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Marcus Peters of Los Angeles Rams tells Saints’ Sean Payton ‘keep talking’


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A rematch with the New Orleans Saints can’t come soon enough for Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters.

On Thursday, Peters was asked about Saints coach Sean Payton’s postgame comment that the Saints got the matchup they wanted when Drew Brees threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas, whom Peters was covering. The play helped seal the Saints’ win, as the Rams suffered their first loss of the season, 45-35, last Sunday.

“They were going to travel Marcus to him, and that was fine by us,” Payton said after the game. “We thought we really liked that matchup — a lot.”

After practice Thursday, Peters shared his own thoughts.

“Tell Sean Payton to keep talking that s—. We going to see him soon, you feel me?” Peters said. “Because I like what he was saying on the sidelines too. So tell him to keep talking that s—. I hope he see me soon, you feel me? Then we going to have a good li’l, nice li’l bowl of gumbo together.”

Thomas had a career day against the Rams and set a new franchise record for most receiving yards in a single game with 211.

Thomas caught 12 of 15 passes that he was targeted on.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Peters was the nearest defender on eight targets against the Saints, all of which were to Thomas. Thomas caught six of the eight targets for 127 yards and a touchdown.

After the game, Peters said he “just got beat” on the 72-yard play, which came on third-and-7 with 3:52 left, and that he was not pleased with his performances the last couple of weeks.

“Got up there in press, came back, he just beat me off the line,” Peters said. “Looked back and tried to make a play on the ball. S— happens like that in football.”



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New York Jets coach Todd Bowles criticizes Terrelle Pryor for talking to reporters about injuries


RICHMOND, Va. — New York Jets coach Todd Bowles, who rarely criticizes players publicly, slammed wide receiver Terrelle Pryor on Tuesday for talking to reporters about recent injuries.

“Terrelle doesn’t need to be descriptive. I feel that he should keep his mouth shut and leave the injuries to me,” Bowles said after a joint practice with the Washington Redskins.

Bowles said that he already talked to Pryor about his comments. The coach, tight-lipped when it comes to injuries, doesn’t want his players discussing them with the media.

Pryor was likely fined by the team. Bowles wouldn’t confirm or deny a fine.

“We had a conversation,” Bowles said. “We’ll only discuss our in-house things in-house.”

On Monday, Pryor — unsolicited — revealed that a fractured ankle was the reason he needed surgery in May. Initially, it was reported as a routine clean-up following surgery for a ligament repair last November. He called it a “miracle” that he’s able to practice only three months after the procedure.

Pryor also announced to reporters that he’s dealing with a minor hip injury and won’t play Thursday night against the Redskins.

The veteran wide receiver, who signed a one-year, $4 million contract in March, heard it from everyone on Tuesday. His former teammates barked at him throughout a 7-on-7 drill. Safety D.J. Swearinger yelled the word “garbage” at Pryor after he dropped a would-be touchdown.

The entire Washington defense was yelling at Pryor after the drop. Pryor replied with his own trash talk, prompting Swearinger to approach him. He faked a left-handed jab, and Pryor responded with a pronounced flinch. Several Washington players laughed. That silenced Pryor for the remainder of practice.

Pryor apparently wasn’t well-liked by teammates, who have been taking for weeks about targeting him in the joint practices.

After practice, Pryor was pursued by members of the Washington media. He declined interviews, reportedly saying, “I’m ready to get the f— out of here.”

Swearinger explained why he got in Pryor’s face.

“[He] sparked it because he started to talking on the little interview that he had, just let him know that he didn’t get the respect to go against the corners in one-on-ones,” Swearinger said. “He went against safeties three days in a row. I got him one day, [DeShazor Everett] got him one day, Montae [Nicholson] got him one day. We didn’t give him the respect to get a cornerback. We gave him safeties to go against and we locked him up.”

The Redskins probably weren’t thrilled that Pryor tweeted a video of himself making a one-handed catch against the Redskins.

ESPN’s John Keim contributed to this report.



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Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen talking to ESPN about Monday Night Football analyst job


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is assessing his post-football future during a Friday visit to ESPN, according to sources.

Olsen is talking to the network about the Monday Night Football analyst job as a replacement for Jon Gruden, the sources said. If he were to be offered and took that job, it would start this season, which would complicate the Panthers’ situation, since he remains under contract for 2018 and the team expects him to return.

Carolina officials are aware Olsen is interviewing with ESPN, but a source said the team’s understanding is the three-time Pro Bowler is exploring options for the future — not this season. Another source said Olsen is committed to the Panthers this season.

Olsen worked with the ESPN Postseason NFL Countdown crew before this past Super Bowl in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also has appeared on other ESPN shows, and he has done shows for other networks as well.

Olsen in 2016 became the first tight end in NFL history to record three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He missed nine games this past season with a broken foot suffered in Week 2. During his time away he served as a guest analyst for Fox Sports in a game between Minnesota and the Los Angeles Rams.

While Olsen is in Bristol, the Panthers are hosting former Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron.

Carolina entered free agency looking for a player to replace No. 2 tight end Ed Dickson, who is headed to Seattle. The plan was to find a player that could be developed into a long-term replacement for Olsen.

That process obviously would speed up if Olsen goes to ESPN.

Olsen has 639 career receptions for 7,556 yards and 53 touchdowns. He had six straight seasons with at least five touchdown catches from the time the Panthers acquired him in a trade from Chicago in 2011 until the 2015 season.



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Atlanta Falcons talking to Seattle Seahawks about Michael Bennett trade


The Atlanta Falcons are one of multiple teams talking to the Seattle Seahawks about a trade for defensive lineman Michael Bennett, sources told ESPN on Sunday night.

Nothing is imminent, one of the sources said.

Bennett, 32, signed a three-year, $23.5 million extension in December 2016. ESPN’s Brady Henderson reported last week the Seahawks were open to trading Bennett.

The Falcons need an established pass-rusher, especially on the interior of the defensive line, with Dontari Poe gone after one season and the team cutting Derrick Shelby. Also, Adrian Clayborn, who led the Falcons with 9.5 sacks last season, is bound for free agency and expected to sign elsewhere. Bennett had 8.5 sacks and 24 quarterback hits last season and has 54 career sacks.

There is a natural tie between Bennett and the Falcons. Coach Dan Quinn used to be the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in Seattle and has a close relationship with Bennett. Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel used to be a defensive assistant in Seattle and has close ties to Bennett as well.

The parameters involved in such a trade are unclear. The last time the Falcons traded for a veteran starter, they surrendered two sixth-round picks to Tennessee for left guard Andy Levitre.

The Falcons entered the offseason intent on bolstering their offensive and defensive lines. They have two exceptional young edge-rushers in 2016 sack champ Vic Beasley Jr. and Takk McKinley, plus a budding superstar in nose tackle Grady Jarrett. Bennett could help solidify an athletic, fast defense that ranked in the Top 10 in both yards allowed and scoring last season.

Bennett also is known to be outspoken and took a stance against social injustice by sitting during the national anthem. Those who have played with him and coached him say he is a great teammate.

Bennett is represented by Doug Hendrickson, the same agent who represents Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.



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