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Trufant, Alford step into Atlanta leadership roles (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:54:51 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons need new leadership on defense, and coach Mike Smith says second-year cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford fit the job description perfectly. ''They've got to continue to grow from where they were last year.'' Coming off a 4-12 season that ended with their defense ranked last in third-down efficiency, second-worst against the run and third-fewest in sacks, the Falcons still have unfulfilled leadership roles at several positions. Trufant and Alford are showing a healthy dose of swagger in training camp, particularly after meeting expectations as first- and second-round draft picks in 2013. Trufant started all 16 games, played the second-most number of snaps on defense and ranked second among NFL rookies with 17 passes defended.

NFL roundup: Jets' Pryor has concussion (The SportsXchange)
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:02:10 PDT)
New York Jets first-round safety Calvin Pryor sustained a concussion in practice, coach Rex Ryan confirmed Sunday.

Texans sign LBs Groves, Sidbury (The SportsXchange)
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 09:40:53 PDT)
The Houston Texans signed outside linebackers Quentin Groves and Lawrence Sidbury on Sunday.

Team Report - CHICAGO BEARS (The SportsXchange)
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 19:40:16 PDT)
Desperate Bears consider 'deformed' safety

Team Report - HOUSTON TEXANS (The SportsXchange)
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 19:40:16 PDT)
Johnson reports to Texans camp

Falcons want big improvement from guys up front (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:14:11 PDT)
Through the first two days of training camp, the Atlanta Falcons look just fine along the offensive line. ''We're out here in pajamas,'' guard Justin Blalock quipped. All joking aside, the Falcons must improve up front after a miserable 2013 season, when a team with Super Bowl aspirations staggered to a 4-12 mark. Much of the blame fell on the offensive line after quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times and Atlanta ranked last in the league in rushing, despite adding Steven Jackson.

National Football League roundup
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:16:08 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - The Green Bay Packers gave wide receiver Jordy Nelson a contract extension on Saturday. Nelson's new deal is for four years and worth $39 million, according to reports. CBS Sports reported that it includes an $11.5 million signing bonus and $14.2 million guaranteed. - - - Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Saturday that he hopes rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel will moderate his behavior off the field.

NFL roundup: Packers extend WR Nelson's contract (The SportsXchange)
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:10:43 PDT)
The Green Bay Packers gave wide receiver Jordy Nelson contract extension on Saturday. Nelson's new deal is for four years and worth $39 million, according to reports. Nelson, 29, was entering the final year of his contract. In the last three seasons, Nelson has 202 receptions for 3,322 yards with 30 TDs.

Falcons sign WR Sambrano (The SportsXchange)
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:26:44 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons signed wide receiver Jabin Sambrano on Saturday.

Camps are open, training rooms will get busy (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 26 Jul 2014 10:27:07 PDT)
Now that training camps are underway, team owners and fantasy football fans alike are holding their collective breath, praying to reach the regular season with their rosters intact. Three playmaking linebackers didn't even make it through the offseason healthy: Dallas' Sean Lee, Buffalo's Kiko Alonso and Atlanta's Sean Weatherspoon, all hurt in seemingly tame circumstances. Three other players barely made it to training camp before sustaining season-ending injuries - all without getting touched. Ravens cornerback Aaron Ross tore an Achilles tendon during his conditioning test.

Team Report - ATLANTA FALCONS (The SportsXchange)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:45:45 PDT)
White done, Jones deal is up next

Falcons open training camp with 'sense of urgency' (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:03:38 PDT)
Coming off a dismal 4-12 record - their first losing mark since 2007 - the Falcons opened training camp Friday eager to show it won't happen again. ''I'd like to see the intensity level from day one be much higher than what it's been in the past,'' coach Mike Smith said. ''I think everybody understands there's a sense of urgency in what we want to accomplish.'' Heeding that admonition, first-round pick Jake Matthews - expected to move right in as a starter on Atlanta's beleaguered offensive line - got into a scuffle with defensive end Kroy Biermann about 90 minutes into practice. The Falcons unexpectedly waived second-year receiver Darius Johnson, who made a surprising contribution after star Julio Jones went down with the a season-ending injury.

Roethlisberger extension will wait until 2015 (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:44:46 PDT)
The Pittsburgh Steelers want to reward Ben Roethlisberger for the two Super Bowls he's already won while also making sure the talent around their quarterback is good enough to make a legitimate run at a third ring. Steelers president Art Rooney II said Friday the team is putting off awarding Roethlisberger a lengthy - and certainly lucrative - extension until the offseason so it can focus on improving a roster that has missed the playoffs each of the past two years. Pittsburgh typically renegotiates with its starting quarterback when there are two years remaining on the current deal. Roethlisberger is about to enter the penultimate season of an eight-year, $102 million contract he signed before the 2008 season.

NFL roundup: Lynch a no-show at Seahawks' camp (The SportsXchange)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:23:50 PDT)
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch officially started his contract holdout Friday by not attending the first day of training camp. General manager John Schneider addressed Lynch's absence on ESPN radio in Seattle but would not say if the team would restructure the final two years on his contract. ---Andre Johnson spent months away from the team, but when it came time for the Houston Texans to report to training camp, the All-Pro wide receiver was back in formation. The 33-year-old wide receiver requested a trade and said he would not report to training camp after skipping offseason workouts and minicamp.

Falcons waive WR Johnson before training camp (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:32:01 PDT)
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons have waived wide receiver Darius Johnson.

Ex-players join Rams as part of Walsh program (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:03:38 PDT)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Four former NFL players have joined the Rams coaching staff this summer as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program.

Falcons waive WR Johnson (The SportsXchange)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:10:33 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons waived wide receiver Darius Johnson, who caught 22 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown last season as an undrafted rookie signed out of Southern Methodist. Johnson saw unexpected significant playing time in 2013, appearing in 10 games with Julio Jones suffering a season-ending injury. His most memorable game as a rookie came in a six-catch, 67-yard effort on Thursday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints, but the performance was marred by Johnson's fumble in the red zone that cost the Falcons a chance at a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Team Report - KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (The SportsXchange)
(Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:10:16 PDT)
Charles agrees to new Chiefs contract

NFL roundup: Rice suspension set at two games (The SportsXchange)
(Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:40:29 PDT)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season by the NFL after his offseason arrest on an assault charge stemming from an incident with his fiancee. Rice stands to lose more than $470,000 in base salary and will also be fined $58,000, per the report. Rice can practice with the team and play in preseason games, with the suspension beginning Aug. 30. He is eligible to be reinstated Sept. 12, meaning Rice will miss key home games against division rivals -- the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and a Week 2 tilt against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

Falcons WR White agrees to 4-year extension (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:50:43 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons agreed to a four-year extension with receiver Roddy White on the eve of training camp on Thursday. With players reporting for camp throughout the afternoon, White was not available for comment. Coming off a 4-12 season, Atlanta is counting on a return to full health for both White and receiver Julio Jones. He was leading the NFL with 41 catches and ranked second in yards receiving at the time.

Titans agree with NFL's last unsigned draft pick (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:27:26 PDT)
The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with left tackle Taylor Lewan on Thursday, making the 11th overall selection out of Michigan the last of this year's draft picks to reach a deal. Lewan reportedly received a four-year deal worth $11.5 million with a signing bonus of $6.7 million. The 6-foot-7, 309-pound Lewan was an AP All-American and a two-time Big Ten offensive lineman of the year. The third tackle selected in the draft after Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews, Lewan practiced at both tackle spots this offseason for Tennessee and will be competing with right tackle Michael Oher and veteran left tackle Michael Roos.

Shutdown Countdown: Cincinnati Bengals try to get over playoff hump (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:20:54 PDT)

Roddy White signs contract extension that could make him Falcon for life (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:49:16 PDT)
It's rare to see an NFL player remain with the same team for the duration of a long career. But Roddy White apparently intends to be with the Atlanta Falcons as long as he can. Falcon for life! More on the Roddy contract extension: #RiseUp — Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) July 24, 2014 [ Smack talk season is back at Yahoo Sports: Sign up and play free Fantasy Football! ] White's four-year extension includes three additional years added to his current deal, which was slated to run out after this season, and will run through the 2017 season. At 32, White is coming off a down season — 63 passes for 711 yards, both lows since 2006 — that was plagued by injuries. White played through a balky hamstring and yet later was forced to miss three games — the first missed games of his nine-year career. But a strong finish (43 catches, 502 yards, two TDs in the final five games last season) was enough to remind people that reports of his demise had been greatly exaggerated. The Falcons clearly still believe in White to the point where the reported financial parameters make this quite a player-friendly deal for one of the team's most popular players. Falcons WR Roddy White's new four-year deal with ATL is worth up to $30 million, including $18 million the next two seasons, per source. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2014 White and Julio Jones might not be the most dynamic wide receiver duo in the league anymore, but there are few pairs who are better when healthy. If they can run like they did in 2012 (and prior), Matt Ryan and the Falcons should be very happy, even with the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. But in a league where even Peyton Manning changed teams in the twilight of his career, White might be headed toward being a Falcon for life. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

NFL roundup: Bowlen relinquishes control of Broncos (The SportsXchange)
(Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:43:56 PDT)
Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is resigning control of the team to focus on battling Alzheimer's Disease. In 16 playoff appearances, the Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl six times. "This is a sad day for the NFL," commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday in a statement released by the league. "Pat Bowlen's leadership has been critical to the success of the Broncos and the entire NFL."

Texans sign OT Clabo (The SportsXchange)
(Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:51:37 PDT)
The Houston Texans signed veteran free agent offensive tackle Tyson Clabo on Wednesday.

Smith sets 'bigger and stronger' edict for Falcons (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:28:31 PDT)
Mike Smith didn't like seeing the Atlanta Falcons pushed around in 2013. After the Falcons' first losing season in six years with Smith, the coach set the agenda for the offseason. ''We want to be a bigger and stronger football team,'' Smith said. Right tackle Jake Matthews of Texas A&M was selected in the first round of the draft.

NFL roundup: Dungy addresses comments on Sam (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:13:29 PDT)
A day after Tony Dungy was largely skewered for saying he would not have drafted openly gay linebacker Michael Sam, the former NFL coach clarified his comments and provided context. Dungy issued a statement Tuesday in an attempt to explain what he called an "honest answer" to a question for a story that appeared Sunday in the Tampa Tribune. "I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. "I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process.

Smith confident Bucs can make quick turnaround (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:22:46 PDT)
Lovie Smith talks about making the Tampa Bay Buccaneers relevant again. Smith not only has a proven track record as an NFL head coach, but inherited a talented nucleus the club began accumulating under Raheem Morris and later Greg Schiano, who was fired after going 11-21 during a tumultuous two-year stint. ''I'm not going into meetings saying: 'Hey guys, we were 4-12 last year, we've got to get to 5-11, we've made improvement,''' said Smith, who went 81-63, won three division titles, advanced to two NFC championship games and made one Super Bowl appearance in nine seasons with the Chicago Bears from 2004-2012. ''It's all about winning.'' Smith and new general manager Jason Licht discarded Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis and his $16 million annual salary, providing additional salary cap space to overhaul the roster in free agency.

Falcons sign former Colts linebacker Pat Angerer (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:58:31 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons have added depth and experience at linebacker by signing former Colts starter Pat Angerer. Atlanta lost linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for the season with a torn Achilles in June. Angerer, a second-round pick by Indianapolis in 2010, made nine starts in 2013 and had 63 tackles with one interception. Angerer finished last season on injured reserve with a knee injury.

LB Angerer, WR Ebert catch on with Falcons (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:39:17 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons went shopping for a linebacker after Sean Weatherspoon was lost for the season and found Pat Angerer. The Falcons also signed wide receiver Jeremy Ebert on Tuesday. Angerer, a former Indianapolis Colts linebacker, worked out for the Falcons on Tuesday and impressed them enough to land a job. Angerer's 2013 season ended with a knee injury after 11 games that was repaired with microfracture surgery.

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