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Report: Brad Smith signs with Bills

07.28.11 at 2:37 pm ET
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According to a tweet from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, former Jets jack of all trades Brad Smith will sign with the Bills. [UPDATE: ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes the deal is for four years and $15 million.]

Tweeted Mehta on Thursday: “Brad Smith expressed desire to stay w/Jets several times, but offer never made. Putting finishes touches on deal to #Bills, per source.”

The former Missouri quarterback served as a returner, wide receiver, running back and quarterback after being chosen by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2006 draft.

Read More: 2011 NFL Signings, Brad Smith,

Patriots fans cheer return of football, and players respond in kind

07.28.11 at 2:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” If there was a question as to whether or not the NFL would be welcomed back by fans after the longest work stoppage in league history, that was quickly out to bed when the Patriots took the field for their first workout of training camp Thursday morning. The team was cheered by what appeared to be very nearly a full house, who stayed and watched even though it was little more than a glorified walkthrough.

‘€œWhen we stepped on this field, it was a relief. It was like, ‘€˜It’€™s finally back.’€™ It’€™s only training camp, but it’€™s back,’€ said defensive lineman Vince Wilfork when asked about the cheers. ‘€œWe missed this for over four months. We missed this feeling. To get this feeling back, it’€™s a good feeling to have.’€

After the practice session, which ran for roughly an hour, it appeared that the entire team made its way over to the rope line and signed autographs.

‘€œIt was a welcome back,’€ said Wilfork of the signing session. ‘€œWe’€™re all excited. The fans are excited, the players are excited, and the owners are excited. Everyone is excited that football is back. That was us saying, ‘€˜Welcome back, thank you for your support, good or bad, whatever it is.’€™ That was to say, ‘€˜We’€™re here.’€™’€

Defensive lineman Ty Warren said that the late Myra Kraft played a sizable role in the team’€™s decision to sign autographs at the end of a training camp practice.

‘€œThat system that’€™s in place, that structure that I think is really influenced by Myra Kraft,’€ Warren said. ‘€œI don’€™t think it’€™s a propaganda thing at all. I think it’€™s a straight-up genuine thing where Myra would probably be rubbing her knuckles through [Bob] Kraft‘€™s head if what was displayed today didn’€™t happen today.’€

Read More: 2011 training camp, Myra Kraft, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork

Ty Warren could be more important than Albert Haynesworth

07.28.11 at 2:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Ty Warren feels rested and ready to go. And his addition to the Patriots defensive line this season after missing all of 2010 with a hip injury that required surgery may be the most significant in camp, even moreso than a certain former Pro Bowl pass rusher who is headed north from the nation’s capital.

For the first time in his career, Warren didn’t reach double figures in games played. As a matter of fact up until 2010, Warren had played in at least 13 games since his rookie season in 2003, when he was taken in the first round, 13th overall, out of Texas A&M.

Since becoming a regular starting left defensive end on Bill Belichick‘s always-changing defensive front, Warren had become one of the Patriots’ most reliable and versatile linemen on the defensive line, right there with Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour through 2008.

Warren rewarded the Patriots with steady – if not spectacular – play, earning the trust of Belichick and the defensive staff. That trust landed him on the field in all down situations and allowed the Patriots to trade Seymour prior to the 2009 season. In short, Warren is a known commodity, with 20.5 sacks in seven seasons prior to 2010, including a career-high 7.5 sacks in 2006.

Warren saw his season come to a premature end with a hip injury during training camp, an injury that eventually required surgery.

“It’s about as fresh as I’ve been in a long while,” Warren said. “It’s just good to be fresh. The guys that played last year that weren’t here over the offseason, I’m sure those guys are fresh as well.”

Warren’s absence in 2010 was a huge loss for the Patriots pass rush, as teams felt more comfortable double-teaming Vince Wilfork. But he said Thursday that injury is in the past and it’s not been on his mind of late.

“No, not really. That was really the first big injury I ever had, period,” Warren said. “It just presented a different challenge for me as far as getting back onto the field. I never doubted myself. I feel confident enough to know if I’m out there doing what I need to do, everything will fall in line.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 training camp, Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan

Quick notes from Patriots’ Thursday morning walkthrough

07.28.11 at 12:31 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots kicked off the 2011 season under mostly sunny skies Thursday morning on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. Their first practice ‘€” really, more of a glorified walkthough ‘€” ran for roughly one hour. Consider the pace of the practice and the number of bodies that were absent, it was difficult to glean much if anything from the first get-together of training camp.

‘€¢What we can tell you is that the following players were not on the field: Ryan Mallett, Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington, Shane Vereen, Sammy Morris, Stevan Ridley, Malcolm Williams, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Marcus Cannon, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder, Nick Kaczur, Alge Crumpler and Myron Pryor. In all, 73 Patriots participated in the walkthrough this morning with 14 absences ‘€” seven veterans and seven unsigned draft picks.

Now, it’€™s important to remember that many of those players had excused absences–with the new rules, everyone is still learning on the fly. To clarify, Mankins, Green-Ellis and Morris are not allowed on the field until official start of new league year Aug. 4, as guys who are not officially under contract technically don’€™t have deals until new league year begins.

‘€¢Five players stopped to talk with the media immediately following practice: Deion Branch, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty and Ty Warren all answered questions, with Wilfork and Warren holding court in extended sessions with reporters. Many of them faced questions about new acquisition Albert Haynesworth.

‘€œI met him a couple of times [as a collegian],’€ Mayo said of his fellow Volunteer. ‘€œHe’€™s a good guy but I really don’€™t know. He’€™s not here right now. That’€™s another question you’€™re going to have to ask me tomorrow or the day after. I really don’€™t know. ‘€¦ Hopefully he can come here and help us out.’€

‘€œI don’€™t know anything about him,’€ Branch said. ‘€œWe hear the rumors. It’€™s not solid until it’€™s done. I was supposed to get traded three years ago, and it didn’€™t happen.’€

‘€œI mean, I think he’s a great player, hell of a player. I had a chance to play in the Pro Bowl with him, so I think he’s a great athlete,’€ Wilfork said.

‘€¢There are still conflicting reports about the status of defensive lineman Marcus Stroud ‘€” however, with the addition of Haynesworth and the fact that Stroud was still working through a shoulder problem that had dogged him as of late, it wouldn’€™t be a surprise to see them cut loose the former Buffalo lineman.

Read More: 2011 training camp,

Report: 49ers to release Nate Clements

07.28.11 at 12:21 pm ET
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According to a tweet from Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, the 49ers have informed cornerback Nate Clements that they will be releasing him. The team had given the former Bills’ first-round pick an eight-year, $80 million contract prior to the 2007 season, which at the time was the biggest contract for a defensive player in NFL history.

Clements had 82 tackles and three interceptions last season, which were both the most he had since his debut season in San Francisco.

Read More: 2011 NFL Signings, Nate Clements,

Patriots release Marcus Stroud

07.28.11 at 10:50 am ET
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WEEI.com’s Christopher Price has confirmed that the Patriots have released defensive tackle Marcus Stroud. The Boston Herald’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report the release.

Stroud, a three-time All-Pro with the Jaguars, played the last two seasons for the Bills before being released in February. He then took a two-year with the Pats, but never took the field as a member of the team. The Patriots acquired defensive tackle Albert Haynesorth from Washington earlier on Thursday, which could have made Stroud expendable.

Read More: 2011 NFL Signings, Albert Haynesworth, Marcus Stroud,

Report: Saints to trade Reggie Bush to Dolphins

07.28.11 at 8:19 am ET
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According to a tweet from FoxSports.com’s Jay Glazer, the Saints and Dolphins have worked out terms for a trade that would send running back Reggie Bush to the Dolphins. The trade is contingent upon Bush agreeing to a new contract with the Dolphins.

Last season Bush only played in eight games after breaking his right fibula in September. In 2009 he ran for five touchdowns, while catching three out of the backfield. In his five years with the Saints he caught 12 touchdowns, while rushing for 17.

Read More: 2011 NFL Signings, Reggie Bush,
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