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Minnesota Vikings bring back DT Sheldon Richardson

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The Minnesota Vikings have brought back defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, the team announced Tuesday.

Richardson spent the 2018 season in Minnesota and totaled 47 pressures and five sacks during his tenure. Although the Vikings brought in Dalvin Tomlinson to occupy the 3-technique spot opposite nose tackle Michael Pierce, Richardson’s physical skills provide a boost for Minnesota’s interior pass rush.

The former first-round pick signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Cleveland Browns following his one season in Minnesota. Richardson played two seasons in Cleveland before he was released earlier this offseason. He started 31 games with the Browns and registered 4.5 sacks during the 2020 season.

The Browns released Richardson in April in a move that created $11 million in salary-cap space.

Richardson, 30, was drafted 13th overall by the New York Jets in 2013 and was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year that season. He earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2014 when he set a career best with eight sacks and played four seasons in all with the franchise before he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2017.

The eight-year veteran has 31 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 460 tackles in his career.

Information from ESPN’s Jake Trotter was used in this report.

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Now in ‘place I felt like I could call home,’ optimistic Melvin Ingram energized with Pittsburgh Steelers

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PITTSBURGH — At 32 years old with nine NFL seasons under his belt, outside linebacker Melvin Ingram is a seasoned veteran.

But entering his next chapter with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ingram feels like he’s just getting started.

“I feel 18,” Ingram said. “I’m a kid. I’ve still got a lot left in me. I love football and my body feels great.

“Had an injury last year, but that’s a part of the game. It’s a physical sport. Right now I’m 100, 200 percent healthy. I feel amazing.”

Following a lingering knee injury that kept him sidelined for more than half the 2020 season, Ingram became a free agent when the Los Angeles Chargers let his four-year, $64-million deal expire. He put together his best season in 2017 with 10.5 sacks and a defensive touchdown and finished his Chargers career with 49 sacks, 7 fumble recoveries, 360 combined tackles and 108 quarterback hits.

“That has no motivation for me,” Ingram said of his ending in Los Angeles. “It’s a business. I understand the business. I’m not a person that gets salty about it. They changed my life. Nine years ago, they changed my life. 10 years ago, they changed my life. That’s no motivation for me. Me, waking up and doing my work every day is all the motivation. I’ve got two kids and a family. My family, my girl, my kids, that’s what motivates me.”

After an offseason rehabilitating his knee, working out and visiting teams, Ingram opted to sign a one-year, prove-it deal with the Steelers — an organization that prides itself on a strong pass rush and has led the league in sacks the last four seasons.

“I just felt like the program, the coaches, the team, everybody,” Ingram said. “It was a place I felt like I could call home, a place I can come in and fit in. Everything was amazing here, down to the coaches, the players, the city, just how they do everything. They welcomed me with open arms.”

To mark his new start with the Steelers, Ingram, a three-time Pro Bowler, chose a new jersey number, donning No. 8.

“This is a new place for me,” Ingram said. “New place, new start. Still the same me though. First time I ever played football, my number was 44. 4 + 4 is 8, and Kobe (Bryant) is one of my favorite athletes. Kobe year.”

Ingram said the Steelers didn’t discuss their specific plans for his role on the defense, but defensive coordinator Keith Butler said he knew the outside linebackers needed the depth for a three-man rotation similar to the one used last year with T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith and Bud Dupree.

Ingram was listed as Highsmith’s backup at right outside linebacker in the Steelers’ initial depth chart released Saturday.

“You always want to have three guys that can play,” Butler said. “We did last year. Alex came in and did a good job filling that role when Bud was here. So, we played all three of them quite a bit. We think we’ve got three now that are gonna be capable of playing for us. So, we can rest each other.

“It’s very difficult to sit two outside linebackers out and let them play the entire game when they’re wrestling with guys that weight 300 pounds. You ever wrestled a 300-pounder? Those suckers are strong. You get tired doing that, you know what I mean?”

Ingram has primarily played opposite of Highsmith during team periods in the opening days of the Steelers’ training camp, while Watt participates only in individual drills. Watt got to know Ingram through playing together in the Pro Bowl and through his brother Derek during the fullback’s stint with the Chargers.

“He’s just a player that has a lot of burst off the line of scrimmage,” Watt said of Ingram. “He’s got a phenomenal spin move and just seeing him in person, he is a colorful guy and I am excited to work with him.”

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Cleveland Browns unveil retro uniforms honoring 75th anniversary

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The Cleveland Browns have announced they will be wearing retro uniforms this season to celebrate their 75th anniversary season.

The uniform honors Cleveland’s inaugural 1946 season in the All-American Football Conference. The uniform will feature white jerseys with brown numbers and an orange shadow-box with white pants. The helmets will numbers on the sides and gray facemasks.

“The Browns are one of those iconic franchises in all sports, not just the NFL,” Browns executive vice president JW Johnson said in a team release. “We wanted to give a nod to the past and the players that have paved the way for the team we have here today.”

In those uniforms, the Browns were a dominant franchise. They won the first four AAFC titles (1946-49) before the league dissolved and the Browns joined the NFL where they won three of the next six NFL championships (1950-55). The current version of the Browns was a wild card team last season and is seeking to reach the playoffs in consecutive years since going to the postseason five years in a row from 1985-1989.

It was not announced in which games the Browns will wear this look.



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Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers completes usual offseason training cycle

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Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been with the Green Bay Packers this offseason, but his ongoing stalemate with the franchise hasn’t changed how he prepares for the season.

As he has done for most of the past decade, the reigning NFL MVP went through his normal offseason training regimen with Proactive Sports Performance, a program that includes field work, a weight room, yoga and sand dunes work.

According to the company, the routine lasts around six to seven weeks for NFL athletes and concluded Saturday as players head off to training camp.

While it remains unknown if Green Bay’s franchise quarterback will be in attendance when the Packers open camp Wednesday, a Proactive Sports Performance representative said Rodgers is “working and he’s ready” for football.

In April, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Rodgers does not want to return to the team because of issues he has with management. Despite his stance, the Packers have remained adamant that they will not trade the three-time MVP and offered a record-breaking extension to the 37-year-old. Sources told Schefter this week that Rodgers turned down a two-year extension this offseason that would have tied Rodgers to the Packers for five more seasons and made him the highest-paid quarterback and player in football.

Instead, Rodgers has continued to stay away from the team and missed voluntary OTAs for the first time in his career earlier this summer.

Rodgers has otherwise stayed busy this offseason, including appearing as a guest host on “Jeopardy!”, vacationing in Hawaii and participating in a made-for-TV exhibition golf event alongside Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau.

Information from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was used in this report.

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