It's late February, which means one thing -- the NFL Scouting Combine is underway, as prospects and hopefuls attempt to wow scouts and coaches during an array of physical tests that may or may not have any relevancy to the actual game of football (Danny Kelly has a great look at how the drills do carry over).
You can find all our combine coverage in our stream, including quarterback 40 times (Johnny Manziel led the way), explanations of the drills players from each position perform and more. Jadeveon Clowney, for one, has some pretty lofty goals -- he says he wants to go No. 1 in the draft, following his history as the top-rated player coming out of high school, but also says he wants to be one of the greatest players of all time.
Nick Hardwick to return to the Chargers
Veteran center Nick Hardwick dispelled rumors that he may be retiring by announcing that he will return for an 11th season with the Chargers. Hardwick was a Pro Bowler in 2006 and has spent his entire career with San Diego.
The folks at Bolts from the Blue see it as an unequivocal positive for the Chargers.
This is excellent news for the team, as it is one less position that needs to be addressed in free agency or the draft. It gives the team another season to see if Nick Hardwick's eventual replacement is on the roster right now or can be developed and groomed for one year without urgency.
Penalty for racial slur expected to be enforced
The NFL is expected to announce a new rule change in March, implementing a 15-yard penalty against any players heard using the N-word on the field.
As Ryan Van Bibber points out, the rule is an important change that does not go far enough.
Penalizing players for using a racial slur in the workplace is one step toward progress, but like most of the NFL's efforts at promoting tolerance, it's haphazard. What about other racist or homophobic slurs that might slide out of a player's mouth during a game? There's also the matter of implementation and interpretation, which left in the hands of officials could lead to the penalty being called differently from week to week and crew to crew.
Ravens WR Thompson arrested for marijuana possession
Baltimore wide receiver Deonte Thompson was arrested Friday and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Through two seasons, he has caught 15 passes for 147 yards and averaged 26.8 yards per kick return.
Jason Butt of Baltimore Beat Down said a bigger reason for concern may be the other people who Thompson was in the car with.
According to Florida radio station WUFT-FM, Erskrine J. McKinley, also in the car, spent three years in jail for two attempted murders, robbery, shooting a firearm, illegally possessing a gun and ammo. The vehicle's driver, Alvon J. Summerall, has previously pleaded guilty to burglary charges.
Ravens waiting on NFL for Rice decision
Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said the team will wait to hear from the NFL before making a decision on running back Ray Rice, who allegedly knocked his fiancée Janay Palmer unconscious in Atlantic City. Video surfaced of Rice dragging the unconscious Palmer out of an elevator.
Head coach John Harbaugh was much more positive about Rice's future with the team, saying "I haven't seen anything that would remotely make me think that" when asked whether the running back could be dismissed.