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Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Broncos rookie TE Jeff Heuerman making strides in ACL recovery


by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6/26/2015) Broncos rookie tight end Jeff Heuerman is making strides in his recovery from a torn ACL, the team announced via their website.

Heuerman -- a third-round pick in this year's draft -- hurt his knee back in May, but is making good progress on his way back from the injury.

"I wouldn't call them big strides," he said with a laugh on Thursday, "not literally, because they're actually pretty small strides—but I'm making progress."

Heuerman will likely miss the entirety of this upcoming season, but that hasn't put a damper in his recovery.

"Each day’s a bigger step, which it kind of sounds corny and it kind of sounds like I’m just saying that, but it really is," Heuerman said.


Patriots cut TE Fred Davis


by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6/19/2015) The Patriots cut tight end Fred Davis on Friday, according to profootballtalk.com.

Davis signed with the Patriots last month, but previously spent his first seven seasons with the Redskins.

Davis missed all of the 2014 season due to a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.


Lions TE Joseph Fauria expects to come back strong this season


by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6/19/2015) Lions tight end Joseph Fauria hasn't had the most conventional start to his NFL career.

He broke out in 2013 as an undrafted free agent with seven touchdowns, but then the Lions drafted another tight end in the first round the following season. Fauria now expects to hit his stride and improve on last season's six catch, 74 yard totals.

“Extremely frustrating,” Fauria said, per the team website. “But it’s something you have to overcome. Football is frustrating, you know. Everyone has injuries. Everyone has trials and tribulations and it’s how you answer them and how you come back. I’m expecting myself to come back strong.”

Fauria is a huge target a 6-foot-7 and the Lions hope they can use that to their advantage next season.

“He has a unique skill set,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of his big tight end. “When you’re not able to utilize everything that’s available to you, you know, obviously you have to find other ways to do it.

“So, he brings to the table a little something that you can’t teach. He has height and he can position himself, particularly in the red zone, extremely well.”


Bills sign TE Matthew Mulligan on Thursday


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/18/2015) The Bills signed tight end Matthew Mulligan, the team announced Thursday.

Mulligan, 30, has a total of 16 receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns in his seven-year career.


Titans waive tight end Taylor Thompson


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/18/2015) The Titans announced they waived tight end Taylor Thompson on Thursday. Thompson was a fifth-round pick in 2012. He has a total of 11 career catches for 83 yards.

Patriots release tight end Logan Stokes


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/18/2015) The Patriots released rookie tight end Logan Stokes on Thursday, the team announced. Stokes was signed as an undrafted free agent.

Bears waive Detmer, Devlin, Maxwell


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/18/2015) The Bears parted ways with kicker Jeremiah Detmer, quarterback Pat Devlin and tight end Jacob Maxwell on Thursday, the team announced.

Ravens TE Maxx Williams tweaks hamstring during minicamp


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6/18/2015) Ravens coach John Harbaugh said rookie tight end Maxx Williams tweaked his hamstring during Thursday's minicamp practice, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. 

Harbaugh doesn't believe the injury to be serious. Williams was selected by the Ravens in the second round of the draft out of Minnesota. In his final collegiate season, Williams caught 36 passes for 569 yards and eight touchdowns. 


Giants TE Larry Donnell no longer in walking boot


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/18/2015) Giants tight end Larry Donnell is no longer using a walking boot on his left foot, reports the New York Daily News.

Donnell was using the walking boot to heal from Achilles tendinitis in his left heal.


Jets place tight end Zach Sudfeld on injured reserve


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/17/2015) After tight end Zach Sudfeld cleared waivers Wednesday, the Jets placed him on injured reserve, the team announced.

Sudfeld suffered a knee injury during practice last week. In 16 games last season, Sudfeld caught five passes for 85 yards.


Buccaneers TE Timothy Wright ready to contribute


by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6/17/2015) Buccaneers tightend Timothy Wright is excited to be back in Tampa and is ready to take on a contributing role with the team, per The Tampa Tribune.

Wright, who started his career with the Bucs before being traded to the Patriots last year, is glad to be back where his career started two seasons ago.

“I’m pretty happy about (the opportunity) to step in and contribute right away,” Wright said.

Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said the move to bring back Wright, who caught five touchdowns as a rookie for the team, makes the Bucs a better team.

“It was an easy decision to make on Tim,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. “We liked Tim (last year). We decided to go in a different direction, but now we’re a stronger football team with Tim on our team. It’s good to have him back.”


Chargers' Antonio Gates not planning to retire


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6/16/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is entering the final year of his contract, but the 35-year-old Gates isn't thinking about retirement. 

"As you get older, people say things," Gates said per U-T San Diego. "They make speculations about where you're going, about how much you have in the tank. To me, it's all about how I feel as a person, how my body feels physically and mentally. As of right now, I feel great physically. I'm in a great place mentally. So, we'll see how it goes. I have no expectations for how long I'll play or if this is my last year."


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) not cleared for practice yet


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6/16/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta did not participate in Tuesday's minicamp practice since he has not been medically cleared, according to the team's site. 

Pitta dislocated and fractured his hip for the second time a year ago and has been trying to work his way back onto the field. He has been doing some work off to the side of practice but is not able to participate with his teammates at this time. 

“A couple of things are going to have to happen for him to play, ultimately,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “No. 1, he is going to have to be cleared by the doctors. No. 2 is he’s going to have decide he wants to play because obviously there is going to be some risk involved.”


Raiders sign rookie TE Clive Walford


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/16/2015) Agent Drew Rosenhaus has announced that client Clive Walford has signed his rookie contract with the Raiders, per Pro Football Talk.

The addition into the fold of the third-round tight end leaves only second-round defensive lineman Mario Edwards unsigned among the team's 2015 draft selections.


Titans TE Dorin Dickerson injures Achilles in minicamp practice


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6/16/2015) Titans tight end Dorin Dickerson suffered an injury to his Achilles on Tuesday and is expected to miss the 2015 season, according to The Tennessean

Dickerson spent the 2014 season on injured reserve and faces a high likelihood of doing the same this year. 


Titans TE Taylor Thompson facing uncertain future


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/16/2015) Titans tight end Taylor Thompson made it to minicamp Tuesday, but it remains to be seen when - or if - he can get back on the field.

The fifth round pick in 2012 missed several OTA workouts with issues regarding the same knee he hurt in 2014 to force a stint on injured reserve. He admits he's unsure about his future, which could include surgery.

"I'm trying to figure out what the situation is with my knee," he told The Tennesseean. "At this point I am waiting to hear from doctors and then will discuss it with my agent."

Thompson caught two passes in his first game last season, but was soon out for the year.


Bears TE Martellus Bennett voices views on contract dispute


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/16/2015) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has reported to mandatory minicamp, but he has not forgotten about the issues that motivated him to stay away from voluntary practices.

Bennett has been embroiled in a contract dispute with the team. And he has a message for those complaining that he is not honoring his current deal.

"Most people don't honor their damn phone contracts," he told the team's radio network. "They just switch from Sprint to T-Mobile one year into it ... If you're playing at a high level then you want to be compensated for the level that you're playing."

Bennett has indeed taking huge steps forward over the last three seasons. He peaked in 2014 with 90 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns in earning a Pro Bowl spot.


Cowboys backup TE Gavin Escobar looks to improve as blocker


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/16/2015) Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar has at least been consistent with his pass-catching production in his first two NFL seasons. He totaled nine receptions in both of them.

Considering his limited opportunities, backup status to still-effective Jason Witten and battle to be offensively relevant among many weapons, he couldn't have expected much more. So he is hoping to become a better blocker, a skill the Cowboys feel he needs to improve.

Escobar did see more action in 2014 with 263 snaps, compared to 207 the previous year. He began his NFL career at 245 pounds, but is now up to 255 and hopes to land at 260 before the regular season begins.

"Every year I feel like I make strides, just understanding the game, being more comfortable playing in the NFL," he told the Dallas Morning News. "Every year I feel like I've been taking steps in the right direction."


Jets bring in TE Steve Maneri


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/15/2015) The Jets have signed veteran tight end Steve Maneri, who was let go in January by New England.

Maneri has had limited opportunities to play with his previous teams. He has just six catches for 52 yards during his career, nearly all of which came with Kansas City in 2012.


Report: Bears TE Martellus Bennett to attend minicamp


by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(6/15/2015) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett will report to the team's minicamp Tuesday despite his ongoing dissatisfaction with his contract situation, per the Chicago Tribune

Bennett skipped the team's voluntary practices but was facing fines for missing the mandatory, three-day camp. Bennett is seeking a raise from the $4.9 million base salary he is set to earn this season after a Pro Bowl campaign in which he caught 90 passes for 916 yards. 


Saints sign DT Kevin Williams, waive TE Harold Spears


by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6/12/2015) The Saints were busy making personnel changes on Friday. The team signed defensive tackle Kevin Williams and waived rookie tight end Harold Spears, per The Times-Picayune.

Williams, a six-time Pro Bowler, signed a one-year deal with the Saints. He's played in 187 games over the last 12 years, and started eight games last season while recording 30 tackles and three sacks.

Spears caught 56 passes for 838 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at New Hampshire last year.


Buccaneers bring back TE Tim Wright


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/12/2015) The Buccaneers have claimed tight end Tim Wright off waivers, according to Sporting News. He wasn't out of work long - he was waived by New England on Thursday.

Wright is returning to familiar territory. He played in every game for Tampa Bay in 2013 before doing the same with the Patriots last year. But he was far more productive with the former. He caught 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns for the Buccaneers. He snagged six in the end zone for New England, but that represented nearly one-fourth of his total receptions.


TE Jimmy Graham facing more blocking tasks with Seahawks


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/12/2015) Seahawks newcomer Jimmy Graham has proven himself as a pass-catcher in the NFL. Now he must prove himself as a blocker on a team that features the ground game.

Teammate Michael Bennett remains unsure if that will happen. He once called Graham "one of the softest players" in the sport. He has not backed off that statement. He even added since Graham arrived that he would need to block more in Seattle.

No sweat, says Graham.

"Listen, man, I'm 270 pounds," he told 710 ESPN Seattle. "I can block anybody I want to. It's all about want-to. We'll see come this first Sunday."

Graham didn't block extensively with New Orleans. He was also not healthy. He dealt with injuries to his shoulder and foot in 2013 that hindered his ability in that area. But Pro Football Focus graded him middle-of-the-pack in blocking among tight ends in 2014.


Jets' Zach Sudfeld, Darrin Walls miss Thursday's OTA due to injuries


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/11/2015) Jets tight end Zach Sudfeld and cornerback Darrin Walls were held out of Thursday's OTA session because of injuries, the team announced.

Sudfeld is dealing with a knee injury and coach Todd Bowles said Sudfeld is undergoing tests on the knee and he said it may be more than a minor injury, reports ESPNNewYork.com.

Meanwhile, a toe injury prevented Walls from participating Thursday.


 
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