FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007 file photo, former Detroit Lions tight end Charlie Sanders stands with his bronze bust during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Sanders played 10 seasons in the NFL. The Detroit Lions say Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders has died at age 68, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)

Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders epitomized Detroit's blue-collar roots. On Thursday, the man who spent 43 years in the Lions' organization as a player, broadcaster and scout died in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak after battling cancer. Lions spokesman Matt Barnhart said the team confirmed Sanders' death through family members.

Posted: July 3, 2015, 2:19 am

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) warms up before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Antonio Gates' squeaky-clean image took a big hit Thursday when the San Diego Chargers' star tight end was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. The NFL said in a statement that Gates can participate in training camp and exhibition games. One of the NFL's top tight ends for more than a decade, Gates has had a Hall of Fame-caliber career after joining the Chargers as an undrafted rookie in 2003 following a college basketball career.

Posted: July 2, 2015, 10:28 pm
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Texans have released defensive lineman Brandon Ivory a day after he was charged in a residential burglary in Tuscaloosa.
Posted: July 2, 2015, 9:14 pm

New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season on Thursday for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Richardson will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Monday, Oct. 5 after the team's Oct. 4 game against the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins. ''I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans,'' Richardson said in a statement.

Posted: July 2, 2015, 8:58 pm
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Packers defensive end Datone Jones has been suspended for the first game this season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Posted: July 2, 2015, 8:47 pm

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2014, file photo, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain is shown on the sidelines during the fist half of an NFL preseason football game against the Denver Broncos in Arlington, Texas. Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. The league said in a statement Thursday, July 2, 2015, that McClain would be suspended without pay and eligible to return for Dallas' Week 5 game against New England. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)

Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, putting two key Dallas defenders on the sideline to start the season with pass rusher Greg Hardy's 10-game ban. The league said in a statement Thursday that McClain would be suspended without pay and eligible to return for Dallas' Week 5 game against New England. The suspension is likely to cost McClain more than his base salary because of bonuses tied to playing time in the one-year, $3 million contract he signed this offseason.

Posted: July 2, 2015, 7:56 pm

Football fans watch the second half of an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.The Steelers won 51-34. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to turn the 2023 Super Bowl into a home game. The franchise submitted an application at the owner's meetings in May for the right to bid on the 2023 Super Bowl. It's the first time the Steelers - whose six Super Bowl victories are the most in the NFL - and city have sent in an application to host the title game.

Posted: July 1, 2015, 10:09 pm
WRENTHAM, Mass. (AP) -- Former Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes has pleaded guilty in a hit-and-run crash that injured three people and will serve a year of probation.
Posted: July 1, 2015, 9:05 pm
The Buffalo Bills are providing offensive tackle Wayne Hunter an opportunity to revive his career. Hunter signed with the Bills on Wednesday. The 6-foot-5 and 318-pound Hunter has been out of football since being released by St. Louis following the 2012 season.
Posted: July 1, 2015, 6:51 pm

Former New England Patriots NFL football player Aaron Hernandez stands as the judge enters the courtroom before Hernandez's arraignment at Suffolk Superior Court, Thursday, May 21, 2015, in Boston, on a charge of trying to silence a witness in a double murder case against him by shooting the man in the face. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) -- A Massachusetts judge who oversaw the trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has rejected a request to throw out his first-degree murder conviction or reduce it to second-degree murder.

Posted: July 1, 2015, 2:58 pm
For four days now, rumors and reports have suggested that a long-term deal between the Cowboys and receiver Dez Bryant is imminent. For four days now, nothing has happened. The latest rumors and reports point to a deal maybe, possibly being announced Monday. Which would be a fairly impressive feat; as one source with knowledge…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 4, 2015, 12:40 am
When a Judge E. Susan Garsh ruled declined earlier this week to throw out the guilty verdict against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd, it didn’t end her work on the case. Still pending is the question of whether Judge Garsh will allow the attorneys to investigate whether…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 11:02 pm
Thursday’s quartet of suspensions included three guys who were suspended for four games each, and one player who was suspended for only one game. Packers defensive end Datone Jones received a one-game suspension under the substance-abuse policy. But no one will talk about the specific violation that triggered the one-game suspension. The formula for discipline under…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 10:40 pm
Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil, a potential Top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, is facing scrutiny from the NCAA about his contact with agents. Tunsil was arrested last week and accused of punching his stepfather. Now his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, has com forward to say that the fight between them started when…
Author: Michael David Smith
Posted: July 3, 2015, 9:54 pm
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has threatened to miss regular-season games if he doesn’t get the contract he wants by July 15, the deadline for signing franchise-tagged players to a multi-year deal. It was obvious from the moment owner Jerry Jones said he’s confident Bryant will be leading the charge in Week One against the Giants…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 7:48 pm
The city of San Diego has been able to hang onto one of its civic institutions, and apparently, it’s the more important one. According to U-T San Diego, the city has signed a two-year extension to its deal to host Comic-Con, keeping the pop-culture convention there through 2018. The eye-opening part is that people there may prefer that…
Author: Darin Gantt
Posted: July 3, 2015, 7:16 pm
In 2003, Rush Limbaugh resigned from a shortly held job on ESPN after his opinion that the media overpraised Donovan McNabb because it was “very desirous” to see an African-American quarterback do well in the NFL was met with much criticism. More than 10 years later, Limbaugh finds the media singing a different tune when…
Author: Josh Alper
Posted: July 3, 2015, 6:28 pm
Mike Tice is in his fourth different stop as an NFL offensive line coach this season with the Raiders, and he thinks he now has his most physically imposing group yet. “I’m pretty excited about the group I have to work with. First of all, it’s the biggest – I was telling my wife and…
Author: Michael David Smith
Posted: July 3, 2015, 5:35 pm
The Broncos re-signed a free agent tight end this offseason, but it wasn’t their biggest name at the position. Julius Thomas is now in Jacksonville while Virgil Green has remained in Denver for a fifth season. Green’s first four seasons have seen him spend a lot of time as a blocker, which has resulted in…
Author: Josh Alper
Posted: July 3, 2015, 3:57 pm
OK, so I had a couple of weeks of vacation last month. And, yeah, I’ve got more vacation coming up. But today is a holiday for plenty of people, but I’ll be manning the Mr. Microphone at PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Primarily since it’s really not any different than having a really long…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 3:37 pm
Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and head coach Chip Kelly go back a long way. Day played quarterback when Kelly was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire and then joined the coaching staff, which gave him a close view of Kelly’s evolution as an offensive coach. Day says Kelly would “go from Run ‘n Shoot…
Author: Josh Alper
Posted: July 3, 2015, 3:29 pm
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz isn’t spouting cliches about taking it one game at a time when asked what he expects from the coming season. Asked on NFL Network about his goals for 2015, Ertz said that he and his teammates are looking to win every game. “We want to win each and every game…
Author: Michael David Smith
Posted: July 3, 2015, 3:26 pm
The holiday weekend is getting underway, but we’ll still have three hours of PFT Live on Friday to get you up to date on all you need to know about the NFL before the fireworks go off on Saturday night. Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will join Mike Florio on the show to…
Author: Josh Alper
Posted: July 3, 2015, 3:20 pm
The apparent desire of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to become the newest highest-paid player in the NFL conflicts with the “Go ‘Hawks!” mentality Wilson regularly projects. As Wilson’s unsettled status beyond 2015 continues to linger, that disconnect could be starting to take a toll on Wilson’s reputation in Seattle. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 2:43 pm
Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion should maybe consider just avoiding his home state from now on. Not only is the state of Florida still holding the truck and the $190,028.81 in cash he was carrying with him when he was arrested with a big bag of weed, but now there’s an individual trying to get…
Author: Darin Gantt
Posted: July 3, 2015, 2:41 pm
The latest reminder from the Titans that the team still isn’t for sale came not only from interim CEO/president Steve Underwood but also from Kenneth Adams IV. As noted by David Climer of the Tennessean, some see that as the first step in the emergence of the grandson of team founder Bud Adams as the…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 1:53 pm
For most teams, the Collective Bargaining Agreement makes negotiating rookie contracts a breeze. But the Titans are not like most teams. With Marcus Mariota still unsigned, the Titans are the only team in the NFL without its first-round pick under contract. Just like they were last year, when tackle Taylor Lewan was the last first-round…
Author: Michael David Smith
Posted: July 3, 2015, 1:48 pm
As Independence Day approaches, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp should savor his American freedoms. Because they’re in jeopardy. At least for a little while. The domestic violence charges filed against Sapp arising from an April incident with his long-time girlfriend in Las Vegas have resulted in the reopening of Sapp’s other 2015 legal…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 12:57 pm
As long as left tackle Branden Albert is healthy, the Dolphins are set at three spots on their offensive line. Albert, right tackle Ju’Wuan James and center Mike Pouncey will be starting for the Dolphins in September, but things are a lot less clear at guard. The team has several options to sift through, but…
Author: Josh Alper
Posted: July 3, 2015, 12:10 pm
Maybe the smoothies work. And maybe Tom Coughlin should try one. The folks at Bleeding Green Nation have passed along a chart that suggests the Eagles are the healthiest team in the NFL over the last two seasons, while the Giants have been the most unhealthy over that span. The chart is based on adjusted…
Author: Darin Gantt
Posted: July 3, 2015, 12:00 pm
A look at how the Bills landed Rex Ryan as their head coach. Damien Williams is looking forward to the running back competition at Dolphins camp. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski hosted a football camp at Andrews Air Force Base this week. Assessing the impact of DE Sheldon Richardson’s suspension on the Jets. Ravens WR Michael…
Author: Josh Alper
Posted: July 3, 2015, 11:40 am
The Jets knew defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson wanted more money when they used their first-round pick on Leonard Williams, seemingly giving them a bit of leverage in the negotiations. Well, Wilkerson has it back now. With defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, they have a potential problem up front if…
Author: Darin Gantt
Posted: July 3, 2015, 10:52 am
Packers defensive end Datone Jones only got a one game suspension for his violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, but the Packers are likely going to be short more than one lineman for that game. As noted by Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers are still awaiting word on an expected punishment…
Author: Darin Gantt
Posted: July 3, 2015, 10:21 am
Would Dez Bryant really decline to sign the franchise tag and skip Week One of the regular season, missing a $750,000 paycheck in the process? The Cowboys reportedly don’t think so. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via the Dallas Morning News), the Cowboys are not budging from the offer they’ve made Bryant and…
Author: Michael David Smith
Posted: July 3, 2015, 9:55 am
The Indianapolis Colts signed linebacker Justin Shirk and waived defensive end Camaron Beard on Thursday. Shirk, an undrafted free agent out of Division II Bloomsburg, spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their rookie mini-camp in May. A transfer from the University of Oklahoma, Shirk was named as a first-team D2 All-American in each…
Author: Curtis Crabtree
Posted: July 3, 2015, 6:20 am
On Monday night, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show, where he dropped an “F” bomb and talked about “grabbing my ding-ding.” (And he also grabbed his ding-ding several times.) On Thursday night, teammate Russell Wilson appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. While there was no “ding-ding” talk, Wilson stepped way out of…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 4:54 am
When the dust settled for what was for many the last work day before the long Fourth of July weekend, the NFL had announced four suspensions in the span of roughly two hours. Starting at approximately 2:00 p.m. ET and ending at approximately 4:00 p.m. ET, the NFL had announced suspensions of Jets defensive lineman…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 4:06 am
No, a surfing clause isn’t keeping the Titans from signing quarterback Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The real reason is far less interesting. As expected, it’s the question of whether Mariota’s contract will include offset language for the fully-guaranteed payments to be made from 2015 through 2018. The Titans want to…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 1:43 am
On Saturday, the U.S.A. celebrates its 239th birthday. And NBC celebrates the return of NASCAR. The auto-racing juggernaut comes back to NBC after a nine-year absence, with Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) and Sunday’s Coke Zero 400 on NBC (7:45 p.m. ET). Both races come from the Daytona International Speedway.…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 3, 2015, 1:12 am
The story told by former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sticking a rookie with a $25,000 tab was interesting. It would have been even more interesting if it were, you know, accurate. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it started as a dinner for offensive linemen at a steakhouse, not…
Author: Mike Florio
Posted: July 2, 2015, 10:28 pm

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