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The FBI and IRS allege new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's travel center company Pilot Flying J engaged in a fraud scheme "for many years" to keep money owed to customers as gas rebates.

Documents filed by the FBI in court Thursday claim Haslam was aware of the fraud scheme, "committed by top sales officials" at his family business. They also allege Haslam was present for discussions about the fraudulent activities. According to the FBI and IRS, Pilot Flying J targeted companies that were "too unsophisticated to catch that their agreed-upon deal with Pilot was being changed to benefit Pilot without the knowledge of those customers." The NFL has long bragged about its thorough process for vetting prospective owners, but either missed something or didn't do its due diligence with Haslam, who is estimated to be worth $1.8 billion by Forbes. Haslam's brother Bill Haslam is the sitting governor of Tennessee. The league has declined comment.
Thu, Apr 18, 2013 06:28:00 PM

Suspended WR Josh Gordon can apply for reinstatement at the end of the 2014 season.

It's technically just a season-long ban for Gordon, not a calendar-year suspension. It's a glimmer of good news. Gordon will be away from the Browns for roughly 5-6 months, as long as he keeps his nose clean. Gordon took and passed over 70 drug tests, but failed the one that led to this suspension by 0.01 nanograms per milliliter. Gordon's agent needs to surround him with good people while he's away from the game. He has a ton of football ahead of him.
Aug 27 - 1:38 PM

Both coach Ron Rivera and Cam Newton said there's "no doubt" he'll play Week 1 despite a rib injury.

Newton has hairline fractures in a few of his ribs, but quarterbacks regularly play through this injury. It's typically a question of pain management. We'll know more on Newton next week when the Panthers begin official preparations for the Bucs, but he's safe to pen into lineups. Rivera said the zone-read will still be in play despite Cam's injury.
Aug 27 - 12:13 PM

According to Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson, "it looks like (Giovani) Bernard and (Jeremy) Hill could both get about 200 attempts" on the ground this season.

Hobson notes that Hill "changed the tenor" of Cincinnati's third preseason game against Arizona, and expects the rookie's "power running" to be a particular "boon" against division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Hobson also wonders if BenJarvus Green-Ellis may have played his final game as a Bengal. Clearly the best inside runner on the Bengals' roster, Hill continues to be severely undervalued at his mid-10th-round ADP. If Gio only winds up with 200 carries, it's going to be difficult to reach the 300 touches many have projected him for.
Source: bengals.com
Aug 27 - 12:04 PM

Eagles tight ends coach Ted Williams said Zach Ertz is "one of the best route-runners I've ever seen."

Long-tabbed as one of the key pieces of the post-DeSean Jackson era in Philly, Ertz has done nothing to squash the hype in camp. Veteran reporter Paul Domowitch goes as far as to mention Ertz in the same breath as Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten and Rob Gronkowski. "Ertz has that kind of ability, that kind of upside," Domowitch says. Although in-line blocking stud Brent Celek remains the starter, the Eagles are going to feature a ton of "12" looks that get Ertz mismatches against linebackers. He'll be a featured player in the red-zone and remains one of our favorite middle-round TE1s.
Aug 27 - 10:16 AM

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirms the Steelers are not going to impose any suspensions on Le'Veon Bell or LeGarrette Blount.

Beat man Ed Bouchette has heard from fantasy players worried that Bell and/or Blount would be suspended by coach Mike Tomlin for Week 1. It's not going to happen because 1)The Steelers want to beat the Browns and 2)Team-imposed suspensions violate the league's collective bargaining agreement. Furthermore, any discipline from the NFL won't be handed down until after the case plays out in court -- something that can be held off until after the season. "If you have not yet held your fantasy football draft and want to take Le'Veon Bell, you can do so without fear it will cost you or him a game," writes Bouchette.
Aug 27 - 8:58 AM

Frankie Hammond is expected to start in place of Dwayne Bowe (suspension) Week 1.

Hammond, a 2013 UDFA out of Florida that spent last season on the practice squad, has been Bowe's direct backup at "Z" throughout camp. He's also been solid in preseason games, catching six passes for 90 yards on 86 snaps. It's a nice story, but it speaks to the striking lack of depth and talent the Chiefs have in their wide receiver room. If they want to have any kind of passing attack against the Titans, they'll install Gronkonian tight end Travis Kelce as a primary receiving option. Donnie Avery remains the starting "X."
Source: ESPN.com
Aug 27 - 8:12 AM

ESPN's Adam Schefter says Rob Gronkowski (knee) remains in a "good spot."

Newly acquired Tim Wright will compete for snaps as a "move" tight end complement to in-line Gronkowski. They play completely different positions, so the trade does not shed any new light on Gronk's rehab -- which reportedly continues to progress without setback. Within the last week, Schefter has stated that he would be surprised if Gronkowski isn't ready for Week 1.
Aug 27 - 7:51 AM

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin suggested Lamar Miller remains ahead Knowshon Moreno for the starting running back job.

"I like everything Lamar has done since he's gotten here," Philbin said. "He's had an excellent offseason and camp. I like everything he's done since April 21." Miller has been splitting first-team reps this week, but is expected to open the season as Miami's primary early-down back. Moreno is the favorite for third down and pass protection snaps.
Aug 26 - 10:57 PM

Coach John Fox said Wes Welker is doing "fantastic" in the concussion protocol.

Oftentimes, players with a history of concussions have trouble progressing quickly through the league's protocols. That doesn't appear to be the case with Welker even though this is his third concussion in the last nine months. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says there's a "lot of optimism from the team," essentially confirming that Welker has no intention of retiring and is on track to make a speedy return. We still like Cody Latimer as a late-round stash -- he has more real-life upside than Andre Caldwell and Welker is a poor bet to make it through the season.
Aug 26 - 6:59 PM

The Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll have been "collectively fined" $300,000 for violating the league's offseason non-contact practice rules

The team has also been docked two minicamp practices. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Seahawks' June 16 OTAs session was "deemed unsuitable under CBA rules." It's hardly a federal offense, but won't help Carroll's reputation as a renegade rules bender.
Aug 26 - 5:25 PM

Rams placed QB Sam Bradford on injured reserve with a torn left ACL, ending his season.

As NFL.com's Albert Breer points out, it means Bradford will have missed 41 of a possible 93 games since his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma. In five NFL seasons, he's appeared in more than 10 games just twice. Bradford is due $12.985 million next season, but is highly unlikely to be back in St. Louis at that number. Still only 27 (in November), Bradford has time to turn his career around, but it's looking like a major missed opportunity.
Aug 26 - 4:05 PM




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