"I'm way ahead of schedule, I feel great. I'm looking good. I can't wait."
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne told 1260 WNDE on Tuesday that he's nearly made a full recovery from the torn ACL he suffered nearly six months ago.
As with any injury of this magnitude, there were questions about whether the six-time Pro Bowler would be ready for the start of training camp in 2014. There was no hesitation in his words when he made it clear he intended to be back to running, cutting and planting within the next few weeks.
Head coach Chuck Pagano may be hesitant to thrust his veteran wideout back into full practice. He'll likely take extra precaution by easing him back into to offseason program. Wayne understands Pagano's reluctance and acknowledged it:
I’ll be ready way before training camp but I’m sure Coach Pagano won’t be willing to take the leash off me until training camp."
The 35-year-old started and appeared in seven games last season and totaled 38 receptions for 503 yards and two touchdowns. He'll be a primary component of the team's efforts to take another step forward after advancing to the AFC divisional round.
Though Wayne is nearing the end of his Hall of Fame-worthy career, he's still managed to remain productive into his 30s, making six of seven Pro Bowls from 2006-20012. Before he went down with the knee injury, he and second-year quarterback Andrew Luck were developing strong chemistry.
"I'm going to go out and prove (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) made a mistake and this is a great decision for the Buffalo Bills."
-Mike Williams, Buffalo Bills WR
Wide receiver Mike Williams sounded like many players before him who felt slighted by teams looking to move on. When speaking with the Tampa Bay Times on Monday, he said that the incidents at his home which caused neighbors to call 911 and perhaps the Bucs to trade him were often overblown. He went on to say that some stories resulting in investigations by law enforcement were made up:
"They don’t want me to talk about the stories so I’m not going to get into that. But all cases were dropped. Two of the stories were actually made up. It was somebody trying to get over. His family was the people that came to the media and talked. It wasn’t even the neighbors.’’
Last month in one of the more bizarre stories of the offseason, Williams was stabbed in his left thigh by his brother, Eric Baylor, who was charged with aggravated battery and domestic violence as a result.
A fresh start in Buffalo could do Williams good. The former Syracuse star played just six games in 2013 and totaled 22 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
"The discussions between owners and players about a professional workplace were positive."
-George Atallah, NFLPA spokesperson
Several key NFL players and executives met on Tuesday in New York in order to discuss workplace environment in the wake of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito incident last season in the Miami Dolphins' locker room.
Most notably, commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith were among the leaders from either side on hand to work toward a solution. The bullying scandal that shook the league was the catalyst for the talks, and by all accounts, there was substantial progress.
Among the specifics discussed were coaches setting boundaries for behavior in order to ensure bullying isn't tolerated around the league.
Incognito received a suspension for what investigators found to be persistent harassment of then-rookie Martin, who left the team indefinitely at the time. Since then, Martin has been traded to the San Francisco 49ers, where he will be reunited with his former coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh.
"(Johnny) Manziel, who has been projected as a first-round pick, is scheduled to fly to Jacksonville on Tuesday and will visit with the Jaguars the following day."
-Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL Insider
In addition to hosting 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel on Wednesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host several other quarterback prospects this week. This comes after the Jags, who own the No. 3 selection in the 2014 NFL draft, parted ways with former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert.
In addition to Manziel, Jacksonville will meet with Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo. In addition to the five quarterbacks, former University of Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack will visit the team. With all signal-callers except Garoppolo projected to go in the first round, Jacksonville will have another opportunity to select its coveted franchise quarterback among several choices with real potential.
"That play really bothered me, sincerely."
-Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons owner
That grabbed the attention of owner Arthur Blank, who lamented the fact the Falcons weren't tough enough when he spoke with 680 The Fan via ESPN.com:
"It bothered me that none of our players, they all complained, but none of them went to the safety on the Saints and did anything. Not that they would start a fight, but just kind of put their finger in his chest and saying, ‘That’s not acceptable.’"
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Blank has spoken with general manager Thomas Dimitroff and new assistant general manager Scott Pioli on the matter, and it's been a point of emphasis. Everyone was in agreement the Falcons needed to be tougher. Now it's time to see what they plan to do about it both on and off the field.