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Jerick McKinnon Would Draft Himself In Fantasy Leagues Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | Time: 5:17 PT |  Reported by the St. Paul Pioneer-Press
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The Facts: McKinnon has put out notice to fantasy football players. Just because Adrian Peterson is back, don't forget about him. "If I had a fantasy team and could take myself, I would,' he said.
Diehards Line:Okay. ... We'll go ahead and suggest that doesn't mean you should be in a hurry to add him to your roster. As a rookie last season, McKinnon ran for 538 yards. That included outings of 135 yards against Atlanta and 103 at Buffalo. But McKinnon sat the final five games of the season with a lower back problem that required surgery. And earlier this month Peterson returned to the team after missing the final 15 games of 2014 because of a child-abuse incident. Peterson will be back in the lineup as the starting running back. However, McKinnon said his health is fine and that shouldn't play any role as he competes with Matt Asiata for playing time behind Peterson. At this point, a change-of-pace role seems to be the best McKinnon can hope for this fall.
Matthew Stafford Looking To Get Teammates Together For Workouts Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | Time: 1:52 PT |  Reported by the Detroit Free Press
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The Facts: Sometime next month Stafford, Calvin Johnson and a few other Lions will meet somewhere in Atlanta for a few pre-training-camp passing drills that Stafford said are important to the offense's development. "I think it's big," Stafford said. "I'm obviously in Atlanta quite a bit, so Calvin's right there, throw with him some. But try to find a way to get together with some of the other guys as well."
Diehards Line: The Lions finished 22nd in the NFL in scoring offense last year and seemed out of sync at times in their first year under coordinator Joe Lombardi. Johnson and Golden Tate both had 1,000-yard receiving seasons, but no other Lion had more than 40 catches or 322 yards. The Lions are counting on Eric Ebron to play a bigger role on offense this year after his disappointing rookie season, and Stafford said this spring he planned to get together with the second-year tight end sometime during the team's six-week summer break. "There's no substitute for running routes for a receiver and catching the ball from the guy you're going to be catching the ball from during the season," Stafford said. "And there's really no substitute for me throwing to a spot -- and throwing to somebody that's not on our team, it just isn't as beneficial as being together and doing that. So hopefully we'll get together and do some of that." Hopefully they get something going. We'll be watching for more.
Jeremy Maclin Off To A Great Start With Smith Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | Time: 1:50 PT |  Reported by KCChiefs.com
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The Facts: For more than a month, Alex Smith and one of his newest receivers, Maclin, ran around the practice field throwing and catching passes at will. For Maclin, whether it was running through plays in 11-on-11 drills, talking in meeting rooms after practice or simply communicating what they’re seeing from the defense between plays, he had high praise for how well he and Smith have clicked since he arrived in Kansas City. “I don’t think I’ve ever been off to a better start with a particular quarterback in my life,” Maclin stated.
Diehards Line: After being the Eagles first-round pick back in 2009, Maclin has amassed 343 receptions for 4,771 yards and 36 touchdowns in his five seasons on the field. He missed all of 2013 with a knee injury. Four of the five seasons Maclin has been on the field have been with HC Andy Reid, OC Doug Pederson, receivers coach David Culley and many others who now find themselves in Kansas City. “He’s only a couple years removed from our system,” Pederson said. “We’ve changed some things since he’s been in the offense, but he’s such a smart, savvy, veteran guy that he’s picked up on what we’re doing really fast. He and Alex have sort of developed that continuity right away. ..." It's a good start. Maclin's presence is important to a team that failed to complete a touchdown pass to a wide receiver last season.
Russell Wilson Continues To Say He's Not Worried About Contract Monday, June 29, 2015 | Time: 11:40 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: While talking to reporters during his passing academy at the University of Wisconsin over the weekend, Wilson reiterated that he's not distracted or worried about his contract situation. "It's not where my focus is," Wilson said. "The rest will work out. The contract will work itself out. I'm excited about it and excited to hopefully be a Seattle Seahawk for a really, really long time. So, that's the goal."
Diehards Line: As we wade deeper into the quiet period of the calendar for players and coaches, Wilson's contract situation hovers as one of the most interesting topics for offseason fodder. The blow-by-blow accounts of the complex contract negotiation between the quarterback and Seahawks grow increasingly frequent as it becomes more evident a deal won't get done anytime soon. Indeed, Profootballtalk.com has spent considerable time rolling through a variety of possible scenarios, going so far as to suggest this might be Wilson's last season with the Seahawks. That said, Wilson has never given us a reason to question his loyalty to his teammates or his desire to remain in Seattle. But the complexity of the situation -- Wilson being a third-round pick and woefully underpaid, only part of the issue -- makes it difficult to get a deal, especially before the 2015 season starts. That being the case, the speculation will continue.
Darren McFadden Says He Feels Like A Rookie Again Monday, June 29, 2015 | Time: 11:37 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: After seven seasons with the Raiders, McFadden changed cities for the first time in his NFL career. Apparently, the move to Dallas rejuvenated the running back. "It's great to be in Dallas," McFadden said Saturday. "I'm looking forward to getting on the field with those guys and doing great things this year. ... Definitely exciting. I tell everybody I feel like a rookie all over again."
Diehards Line: McFadden added: "I just want to go out there, stay healthy and run the ball the way I know I can run the ball. ..." Well, after three consecutive lackluster seasons in which McFadden gained fewer than 3.5 yards per carry, skeptical fantasy owners can be forgiven for not being all in. McFadden will battle with Joseph Randle for starter reps during training camp. The Cowboys also employ Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams and Lache Seastrunk in the backfield. "I'm just going out there and making plays," McFadden said. "Right now, we don't know much. We just know we're competing for a job. ..." That's the key. We'll all want to see how that competition plays out before jumping in with both feet. ... For what it's worth, McFadden added that the injured hamstring that kept him out of some offseason work is "doing great."
Agent Expects Eli Manning To Get A New Deal Soon Enough Monday, June 29, 2015 | Time: 1:36 PT |  Reported by New York Daily News
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The Facts: Tom Condon will soon begin negotiations on what likely will be Manning’s final NFL contract, and he’s confident a deal with the Giants will eventually get done. Just don’t expect it to be at a discount, because the agent to the Manning brothers knows exactly what top quarterbacks are worth. “It’s an extraordinarily hard position to fill, as you know,” said Condon. “You actually have some leverage with the quarterbacks. The only problem is there’s a salary cap. But let’s face it, sooner or later. ...”
Diehards Line: As the Daily News suggested, Condon didn't have to finish the sentence, because everyone in the NFL knows that sooner or later the elite quarterbacks get paid big money. Condon knows that better than anyone because he represents seven of the NFL’s 32 starting quarterbacks -- five of whom make an average of at least $17 million per year. He also knows Manning still ranks among the elite. He has won two Super Bowls (named MVP in both), surpassed 4,000 passing yards in four of the last six seasons, and at age 34 -- having never missed a game -- he’s coming off what might be his finest statistical season. Half the teams in the league, maybe more, would gladly grab Manning if they could. The Giants understand that too, which is why a team source told the News they’re also confident a new deal will eventually get done.
Adrian Peterson Leading Teammates In Workouts Sunday, June 28, 2015 | Time: 12:39 PT |  Reported by ESPN.com
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The Facts: Before he departed Minnesota at the end of the Vikings' mandatory minicamp, Peterson made it clear he wasn't leaving much time for leisure in the five weeks before training camp. Indeed, Peterson is back in Houston working out -- and he brought a couple Vikings teammates with him.
Diehards Line: Peterson, who married his longtime girlfriend Ashley Brown last July, had talked about going to Europe with her for a honeymoon. But Ashley Peterson is now pregnant with the couple's second child and the honeymoon is again on hold. So workouts makes sense. According to ESPN.com's Ben Goessling, receiver Mike Wallace and running back Jerick McKinnon are in Houston this week, working out with Peterson and his longtime trainer, James Cooper. From a photo Peterson tweeted out, the group went through a four-hour workout on Thursday, running hills, cutting in a sand pit and lifting weights. And that's exactly what you want to hear about a guy coming back from close to a full season off.
Jameis Winston Looking To Be In Prime Shape For Training Camp Sunday, June 28, 2015 | Time: 12:35 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: Winston took a moment away from playfully goofing off with middle schoolers during Friday's Play 60 event at the Rookie Symposium to speak to the media. After answering a bevy of social media and character-related questions, the quarterback said his goal -- other than studying the playbook -- during the weeks leading up to next month's training camp is to shed pounds and get in better shape. "Trying to lose some weight, try to get back skinny," he said of his plans. "Right now I'm 238 (pounds), I'm trying to be my redshirt freshman year (weight), about 230. I mean, learn that playbook too, man, you can never go wrong with that."
Diehards Line: As NFL.com reminded readers, Winston's weight became a buzz topic for fans and critics earlier this year, but didn't noticeably hinder him during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason workouts. Questions about off-field incidences that plagued him during his time at Florida State will persist, but the No. 1 overall pick isn't feeling the pressure. "I have nothing to prove," Winston said. "I believe that people make mistakes, but I also believe that you bounce back from those and I'm just moving forward." Winston will eventually take over a Tampa offense that was one of the poorest in the league last year. But there are some talented weapons at Winston's disposal in Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins and a new OC, Dirk Koetter, which offers some hope for an offensive turnaround. But nothing is guaranteed.
Marlon Brown Likely To Push For Significant Role In Baltimore Sunday, June 28, 2015 | Time: 12:33 PT |  Reported by NFL.com
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The Facts: Don't pencil rookie Breshad Perriman into the Baltimore Ravens' starting lineup just yet. Former special teamer Kamar Aiken and third-year wideout Brown each spent time opposite Steve Smith with the first-team offense during offseason practices. Coach John Harbaugh is pushing Brown for a breakout season. "I have high hopes for him," Harbaugh said recently, via the Ravens' official website. "I really want to see him break out. ... It's time for him to step up and become what he's capable of doing. He's very determined to do that."
Diehards Line: When training camp opens late next month, Brown will be battling Aiken and Perriman for a starting job. "It's very competitive," wide receivers coach Bobby Engram said. "Marlon has done what he always does, which is make plays." Brown didn't make enough plays in 2014. After recording seven touchdowns as an undrafted rookie in 2013, he was kept out of the end zone entirely last season. In fact, the 6-5 red-zone threat wasn't targeted once inside the 20-yard line. Even if he ends up being relegated to the No. 3 role behind Perriman or Aiken, that should change this season.
Dez Bryant's Agent, Cowboys Have First Face-To-Face Meeting In Four Months Saturday, June 27, 2015 | Time: 4:32 PT |  Reported by ESPN.com
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The Facts: With the deadline to agree to a long-term deal coming July 15, Tom Condon, the agent for Bryant, and the Cowboys had their first face-to-face meeting in nearly four months within the past week, according to sources.
Diehards Line: Last month, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team would make a push to sign Bryant to a deal, but much work remains before that actually happens. Bryant has yet to sign his $12.823 million franchise tag tender in hopes of a deal with larger guaranteed money. Bryant's camp has threatened to miss regular-season games even though there would be no financial incentive. After July 15, Bryant has to play the season on the tender and the two sides could begin negotiations again after the season. The only benefit to Bryant of missing games would be if the team would agree to not use the franchise or transition tag on him in 2016. Bryant missed most of the Cowboys' offseason program, showing up for a handful of workouts and an organized team activity. He attended the final day of the Cowboys' mandatory minicamp on June 18 but did not practice. The Cowboys do not believe the threat to miss games because it would cost Bryant roughly $754,000 each week. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he believes Bryant will be "leading the way" when the Cowboys open the season Sept. 13 against the New York Giants. We do too.