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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Credit Cam Newton for reaching out to Bo

Bo knows. Cam wants to know. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton recently reached out to fellow Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, whose signature "Bo Knows" Nike cross-training shoes campaign was made popular in the late 1980s, on how to deal with injuries. Newton is recovering from surgery to tighten the tendons in his left ankle that has been an issue since he won the 2010 Heisman after leading Auburn to the national title. Jackson, the 1985 Heisman winner, suffered a hip injury in 1991 that ended his football career and forced him to focus on his baseball career.

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Bengals' season schedule release primer

CINCINNATI -- The countdown clock is ticking. Exactly nine hours from the time this post went live, the Cincinnati Bengals and the other 31 teams will know where and when they will be playing their already announced opponents. At 8 p.m. ET, the league will release its 2014 schedule, complete with kickoff times and pertinent television information for certain games. Based on their recent scheduling history and the general success they have had in the past three years in particular, it stands to reason the Bengals will be on "Monday Night Football" at least once this year, and will appear -- like the rest of the league -- on Thursday night football.

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NFL to release regular-season schedule

The NFL will release its regular-season schedule tonight at 8 ET. The Buffalo Bills' opponents have already been determined by the NFL's rotating schedule formula, so Wednesday night's announcement will simply add times and dates to those games. Some burning questions: Will the Bills make their first "Monday Night Football" appearance since 2009? Will they play on Sunday night for the first time since 2007? Will they play the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving?

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NFL Nation Buzz: Arizona Cardinals

ESPN.com Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss talks about the team's need at strong safety.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Seattle Seahawks

ESPN.com Seahawks reporter Terry Blount talks about the team's chances of picking a receiver in the draft.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Nation reporter Todd Archer talks about the importance of this offseason to quarterback Nick Foles and how he must use this opportunity to take control of the team.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs

ESPN.com Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher talks about the team’s lack of spending on the offensive line.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco discusses the team’s needs at wide receiver and the likelihood of drafting one over a pass-rusher in the first round of the draft.

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NFL Nation Buzz: New Orleans Saints

ESPN.com Saints reporter Mike Triplett says New Orleans is showing a lot of faith in Kenny Vaccaro, Kenny Stills and the rest of the team's impressive rookie class of 2013.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Minnesota Vikings

ESPN.com Vikings reporter Ben Goessling discusses the impact Jasper Brinkley can make in Mike Zimmer’s system.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

ESPN.com Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas says Tampa Bay newcomer Michael Johnson made a wise decision to study film of former Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice, one of the franchise’s all-time greats.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins reporter John Keim discusses the likelihood that the team will select a safety with its first pick in the second round.

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NFL Nation Buzz: Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky discusses Chris Johnson officially signing with the Jets and what it means for the Titans at running back.

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Big Blue Morning: First impressions

The New York Giants made 18 of their players available for media interviews on Tuesday afternoon. Some faces were familiar, others were new. Here are four quick things I took away from the day: 1. Eli Manning's ankle injury may not turn out to be a huge deal, but it's not a small one either. Manning is getting around on crutches right now, though he ditched them before he came out to stand in a walking boot in front of cameras and answer questions Tuesday.

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Adaptable Saints more balanced than ever

The New Orleans Saints are evolving. At their core, they haven't changed much since head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees arrived in 2006. The Saints are still led by a dynamic passing offense that toys with opponents inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where New Orleans was 8-0 last season. But the reason the Saints will win the NFC South this year is because they might just have the best defense in the division, too. Adding three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd and future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey further bolstered a young defense that had a breakout year in 2013 under new coordinator Rob Ryan.

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Coach defends Clowney's work ethic

When Jadeveon Clowney sits down with a member of the Atlanta Falcons' front office or coaching staff during his Wednesday visit, the question about his desire is bound to come up. Critics continue to offer harsh assessments of the South Carolina defensive end despite the 6-foot-6, 266-pound Clowney being the most athletically gifted prospect in the draft. While Clowney previously defended his work ethic, one of his former coaches also spoke up on his behalf.

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Bucs not short on running backs

TAMPA, Fla. -- As a new head coach, Tampa Bay’s Lovie Smith still is getting to know his players. But it’s obvious he already has developed a comfort level with his running backs. “I went in there the other day and I asked them if there was a requirement to being under 5-[foot-]10 to be in this room,’’ Smith said with a laugh. With Doug Martin listed as 5-9, Bobby Rainey at 5-8 and Mike James at 5-10, the Bucs may be short at running back.

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