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  • Browns' Manziel: "I've made some rookie mistakes"

    BEREA, Ohio (AP) Like reading a blitz, Johnny Manziel knew the questions about his off-field wildness were coming. So the Browns quarterback struck first.

    "At the end of the day," Manziel said, "I've made some rookie mistakes."

    On the eve of Cleveland's first training camp practice, Manziel offered some regret about his well-chronicled weekend partying over the past two months. But as he prepares to battle Brian Hoyer for a starting job, Manziel said he's in good standing with his bosses.

    It's time to get to work.

    From here on, he's Johnny All About Football.

    "There's some things that I wish I could've gone back and done a little differently," Manziel said. "But I'm continuing to move forward and trying to represent this organization in a positive manner and a positive light, so just very excited to be back in camp and it's football 24/7 and that's what I love doing. That's what I live for and it's what my job, so for me, I'm very excited to be back and can't wait to get this underway."

    Manziel addressed his fraternity-guy-gone-wild behavior, which included photos of him hanging out poolside in Las Vegas with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, swigging champagne on an inflatable swan pool raft in a Texas nightclub and a shot of him rolling a dollar bill in a bathroom. Manziel didn't say he'll change completely, but vowed to be focused on football going forward.

    Manziel opened his news conference by discussing his off-field exploits, saying he has spoken to Browns coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer.

    "For me, my main thing is, people within this building, my teammates, the coaching staff, the higher-ups in this organization we've all been on the same page," he said. "We've all been good and very eager to be moving forward."

    For weeks, the Browns downplayed Manziel's antics. But as his questionable conduct continued and after the startling photo surfaced of Manziel with the rolled-up bill, Pettine reached out to the 21-year-old while he was on vacation.

    "I've talked about that with Coach Pettine," Manziel said. "I've talked about it with Farmer and the people I needed to talk about that with. Moving forward, they're good with everything. I've told them everything that I need to, and everything's been good."

    While acknowledging he could have made better decisions, Manziel also defended his lifestyle.

    "I don't think there's anything wrong with me going out and having a night life, having a social life," he said. "I mean I am 21 years old and I do like going out and it was the offseason. It's free time for us and if I want to go out and hang out with my friends or go to nightclubs or do things like that then I think that's within my rights to be doing that.

    "I think there's other guys throughout the league that are doing that and I'm not trying to compare myself to anybody else but I think that's within my rights to be doing that."

    Manziel doesn't think his busy social calendar will hurt his chances to beat out Hoyer.

    "I don't believe so," he said. "I think there are definitely things moving forward to help better act as a professional. At the same time, I'm still learning how to do that. I'm still getting used to this role, still getting used to this league, still getting used to being a pro football player.

    "I'm not in college anymore. There's things I need to do better, and that's just part of being a professional. Hopefully with time and going through this season and as time goes on, I'll get better at doing that."

    The former Texas A&M star enters his first camp as Cleveland's No. 2 quarterback behind Hoyer, who will get all the reps with Cleveland's starting offense during the first few days of camp.

    Pettine, who earlier this week said he wants to name his starter "pretty quickly" believes Manziel enters camp well prepared to compete with Hoyer.

    The continuous controversy surrounding Manziel has somewhat overshadowed Hoyer, who has worked his way back after suffering a season-ending knee injury in his third start last season. The homegrown Hoyer is certain he'll hang on to his starting job and be behind center when the Browns open at Pittsburgh on Sept. 7.

    "I'm confident I am that guy, but in the same sense I know if it comes down to the fact Johnny does beat me out I will have given everything I can and he will have totally earned it," Hoyer said. "That's what you want. All I ask is the opportunity and a chance to earn the job, and that's what I've been given. For me it's about going out every day and proving I can be that guy I believe I am."

    ---

    Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • Marshawn Lynch missing as Seahawks camp begins

    RENTON, Wash. (AP) Marshawn Lynch famously said during Super Bowl week that he was "all about that action, boss."

    His action on Friday was defiance. The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks opened training camp and Lynch chose to stay away because of his current contract situation.

    Beast Mode's status: absent and unhappy.

    "Everybody is calling him, but it's a business at the end of the day," Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said. "... So all you can do is support him. You want him to be here, but as a player you understand the business side too."

    Lynch's absence was expected after former teammate Michael Robinson said Thursday night on NFL Network that Lynch would not show for the opening day of camp.

    Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was disappointed Lynch was not present, while reiterating the team wants him there and intends on him being an integral part of their plans for this season.

    But the message was clear that Seattle put a plan in place before Lynch was signed to a four-year contract in 2012 and the Seahawks management is not inclined to stray from those plans.

    "We've had a substantial plan working for us for years now and Marshawn was a big part of this plan. Just a couple of years back we made a big statement and made a big effort for him and we wish that he was with us now," Carroll said.

    "But this is a tremendous opportunity for the guys getting their shot. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael they're ready to go and really fired up about this opportunity and are going to try and take full advantage of it."

    Friday's result was building throughout the offseason with Lynch staying away from organized team activities and rumors that he would skip June's mandatory minicamp in protest of his contract structure.

    Lynch showed up for the minicamp in June to avoid a hefty fine. But he finally decided to make a stand with the start of training camp.

    Lynch can make up to $5.5 million this season in base pay and roster bonuses. It's the third year of a four-year contract and he's scheduled to make $5.5 million in base salary in 2015. He now faces fines of $30,000 for each day of camp he misses. Carroll said he's remained in contact with Lynch throughout the offseason.

    "I'm hoping that he will be back with us," Carroll said.

    Lynch has been the workhorse for Seattle's offense since his arrival via trade during the 2010 season. Lynch has 1,066 carries for 4,624 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season since joining the Seahawks.

    He brought a physical style that helped define a young team early in Carroll's tenure.

    "The attitude that he brought these past few years has been significant. When we were trying to make a mark that we were a physical, tough football team he stood right at the front of that and was a big part of it," Carroll said.

    "But I think we have accomplished that now and that is our mentality and makeup. We're grateful that he was part of that and would like to get him back into it."

    In Lynch's place, Turbin and Michael took most of the reps at running back Friday. Turbin is entering his third season, while Michael barely saw the field last year as a rookie as he struggled with the transition between college and the NFL.

    "We all wish he was here," Michael said. "He's a great leader. We learn a lot from him. He'll be back soon."

    ---

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • White Sox: Reinsdorf hospitalized in Cooperstown

    CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago White Sox say owner Jerry Reinsdorf has been hospitalized after feeling lightheaded in Cooperstown, New York.

    The team says all tests Friday night indicate he is fine. The 78-year-old Reinsdorf, also chairman of the NBA's Chicago Bulls, is coherent and resting comfortably, according to the club.

    In a statement released Friday night, the White Sox say Reinsdorf is communicating with his doctors and medical staff. He will stay overnight at Bassett Medical Center as a precaution and is expected to be released Saturday morning.

    Induction ceremonies for the Baseball Hall of Fame are this weekend in Cooperstown.



  • Houston WR Andre Johnson reports to camp

    HOUSTON (AP) Andre Johnson had some issues with the Houston Texans.

    In the end, they weren't serious enough to keep the star receiver off the field.

    Johnson was all smiles when he reported to camp on time Friday. He's looking to move past an offseason where he skipped workouts and a mandatory minicamp after wondering in May whether Houston was "still the place for me."

    "I love playing this game of football," Johnson said Friday. "I'm going to play football and ... I don't plan on walking away from this."

    He wouldn't divulge what exactly was said or done to get him to return to the team. But said he's excited to be back with his teammates and that it's his plan to finish his career with the Texans.

    His teammates shared his enthusiasm and said he received a standing ovation and was greeted with a slow clap when he entered a meeting on Friday morning.

    "He's a huge part of our team," left tackle Duane Brown said. "He's been my teammate my whole time here and is a guy that I really look up to as a professional and it was good to have him in the building."

    The 33-year-old Johnson, whose 1,407 yards receiving in 2013 ranked second in the AFC, rejoins a team that is looking to bounce back from a disastrous 2-14 season. He's the longest-tenured Texan after joining the franchise in its second season. In that time he's played on just three teams with winning records, fueling his frustration.

    "I've been here 12 years. There's been a lot of things that happened," he said. "I've never really voiced my opinion on them. I think at times there comes a time when you don't agree with something, things need to be said. That's pretty much what it was."

    He said his unhappiness stemmed from playing here so long and feeling that his opinions were not being heard.

    "It gets frustrating," he said. "After what happened last year, we went 2-14 and things like that, it wasn't only frustrating for me, I understand it was frustrating for everybody."

    He knows some fans were angry at him for skipping Houston's offseason work, but said the people he came into contact with were overwhelmingly supportive.

    "It was never nothing negative," he said. "I think if anybody had something negative, it was behind my back. It was nothing said to my face. It was a lot of positive things. People telling me that they're praying for me. Things like that. They understand the way I felt."

    Johnson has been the one constant on this young franchise through three different coaching regimes, several quarterback changes and countless player moves. Houston's first two No. 1 overall draft picks David Carr and Mario Williams have come and gone, but Johnson has remained. He's the only player on the team to have endured both of the team's 2-14 seasons after also playing on the 2005 squad that posted the franchise-worst mark.

    After spending his career here, he knew this was where he needed to be despite his reservations about enduring what some view as another rebuilding season.

    "This is my home now," he said. "I've been here for so long. I was in Miami my whole life and now I've been here for going on 12 years. This is my home away from home. I think I've I built a great foundation here and built a great relationship with the fans."

    Johnson has always been known as a hard worker and said he'll do whatever it takes to learn coach Bill O'Brien's new offense. He knows it will be a challenge after missing so much time, but he's looking forward to it.

    He'll have a new quarterback this season after the Texans signed veteran free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick in the offseason after Matt Schaub was traded to Oakland.

    Fitzpatrick is eager to work with Johnson.

    "He's a guy that's well-respected, not just here but around the league," Fitzpatrick said. "Anytime you have somebody like that on your team it's a great thing and he'll be a great player like he always has (been) and a great leader for us this year."

    Several other Texans met with reporters after Johnson did on Friday, but this year's top overall draft pick outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney was not among them. His status for the first day of camp is still unclear as he recovers from surgery to repair a sports hernia.

    ---

    Online:

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • Browns WR Gordon reports to camp, hearing looms

    BEREA, Ohio (AP) Josh Gordon's off-field issues didn't put him out of shape.

    The embattled Pro Bowl wide receiver reported to Browns training camp Friday and passed his conditioning test as he awaits an appeal hearing with the NFL on a possible suspension.

    Gordon is scheduled to meet with the league Aug. 1. He's facing a one-year ban for violating the substance abuse policy for at least the third time. Gordon was suspended for the first two games last season, but still led the league with 1,646 yards receiving and scored nine touchdowns.

    He entered the league with a history of marijuana abuse after failing two drug tests in college. Gordon reportedly entered a rehab clinic following a recent DUI arrest in Raleigh, North Carolina, and spent two weeks at a clinic in California.

    Browns coach Mike Pettine would not confirm if Gordon had been to rehab, but cornerback Joe Haden said he was glad his teammate would take the necessary steps to get well.

    "I'm happy for him," he said. I'm here for J.G. I love him like a brother. We're just here for support and for him to do that is a big step. That means that something's going on and he's trying to fix a problem."

    Looking fit and fast, Gordon participated with Cleveland's other veterans in the grueling conditioning test.

    As Pettine, general manager Ray Farmer and the team's quarterbacks, rookies and injured players looked on, Gordon and others ran 20 sprints they had to finish in mandated times.

    Mammoth defensive tackle Phil Taylor did not complete the sprints, and tight end Gary Barnidge looked woozy as he was helped off the field by trainers before being driven on a cart to the team's headquarters.

    Safety Donte Whitner finished the test by doing a somersault over the goal line. He slowly walked into the training facility escorted by a trainer.

    It's the first time in years the Browns have had their conditioning test open to the media.

    Pettine said the players who didn't pass will be re-tested before Saturday's workout.

    ---

    Online:

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • Panthers QB Newton practices, not 100 percent yet

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said that while his surgically repaired ankle is getting better, it's not completely healed.

    The Pro Bowl player participated in his first full practice Friday night at Fan Fest since undergoing surgery in March.

    Newton looked sharp throwing passes but struggled with his footwork and timing on handoffs. He didn't appear to run with a limp until after practice when he jogged over to sign autographs for some of the 36,315 fans in attendance at the team's downtown stadium. The event signaled the official start of training camp for the NFC South champions.

    "I can't stress enough that I'm not 100 percent yet," Newton said.

    At one point Carolina's trainer Ryan Vermillion came over to check on the fourth-year quarterback during practice, but Newton said it was just precautionary.

    "It's just going to take treatment and time," Newton said, adding that his rehab is right on schedule.

    Coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers will take it slow with Newton, making sure to avoid any potential setbacks.

    He said Newton will continue to undergo treatment on a daily basis, but was thrilled to see the team's leader back on the field.

    Rivera said he hopes to have Newton available for all four preseason games.

    "It was good to see Cam out there," Rivera said. "He's a little rusty in terms of his quarterback to running back exchange. But he's working himself back in and he has to work those techniques. But it was nice to see him make some nice throws."

    Rivera said Newton's footwork still needs to improve.

    "A big thing is developing that footwork and getting that flexibility back in that ankle," Rivera said. "As he practices and goes through day by day we have to be smart with it. I think he will work back into shape pretty soon."

    Newton had surgery in March after experiencing soreness in his left ankle following Carolina's 23-10 NFC divisional playoff loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers. Newton gave the ankle about two months to improve after the season, but when it was clear it wasn't getting better the decision was made to have surgery.

    Newton is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he threw for 3,379 yards and a career-high 24 touchdowns while leading the Panthers to a 12-4 record and the NFC title.

    Newton, in typical fashion, played up to the large crowd that came out to see the two-hour practice on a rare cool Charlotte summer night.

    In between drills Newton got the crowd roaring when he started "the wave" in the lower bowl of the stadium. A few minutes later, Newton slowed down the speed of the wave with his arms before getting the crowd to shift the direction of the wave.

    Newton later drew cheers when he completed a 40-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the team's first-round draft pick, near the left sideline.

    "This is great," Newton said of the turnout, the largest in Fan Fest history. "We are expecting this turnout every time. They hold us accountable and we have to put a great product out there."

    Defensive end Greg Hardy, who was convicted on July 16 on two domestic violence charges, was also back on the field and was playing up to the crowd, waving his arms up and down in his usual fashion.

    Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said the team is following the NFL's lead and allowing the legal process to play out before handing out any punishment to Hardy. Hardy has appealed the conviction and will have a jury trial.

    No date has been set, but more than likely it will not happen until next year.

    The Panthers will move training camp practice on Saturday to Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Saturday.

    ---

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • Mets RHP Matsuzaka returns to NY for elbow exam

    MILWAUKEE (AP) The Mets say pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is returning to New York to have his right elbow examined.

    Mets manager Terry Collins said Friday that the 33-year-old Matsuzaka felt something in his elbow a day earlier.

    Matsuzaka pitched two innings and gave up three earned runs in the Mets' 9-1 loss at Milwaukee on Thursday night.

    "He said when he was loosening up, he could feel it a little bit, thought it was nothing that he couldn't pitch through, but when the game was over it bothered him pretty good," Collins said before Friday night's game against the Brewers.

    Matsuzaka is 3-3 with a 3.87 ERA in 28 games this season. He's made nine starts.



  • Rams: No restrictions on Bradford

    ST. LOUIS (AP) At times, Sam Bradford forgot all about his surgically repaired left knee.

    Except for a brace, the St. Louis Rams have no restrictions in training camp for their quarterback, either. The first overall pick of the 2010 draft missed the last nine games last season and is a key to a franchise seeking a breakthrough season.

    "I feel great, my knee really feels good," Bradford said after the first full-squad workout in unseasonably cool weather Friday night. "They feel good about having no limits.

    "If it starts getting a little sore and we need to pull back we can always do that, but out of the gate I'm going to try to do everything."

    Coach Jeff Fisher said Bradford was so impressive in conditioning tests, he finished ahead of players who should have bested him.

    "Guys that you would think would do a lot better. How does that sound?" outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar said, laughing. "We've got the general on offense back,"

    Bradford was eased back into the mix during OTAs last month and became a full participant the final week. He realizes there might be a little more trepidation before the preseason opener, but added, "At this point, I haven't noticed anything."

    During the month off for players, Bradford worked out with five young receivers to come to his home in Norman, Oklahoma, and footed the bill, too.

    The Rams (7-9) are entering their third season under Fisher and general manager Les Snead and seeking a breakthrough for a franchise that hasn't fielded a winning team since 2003.

    "I'm going on Year 5 and there's some guys in there that have been there longer than I have," Bradford said. "No one steps on the field to lose. I think we want it just as bad as the city and fans do."

    A crowd estimated at 1,484 attended the workout with temperatures in the high 70s with a cooling breeze after a storm threatened for several hours but failed to materialize. Temperatures are expected to be back in the 90s for Day 2 Saturday.

    Fans passed through a souvenir tent on the way to the field that featured two racks of Michael Sam jerseys for sale, along with single racks for Bradford, defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long, and middle linebacker James Laurinaitis. Sam's jersey is the Rams' top seller.

    Wide receiver Austin Pettis was the easiest player to spot on the first day, showing some fashion sense wearing red cleats and red socks. He said others at his position also have brightly colored cleats that be showing up during camp.

    "We're trying to add a little style to our outfits," Pettis said. "I think a lot of people were just admiring them, you might say. Hopefully, they helped me out."

    Dunbar was perhaps the most relieved player to get camp underway. Dunbar was arrested for disorderly conduct early Sunday after an altercation that included NBA player Donte Green, and has Fisher on his side after explaining the situation.

    Dunbar said he couldn't discuss specifics because the case is pending.

    "It was unfortunate but hopefully we can just get past it and move on," Dunbar said. "I'm happy to be back, happy to be playing football and happy to be doing something I'd rather be doing."

    Dunbar reported at 227 pounds, a 13-pound drop from last year, in an effort to improve on pass coverage.

    Rookies arrived Monday and had two workouts before the veterans joined in.

    "It helped tremendously," said running back Tre Mason, a third-round pick. "We weren't just thrown out there with the vets and lost."

    Offensive lineman Greg Robinson, the second overall pick, is getting work at guard and tackle early in camp while tackle Jake Long rehabs from knee surgery. Fisher expects Long to be ready for the opener but for now said he'll be moving linemen around.

    ---

    Online:

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • Montoya back at Indy intent on winning for Penske

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Juan Pablo Montoya is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    One night only in a guest star role for Team Penske,

    The Colombian is entered in the Brickyard 400 for the explicit purpose of winning at Indy in NASCAR and giving team owner Roger Penske one of the few trophies missing from his collection.

    Montoya is not looking for a good points day on Sunday and doesn't care about a top-10 finish. It's checkered flag or bust.

    Although he won the Indy 500 in 2000, Montoya was winless in seven NASCAR starts at the Brickyard and let two near-victories slip away.



  • Mercedes drivers fastest in Hungarian GP practice

    BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first and second practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday, with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg second.

    Hamilton's best lap of 1 minute, 24.482 seconds was 0.238 seconds faster than Rosberg's in the second session.

    The Mercedes drivers, who have won nine of the 10 races this season, were the only ones finishing below 1:25 and were over a second faster than in the first practice. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was third.

    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was fourth in the second practice, nearly a second off Hamilton's pace, followed by Kevin Magnussen of McLaren, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and surging Valtteri Bottas of Williams.

    Gaining pole position for Sunday's race is considered a huge plus on the twisting Hungaroring circuit, where passing opportunities are very limited. Hamilton is looking to win his third race in a row and his fifth overall on this track.

    Despite far outpacing the rest of the field, Hamilton said neither the soft nor medium Pirelli tire compounds had been satisfactory during the first two practice sessions on the famously dusty circuit.

    "Neither tire was good, to be honest," said Hamilton, the 2008 F1 champion who completed 38 laps in the second practice, among the most of all drivers. "They both have very poor grip."

    Hamilton said Mercedes was being careful about avoiding excessive tire wear during the practices.

    "It feels like you have to slow down too much now, to the point that it's a bit boring," Hamilton said, adding that he expected a "tough day" during the last practice and the qualifying session on Saturday.

    The British driver, who crashed during qualifying a week ago for the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim due to brake failure, could be heard complaining about the brakes again during practice over the team radio. Later, however, he did not seem too concerned.

    "I just had some brake settings that weren't great," Hamilton said after the second practice session. "This is a continuing issue we need to work on."

    Hamilton won four of the first five races of the season, later adding a fifth in at the British Grand Prix. He has 176 points, 14 behind Rosberg and 70 ahead of Ricciardo, the only other winner in 2014.



  • Cavs sign Wiggins, who can't be traded for 30 days

    CLEVELAND (AP) Andrew Wiggins has an NBA home. Maybe a temporary one.

    The Cavaliers signed the No. 1 overall draft pick Thursday, a deal that prevents Wiggins from being traded for 30 days.

    Wiggins has been linked to a possible blockbuster trade with Minnesota for All-Star forward Kevin Love. But any deal now involving Wiggins can't be finalized for at least 30 days.

    The Cavs and Timberwolves have had talks about a trade involving Love for months, long before Cleveland selected Wiggins, the former Kansas standout, with the first pick in May's draft. Those discussions have intensified lately, and the sides can still reach an agreement on a trade but nothing can be finalized until late August.

    Now that Wiggins is under contract, the league's seldom-used 30-day rule is in effect.

    It was designed to prevent teams from circumventing salary cap rules. There have been restrictions placed on trading newly signed rookies dating back at least to the 1998-99 collective bargaining agreement. At that time, rookies were lumped in with all free agents into a rule that prevents any newly signed player from being traded for three months or before Dec. 15 of the next season - whichever is longer.

    The rule was modified in the 2005 CBA, separating rookie contracts into a different category with the shorter, 30-day timeline between signing date and trade eligibility.

    The spirit behind the rule is that if a rookie is traded immediately after he signs, it gives the appearance that the acquiring team is the one that is in fact signing him.

    Cleveland's decision to sign Wiggins actually makes it easier to trade him. Before his deal, he had zero value on the salary cap but his contract - worth $5.5 million - could allow the Cavs to clear enough room to take on a player like Love, who is sent to earn $15.7 million next season.

    Minnesota has received offers from other teams, including the Chicago Bulls, who reached out to the Timberwolves this week, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions who requested anonymity because the teams were not publicly commenting on the process.

    With Wiggins unable to be moved by Cleveland for a month, it's possible other teams may approach the Timberwolves to make a run at Love, a double-double machine and arguably the league's top power forward. Love is entering his final year under contract in Minnesota and has said he does not intend to sign a long-term deal with the Timberwolves.

    Golden State has also shown interest in the 25-year-old Love. But the Warriors have refused to include guard Klay Thompson in any offer, which has been a deal-breaker for the Timberwolves.

    Cleveland had been reluctant to include Wiggins in a package for Love, but the team has softened its stance and may be willing to part with the 6-foot-8 forward with the 44-inch vertical leap.

    The Cavs are interested in bringing in Love to form a "Big 3" with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. That trio would make the Cavs an overwhelming favorite in the Eastern Conference, and potentially put them in position to win the city's first major sports championship since 1964.

    Cleveland also signed rookie Joe Harris, taken with the first pick (No. 33 overall) of the second round. Harris, who played at West Virginia, averaged 7.8 points in four summer league games in Las Vegas.

    As the Wiggins-Love situation drags on, the Cavs continue to re-shape their roster. The team is interested in signing free agent Ray Allen, who has spent the past two seasons in Miami with James. On Thursday, the agency representing Allen knocked down a report that the NBA's career 3-pointer leader was leaning toward joining the Cavaliers.

    Allen's agent, Jim Tanner, wrote on his Tandem Sports & Entertainment twitter account that reports Allen "intends to play for the Cavs are unfounded. He has not yet decided if he will play next season or for which team."



  • Blake Griffin withdraws from US national team

    LOS ANGELES (AP) Blake Griffin has withdrawn from playing for the U.S. national basketball team this summer.

    The Los Angeles Clippers star was one of 19 players selected to the roster from which the World Cup team will be chosen.

    Griffin said Thursday that he wants to dedicate all his energy on improving and preparing for the upcoming NBA season.

    Griffin joins Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook in not participating. Westbrook dropped out to rest previous knee injuries.

    The Americans begin training camp Monday in Las Vegas, a month before the World Cup of Basketball opens in Spain.



  • AP source: Gordon to meet with league Aug. 1

    CLEVELAND (AP) The Browns may soon learn whether they'll have Josh Gordon this season.

    The Pro Bowl wide receiver will have an appeal hearing with NFL officials in New York on Aug. 1, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

    The game-breaking playmaker is facing a possible one-year ban for violating the league's substance abuse policy for at least the third time. Gordon, who had a history of marijuana abuse in college, was suspended for the first two games last season. He still led the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving.

    The 23-year-old player is expected to report to training camp Friday and he'll be on the field Saturday as the Browns have their first practice under new coach Mike Pettine.

    According to reports, Gordon recently checked himself into rehab following an arrest in North Carolina. ESPN's Adam Shefter said Gordon spent two weeks at a facility in California.

    The Browns have been patiently waiting for a resolution on Gordon's playing status, and his uncertain future has left a cloud over the team. The Browns first learned of a potential extended suspension on the second day of the NFL draft in May. The ESPN report doused the optimism created after the Browns, who have had only two winning seasons since 1999, drafted quarterback Johnny Manziel.

    On Wednesday, Pettine told the AP he's not consumed with worry about whether he'll have Gordon.

    "The frustration has really faded," Pettine said. "It's just something that's there. It's equivalent of having that file folder with all the answers in it and it's sitting there ready to go. It's just got a lot of dust. We're just waiting to hear from the league and we'll act accordingly."

    If Gordon loses his appeal, he could be banned by Commissioner Roger Goodell for a minimum of one year. He would then have to apply for re-instatement.

    Gordon has complicated his case with two recent legal infractions. He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after speeding down a street in Raleigh, North Carolina, last month. In May, he was ticketed for speeding in Ohio, and a passenger in his car was cited for marijuana possession.

    Pettine said the Browns have no plans to release Gordon. The team intends to support him and give him any help he may need.

    "Josh is a Cleveland Brown and we want what's best for him and we want what's best for us," Pettine said. "He's smart. He's bright. He's creative. He's a guy that in a lot of ways that you root for."

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    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • Punished Priefer: 'I went way below the bar'

    MANKATO, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings could hardly hold training camp without some kind of controversy or sideshow.

    This version came with quite the twist: special teams coordinator Mike Priefer in the spotlight.

    As players unpacked their vehicles carrying necessities and diversions for the three-week stay at Minnesota State University, signing autographs for clamoring purple-clad fans in this annual rite of reporting day, the usual prominent figures stepped to a makeshift podium for questions from the media outside the team's temporary residence.

    This time, Priefer and long snapper Cullen Loeffler were among the interview subjects.

    Strange, yes, but part of the process following former punter Chris Kluwe's complaint that Priefer taunted him two years ago with homophobic language. The Vikings commissioned an outside investigation that lasted six months and last week announced a three-game suspension for Priefer.

    An unsatisfied Kluwe vowed a lawsuit, but his attorney has held off on filing it while continuing to talk with the team's lawyer about a settlement.

    "In this situation, with my comment, I've failed. I didn't just go below the bar. I went way below the bar. I made a mistake. I was wrong. I brought a lot of undue attention to the Minnesota Vikings organization and brought an unwanted distraction, and I apologize," Priefer said.

    According to a summary of the report released by the Vikings, Loeffler corroborated to the investigators Kluwe's claim that Priefer made a vicious anti-gay remark in their presence. Priefer was trying to agitate Kluwe, who became a supporter for same-sex marriage rights as Minnesota considered in 2012 a constitutional amendment to ban it. The amendment was voted down.

    Loeffler said he never believed Priefer was being serious that day at practice.

    "I always thought it was a joke. They both laughed about it," Loeffler said.

    Kluwe and Loeffler were friends during their eight years together on the team, but Loeffler said Thursday he has not spoken with Kluwe since the outspoken ex-punter revealed in January his allegations of a bigoted atmosphere around the team and claimed he was cut prior to last season for his views and advocacy.

    As for having to testify to the investigators against his position coach, Loeffler denied any hesitancy or awkwardness.

    "I just told the truth, as the Vikings wanted me to tell the truth. They've been supportive throughout the process and it wasn't hard for me at all," he said.

    General manager Rick Spielman clarified that Priefer's suspension will take effect with the start of the regular season, and he won't be allowed at team headquarters during that time.

    Priefer will take sensitivity training classes through an outside firm during the first week of his ban, and the team will decide whether or not to reduce his punishment to two games.

    Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer have been considering options for fulfilling Priefer's responsibilities while he's away, but they weren't ready to reveal the plan. Spielman said the suspension came directly from owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf.

    "I can't tell you how much I respect him, not only as a family man and as a person but also as a football coach. He's made a mistake and he owned up to that mistake and he's going to serve his suspension, and then we're going to move on," Spielman said.

    Neither Spielman nor Zimmer answered directly whether they considered firing Priefer, before or after the investigation was complete.

    Priefer initially denied making the remark, but he relented in a subsequent interview with the investigators. Neither Spielman nor Zimmer expressed any concern about Priefer's dishonesty.

    "I've had a chance to visit with Mike Priefer on numerous occasions, almost every single day, to find out what kind of person he is. I knew his father. I know what kind of family guy is. He made a mistake. So I just go by what I see. I don't go by what I hear," Zimmer said.

    Priefer's voice seemed to crack at one point during his session with reporters: "I feel like I let my family down," he said.

    The coach declined to speak about other issues pertaining to the investigation, including Kluwe's claim that he made multiple homophobic remarks. Priefer said he hoped his news conference was the beginning of a rebuilding of his credibility. He also said he wasn't worried about losing his job.

    "I learned a hard lesson. I've got to be sensitive to other people in what I say, and that's not going to happen again," Priefer said.

    Football was still at least part of the theme Thursday, with players required to pass a conditioning test in order to be cleared for the first practice Friday.

    "It's a distraction today, but tomorrow, I'll be focused on football," Zimmer said.

    Star running back Adrian Peterson was eager for Zimmer's first camp.

    "I expect it to be tough. He's a hard-headed guy, and he expects the best from us," Peterson said.

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    AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



  • Smith plans to meet soon with Commissioner Goodell

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith expects to sit down with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "in the near future" to discuss any potential suspension for his off-field issues.

    Smith was sentenced last Friday to serve three years of probation and to spend 11 days with a work crew after he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges. Smith said he hasn't had time to begin the work yet, and will do so as his time permits.

    Of the ruling, Smith said he is "glad how it worked out." He didn't want to guess whether he would face a suspension from the league, and said he is unsure whether Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game penalty Thursday for his offseason arrest for domestic violence provides any indication.

    "I'm glad it's behind me. I'm ready to move on. ... I've never been in this situation so I'm not going to speculate," Smith said of possible punishment. "I know I'm meeting with him in the near future - as soon as possible. We don't have a solid date, so I'm not sure."

    Smith said he has been sober since entering rehab last year following his Sept. 20 DUI arrest. He underwent treatment at an in-patient facility and missed five games. Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked Thursday whether he thought the NFL might take the rehab stint into account as time served.

    "Going through a process, which is, there's accountability for some mistakes made. And also he's been given the opportunity to do what he says he's going to do. So far he's doing that," Harbaugh said. "That's in their hands. They will discipline if they warrant it."

    Tight end Vernon Davis said before the team's first practice that his desire for a new contract is no longer a focus and he will leave that to the team and his agent to discuss.

    "That's in the past, I'm not really worried about the contract," he said. "That's between the team and my agent. That's not my focus right now. My focus is out here, trying to get better."

    Of being fined up to $70,000 for missing the mandatory minicamp last month, Davis said, "I'm sure they did, absolutely."

    So, why did he sit out the offseason program with two years remaining on his current deal?

    "It was a very easy decision. All you have to do is think about the team," Davis said. "That's what I did. I thought about my teammates, especially some of the guys like Frank Gore, guys that they're on the last end of their contract. There's nothing like being here."

    For Smith, he hopes 2014 is a fresh start - and he insists he is in the best shape ever entering his fourth NFL season.

    In his latest run-in with the law, Smith was arrested April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said the 24-year-old Smith was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became uncooperative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb.

    In November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a June 2012 party at his home. Investigators said several shots were fired, two partygoers were injured and Smith was stabbed. In the subsequent investigation, prosecutors say detectives found five unregistered, illegal weapons in Smith's house.

    Yet, what Smith brings on the field makes him one of the NFL's best at pressuring quarterbacks.

    Smith emerged as one of the league's most-feared pass rushers in 2012. He had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks that year, but failed to record a sack in his final six games including the team's postseason Super Bowl run.

    Smith finished with 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games last season, making eight starts. His 42 sacks are second-most in the NFL since he entered the league.

    Harbaugh, for one, is only thinking about another year and another opportunity for success after three straight seasons coming oh so close.

    "It's like it's your own birthday. It's a family reunion. It's like a rebirth, feel like you come out of the womb and reborn into football," Harbaugh said in his first news conference at new Levi's Stadium. "And definitely having Vernon there added to that. Everybody sees their friends, sees their family, haven't seen them for a month or so as we've been apart after the minicamp. ...

    "Our team is the least unhappy team I've ever been around."

    NOTES: Rookie first-round pick S Jimmie Ward made a diving interception on a tipped pass by Colin Kaepernick. "If I keep making plays like that I'm going to be seen," Ward said.

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    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org




 
 
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