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Old 09-10-18, 09:14
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Le'Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers are at odds Authentic Connor Brickley Jersey , battling and bickering over money. It's a football family fight.

The Browns won't play peacemakers.

"They can beat each other up for all we care," Cleveland coach Hue Jackson said Wednesday. "It does not matter."

But Bell's absence from Sunday's season opener between the AFC North neighbors could have a major impact on Cleveland's chances of ending a 17-game losing streak 鈥?and perhaps infuse a little life into a dormant rivalry.

Bell still hasn't joined his teammates as the Pro Bowl running back continues his holdout for a new contract. The stare-down between the sides has reached a critical juncture 鈥?and either a breaking or turning point 鈥?as the Steelers are days away from opening a new season.

When the 26-year-old Bell didn't report to the team and sign his $14.5 million one-year contract tender earlier this week, several of the team's offensive linemen voiced their displeasure toward a player they normally do all they can to protect.

"Here's a guy who doesn't give a damn, so I guess we'll treat it as such," veteran guard Ramon Foster said. "I just hate it came to this."

The Browns aren't complaining.

Pittsburgh's offense isn't the same without Bell, one of the NFL's best offensive players who ran for 1,291 yards last season despite missing training camp after reporting just a few days before the opener in Cleveland.

No Bell at all would seem to give the Browns an edge.

"He's a talented player," said defensive end Myles Garrett, who sat out last season's first game with a serious ankle sprain. "He's one of the best in the league at his position, so it definitely is an advantage to us. That's up to him."

Bell wasn't himself in last year's opener, rushing for just 32 yards on 10 carries and catching three passes for 15 yards. But because he's Le'Veon Bell, the Browns had to account for him on every play.

"He's a great player so he is always going to be a focal point," linebacker Christian Kirksey said. "I just think that we game-planned well. I think that (defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams) had a good game plan for us to attack their offense. I just think that if it was him or any other running back Antonio Morrison Jersey , we were going to try to shut them down."

Pittsburgh will turn to second-year back James Conner to replace Bell and start. Conner, who survived a cancer scare while in college, had just 32 carries as a rookie. But the Browns been watching a lot of video on him and have been impressed.

"They are different," Jackson said, comparing Bell and Conner. "The other guy is a proven, top of the line, one of the top players in the league. Not that James Conner is not that, he just has not done it to the level that Le'Veon has.

"For their offense, he knows how to play in their system. He is a good football player. He will make plays for them. We have to do everything that we can to shut down the run game, whether it is Le'Veon or whether it is James Conner. Just have to do our job on defense the best hat we can."

Of course, the Steelers still have future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown to offset Bell's loss.

And while the Browns won't miss Bell, receiver Jarvis Landry did offer support for the back's financial plea.

"Pay the man," Landry said.

NOTES: Jackson will announce his starting tackle on Friday Ryan Murray Jersey , but the Browns may have tipped their hand with a waiver claim. The team grabbed DL Anthony Zettel from the Lions and released backup center Aaron Neary. The move may signify that Austin Corbett, who has been starting at left guard, will now be the backup center with Joel Bitonio sliding back to guard and undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison starting at left tackle. ... Zettel had 6陆 sacks last season in Detroit.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Coming off a troubling season, New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple seemingly has grown up.

A bad attitude led to a suspension for the final game of the 2017 season and a couple of benchings earlier in the campaign has been replaced by a business-like approach.

That’s rapid progression for a soon-to-be 23-year-old who appeared to have worn out his welcome two years after the Giants drafted him with the 10th pick overall.

The change didn’t just come. It’s been coming since Pat Shurmur was named coach and Dave Gettleman took as general manager. They met with Apple after a 3-13 season and told him he would be starting with a clean slate.

”It is definitely important for me, first impressions,” Apple said. ”I just wanted to show that I was a hard worker and just continue to show that even now as we continue to go on with these practices, staying on top of that and trying to get better every day.”

Apple is going to be a key piece for the Giants in James Bettcher’s 3-4 system. He has the talent to be a lock-down cornerback, which would give the Giants two. Janoris Jenkins is on the other side of the field.

”They have a lot of confidence in me,” Apple said of the coaching staff. ”They told me that they feel I am a really good player and as long as I listen to them, I can get better and become a Pro Bowl player. I see that as well. With my athleticism, I see myself, especially in this defense Henry Anderson Jersey , I see myself as excelling in it and I am looking forward to the season.is”

Apple started 11 of 14 games as a rookie and finished with two interceptions, 49 tackles, and a fumble recovery, playing on a team that went 11-5 and earned a playoff berth. Last year was a horror. He started seven of 11 games, didn’t have an interception, and was suspended for the final game of the season for getting into an argument with coaches about playing on a scout team. The Giants called it conduct detrimental to the team.

Safety Landon Collins didn’t hesitate to say last season that Apple needed to grow up.

Apple won’t say what caused the turnaround, but it’s obvious something has changed.

On the field now, Apple is all smiles and ready to work. The former Ohio State product frequently goes over to Jenkins and picks his brain.

”Like when I see Jackrabbit make a play on the other side, I think to myself, `OK, it’s time for me to make a play if the quarterback comes my way,”’ Apple said of Jenkins. ”But it’s always fitting that I’m trying to pick his brain because he was All-Pro, Pro Bowl corner Wholesale Devin Hester Jersey Authentic Elite Limited - Nike Chicago Bears Official NFL Football Shop , so he’s definitely one of the best in the game. So, if I can learn as much as I can from him, that’ll make me a better player.”

Apple also is taking no downs off. Early in Saturday’s workout, he hounded first-year receiver Amba Etta-Tawo on a pass over the middle. Later on the Giants’ first day in pads, he gave second-overall draft pick Saquon Barkley a good bump on a running back.

Shurmur certainly has been impressed by the new version of Apple.

”With my eyes, just a few months into this, I’m seeing a guy that’s all about his business,” Shurmur said. ”He is very business-like and he is covering really well, which is a good attribute for a corner. I like the way he is working. He’s out there challenging but he is also being smart. Based on what I have seen, there are very few mistakes that he is making when we move the coverage around and I like the way he is functioning in the building.”



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