NFL Wire News

NFL notebook: Sam among those at veteran Combine

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For 105 aspiring NFL players, Sunday was a day to show teams why they are deserving of another chance at the first Veteran Combine held at the Arizona Cardinals training facility in Tempe, Ariz.

For Michael Sam, the first openly gay player who has competed to play in the league, it was the opportunity to show those in attendance he still cares and has a passion for the game.

It didn’t matter that Sam will travel back to Los Angeles for his second appearance on Dancing With The Stars Monday night. He was on the field with 18 other defensive line hopefuls, running the 40-yard dash and other typical drills that are part of the usual combines for rookies.

“I did the best I can,” Sam said. “I did just as good if not better than the other guys here. So I’m pretty confident about that.”

When asked if the Canadian Football League was an option, he said, “I am very confident that I will be playing football this year somewhere. So we’ll leave that at that.”

Asked about the CFL, he said, “If that’s an opportunity, then I will take it.”

–The Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed outside linebacker James Harrison to a two-year contract.

Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Harrison, who turns 37 in May, will enter his 13th season in the NFL in 2015 and 12th in Pittsburgh.

In 2014, Harrison contributed 45 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 11 regular-season games (four starts) with the Steelers, and had two tackles in the team’s postseason contest.

–St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is designing his proposed Los Angeles-area NFL stadium for two teams.

The Los Angeles Times saw the plans drawn by Kroenke’s firm HKS for the $1.86 billion, privately financed stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The stadium would be complete with two home locker rooms, identical sets of office space and two owners’ suites.

The Times reported details of the stadium’s design as league owners prepared to gather Monday in Phoenix.

Kroenke’s stadium plan competes with one by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, who want to share a stadium near Los Angeles in Carson, Calif.

–Georgia has agreed to give the Atlanta Falcons and Braves an exemption from paying sales tax on construction materials for building their new stadiums.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the tax break will save each team millions of dollars in addition to the hefty public subsidies they already are receiving.

According to the report, the disclosures have infuriated critics who are against the use of public funds to help wealthy corporate owners build new facilities they could afford on their own — and the new stadiums will increase the value of the franchises.

–Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who abruptly retired from the NFL last week after one season due to worries about head trauma, is giving back part of his signing bonus.

Borland, 24, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning that he will return three-fourths of his signing bonus to the team.

–Teddy Bridgewater expects more out of his play in his second season and Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer wants to see more pounds added to the quarterback’s frame.

Bridgewater didn’t start last season for the Vikings until after Matt Cassel broke his foot in Week 3. Bridgewater developed steadily from week to week.

Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the best thing Bridgewater can do this offseason is to get bigger.

“He needs to add a little bit more strength, a little more weight on him,” Zimmer said. “He’s about 210 pounds, we’re trying to get him around 218, somewhere in that range.”

–LSU junior cornerback Jalen Collins, who is expected to be taken within the first two rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft, reportedly underwent foot surgery last week and will not participate in LSU’s Pro Day workout March 27.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reported that the surgery took place last Thursday. The exact nature of the surgery is not known, but Collins is expected to be ready for mini-camps. Most mini-camps begin soon after the draft, which runs from April 30 to May 2.

NFLDraftScout.com ranks Collins as the No. 53 overall prospect in this year’s NFL Draft and the No. 6 cornerback. He is projected to be taken in the second round.


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