Saints place center Gabe Ikard on reserve/retired list

Former New Orleans Saints center Gabe Ikard has decided to retire from football after parts of five seasons spent in the NFL.

Clearly, the dispute regarding the facts of the interactions between the Seahawks and Kaepernick will become an issue in his collusion grievance, which already was due to include depositions of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Seahawks G.M. John Schneider. If those interactions happened verbally, the truth will be resolved by an assessment of the accuracy and overall credibility of the witnesses. If those interactions happened via email or text message, it may be a lot easier to decide who’s telling the truth, and who isn’t.

This is a common dynamic in employment litigation. Early on, the business refuses to consider settlement, opting to fight, fight, and fight some more. Then, after realizing following a few rounds (and one or two standing-eight counts) that the fight may not end well, settlement suddenly becomes far more palatable.

For Kaepernick and Geragos, the question possibly becomes whether they’re willing at this point to let the league and its teams off the ropes, or whether they choose to punch them through.

Sept. 9, 1 p.m. Perhaps a surprising inclusion, this game features a few intriguing quarterback subplots. Kirk Cousins signed with Minnesota in March, though it was once believed he would reunite with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Instead, Jimmy Garoppolo is in charge after joining the Niners in a trade last October. He impressed in six games, going 5-0 as a starter, but a challenge against a stout Vikes defense should be captivating.

After a surprisingly strong rookie season, Diggs badly struggled in coverage his second year before suffering a season-ending pec injury. He bounced back with a vengeance in 2017, first in his normal nickel role, and also later in the year, when he was asked to move to safety. The hard-hitting defensive back transitioned smoothly to that new role, even recording interceptions in three straight games.

Oft-injured, Robinson has flashed potential over the years when he hasn’t been banged up. He’s started games at three different spots, including an unexpected opportunity at guard last season. Ideally, he’s best suited to back up both tackles. There’s still some untapped potential here and there’s a good chance he sticks with Detroit this season in that swing role.

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Every player is asked the same question by at least one reporter at the NFL Scouting Combine: Who do you compare yourself to in the NFL?

Responses at this year’s combine included LSU’s Derrius Guice seeing Beast Mode in himself, and N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb attempting to fuse two of the league’s best edge rushers into one star.

These things — releasing a player who’s making more money than his performance is worth — indeed happen in pro sports. But what Bryant chalked it up to — him not being one of the Garrett guys, who he said expedited his departure — isn’t as common. Not surprisingly, Jones pleaded ignorance on the latter.

We likely won’t know the depth of the locker room dynamic until most of these guys are retired and left only to tell war stories. Bryant isn’t afraid to speak his piece, but there isn’t much more to say than what’s already been said (unless he starts naming names). Instead, we’ll watch to see where he lands, and if/how Dallas (which currently has a trio of Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley at receiver) replaces him.

In 2009, Stafford joined a pitiful Lions team that had an aging Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton in the quarterback room. It didn’t take long for Stafford to win the opening day gig. The 2018 Browns traded for veteran Tyrod Taylor and signed Stanton — who must love playing for winless teams — this offseason. Taylor could open training camp as the starter if the rookie drafted isn’t ready take the reins out of the gate.

However the situation shakes out, Stafford’s advice to any rookie is to continue the work that made him the top selection.

Some of those guys are going to go to teams all across the board and different, you know, positions as a team, as an organization, as a roster, all of that, Stafford said. I think the biggest thing you can do is just go be yourself. Be yourself, work hard and let the chips fall as they may. If those guys do that, I think they’ll be successful. All those guys are super talented. You watch them play in college football and they do a great job with their teams. Just go out there, and have fun doing it.

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Griffin listens intently and scowls.

The edge isn’t going anywhere, he says. That edge has been building since I was four years old. People start getting their edge when they start getting good at football—at an older age—but I got this when I was young. I’ve been doubted since I was four years old playing football.

It only grows. It never weakens.

He wants everyone to know his twin is an athlete like everyone else, that Griffin has no limitations and is without a doubt the best defensive player in the draft.

The only thing he has to do is be Shaquem Griffin, Shaquill says. If he can be Shaquem Griffin when he gets to the league, he has nothing to worry about.

The first will be familiar to everyone already glued to this feel-good story. Griffin was four years old…in the kitchen…holding a knife…ready to slice off his deformed left hand. Every time he bumped it, it hurt. He couldn’t play ball with his brothers. His mother seized the knife and had a doctor amputate the hand the next day.

What most may not know, though, is what happened when the Griffins got home. Mom instructed Griffin not to muddy up that bandage. He ignored her and played football. Needed to play football. And he was the happiest four-year-old on the planet.

No wonder he describes that second crossroads almost as an incarceration. Those first three years at Central Florida—under head coach George O’Leary—Griffin was stuck on the scout team as his twin flourished. Stuck in Unit 412, Room C. He’s not letting O’Leary off the hook yet, no. He says he pleaded his case for playing countless times to coaches, and they’d say whatever they could to get him out of the room.

Under O’Leary, he felt like a charity case.

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Twitter is convinced Tom Brady is the man who threatened Stormy Daniels over Trump lawsuit

Daniels herself assured The View on air that the sketch was accurate according to her memory — recollections of a man threatening her in front of her then-infant daughter and telling her not to speak of her 2006 encounter with Trump. She made no suggestion, however, that said man was also Tom Brady.

As soon as that sketch made its way to Twitter, well, Twitter’s tweeters did exactly as you’d expect them to do — they hunted for culprits. And one of the most popular ones, by far, had to be Brady, the same New England Patriots quarterback who once said a Trump presidency would be great and whose team once handcrafted a Super Bowl ring for Trump.

It that’s time of year; the misinformation is flowing and I don’t expect the next 20 minutes to be any different, Keim said, opening the interview session that lasted just a tad longer than 20 minutes.

Want to know whom the Cardinals plan to take with the 15th overall pick? Forget it. Want to know if they’re willing to make a splash and trade up to snag one of the top four quarterback prospects? Nice try. Keim and Wilks weren’t about to tip their hand on any front other than to say they’re preparing as hard as ever for this year’s draft, which will be held next Thursday through Saturday, and they hope they nail it.

About the only thing Keim was willing to unveil is that the team’s primary draft board will be set by Friday, when the Cardinals will have their top 120 players ranked in order. He added that the organization has prepared 5,000 reports involving some 200 players and that the club has left no stone unturned from big schools to small schools, and we’ve certainly searched high and low.

Not for nothing, but Carroll responded last month to Sherman’s claims that Carroll’s style was meant more for college, saying that Sherman has been saying stuff his whole career, so this is nothing different. I’ve been through so much of what he has said, I take it all with a grain of salt. He’s just battling. He’s just trying to figure it out.

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AJ McCarron isn’t worrying about Bills’ plans at QB

Listen, I can’t worry about that because it creates mental clutter for myself. So if I create mental clutter for myself, I can’t become the best player, the best teammate that I need to be for this team, McCarron said Tuesday during a break in Buffalo’s offseason workouts.

Everybody has labels for you… I can’t sit there worried about what somebody else thinks about me — a bridge quarterback or not that good of a quarterback — whatever it is, McCarron said. I know I trust in myself. I have self-confidence. I think that’s what makes people successful, and not worry about what my teammates and coaches think. I just go from there. I don’t worry about labels.

Labels aside, McCarron was unable to shake Dalton in Cincinnati. The former Alabama star has a legitimate shot to open the season as Buffalo’s starter — but keeping the job will be an entirely different story.

As the NFL draft nears, the Cleveland Browns are still doing their homework on quarterbacks. The final exam is quickly approaching, but the No. 1 pick remains an unknown to everyone, including coach Hue Jackson. On Tuesday, Jackson dismissed reports that general manager John Dorsey has settled on a quarterback and said the top prospects – Southern California’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and UCLA’s Josh Rosen – remain in contention to be selected by the Browns.

I think they all are (in the mix) today, he said. I think we haven’t settled on that yet. Coming off a 0-16 season, the Browns, who haven’t been able to adequately fix their quarterback problem for years, are being thorough in their evaluation of what is considered a very strong QB class. Jackson and Dorsey have attended pro days and private workouts and the team has hosted the top four quarterbacks, along with 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, at its headquarters in Berea, Ohio. Jackson insists Dorsey hasn’t made up his mind on the top choice.

When I say this I mean it, John Dorsey and his group, they don’t come up for air, Jackson said. This is 24 hours, seven days a week, through the weekend. I’ve worked more on the weekends here than I ever had to be a part of this. That’s what John does. There’s no detail that we’re going to leave unturned. So there’s a lot of time being spent to get this right.

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Stafford: Matt Patricia brings’great energy’ to Lions

Allen Park — The confluence of a new season and a new coach has generated expected optimism and excitement around the Detroit Lions, not just with the fans, but with the players, who began the offseason program with voluntary workouts last week.

Matt Patricia — hired in February as Jim Caldwell’s replacement at the helm — has wasted little time making a good first impression with the team.

Lovullo said first base coach Dave McKay took blame for Saturday night’s base running miscue that cost Deven Marrero a home run. With two on and one out in the fourth inning, Marrero hit what appeared to be a three-run homer off Rich Hill over the left center field wall.

But Alex Avila, who was on first base, went back to the first base to tag up thinking the ball may be caught. In the process, Marrero passed Avila on the base path between first and second. Roberts appealed the play and the after a review, Marrero was ruled out.

It was pretty impressive how Dave… was accountable for the home run baserunning mistake, Lovullo said. He said it was his fault and I know he felt bad about it. I think we were all ball watching at the time.

But he’ll be champing at the bit if he sees Bryant line up against him in an actual game, something that Bryant has stated he’d like to do. Oh, it’d be even better [than in practice], Jones said, smiling. I am sure he is going to find a way to play against us at some point. I don’t think he’s going to lose his dominance anytime soon. He’s still got a lot more years left in him. Jones and Heath had only good things to say about their former teammate. Heath remembered how Bryant played down the stretch in 2014. Heath specifically pointed to the 158-yard, two-touchdown performance Bryant had against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, and the three-touchdown game at Philadelphia in December that season. The end of that season he was arguably the best receiver in the league at that point, Heath said. He’d always make crazy catches in practice, but we kind of got used to that.

We’d see it so much. As a rookie, I’d be kind of impressed by it and then I was like,’Well, that’s Dez just doing what he does.’ I just have a lot of memories of him doing amazing things on the field. That’s a thing of the past. Monday marked the beginning of a Cowboys era without Dez Bryant. The voluntary, nine-week off-season program is conducted in three phases. Phase One, which started Monday, is two weeks of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. It was good to see all the guys again, Heath said.

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