Ryan says he fears Ochocinco's skills

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Ryan says he fears Ochocinco's skills

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran

FOXBORO - After the Jets eliminated New England from the playoffs last January, the cry went out for a deep threat. Someone to take the top off the defense. Randy Moss had been that guy with mixed results against the Jets, but that was a minor detail. The Patriots' passing game was too horizontal and needed to get vertical.Enter Ocho. While the trade for once-brilliant Chad Ochocinco didn't bring aboard a deep threat in the mold of Moss, it did bring to town a better, longer downfield threat than the team had in its stable. So far, though, Ocho has been virtually silent. He's got seven catches for 113 inconsequential yards. If he makes substantial strides, he may become an afterthought in this offense. Right now he's barely considered. This Sunday's game against the Jets presents an opportunity for Ocho to make his presence felt. The Jets will undoubtedly focus on Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. They have proven their potency this season. But will Ochocinco make the Jets quake? "I think first off, no matter what he has done or hasnt done or whatever, this offense is averaging 500 yards a game, so theyre doing something right," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "Ochocinco is a talent; if you sleep on him, he can blow a game wide open on you. He is an outstanding vertical receiving threat. I saw the one drop he had or something like that against Buffalo, but this guy is a very talented receiver.""Is" would appear to be a stretch in 2011. But maybe Ocho can start to change that on Sunday. 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.