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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has yet to have talks with his agent or the organization about possibly having to take a pay cut to remain with the team in 2018.

When asked on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Friday, Bryant was asked if he would be willing to take a cut in pay to remain with the team.

“That’s a discussion for me, for myself and my agent and Mr. Jones and the Joneses, the Dallas Cowboys,” Bryant said.

Late last season Bryant said he would not take a pay cut. He is set to make $12.5 million in 2018 and counts $16.5 million against the cap. If the Cowboys were to release Bryant, who is the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown catches, they could save up to $12.5 million against the cap depending on the designation.

If he is designated a post-June 1 cut, then the Cowboys would save $12.5 million against the cap, but he would be on the books in 2019 for $4 million. Without the designation, they would save $8 million and they would be free from a salary-cap perspective in 2019.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones has said the Cowboys will have to look at Bryant’s contract. It is likely they will meet with Bryant’s agent, Kim Miale, next week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

“No one wants to compete and get after it more than Dez,” Jones said at the first Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award dinner. “At the same time, we all know this is a business where everyone has to be accountable. Certainly, everybody knows that. You know, that’s a tough one. Certainly, we’re going to be grinding it out and trying to determine what is in the best interest of our business.”

“Dez understands this is a business. No one thinks more of Dez Bryant than, starting at the top, Jerry [Jones], and certainly me, his teammates, coach [Jason] Garrett, Will McClay,” Jones said. “We all have a tremendous amount of respect for Dez. But that’s one of the things we’re going to have to work through as we move into our future.”

On The Fan, Bryant said he played hurt through part of last season. He said in the final month of the season he dealt with tendinitis that impacted his performance, but he did not miss a game for the first time since 2014. He finished with 69 receptions for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was 28th in the league in yards and tied for 24th in catches.

Since signing a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015, Bryant has not recorded a 1,000-yard season. He battled through foot and knee injuries in 2015 and 2016.

“I don’t even want it to sound like an excuse, but it is the truth,” Bryant said of being compromised by injury. “It’s like one thing that I know — [head athletic trainer Jim Maurer] will tell you — I hate going in that training room. I don’t like going in that training room, especially when I needed to be in that training room.

“But this time around, I want to take care of my body. I want to get it all the way right. I want it to be right. I promise you I ain’t having nobody questioning me again. This is what I love, and I accept everything that’s coming my way right now. That’s OK. That’s fine. I just want to work. That all I want to do. I want to work. I want to stay out of the way. I want to control what I can control and I want my respect. That’s it.”

Bryant said he could not picture himself playing for another team.

“It don’t seem right,” Bryant said on The Fan. “It wouldn’t be right.”

Bryant grew up a Cowboys fan in Lufkin, Texas. The Cowboys selected him with the 24th overall pick in the 2010 draft.

“Man, honestly, it means everything to me,” Bryant said of playing in Dallas. “It means everything. I do want to bring this city a championship. We ain’t had one since the ’90s, and it really is about that time. That’s where my mind is. And we haven’t done it and I want to be a part of that because I do believe that it can happen, and we’ll just have to see.

“Like I said, I’m still working. I’m still grinding. I feel like I’m grinding more than I ever [have] because of me, not because of nobody else. It’s something that I want to do, something I feel like I have to do. I let a lot of things get in the way that shouldn’t have never got in the way. I really didn’t make my mark. I don’t care what nobody is talking about. I could care less. Everybody ain’t with Dez Bryant, they can kiss my ass.”

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Las Vegas Raiders move RB Theo Riddick to reserve/retired list



HENDERSON, Nev. — Las Vegas Raiders running back Theo Riddick, who began training camp on the COVID-19 list, moved him to the retired list on Friday.

Riddick, who turned 30 on May 4, appeared in four games for the Raiders last season and also spent time on the team’s practice squad. He was expected to be a pass-catching back out of the backfield but only caught five passes for 43 yards and ran the ball six times for 14 yards. He last played a full 16-game season in the NFL in 2017 for the Detroit Lions.

The Raiders were thin at running back to start camp with Riddick and Jalen Richard on the COVID list and Kenyan Drake on the Non-Football Injury list. But Drake returned to practice on Friday and the Raiders signed Darius Jackson and BJ Emmons the day before to join undrafted rookie Trey Ragas and Pro Bowler Josh Jacobs, who has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.

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With Carson Wentz hurt, Colts again left wondering who their starting quarterback will be – Indianapolis Colts Blog



WESTFIELD, Ind. — Here the Indianapolis Colts are again.

Start of training camp. A quarterback they believe is capable of leading them to the playoffs.

And then an injury happens.

Sound familiar?

Two years ago it was Andrew Luck and the calf injury that added to the long list of injuries he dealt with, eventually leading to his retirement.

Now it’s Carson Wentz, the player they thought would end the recent revolving door at quarterback, a position the Colts rarely had to worry about starting in 1998, when they drafted Peyton Manning, and continuing all the way until Luck started getting constantly injured in 2015.

Wentz, according to ESPN, is out indefinitely with a foot injury suffered late in practice Thursday. The injury occurred when he felt a “twinge in his foot” as as he rolled out and planted to throw, offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said.

But this shouldn’t be surprising, either.

Injuries have been a regular part of Wentz’s five-year NFL career. He has played a full season only twice thanks to injuries, with the most substantial being a torn ACL late in the 2017 season.

The injuries — along with Wentz being benched last season in Philadelphia — didn’t stop coach Frank Reich from making his case for the Colts to acquire the quarterback from the Eagles.

“When you’re in the role of head coach, you take a lot of responsibility for it,” Reich told ESPN in March. “But that’s what you have to do. You have to be willing to stick your neck out and have some conviction about things. You don’t have to make every decision a make-or-break decision, but there are certain defining moments or big decisions. This is one of those big decisions, but I think as an organization, we handled it the right way.”

The Colts gave up a third-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional second-round pick (which could become a first-rounder if Wentz either plays at least 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps or plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts reach the playoffs) in the 2022 draft to get Wentz.

It wouldn’t be a good look for the Colts, especially Reich, if Wentz’s injury is severe enough that it carries over to the regular season, because they took the risk in acquiring a quarterback who has dealt with injuries in the past.

The Colts’ first five games of the regular season are against teams — the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens — that went a combined 54-26 last season, with four of them making the playoffs.

No matter the belief in having a complete team, the quarterback is still the most important player on the roster. The Colts’ very talented running game can’t have the type of success the team envisions without a quarterback who can keep a defense honest with a strong arm.

Signing a veteran quarterback at some point shouldn’t be off the table for the Colts with the uncertainty of how long Wentz will be out, because they lack experience at that position. Second-year player Jacob Eason took the first-team snaps in practice Friday. The 2020 fourth-round pick didn’t play a snap last season. Rookies Sam Ehlinger and Jalen Morton are the other quarterbacks currently on the roster.

So a day after Wentz showed off his strength with two hard-thrown passes along the sideline and his athleticism by scrambling right and throwing the ball at least 50 yards in the air across his body in a three-play sequence, the Colts are left wondering what the status of their quarterback will be for Week 1 yet again early in training camp.

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Green Bay Packers put QB Aaron Rodgers on pitch count to ‘avoid wear and tear,’ says Matt LaFleur



GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers has never been on a pitch count in training camp.

The Green Bay Packers have him on one this year, at least for now.

After missing all the offseason work in Green Bay during his standoff with the team, Rodgers hasn’t been unleashed quite yet.

“I think we’re mindful of that with all our quarterbacks, just making sure [of] that because having three quarterbacks, that’s a lot of wear and tear on the arm and we don’t want to burn ’em out too early,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Friday. “So he and I did talk about exactly what number we’re looking for each day or being below a certain number. So we’ve got a guy out there that lets me know when we’re at that halfway mark and then I relay that to Aaron.”

So far, that number appears to be in the low-to-mid teens when it comes to throws in 11-on-11 team periods. Rodgers threw 13 passes Friday during regular-speed team periods (not including those that were at a jog-through pace), 15 on Thursday and 14 during Wednesday’s opening practice of camp. What’s more, the Packers coaches have spaced out his throws. Friday’s practice marked the first time this camp that the 37-year-old Rodgers took five straight snaps during an 11-on-11 period. The first two days, he never had more than four in a row before Jordan Love stepped in. There have already been a few highlight plays, even without the pads on.

On Friday, he threw a perfect fade to Davante Adams for a touchdown against tight coverage from first-round pick Eric Stokes.

Rodgers also ended practice on Friday by handling 10 straight plays — eight of them passes — but it was no more than a walk-through pace. Typically, there are at least that many throws during small-group periods in practice, as well.

Rodgers had always previously participated in most — or all — of the offseason program, so the Packers never felt the need to harness his throws early in camp. However in 2016, then-coach Mike McCarthy did point out that they were being “conscious” of Rodgers’ pitch count.

It’s not like Rodgers loafed around during the offseason. He not only made regular social media posts showing off his workouts but also spoke of the mental work he did.

“I think it’s important that we work on our mental state,” Rodgers said upon his return to the Packers. “As you’ve seen with Simone Biles, I think there needs to be more conversation around that. We as athletes are often put on a pedestal that we’re beyond any mental hindrances or clutter, and the only time that mental health often gets talked about is when it’s in the context of depression. I didn’t have any depression, but I have a ton of respect for those who speak out in those situations. For me, it was just about clearing any of the clutter. That’s what I tried to do this offseason by adjusting some habits and spending some time with my loved ones, traveling as safely and as often as I possibly could and then making sure I was ready to go if I came back.”

There has been some off-the-field catching up to do, as well.

Last offseason, Rodgers raved about what he was able to do with the coaching staff via Zoom when it came to revising the offense. None of that took place this year because Rodgers chose not to participate.

“The biggest thing was just getting on the same page with some of the offseason tweaks that we made to the offense,” LaFleur said. “And, you know, we’re kind of working through those right now.”

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