Patriots take long-range view at RB


By claiming rookie running back Tyler Gaffney on waivers Monday, the New England Patriots showed willingness to a pay a short-term price for a potential long-term gain at a position where there is an uncertain future.

In doing so, they essentially added an additional draft choice, as Gaffney was selected in the sixth round in May. The cost: Gaffney’s $420,000 base salary for 2014.

Gaffney, who was part of our “Beyond the first round” series leading into the draft in part because of his excellent 6.

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Giants’ TE situation not getting any clearer


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The crux of the New York Giants’ tight end problem, with six weeks until the regular season begins, continues to be this: Their new offense wants to rely on the tight end to a significant extent, but it still doesn’t really have a tight end on which it can rely.

“Right now, we’re looking for that complete tight end who can do it all,” Giants tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride said Monday. “But we also need guys who are role players — guys who can be specialists in certain areas.

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Browns Camp Report: Day 3


BEREA, Ohio — A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Cleveland Browns training camp:

Monday was the first day the Browns could put on pads, and when they did, coach Mike Pettine said he wanted to hear the practice because if he could hear it, it meant players were being physical. There must be varying definitions of loud and physical, because Pettine said he was pleased, even though there wasn’t much to hear. It was probably the quietest full-pad practice in memory, as the Browns practiced at what almost seemed like a slower pace than normal.

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Rams Camp Report: Day 4


EARTH CITY, Mo. — A daily review of the hot topics coming out of St. Louis Rams training camp.

The Rams were finally able to put the pads on Monday morning and did so for a special teams workout before the full squad puts them on this week. Coach Jeff Fisher prefers to get his players acclimated to wearing pads in a special teams workout before throwing them into the mix of a real practice. It has been common practice in the previous two seasons as well.

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Bears Camp Report: Day 4


BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Chicago Bears training camp:

Expectations are sky high for a Bears offense that ranked No. 2 in the NFL last year in points scored (27.8 per game) and No. 5 in passing yards (267.6 per game), but the opening four days of practice have produced a mixed bag of results from a unit that is expected to return all 11 starters. Monday’s performance was no different. At certain points of the session, quarterback Jay Cutler ran the offensive scheme to perfection, firing completions to wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Marquess Wilson and tight end Martellus Bennett that went for huge gains.

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Colts Camp Report: Day 5


A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:

It is not often that the defense will win the battle against quarterback Andrew Luck and the rest of the offense. Monday was one of those days. The defense got the better of Luck and the offense during the two-minute and goal-line drills. The unit picked off Luck three times. “There were some poor decisions by me,” Luck said. “The defense makes you pay when you make bad decisions.

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Eagles’ Kelly: Draft ‘hype’ is ‘totally insane’


PHILADELPHIA — Chip Kelly expanded a bit on comments he made to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King over the weekend. The Philadelphia Eagles’ coach raised some eyebrows by saying the “hype” surrounding the NFL draft “is insane. Totally insane.”

“(King) just asked me if there was one thing about the NFL that surprised me,” Kelly said Monday, “and I just told him the hype, in general, with the draft. I think the draft is integral, obviously, in terms of putting together your team.

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Benjamin scare points at fragile situation


SPARTANBURG, S.C. — One thing was clear on Monday as the Carolina Panthers held their first practice of training camp without first-round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin, who will miss at least a few days with a bruised left knee.

They need him.

One thing was clear as quarterback Cam Newton talked about limiting his runs in camp as he continues to work the surgically-repaired left ankle back into shape.

The Panthers need him — 100 percent.

As much as I’ve insisted the offense has a chance to be better than a year ago despite the loss of the top four wide receivers from a season ago — including the team’s all-time leading receiver, Steve Smith — it’s a fragile situation.

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Hurry, hurry, see Peyton Manning dance


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Just a few days ago, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said because no fans have been able to attend the team’s training camp practices this year due to construction at the Broncos’ complex, that the players might need something to boost them “especially when you get into that third or fourth padded practice and it’s kind of the dog days of training camp.”

Well, Monday morning marked the team’s third padded practice of training camp and Manning took it upon himself to give the workout a little kick start.

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Buccaneers Camp Report: Day 4


TAMPA, Fla. — A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp:

The most intriguing player in Tampa Bay’s camp is running back Jeff Demps. The Bucs clearly are enchanted by the speed possessed by the former Olympic sprinter. There have been a few moments when Demps has looked like he could turn out to be a very special player. But there also have been some moments where his hands haven’t looked as good as his feet.

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