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NFL notebook: NFL will not move LSU’s Collins to supplemental draft

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The NFL on Thursday denied a request by LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins to be removed from draft consideration and allowed to enter the supplemental draft in the summer.

With NFL teams leery of drafting Collins amid a murder investigation in Louisiana, the player’s agents had petitioned the NFL to let him out of the draft while police complete the investigation, according to reports Thursday by Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Police have said Collins is not a suspect in the shooting death of a pregnant woman believed to be his former girlfriend, but NFL teams are seeking a full police report before they consider drafting the senior lineman, Glazer reported.

Collins, a possible first-round pick, was at an NFL event in Chicago on Wednesday morning but returned to Baton Rouge, La., in the hope of speaking with authorities and clearing his name.

Police agreed to schedule an interview with Collins after the draft. Cpl. Don Coppola of the Baton Rogue Police Department told NFL Media’s Albert Breer on Thursday that no date or time has been set.

—The Miami Dolphins announced that they exercised their fifth-year contract option on quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Tannehill, the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick in 2012, will receive $16.1 million in 2016. The compensation is guaranteed for injury until next March, at which time it will become fully guaranteed.

Tannehill threw for a career-high 4,045 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2014.

—The New England Patriots exercised their fifth-year option on defensive end Chandler Jones, according to CBSSports.com.

Jones will be paid $7.8 million in 2016. The amount is guaranteed for injury until next March, when it will become fully guaranteed.

The move means the Patriots have picked up the options on both 2012 first-rounder picks; they reportedly exercised the $7.75 million option for linebacker Dont’a Hightower on Wednesday.

—Amid reports that the Chicago Bears are fielding offers for Martellus Bennett, coach John Fox said Thursday he expects the tight end to be on the Bears’ roster once the draft concludes.

Bennett wants a new contract and the team has been taking calls about him, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday. Bennett has not been participating in offseason workouts with the team and he missed the Bears’ three-day minicamp this week.

“I have talked to him,” Fox said Thursday. “I kind of know where he is. Like I said yesterday, with anybody that is not here, I prefer they are here. But he’s part of our football team and we’ll leave it at that.”

— While teammate Martellus Bennett holds out seeking a new contract, running back Matt Forte said he will not.

Forte was absent from voluntary workouts and a three-day minicamp this week, but he told Chicago’s WSCR-AM that he won’t hold out from mandatory work.

In the final year of his contract, Forte said he met with first-year general manager Ryan Pace earlier this offseason to talk about a new deal.

“Like I told Ryan when we talked about it … I wouldn’t hold any grudges or anything,” Forte said. “Everybody says you could hold out and use it as leverage. I’m not that type of dude to do that at this point. … If they want to give me a contract extension and have me return as a Chicago Bear and play my entire career here, they can do that. If they don’t, then they won’t. It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to hold out.”

—The San Diego Chargers have told quarterback Philip Rivers that he won’t be traded, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

That report Thursday follows word Wednesday that the Chargers and Rivers are discussing a contract extension. FOX Sports 1 NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported the Chargers met with Rivers’ agent late last week with the intent of extending his current deal.

Rivers would become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season without an extension. His future with the Chargers has been in question since reports surfaced that he declined a contract extension because he is wary of the team’s possible move to Los Angeles.

—The Seattle Seahawks are not expected to pick up the fifth-year option on outside linebacker Bruce Irvin’s rookie contract.

The team has until Sunday to exercise the 2016 option, which would be worth $7.75 million.

Irvin, a first-round draft pick in 2012, will make $1.6 million this season.

—Running back Todd Gurley, recovering from ACL surgery, is expected to miss at least the first month of his rookie season, the Miami Herald reported.

The Georgia star, who suffered the injury in November, is close to 80 percent healthy and has not been doing lateral movements, the Herald reported.

He is aiming to be ready for training camp, but the Herald’s report indicates he could start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Gurley, who is considered to be the top running back available by many draft experts, had the knee examined in Indianapolis recently and no problems were found, NFL Network reported April 18.

—The San Francisco 49ers signed linebacker Philip Wheeler, reinforcing a position that has been weakened by the retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland.

The 49ers also released kick returner Trindon Holliday and waived guard Fouimalo Fonoti and wide receiver Lance Lewis.

Wheeler was released by the Miami Dolphins in March and had visited the 49ers earlier in April.

Wheeler, 30, has started 60 games over seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2008-11), Oakland Raiders (2012) and Dolphins. He signed a five-year, $26 million deal with the Dolphins in 2013, but he lost his starting job in 2014 and finished with just 46 tackles.

—Safety Malcolm Bronson signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Bears.

Bronson, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs, was on the Chiefs’ practice squad during the 2013 season but released before the start of the 2014 season.

The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Bronson has yet to see action in an NFL game. But in college at McNeese State, Bronson played in 40 games and had 230 tackles (nine for loss), 10 interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 18 pass breakups.

—Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker says he has been cleared to continue playing after tests showed no adverse effects from the three concussions he suffered with the Broncos over the last two seasons.

Welker told Denver’s WUSA-TV that he was examined in February by Dr. Stanley Herring, a member of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee. He also got passing marks from the Miami Dolphins’ doctors during his free-agent visit this month.

Welker, who turns 34 on Friday, said he wants to return for an 11th NFL season.

—Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball is confident he will regain the starting job after a disappointing 2014 season.

Ball came into last season with high hopes after rushing for 559 yards — 4.7 yards per carry — as a rookie before being set back by injuries.

Ball will be competing with starter C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson. Anderson led the Broncos’ backs in 2014 with 849 rushing yards and 324 receiving yards.

“C.J. deserves the No. 1 spot right now. I’m most definitely going to try to work to get it back. And I believe that I will,” Ball told the Associated Press. “I like coming in and being the underdog, just keeping my head down, my mouth shut and just working.”

—Former NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress has been indicted on charges he failed to pay taxes, New Jersey prosecutors announced.

Burress has been indicted on one count of issuing a bad check or electronic funds transfer and one count of willful failure to pay state income tax in the amount of $47,903. According to NJ.com, both are third-degree charges that carry a maximum penalty of five years in state prison and a $15,000 fine.

The 37-year-old played with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and New York Jets during his 11-year NFL career.

In November 2008, Burress accidentally shot himself in the right leg while at a New York City nightclub. A weapons charge led to a prison stay of nearly two years, keeping him out of the 2009 and 2010 NFL seasons. He returned to play all 16 games for the Jets in 2011. He has not played since the 2012 season.

—The city of Cleveland cannot tax visiting professional athletes for their work during visits, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday in Columbus.

The court said the tax is unconstitutional because it violates due process rights of athletes.

The court ruled that the city erred in imposing a 2 percent tax on former Chicago Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer for games played in Cleveland. Hillenmeyer is owed a partial refund, the court said in a unanimous decision.

The court also ruled that former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday was unfairly taxed during the 2008 season because he was injured and not with the team for a game in Cleveland.


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