Teammate: Bitterness won't linger from Jimmy Graham standoff
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/11/2014) Saints tight end Benjamin Watson told ESPN that the the team's arbitration fight with Jimmy Graham over whether he's a receiver or a tight end won't have a longterm detrimental effect. Watson is hopeful the sides will reach a multiyear contract agreement by Tuesday's deadline.

"I’m very confident that it’ll be resolved the right way and guys can move forward," Watson said. "Obviously it’s always tough when you go through litigation with somebody, and it can probably get heated. And I’m sure there are emotions on both sides. But that is the business side of the game. 

"And it’s unfortunate that it came to that and that it was so public. But I really think -- I know, I don’t think -- I know that Jimmy loves New Orleans and I know that he loves our team and the organization and he loves playing here. And we love him, everybody wants him here, coaches included. So when it comes down to contract situations, that’s just a necessary evil ... not even evil, but just a necessary progression of getting a player here."

Deadlines looming for Saints, Jimmy Graham
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/11/2014) The Saints have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to sign Jimmy Graham to a longterm deal. Now comes word, via Pro Football Talk, that Graham faces a Monday deadline, also at 4 p.m. ET, to appeal the arbitrator's ruling declaring him a tight end.

The website believes Graham will file the appeal hoping to get a better contract offer from the Saints. If no deal is reached and his appeal is denied, Graham will have to play the 2014 season under the $7 million franchise tag for tight ends, not the $12 million receiver tag he sought.

Colts have more trust in Coby Fleener
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/11/2014) Colts tight end coach Alfredo Roberts said Coby Fleener was a different player last season than he was as a rookie. Roberts noted Fleener excelled in the postseason with 11 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. 

"One is a trust factor," Roberts told the team's website. "He grew and he challenged himself to make plays and he showed up, especially in big games."

After catching 26 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, Fleener hauled in 52 passes for 608 yards and four scores last season. Both he and tight end Dwayne Allen, now recovered from a hip injury, are expected to be used heavily in 2014.

Four-way battle to back up Gronk
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/11/2014) Four players are vying to back up Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, whose surgically repaired knee might not be 100 percent when the season opens, reports the Boston Globe. The paper projects Michael Hoomanawanui to beat out D.J. Williams, Asa Watson and Justin Jones for the No. 2 job.

A five-year vet, Hoomanawanui is a 6-4, 260-pounder who "runs good routes over the middle but does not have the long speed to threaten a defense vertically down the seam," the paper said. He has caught 20 of 26 targets over the past two seasons, with one drop.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins says his foot has healed
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/10/2014) Buccaneers rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick who could start, said his left foot is in good shape following February surgery for a stress fracture, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

"I feel really good. My foot feels really good," he said. "I've been running routes, doing all the exercise and workout drills that they've asked me to do. I feel very comfortable and confident that I'll be ready to go when it comes to training camp."

The foot injury limited Seferian-Jenkins during the team's rookie minicamp. He missed OTAs and the mandatory minicamp because of the University of Washington's academic calendar.

"The only thing you can really do is try to learn the formations and concepts, the methodology of the offense, but there's nothing that substitutes for the hands-on experience of being out there running routes, and getting the timing down with the quarterbacks, the communication, all that stuff," he said. "There's definitely going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but that's to be expected when you're not there at all. It's nothing I can't overcome. I'm just going into it one day at a time and will be working really hard."

Levine Toilolo bulks up
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/10/2014) Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo "added a lot of muscle in the offseason, especially to his upper body," reports the team's website. The 6-8 Toilolo played at 265 pounds last year. The website did not say how much Toilolo weighs now.

Toilolo figures to start now that Tony Gonzalez has retired. He won't get nearly as many passes thrown his way, but could become a red-zone factor. Toilolo caught 11 balls for 55 yards and two touchdowns last season while appearing in every game.

'Possibilities are endless' with Dwayne Allen's return
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/10/2014) Colts tight end Dwayne Allen played just 32 snaps last season before suffering a season-ending hip injury. His loss took a lot of unique formations out of Indianapolis' playbook as they intended to use a lot of two-tight end sets and feature Allen, the official team website reports.

However, with Allen healed and ready to start training camp, the site says the "possibilities are endless" in how the Colts use Allen and teammate Coby Fleener this season. 

"It makes us a better football team," tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts said of a healthy Allen. "Getting him back is like getting a brand new player."

The Colts expect to be more creative on offense with Allen back in the fold.

Aaron Rodgers talks up tight end Richard Rodgers
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/9/2014) The Packers are unsettled at tight end, which means rookie Richard Rodgers could emerge as an option. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers certainly liked throwing to the 6-4, 257-pounder in the spring, and Richard Rodgers could be the starter "sooner rather than later," reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

"When we made the pick, some of the so-called experts on the draft channel said he was a late sixth-round pick ... which is pretty laughable when you watch the talent he's got and the ability," Aaron Rodgers said. "You have to be excited about his body type and the hands.

"He's made some incredible catches, makes it look easy. I think he's going to push for some playing time if he can transfer what he's done in the spring now to the fall and have the potential to be an impact player."

Richard Rodgers ran a 4.87 forty coming out of California, two-tenths of a second slower than Jermichael Finley ran back in 2008, and often lined up in the slot in college, the paper said.

Jermichael Finley still hoping to return to Packers
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/9/2014) Free agent tight end Jermichael Finley told he's working as hard as he can to return to the Packers. While Finley said this is the best he's felt "during this entire crazy process," he has yet to be cleared by team doctors.

Finley underwent neck fusion surgery last fall.

Browns seeking extension with Jordan Cameron
by Larry Hartstein |
(7/9/2014) Browns general manager Ray Farmer wants to sign tight end Jordan Cameron to a contract extension before training camp, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. However, the likelihood is negotations will continue long after camp opens.

Cameron, entering the final year of his rookie deal, figures to be Cleveland's top pass-catching threat, assuming Josh Gordon is suspended. Cameron caught 80 passes and made the Pro Bowl last year after making 26 receptions in his first two seasons combined.

Cameron reportedly has turned down several offers from the Browns so far.

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