Vince Wilfork's 'world's greatest farter' shirt gets big laughs

If you had any doubts about Houston Texans tackle Vince Wilfork’s ability to parent or fart, he has an epic T-shirt to clear up that confusion.

During a press conference from Texans camp, Wilfork was sporting a T-shirt that reads: “World’s greatest farter…I mean father.” According to ESPN’s Tania Ganguli, the shirt was a Father’s Day gift a few years ago.

In summation, Vince Wilfork is awesome

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Ladarius Gunter Getting First Team Reps

LaDarius Gunter, cornerback, Green Bay Packers.

That’s who LaDarius Gunter is.

Gunter was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Miami, this year. And with the Packers having drafted cornerbacks with their first and second-round picks, Gunter clearly has no shot of making the roster.


Not according to cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt.

With Casey Hayward sidelined and Micah Hyde, for some reason, playing only safety, the Packers have been giving plenty of work to their young cornerbacks through OTAs and minicamp. Whitt says three of them have stood out — the two guys you’d expect to stand out and Gunter.

“That group in particular,” Whitt said, “has sort of separated themselves from the group of eight young guys. Now, one of those three got to separate themselves from those three guys, which who that’ll be, I don’t know. They all have talent.

“(Damarious Randall) is probably the most talented of those three, but (Quinten Rollins) has great instincts. He’s probably the most instinctual, and (Gunter) probably has the most technique right now, but they all have a long ways to go.”

Gunter played two pretty nondescript seasons at Miami, where his career totals were 55 tackles and three interceptions. While he has the size (6-2, 202) that no other cornerback on the Packers roster has, Gunter was hurt by a dreadfully slow (for a cornerback) 4.69 40 time at the combine.

That appears to be the primary reason he wasn’t drafted. Some talent evaluators had him pegged as a possible fourth-round pick.

Now, we don’t legitimately think Gunter could be a starting corner for the Packers this season, but he’s already making a case for a roster spot.

“He’s shown to me that he deserves an opportunity to be in the conversation with those other two guys with how he’s played. So he’s going to be given that opportunity,” Whitt said. “… He hasn’t been giving up completions. He’s just done a nice job. He has a long ways to go, too.”

Who knows.

Maybe we’re looking at the next Sam Shields here.

On the flip side, this is not good news for Demetri Goodson.

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Seantrel Henderson lines up with third team in return to minicamp

Seantrel Henderson's travel issues were cleared up and he was on the field for minicamp Wednesday.

However, the Buffalo Bills' right tackle found himself lining up with the third team in his return to practice.

"You're not here for a day, you miss a day, so you're a day behind. It's that simple," said offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who largely brushed off any questions about Henderson. "I just think that's what we did today based on where we're at."

The team did not make Henderson available to the media following the practice.

Henderson is thought to be in the mix for one of the two starting tackle spots this season along with Cordy Glenn and Cyrus Kouandjio, so being bumped down to the third team could be punishment for missing Tuesday's practice, or an indicator of the coaching staff's evaluation of his performance.

While Henderson was back at practice, the following players did not participate Wednesday: safeties Aaron Williams and Wes Miller, cornerback Cam Thomas, linebacker Tony Steward and guards Chris Williams and Alex Kupper.

Steward and Miller were seen at practice on the sideline, while coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday that Chris Williams was at the team facility. It's not known whether Aaron Williams is attending the mandatory minicamp as he has yet to be seen. Kupper, meanwhile, practiced Tuesday.

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Leonard Hankerson off to strong start

Leonard Hankerson, who will compete with Hardy for playing time, has made a number of impressive catches during Minicamp and, as someone who played for Kyle Shanahan in Washington, feels comfortable in the new offense.

“What we really like about Hank’s game is that big catching radius,” said Quinn. “He’s got long arms and can go catch it whether it’s low or high, all the deep overs that he’s a factor on. So that’s one of the things that really jumped out.”


Jimmy Graham Unveiled On NFL Network's Top 100 Players Of 2015

He's yet to play an official down in blue and green, but tight end Jimmy Graham - acquired by Seattle in a March trade with the New Orleans Saints - is the fourth Seahawks player to appear on NFL Network's countdown of the Top 100 Players of 2015.

On Wednesday night, Graham was unveiled at No. 31 on the network's list, which is determined solely by NFL players. He joins strong safety Kam Chancellor (No. 41), linebacker Bobby Wagner (No. 69), and defensive end Michael Bennett (No. 90).

It's a slide in the player-driven pecking order for Graham, who was voted the 10th-best player in the League last year, a slot that made him the only tight end ever to appear in the Top 10 of the network's ranks.

At the time of his No. 10 vote, Graham was coming off a 2013 season that saw him haul in 86 balls for 1,215 yards and a career-high 16 touchdowns, the second-most scores in the NFL that year to Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (19). But this past year Graham was hampered by a shoulder injury and his production dipped as a result, one of the likely factors in his year-over-year Top-100 fall to No. 31. He still managed to make a team-high 85 grabs for 889 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns in 2014, numbers that made the 6-foot-7, 265-pound Graham an attractive option for the Seahawks this offseason, even if it came at the expense of the team's starting center (Max Unger) and 2014 first-round pick (No. 31 overall).

Graham was able to get his feet wet with his new squad during a week of Russell Wilson-led workouts in the Hawaiian Islands this past April. Roughly one month later, after dealing with a loss in his family, Graham joined the club in an official capacity during OTAs (Organized Team Activities).

“It honestly feels like I’m back in college, that’s how close each and every person is on this team,” Graham said. “The way this team is and the way that this team is run is how it should be for the NFL. It’s such a sense of family here and brotherhood. It’s been incredible, it really has."

NFL Network's countdown of the Top 100 Players of 2015 continues next Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT with players ranked Nos. 30-21. Four Seahawks that made the list last year - cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 7), running back Marshawn Lynch (No. 14), free safety Earl Thomas (No. 17), and quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 20) - have yet to be unveiled on this year's ballot.


Duke Johnson has a contract

There was no announcement of a contract agreement between the Browns and running back Duke Johnson before the start of the team’s minicamp on Tuesday, but Johnson was taking part in practice which seemed to indicate that such an announcement wasn’t far off.

And it wasn’t. The Browns announced a four-year deal with Johnson on Tuesday evening, which means that the team has signed all 12 of their draft picks.

Johnson became the all-time leading rusher in the history of the University of Miami before the Browns made him a third-round pick in May. He joins Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West in the Cleveland backfield and could wind up on the top of the depth chart if he makes good on comparisons that running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery threw out for the rookie.

“The best way I can describe Duke is what Thurman Thomas was for Buffalo,” Montgomery said. “It’s going to be all over the field. It’s a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ He gives you another dimension. He creates one-on-one problems. We hope he can be a little bit like the kid, [Giovani] Bernard, in Cincinnati. If he can do that for us, that gives us a different perspective on how we approach the field and gives us a chance to move people around and taking advantage of a mismatch.”

Johnson and the Browns wrap up minicamp over the next two days and then will reconvene for training camp next month.

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Clive Walford Excited to Sign Pro Contract

With the signing of 3rd round Draft pick TE Clive Walfordicon-article-link, the Raiders are now one Draft pick away from having their entire 2015 Draft class under contract.

“Feels great, a little bit of an accomplishment. This is only the beginning,” Walford said. “I’m trying to do what I did at Miami; I’m trying to leave a legacy. When I’m done playing this sport I just want people to remember my name.”

Walford has been turning heads in Mini-Camps and Organized Team Activities and has lived up to the billing that he’s faster than he times.

“I’d say I have game speed, playing speed. It didn’t really show up at the Combine, but when the ball is snapped, I just change my speed and play with a burst,” said Walford during a recent press conference.

DE Mario Edwards, Jr., is the Raiders only unsigned selection from the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Ereck Flowers, negotiating his own contract, doesn't see a holdout in his Giants future

EAST RUTHERFORD ‐ First-round pick Ereck Flowers says he's getting close with the Giants on his rookie contract. He should know. Flowers is serving as his own agent.

There is no real rush (and really very little room to negotiate), but the No. 9 overall selection is the highest-drafted player still without a rookie deal. Last week he told NJ Advance Media negotiations were "going good." This week he added that he doesn't believe a training camp holdout is in his future.

"I don't really see it getting to that point," Flowers said on Wednesday after practicing on Day 2 of minicamp.

Rookies without contracts can participate in the spring because they signed waivers that guarantee teams will negotiate in good faith in case of injury. It held up in the case of Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler, the No. 3 overall pick who tore his ACL earlier this spring.

These past few months have been important for Flowers and the Giants. They are trying to get him up to speed to be their left tackle after Will Beatty tore his pectoral muscle in the weight room last month.

Flowers has even been double-shifting with the first and second-team offenses. He believes the extra reps are paying off.

"I'm leaving here better and trying to come back even better than when I left," Flowers said. "I think I've gotten a lot better since I'm here."

Organized team activities and minicamp can only show so much about a linemen (offensive and defensive). As defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo explained Tuesday, you really evaluate the players' ability to learn in the spring.

Coach Tom Coughlin knows the real evaluation will come this summer during training camp.

"It is not easy," Coughlin said last week about evaluating linemen without pads. "You look at every tape and try to be as technical as you can, but there are obvious restrictions for both defense and offense without the pads."

Flowers believes he's making the most of the situation. He was considered raw coming out of the University of Miami, but blessed with tremendous physical skills.
"What I've really learned is technique," he said. "You have to use more technique without pads."

The power and nastiness that comes with the aircraft carrier has been temporarily tempered by the rules.

"You can't finish right now," Flowers said. "You'll get someone hurt."

Eventually, though, Flowers will be under contract and able to show what he can really do.

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J.J. Watt is taking lessons in leadership from Vince Wilfork

When Vince Wilfork first joined the Houston Texans, he said that all he wanted to do was free J.J. Watt up to be himself. "I don't want to change his game one bit," Wilfork said. "I'm not coming in here to say, 'You need to do this differently.' No. You continue to do what you do. We're going to learn off of you. We're going to play off of you. My goal is to let J.J. be J.J. I'm pretty sure the coaching staff is going to feel the same way."

Now that the two players are in camp together, though, it seems Wilfork couldn't help but dispense some valuable leadership advice. "He said, 'Listen, just keep doing what you're doing,'" Watt said, per "I'm going to just keep doing what I'm doing. Keep working hard. Lead by example. Be vocal when I feel like I need to be vocal. For the most part, I don't think there's ever any better leadership style than going out there and working as hard as you possibly can and setting an example for us to follow.

"He's seen championship teams, he's been around great players, great leaders. Obviously myself being a leader I'm always trying to be the best leader I can be, so I go to him and [ask], 'What made your championship teams great? How did you guys get to where you were?' Then I just let him speak and listen to what he has to say. Let him talk about my leadership style, what he thinks I can do better."

For his part, Wilfork seems very impressed with Watt as both a player and a leader already, independent of anything the younger player (and current best defensive player on the planet) might pick up from one of the best defensive linemen of his time. "Just to be with him every day to see exactly what he puts in, because a lot of guys don't put a lot of work in the game," Wilfork said. "They just get to a certain level and they get complacent. They're just happy with where they're at. To see him work every day, he's going to be a great player for a long time and it all starts with the way he works. He makes me work harder."

These two already seem like a match made in heaven.

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Eagles sign offensive lineman Jared Wheeler

The Eagles released guard Evan Mathis last week, leaving themselves with both an empty roster spot and an empty place in their offensive line group.

They filled those spots on Monday. The Eagles announced that they have signed offensive lineman Jared Wheeler to a one-year contract after working him out earlier in the day.

Wheeler was signed as undrafted free agent out of Miami last year by the Seahawks and bounced from Seattle to Carolina and Buffalo during his first NFL season. Wheeler never saw any regular season action in any of the stops, however, and he’s an unlikely candidate to wind up in the lineup or replace the production Mathis provided for the Eagles over the years.

The Eagles may still be in the market for a player who could offer more of a chance to do those things, although such players are probably only arriving at this point in the offseason via a trade or after they’re released by their current club.

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Could Duke Johnson become the top dawg in Cleveland?

If Browns running back coach Wilbert Montgomery's analysis is correct, it might not be long before Duke Johnson is seeing significant action in Cleveland.

Montgomery mentioned Johnson in the same breath as Hall of Fame Bills running back Thurman Thomas and Cincinnati's Giovani Bernard when discussing Johnson's potential.

Montgomery isn't penciling Johnson into the starting lineup just yet, but he sees Cleveland's third-round pick becoming a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

"The best way I can describe Duke is what Thurman Thomas was for Buffalo," Montgomery said last week via the Akron-Beacon Journal. "It's going to be all over the field. It's a 'Where's Waldo?' He gives you another dimension. He creates one-on-one problems. We hope he can be a little bit like the kid, Bernard, in Cincinnati. If he can do that for us, that gives us a different perspective on how we approach the field and gives us a chance to move people around and taking advantage of a mismatch."

Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell might have something to say about Johnson's playing time. Last year's Baby Backs battled with Ben Tate for playing time, leading to Tate's premature exit from Cleveland after eight games. 

Johnson will also have to prove that he can handle a heavy workload. His draft stock declined some amid concerns over his 5-foot-9, 207-pound frame and his 242 carries for Miami last season marked the first time he rushed the ball more than 150 times. Nevertheless, he still became the Hurricanes' all-time leading rusher with 1,652 yards his final season -- ahead of Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, and Willis McGahee.

"It’s hard to have an every-down back in this league," Montgomery added. "There’s too much punishment going on out there on the field. We’ve got to carve out a role for Duke. It wouldn’t be fair [when] we have never put the pads on yet to say, ‘He’s our starter.’ We don’t know how he’s going to recover from practice to practice yet. It’s totally different from college to here. He wasn't utilized that way at Miami a lot."

Head coach Mike Pettine and left tackle Joe Thomas raved about Johnson during the second week of OTAs. Adam Caplan of ESPN also walked away impressed and thinks West and Crowell have something to worry about in terms of playing time. 

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Bryant McKinnie on Canes: ‘They Need Those Personalities We Had’

Coming off a six-win season thronged with calamity, the Miami Hurricanes lost five players to the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. The future is uncertain but Vegas isn’t optimistic, pegging their over/under next year at 5.5 wins early in the offseason.

Clearly expectations have plummeted radically since the Canes of the early 2000s when the annual expectation was National Championship or bust.
Bryant McKinnie, a key cog at left tackle for those teams who went on to play 12 years in the NFL, thinks although “maybe they’re not being coached properly,” the mentality of the team is lacking compared to the old days.

“See they need those personalities that we had back then,” McKinnie said on the Kup and Crowder Show . “It was a lot of big personalities. We had a lot of people who wanted to take each other’s position. When you came in, you had James Jackson. Clinton Portis was like ‘oh I’m coming to take your position.’ I was coming to take the left tackle’s position. Everybody was coming to take somebody’s position and didn’t care and would battle each week in practice because they wanted their name called. That was the mentality and I feel like now they kind of sit back and say ‘Oh, I’m just happy to be here and go to UM.'”

“It was like alright we go to UM, but we want to play, we want to start so we were battling each other like we didn’t know each other because we wanted to take somebody’s position.”

If Bryant could change one thing with the current football program what would it be?

“I would let it go back to what it was, where you allow people to show their personality,” he said. “Let their personality shine and stop trying to make people become what you want them to be. Let them be who they are and go out there and play how they want to play. That’s how we always were. They never tried to make us conform and be like these good guys.”

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Jimmy Graham can block anyone

Jimmy Graham is one of the most-feared pass catchers in the NFL, but according to the All-Pro tight end, he can be an equally dominant blocker.

"Listen, man, I'm 270 pounds. I can block anybody I want to," he said, via 710 ESPN Seattle. "It's all about want-to. We'll see come this first Sunday."

Well, the Seahawks hope Graham is serious as he transitions into Seattle’s run-heavy system from the pass-happy Saints offense.

"For me, that's really the main focus of this offseason is really to get my mind wrapped around this run game because it is a little different," Graham told 710 ESPN recently. "I've never been in a read-option type of system, but they also do just straight-up run the ball. So for me it's some different concepts, and their footwork is a lot different than the way I've done it. But it's exciting, something new and I think just the evolution of kinda my game and growing as a player."

The entire Seahawks coaching staff has talked to Graham about the importance of blocking in their system, and according to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, “it’s something that he's totally willing to do.”

“He's excited about it,” Bevell said. “I think he kinda has a little chip; he wants to prove it as well. We're looking forward to that."

But let’s be honest for a moment. As long as Graham keeps hauling in touchdown passes — he has 51 in five season in the league — the Seattle media and coaching staff won’t harp on him too hard about his work at the line of scrimmage. 

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Devin Hester unsure about his role in Falcons’ offense

In his first year in Atlanta last season, Devin Hester found a role in the Falcons’ offense, and Atlanta made use of his unique skills in a way that the Bears, for whom he played in his first eight NFL seasons, struggled to do.

But after catching 38 passes for 504 yards last season, Hester is unsure whether he’ll have the same kind of role in Atlanta’s offense this season, with new coordinator Kyle Shanahan running the show.

“It’s still up in the air right now,” Hester told ESPN. “We’re just figuring out the offense, figuring out who fits best in what positions and what routes we’re running. We’re all fresh right now in the new offense, so we’re trying to figure out who can run the best routes. Toward mid-training camp, you’ll be able to tell.”

Hester is the best return man in NFL history and will remain the Falcons’ return specialist. Anything he can give the Falcons on offense is gravy.

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Early results have been positive for Colts rookie Phillip Dorsett

INDIANAPOLIS -- To no surprise, Indianapolis Colts rookie Phillip Dorsett has not been a disappointment so far. The Colts wouldn't have taken him in the first round considering their need for help on defense and the offensive line if they didn't feel Dorsett was worth taking at No. 29.

What's been even more impressive about Dorsett is his ability to line up at different spots on offense. The speedster will get first crack at returning kicks and punts for the Colts.

"We wouldn't be moving him around if he wasn't able to handle that," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. “His aptitude has impressed me. Obviously, speed is his calling card. But it's not just that. He's a fast guy who can play football. He has receiver's hands and he has elusiveness and change of direction that sometimes true speed freaks don't have. A lot of time they're straight-liners or can't catch, or they're little guys that lack toughness or true hands. He has that skill set."

Dorsett is competing to be the Colts' No. 3 receiver with Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter. Dorsett's signature moment (so far) came during one of the early portions of organized team activities when he blew by Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis and hauled in a long pass from quarterback Andrew Luck.

As far as the other rookies go, safety Clayton Geathers has made an early impression that will make it tough to keep him off the field. He'll be used in a hybrid safety/linebacker role. Defensive end Henry Anderson could back up Kendall Langford, cornerback D'Joun Smith is the frontrunner to be the Colts' fourth cornerback behind Davis, Greg Toler and Darius Butler. David Parry will try to get in the rotation at defensive tackle. And Josh Robinson is competing with Daniel Herron, Vick Ballard (if healthy) and Zurlon Tipton to be Frank Gore's backup at running back.

"We want them to be pros, not rookies," Grigson said. "We want them to contribute this year. And to do those things, you can't just sit back and say, 'Hey, I'm a rookie.' Same as in 2012. You've gotta roll."

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Vince Wilfork returns to New England for his Super Bowl ring

Houston Texans defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has moved on after 11 seasons with the Patriots, but he returned to New England over the weekend to tie up one important loose end. On Sunday, Wilfork attended a party at owner Robert Kraft's house where members of the 2014 Patriots received their Super Bowl rings.
While another former Patriot, Darrelle Revis, was unable to attend because of a "prior commitment," Wilfork was there and seemed happy to mingle with his former coaches and teammates as he picked up his new hardware.

Wilfork won two Super Bowls during his time in New England. The 33-year-old signed with the Texans in March after the Patriots elected not to pick up his option for the 2015 season.

The five-time Pro Bowler will have a chance to catch up with his old friends again when the Texans host the Patriots Dec. 13.

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Ereck Flowers negotiating his own contract

There were 32 players selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and New York Giants first-rounder Ereck Flowers is the only one of them who didn't hire an agent. Flowers has opted to negotiate his rookie contract by himself with limited help from his father and his lawyer. Although he hasn't come to an agreement yet, Flowers noted that negotiations are going well. When Flowers does finally sign the dotted line, he will be about $432,000 richer for not having hired an agent.

When Flowers is unsure of something discussed during the negotiations, he feels comfortable with the team he has in place.

"I have people I talk to," Flowers said, per True Jersey.

Flowers hopes to get a deal done "soon", but he's not going to rush through the process.

"I'd rather get it done soon," Flowers said. "But as long as it takes. Whatever it takes."

The Giants are certainly hoping that a deal gets done soon. They are counting on big things from their rookie offensive tackle in 2015. Throughout OTA practices, Flowers has lined up exclusively as the starting left tackle. 

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Jimmy Graham explains why basketball players are good tight ends

Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham was a college basketball player who became a Pro Bowl player in the NFL. That’s nothing new for his position.

The same was true for former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.

Graham only played one season of college football at the University of Miami, but four seasons of basketball. Gonzalez played football and basketball at California, helping the Bears make the Sweet 16 his junior year.

Gates was a high school basketball star in Detroit, averaging 27 points and 12 rebounds his senior season, before signing with Michigan State. But Nick Saban, who was the football coach at Michigan State at the time, wanted Gates to only play football.

Gates ended up at Kent State his final two years of college, averaging 21 points and 8 rebounds his senior season, when Kent State advanced to the Elite Eight.
So what is it about these guys that enabled them to become successful NFL tight ends after playing college basketball?

“We have really good body control and foot work,” Graham said on John Clayton’s 710 ESPN Seattle radio show. “When the ball’s in the air, it doesn’t matter where it is, we can adjust to it. And now when you come down, you don’t have to worry about a hardwood floor. You have some nice grass to land on.”

Or turf, but it's still softer than hardwood. Graham (6-foot-7, 270 pounds) is huge for an NFL tight end, but not so much for a forward in college basketball.

“A lot of the guys who transitioned from basketball to football were undersized big men, for the most part,’’ Graham said. “You get used to going against guys who are 6-11 or taller. You either have to be real strong or real tough or both.”

Graham said he learned a lot from Gonzalez, a former division rival in the NFC South when Graham played for the New Orleans Saints and Gonzalez was with the Falcons. Gonzalez was a 14-time Pro Bowl selection who retired after the 2013 season. He’s a lock for a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“My first Pro Bowl [2011] I was there with Tony and really picked his brain,” Graham said. “He looked to teach me a lot of things. Even though we were in the same division, he was so generous with giving me information. He would talk about how he preps in the offseason and all the little details.”

Graham said those tips have made a big difference in his career. Graham has made the Pro Bowl in three of the last four years, including the last two seasons. He has 51 career TD receptions, 40 of which came on plays that started in the red zone.

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RBs coach wants to use Duke Johnson to play ‘Where’s Waldo?’ with defenses

BEREA: Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery isn’t counting on Duke Johnson to become a starter as a rookie, but he does envision a significant role for the University of Miami’s all-time leading rusher this season.

Montgomery is intrigued by Johnson’s versatility and prowess as a receiving threat. Those attributes have led Montgomery to compare Johnson to players from the past — Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas — and present — Cincinnati Bengals standout Giovani Bernard.

“The best way I can describe Duke is what Thurman Thomas was for Buffalo,” Montgomery said Thursday after practice. “It’s going to be all over the field. It’s a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ He gives you another dimension. He creates one-on-one problems. We hope he can be a little bit like the kid, Bernard, in Cincinnati. If he can do that for us, that gives us a different perspective on how we approach the field and gives us a chance to move people around and taking advantage of a mismatch.”
So the Browns plan to move Johnson around in their offense and use him in several ways.

Making him an every-down back, though, isn’t on the agenda. Especially not with promising second-year running backs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West on the roster.

“It’s hard to have an every-down back in this league,” Montgomery said. “There’s too much punishment going on out there on the field. We’ve got to carve out a role for Duke. It wouldn’t be fair [when] we have never put the pads on yet to say, ‘He’s our starter.’ We don’t know how he’s going to recover from practice to practice yet. It’s totally different from college to here. He wasn’t utilized that way at Miami a lot.

“So with Duke, we’ve just got to find a way how we’re going to utilize him. Like Le’Veon Bell, his first year [with the Pittsburgh Steelers], he wasn’t the guy, but you kind of like working him into being the guy. Duke, I’m not saying he’s not going to be the guy. But I don’t know the workload he can handle right now.”

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Frank Gore with something to prove to 49ers, Colts

Frank Gore is grateful to be with the Indianapolis Colts and after spending the past 10 seasons with San Francisco 49ers, he's eager to show both teams he continues to be one of the NFL's top running backs.

"When you still love the game, and you go to another team, you don't think about what you've done in the league," Gore said, via USA Today.  "You think about what you want to do for that team, for that team that wanted you. You want to make them feel like they were right and want to show the people in the other organization that you were with before that that they were wrong."

Gore, a five-time Pro Bowler with eight 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, signed a three-year, $12-million deal with Indianapolis in March. Gore is expected to be a key contributor on a team with Super Bowl aspirations and he's confident he still has more to offer.

"When you watch (last year's) film, and you see what I did when I did get opportunities, I did great things with it," Gore said. "I'm not knocking DeMarco Murray — I think he's a great back — but I feel like I was the probably the top guy on the market this last offseason.

"My challenge is that I want to show the league that I can still be Frank Gore — that's in every phase of the game, not just running."

To that end, Gore refuses to rest on past accomplishments. With the Colts offseason program now over, the team is off until the start of training camp in August. Gore said he plans to return home to Miami and will train with a group of young running backs, including Cincinnati's Giovanni Bernard, Cleveland's Duke Johnson and Rashad Jennings of the New York Giants.

"You keep yourself honest. If you train with young guys, at your position, second or third year — and if you're keeping up with them or beating them — you got a great shot to have a great year," Gore said.

"They help me, I'll help them. This is why I feel I'm still playing, because of the way I'm training."

Gore continues to push himself, and he can feel the difference being with a new team has made.

"I look at it like this: once you have success, everybody can get kind of cocky. I kind of felt that last year, starting the season when I was with the Niners, we were cocky," Gore said. "I don't feel that here, you know? They work."

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Michael Irvin happy the Cowboys haven't retired his number

Most of the all-time great NFL players want to see their jersey numbers retired by the team they poured their heart and soul out for. When you narrow that focus to just the wide receivers, known by many as the "diva" position, you can expect them all to hold this viewpoint. Former Dallas Cowboys all-time legend Michael Irving is different. Irving is glad that the Cowboys have not yet retired his No. 88 jersey number.

"Why would I just want you to just put the jersey in the rafters and then the only time you show the jersey is when I croak?"  Irvin said, per "And then I die and then you come on TV and say "oh, we lost Michael today, there's his jersey, back to the game!'  And then you get right back to the game!  But now, Dez Bryant wears the jersey, every Sunday when he makes a play somebody is saying aw man, he looks just like Michael Irvin!  And every Sunday if he drops a pass somebody says 'Michael Irvin wouldn't have dropped that pass'.  You know what I'm saying?  So I get my flowers while I'm living!"

Irving is a member of the Cowboys' official Ring of Honor that includes 10 other offensive players, seven defenders and two front office men.

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Warren Sapp takes it 'one day at a time'

EGG HARBOR CITY, N.J. ‐ With that trademark chuckle, ex-NFL star Warren Sapp laughed off the idea that he misses talking football after being fired by the NFL Network earlier this year. Sapp insisted he still talks football every day of his life, and more than he'd probably like.

It's just not in front of the camera and in the public eye these days after Sapp lost his job following a post-Super Bowl arrest in Phoenix, Ariz. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle was charged with soliciting a prostitute and assault in February. He reportedly accepted a deal where he plead guilty "to one count of solicitation and one count of assault and in exchange he must complete 2 counseling programs."

Asked Monday at Ron Jaworski's Celebrity Golf Challenge, what is in his future, Sapp replied in a hushed tone, "Live one day at a time."

Is everything going good so far?

"One day at a time," he said.

Does he desire to one day get back in the public spotlight and resume what was once a promising career?

"I haven't desired anything in a long time, my man," said Sapp, who received a direct invite from Jaworski to the event (where half the proceeds go to the NFL Alumni Association) and immediately accepted.

Sapp's employment status hasn't kept him away from the game completely. He remains in tune with what is going on around the league.

He's been following the offseason closely. It doesn't mean he's been able to figure out the NFC East. That remains an enigma after an offseason filled with drama and personnel moves.

"I have no idea what the hell Chip Kelly is doing," Sapp said emphatically, his voice finally reaching its seemingly normal tone. "The Giants, I have no idea what they're doing because they're still looking for linemen, I think. And the Cowboys, they're always going to be the Cowboys. Haha. That will be fun. The East will be tough."

Sapp's uncertainty with the Giants stems almost exclusively on their offensive line. He questions whether they can run the ball consistently.

And if there is one thing Sapp seems certain about, it's how the Giants want to operate.

"I know Coughlin. He's going to want to run the ball," Sapp said.

The Giants didn't run the ball last season. That was not lost on Sapp. They finished 23rd in the NFL at just over 100 yards per game.  

"Like I said, [Coughlin's] going to want to run the ball. That is the key for him," Sapp said. "As complex and wide open as you think it is, turn around and hand it off if you want to win a football game if you can dominate the line of scrimmage.

"Coughlin is from that old school. I know that for a fact."

Finally, there was a glimpse of the Warren Sapp that spent seven years as an analyst at the NFL Network. Talking football brought it out of him.

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Orlando Franklin leads a tougher Chargers line

Stopping the run at Chargers practice isn't so easy for Donald Butler anymore.

The inside linebacker has to maneuver around mammoth new lineman Orlando Franklin on a day in, day out basis.

"Just look at the man," Butler told ESPN. "His size alone -- he’s huge. So when he’s coming off of that double team, you better have your chin strap buckled up because he’s coming to take your head off."

It'll be a problem 31 other teams will have to think about in 2015. General manager Tom Telesco upgraded San Diego's size up front after watching his team tally a measly 3.2 yards-per-attempt on first down in 2014 -- second-worst in the NFL. 

That'll change with the 6-6, 326-pound Franklin now anchoring the interior.

"There’s no ceiling to this offensive line, to be honest with you," said Franklin, who signed with the Chargers this offseason. "When we want to run the ball, we should be able to get that done."

Butler agrees. He's seen the way Franklin and the new-look line gets downhill to block the run.

"And that’s what you love out of your O-linemen," said the inside linebacker. "I wouldn’t say down and dirty, but someone that brings that gritty mindset -- we want to run the ball, and you can run it behind me."

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Kayne Farquharson placed on six months probation, fined

Under a plea agreement, former Nebraska Danger players Claude Wroten and Kayne Farquharson were sentenced on Friday to six months probation and ordered to pay restitution and fines for the use of financial transaction device.

Wroten was initially charged with a felony and a misdemeanor, while Farquharson was charged with one misdemeanor. Under the plea agreement, both were found guilty of misdemeanors.

Wroten, 31, pleaded no contest to unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, involving $200 to $500, and theft of property, lost or mislaid. District Judge Philip Martin assessed two fines against Wroten totaling $550.

Farquharson, 30, pleaded no contest to unauthorized use of financial transaction device, involving up to $200. He was fined $350.

In addition to the probation, both men were ordered to pay court costs of $49 each.

Together, the two men will also have to pay restitution of up to $813.74.

Wroten and Farquharson used a debit-credit card belonging to Carol Knauss, which Wroten found in the parking lot of Pumpers. Farquharson used the card to buy shoes at Foot Locker, and Wroten used the card to pay a Charter Communications bill. The crimes occurred on May 4 and 5.

Attorney Robert Alexander, representing Farquharson, said his client has no prior record as far as he can determine and that Farquharson has been "very cooperative in this matter."

Wroten told Martin that he called Charter to make sure the problem was resolved and that the shoes had been returned to Foot Locker with the receipt.

Wroten said that he had used poor judgment and "would like to put this behind me and move forward."

Marvin Anderson, Wroten’s lawyer, said his client literally found opportunity lying at his feet in the parking lot and exercised poor judgement.

Anderson also asked that the fine against his client be lowered because Danger players don’t make a lot of money. They play, he said, "for the love of the game." Martin lowered the amount from what the state had recommended.

In an interview outside the courtroom, Wroten said he had the money put back on Knauss’ card "because I’m a good character guy."

After the crime, Wroten realized that he’s familiar with Knauss.

"I know this lady," he said, adding that they’ve run into each other at Pumpers. "We hug, kiss, talk about great things in Grand Island and Danger football and whatnot. So I took it upon myself to do that and make sure she got reimbursed."

If they violate probation, the men will face up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

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Yasmani Grandal homers in loss to Rangers

Yasmani Grandal hit a solo homer and drew a walk in Monday's loss to the Rangers.

Grandal's eighth-inning blast off Tanner Scheppers was the only offense of the game for the Dodgers. The 26-year-old has three homers in his last four games and owns a strong .272/.383/.477 batting line on the year to go along with eight homers and 23 RBI in 48 games.

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