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Randy Fichtner: Mason Rudolph’s been everything we’ve asked

The Steelers wrapped up minicamp on Thursday, but the team’s rookies will be sticking around for a little more work before breaking the middle of next week.

That means a little more time for third-round pick Mason Rudolph to work with the team’s coaches, including offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, ahead of training camp. To this point, Fichtner has liked what he’s seen from the rookie.

The world’s most famous Double-A hitter hopped up the dugout steps, took a swig of water, then moved in front of the waiting scrum of reporters.

It has been almost two years since the Mets signed Tim Tebow, and the novelty hasn’t worn off. The Trenton Thunder were near a sellout for Friday’s game, and tickets for Saturday and Sunday’s games are starting to look scarce. And it isn’t because people want to see Tebow’s teammates on the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

Three of the Bucs’ defensive linemen — Vinny Curry and Beau Allen last year in Philadelphia and Pierre-Paul with the Giants — have Super Bowl rings. Despite being in his ninth season, McCoy is learning something from his new teammates.

Three of them won it, so they know what it takes, McCoy said. They’ve been where I want to go, so they’re teaching me.

On paper, the Bucs got better this offseason. That means nothing, McCoy said, as the Bucs seek to have a player with double-digit sacks since 2005.

That help means nothing. There’s a lot of work to be done, McCoy said. People think well we brought JPP in; we brought this guy and that guy in; there’s no reason he shouldn’t get double digits [in sacks]. This is the NFL. This is the best of the best. The game evolves every year.

Last Friday, he was having a catch with Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium and now he is facing a four-game suspension.

I am very sorry — I don’t know what happened, Edelman said in a statement via his Instagram story. I’ve taken many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened.

Greg Hardy Signed by UFC After Knockout Win over Austen Lane

UFC President Dana White announced the MMA promotion is signing former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy to a contract following his knockout victory over Austen Lane during Week 1 of the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.

MMAFighting.com passed along the news after Hardy’s win 57 seconds into the first round.

Former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak — the Union County Democrat who spent years leading the fight for sports betting here — returned to the Statehouse to see the measure pass.

I’m speechless, said a smiling Lesniak, who retired from the Senate in January. 

NJ Advance Media staff writers Matt Arco and Samantha Marcus contributed to this report.

Drazin told NJ Advance Media Thursday night he had not yet received the letter.

That meant Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport had to scuttle plans to open its sports betting operation without state regulation at the end of last month.

But that language is now gone, according to the sources, who asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The Texans are facing a second lawsuit from former cheerleaders for the team. (How long until owner Bob McNair makes a comment about this for which he apologizes and then later says he regrets apologizing for?)

Don’t look now, but Jaguars QB Blake Bortles could be improving.

Even with the Colts adopting a more fast-paced offense, the team will still be relying on deep throws to WR T.Y. Hilton.

The Titans, who per the team’s website have never had a player kneel during the national anthem, expect no issues with the league’s new policy.

Plenty of Chiefs players have been caught up in the Fortnite frenzy.

DeMarcus Ware working with DeMarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Ware spent last week working with the Broncos’ pass rushers. He’s spending this week working with the Cowboys’ pass rushers.

It’s probably a good thing those are the only two teams Ware played for in his 12 seasons.

Sanders believes Bryant will work hard this season because he wants to prove the Cowboys made a mistake by cutting him.

I think that Dez is still going to get that ball, and now he has something to prove. He wants to prove the world that you guys made a mistake. You guys categorized me wrongly. I know that he has a multitude left in the tank, Sanders said.

Poling had 373 tackles, 18 sacks, and 7 interceptions over four seasons at Ohio University while Sanders made 25-of-35 field goals and 111-of-112 extra points at New Mexico. The only other kicker in Miami is undrafted free agent acquisition Greg Joseph, so the two rookies will be competing for the job over the summer.

The Dolphins also signed cornerback Bobby McCain to an extension on Friday, which is the first day they were able to make use of $17 million in cap space provided by Ndamukong Suh’s post-June 1 release.

Last year, the Washington Redskins lost an expected 74 points because of their run game, the worst mark by any team in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference. While running back Chris Thompson can contribute as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, Samaje Perine averaged just 3.4 yards per attempt and Robert Kelley average just 3.1 yards per attempt.

This is where rookie second-round pick Derrius Guice comes into play. Thompson can continue his role as a pass-catcher, while the rookie can command a bulk of the carries out of the backfield as a bell-cow-type back, which he did at LSU when healthy.

Jake Bauers smashes his first career homer, a 2-run dinger to right field.

The Cardinals signed first-round draft pick (19th overall) Nolan Gorman, of Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix. After Gorman, 18, signed at Busch Stadium, he worked out with the club and took batting practice. The left-handed hitting third baseman will forgo the University of Arizona to play at Johnson City, the Cardinals’ rookie level affiliate in the Appalachian League.

Padres: C Austin Hedges (right elbow tendinitis) has been out since May 1. He took batting practice Monday at Class A Lake Elsinore, where he will begin his rehab assignment Tuesday.

With what I’ve been doing, either starting or coming into the game in the second inning, my job is to go as deep into the game as possible, he said. So that’s kind of what I did. To be able to go six innings was really big for me, especially the way things have been going.

Yarbrough (5-2) gave up four runs on seven hits while striking out three in his first start since May 14.

Gaviglio (2-2) gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.

Rays Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb torn ligament) is hopeful of returning June 22 for a series against the New York Yankees. He faced two minor leaguers in a simulated game and will join Class A Charlotte on Tuesday.

We pick each other up, Reyes said.

Pitching in place of injured Noah Syndergaard again, Lugo (2-1) allowed only two singles and lowered his ERA to 1.77 in two starts and 21 relief appearances this season. He equaled his career high of eight strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk against a Yankees lineup minus slugger Aaron Judge.

Saints sign Jay Bromley

Veteran defensive tackle Jay Bromley landed a job this weekend.

Bromley took part in the Saints’ rookie minicamp on a tryout basis and multiple reports on Monday have him signing a contract with the team.

Bromley was a third-round pick by the Giants in 2014 and spent the last four years with the team. He played in all 16 games last season and finished the year with 21 tackles and a sack. He played in 47 of 48 games over the last three seasons, but only made four starts during his time in Jersey.

Frazier proved it on Saturday night.

I felt really comfortable, he said. “Obviously, I haven’t played in a few days, so I had to make sure I was really locked in. But that wasn’t a problem. I was just happy to be out there. It was a really good experience.”

Hall, 34, currently is a free agent. He played only eight games the past two seasons and 22 the past four as he battled injuries.

He played 171 games in 15 seasons with Washington, Oakland and Atlanta.

It feels weird to say this about a team that has won just a single game over the course of the last two seasons, but this is an exciting time to be a Cleveland Browns fan.

Why? Because one of the most radical and highly publicized rebuilds in NFL history is basically complete. They’ve got their supposed franchise quarterback (Baker Mayfield), their new potential long-term left tackle (Austin Corbett), their new shutdown corner (Denzel Ward) and their new elite pass-rusher (Myles Garrett). They’ve shored up the offensive line (Kevin Zeitler, JC Tretter, Joel Bitonio, Shon Coleman, Chris Hubbard), and they’ve added reliable veterans on both sides of the ball (Jarvis Landry, Jamie Collins).

The core is in place now. All it took was 25 picks in the first three rounds of the last five drafts. The Browns are no longer flush with future draft capital, and they won’t have as much cap space in future offseasons. The experiment is over, and now we get our first look at the results. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson writing memoir “Fearless” due out in August

Doug Pederson can add “author” to his resume right behind “Super Bowl winning head coach.”

The former NFL quarterback and head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles is writing a memoir chronicling his career as a backup quarterback, assistant coach and the Eagles’ journey to their first Super Bowl title in February.

It’s unclear whether this is the end of it, or whether the NFL will conduct its own investigation. In theory, Brandon could end up seeking employment with another NFL team. It would make sense for the league to come to its own conclusion as to whether Brandon did what he was accused of doing, and whether he was indeed deceitful when faced with the facts.

For many employers, lack of truthfulness in connection with an internal investigation provides independent grounds for termination, regardless of whether the underlying allegations can be substantiated.

“I’m able to do a lot of things that I couldn’t do back in January, February,” Freeman said, via Vaughn McClure. “Running, cutting, sprinting — getting a little stronger. . . . Making hard cuts; sprinting a little faster. The progress is getting better and better each day. So I’m just going along with the program.”

Freeman didn’t have surgery to correct the damage, and said he just wanted to “continue to get better” leading up to training camp and the regular season.

“I just want to take it one day at a time,” he said. “I had a performance I didn’t like [last] season. My mindset is I can never let that happen again. With that being said, just being 100 percent healthy is everything because I want to be free. I want to be full-go all the time. I don’t want to be slowing down because of no nagging injury or I’m injured trying to go and I know I can’t go.”

Grading Jets’ 2018 NFL Draft picks

Namath has yet to speak with Darnold, and said he won’t offer the kid advice unless he asks. And if Darnold does ask, what would Namath tell him?

It’s not a quick answer, Namath said. One of the things that saved me in my life was learning to ignore any of the hype or stuff or publicity. I would just stay away from the critiquing from the outside world and focus on his work.

There is no word yet on how Rodgers feels about head coach Mike McCarthy’s recent praise of new backup DeShone Kizer, but that’s the kind of talk that might prompt Big Ben to fake retirement or send Brady off to wallow in discontentment before a captive audience at the Gordon Gekko Institute for ’80s Style Moneygrubbing.

And then there’s Baltimore, where new quarterback Lamar Jackson revealed that Joe Flacco has not spoken to him since the draft, and John Harbaugh has talked about getting Jackson on the field during the Ravens rookie camp, an arrangement Flacco bristled against in the past.

Flacco isn’t one to send verbal messages of dissatisfaction, because Flacco’s idea of a juicy quote is to read off his license plate number to the teller at a DMV. Also, Flacco has real reason to worry about his job security, unlike his fellow sad-emoji quarterbacks, so he can’t afford any Roethlisberger-style talk-radio venting. But a two-minute phone conversation would have forestalled a lot of unnecessary drama, assuming Flacco thinks such drama is unnecessary.

Engram struggled to contain his excitement over the offense’s potential with himself, Beckham, Barkley, and Shepard all on the field at the same time this upcoming season.

It has a lot of potential, Engram said Tuesday during the BTIG Charity Day. We have to put the work in, though. We have to produce. We have to get it done. We’ll have a lot of talent on the field, we just have to put it together.

Last season, the Giants offense muddled through a 3-13 season that saw the offense average just 96.8 yards per game.

The lack of a viable running game combined with a season-ending ankle injury suffered by Beckham in a Week 4 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers put plenty of added pressure on Engram as a rookie.

After catching 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns last season, Engram is looking forward to a much more balanced offensive attack, perhaps even one that funnels through Barkley and the running game as a focal point.