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Quotables: NFLPA not giving up on Jimmy Graham fight, Bills search for Kiko Alonso replacement

The players association sounds as if it's ready to appeal the decision that Graham must be paid as a tight end in 2014. Meanwhile, Buffalo is trying to figure out its defense after the season-ending injury to a star linebacker.

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"We will also continue to assist Graham and his representation as necessary to help the player reach a fair long-term deal with the New Orleans Saints."

- NFLPA response to arbitration ruling against Jimmy Graham

An arbitrator ruled against Jimmy Graham on Wednesday, declaring that the New Orleans Saints can pay him as a tight end instead of as a wide receiver. But the NFL Players Association isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet.

The NFLPA said in a statement it plans on reviewing the decision, which allows the Saints to use the franchise tag Graham at a significantly lower cost based on position. Graham has 10 days to appeal the decision. He has 13 days before the deadline for he and the Saints to reach a long-term contract agreement expires.

As SB Nation's Kevin Trahan points out, the ruling has ramifications outside of Graham's situation.

Had Graham won, other tight ends could have possibly been in line to change their classifications to wide receiver. Now that he lost, that's a win for the teams, because it helps them keep more cap space. But as teams utilize tight ends as receivers more and more, grievances like this one could become more frequent.

"I think he's going to be a head coach in this league one day."

- Larry Foote on former Steeler Joey Porter

The last time you saw Joey Porter, he was playing linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011. Now he's returned as a defensive assistant coach with his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and one of his old teammates thinks he may have what it takes to become a head coach one day.

Larry Foote, who played with Porter in Pittsburgh and recently signed on with the Cardinals, spoke to ESPN about Porter's coaching chops.

I think he has that ‘it' factor to be a head coach if he stays the course. He has an enthusiasm and excitement that you can't teach, you can't develop, you've just got to be born with it and I'm excited. Hopefully he grows from the coaching side, X's and O's, organization and stuff like that. But shoot, he's on the fast track because he can lead men, he can get men to run through a wall.

"Kiko Alonso's loss is a crippling blow for a Bills defense that now does not have a three-down linebacker on the roster."

- Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings

The Buffalo Bills received terrible news on Wednesday: star linebacker Kiko Alonso will miss all of the 2014 season with a torn ACL. Alonso played every defensive down for the Bills as a rookie last season, and his presence will be impossible to replicate.

Regardless, Buffalo has to attempt to plug the gap. SB Nation's Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings, tries to figure out how they'll do it.

Nigel Bradham might be the obvious choice to take Alonso's place on the weak side, though rookie third-round pick Preston Brown -- who saw first-team work in spring practices, including in pass defense sub-packages -- could make a serious run for a large role, as well. Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers are expected to hold down the middle and strong-side jobs. None of these players are Alonso, however; as Alonso played 1,145 snaps last season, Spikes, Rivers, and Bradham combined to play 1,389 with their respective teams.

Alonso's absence could easily have an effect on the team's starting safety competition, as well. Da'Norris Searcy may very well end up winning that job, but his presence as a nickel and dime linebacker may now be essential, which at minimum creates a sub-package opening at the back end of the defense for players like Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks, among other candidates.