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NFL News: Player News and Updates for 2/4/14

NFL Updates: Stafford, Bryant, Off-Season Schedule and More

February 4, 2014

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Now that the Super Bowl buzz is beginning to wear off, we’re back into that depressing stretch known as the “off-season” in the NFL. We’ve still got a while to wait before the 2014 campaign begins, but thankfully there’s enough news out there to keep us going while we power through this light stretch. Here’s a look at who’s making headlines out there right now.

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills: Jackson dealt with some major injury concerns in the 2013 season--namely, a sprained knee and broken ribs--but is slowly getting back to his old self. Yesterday, a report emerged that had him proclaiming himself “90 to 95 percent” healthy, with his final hurdle being a bit of “tweakage” in his rib.
After another few months, Jackson should be good to go and will hit the 2014 campaign at full strength. He’s coming off a year in which he accounted for 1,284 total yards and 10 touchdowns. He’ll be in the final year of his current contract, so his performance this season will dictate his immediate future.

NFL News: Player News and Updates for 2/4/14

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: With all the negotiating tactics taking place around the NFL every off-season, it’s somewhat refreshing to hear a player declare his love for a certain team. That’s the case with Bryant, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal.
He recently proclaimed that he wouldn’t even think about playing for another team, and declared himself in Dallas “forever.” Those words won’t win him any points with agents, but could earn a show of solidarity from the team come extension time.
So far, the Cowboys haven’t opened discussions with Bryant just yet, but they’ve got a lot to think about when they do. Even though he’s a definite star and one of the main focal points of their offensive attack, the team is reportedly concerned about his recurring back problems, not to mention the salary cap implications of an extension. Bryant will be 26 in November.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: Will we be seeing a Matthew Stafford rejuvenation in 2014? That’s what the Lions are thinking, apparently. New offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was reportedly hired with the intention of him helping Stafford return to form. He’s coming off a disappointing year, with a 58.5 completion percentage, 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Those are healthy numbers for some teams, but not on an offense that features Calvin Johnson.
Lombardi has worked with Drew Brees for the past six seasons, so he’s got some nice pedigree attached. Stafford should also benefit from the presence of new head coach Jim Caldwell, who spent significant time around the one and only Peyton Manning.

NFL Key Dates: Now that we’ve finished up the season in the NFL, it’s now back to anticipation mode for the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at some of the noteworthy dates from this off-season period that should keep us occupied until the league kicks off again.

Important 2014 Dates:

February 3: Waiver System Starts (Teams can make transactions, cuts, etc.)
February 17-March 3: Franchise Tag Designation Period
February 19-25: NFL Combine (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
March 8: Contract Negotiations for Unrestricted Free Agents Can Begin
March 11: League Year Officially Begins (4:00 PM ET)
March 23-28: Annual Owners Meeting (Orlando, FL)
May 8-10: NFL Draft
July 24: Training Camp Opens
September 4: First Game of the 2014 Season

For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.


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