Antonio Brown says of lawsuits — Facts will prove my innocence

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is facing two lawsuits from an April incident in Florida, said Thursday that the claims made against him are false.

Brown allegedly yelled at security and threw items from the balcony of a South Florida apartment last spring, according to documents obtained by ESPN. Both lawsuits are for “damages in excess of $15,000, exclusive of” attorney fees and interest.

A guardian of a 2-year-old boy is suing Brown for “intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault” after items flung from the 14th floor of The Mansions at Acqualina nearly hit the child, according to Miami-Dade County court filings. The child was with his grandfather near the pool area of the complex when large items — including two vases, an ottoman and other pieces of furniture — fell close to them, according to the filings, which say the child has experienced anxiety and trouble sleeping since.

The owner of the multimillion-dollar condo Brown leased also has filed a case against Brown for damages and breaching the apartment agreement.

“It has now been made public that two lawsuits containing false claims have been filed against me,” Brown said. “The facts will soon come out that prove my innocence. My focus will remain on football and I will not let the cases serve as a distraction.”

“We are aware of and will continue to monitor the civil suits” against Brown, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said at his Tuesday news conference that he has no knowledge of Brown’s situation. The organization will not be commenting on the matter, according to a spokesperson.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN the league is closely monitoring the situation.

Brown’s attorney, Darren Heitner, who has filed a notice of appearance and a motion for extension on the case, declined to comment.

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Mychal Kendricks of Seattle Seahawks trying to prove NFL doesn’t have right to suspend him indefinitely

Even though the NFL has indefinitely suspended Mychal Kendricks for insider trading, it doesn’t mean that the Seattle Seahawks linebacker is out indefinitely.

Kendricks, the NFLPA and lawyers still are battling to prove that the NFL does not have the right to suspend him “indefinitely,” league sources tell ESPN.

An indefinite suspension is the most excessive penalty handed out under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and it is odd that the league allowed Kendricks to play three weeks before issuing its ruling this past week.

Kendricks is trying to have a specific number of games assigned to his suspension — four or five or however many it is — that would allow him to return this season and play until he receives his sentence this winter, according to sources.

To that end, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has spoken to commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf of his suspended linebacker, who is thought to be the first NFL player ever suspended for a white-collar crime.

Kendricks has traveled to NFL offices twice within the last month to meet with league officials and state his case, yet Goodell has not met with him. Goodell even told the Seahawks when they called to defend Kendricks that he didn’t have all the information on the situation, yet the linebacker has been handed the most severe penalty under the personal conduct policy.

Kendricks pleaded guilty to insider trading, will be sentenced in January, but also paid back any money that he made and publicly apologized when he was charged in August, saying “I wholeheartedly regret my actions.”

Kendricks recorded 15 tackles and a pair of sacks over his three games with the Sewahawks, who signed him to a one-year deal worth $743,529 — the prorated amount of a $790,000 minimum salary. Kendricks, who did not receive a signing bonus, had been filling in for the injured K.J. Wright at weakside linebacker.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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Rested and fresh, Ezekiel Elliott ready to prove he’s NFL’s ‘best back – Dallas Cowboys Blog

FRISCO, Texas – If you ask just about anybody associated with the Dallas Cowboys, they see a difference in Ezekiel Elliott.

“Just how hard he was running, how far he was running every play, the amount of reps he was taking, I mean just everything was kicked up a notch,” Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin said. “I think he’s gotten himself in very good shape and is ready to take a lot of the load there.”

Elliott senses a difference, too.

“I think it’s just my focus,” he said. “I’m definitely going into this year with a chip on my shoulder and I think I have a lot to prove. I was more focused and ready to go out there and prove what I can do on the field.”

Entering last season, Elliott was fighting a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Days before the season opener against the New York Giants, he was in a Sherman, Texas, courthouse and was granted a stay that allowed him to play.

He played the first eight games of the season before begrudgingly accepting the penalty.

Asked if he has thought about where he was a year ago at this time in trying to get ready for Week 1, Elliott said, “No, that’s behind me.”

The will-he-play or won’t-he-play talk was almost a daily saga. Later in the season, he played without practicing the entire week. From the outside, it appeared to be a drag on Elliott, but he still managed to run for 983 yards in 10 games.

“I would never say last year I wasn’t engaged with the game,” Elliott said. “I did a great job of checking my s— at the door. It is a lot more stress-free though, I would say that.”

But he acknowledged that chip he will have on his shoulder stems from not playing a full season in 2017 and “just not performing the way I believe I could have.”

After leading the NFL in rushing in 2016 with 1,631 yards, Elliott’s name was prominent when people rattled off the league’s best runners. While he still remains in the conversation, the field is a little more crowded with Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt and even Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft by the New York Giants.

“I want to prove I’m the best back in the game,” Elliott said. “That’s what my focus this offseason was.”

Wasn’t he already there?

Running backs coach Gary Brown has been with Elliott more than anybody with the organization since the Cowboys took him with the fourth pick in the 2016 draft.

“As athletes, we need to go out and be true to ourselves first and prove we belong on that elite level,” Brown said. “Being that he didn’t win the rushing title, he didn’t do the things, achieve the goals that he wanted to that he set for himself, he has a reason to go out and prove to himself again that he is worthy of being in that conversation.”’

The Cowboys have made sure to preserve Elliott leading into Sunday’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers. For the first time in his career he did not get a carry in the preseason. They know their success will hinge on what Elliott can do.

“He’s been working really hard to get ready,” Brown said. “He’s been doing extra running. He’s been taking more carries then he ever has in practice. So we all believe he’s ready to go.”

The Cowboys have questions in the passing game without Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. They will go with a group of receivers and tight ends and hope the production can match what Bryant and Witten did for years. At least early in the season, they have questions on the offensive line. It’s not clear when – or if – Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick will play as he deals with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. His replacement, Joe Looney, has 13 career starts, including three with the Cowboys. None has come at center. They will start a rookie at left guard in Connor Williams, a second-round pick.

“We’ve faced eight-, nine-, 10-man fronts every week since I got here. I don’t know how many more guys they can throw in the box,” Elliott said. “I mean just go back and watch the film. Go back and watch the games. Guys don’t play two-high, they play single-high. They bring an extra safety in the box and if they don’t bring an extra safety in the box, then we punish them … I mean yeah there’s going to be more focus, I believe, on me, but I mean I just don’t understand how you could say we’re going to throw more guys in the box. There’s only 11 guys on the field and they’re already putting as many as they can in there. So I mean, it’ll be our 11 vs. theirs.”

The Cowboys believe Elliott can make the passing game better because of the attention he receives. They believe he can help the offensive line because he can make up for the misses.

In his first two seasons, Elliott has averaged nearly 25 touches a game, running and receiving. That number could go up in 2018 as the Cowboys look to exploit the chip on his shoulder.

“I’m young. Got fresh legs. I’m going to grind it out,” Elliott said. “There’s no pacing. Every week in the NFL matters. If they want to give it to me 30, 35 times a game, I’ll take that.”

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Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott out to prove he’s the best back in the game

FRISCO, Texas — As he entered the 2017 season, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was fighting in court to remain on the field as a six-game suspension loomed over his head. As he enters the 2018 season, Elliott is looking at a big goal.

“I want to prove I’m the best back in the game,” Elliott said Wednesday, five days before the Cowboys take on the Carolina Panthers. “That’s what my focus this offseason was on.”

Days before the 2017 season opened against the New York Giants, Elliott was granted a stay by a Texas court, which allowed him to play after the NFL issued a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He went through several court battles to remain eligible before eventually accepting the penalty.

He said he is entering this season with a chip on his shoulder.

The “chip on my shoulder is not having a full year last year just not performing the way I believe I could have,” Elliott said.

Asked if he thinks about where he was a year ago at this time, Elliott said, “No, that’s behind me.”

Elliott finished with 983 yards rushing in 10 games last season after leading the NFL with 1,631 yards as a rookie in 2016.

Elliott enters the regular season for the first time not having had a carry in the Cowboys’ four preseason games. In his first two seasons, he saw limited action in the third preseason game, but coach Jason Garrett opted to hold him out of the preseason this year.

“When you talk about the risk/reward of those guys at that position when they get to a certain time in their career, I think it’s best to just rest them,” Garrett said. “He worked very hard in practice. We just try to make it as gamelike as possible. Like with everybody in Week 1, you haven’t played a real live game in six or seven months. Everybody is going to have to get acclimated and get used to it.”

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Receiver Corey Coleman joins Buffalo Bills, eager to prove himself

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — On the eve of his first practice with the Buffalo Bills since being acquired in a trade Sunday from the Cleveland Browns, wide receiver Corey Coleman posted a photo to his Instagram story of his new practice jersey on the floor of the locker room.

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Eli Manning eager to prove new New York Giants regime right as starting QB

Two months ago, Eli Manning was on the sideline watching Geno Smith start against the Oakland Raiders with his future in doubt. Now, with a new coach and general manager, he’s been told by the New York Giants that they want him as their starter moving forward — even if they draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick.

Manning is willing to help the next Giants quarterback — he wouldn’t exactly describe his role as being a mentor — and has every intention to finish his career with the only professional team for which he has played. But he still feels he has something to prove after receiving the ultimate vote of confidence from the team’s brass over the past few weeks.

“Excited,” Manning said Friday in Bloomington, Minnesota. “Excited to get back to work and knowing that they have faith in me that I can go out there and win games and play at a high level.

“I want to go prove them right. I want to go out there and work my tail off to get to playing at a high level.”

Manning is coming off one of his worst seasons since his rookie year. He threw just 19 touchdowns passes and had 18 turnovers as the Giants finished 3-13.

With Manning being 37 years old and on the downside of his career, there is a strong possibility the Giants select a quarterback at the top of the draft. Manning would be fine with that. The two-time Super Bowl winner insists he isn’t going to give a young quarterback the cold shoulder. He already spent 2017 working seamlessly alongside third-round pick Davis Webb.

“Every year, you’ve got backup quarterbacks and they’re usually going to be younger than you,” Manning said. “I’m used to that, and it’s always about helping the other guys in the room and having great communication, great conversations. That won’t be a big deal, just always want to help the younger guys learn as quickly as possible and when they’re in there, plan to play at a high level.”

But mentor? That isn’t exactly how he would view the situation.

“It’s not your job to mentor somebody, but I wouldn’t look at it as that role,” Manning said. “I would look at it as it’s my job to prepare and compete and be ready to play each and every game. In that process, you’re always talking football, helping out the other guys in the room, whether it’s Davis Webb this year or Geno or guys over the years. You always have back and forth. You’re always helping them out. Nothing changes.”

Manning will have to learn a new offense under coach Pat Shurmur. He’s already started looking at Minnesota’s offense this season to learn their schemes and terminology.

Manning sees a good mix of influences in Shurmur’s offense — from Andy Reid’s West Coast scheme to Chip Kelly’s spread attack to Norv Turner’s vertical approach.

Manning is optimistic, and believes there is no reason the Giants can’t be successful this season with new general manager Dave Gettleman rebuilding the roster, Shurmur as coach and him at quarterback.

“Knowing how my body feels,” Manning said, “and how I can still make throws — my body feels good and can still run around and do everything I have to do — I think I don’t have any indication it is going to slow down or all of a sudden have a big dropoff.”

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin contributed to this report.

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