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Ravens activate LB McClain from reserve list

The Baltimore Ravens activated Rolando McClain off the reserve-retired list Thursday, two days after his disastrous first workout with the team.
It’s unknown whether this is to allow McClain to participate in the team’s offseason workout program, which begins Monday, or this is the first step toward the Ravens releasing the troubled inside linebacker. Ravens officials aren’t providing any official comment on the move, which was reported on the NFL’s transactions list.
Even if McClain reports to their offseason regimen, it doesn’t mean he is a lock to make the Ravens’ final roster. The Ravens signed McClain to a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum $700,000. It’s a risk-free contract for the Ravens because it doesn’t include any guaranteed money.
It also wouldn’t be surprising if the Ravens cut McClain. Last month, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team would welcome him back if he proved that he had matured. On Tuesday, McClain was reportedly 22 minutes late for his workout with the Ravens and failed to complete the team’s conditioning test. Later that day, McClain posted on Twitter: “No excuse for my failures. My success no apologies. I that I owe is absolute honesty. Keep it 100, but that’s what they all say.”
The Ravens have been interested in McClain because they want to improve their depth at inside linebacker. Alabama’s C.J. Mosley, the top linebacker prospect in the draft, recently made a pre-draft visit with the Ravens, who hold the No. 17 overall pick.
McClain, 24, is trying to get his career back on track after being released a year ago by the Oakland Raiders. He was suspended for two games by the Raiders in 2012 after arguing with head coach Dennis Allen. He was also arrested three times in an 11-month span.
The No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 draft, McClain retired in May, a month after signing with the Ravens. He said he used the time to get his “priorities straight.”
In 41 games over three seasons with the Raiders, McClain had 246 tackles and 6.5 sacks.University of Maryland graduate
Lives in the Baltimore area with his wife and son


Starting LB Allen among 4 released by Jags

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Starting outside linebacker Russell Allen was among four players the Jacksonville Jaguars released on Thursday afternoon.
The team also cut receiver Jabin Sambrano, defensive end Will Pericak, and defensive end D’Aundre Reed.
The 27-year-old Allen started 29 games over the past two seasons and 44 games in his five seasons with the Jaguars. He has missed just two games in those five seasons and made 331 tackles and had two sacks, one interception, and three fumble recoveries.
Allen made the team in 2009 as an undrafted rookie out of San Diego State. In addition to playing linebacker he has been a key special teams performer (42 tackles).
Allen became expendable when the Jaguars signed free-agent linebacker Dekoda Watson, whom head coach Gus Bradley said will play strongside linebacker on first and second down and the leo position (hybrid end/linebacker) on third down. Allen’s release saves the Jaguars $2.5 million on the salary cap.
Reed played in six games for Minnesota in 2012 and joined the Jaguars’ practice squad last December. Sambrano and Pericak have each been with several teams and have yet to appear in an NFL game.Covered University of Florida for 13 seasons for and Florida Times-Union
Graduate of Jacksonville University
Multiple APSE award winner


New Jet Johnson motivated to silence critics

Updated: April 17, 2014, 5:36 PM ET

Jane McManus |

After sitting on the market for 12 days and hearing a year’s worth of whispers about his declining value as a running back, Chris Johnson comes to the New York Jets resolved to prove the doubters wrong.
“I know there’s a lot of people out there who believe in me, including the Jets, that’s why they wanted to bring me in,” Johnson said Thursday on a conference call. “But there are still a lot of people out there who say how they’re going to feel, but I don’t see how you can say some of the type things they say about a guy who runs for almost 1,100 yards on a torn meniscus.

“But [for] a player like myself that has accomplished so much in his career, it’s always great to have things to put a chip on your shoulder, have things to motivate you. I can turn a bad thing that people say into a good thing for me, to get me motivated, keep me hungry and keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong.”
Johnson was signed Wednesday to a two-year deal worth a potential $9 million, a league source told ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. There have been questions about how productive Johnson can be given his declining production and his surgery in January to a repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
His knee is healing, and Johnson said he would soon be cleared to resume football activities. The Jets begin their offseason training program next week.
Asked if he was concerned about whether he would be ready to participate during training camp, Johnson said he had “no concern.” 
Johnson also denied a report that he had arthritis in his knee.
“No, that’s not accurate,” he said before laughing.
“If they had major concern in my knee, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have passed the physical.”
Johnson spent his first six seasons with the Tennessee Titans and rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each, including 2,006 in 2009. Last season, he had 1,077 yards on 279 carries and 42 catches for 345 yards.
“I know the type of player I am, and it’s a situation — once you run for 2,000 yards, you set an expectation for yourself,” Johnson said. “So anytime you don’t get 2,000 yards, it’s a situation where people are going to say, ‘Oh, is he the same guy? Is he this, is he that’? … [Once] you run for 2,000 yards, the whole focus is on you, to stop you.”

When teams key on a player, Johnson said, that player may have fewer yards but he’s more valuable to the offense given that defenses have to commit so many resources to stop him.
Johnson said he picked the Jets after meeting with coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
“They know how to win over there, ” Johnson said. “The type of team that they had last year, they got a great defense. Anytime you have a great defense, you give yourself a great chance at winning.
“We know as an organization if we’re able to put up points, then that will give us a good chance at winning. So I felt I would be able to fit that mold and come there and help the offense.”
The Jets still retain running backs Chris Ivory (182 carries for 833 yards in 2013), Bilal Powell (176 for 697) and Mike Goodson (seven for 61). It is unlikely they will keep all four.
Goodson has been a disappointment after being the first major signing of the John Idzik era. The back was signed last March to a three-year deal worth $6.9 million, but soon after that he was arrested after being found unresponsive in the passenger seat of a vehicle stopped in the left lane of Interstate 80 in New Jersey. Goodson has another court date set for May 19 stemming from the resulting gun and drug charges.
After serving a four-game suspension to start the 2013 season, Goodson played in two games and then sustained a season-ending knee injury.
“They’ll put everybody in the best positions to help the Jets win,” Johnson said. “And that is what really matters and [what] interested me in going to a team that is a winning program and has a chance of being a contender.”

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre’s stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.


Jags’ Doss arrested for disorderly conduct

Updated: April 17, 2014, 5:52 PM ET news services

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis police have arrested Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Tandon Doss on a disorderly conduct charge, but he will not be prosecuted.
A police report says the 24-year-old Doss was “out of control” and arrested during a disturbance with another man Wednesday afternoon. The report provided no additional details on the incident. Police spokesman Sgt. Kendale Adams said he also had no details.
Adams said the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file charges.
A Jaguars spokesman said they are aware of the incident but have no comment at this time.
A telephone message seeking comment was left with Doss’ agent, Jared Fox.
Doss was a fourth-round draft pick out of Indiana by the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. Jacksonville signed him as a free agent last month.
Doss attended Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.


Former QB McNabb spends day in jail for DUI

Updated: April 17, 2014, 6:10 PM ET

Associated Press

MESA, Ariz. — Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb has been released from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year.
Records released by West Mesa Justice Court show the 37-year-old McNabb served his time Wednesday and was released Thursday morning.
McNabb was arrested Dec. 15 on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He pleaded guilty on March 27 and nine days of his sentence was suspended.
McNabb’s lawyer Stephen Benedetto didn’t immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment.
McNabb played 13 years in the NFL after being drafted with the second overall pick in 1999.
He led the Philadelphia Eagles to four straight NFC championship games from 2001 to 2004 and one Super Bowl berth before retiring after the 2011 season.Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press


Ocho Canada: Johnson joins CFL’s Alouettes

Updated: April 17, 2014, 2:07 PM ET news services

Chad Johnson is headed north of the border.
The six-time Pro Bowl NFL wide receiver signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL on Thursday, the team announced on Twitter.

IT’S OFFICIAL: @ochocinco puts pen to paper with @PoppJim. Bienvenue à #HuitCinq chez les #Alouettes! #CFL #LCF
– Montreal Alouettes (@MTLAlouettes) April 17, 2014
Johnson, who once changed his last name to Ochocinco could be hearing a lot of “O Canada” this summer.  His signing comes two days after he was with the Alouettes for the start of their three-day minicamp.
Johnson, 36, last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England. He was in training camp with the Miami Dolphins — his hometown team — the following summer, but his contract was terminated one day after he was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.
A plea deal was eventually worked out, but after a probation violation Johnson wound up going to jail for a few days anyway after a judge objected to the way he slapped his attorney on the backside in celebration.
The Alouettes have a history of not judging players by their checkered pasts, as evidenced by how they once gave former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips a chance on what became a Grey Cup-winning team in Montreal.
The CFL game is very much passing-friendly, and that can be at least partially attributed to several rule deviations from the NFL game.
Teams in the CFL have only three downs to gain 10 yards instead of four. The field is 10 yards longer from goal line to goal line, is about 10 yards wider, and the end zones are 20 yards deep — twice as long as those used in high school, college and pro play in the U.S.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Hernandez associate accused of lying to feds

Updated: April 17, 2014, 2:08 PM ET news services

BOSTON — A man has been arrested as part of a gun trafficking probe related to the murder case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Federal authorities arrested 23-year-old Oscar Hernandez Jr. on Wednesday evening in Florida on charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to a federal grand jury. The case is “related” to the athlete’s case, the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said. 
The men themselves are not related.
Oscar Hernandez is accused of lying to a grand jury investigating the transportation of guns from Florida to Massachusetts. The inquiry was focused on three guns recovered in connection with the 2013 killing of semi-pro football player and Aaron Hernandez associate Odin Lloyd.
Aaron Hernandez and two other men are charged in the June 17 shooting death of Lloyd, who was found dead about a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough home.
Oscar Hernandez was to appear in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla., at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday and then will be brought to Massachusetts later to face charges. 
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Reports: D-Jax owes Rosenhaus over $500K

Updated: April 17, 2014, 9:43 AM ET news services

An arbitrator recently ruled that DeSean Jackson owes former agent Drew Rosenhaus $516,415 in unpaid loans and fees, according to multiple media reports.
Yahoo Sports’ reported Rosenhaus originally sought $777,793 for “loans, interest, credit card charges and insurance premiums.”  Rosenhaus filed the grievance in June 2013, shortly after he was fired by Jackson, according to reports.
Jackson intends on appealing the decision that was handed down by arbitrator Roger Kaplan on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
After leaving Rosenhaus, Jackson signed with current agent, Joel Segal, who negotiated his three-year, $24 million contract ($16 million guaranteed) with the Washington Redskins that came days after his release by the Eagles.
Jackson, 27, had 82 receptions for a career-high 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns last season.


Sharper’s attorneys to question Ariz. evidence

Updated: April 17, 2014, 4:00 AM ET

Associated Press

PHOENIX — Lawyers for former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper are questioning the evidence authorities are using to justify keeping him in jail without bail on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted two women.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville began a hearing on the subject Wednesday and is expected to conclude it Thursday afternoon. It’s the latest development in several ongoing sexual assault investigations involving Sharper in Louisiana, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.
Bail in Sharper’s California rape case was set at $1 million, but he was indicted in Arizona last month on charges of sexual assault and administering dangerous drugs, so authorities in California have kept him jailed. The Arizona Constitution automatically denies bail to people charged with sexual assault if the proof against them is evident or the presumption of guilt is great.
The indictment filed last month in Arizona alleges that Sharper gave the sedative zolpidem to three women and then had “sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact” with two of them without their consent on Nov. 21 at an apartment in Tempe.
Sharper has not yet entered a plea in the case, although one of his attorneys has said Sharper will deny those allegations. He has pleaded not guilty in the California case.
Earlier this month, the judge denied a request from Sharper’s attorneys to set bail, ruling that he didn’t have jurisdiction until the former player was in Arizona. But Sharper’s attorneys said the former player is entitled to a hearing to determine whether Arizona prosecutors have enough evidence to deny him bail.
On Wednesday, Tempe police detective Kevin Mace said Sharper’s DNA was recovered from the clothing of one of the two sexual assault victims in Arizona, but none of his DNA was found during an exam of the other woman.
The detective also said a police search of the apartment turned up a shot glass with a white residue that turned out to be zolpidem, and California investigators have discovered Sharper had a prescription for that drug, which is commonly sold under the brand name Ambien.Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press


Potential No. 1 pick Clowney visits with Lions

The Detroit Lions announced Wednesday they hosted South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney for an official visit at the team’s facilities, perhaps an indication the club’s interest in trading up is indeed real.
The Lions hosted Clowney along with Pittsburgh State receiver John Brown.
Widely regarded as one of the most talented prospects of this year’s class, Clowney is a legitimate to go No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans. That means if the Lions want a realistic shot at landing him, they will have to pull off a trade to move up from No. 10 in order to get into a position to select him.
Clowney (6-5, 266 pounds) ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine back in February, but is coming off somewhat of a down season in which he generated just three sacks, leading to questions from personnel evaluators about his work ethic and commitment to the game.
As a sophomore, Clowney racked up 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for lost yardage, both South Carolina records.
If somehow the Lions were able to draft Clowney, he’d be on a defensive line that already features defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley along with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.Joined ESPN in 2010
Previously covered Jaguars and Redskins
Played college football at West Texas A&M