Offensive linemen on the Combine menu

Offensive linemen on the Combine menu

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

INDIANAPOLIS - Setting the table for Thursday here at the NFL Combine: Neither Patriots coach Bill Belichick nor GM Nick Caserio are on the schedule to speak, but we've got Jets coach Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum at the podiums at 3:30 so they'll make up for it. Offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers, punters and long snappers are on the menu for the media today. The Patriots performed prospect interviews Wednesday night at the Crowne Plaza. The Patriots are absolutely exhaustive in their interview process, regardless if the players are in a position of minimal need. New England was going at it late Wednesday night. We'll concentrate on catching up with the offensive line prospects since the Pats are solid in those other spots. There will be a steady stream of GMs and coaches stepping to the podium today as well. We'll poke our heads in on the AFC East guys - Bills coach Chan Gailey at 10 a.m., Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland at 10:45 and the Ryan-Tannenbaum tandem later. Meanwhile, the NFL Competition Committee has been meeting since Tuesday here working out rules tweaks. Ray Anderson, the NFL's Vice President of Operations, says there's "nothing dramatic" in the offing for rules discussions. A tweaking of the "through the ground" rule to help clarify possession after a catch is one of the areas the committee is looking at. Any rules change recommendations will ultimately be voted on at the NFL Owner's Meetings next month in New Orleans. Follow us all day and we will update with player interviews and nuggets from team decision-makers.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

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Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

When Dominique Easley was released by the Patriots this spring, it wasn't because he wasn't productive when he was on the field. In fact, on a per-snap basis, he was one of the most productive interior pass-rushers in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Instead, there were some off-the-field factors, as well as injury concerns, that led to the Patriots choosing to cut ties with their 2014 first-round pick. 

As our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it, there were "philosophical differences" between Easley and the team.

Other, more scathing reports of Easley's impact in New England were released, including one report from the Boston Globe that included a quote from a former teammate saying he was a "locker room cancer."

Since then, Easley has landed with the Rams and has a chance to contribute to one of the most talented defensive lines in football. In an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Phil Savage and Amber Theoharis, Easley said he hopes that his new team will get to see that he's a better person than some have indicated.

"Just really," Easley said, "just hopefully that the Rams get to see what a great person and a great hardworker I am, and really, just a great person."

Easley went on to say that he's not sure who would speak of him negatively or why. He explained that it's not his "main goal" to prove there's nothing to worry about with his character, but clearly it's somewhere on the list. 

"There's been, obviously, stuff said about me," Easley said. "We don't know where it came from. I would say the person doesn't want to come out and say it, neither. As far as I know, it's all rumors until that person comes out and say that it was from them, and they can prove that they actually know who I am, or been around me long enough to know who I am and how I am as a person."

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

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PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

Peyton Manning is retired, but that doesn't mean he's exempt from the interviews that the NFL plans to conduct as it looks into the allegations made by Al Jazeera's December PED documentary. 

It was reported last week by USA Today that the league's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFLPA that players named in Al Jazeera's report would be interviewed in July. 

Among those scheduled to be interviewed are Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal will also be interviewed.

(Harrison has taken issue with the league's request, and said on social media that he would only meet with the league if commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his home.)

Manning was not mentioned in the letter obtained by USA Today detailing the league's interview plans, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk followed up on Monday to see if the NFL intended to speak with Manning. It does.

The former Broncos and Colts quarterback has been very vocal about just how strongly he denies Al Jazeera's claim that his wife, Ashley, received HGH for his use. Despite the fact that he's no longer playing, it will come as no surprise if, given his stance, Manning cooperates fully with the league as it seeks more information regarding the report. 

As Florio points out, if Manning hopes to return to the NFL at some point as an executive -- as many believe he will -- this is something he'll want to put to bed beforehand. That process will start with an interview.