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NFL roundup: Manning feels good in first practice

The SportsXchange

Peyton Manning was back on the field Monday and looked like his old self.

A large media contingent turned out for the Denver Broncos' first OTA session and the 36-year-old quarterback appeared to the throw the ball with authority.

"It felt good to be out there," Manning said. "I haven't really been out there like this for a year and a half. It's a day I've been waiting on for a long time.

"I've always believed you develop your timing for the passing game in the offseason. You can't just show up in September and expect to be on the same page. Offseason workouts, it's a great time to make an impression on the coaches. Coaches are always evaluating."

Manning said his recovery from neck surgery last year is still a work in progress.

"I try to get better every day," he said. "That's my goal. I really need to use this time. I do think there's a difference when you are on the field, in helmets, going up against the defense. Up until now we haven't been able to go against a defense, so this will be great work for me."

Coach John Fox and most of Manning's teammates were impressed with him Monday -- but continued to praise his ability to perform game-related tasks away the field.

"We've had the opportunity to see him the past few weeks in Phase Two (workouts), and he does have great command. He understands the game," Fox said. "As much as he's accomplished on the field, the things he does off the field in a leadership role is tremendous."

---New York Jets nose tackle Kendrick Ellis was sentenced on Monday to 179 days in prison, with 89 days suspended, for misdemeanor assault and battery, ESPNNewYork.com reported.

The sentence, which was announced in Hampton, Va., includes two years of supervised probation for his part in an altercation while he was student at Hamptoin University.. However, Ellis, who is from Jamaica and is not a U.S. citizen, will not be deported, which could have happened had he been convicted of a felony.

Ellis will serve 45 days with good behavior, his attorney, Timothy Clancy, told ESPNNewYork.com.

Ellis won't miss any OTAs or the Jets' minicamp. The Jets report for training camp July 26, so he will miss a few days of training camp.

Ellis could still be subject to penalties by the NFL based on the league's personal-conduct policy.

--- Some NFL players have shunned the use of leg pads, but they may no longer have that option.

Thigh and knee coverings could become mandatory after a scheduled vote on a proposal Tuesday by NFL owners that would require all players to use a complete set of pads for their protection, Fox Sports reported.

--- Free agent tight end Dallas Clark is most likely to sign with the Tampa Bay Bucs, as various Monday reports indicated in the wake of Kellen Winslow's announcement that he has been apprised to remain away from the team's OTA sessions because he no longer fits into the franchise's plans.

But the Bucs still have some competition for Clark's services, league sources told The Sports Xchange on Monday afternoon. The other two clubs Clark has visited with in recent weeks, New England and Kansas City, have remained in contact with him. It is not clear if the Pats or Chiefs have tendered formal contract proposals to Clark, but they have retained a dialogue with the nine-year veteran and his representatives.

Winslow could be traded or released by the Buccaneers to save approximately $5.25 million of salary cap space. His receiving production is expected to be filled by wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who signed a $55.5 million deal as a free agent in March.

--- Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain was on the field with teammates during Monday's organized team activities.

McClain was convicted of assault Thursday in Decatur, Ala., but has appealed the ruling. He could be punished as part of the NFL's off-field conduct policy, but the league is likely to allow the legal process to run its course first.

McClain is also facing a civil lawsuit. He was sentenced 180 days in jail but appealed to the circuit court for a jury trial. His attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said the verdict was "meaningless."

--- Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told NFL Network that he expects veteran incumbent Matt Moore to start at quarterback in the regular-season opener.

That might come as an upset to some, considering Ross voiced his support for Ryan Tannehill to be drafted in the first round.

--- Defensive tackle Kheeston Randall, a seventh-round pick out of Texas, signed with the Dolphins. Terms were not disclosed.

A three-year starter for the Longhorns, he played in 47 games with 35 starts. Randall was credited with 98 tackles (49 solo), four sacks (31 yards) and 21.0 tackles for loss (66 yards). He also registered one forced fumble, deflected six passes and blocked two kicks.

--- Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson joined quarterback Matt Schaub as a spectator as offseason team activities began on Monday.

Johnson said he had a minor arthroscopic procedure on his left knee and should be ready to fully participate in training camp in July.

Schaub was scheduled to be on the sideline. Coach Gary Kubiak said last week he would be extra cautious with Schaub, who is recovered from right foot surgery.

--- Redskins coach Mike Shanahan got so close to the action at Monday's practice that he became part of it and was planted by rookie defensive back Brandyn Thompson.

Shanahan remained on the ground for several minutes and the Redskins said he was fine but "woozy" after the incident and would unavailable to meet with media as planned.

--- The Lions welcomed running backs Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best for the starts of organized team activities at their Allen Park facility on Monday.

The bigger story was the absence of wide receiver Titus Young, who was reportedly held out because of a fight last week with free safety Louis Delmas. The incident was first reported by Booth Newspapers. Young caught 48 passes for 607 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie in 2011.

Leshoure, a second-round pick in 2011, was on the field in full capacity for the first time since rupturing his Achillies in training camp last August.

Best, who missed the final 10 games last season recovering from what is believed to be his third concussion since his junior season at California, was also a participant in the on-field workout. However, Best is not yet cleared for contact.

---The Eagles signed third-round pick Nick Foles to a four-year deal.

Foles broke several of Drew Brees' high school passing records at Westlake High School near Austin, Texas, and left Arizona as the Wildcats' all-time leader in yards (10,011), touchdowns (67), attempts (1,369) and completions (933).

Foles is one of five quarterbacks on the Eagles' offseason roster.

---Rookie defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and the Denver Broncos agreed to terms Monday on a four-year, $5.2 million contract.

The deal included $3.2 million worth of guarantees for the team's No. 36 overall pick in the second round from Cincinnati, the Denver Post reported.

Wolfe was not on the field for the team's workout Monday because classes are still in session at Cincinnati. Rules stipulate a player cannot participate until his college class graduates.

--- The Tennessee Titans have reached a contract agreement with rookie linebacker Zach Brown.

Brown, the team's second-round pick, had 105 tackles, three interceptions and 5.5 sacks for North Carolina last season.

Four of the Titans' seven draft picks from the draft in April have now agreed to terms.

--- First-round draft pick Morris Claiborne was hoping he could be on the field for the Dallas Cowboys' June minicamp, but that apparently won't happen.

Claiborne is recovering from surgery on his left wrist in March and won't be ready to make his debut until training camp in late July, according to a report on DallasCowboys.com.
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