Suspensions ruin Broncos’ quiet summer



ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For the second time in less than a week the Denver Broncos have a starter facing league discipline to open the season. A team that had coveted a quiet summer has had anything but that as the regular-season opener approaches.

Tuesday, it was revealed Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker is facing a four-game suspension for violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy, according to my sources and sources for ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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Perfect fit: America’s Team and Michael Sam



IRVING, Texas — If there were ever a team built to add Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, it’s the Dallas Cowboys.

Sam, expected to join the practice squad if he passes a physical Wednesday, will fit right in.

Just like Deion Sanders did. And Bill Parcells did. And Terrell Owens did. Hey, this is America’s Team, the NFL’s most polarizing franchise.

No other franchise is even close.

That’s why they’re still a regular part of the league’s prime-time television package even though a generation has grown up in north Texas with no clue the Cowboys used to rule the NFL.

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What Carr should expect: ‘Pure dominance’


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets like to believe they have one of the best front sevens in the NFL. No argument here. With the cornerback position in a state of emergency, it needs to be the Magnificent Seven, especially with a rookie quarterback coming to town. Derek Carr gets the start for the Oakland Raiders, and the Jets have to treat him as harshly as big brother David was treated during his years in the NFL.

The ever-confident Sheldon Richardson was asked Tuesday what Carr can expect Sunday from the Jets’ front seven.

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Earl Thomas happy about returning punts


RENTON, Wash. — After all the speculation in preseason about whether All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas really would be the punt returner for the Seahawks this season, and all the debate about whether he should be, Thomas said he’s ready to go.

“I get to play punt returner and free safety,” Thomas said Tuesday. “I get to play both ways. This is what I did in high school, so it just feels good to be on the ultimate stage like this and have that opportunity.

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Calvin Johnson healthy entering season


ALLEN PARK, Mich. — He missed practices last season as a way to try and preserve himself, as a way to make sure that when things mattered on Sundays, he would be able to participate with the rest of the Detroit Lions.

Calvin Johnson, though, would rather not watch practices from the sidelines. Not during training camp, and not during the regular season, either. So he said even though he’s healthy now, there’s no plan that he knows of to rest him during game weeks.

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Michael Sam makes football sense for Cowboys



IRVING, Texas — Signing Michael Sam to the practice squad is a move that makes perfect football sense for the Dallas Cowboys.

Forget about the fact that Sam is seeking to become the first openly gay NFL player. If the Cowboys aren’t mature enough to handle that, they’re doomed anyway.

So what if Sam gets more attention than any other practice-squad player? If anything, it’s a bonus for owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who loves when the Cowboys are in the news and jerseys are being sold.

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Will Cowboys’ defensive state lead to Sam?


IRVING, Texas — In search of pass-rushing help, the Dallas Cowboys will bring Michael Sam in for a physical on Wednesday and potentially add him to the practice squad.

Forget the off-the-field attention that would accompany Sam should he join the Cowboys, how does he fit on the field?

Sam was not on the Cowboys’ draft board in May. At the time, they did not believe he would be a good fit in Rod Marinelli’s scheme. Marinelli constantly stresses speed all over the defense and Sam timed poorly leading up to the draft despite being the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Year last season at Missouri.

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JC Tretter likely headed to temporary IR


GREEN BAY, Wis. — It looks like it will be at least eight weeks before JC Tretter sees the field for the Green Bay Packers.

The team is expected to use its one-and-only spot on the injured reserve/designated to return list on the player who was supposed to be its opening-day starting center.

“The timeline is such that it would make sense to designate him for return,” Tretter’s agent, Alan Herman, said Tuesday.

Tuesday was the first day teams could use that designation on a player, and it would not show up on the NFL’s official transactions until Wednesday.

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Marshawn Lynch speaks briefly to reporters


RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch talked to the media Tuesday for the first time since the Super Bowl.

Actually, Lynch did everything he could to not talk to the media in regard to football questions, but still have a brief interview session around his locker with the music blaring behind him, making it almost impossible to hear his brief responses.

Lynch did have a meaningful response to a question about his foundation.

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Welker’s injury could test Broncos growth


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos will likely carry the will-he-or-won’t-he question about wide receiver Wes Welker through the week.

Welker suffered his third concussion in 10 months in the team’s Aug. 23 preseason loss to the Houston Texans and has been under the guidelines of the league’s concussion protocol since. Welker returned to the practice field, on a limited basis, for the first time since the injury Monday as the team went through a non-padded practice.

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