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T.Y. Hilton Gets 5-Year, $65 Million Contract Extension Thursday, August 13, 2015 | Time: 8:08 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: The Colts and Hilton agreed to a contract extension Thursday morning, the team's official website announced. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports it's a five-year contract extension for $65 million with $39 million in guarantees.
Diehards Line: The Colts made Hilton their top priority this offseason. The sides were able to hammer out a deal out a deal before the team opens the preseason Sunday in Philadelphia. A third-round pick in 2012, Hilton is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, compiling 82 receptions, 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014. It marked back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the 25-year-old speedster. With a $13 million average per season over the course of the extension, he comes in just below the deals Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas recently signed. Those $70 million deals average about $14 million per season. Hilton's extension nestles him in above Mike Wallace-money, with his pay over the next six years comparable to the deals Randall Cobb and Jeremy Maclin recently signed. Hilton's contract speaks to how the Colts value him in their offense just months after rumors swirled they might have selected rookie Phillip Dorsett to be an eventual replacement.
Rams Expect Todd Gurley To Miss First Couple Of Regular Season Games Thursday, August 13, 2015 | Time: 8:06 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: Gurley won't play a snap this preseason. Don't expect to see him on the field in Week 1, either. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport wrote in a dispatch from Rams camp on Tuesday that the team expects their first-round pick to miss the "first couple games" of the regular season.
Diehards Line: Gurley is viewed as 90 percent recovered from his torn ACL, but the area around the repaired ligament isn't far enough along for the team to feel confident about a full return to action. That said, the Rams aren't despondent about this. Rapoport wrote Tuesday that "team personnel can barely contain themselves" about the potential of Gurley. ... Stay tuned. We'll continue to watch his progress closely.
Public Portion Of Tom Brady Settlement Conference Over Wednesday, August 12, 2015 | Time: 2:15 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: The public portion of Wednesday's settlement conference involving the NFL, NFL Players Association and Brady has ended. But the sides aren't done for the day; they will remain behind doors while attempting to find common ground on a potential settlement on Brady's four-game suspension.
Diehards Line: The proceedings opened with pointed questions from New York Federal Court Judge Richard Berman to attorneys for both the NFL and NFLPA. Speaking on NFL Network, Director of the Tulane Law Sports Program and NFL Media legal analyst Gabe Feldman, who was in attendance, noted that the judge hit on the settlement pressure points. "I think that it was a big part of the purpose of this morning was for the judge to poke holes in both sides," Feldman said. According to NFL Media's Judy Bautista, NFL attorney Daniel Nash was repeatedly questioned whether there was direct evidence linking Brady to deflated footballs. Questioning phrases used in the Wells Report such as, "more probable than not" and "at least generally aware," Berman stated: "I don't know what that means." Meanwhile, Berman then questioned NFLPA attorney Jeffery Kessler as to why two low-level Patriots employees would act independently and deflate footballs without Brady's knowledge, saying, "He's the one who throws the ball. ..." If the sides can't come to a settlement Wednesday, Berman has set an Aug. 19 date for both parties to meet again and either continue to conference or hear oral arguments.
Tom Brady Suspension Goes To Settlement Hearing Wednesday, August 12, 2015 | Time: 2:15 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: On Wednesday, Judge Richard M. Berman will try to twist arms to get the lawsuit arising from Brady's suspension resolved. On Tuesday, he essentially told both sides to assume the arm-twisting position. Via multiple reports, Judge Berman has issued a brief order "requesting" (i.e., demanding) that the parties engage in further settlement discussions on Tuesday. Judge Berman also said that he will "meet briefly" with the parties in the "robing room" before Wednesday's hearing that will entail oral arguments on behalf of both parties.
Diehards Line: According to PFT's Mike Florio, here’s what it means: "Judge Berman wants the two sides to be as close to their bottom-line positions as possible on Wednesday morning, so that he won’t have to waste time getting them to their impasse point. Then, once he knows what each side is offering, he’ll conduct a hearing on the merits of the case. Then, through the questions he asks and comments he makes from the bench, the parties will know which side needs to bend. If that doesn’t get the case settled, he’ll do some more bending next Wednesday, during the second settlement conference." Florio went on to note that while a judge can’t force two sides to settle, a judge can make it clear to one side that the choices are to take what you can get or take nothing. Stay tuned.
Geno Smith To Miss 6-10 Weeks After Being Sucker Punched By Teammate Tuesday, August 11, 2015 | Time: 12:37 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: Smith has been injured in a fight in the team's locker room and will likely miss the start of the regular season. In a stunning announcement today, HC Todd Bowles said that Smith suffered a broken jaw when he was "sucker punched" by Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali. The Jets have cut Enemkpali as a result.
Diehards Line:According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Smith's jaw was broken in two places. He'll require surgery to repair the injury and is expected to miss 6-10 weeks. The Jets’ opener is less than five weeks away, so Smith will almost certainly miss some time to start the regular season. For Smith and the Jets, it??s a major setback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is next man up, but some are already speculating about Michael Vick returning to the team. ... We'll follow up as needed.
Steelers Sign Garrett Hartley To Replace Suisham Tuesday, August 11, 2015 | Time: 12:15 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: According to agent Erik Burkhardt, the Steelers have signed Hartley.
Diehards Line:The former Saints and Browns kicker was picked after they also worked out Jay Feely and Alex Henery. As Profootballtalk.com notes, Hartley filled in the last two games of last year for Cleveland, and other than 2013 (when he hit just 73.3 percent of his field goals), has been a reasonably acceptable professional kicker. The Steelers needed to replace Shaun Suisham after he tore an ACL.
Eight More Seasons For Aaron Rodgers? Tuesday, August 11, 2015 | Time: 2:12 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre began musing vaguely about retirement at age 32. Now 31, Rodgers isn't thinking about walking in the short term. "Eight," Rodgers told Peter King of TheMMQB.com regarding the intended remaining duration of his career.
Diehards Line:That's eight as in years. Of course, two years ago, Rodgers suggested that, with eight years in the bag (2005-12), he'd play eight more. Or maybe only seven. Now, with 10 seasons down, he's planning on eight more. And maybe he"ll continue to say "eight more years" for a few more years, like Tom Brady when he went more than a few years claiming he'd play 10 more years. As PFT's Mike Florio reminded readers, Rodgers mentioned in 2013 the factor of bringing more titles to Green Bay. With only one Lombardi Trophy in seven seasons of starting for Lombardi's old team, Rodgers may be more inclined to extend his stay, if that's what it takes to get to two or three, or more. Florio added: "One thing is clear, based on Rodgers" ability to play well late last year despite limited mobility. He'll be capable of making a late-career transition to pocket passer, if Rodgers decides to play beyond the point at which his legs decide to stop working as well as they do."
Shaun Suisham Has Torn ACL; Steelers Hunting For New PK Monday, August 10, 2015 | Time: 2:22 PT |  Reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... Suisham will have surgery on his left knee this week and the Steelers will go shopping for another kicker.
Diehards Line:Suisham has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage damage, and the team will almost surely place him on injured reserve, ending his season. The 10-year veteran was injured on the opening kickoff of the second half Sunday night's first preseason game in Canton, Ohio, won by the Minnesota Vikings, 14-3. Suisham converted 59 of 64 field goal tries over the past two seasons. He signed with the Steelers during the 2011 season and is their most accurate kicker on field goals in their history. Among the possible kickers the Steelers will look at are veterans Billy Cundiff, Shayne Graham and Jay Feely.
Kevin White Resumes Running; Bears Won't Rush Rookie WR Back Monday, August 10, 2015 | Time: 12:58 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: White needed Michael Irvin to ??talk him off the ledge?? last week because he was itching to get on the field after a long spell on the sideline with a shin injury. Irvin may be free to move on to other ledge-dwellers because White??s taken a step forward in his return to full speed. Bears radio sideline reporter Zach Zaidman shared pictures of White running during Monday??s practice, which was an expected step this week after White passed through running in a pool without any trouble.
Diehards Line:The Bears will now wait to see how he responds to this step forward. General Manager Ryan Pace said on ESPN 1000 in Chicago Monday that the team has a ??long way?? before the start of the regular season and their goal is to avoid setbacks that would jeopardize White??s chances of being on the field for games. Being patient is made a bit easier by Pace??s confidence that White is on track with his off-field preparation. ??Mentally he??s really sharp,?? Pace said. ??He??s probably exceeded our expectations there. But there is an element where he needs to get the timing with our quarterbacks. But from a mental rep and classroom standpoint, he??s been all good. ..." We'll continue to follow up as needed.
Hamstring Injury The Latest Issue For Jay Ajayi Monday, August 10, 2015 | Time: 12:56 PT |  Reported by the Palm Beach Post
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The Facts: Ajayi, a highly hyped fifth-round draft pick, is out with a hamstring injury. It wasn??t immediately known how long he will be out.
Diehards Line: Ajayi, who is competing for the No. 2 running back job, had just one carry for 12 yards in Friday??s scrimmage. He was expected to emerge as the primary backup to Lamar Miller, but he??s been in a hotly-contested battle with Damien Williams and LaMichael James. While it wouldn??t be a surprise for the Dolphins to keep four backs, VP Mike Tannenbaum said last week that Ajayi needs to work on his pass protection if he wants to be active on Sundays. If the Dolphins keep four running backs, one would likely be inactive each week. Mike Gillislee is also competing for a spot, but he has the longest odds to make the 53-man roster.