Thomas Davis angered to be linked to Panthers GM Gettleman’s firing



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SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Carolina Panthers jersey linebacker Thomas Davis jersey is “extremely irked” about reports that general manager Dave Gettleman’s firing was linked to negotiations for extensions for him and tight end Greg Olsen jersey jersey.

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Davis, 34, began negotiating an extension before Gettleman was fired on July 17, eight days before players reported to training camp at Wofford College.

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Panthers veterans Thomas Davis jersey, left, and Greg Olsen jersey jersey are still seeking contract extensions as training camp opens for Carolina. Jim Dedmon/Icon SportswireDavis said at no point were negotiations with Gettleman combative. Gettleman had a reputation for talks with some veteran players getting difficult in the past.

Wholesale Anthony Johnson jersey The most recent was last year when Gettleman rescinded the franchise tag of Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman jersey jersey, whose departure to Washington played a role in last year’s 6-10 season.

“To his credit, he told me to my face that he didn’t see a decline in my play,” Davis said on Wednesday. “He [said] he had never seen anything like it before for a guy my age.

“I guess it sort of put him in a tough position making a decision moving forward, but there was never a time where he said something negative to me about me as a player or me as a person.”

Multiple sources told ESPN.com that Gettleman’s handling of contracts in the past played a part in the decision to fire him, with Davis’ and Olsen’s extensions being discussed.

But Davis isn’t excited that some of the blame for Gettleman’s firing has been placed on him and Olsen, both team captains.

“Some of the stuff being said, it’s unbelievable to think of two guys that was being talked about,” said Davis, the 2014 Walter Payton jersey NFL Man of the Year. “You think about myself and you think about Greg Olsen jersey jersey and what we try to represent and stand for, not only as players but as pillars of the community as leaders of this football team, it was totally unfair and uncalled for some of the stuff that was being said.”

Olsen said on Monday that a wholesale jersey holdout for training camp at one point was on the table, but after the “chaos” surrounding Gettleman’s firing, he didn’t want to be a distraction.

Olsen said on Tuesday that there was no animosity between him and Gettleman.

“Obviously we might not always have seen eye to eye on things,” he said. “But as far as the respect level between the two of us, strictly, I didn’t ever think there was an issue.

“He treated me with respect and we gave him the respect in return.”

Olsen, 32, has two years left on his deal. He said there have been no guarantees from Hurney or the Panthers he will get an extension this year that would make him among the top-paid tight ends in the league.

Olsen, the first tight end in NFL history to have three straight seasons with 1,000 yards receiving, ranks seventh in the league among tight ends with an average salary of $7.5 million a year.

Olsen indicated he might have to play out his contract.

All indications are that Davis, entering the final year of his contract, will get a new deal.

“It’s not something that is going to happen overnight,” said Davis, who has made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons. “I’m excited that we’re even in a position where we’re negotiating while I have this year left on my contract. For the organization, it’s something they don’t have to do. I’m excited they have chosen to do it.”

Panthers focused on getting to Super Bowl, not Super Bowl hangover



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SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Tight end Greg Olsen jersey jersey stood outside a Wofford College dormitory on the first day of training camp a year ago and warned that the Carolina Panthers jersey weren’t a lock to return to the Super Bowl they lost six months earlier.

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He urged teammates to understand they weren’t entitled to anything.

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He was right.

Wholesale Russell Bodine jersey The Panthers went from an NFL best 15-1 and trip to the title game in 2015 to 6-10 and last place in the NFC South.

But Olsen’s message on Tuesday, standing outside the same dormitory, was the same as the Panthers reported for another training camp.

“I’m going to say the same thing,” Olsen said. “Good or bad, it’s teams that respond and go back to a reset button and go back to square one every year are the teams that are able to sustain success in this league.

“We’re on the other end of this now, coming off a bad and disappointing season. The faster guys realize we’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to regroup and get moving, the better off we’ll be.”

Signs, while maybe not as obvious as they are in hindsight, were there this time a year ago that the Panthers would struggle. Players were tired after extending the season almost two months.

They spent most of the offseason talking about either the Super Bowl hangover or the Super Bowl rematch on opening day at Denver.

While they said the focus was on returning to the title game, the focus wasn’t always there.

It appears to be now.

Quarterback Cam Newton jersey jersey weighed in at 246 pounds, the best shape he’s been since his rookie season when he was listed at 245. Defensive end Charles Johnson jersey jersey jersey and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin jersey jersey also reported in tip-top shape.

There was more of a sense of urgency about turning things around.

“It’s a whole new approach, a different attitude, different atmosphere,” coach Ron Rivera said. “It feels a little bit lighter. It doesn’t feel like my shoulders are being weighed down. I’m excited about it. I really am.

“We’ve wholesale jersey got some guys in place who if they continue to grow as football players, I think we can be a really good team.”

The distraction from last week’s firing of general manager Dave Gettleman and hiring of Marty Hurney — the man Gettleman replaced after the 2012 season — as the interim general manager didn’t feel like a distraction at all.

Olsen and outside linebacker Thomas Davis jersey both showed their leadership as team captains and reported to camp even though much-wanted contract extensions haven’t been given.

Even though there are no guarantees they’ll get one.

Rivera said that set the tone.

It also showed that as important as money is to players, winning a title is more important — at least to this group of players.

“When it’s all said and done they count on me to be here and set the tone and be a guy they rely on, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Olsen said.

“As far as I’m concerned all that stuff is over now. Obviously, we tried to get something done. It didn’t work out. Now I’ll play out my contract and try to win a Super Bowl.”

The distraction last year was the pressure to get back to the title game and everything that came with it. Now the Panthers are back to being the underdog, having to prove they weren’t a one-year wonder.

They are motivated by predictions such as the one in USA Today that picked them to finish last in the NFC South with a 7-9 record.

Rivera reminded the Panthers weren’t picked to reach the Super Bowl in 2015, a year he played up the lack of respect label to the fullest.

But the Panthers shouldn’t be overlooked or considered underdogs with a star-studded roster that includes Newton, Olsen, Davis, Luke Kuechly jersey jersey and Kawann Short jersey jersey. They have much of the nucleus that won the NFC Championship Game two years ago and a lot of new, exciting pieces in first-round draft pick Christian McCaffrey jersey and second-round pick Curtis Samuel jersey.

They’re more focused on getting somewhere instead of getting back somewhere.

“If you become a part of this organization, you’re here to help build this and win us a championship,” safety Kurt Coleman jersey jersey said. “That’s everybody’s mindset, no matter who you are.

“That’s really our goal right now. It starts here in Wofford, we’ve got to build and we’ve got to work hard to see where we’re going toward the season.”

Don’t sleep on these steady fantasy football players



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The quest for “upside” can lure even the most experienced fantasy football owner into making costly mistakes at the draft table.

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Players who fit the description of “steady” performers aren’t merely those who grade well in terms of consistency metrics, such as those found in my Consistency Ratings. Those measures do generally identify the game’s most reliable players, but role changes and injuries have an impact, so each player’s entire profile should be considered.

Wholesale Kawann Short jersey Each steady performer includes “Tristan’s ADP take,” listing the player’s ADP in ESPN leagues as of July 24, as well as my opinion on how worthy the pick is at that spot.

Devonta Freeman jersey jersey, RB, Atlanta Falcons jersey: Since taking over as the Falcons’ starting running back in Week 3 of 2015, he has scored the second-most non-PPR (456.9) and PPR (576.9) fantasy points. Freeman’s path to getting there, however, reveals the kind of consistent approach that made him an underappreciated yet reliable weekly RB1 last season. Only six times in his 29 career starts has he posted a PPR score in single digits (with only three of those beneath eight points), and only four of Freeman’s non-PPR games have resulted in fewer than five fantasy points. His receiving ability, which fueled the third-best target total among running backs during that same time span, makes him one of the position’s most reliable weekly plays despite the presence of Tevin Coleman jersey jersey.

Tristan’s ADP take: 10th overall (10.6 average) is a completely fair spot to select Freeman, as he’s absolutely first-round material.2017 Fantasy Football Draft KitEverything you need to have a successful fantasy football season. Draft Kit

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Pierre Garcon jersey, WR, San Francisco 49ers jersey: This one is speculating ahead more than it is drawing upon last season, though in Garcon’s defense, he was consistently closest to his fantasy points-per-game average (7.6 in non-PPR, 41st; 12.6 in PPR, 31st) among wide receivers in 2016. He’s highly likely to capture the team lead in targets in San Francisco. In fact, he could rival his numbers from 2013, when he finished as the No. 13 wide receiver in non-PPR and No. 11 in PPR fantasy points. Garcon is one of the more obvious low-ceiling, high-floor receivers on draft boards this year.

Tristan’s ADP take: 64th (69.0) is about right for Garcon.

Frank Gore jersey jersey, RB, Indianapolis Colts jersey: He’s now 34 years old and is coming off consecutive years with a yard-per-carry average below 4.00, but a look at the Colts’ running back depth chart shows a remarkable lack of competition for Gore’s carries. He has managed at least 15 carries in 20 of his 32 games since joining the Colts after the 2014 season, and is the only running back in football to have started all 32 games over the past two seasons. Despite his so-so rushing rates, he finished 10th in non-PPR and ninth in PPR fantasy scoring at his position during that two-year span. When it comes to Gore, the perception is that (mostly due to age) he’s a low-ceiling, low-floor performer. The truth is that he’s actually one of the higher-floor players at his position.

Tristan’s ADP take: 61st (66.5), or in the middle of the flex-play tier, is just about right.Editor’s PicksThese fantasy players could make or break your seasonBoom-or-bust players can make the difference between winning and losing your fantasy football leagues. The key is recognizing them and drafting them at the right time.

Cockcroft: Strategy for PPR fantasy football leaguesDo you play in a PPR league? Thinking about making the switch? Here is a primer on how you’ll want to approach things in leagues that grant an extra point for each catch.

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Jarvis Landry jersey jersey, WR, Miami Dolphins jersey: In the past two seasons, he has finished 13th and 16th among wide receivers in non-PPR fantasy points (and eighth and 14th in PPR fantasy points) despite the fact that he scored exactly four receiving touchdowns in each of those years. That’s a challenging feat to accomplish — only five other receivers this century have scored at least as many PPR fantasy points in a season with four or fewer receiving touchdowns — and it shows how stable a WR2 Landry can be on a weekly basis. It also demonstrates how much profit potential he has if he’s just a little bit luckier in the touchdown department in 2017.

Tristan’s ADP take: 34th (36.3) is solid value for Landry, who makes a case for a third-round pick in PPR.

Matt Ryan jersey jersey, QB, Atlanta Falcons jersey: He’s an obvious candidate for regression in 2017: Ryan put up a 69.9 percent completion rate, 7.1 percent touchdown rate and 9.3 yards-per-attempt rate last season, all of which were well above his career numbers (64.9, 4.7 and 7.4). The appeal with Ryan, however, is his consistency. From wholesale jersey 2014-16, he managed a fantasy point total between 15 and 22 on 20 occasions, third-most among quarterbacks; 13 of those occurred in 2014-15, good for sixth-best at the position. Although he’ll have a new offensive coordinator this season in Steve Sarkisian, Ryan shouldn’t see much change in an offense that returns most of its primary playmakers.

Tristan’s ADP take: 36th (42.3) is far too early a pick for my taste, as weekly upside rather than consistency is paramount in single-quarterback leagues. In leagues where Ryan lasts three-plus rounds longer, he’d be a welcome pick.

Delanie Walker jersey, TE, Tennessee Titans jersey: With many leagues moving to some variety of PPR (half- or full-point) scoring in recent years, Walker has become an increasingly handy and often underrated asset in such formats. In the past three seasons combined, he has 333 targets, 38 shy of Greg Olsen jersey jersey for the position lead despite playing three fewer games than Olsen. What’s more, Walker has managed at least five targets in 37 of 45 games played during that time, and at least eight targets in 21 contests, showing how high his weekly statistical floor is. Though the Titans have added some weapons to their receiving corps during the offseason that could cut into Walker’s target total, he’s still an integral part of their game plan. Moreover, a healthy year from Marcus Mariota jersey could result in a sizable step forward in terms of team pass attempts (504 last season, 28th in the NFL).

Tristan’s ADP take: 59th (63.5) is great value for Walker, who annually seems to get overlooked.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen reports, says holdout ‘not fair’ to team



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SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Carolina Panthers jersey tight end Greg Olsen jersey jersey reported to training camp on Tuesday, saying it would have been selfish to hold out while seeking a new deal.

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“I just didn’t think it was right for me to put my situation and my own personal best interest above that of the team,” Olsen said after arriving at Wofford College. “If I didn’t show up here today and I caused a big stink, what would have come from that was not fair to everybody.

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Panthers veterans Thomas Davis jersey, left, and Greg Olsen jersey jersey are still seeking contract extensions as training camp opens for Carolina. Jim Dedmon/Icon SportswireLast season, Olsen became the first tight end in NFL history to gain at least 1,000 receiving yards in three straight years. He has been seeking an extension of his contract, which runs through 2018. He ranks seventh among tight ends with an average salary of $7.5 million per year.

Wholesale Manny Lawson jersey He said holding out was on the table at one point. After general manager Dave Gettleman was fired eight days ago and Marty Hurney was hired on an interim basis, Olsen didn’t want to add to the “chaos that went on.”

“I just didn’t think my selfishness would do any good for the betterment of the team,” Olsen said.

“The reality is I’m here at camp, ready to go as I always am, ready to have as good if not a better season than I’ve had. … Nothing that has transpired over the last couple of months at any point impacted that.”

He is seeking an extension that would put him among the best-paid tight ends in the NFL. Seattle’s Jimmy Graham jersey tops the list with an average of $10 million per year.

“Obviously, we feel strong about where we were in those discussions,” Olsen said. “I’m also respectful of where the team comes and all those things considered.

“I just didn’t think it was fair [to hold wholesale jersey out]. I didn’t think it was fair to Marty. I didn’t think it was fair to the team. I didn’t think it was fair to Mr. [Jerry] Richardson, the organization, the players, these young guys … this first time they meet me I’m adding more distraction than I’m worth.”

Olsen, 32, is one of two team captains seeking an extension. The other is outside linebacker Thomas Davis jersey, who had begun discussions before Gettleman was fired.

Davis, 34, didn’t speak to reporters on Tuesday.

Coach Ron Rivera said it was good to see Olsen and Davis report with their contract situations unsettled.

“The thing that it shows is this part is business,” he said. “It’s not a personal thing. It’s about business and they’re professionals and they know what they have to do. We as an organization have got to be able to work things out with them, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Rivera said it sets the tone for the team having both here.

“In spite of what’s going on or what has gone on, these guys are here to do what they need to do.”

Gettleman’s history of taking a tough stance in signing older veterans — combined with Davis and Olsen seeking extensions — led to his firing, multiple team sources have told ESPN.com.

Olsen said his relationship with Gettleman was good.

“We might not always have seen eye to eye on things,” he said. “But as far as the respect level between the two of us, strictly, I didn’t ever think there was an issue.

“He treated me with respect and we gave him the respect in return.”

While Olsen still wants a new deal, he didn’t sound optimistic that would happen.

“Starting now my focus is on having the best training camp we can, having the best training camp I can,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, all that stuff is over now.

“Obviously, we tried to get something done. It didn’t work out. Now I’ll play out my contract and try to win a Super Bowl.”