Oklahoma CB Aaron Colvin tears his ACL

Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin suffered a torn left ACL during the afternoon practice for the Senior Bowl, an injury that could impact his status in the upcoming draft. The April draft is particularly thin this year at cornerback.

Colvin was hurt during a one-on-one coverage drill. His availability for the season is now in question, although he could heal in time to play at least part of the year.

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NFL GM: 2014 QB class not as good as some think

The 2014 draft may not be as heavy on quarterbacks at the top of the draft as many people have been projecting. According to three general managers who have a serious interest in what happens with the quarterbacks, passers such as Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel may not end up going as quickly as many draftniks have suggested.

And the most damning analysis came Tuesday morning when one of them said: “This group is reminding me a lot of the first round in 2011, except there’s no Cam Newton.”

The 2011 NFL draft featured four quarterbacks being selected in the first round. Newton went No. 1 overall before Jake Locker went No. 8, Blaine Gabbert at 10 and Christian Ponder at 12. All three of those players have flopped after only three years in the league. Their teams (Minnesota, Tennessee and Jacksonville) are all looking to draft quarterbacks again this year.

In hindsight, all of the general managers questioned about this draft say that the group in 2011 is proof of the pratfalls of reaching for a player.

“A couple of things happened with that class that I think will make some teams hesitant this year,” one of them said. “First, the desperation to get somebody forced those guys up the board a lot higher. Second, the desperation also forced those team to play those guys before they were ready and before they had talent around them to make it easier.

“You look back at it and say, ‘Be more patient.’”

Will that happen in a league where finding a quarterback is paramount to success? The an-swer is probably not. Starting with Houston at No. 1 overall, Jacksonville at No. 3 and Cleveland at No. 5, there are plenty of teams in need.

Yet, there is some belief that the difference between the quarterbacks perceived to go at the top of the first round and the ones who are likely to be in the second or third round is so small that waiting is wise. Players such as A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, David Fales and James Garoppolo are expected to be in that group later in the draft.

“The difference between all those guys is about this much,” one of the GMs said, holding his forefinger and thumb about a half-inch apart. “If that’s how you see it, why not wait?”

Furthermore, Bortles, Bridgewater, Carr and Manziel each have their issues. There are con-cerns about Bortles’ accuracy, Bridgewater’s lack of size and quiet personality, Carr’s pocket pres-ence and Manziel’s personality.

Or as one GM put it: “I’m telling you right now, don’t be surprised if those guys start to fall. It’s just like last year at this time when we all thought Geno Smith was going No. 1 overall and then he dropped. I think there’s a real chance to see that.”

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NFL draft trade talk already starting at Senior Bowl

Although the NFL draft is still almost three months away and the NFL scouting combine isn’t for another month, several team executives said Monday and Tuesday that preliminary trade talk is al-ready being bandied about at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

In particular, there are several teams interested in moving back in the draft in hopes of obtaining extra picks in the second and third rounds. The reason is that because 102 underclassmen have entered the draft, this year’s draft is expected to be one of the deepest in many years.

“You’re going to see a lot of players who would normally be second-round picks end up in the third round. Same goes for the mid- to late-first round picks ending up in the second round,” one team executive said.
While this draft is expected to have a number of top-end stars available in the top 10, includ-ing defensive end Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina and quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel, some teams may opt for depth in this draft.

“If you’re in a rebuilding mode, I think it would be really tempting to move back to pick up a couple of extra picks,” said another executive, who pointed to Jacksonville as a team that would fit that profile. The Jaguars have the No. 3 pick and are in need of a quarterback, but also have needs at numerous other spots.

St. Louis, which has the No. 2 overall pick from Washington via the Robert Griffin III trade in 2012, is also looking to move down. A Rams coach joked about the team taking Clowney at No. 2 and putting him on the field with fellow defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long, but then admitted that might be difficult.

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Candidates still confused by Dolphins GM search

Two candidates for the Miami Dolphins general manager job said they remain confused about exactly how the power structure within the team will work after going through initial interviews. Despite a public statement from owner Stephen Ross that the new GM will report to him, the private view during interviews was not so clear, the candidates said.

That has led to uneasiness among those candidates, who say that other candidates they have talked to expressed the same feeling.

“Maybe they’re waiting for the second interview to lay it all out, but they were completely non-committal about how it was going to work,” one candidate said Monday. “I honestly don’t know if you answer to the owner or to (Vice President of Football Administration) Dawn Aponte. It’s all really unclear.”

The Dolphins have identified current assistant GM Brian Gaine, Ray Farmer, Lake Dawson, Omar Khan, Brian Xanders, Jason Licht and Dennis Hickey as candidates who have been interviewed for the job. The search is currently on hold because Ross is traveling to London and China on business.

At the root of the question over structure is that Aponte has control of contract negotiations and, ultimately, the salary cap. Even if Aponte is considered on equal ground with the incoming GM and returning coach Joe Philbin, there is a perception of future problems.

“If you have three people all at the same level, you’re going to have one taking sides and that’s going to create problems,” said a candidate, who also perceived that that Aponte and Philbin are politically aligned. That problem came to light after the Dolphins and former General Manager Jeff Ireland cut ties.

It has been reported that late in the season Aponte overhead Ireland complaining about the coaching staff and then relayed those quotes to Philbin.

The bottom line is that, as of right now, the situation seems problematic.

“You just don’t know what you’re walking into at this point. If you’re going to take that job, you’re going to want some protection because if they fire Philbin after next season, they could bring in some experienced head coach or a guy from college and they’re going to want a lot of control,” a candidate said.

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5 up, 5 down for Sunday

FOX sideline reporter Erin Andrews was one of millions of people in America who were probably frightened by Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman’s postgame outburst on Sunday night after the Seahawks beat San Francisco to advance to the Super Bowl.

But most people don’t understand how hot Sherman burns, particularly when his former Stanford coach, Jim Harbaugh, is standing on the opposite sideline.

After Sherman tipped the final pass of the game to create an interception that ended the 23-17 victory, he was approached by Andrews. During a full-on rant that channeled the best of Bart Scott, Sherman said he was the best cornerback in the game and called intended wide receiver Michael Crabtree “sorry.”

It was the kind of moment YouTube was created to store forever.

But all of that anger, which caused Andrews to end up speechless, is fueled by Harbaugh, the 49ers head coach. The story is simple. Prior to the 2011 draft, NFL personnel executives talked to Harbaugh and his Stanford staff. The reviews on Sherman weren’t good. In fact, they were brutal, dropping Sherman all the way to the fifth round.

To a man like Sherman, that’s like lighting a blow torch in a refinery. While most people will dismiss Sherman as a classless jerk who doesn’t know how to contain his emotions, well, yeah, that’s what he is.

But at least he’s completely honest about it. Sherman has talked trash to anybody and everybody, from Crabtree to Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. With two weeks to go before the Super Bowl, the only question is whether Sherman will get too tired talking to play well.


1. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning – While the debate over whether this game impacted his legacy is a little ridiculous, Manning did manage to put together a legacy game. His precision in completing 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns was one of the greatest performances of his playoff career and vaulted him into his third Super Bowl. Now, Manning will have to endure two weeks of wondering whether he can be considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game if he doesn’t win a second Super Bowl. Manning is either the best quarterback of all time or somewhere in the top six, depending on your opinion. Ultimately, the difference between Manning, John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Tom Brady and Dan Marino can only be measured with an atomic microscope.

2. Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton – In two playoff games, Knighton has been an absolute monster, mostly with his ability to stuff the run. Knighton did that in a big way in the first half against New England, helping stuff Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount had only six yards rushing on five carries in the first half. But in this game, Knighton got a rare big play in pass rush. Late in the fourth quarter with New England going for it on fourth-and-3, Knighton made Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins look absolutely silly on a shoulder move to the outside followed by a hard rush to the middle. Mankins completely whiffed on the play.

Peyton ManningThe last time we saw Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, he was watching Drew Brees and the Saints hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

3. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson – It’s clear that as the Seahawks offense has struggled over the past month, Wilson has come to believe that he has to do more than necessary. That has led to some bad scrambling decisions. One of those led to an intentional grounding call that appeared to take Seattle out of a scoring situation. Instead, Wilson came up with one of the great fourth-down throws you’ll ever see for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was one of two huge plays that Wilson came up with to make up for his sometimes frenetic play.

4. San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman – After watching Colin Kaepernick struggle so much in his previous two starts in Seattle, Roman made an excellent adjustment to his plan of attack by instructing Kaepernick to run more often in this game off scrambling situations. The 49ers had been trying for most of the season to make Kaepernick more of a pocket passer. Knowing that Seattle likes to play man defense, that opened the door for Kaepernick to do things he is more comfortable doing. Along the way, Kaepernick played more decisively than ever in Seattle.

5. Seattle defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril – Bennett and Avril combined for 16.5 sacks this season after being relatively cheap free agent pickups by Seattle General Manager John Schneider. They punctuated their season with a terrific effort on Sunday, including a combo play on which Avril sacked and stripped the ball from Kaepernick and Bennett recovered the ball. That was the first of three turnovers by Kaepernick in the fourth quarter.


1. NFL officiating and replay rules – After a relatively clean game in the AFC Championship, the work of the NFC officiating crew, led by Gene Steratore, wasn’t particularly strong. That’s being kind. There were some ticky tack calls that shouldn’t have been made (a questionable holding call against Sherman), more definitive calls that should have been made quickly (the first grounding call against Wilson) and a missed call on a fumble by Seattle at the goal line. That call at the goal line, which couldn’t be reviewed because of a technicality, will lead to a rules change this offseason.

2. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick – This is a tough one because for the first three quarters of the contest, Kaepernick played a brilliant game. The 17 points the 49ers scored is more than they had in the previous two games with Kaepernick starting in Seattle. However, Kaepernick’s fourth-quarter performance was a nightmare of three turnovers, including two interceptions. The last interception was partly a great play by Sherman, but it’s a throw Kaepernick probably shouldn’t have made. All of that overwhelmed a tremendous early effort that included him rushing for more than 100 yards.

Colin KaepernickKaepernick put together a terrific performance…right up until the fourth quarter.

3. New England quarterback Tom Brady – Brady didn’t play poorly in this game, but he wasn’t sharp at critical moments. He missed a wide-open throw in the first quarter that he normally hits in his sleep. He missed another one later in the game that was slightly tougher, but no less important as the Patriots offense limped through this game. Really, much of this was all of the Patriots’ injuries coming home to roost at a critical time, but Brady was nonetheless off at a critical time.

4. New England cornerback Aqib Talib – Talib wasn’t so much a loser as he was really unlucky after being the target of a vicious pick hit by Denver wide receiver Wes Welker. That play essentially took Talib out of the game after such an incredible season and allowed Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to run free throughout the game. Thomas finished with seven catches for 134 yards and a touchdown after being contained effectively by Talib in the November matchup. This is the second year in a row Talib has been knocked out of the AFC Championship Game because of injury. He now heads
to free agency desperately wanting to stay in New England.

5. New England offensive line – Aside from the aforementioned play by Knighton against Mankins, the entire Patriots offensive line had problems throughout the first three quarters, allowing New England to get behind early. The running game was nonexistent from the beginning of the game as the Patriots finished with only 64 yards rushing on 16 carries. As for the pass protection, left tackle Nate Solder also got toasted on another play as Brady was pressured early and often.

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NFL likely to look into 49ers sideline behavior

The NFL is expected to look into an incident along the 49ers sideline in the first half in which Seat-tle’s Jeremy Lane was hit after going out of bounds while covering a punt.

Lane was driven out of bounds and continued to run through the San Francisco team when a member of the 49ers team dressed in a warmup suit collided with Lane. The person on the 49ers sideline appeared to lean into Lane as they collided. The play was reminiscent of when members of the New York Jets, led by former strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi, interfered with Miami Dolphins coverage man Nolan Carroll.

Alosi was fined $25,000 by the NFL and was suspended for the remainder of the season. The Jets were eventually fined $100,000.

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102 underclassmen to enter NFL draft

The NFL announced Sunday that 98 underclassmen have entered the draft, forgoing the final sea-son of their college career. In addition, another four players who are underclassmen in terms of eli-gibility are in the draft because they have already graduated. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is among those who has already graduated and fellow quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are among the 98 who have declared early.

The total of 102 is the highest ever to declare for the draft, eclipsing the 73 who came out early last year. NFL personnel executives have said they expect half of the players selected in the first round to be underclassmen. Aside from Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles, players such as USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandijo are expected to be first-round picks.

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Report: Dolphins knew of Bess problems

The Miami Herald reported Sunday that the Dolphins were aware of personal problems involving wide receiver Davone Bess in March, approximately a month before trading him to Cleveland.

If so, the reputation of former Miami General Manager Jeff Ireland could take a serious hit in NFL personnel executive circles. It may also have a lingering impact on the team’s reputation. Bess has been involved in two incidents over the past week, including battery on an officer at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

Bess also sent out a picture of himself standing naked over social media. That follows two other pictures sent of himself from the past four months in which he appeared to be using marijuana. However, the reports by The Herald indicate that Bess’ problems and possible links to marijuana go even further. In the March incident, Bess had to be restrained at his home and police indicated a strong smell of marijuana coming from the bedroom of his home.

Bess was eventually hospitalized for observation and his mother flew to South Florida to help her son.

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Gase may wait another year to pursue HC job

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Saturday that Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase is likely to remain the offensive coordinator with the Broncos next season rather than pursue the Browns head coaching job.

Gase, 35, has been the offensive coordinator with Denver for only one season. He followed Mike McCoy, who took the San Diego head coaching position last season. While Gase is widely regarded as a strong head coaching candidate, he has refused to interview until after the Broncos have ended their playoff run.

Gase has also been counseled by several people around him to take his time and get to know more about running an entire team. Most of his experience has been limited to working with quar-terbacks.

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Detroit still trying to hire KC's Culley

Despite hiring Ron Prince as assistant head coach, Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell is still interested in hiring David Culley as offensive coordinator. The Lions made several moves Friday on the coaching staff, including officially hiring Prince and inking Teryl Austin as defensive coordinator.

The team is adding Dwaine Board as defensive line coach and is expected to hire Ray Hamilton to also work with the defensive line, which features the talented threesome of Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ziggy Ansah.

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