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NFL notes

By Democrat-Gazette Press Services

This article was published August 6, 2014 at 3:31 a.m.


TE Bennett suspended

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- A day after losing his cool and body slamming rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller to the ground after a play in team drills, Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has been suspended indefinitely and fined for conduct detrimental to the team, General Manager Phil Emery said Tuesday.

Bennett's availability for Friday's exhibition opener against the Philadelphia Eagles is uncertain.

The amount of the fine, Emery said, would remain in house. The length of the suspension is undetermined at this time, Emery said.

Obviously Bennett's act has worn thin with the Bears' leaders, and Monday's tantrum in which he took exception first to a clean and legal strip attempt by Fuller and soon after to words from receiver Brandon Marshall pushed things to a boiling point.

Coach Marc Trestman halted practice after Bennett's tantrum, and Emery ultimately decided it was best for the team to send the emotional tight end away for awhile.

Emery wouldn't say specifically what about Monday's incident or Bennett's comments afterward bothered him most, but he said the team's decision was reached collectively.

Bennett will remain on the Bears' active 90-man roster but will be excluded from all team activities for the immediate future.


Cooks impresses

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks has been getting some extra sprints in during practice -- often with the ball in his hands as he speeds away from would-be tacklers.

His performances have the Saints increasingly optimistic that their latest first-round draft pick will be an immediate, additional threat in a receiving game led primarily by Marques Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham the past few seasons.

Cooks, whose latest camp highlights include a touchdown catch during red-zone work Tuesday, said he feels comfortable playing football at the highest level, but constantly asks veteran teammates to scrutinize every mistake he makes so he can keep improving.


Hoyer with starters again

BEREA, Ohio -- Quarterback Brian Hoyer is back with Cleveland's first-string offense after spending a day behind rookie Johnny Manziel.

Hoyer took the initial snaps in 11-on-11 drills with the starters Tuesday. Manziel received his first work in training camp with the Browns' first string Monday, a move that led to speculation he had gained ground on Hoyer.

Coach Mike Pettine said Manziel's one-day promotion was part of the plan as Cleveland's coaching staff evaluates the two quarterbacks who are competing for the starting job. Pettine has not chosen his starter for Saturday's exhibition opener in Detroit but said it will likely be Hoyer.

Manziel, the popular first-round pick, appeared to close the gap on Hoyer following a solid performance in a scrimmage last weekend in Akron.

Boxing gloves debut

The Browns are ready to rumble.

To prepare for the NFL's crackdown on defensive holding this season, the team is making its cornerbacks and safeties wear boxing gloves during training camp practices. The smaller, mittenlike gloves -- used by kickboxers and in mixed martial arts -- are meant to deter players from latching onto jerseys of wide receivers, an allowable tactic in the past but one that will draw a penalty flag now.

When he first saw the padded gloves, Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden didn't know what to think.

"I came out and we had boxing gloves on," Haden said. "It was crazy."

Not long after putting them on, Haden was beaten on a long pass by wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who came back on his route to haul in a throw from rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. Haden tried to get his hand on the ball, but the glove didn't allow him to tip it away.

Coach Mike Pettine hopes the gloves can help retrain defensive backs from clutching and snatching anything they get their hands on.

"You've got to get guys out of that habit," he said. "It's more the mentality that they know they have to be able to cover more with an open palm than grabbing and restricting, especially if the rule is going to be called as tightly as we're told it is."


Pryor out of opener

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Calvin Pryor will have to wait another week for his NFL debut.

The New York Jets' rookie safety, who just returned from a concussion, will not play in the team's preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.

"He missed a lot of work," Ryan said, adding that Pryor is physically ready to play. "We'll get him back and get him up to speed for the next one. We kind of waited this long. Let's just get him a fresh start, make sure everything is good. I think that'll be good for him."

The first-round pick suffered a head injury July 26 during a special teams drill. Pryor returned to full contact Monday and has participated in meetings the past several days.

"I don't want him to make a poor account for himself," Ryan said. "I would rather give him a full week of preparation and let him get ready."

The Jets' second preseason game is Aug. 16 at Cincinnati.

Wide receiver Shaq Evans, a fourth-round pick out of UCLA, has a "severe" and nagging shoulder injury that Ryan said "looks pretty bad" and has kept him very limited at camp. Ryan did not rule out putting Evans on injured reserve.

"We'll see how that goes," Ryan said, "but it doesn't look good right now."

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley missed practice with an illness, while running back Bilal Powell (hamstring) and cornerback Johnny Patrick (hamstring) were limited. Tackle Brent Qvale was out with a concussion.

Sports on 08/06/2014

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