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As training camps across the NFL get underway, XN Sports will report the top headlines of each day. (Here are training camp previews for each division)
Wednesday already featured no shortage of intrigue and optimism, between injuries and holdouts, as well as late offseason signings.
Here are the top five headlines for Thursday:
Ray Rice suspended two games
Finally, the NFL has made a decision on the Ravens running back, suspending Rice for the first two games of the season. This move was highly anticipated, and the Ravens have adequately prepared for this.
Under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, the Ravens are expected to use more of a running back by committee, with Bernard Pierce likely assuming the biggest role. In addition, veteran Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro could see action.
Two games isn’t much, but Rice finds himself in a prove it type of year.
Sidney Rice hangs it up
Another Rice in the news, this time Sidney, has decided to retire from the NFL at the age of 27 due to his history of concussions. Rice has also battled knee injuries throughout his time with Seattle.
The Seahawks cut Rice in the offseason then re-signed him later on. But more importantly, this has ramifications for the team’s wide receiver battles. Percy Harvin, Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin have a lock on the top three spots, but now there’s an opportunity for rookie speedster Paul Richardson.
Justin Blackmon arrested, again
The embattled Blackmon made the headlines, again for the wrong reason. Blackmon, who was already holding an indefinite suspension, was arrested for possession of marijuana at a traffic stop in Oklahoma.
There was already speculation Blackmon’s career in Jacksonville was over, given the fact the team drafted Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of May’s draft. This is Blackmon’s third suspension since 2010, and doesn’t bode well for his NFL future.
Concern over first-round pick
The Giants nabbed Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round to add a new element to their revamped offense. But now there’s concern about the wide receiver’s hamstring in New York.
Beckham missed part of spring practices due to the injury and tweaked it again on Wednesday. Giants GM Jerry Reese admitted there’s a concern over his health. So for those who have high hopes for Beckham in Year 1, those expectations may need be tempered.
Holdout? What holdout?
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles threatened to hold out of training camp if the organization didn’t issue him a new deal, and the team wasted no time in locking him down. The Chiefs handed Charles a contract extension (and raise) through 2017, making Charles the second-highest paid back behind only Adrian Peterson.
Charles joked that he was never going to actually hold out. Yeah. Right. Making $8.3 million this season instead of $3.9 million, Charles is now getting paid in the tier he deserves to be.
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