINGS MILLS, Md.) — Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice addressed the media Thursday for the first time since his two-game suspension was announced by the NFL.

Rice spoke about the suspension and publicly apologized to his wife, Janay, for the first time since his alleged altercation with his then-fiancee in February.

“I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Rice said.

Rice, 27, would not get into what happened in the Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator, but he also apologized to all women affected by domestic violence and expressed his intentions to become an “ambassador” against it.

“That night I replay over and over in my head. That’s not me. My actions were inexcusable. That’s something I have to live with the rest of my life,” he explained. “The pain I’m talking about living with is waking up every day, and my daughter is two years old now, and I have a little girl, who’s very smart, very intelligent, and one day she’s going to know the power of Google, and me having to explain that to her, what happened that night.”

Rice was joined at the press conference by nearly 30 of his Baltimore Ravens teammates. 

He will miss the team’s Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and their Sept. 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

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Packers Reward GM Ted Thompson with Contract Extension

Packers Reward GM Ted Thompson with Contract Extension

David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images(GREEN BAY, Wisc.) — One of the best general managers in the NFL is sticking around a little longer as the Green Bay Packers are rewarding Ted Thompson with a contract extension.

Thompson’s new deal is being called “a multi-year contract extension” and he will remain in charge of the football operations. His original deal was set to expire after the 2016 season.

“The more you think about it, the more you think how nuts are you that you’d walk away from something like this,” Thompson said. “It’s important to me. It’s not my family, but I’ve got a lot of really good friends here and co-workers that I enjoy coming to work with every day.”

Thompson is entering his 10th season as the Packers general manager, and the team has gone 86-57-1 in the regular season and 6-5 in the postseason. They also won the Super Bowl XLV.

Thompson’s first draft pick came in 2004 when he selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers 24th overall.

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