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Judge Still Pushing For Tom Brady, NFL Settlement Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | Time: 11:23 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell weren't required to attend Wednesday's hearing in Manhattan with Judge Richard Berman, but their presence will be mandatory if there's no settlement of their dispute over Brady's four-game suspension by August 31.
Diehards Line: Berman said Wednesday that he wants both sides to continue working toward a settlement over the next two weeks and ordered both Brady and Goodell to appear in court for another court date in the case. Brady is reportedly willing to accept a one-game suspension for not cooperating with the Deflategate investigation, but won’t admit to guilt regarding deflating footballs. The NFL, meanwhile, is said to be looking for that admission as well as other concessions that would back up the Ted Wells report and Goodell’s authority before they will discuss a reduction in the suspension. Berman also said Wednesday that he intends to issue a ruling in the case before September 4, a date requested by both the NFL and NFLPA, in the event that no settlement is reached. But nothing is certain at this point.
Kelvin Benjamin To Have MRI On Sprained Knee Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | Time: 10:59 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: The Panthers are holding their breath, after one of their most important players went down during this morning's work with the Dolphins. HC Ron Rivera told reporters that Benjamin suffered "a sprain" during practice this morning, and was headed back to Charlotte to have an MRI on his left knee.
Diehards Line:While that might be construed as positive, the slow-motion video of Benjamin collapsing (via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review) shows that it was a non-contact injury, and that’s never a good sign. The Panthers felt confident about their receiving corps this year based largely on Benjamin’s breakout rookie season, in which he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. As PFT suggests, if Benjamin is out any amount of time, they’re going to need 2015 second-rounder Devin Funchess to play an immediate role.
Reports: LeSean McCoy Should Be Ready For Week 1 Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | Time: 9:22 PT |  Reported by ESPN.com
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The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... Despite injuring his hamstring Tuesday, McCoy is expected to be ready for the team's regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Diehards Line: Profootballtalk.com is reporting the same. ... The 27-year-old McCoy strained his hamstring in training camp Tuesday and was set to undergo an MRI to determine its extent. Bills coach Rex Ryan said McCoy's hamstring was intact and that no separation from the bone occurred. McCoy reached for the area near his hamstring after a play about halfway through the practice. He briefly sat on the ground, surrounded by trainers. The Bills already were without running backs Fred Jackson (hamstring), Boobie Dixon (calf), Bryce Brown (hamstring) and Karlos Williams (hospitalized/undisclosed) for Tuesday's practice. The Bills were down to two healthy running backs by the end of practice: undrafted rookies Bronson Hill and Ricky Seale, who was signed Tuesday.
Tom Brady, Goodell Come Up Short In Tuesday's Talks; Hearing Today Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | Time: 1:43 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's hearing in Manhattan. According to the Associated Press, Brady and Goodell were unable to reach an agreement to settle the case despite four hours of meeting on Tuesday. Without an agreement, the Wednesday meeting will process as scheduled.
Diehards Line: Brady isn’t expecting to attend the hearing in U.S. District Judge Richard Berman’s court on Wednesday. The league is continuing to seek a large number of concessions regarding the Ted Wells report and the NFL’s authority to suspend Brady and other players for conduct detrimental to the league and obstructing a league investigation. Only after stipulating to those terms would the league even begin to entertain settlement talks in the matter. A ruling is not expected in the case on Wednesday.
LeSean McCoy To Have MRI On Injured Hamstring Tuesday, August 18, 2015 | Time: 7:44 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: McCoy will undergo an MRI on his hamstring after leaving practice Tuesday. McCoy was seen by multiple reporters grabbing his leg during red zone work. McCoy was taken to the locker room while clearly limping. HC Rex Ryan says the team hopes it is just a strain and confirmed the hamstring is "not off the bone."
Diehards Line: With that said, Ryan was already talking about the "next man up" philosophy. Worth noting at this point veteran Fred Jackson has been out for nearly all of training camp with a hamstring injury. Rookie Karlos Williams, seen as a serious challenger for the No. 2 running back job, is expected to be out for multiple weeks after a "procedure" that Ryan dubbed "sensitive" -- although having him back by Week 1 seems possible. Reserves Anthony Dixon (calf) and Bryce Brown (hamstring) are also currently injured, meaning that Bronson Hill and Ricky Seale are the only two healthy running backs. Ryan is hopeful that Jackson, Dixon, and Brown could be back on the field next week. The Bills want to be a ground and pound offense in 2015. But first they need to get some running backs healthy.
Jerome Simpson Suspended Six Games Tuesday, August 18, 2015 | Time: 7:43 PT |  Reported by FootballDiehards.com
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The Facts: According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL has suspended 49ers Simpson today for six games -- reduced down from 10 games he was facing.
Diehards Line: He was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The Niners knew this was coming. Simpson did not play last season after the Vikings released him in September as he was finishing a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse as a repeat offender. It was the second suspension of his NFL career. Simpson pleaded guilty to a felony charge resulting from two pounds of marijuana being shipped to his home in Kentucky in September 2011 while he was with the Bengals. He was then arrested for suspicious of DWI in November 2013. ... Simpson, 29, last played in 2013 when he caught 48 passes for 726 yards (15.1 average per catch) with the Vikings. In 2011, he had 50 receptions for 725 yards and four touchdowns with the Bengals.
Victor Cruz Says He's Absolutely Ready To Play Tuesday, August 18, 2015 | Time: 1:17 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: During an appearance on WFAN Monday, Cruz said that his knee is 100 percent after last year's torn patellar tendon. Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports he later asked Cruz if that was correct, leading Cruz to say he didn't make that assessment of his condition. Whatever the percentage, Cruz feels ready to play. "I'm ready to play, yes, absolutely," Cruz said.
Diehards Line: He said that he felt he crossed a bridge on Sunday when he emerged from his most involved practice of the summer with “no pain, no swelling” the next day. That leaves him feeling ready for the next step on the way to full participation in all the team’s football activities. “I think it’s just getting back to that speed, acclimating myself to that speed again. It’s been 10 months since I’ve been out there. Game speed, game time, so that will be the only adjustment, getting used to that game speed again.” Cruz did 11-on-11 team drills during the team’s practices with the Bengals last week, which indicates the Giants don’t feel too differently about the next steps for Cruz.
Chris Johnson Agrees To Terms With Cardinals Tuesday, August 18, 2015 | Time: 1:14 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: After a long offseason out of work, Johnson has finally found his new NFL home. Johnson has agreed to terms one a one-year contract with the Cardinals, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports.
Diehards Line: The Cardinals had Johnson in for a physical and workout today, and that revealed that he’s ready to go and fully healed from the shoulder injury he suffered when he was shot this offseason. Now the question is whether Johnson has anything left. He’s coming off a season in which he had career lows of 155 carries for 663 yards and one touchdown, and he appears to be a far different player now than he was in 2009, when he ran for 2,006 yards. Johnson turns 30 next month and isn’t the player he used to be. Johnson is expected to split carries with Andre Ellington in the Cardinals’ backfield.
Kelly: Concerns About DeMarco Murray's 2014 Workload Are Valid Monday, August 17, 2015 | Time: 4:18 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: The Eagles haven't given Murray all that much to do during training camp and his light workload shifted to non-existent during Sunday's preseason opener against the Colts. Murray sat out the game as the Eagles continued to tread lightly with a player who had 497 touches by the time the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs by the Packers. In an interview with Peter King of MMQB.com, HC Chip Kelly admitted that his approach to Murray this offseason has been fueled by concerns raised by the history of backs returning from a heavy workload in the previous season.
Diehards Line:"I think there is a lot of validity to it,” Kelly said. “But how do you manage him going into a season? Our plan all along was to get another running back with him. I wanted to have two running backs, and that’s why we got Ryan [Mathews]. I don’t think you can have a guy carry it 370 to 400 times per season and be successful. We’re going to run it a lot -- we always do -- but we’ll have more than one guy doing it.” This might not be what fantasy football owners want to hear; but those drafting Murray early need to hear it. And if falls in line with those predicting a 50/35/15 split between Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles.
Chargers, Philip Rivers Agree To Four-Year Extension Worth $84 Million Sunday, August 16, 2015 | Time: 12:16 PT |  Reported by Profootballtalk.com
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The Facts: A four-year contract extension announced Saturday night will keep Rivers with the Chargers through 2019.
Diehards Line: The news was first reported by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune and then quickly confirmed by the Chargers. As PFT noted, the extension was done after a summer of posturing by both sides and rumors that talks would be shelved with the regular season approaching. Acee reported the deal is worth $84 million and $65 million guaranteed. Had the sides not worked out a deal, the exclusive franchise tag for 2016 would have been around $25 million, so it was in the team’s interests to get this deal done now for many reasons. Rivers posted his fourth career 30-touchdown season in 2014 and went over 4,000 yards passing for the sixth time. He’s started 144 straight games for the Chargers.