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Mariota bulks up with weights, better diet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bulked-up Marcus Mariota addressed the media when the team returned to the Titans’ facility for the first day of offseason workouts on Monday.

Mariota simply said ‘yes’ when asked if he had put on 5-10 pounds, but he did go into detail about his specific purpose for adding the weight.

“I’m a little bit heavier,” Mariota said. “When it comes down to it, being able to absorb the hits and be healthy for a full year, those things haven’t happened yet. I am doing my best to be on the front end of it and allow myself to be able to play all 16.”

Having missed a total of eight games over his career, Mariota needs to show that he can be available to the Titans for a full season if he plans on signing a lucrative contract extension. Mariota was not available for the season finale against the Colts due to a nerve injury, cracked vertebrae and torn plantar fascia. He believes adding weight will help minimize the risk that he encounters when taking hits in the pocket or when he takes off and runs.

A combination of weight training and diet went into Mariota’s weight gain. He said he consumed a “good amount of calories” to be able to work out hard and not feel sluggish. Mariota doesn’t have a specific weight that he is looking to reach. He said he’ll continue to add weight and find a “happy medium” where he feels bigger and stronger but doesn’t lose any athleticism. Mariota added that he won’t have an individual development program for OTAs and doesn’t have any limitations. He plans to be smart and communicate about anything that doesn’t feel right.

Head coach Mike Vrabel also had an influence on the decision to pack pounds onto Mariota’s frame.

“Marcus looks good…I am looking for a strong player. This is a big league,” Vrabel said. “I remember playing against John Elway, Dan Marino, and these quarterbacks that are big men. I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can and he’s doing everything he can to stay healthy and durable and help us on the field.”



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No evidence, no suspension for Chiefs’ Hill

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill will rejoin the team at training camp after the NFL determined that he will not be disciplined under the league’s personal conduct policy following an investigation into allegations of child abuse.

The NFL said in a statement Friday that it could not determine whether Hill, 25, violated the personal conduct policy and will not suspend him.

“Based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy,” the NFL said in a statement Friday. “Accordingly, he may attend Kansas City’s training camp and participate in all club activities. He has been and will continue to be subject to conditions set forth by the District Court, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell, and the Chiefs, which include clinical evaluation and therapeutic intervention.”

Following the NFL’s announcement, the Chiefs said in a statement that “it is appropriate for Tyreek to return to the team at the start of training camp,” which begins July 27 at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

“The club fully supports the conditions for return laid out by the league and will continue to monitor any new developments in the case,” the Chiefs said. “We are glad to welcome Tyreek back to the team and look forward to the start of training camp next week.”

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he has been able to throw with Hill “a couple of times,” which included a Friday session.

“It’s going to be awesome to welcome him back and bring him back with the guys and get to work,” Mahomes said. “I’m happy that we get to welcome him back and [Hill] will be there at training camp and we can build that chemistry for the season.”

Hill released a statement via Twitter, in which he thanked the league, the National Football League Players Association and the Chiefs, among others, while vowing to continue to work hard as a teammate and a father.

The league left open the possibility of revisiting Hill’s case should further information come out through police.

Earlier this month, Kansas City station 610 KCSP aired the full audio recording of an argument between Hill and his ex-fiancée, Crystal Espinal, in which the wide receiver denied committing assault and battery against Espinal — a charge he pleaded guilty to in August 2015.

During the argument, Espinal accused Hill of abusing the couple’s 3-year-old son, who had suffered a broken arm. The boy’s injury led to an investigation into possible child abuse, but Hill was not charged with a crime, as the district attorney’s office announced in April that it could not determine how the injuries were inflicted.

The NFL said it was not given access to information in the court proceedings.

“Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child’s injuries,” the league said.

A partial recording of Hill and Espinal’s argument was broadcast in April by television station KCTV5 and led to the wide receiver being barred from the Chiefs’ facility.

Hill had an eight-hour meeting with NFL investigators on June 26 to discuss the case involving his son. A league source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano earlier this month that NFL investigators had heard the full recording and were factoring it into their discussions on potential discipline for Hill.

“Throughout this investigation, the NFL’s primary concern has been the well-being of the child,” the league said Friday. “Our understanding is that the child is safe and that the child’s ongoing care is being directed and monitored by the Johnson County District Court and the Johnson County Department for Children and Families.”

The Kansas Department of Children and Families has been looking into possible child abuse, battery or neglect.



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Eagles agree to terms to re-sign RB Sproles

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PHILADELPHIA — Darren Sproles just can’t quit football, and the Philadelphia Eagles just can’t quit Sproles.

The Eagles agreed to terms with the 36-year-old running back on a one-year contract Friday. He’ll join a loaded backfield that includes Jordan Howard, rookie Miles Sanders and Corey Clement.

Sproles was supposed to retire after the 2017 season but spent a good portion of the year on injured reserve with a torn ACL and didn’t want his distinguished career to end on that note. Injury hit Sproles last season as well, as he missed 10 games with a hamstring injury. So he’s coming back to try to finish things the right way.

There will be plenty of competition for snaps with Howard and Sanders added to the group this offseason. Sproles can still find a niche as a third-down/change-up back and as a return man on special teams.

Sproles ranks sixth all-time in all-purpose yards (19,520). He is just 162 yards behind Tim Brown for fifth place.

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Bills S Bush retires days before training camp

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills have signed safety Kurt Coleman to replace Rafael Bush after Bush announced his retirement less than a week before the start of training camp.

The Bills announced the moves Friday in placing Bush on the reserve/retired list. Bush had seven starts in 15 games during his only season with Buffalo last year. He had one year left on the two-year contract he signed with the Bills in March 2018.

Bush, 32, spent five seasons in New Orleans and had 25 starts in 91 career games.

Coleman, 31, has nine seasons of NFL experience and had nine starts in 16 games with New Orleans last year. He also spent three seasons with Carolina, where his tenure overlapped with Bills coach Sean McDermott, who served as Panthers defensive coordinator.

Coleman has 21 interceptions and 83 starts in 132 career games. He played his first four seasons in Philadelphia and one year in Kansas City.

Buffalo opens training camp in suburban Rochester, New York, on Thursday.

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