NFL Rumors: Latest Updates from Around the League

Nick KostoraContributor IIIAugust 13, 2012

NFL Rumors: Latest Updates from Around the League

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    As the NFL preseason heats up, so does the proverbial rumor mill.

    Players across the league are making bold proclamations, being dumped or added to rosters, and even being shopped around to interested parties.

    It can all get somewhat confusing and hazy for fans trying to digest an overwhelming amount of football information.

    Well, fear not.

    Here are all the latest important rumors and happenings around the NFL as Week 2 of the preseason quickly approaches.

Logan Mankins Makes Surprising Return

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    It has been rather unclear if New England Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.

    However, NFL.com is reporting that Mankins was back on the practice field Sunday—and that can only be a positive sign.

    Mankins tore his anterior cruciate ligament in last season's AFC Championship Game and then somehow played through the pain in the Super Bowl.

    With starting offensive lineman Brian Waters and Sebastian Vollmer currently out, the return of Mankins truly cannot come soon enough for the Patriots.

The Jaguars Are Wasting No Time with Justin Blackmon

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars' passing attack is a work in progress to say the least, but having Justin Blackmon on the field practicing is a step in the right direction.

    Sunday was the first day Blackmon was allowed to wear pads and already he was working with the first unit and is expected to start the Jags' second preseason game against the New Orleans Saints, per NFL.com.

    Jacksonville's release of veteran Lee Evans only further highlights the need for Blackmon to produce early and become a viable option for quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

    Now that Blackmon has his off-field issues and contract dispute behind him, he can focus on football.

    A welcome relief for Jaguars fans.

Ryan Mathews Plans to Be Ready for the Season Opener

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    San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews had the misfortune to break his clavicle on his first (and only) carry of the team's preseason opener.

    The initial time-table for his return was set at 4-6 weeks, but Mathews believes he can be back in time for the season opener in just three weeks.

    "I heal pretty fast, so I think that'll give me time to play against the Raiders," Mathews said, per UT-San Diego's Michael Gehlken.

    Players have been known to believe they can return sooner than expected from injuries, but this proclamation may not be too crazy seeing as Mathews is only hoping to be ahead of schedule by around a week.

    The Chargers depth chart at running back behind Mathews features Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain and Curtis Brinkley.

Ryan Tannehill Back in Running for Starting QB Job in Miami

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    Remember just a few weeks ago when Ryan Tannehill was decidedly out of the running for the Miami Dolphins' starting quarterback job?

    Well...things change.

    With David Garrard injured, Tannehill has re-inserted himself into a race with Matt Moore, and head coach Joe Philbin has yet to name a starter for the Dolphins second preseason contest against the Carolina Panthers.

    The better performer in Week 2 will have to be considered the front-runner moving forward in this competition, and the young Tannehill has a chance to take the reigns of the franchise much sooner than expected.

Brian Urlacher Promises to Be Ready for Week 1

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    Brian Urlacher suffered both a torn MCL and PCL in the Chicago Bears regular season finale last season.

    However, that does not stop him from believing he will be ready to go for Week 1, per Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.

    "Sept. 9, I'll be ready to play for sure," Urlacher said. "That's really all that matters to me. Preseason games, all these practices ... I'd love to be out there, but I'm not going to put myself in jeopardy of missing the first game."

    At 34 years old Urlacher is clearly entering into the tail end of his career, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue to stay on the field as much as he has in recent years.

    Urlacher has started 32 consecutive games and has made trips to the last two Pro Bowls.

New England Is Eyeing Two Big Name Free Agents

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    Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have never been afraid to take chances on aging veterans.

    Sometimes they work, a la Randy Moss and Corey Dillon.

    And sometimes things just fall apart, as when Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth were brought in.

    Now it appears the Patriots are looking into the services of receiver Plaxico Burress and offensive tackle Chad Clifton, per NFL.com

    Both are veteran players, but Clifton would appear to have the better chance at an actual contract.

    New England has a bevvy of pass catching options while the offensive line has notable holes to fill (see Logan Mankins slide).

Adrian Peterson Is off the PUP List and Attending Practice

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    Adrian Peterson continues to defy the common laws of healing as he was removed from the Minnesota Vikings PUP list on Sunday, per Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

    Peterson completed walkthroughs with the first team offense as he makes his remarkable return from a torn ACL and MCL.

    It is still highly unlikely that Peterson takes any real preseason snaps, but the mere fact that he is back on the field less than nine months removed from such a devastating injury and subsequent surgery is amazing.

    The Vikings star running back now appears one step closer to his goal of returning for Week 1.