Wednesday was a strange day in the NFL. Aaron Hernandez dominated the news cycle after being arrested on murder charges. Unsurprisingly, he was released by the New England Patriots. The tight end's arrest overshadowed the ugly news about Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott, who was arrested on attempted murder charges and also released by his organization.
You have likely heard of Hernandez, a Pro Bowl tight end who was entering his fourth season in the NFL. Walcott was an obscure name until Wednesday. The former Virginia linebacker went undrafted last April, and was fighting for a roster spot. He already had an uphill battle to stay in the NFL. Allegedly beating a 24-year-old man outside of a club certainly won't help.
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam isn't fretting too much about the federal investigation into his chain of truckstops, Pilot Flying J. A story by the Wall Street Journal described mounting debt facing the company, on top of a lawsuit accusing Pilot of defrauding customers of rebate money. Haslam reportedly has no intention of selling the Browns if the situation grows any more dire, however.
The NFL has stood by Jimmy Haslam, but Browns fans have posted panicky comments on sports blogs worrying that Mr. Haslam's legal troubles might force him to sell the team -- something Mr. Haslam says he has no intention of doing.
Manti Te'o's story makes him ripe for hazing. He had an agonizing offseason, which began with a poor performance in the BCS National Championship Game, and made worse by poor pre-draft workouts and that whole fake girlfriend thing. Few would be surprised by reports that Te'o was being harassed in the locker room, good-naturedly or otherwise.
"To be honest with you, I was kind of expecting the worst. I was careful where I went. I was careful with what I said. The first day (of offseason practice), guys are coming up to me and saying, ‘Just have fun. Be you.' With that encouragement, I slowly started opening up a little more. I became myself - fast."
Te'o's teammates have every reason to be supportive, given that the rookie could be a starter beginning Week 1 for a rebuilding Chargers squad.
Former Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans fullback Vonta Leach has been rumored to be heading to the Miami Dolphins for a few days now. A deal still has yet to be finalized, but negotiations are reportedly ongoing.
The Dolphins need to boost a running game that finished in the middle of the pack in terms of total yards last season. The team lost Reggie Bush to the Detroit Lions, but Lamar Miller proved capable as a rookie, averaging 4.9 yards per carry on 51 carries last season. With Leach leading the way, the Dolphins could be formidable on the ground.
Rookie Justin Pugh's versatility was considered one of his biggest selling points when he was selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Some in the Giants' organization believe he can play at any one of the five positions up front, though the team has reportedly stuck him at right tackle during workouts.
Pugh is currently in competition with veteran David Diehl for a starting job. He played left tackle for the Syracuse Orange last season.
New head coaches usually like to shake things up a bit. Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles is reportedly beginning by moving training camp from the team's traditional home at Lehigh University to the team's in-season stomping grounds at the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field.
Teams often opt to hold training camp on college campuses, where players may be forced to bunk in dorms together. By keeping training camp in Philadelphia, players will be able to stay in their own homes, affording them the opportunity to spend more time with their wives and children, but perhaps depriving players of bonding time.