TRUMP, JONES, BLANK ON NATIONAL ANTHEM, DEZ BRYANT, ROB GRONKOWSKI, MORE NFL NEWS & NOTES

Training camp officially begins when Jerry Jones meets the press. (Gus Ruelas/Associated Press)

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remains adamant that players on his team will stand for the national anthem, but said that President Trump’s “interest in what we’re doing is problematic.” That, however, didn’t stop Trump from saluting Jones. Continue Reading, by Cindy Boren and J. Freedom du Lac

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank joins arms with his players during the playing of the national anthem as a show of unity prior to the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 24, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank called the NFL’s national-anthem dilemma “complex” while also adding that players should be able to exercise their Constitutional rights under the First Amendment.

“Players do have First Amendment rights,” Blank said Friday before the Falcons’ first day of training-camp practice. “If you talk to many members of the military they’ll tell you what they fought for also was not just the flag or fabric, but what is stands for. It stands for our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

The NFL and the NFLPA, the player’s union, are meeting to come up with a solution.

“It’s a complex issue,” Blank said. “It’s complex enough that when you try to sort it out with the players, stadiums, owners and fans. When you have a president that has the biggest mic in the room that can take it different directions for his own reasons, it becomes very difficult.

“We have to worry about doing the right thing for our flag, the right thing for our players and the right thing for fans.” Continue Reading, by  D. Orlando Ledbetter – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Todd Gurley did running backs like David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, and Alvin Kamara a “huge solid” by getting his deal writes Albert Breer of SI.com. “I’m just happy to even be in a position to take the next step for us running backs” Gurley told Breer. Gurley definitely paved the way for running backs to get huge guarantees, and it will be fascinating to see how the market reacts across the league.

The New York Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. Things finally appear to be headed in the right direction for the two sides, and the much awaited contract extension could finally be on the horizon. Beckham recently opted to report to camp on time rather than hold out, and Giants management has in turn spoken very highly of him. Now that a new contract in the near future finally seems like a real possibility, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com spoke with former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry and cap expert Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com about what kind of deal Beckham can expect to get.

PHOTO: jetswire.usatoday.com

Although many New York Jets fans have been worried by the team’s inability to sign Sam Darnold to his rookie contract, coach Todd Bowles isn’t concerned. “It’s part of the business” Bowles declared after practice today while explaining why Darnold’s absence from training camp isn’t a big deal. It might not be significant yet, but if Darnold misses too much more of camp it could turn into a real problem as he battles for the starting job.

Rob Gronkowski has been the subject of frequent headlines all offseason. Whether it was trade rumors that turned out to be false, rumblings about a potential retirement, or missing a few OTA’s along with Tom Brady, Gronkowski has stayed in the news. Many speculated that Gronkowski would hold out from training camp after he made his unhappiness with his current contract clear, but that was apparently never an option. Speaking to the media today after practice, Gronkowski said he didn’t “come close to considering” a hold out (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

Speaking of tight ends Los Angeles Chargers GM Tom Telesco acknowledged ongoing talks with TE Antonio Gates’ representation Thursday, but no deal” tweets Eric D. Williams of ESPN. Telesco also added that he believes Gates “can still be effective in the Chargers’ offense.” The Chargers looked set to move on earlier this offseason, but then Hunter Henry was lost for the season with a torn ACL. The team immediately expressed interest in bringing back Gates, but things have been slow moving ever since.

There’s been so much excitement surrounding Cleveland all offseason. With the addition of Jarvis Landry, I’ve been high on the Browns‘ receiving corps for a while now, which is why I — like most football fans — was bummed when I heard Josh Gordon wouldn’t be at the start of training camp.

Gordon, who is on the non-football illness reserve list until “he’s ready to return,” and Landry could be a scary-good tandem with Tyrod Taylor or Baker Mayfield under center. This wide receiver duo could shatter the league, but I’m hesitant to put the Browns in my WR tandem ranking with Gordon’s uncertain status. Continue Reading, by James Jones, NFL.com analyst

Dez Bryant continues to wait on the open market. David Kent Star-Telegram archives

Dez Bryant may finally be close to finding a home. Bryant and the Cleveland Browns have “mutual interest” according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport adds that the team is “working on scheduling a visit with him” and that the visit could be on Monday, “if not sooner.” Rapoport seems to think there’s a real chance a deal gets done, saying “this could be a match.”

It was reported two days ago that the Cleveland Browns were mulling the possibility of pursuing Bryant, and things now appear to be heating up. The market for Bryant has been shockingly quiet since he was cut by the Cowboys earlier this offseason. There were some murmurs about him and the San Francisco 49ers, but ultimately nothing materialized.

Women are in the minority when it comes to the club of NFL ownership, but the ones who do have a seat at the table are making it count—and helping to pave the way for future female leaders in the league. Continue Reading, by JENNY VRENTAS

New York Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart is facing a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances after testing positive for a diuretic or masking agent, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. On Friday afternoon, the NFL formally announced the ban.

While others might question Mike Tomlin after some of the distractions the Pittsburgh Steelers had last season, the only one who matters, General Manager Kevin Colbert, doesn’t agree. On Friday, Colbert vehemently defended Tomlin’s approach, making it clear he backs his head coach.

“There’s no concern whatsoever about our team’s attitude, discipline, all that other stuff that gets talked about,’’ Colbert said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Absolutely no concern.” Continue Reading, by Charean Williams

The Tennessee Titans are giving tight end Delanie Walker a two-year, $17MM extension, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The deal includes an $8MM signing bonus and $12.76MM guaranteed in total.

One of the defining images of the modern locker room isn’t a fiery postgame speech or a group of guys strategizing — it’s players with their heads down, buried in their phones. Continue Reading, by Jason Witten, ESPN

PHOTO: raiderswire.usatoday.com

ESPN’s Adam Schefter report Thursday that Jon Gruden hasn’t talked to Khalil Mack since he was hired in January. The 2016 Defensive Player of the Year is not only one of the most impactful defenders in the league, but he is unquestionably the Oakland Raiders‘ best play. Continue Reading, by Bucky Brooks, NFL.com Analyst

 

It took only two seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars cover man Jalen Ramsey to ascend to superstar status. 2018 will bring bigger expectations and a bigger stage, and Ramsey isn’t about to shy away from the challenge. Continue Reading, by JONATHAN JONES

 

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