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The school cafeteria has long been portrayed as a place where students gather during lunch for camaraderie with friends or to face off against foes.

The NFL’s decision to again let players celebrate touchdowns, both roundly, and deservedly, praised, was also akin to a layup for the league. We’re hearing the interpretation of the new rule may not be as easy—at least not initially.

“When you read the language, you’ll understand,” Falcons president and competition committee chairman Rich McKay said Tuesday at the spring league meeting of the NFL’s revised TD celebration allowances. “And when you see the video, which we’ll share with all the players in the preseason, you’ll have a clear explanation.

"Doesn’t mean that it covers everything, because you’ll still have players that are creative. We’ve seen guys go get popcorn; they’ve done a lot. Good for them, but in our case we just want to try and make sure we bring as much clarity as we can.”

Clarity is obviously a good thing, but the Way We Hear It, there’s gray area yet to come into focus. Is it as ambiguous as the catch rule? Thankfully for all of us, it isn’t, but new senior director of officiating Alberto Riveron acknowledged while the rule generally should make his official’s lives easier, certain acts will be subject to interpretation.

“No doubt about it,” said Riveron.

Since sexually suggestive acts aren’t allowed, interpreting one thrust vs. two, as one veteran scribe joked Tuesday, won’t be of concern to officials. Moreover, with choreographed celebration no longer subject to penalty, officials won’t spend time trying to decipher whether the imaginary photo shoot last year involving Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, for instance, happened organically, or whether it was premeditated.

After listening to McKay, Riveron, commissioner Roger Goodell and executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent discuss the intended changes Tuesday, it’s clear maintaining sportsmanship within celebration is of the utmost importance. And with a clear prioritization on eliminating taunting, despite the language remaining unchanged, we expect this to be one potential area of potential subjectivity.

“If we feel that you are performing an act at an opponent, directly at their bench, there will be a foul,” Riveron explained. “There’s no change in that language. Players also talked about standing over their opponent.”

Vincent thinks the preseason will be a critical time for continuing to develop a consensus on what forms of celebration will and won’t be considered acceptable.

“I think we’ll have a better idea [in the] preseason,” he said. “We’re constantly engaging with the player and with the fan. Preseason will give us some indication. Players have said they want to stay involved with this process.”

Indeed, Goodell shares Vincent's sentiment regarding this process being a fluid one.

"There’s a lot more work to be done and a lot more discussion to have with all entities to make sure we implement it correctly," said Goodell. "Also understanding that, whenever we establish a policy, people are going to push the limit. That’s going to be more of a job that we’re going to have to do moving forward to make sure we keep it within the structure of the standards that I think all of us collectively have a strong consensus around, which is what you see today."

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Browns have hired former Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson as a senior personnel executive.

Grigson was with Indianapolis from 2012-16, and helped the Colts win two AFC South titles and make the playoffs three times. He was named the NFL's top executive in 2012 by Sporting News.

Colts owner Jim Irsay fired him in January.

With the Browns, Grigson will report to Andrew Berry, the team's vice president of player personnel. Berry worked with Grigson in Indianapolis.

"Ryan brings valuable experience to our personnel group," said Sashi Brown, Cleveland's vice president of football operations. "He was raised as a road-scout and has been evaluating talent in this league for almost 20 years. We place a premium on that experience and on his passion for football. Ryan has much to offer to any personnel department and we are pleased that he chose to join our staff."

Before joining the Colts, Grigson spent eight years with Philadelphia, starting as a regional scout and finishing as the club's director of player personnel. He also worked for the St. Louis Rams and in the Canadian and Arena football leagues.

"We are excited to add Ryan to our personnel department," Berry said. "Having worked with him for four years with the Colts, I know Ryan is an individual with a palpable passion for scouting, a tireless work ethic and an insatiable competitive drive. His experiences as an NFL player and executive will prove valuable to the mission of our group, while his team-orientation and personal integrity will continue to strengthen our department's culture."


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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two joint training camp practices before their preseason game in August.

The teams will practice Monday and Tuesday before playing Thursday night, Aug. 17. The Jaguars also will have two joint practices at New England a week earlier, before their preseason opener.

New coach Doug Marrone and top executive Tom Coughlin want the Jaguars to be more physical. Holding joint practices in consecutive weeks will make that clear to the players.

Marrone says he's a fan of joint practices "as long as you can make sure that it is competitive and not combative."

The Jaguars and Bucs also practiced together in Jacksonville before their preseason game last year.


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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Browns are not taking any chances with Myles Garrett, their No. 1 draft pick and $30 million investment.

Garrett is being kept off the practice field by the team this week because of an unspecified injury. The former Texas A&M star would not disclose his medical issue on Wednesday, but said it's nothing significant.

"They just wanted to be cautious about a little nick," Garrett said. "But I'll be back out there next week. I want to be out there. They're holding me right now. But I'll be out there full tilt next week."

Garrett signed a four-year, $30 million contract last week and the Browns aren't taking any chances with their prized first selection. Coach Hue Jackson indicated Garrett might be dealing with something following last week's rookie minicamp, but he didn't reveal Garrett's problem.

"He'll be fine," Jackson said. "Obviously I'm just going to very cautious with guys. Anytime guys have a little soreness, I want to make sure we're totally healthy. I think when we had the rookie minicamp there was a little soreness. I just wanted to make sure that was out before we stuck him out there again."

Another first-round pick, defensive back Jabrill Peppers, also sat out, as did veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt. The team gave no specifics about their injuries.

The Browns got a scare during practice when wide receiver Corey Coleman was slow getting up after catching a deep pass from Brock Osweiler. Coleman stayed on the ground for several minutes before being helped up by a trainer. Jackson came over to check on the second-year player before he walked into the team's facility along with a member of the medical staff.

Coleman did not limp and may have just been shaken up after falling on the ball.

Jackson didn't seem overly concerned.

"He's going to be fine," Jackson said. "He came down I think on the ball a little bit, too, but I think he'll be OK."

The Browns are counting on Coleman to have a big season after he missed six games as a rookie with a broken hand. The No. 15 overall pick in 2016, he finished with 33 catches for 413 yards and three touchdowns.


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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Teddy Bridgewater has reached the point in rehabilitation where he's able to drop back to pass on his surgically repaired left knee.

Just when the 24-year-old quarterback might return to live action with the Minnesota Vikings remains largely unknown.

"Just hoping that eventually he'll be able to come back on the field, but that's still the unknown," said general manager Rick Spielman, who clarified Wednesday that Bridgewater has not been given the green light for full practice.

That's predictable, considering he's less than nine months removed from the dislocation, torn ACL and other ligament damage that occurred to his knee during a non-contact drill .

But the Vikings raised some optimism about Bridgewater's recovery Tuesday by posting to their website a 38-second, slow-motion video clip of him taking a handful of drop-backs and throws. Their first organized on-field offseason workout was closed to the media.

"We wanted to at least put something out there to show that this is part of his rehab," Spielman said.

With practice open to reporters Wednesday, Bridgewater was absent, attending a regularly scheduled appointment with his doctor, Spielman said.

"Very limited in what he's able to do at this point," Spielman said, "but it's progress."

Spielman declined to answer any questions about specifics, including whether Bridgewater was ahead, behind or on schedule or if there's hope of having Bridgewater take part in training camp.

What's next?

"Can he do a little bit more? I don't know where that's going. We'll just take it a day at a time," Spielman said.

Bridgewater has yet to address the media since his injury, leaving only a breadcrumb trail of cryptic Instagram and Twitter posts about his status. What's clear, at least, is his unrelentingly positive attitude.

"You almost have to hold Teddy back from doing too much because he's so diligent in what he's trying to get accomplished," Spielman said.

Resilient, too, considering the calamitous nature of the injury he suffered.

"Teddy is a tough son of a gun," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said.


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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos spent four of their last five offseasons working out long-term deals with players they had franchised: Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Clady and Matt Prater.

There aren't any looming hefty deals bogging down the front office this year, but there is a simmering contract dispute: kicker Brandon McManus hasn't signed his $2.7 million tender in the hopes that agent Drew Rosenhaus can get him a long-term deal.

"There is really no rush for me to sign the tender," said McManus, who has until June 15 to sign it.

There really isn't a rush for general manager John Elway to sign McManus long-term, either.

Elway's track record the last two offseasons included pay cuts for superstars Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware, and he has waited until after Christmas to sign star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and Derek Wolfe in recent seasons.

Asked after the draft about McManus not putting his signature on his tender, Elway pointed to his office and said, "That's all right. It's up there. So, when he wants to come sign it, he can come sign it."

McManus, who made $600,000 last season, would prefer to sign a deal that keeps him in Denver through 2020.

"I would love to be here as long as I can and be on a long-term deal here that gives me some security," McManus said this week in his first public comments about his contract situation. "I love Denver and I love the fan base here. I would love to be here for four years, so why not see what I can do?"

The Broncos used second-round tenders for both McManus and inside linebacker Todd Davis in March. Davis signed his tender. Without long-term deals, both could become unrestricted free agents in 2018.

McManus has made 85.5 percent of his field goal tries the last two seasons. He was a perfect 10 for 10 during the Broncos' Super Bowl run two seasons ago but his 2016 season was marred by a crucial miss in an overtime loss to Kansas City that would ultimately keep Denver out of the playoffs.

While McManus awaits movement on a new contract, he's been attending the Broncos' offseason program, including the OTAs that began this week.

"I just would love to be here a lot longer," McManus said. "I've been here every day throughout the whole offseason program. That's not part of me to hold out in that aspect and not show up. I want the guys to see me. I'm looking forward to hopefully being maybe a captain for special teams this year."

Special teams coach Brock Olivo said he could see that happening this year.

"I'll say this about Brandon: I think he has a pretty good presence in the locker room, whereas a lot of kickers don't. They can be sort of loners to so speak. They're specialists and so they're kind of a group apart. But I don't think Brandon is seen that way in our locker room," Olivo said. "That's just my gut feeling right now from what I've seen. So, the idea of him being a captain, I love that about him. I love that he aspires to be that leader.

"And I love the fact that he's here on a daily basis, he's grinding. I think guys respect that about him. He's got a good personality. He's a very gregarious, outgoing guy. Guys like him. And he's got confidence. That's swag, right? And people like that."

McManus said he feels he's established himself over the last two seasons, so "hopefully I can get that honor this year."

Along with a big contract.


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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Go ahead, make NaVorro Bowman compete to earn his starting spot back after a devastating Achilles injury.

Sure, throw his name out as being on the trading block.

Even tell the four-time All-Pro linebacker and longtime leader of the San Francisco defense that one talented player at his position will likely be the odd man out in a matter of months.

"I won't. I won't be on the sideline, I'm going to tell you that now," Bowman said Tuesday following practice as part of a 49ers organized team activity.

San Francisco signed inside linebacker Malcolm Smith in free agency and drafted another in Reuben Foster at 31st overall last month out of Alabama, prompting new coach Kyle Shanahan to make a courtesy call to Bowman in case he wanted to talk things over — not that Bowman needed any reassurances. He appreciated the gesture nonetheless, went back to some offseason golf, and they never have gotten around to the discussion.

Earlier this month, general manager John Lynch called to let him know he wasn't being shopped around to other teams despite reports otherwise — and the 49ers publicly denied the rumor.

"The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance (McDonald) on draft day," Shanahan said Tuesday. "And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they'd be interested in that same thing. When it came to NaVorro or any other player on our team, no one's asked and we haven't either."

Not much can bring Bowman down these days. He's been through it all in recent years.

He tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the NFC championship game in January 2014 then later underwent surgery for the ACL tear. He missed all of 2014 then came back with a spectacular 2015 during which he led the NFL with 154 total tackles.

Then Bowman tore his left Achilles tendon during Week 4 last fall, his second major injury in less than three years. He suffered the non-contact injury in the third quarter against Dallas on Oct. 2. He had to be helped off the field and was taken by cart to the locker room.

"I'm a man of challenges," Bowman said. "I overcome whatever comes on my plate. It doesn't matter what you think of me, it's about what I think of myself and how hard I work. When I go down, it's up to me whether to get back up."

Now, at last, he is back to full strength and pushing himself and everyone around him on the field.

"That's what I do, man," said Bowman, who turns 29 on Sunday. "It's always good to just lead guys and be an example of how everything should work, how you should play as an NFL player. I think guys are really honing in on creating an identity on the defensive side the way that we need to play. The last couple years have been rough, so we're really focused on bringing back that identity."

Bowman believes he has the support of Lynch and Shanahan as everybody makes the transition to a new regime following last season's 2-14 debacle.

While the 49ers will keep a close eye on Bowman so he doesn't overdo it at this early stage, he has been impressive already in his latest comeback.

"Anytime you're coming off an Achilles you're waiting for him to ease into it, and from what I've seen just watching him, I would have never known that just by watching him," Shanahan said. "He looks like the guys I've seen on tape over the years."


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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets' starting quarterback job is up for grabs.

That means a three-man competition this spring — and maybe summer — between Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, with the winner under center for the regular-season opener. At least that's the company line, as expected, at the moment.

"We're giving everybody a great opportunity to show themselves," new offensive coordinator John Morton said Tuesday, "and see if they can be the starter."

Coach Todd Bowles wouldn't put a timetable on selecting a starter, adding that the competition is "wide open" and might not be settled until training camp.

"Obviously, you want to see them start to separate at some point," Bowles said. "It's going to come down to playing in games. As far as getting more reps in practice as we go, we'll see what happens."

During the first practice of organized team activities, McCown predictably got the most work with the starting offense in team drills. Petty got some snaps, too, while Hackenberg worked on the second field with backups.

That's all by design, Morton said, and is no reflection on who might be the front-runner in the competition.

"We have a plan, so guys will be rotating," Morton said. "The quarterbacks will be rotating, getting the same amount of reps throughout the week."

Still, McCown would appear to be the favorite to be the one leading the offense on Sept. 10 at Buffalo. The veteran quarterback, who turns 38 on July, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Jets in March after spending the past two seasons in Cleveland.

New York marks the 10th NFL franchise McCown has spent time with, and he's largely considered an ideal mentor and "bridge" quarterback at this point in his career.

"Any time someone refers to you as 'great' at something, as long as it's positive, I don't think it's bad," McCown said. "I understand what they're saying and certainly looking back, having played on this many teams, nobody obviously sits down and says, 'Hey, I want to play for 10 teams in my career and move all over the place.'

"At the same time, I've played 15 years and I'm very proud of that. This is the journey that was set out before me, so I want to take my experiences and be able to hand them to those guys as best I can."

McCown realizes, of course, that he's not in the long-term plans for the franchise. The Jets are hoping Hackenberg or Petty can show that they might be the future.

Hackenberg was drafted in the second round out of Penn State last year, but never saw the field during the regular season as he was considered a major project.

"We just started today, so we have a long way to go, but I love the way he prepares and the way he competes," Morton said. "I'm talking about competing in the classroom, too. Guys have to learn to do that, and be a pro and be a student of the game, and learn to take notes and those things. He's doing those things, but it's too early to tell right now football wise."

Morton comes from a West Coast-style background, which would appear to be most ideal for McCown, who worked with the offensive coordinator when the two were in San Francisco in 2011.

Hackenberg thrived in a pro-style offense under then-coach Bill O'Brien during his freshman season at Penn State. When O'Brien left to become the Texans' coach, Penn State went to a spread offense, and Hackenberg took his share of lumps.

Petty, a fourth-rounder in 2015, had a prolific career running Art Briles' spread-style system at Baylor. Injuries and inconsistency at this level have prevented Petty from taking the next step so far in his development.

Morton watched all of the tapes of Hackenberg and Petty from college, as well as Petty's four NFL starts last season in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"Yeah, get to know these guys, find out things that they're good at," Morton said, "and what they're comfortable with."

Morton said he won't have a set style of offense, but rather will adjust to the opponent from week to week. There's one thing, though, that the coach will stress to his quarterbacks as they go through the offseason program.

"Take care of the ball," he said. "I think that's important — and move the chains. That's the No. 1 thing. That's what I preached this morning, first time going against the defense. I showed them cutups of how to take care of the ball, and that's the quarterback making the right decisions.

"We win the turnover battle, we have a better chance of getting in the playoffs."


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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

Orlando will host the Pro Bowl on Jan. 28, 2018, at 3 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN and ABC, the NFL announced Wednesday. Last season, the NFL played its all-star game in Orlando for the first time in front of a near-sellout crowd at Camping World Stadium.

The NFL has a two-year deal with an option for a third year to play the Pro Bowl in Orlando.

The 2018 game will feature the AFC vs. NFC format, which returned last season.


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The Bears' former director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel has over 30 years of experience in NFL scouting and he'll be breaking down the top NFL prospects and other NFL news each week here at Pro Football Weekly. You can follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Without question, one of the most exciting players in college football is Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The excitement he brings to the football field is one of the reasons he won the 2016 Heisman Trophy and will make him among the favorites for the 2017 Heisman.

As exciting as Jackson is, does that make him a top NFL quarterback prospect? The answer is both yes and no.

In the 2017 season, Jackson will be a third-year junior who has been starting since midway through his freshman year. When you look at him physically, he doesn’t look like a quarterback but rather a wide receiver or a corner. He is tall with a lean, long frame. In football terms he is what we call “high cut," which means he has long legs and a short torso. He also has long arms.

While he has a lean frame, he is a lot stronger than he looks. When running with the football, he consistently gets yards after first contact and seldom gets knocked backwards. He is an exceptional athlete with great speed, change of direction and overall body control. He also has very quick feet and an instant burst.

Louisville runs a read-option offense and Jackson is the perfect quarterback for that style of offense. He makes excellent reads and decisions and is a big-play threat every time he decides to run with the ball. His run instincts and elusiveness are exceptional and he consistently makes defenders miss both in tight and in space. He ran for over 1,500 yards in 2016, that stat alone tells you his effectiveness.

When dropping back to pass, that same instinctiveness and quickness allow him to keep plays alive and/or extend plays. Defenses have to be aware of where he is and account for him on every play. That in turn helps the passing game, as defensive backs often play a bit too loose in coverage.

As a quarterback, Jackson is more of a thrower than a passer. He has very good arm strength but he also has a slow delivery and lacks consistent accuracy. In 2016 he completed 230 of 409 throws for 3,543 yards, 56-percent completion rate, 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. His completion percentage in 2015 was only 54 percent. That percentage in the type of offense Louisville runs just doesn’t cut it. He needs to be closer to 65 percent than 56.

Being 2017 will be his second year as a full-time starter, I expect that his accuracy will improve, but whether it gets to NFL standards remains to be seen. From a mechanical point of view, he needs to tighten his delivery and that will help improve his accuracy. Timing his throws better will also help his accuracy.

Looking at Jackson, the player he is closest to as a college player is Michael Vick. When Vick was at Virginia Tech, he was not an accomplished passer but his big-play ability was rare. That is also the best way to describe Jackson.

I suspect NFL clubs will be all over the board as far as what/where Jackson is as an NFL prospect. Some will like him far more than others because of his leadership, playmaking ability and overall talent. There will be some clubs that will feel he needs to play another position in order to have success in the NFL. Right now, I would leave him at quarterback. He will grow and improve with the added year of experience. He has some special attributes that few have. 2017 will be very important as to where he gets drafted if he decides to enter the draft early. He has to show imporvement in his game and if he does, most NFL clubs will see him as an ascending player. Jackson is both unique and unorthodox and that is what makes him a compelling prospect.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota has progressed through his rehabilitation from only taking snaps from his center, to dropping back and then moving on to handing the ball off.

Now he is throwing passes in 7-on-7 drills as the Titans started the next phase of their offseason program Tuesday. But the Titans are taking great care to protect their franchise quarterback, who broke his right leg five months ago.

"I know he'd like to do more, he looks like he can do more," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Mariota. "Again, it's May still. We got time."

When Mariota broke his leg on Dec. 24 in a loss at Jacksonville , the Titans estimated the quarterback's recovery taking up to five months. But team officials have made it very clear since February that their goal is making sure Mariota is completely ready Sept. 10 when the Titans open the season hosting Oakland and Derek Carr, who also broke his right leg hours after Mariota's injury.

Mularkey said he didn't know two months ago if Mariota would be able to throw in a 7-on-7 drill in these sessions. But the coach said Mariota is ready for what the Titans are giving him. Mariota threw all of the 7-on-7 drills, ensuring he threw passes to Tennessee's new wide receivers like top draft pick Corey Davis and third-round selection Taywan Taylor.

"The more he can do the better," Mularkey said. "That's why we're giving him more reps, even in 7-on-7, is because of the timing in the passing game."

Mariota, the No. 2 pick overall in 2015 and the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, was just happy to be on the field with his teammates and practicing football after months of rehabilitation. His recovery from surgery included not being able to put weight on his right leg until late February. He still has yet to run full speed, though Mariota said he's getting close.

"I was like a little kid again to be able to go out there and be able to play," Mariota said. "It's crazy. You kind of take some of those things for granted. For me, I was really just thankful to be out there."

Whether or not the Titans are able to improve on their 9-7 record last season and end an eight-year playoff drought depends on Mariota's health and complete recovery.

The quarterback has put up impressive numbers through his first two seasons and has yet to be intercepted inside an opponent's 20-yard line. Inside the red zone, he has a 114.6 passer rating with 33 touchdowns in that span. For 2016, Mariota threw for 3,426 yards with 26 TDs and nine interceptions with a 95.6 passer rating.

Mariota already has 16 games with at least 2 TD passes, which ties him with Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning for third all-time through a quarterback's first two NFL seasons. He trails only Dan Marino (22) and Carr (17).

It's why Mularkey emphatically told the Titans to stay away from Mariota and all the quarterbacks on the field. When Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo closed in on Mariota, the veteran exaggerated a bit as he avoided contact with the quarterback.

"It was way over-exaggerated," Mariota said. "But it's fun to be out there with the guy, and I enjoyed it."

The Titans liked seeing their quarterback, even if he is limited right now.

"Wish he could do more, but it is what it is and we've just got to make sure he stays safe and is ready to go Week 1," Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan said.

Notes: Mularkey said LB Kevin Dodd isn't likely to take part in the remaining on-field sessions. The Titans believe Dodd, the No. 33 pick overall in 2016, can be completely recovered from a foot injury by the start of training camp. Defensive lineman Sylvester Williams also is limited as he recovers from ankle surgery.


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Cortez Kennedy was a hulking force at defensive tackle, the cornerstone of a franchise that had little to cheer about for most of his playing career.

And yet what Kennedy accomplished as a player with the Seattle Seahawks — which was good enough for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — was secondary to the affable personality that made him a revered figure long after his career ended.

Police in Orlando, Florida, said the 48-year-old Kennedy was found dead Tuesday morning. Orlando Police Department public information officer Wanda Miglio said the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown but that there is nothing suspicious about it. An investigation is being conducted.

"The full story lies in his loving, fun, positive and giving heart," said New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, who worked for the Seahawks during Kennedy's playing career. "In my many years working in the NFL, no one better exemplified what it meant to be a great player on the field, and yet that paled in comparison to what Cortez meant to the people who knew him off the field."

A star who spent his entire 11-year NFL career in relative obscurity playing in Seattle, Kennedy became the second Seahawks player inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012. He was an unmovable wall as a dominant defensive tackle, and a quiet, gentle soul away from the field never interested in finding himself in the spotlight.

"Cortez Kennedy has been a pillar of the Seahawks franchise since joining the team as a rookie in 1990," the Seahawks said in a statement. "Tez was the heart and soul of the Seahawks through the 1990s and endeared himself to 12s all across the Pacific Northwest as a player who played with a selfless and relentless approach to the game. ... We are proud to have been represented by such a special person."

Kennedy was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1990 draft out of Miami and Seattle smartly never let him leave. He brought notoriety to an otherwise dreadful period in Seahawks history as an eight-time Pro Bowler and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992.

For many seasons of his career, Kennedy was the reason the Seahawks were relevant.

"Really sad to lose a guy like Cortez Kennedy," Broncos' general manager John Elway tweeted . Elway was chased around by Kennedy twice a year for much of the 1990s as competitors in the AFC West. "A great personality, a great player and I enjoyed competing against him."

Even though he last played for the Seahawks in 2000, he remained a significant part of the organization. He was a mainstay around the team during training camp and would occasionally roll through the locker room during the regular season grabbing a few minutes with anyone — players, coaches, media — up for a chat.

That personality was evident nearly 30 years ago when Dennis Erickson, then the new head coach at Miami, first met Kennedy. Erickson saw it again in 1995 when he became the head coach of the Seahawks and Kennedy was his star player.

"He always had a smile on his face. There was no arrogance about him at all. Not at all," Erickson said. "He wouldn't think he was as good as he was. ... He was just a great young man. He was one of the closest guys I've been around in coaching. I was close with his family and he was close with my family and we kept in touch all these years. It's hard to describe him. They don't make them like him anymore."

After his playing career ended, Kennedy briefly worked for Loomis as an adviser with the Saints and was an ambassador for the Seahawks. He was scheduled to be in Seattle on Thursday as part of an event for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

"Cortez will be remembered not only for all his great achievements on the football field but how he handled himself off the field," Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker said. "He epitomized the many great values this game teaches which serves as inspiration to millions of fans."

Current Seattle players including Kam Chancellor , Earl Thomas and Jimmy Graham who came to know Kennedy from his locker room chats took to social media to express their shock and sadness at the loss of a mentor.

"My heart hurts," current Seahawks offensive lineman Justin Britt tweeted. "We lost a truly great player but even better person."

Kennedy experienced only minimal team success in his career with the Seahawks. His 1992 season, when Kennedy was the league's defensive player of the year, was made even more remarkable by the fact that his 14 sacks, 27 tackles for loss and 92 tackles came for a team that went 2-14 and was among the worst ever offensively in a 16-game season.

What made Kennedy so difficult to stop was his low center of gravity, unexpected quickness and remarkable strength packaged in a 6-foot-1, 300-pound frame.

"Out of the blue I would get a call from him and he'd laugh and that's how he was. Or he'd leave me a message, 'Am I still your favorite player?'" Erickson said. "He was like that all the time."


AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Associated Press Writer Terrence Harris contributed.


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CHICAGO — A few expected orders of business took place Tuesday at the NFL's spring meeting, including the shortening of preseason and regular season overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes and the league loosening its disciplinary oversight of touchdown celebrations.

One major development that wasn't expected to be revealed is the moving of Super Bowl LV, originally slated for the new Rams stadium in Inglewood following the 2021 season, to Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium — the original runner-up bid for the game. The news comes on the heels of the announcement that the stadium project, initially slated for completion in 2019, has been delayed by a year due to torrential rain this winter.

NFL rules state that a facility must be open for two years prior to hosting the Super Bowl. Though the league could've made an exception to ensure its return to Los Angeles coincides with hosting the game, it instead chose Tampa Bay, host of four previous Super Bowls, most recently XLIII, following the 2009 season.

"This has been a discussion, as [Rams owner] Stan [Kroenke] has obviously communicated with us, and me in particular, the challenges he's had over the past several months with respect to the weather and the construction schedule," said Goodell. "I was aware at least there was a potential risk here and I had a conversation with some of our owners. The bottom line is Stan was incredibly cooperative on this; he wants to do what's right for the NFL. His No. 1 objective is creating a quality stadium for the long-term for the fans of Los Angeles and his commitment has not wavered on that.

"What we felt was the right thing was, don't put any risk to the Super Bowl, which is an incredibly complex event. God forbid, if some kind of other natural disaster, or some other thing that might affect the schedule which he doesn't obviously anticipate — he's comfortable with the time frame. It would put an undue risk to the Super Bowl and our fans. From our standpoint, this was the right thing to do. We are fortunate that Tampa had a very competitive presentation when they bid on the Super Bowl earlier. So this was a solution that we voted on very quickly."

Here are a few of the other noteworthy approved proposals from the spring league meeting:

· After the Stadium Authority Board unanimously approved the Raiders' Las Vegas lease agreement last week, the owners on Tuesday did the same. Roger Goodell was asked about the role of live gambling by fans during games.

"That’s not something we’ve addressed at this point, but I said before I think the Raiders playing in Las Vegas, there will be policies we’re going to evaluate," Goodell said. "We’ll look at what we can do differently, but also intelligently. We want to protect the integrity of the game and make sure that that is the most important thing at all times. So we will look at all these things over the next several years."

Goodell also reiterated the league's stance that it did everything possible to keep the Raiders in Oakland and avoid relocation.

"It was something we wanted to accomplish, as you know. In addition to all of the efforts, ownership put $300 million to a stadium solution in Oakland and we still couldn't get there," he said. "We were all disappointed with that outcome. We're also very excited about what Las Vegas offers. We know we have doubters, second-guessers in anything we do, and that motivates us to make it right."

Added Goodell on the potential of Vegas as a viable NFL city: "We're excited about Las Vegas because of the city that is it and the city that is has intentions to become. It's a diverse city, it's the fastest growing city in the country. I think it is an entertainment/hospitality market place that in some ways is unmatched in the country. So that is something that excites us very much. Our job now will be to build a great stadium and to do whats necessary to make the Raiders successful there."

· On the free-agent limbo of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Goodell said, "Each team makes individual decisions on how they can improve their team. If they see an opportunity to improve their team, I think they do it. They evaluate players, they evaluate systems and coaches. They all make those individual decisions to try and improve their team."

Goodell says he's open to chatting with Kaepernick, but they haven't had a conversation since Kaepernick's controversial national anthem protests first occurred last year. "I wouldn't be opposed to speaking to him, but I haven't. It's certainly something I could do, but it's not something I've thought about.

· The NFL voted to allow a second player to come off the injured reserve list. In 2012, the league first allowed one player to return from injured reserve.

· There will no longer be a cut down from 90 to 75 players in the preseason. Now, NFL clubs will be allowed to carry 90 guys on their roster for the final preseason game, after which the lone cut down, to 53 players, will occur.

CHICAGO — NFL owners voted Tuesday at the league's spring meeting to reduce the length of overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. The change was instituted with player safety in mind.

"We had discussed this back in March and we tabled it to make sure that we had thought through all aspects of it," commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We think this is an important change, particularly for teams that may get into an overtime situation, and a lengthy overtime situation, that may have to come back and play on a Thursday night."

Shortening the overtime period theoretically lessens the number of plays in which players are subjected to injury. Owners don't think the change will lead to an increase in ties. There has been an average of one tie per season over the past five years, including two during the 2016 season.

"We don't know (whether the change will result in more ties). But we don't believe so," Goodell said. "We think the strategy our coaches would take, our teams would take will solve that problem. But that is always a possibility."

After changing the overtime rules in 2010 to give each club a possession if the team that gets the ball first doesn't score a touchdown, will this latest modification offset that? It stands to reason that the team that wins the overtime coin toss will attempt to use as much of the clock as possible before potentially attempting a game-winning field goal without the opponent seeing the ball.

It's worth noting there was only one 10-minute drive in the NFL last season, a 20-play drive by the Panthers in Week 10 that actually didn't result in points. Yet, just as coaches attempted to use the revised touchback rule in their favor last season with more pop-up kicks landing just outside the end zone, they'll almost certainly emphasize working on situational ball-control offense.

"From our standpoint, we believe it is sudden death," Goodell said when asked whether the NFL would consider going back to the true sudden death format. "Because if somebody returns a kick for a touchdown, the game is over. ... So from our standpoint, it's a nice balance."

NFL research indicates the average length of overtime over the past five seasons is 7 minutes and 43 seconds. Under the new rule, there would have been 16 total ties, or 3.2 percent, which is up from the average of one since 2012.

"I think everyone feels strongly that competition is the most important thing, and we want to have competitive games," Goodell said. "Fortunately we do. We had, I think, our most competitive season since 1932 this year, and that's a good thing for the game and for the fans. But we also believe is we play to win. And that's the effort. I think fans would love to see a winner."

We'll see soon enough whether the NFL's latest change to overtime prevents fans from seeing as many winners.

LAKE FOREST — Mike Glennon didn’t want to mince words in his first media availability since the Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky. His message came across as clear and often as a campaign slogan.

“I can only say it so many times, this year has been fully communicated that it’s my year,” he said following the Bears OTA practice. “I’m not going to worry about the future. As long as I play well, it will all work out.”

Glennon made some reference to 2017 being his year 12 times, to be exact, in his 10-minute session with the media.

He said that he was surprised by the drafting of Trubisky, but a phone call from Ryan Pace 10 minutes after the pick and again the following morning confirmed to Glennon he was still the starter.

“They brought me here to be the quarterback this year and nothing has changed,” he said. “So in my mind, I have to go out and play well, and I know that, and that’s basically the bottom line.”

Unfortunately for Glennon, the dozen times he reiterated that this is his year won’t end the questions, at least not until the season begins. And after that, any slip-up and the focus will shift back to the dynamic between Glennon and the No. 2 pick.

Glennon had started 18 games from 2013-14 before the Buccaneers drafted Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in 2015, moving Glennon to a backup role, so he is familiar with sharing a quarterbacks room with a top pick. But this time, it’s his job to lose.

“I think you can draw similarities [to Tampa], but it’s different,” he said. “I’m here, this is my year, and the meetings are geared around me. Am I going to help Mitch as much as I can? Definitely. I’m going to be a great teammate. But my job is to win football games for the Chicago Bears. And that’s where my head’s at.”

John Fox said that Glennon has “grabbed the bull by the horns” as far as being the leader of the offense.

“Really from Day One when we signed him, that was the approach,” Fox said. “That was the approach we took as an organization and the same with him as far as getting to know his teammates, maybe not in a practice element but as far as just communication. He’s that kind of guy, had the same reputation while he was in Tampa and same thing even at N.C. State as a college athlete.”

Glennon did notch a small victory over Trubisky during the practice, which was the Bears’ second OTA but first one open to the media. In a Dowell Loggains-run drill/competition that involved throwing at garbage cans, Glennon tied with Connor Shaw for the win.

CHICAGO — The NFL, or "No Fun League" as it's been nicknamed for years, took a step Tuesday to inject some harmless entertainment back into its game as owners were informed that players can again celebrate touchdowns without being subject to penalty.

"I’ve spent a lot of time over the last two months, I’d say, talking to players, to coaches, to officials, to fans, to try and understand what’s the right balance," commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday from the league's spring meeting. "It’s always been a balance of, and the players were particularly strong on this, they want to uphold the integrity of the game; we want to make sure what we do reflects well on ourselves, our families, the game."

Thus, the NFL is encouraging "spontaneous exuberance," as USA TODAY's Tom Peliserro reports, but it still won't permit extended celebrations, taunting and sexually suggestive dances (sorry, Antonio Brown).

The NFL will use a 40-second clock after the official signals touchdown and the players can celebrate — within reason — without fear of being penalized. It's worth noting excessive celebration flags were thrown only 33 times last season, but the idea is for fewer flags and more fun.

"I think the line is simple: sportsmanship matters, it’s important," said Falcons owner and competition committee chairman Rich McKay. "Taunting is not acceptable; pointing and putting something in somebody else’s face. I’m not sure that we didn’t take the choreographed celebration too far. I think it started to feel like a bit of a sportsmanship issue and it really isn’t."

Indeed, while taunting remains an automatic 15-yard penalty, language regarding choreographed celebrations has been deleted; this was one of the celebration aspects players deemed important in their meetings with Goodell, McKay and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent.

"Players really enjoyed having a voice to express their views what they think should be done," Goodell said. "They’ve expressed ownership. It’s on them also to make sure this is done the right way."

Added Vincent: "And one thing that was clear, it was a consensus, that they want ceratin things out of the game. Allow us to choreograph; can you reintroduce or consider reintroducing the ball as a prop. It was a phenomenal exercise. All stakeholders were involved — the fan, the player, the coach, the official —and we feel like we’re coming to a good place where we should be language-wise.

Yes, Steelers All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, who was fined multiple times totaling more than $34,000 last season for his twerking touchdown celebration, will continue to be fined and penalized if this persists. But other celebrations will be allowed, and, the league thinks, it should make the job of the officials easier.

"We heard from a lot of officials and they wanted to get out of [deciding which celebrations to penalize]," said Goodell. "Frankly, we want them focusing on the game and the rules so that was our feedback. We think there is less discretion; it’s beneficial to the officials."

So while Tuesday wasn't necessarily a win for Brown, it was a triumphant day for many players whose creativity will be sparked by the NFL's less rigid disciplinary tactics on touchdown celebrations. It was also undoubtedly a win for fans who thought the league was taking the fun out of its game.

"It was time to revisit it. The pendulum had swung a long ways," McKay said.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald skipped the Los Angeles Rams' first day of organized team activities Monday while he negotiates a long-term contract extension with the club.

Rams general manager Les Snead said the team knew Donald wouldn't be at their training complex, and he isn't worried about a long-term absence for the anchor of Los Angeles' defense. Donald already is under contract through 2018.

"It has something to do with the contract," Snead said. "I can tell you this: We're definitely at the serious stages of renegotiating. Going to keep all the details in-house, but (we) respect Aaron as a player, a person. Respect his representation, and respect the process."

The Rams exercised their fifth-year option for 2018 on Donald last month, agreeing to pay him nearly $7 million next year. Snead has repeatedly said the Rams plan to sign their 2014 first-round pick to a long-term deal, believing Donald deserves a hefty raise.

"There's no doubt he's a really good player," Snead said. "We want him to be around. That's our goal. I think his goal is to be a Ram, and that's what we're working toward."

Donald is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro in his three-year career. He was the NFL's defensive rookie of the year in 2014, when the slightly undersized lineman first established his persistently disruptive presence in the heart of St. Louis' defense.

Snead smiled when asked, but he declined to say whether Donald is simply staying out of potential injury situations until the long-term deal is finalized.

Donald seems likely to become the next NFL defensive star to get a contract with a value around $100 million, joining Houston's J.J. Watt and Denver's Von Miller.

Donald hasn't missed a game in three NFL seasons, recording 28 sacks and 163 tackles. Even beyond his impressive statistics, Donald's run-plugging acumen and pass-rushing skills constantly force the Rams' opponents to assign multiple blockers to handle the 6-foot powerhouse.

Donald was the only significant player absent from Monday's workouts under new coach Sean McVay. Even receiver Tavon Austin, who isn't practicing after having wrist surgery this month, ran on the field and worked on his catching skills with a tennis ball on the sideline.

McVay wouldn't say whether he expects Donald to miss more offseason workouts. The Rams have nine more sessions of organized team activities over the next three weeks before their mandatory minicamp next month.

"Those discussions are kind of internal right now, but we expected him not to be here," McVay said.

Snead also confirmed the Rams will finish out their offseason program before deciding how aggressively they will pursue a long-term extension with cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who is scheduled to play under the franchise tag this year for the second consecutive season. Johnson is due to make a hefty $16.7 million under the franchise tag, but an extension likely could reduce his salary cap hit.

The Rams decided to wait on talks until new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips evaluates Johnson's skills in their new defense.

"We want to get through OTAs, make sure it's a fit on all sides, and then we'll not take a summer vacation and see if we can figure something out there," Snead said. "That's our plan right now."


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  • Anthony Ashley
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The five-star forward announced his decision Monday on Twitter but did say whether or not he would reclassify in the Class of 2017. 

The Bears' former director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel has over 30 years of experience in NFL scouting and he'll be breaking down the top NFL prospects other NFL news each week here at Pro Football Weekly. You can follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Coming out of high school, Josh Rosen was supposed to be the best college quarterback since Andrew Luck. It was written that he was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and probable No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. While he has been a very good college player after two seasons at UCLA, he is hardly another Luck and isn’t even the best quarterback in the city of Los Angeles. That title goes to cross rival Sam Darnold at USC.

Rosen was an early entry at UCLA, enrolling in January 2015. Being able to play in spring practice got him a head start in his college career and he started all 13 games of his freshman season. Rosen put up good numbers, completing 292 of 487 passes for 3,670 yards, a 60-percent completion rate, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. For the season, UCLA finished with an 8-5 record but they lost three of their last four games.

In 2016, Rosen started out poorly versus a strong Texas A&M team, throwing three interceptions and never seemed to get on track after that. He only played half of a season, as a shoulder injury versus Arizona State in Game Six ended his season. For the year, Rosen completed 137 of 231 throws for 1,915 yards, a 59-percent completion rate, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Rosen has good size at about 6-4, 220. His speed and athleticism are good for a quarterback and he has good foot quickness. There is no problem with his arm strength, as he throws a tight ball and can easily throw the ball 55-60 yards. He is capable of making every kind of NFL throw with good velocity.

Rosen plays from both under center and the spread and shows good set up quickness. He generally shows a good ability to see the field, find the open man and get the ball of out of his hand quickly. His release is quick and he has a tight overhand delivery. While Rosen is athletic and can move around in the pocket, he doesn’t show an instinctive feel for pass rushers and he takes far too many hits.

When Rosen has a clean pocket, he is at his best. Most of his mistakes come when he is under pressure. When faced with a heavy pass rush, his decision-making goes south and he will make some misguided throws. While he is capable of extending plays with his feet, he doesn’t do it on a consistent basis.

Rosen’s accuracy and ball placement are inconsistent. When he has time, the timing of his throws is good and he shows good ball placement, but when hurried his accuracy and ball placement fall off.

Scouts who have made school calls have a bit of a problem with Rosen’s mental makeup. There are questions about his mental toughness, leadership and ability to get along with his teammates. These are all areas that a top NFL quarterback has to excel in.

Chances are this will be Rosen’s last year at UCLA and he will enter the 2018 NFL Draft. While he has the physical tools to be a very high draft choice, scouts will really dissect the mental and leadership part of his game this fall. Unless he shows drastic improvement in these intangible areas, he won’t go as high as he thinks he will. The intangibles are what separate the good from the average quarterbacks in the NFL. Does Rosen have them?

  • Colin O'Brien
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Missouri plays Wisconsin Friday at 8 p.m. at Oregon in the first round of the NCAA softball tournament. Ehren Earleywine and Oregon coach Mike White have history together, and the Regional could come down to those two teams.

It’s not often a special teams coordinator invokes skiing when analyzing a kicker. It’s also unusual to have a 28-year-old rookie who never played football in high school.

Meet Andy Phillips, the Bears’ undrafted rookie kicker out of Utah who was once an Olympic hopeful for downhill skiing and spent his four years of college as the old guy.

“It was fun. A lot of fun. It put me in a unique position as a kicker to be a leader of the team, which I don’t think you see very often around the US,” Phillips said last week during rookie minicamp. “It was fun just having guys come to me about other things other than sport. I’ve been married six years, I have two kids and I have a Master’s in business and information systems, so guys would ask me financial questions or girl questions or kid questions, stuff like that. It was fun to be able to give advice where I could.”

Phillips joked that he kept his beard during rookie minicamp to look his age. If only the rest of the players at Halas Hall last weekend knew about Phillips’ background, they could have left with more knowledge on married life, skiing, business or fatherhood.

When the Bears begin OTAs next week, only 15 of the 90 players will be older than Phillips, but he’ll be the one leaning on veterans to learn about life in the NFL, starting with the player he’ll be competing against to win a job, Connor Barth.

Jeff Rodgers noted that Phillips had over an 80 percent conversion rate on field goals in his four years kicking for the Utes and has a “unique profile” as a former skier.

“There’s a lot of guys that we looked at and the guys that were available, we felt that he was at the time the best guy that we could sign,” he said.

Back to that “unique profile.” Phillips served a two-year LDS mission in Norway during the Vancouver Olympics and had dreams of going to Sochi. He skied his first race at the age of 5 and “just kinda fell in love with it.”

Competing in Sochi “didn’t make a ton of sense” financially, Phillips explained.

“After the recession, the money in ski racing wasn’t there anymore. I prioritized education and family,” he said. “So that was kinda what I was after with Utah — somewhere where I could still be competitive and physically active doing something I love, but also get a good education.”

It took perseverance and, well, pestering, before he could get on the Utes’ football team. Phillips tried kicking field goals at the suggestion of a friend one Thanksgiving and then “bugged the crap” out of Utah’s special teams coordinator, sending him tapes of kicks from a local high school.

“I think I turned some heads just with my competitive nature and, obviously, from ski racing, I had a lot of discipline in the weight room,” he said. “I was really just disciplined with everything I did. Through that first year I redshirted and learned the game. They brought in a couple guys and we battled and I ended up winning the job.”

Phillips wasn’t a football fan growing up — “it was soccer and ski racing, and that was kind of it” — but now he is an NFL kicker, and he plans to use his experience on the slopes to help him in his new job.

“Of course it’s a team sport, but kicker is super-individual. Ski racing, it’s all mental,” he said. “There’s a lot more physicality to ski racing than there is to kicking. It’s all mental. If you can control your mind, you can kick for a really long time.”

The Bears' former director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel has over 30 years of experience in NFL scouting and he breaks down the top NFL prospects and other stories around the league here at Pro Football Weekly. You can follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

One of the more interesting names in the 2018 quarterback class will be Washington State’s fifth-year senior Luke Falk. Playing in the fast-paced Mike Leach spread, Luke’s numbers are second to none.

In 2016, he completed 443-of-633 throws for a completion percentage of 70, with 4,468 yards, 38 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. In his first three seasons at Washington State, he has passed for 10,888 yards and 89 touchdowns, while throwing 25 interceptions and completing 68.8 percent of his throws. Those are highly impressive numbers. By the time the 2017 season is over, Falk will have thrown for over 15,000 yards and about 130 touchdowns. He will easily be the most experienced quarterback in the 2018 class. Being the most experienced doesn’t mean the best, especially when scouting QBs.

Falk has excellent height, standing about 6044. He has a lean frame though. He is listed as being about 222 but he needs to add strength and bulk to his upper body. When it is said and done, Falk should be 230-plus pounds.

Coming out of high school, Falk was not a highy recruited player. Part of the reason was because he transferred from his high school in Logan, Utah, to be closer to his quarterback guru who was in California. When he didn't like being in California, Falk transferred back to Utah and was declared ineligible for his junior season. His only offers were Cornell and Idaho. He then got a preferred walk-on offer from Washington State and chose to enroll there.

Falk is a marginally good athlete. He shows adequate quickness and speed. I don’t feel he will break 4.80 when he is timed. His foot quickness is good and he shows some maneuverability in the pocket and can extend plays to some extent. He takes a lot of hits, though, as his offensive line is just average.

Falk has a quick overhand delivery and spins the ball well with good velocity. He can make any NFL-type throw. Though NFL-type throws are not a real part of the Washington State offense, you see enough of them to know he can make those throws. He has good-to-real good overall arm strength and can easily throw the ball accurately down field 50 to 55 yards.

When he is able to set his feet, Falk shows excellent accuracy and ball placement. When hurried (and that is often), he has a tendency to throw off his back foot, and then the ball will sail on him some. When he remains true to his mechanics, he throws the ball very well.

The Washington State offense is a fast-paced spread scheme but not really a half-field offense. Falk is able to go through a minor progression and is a consistently good decision-maker. He will force some throws, but the numbers show that he does not turn the ball over that often.

Falk's biggest problem once he gets to the NFL will be adapting to NFL style offense and learning to play from under center. He holds the ball high and has a tight throwing motion. He can get the ball out of his hands quickly once he makes a decision.

Going forward, I am interested in seeing how Falk improves from the 2016 season. He has some interesting traits and a lot of playing experience. At this time, I don’t think that he is a “lock” first-round pick, but by the end of the 2017 college season, he will be in the conversation and maybe even secure himself a first-round slot. There is a lot to like about his game but Falk still needs to improve, as well as get a little bigger and stronger. Needless to say, he is a very solid prospect at this time.

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