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NFL News: Player News and Updates for 5/5/14

NFL Updates: Smith, Blackmon, Off-Season Schedule and More

May 5, 2014

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Just a few more days left until the 2014 NFL Draft, and the anticipation is running at a fever pitch. Soon all the speculation and guesswork will come to an end, and we’ll have the real answer as to the first-round draft order. In the meantime, let’s do some more speculation and guesswork as we look around at some of the noteworthy topics out there in the league.

Michael Vick, QB, New York Jets: Let’s start things out this morning by taking a trip to the Big Apple to check on a situation that’s surely going to be visited a million times before the start of the season (and likely beyond). Some comments Vick made over the weekend gained traction yesterday as they came out in the news. He called fellow Jets QB Geno Smith the starter for the team, and characterized himself as a helper in the effort to get the young second-year QB to improve.
Although the Jets have made allusions to the quarterback competition being open, it seems Smith has position in the driver’s seat for the time being. We could see a change if he blows it in camp and the preseason, but for now the team is giving him every opportunity to prove himself.

NFL News: Player News and Updates for 5/5/14

USA TODAY Sports

Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Here’s an interesting (and strange) story that’s been making headlines recently. Jags GM David Caldwell painted a dreary picture of star WR Justin Blackmon’s potential return to the team in 2014, saying, “It’s not something we’re counting on” in reference to the situation. Blackmon is suspended indefinitely without pay for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Blackmon is a supreme talent, but his off-field issues have become a liability. He gives the team an immediate upgrade alongside young receivers Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders, but it’s not looking to promising for a happy return to action. The league would have to reinstate him first before anything happens, so that would be the first domino to fall in a comeback bid for Blackmon.

Aldon Smith, OLB, San Francisco 49ers: Let’s take a moment to check out the Aldon Smith situation in San Francisco, as it’s been a hot topic of NFL conversation over the weekend. The team decided to pick up his fifth-year option a couple of days back, just hours ahead of the deadline to do so. There had been rampant speculation that the Niners would decline to retain Smith, thanks to his myriad of off-the-field issues.
The troubled LB made headlines last month when he was booked for falsely reporting a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport, which was just the latest incident in a string of troubles he’s faced.
Though Smith is a frustrating situation for the team (and still might get suspended by the league), there’s no doubting his talent. His option is worth $9.754 million, a relative bargain for what he brings to the field. Whether or not the headaches he brings are also worth it remains to be seen.

Week 1 Schedule: Now that the schedules have been released, we can start looking forward to the on-field action as we warm up for the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at the first week of the season, which begins September 4.

Thursday, September 4, 2014:

8:30 PM ET:
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (NBC)

Sunday, September 7, 2014:

1:00 PM ET:
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (FOX)
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams (FOX)
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (CBS)
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets (CBS)
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (CBS)
Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears (FOX)
Washington Redskins at Houston Texans (FOX)
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (CBS)
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (CBS)

4:25 PM ET:
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX)
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (FOX)

8:30 PM ET:
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (NBC)

Monday, September 8, 2014:

7:10 PM ET:
New York Giants at Detroit Lions (ESPN)

10:20 PM ET:
San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals (ESPN)

NFL Off-Season Key Dates: We’re now back to full-on 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 Remaining:

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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