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NFL roundup: Preseason to feature Super Bowl rematch

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Apr 10 2014 09:53:26 AM CDT
closeup of football laces

iStock/joecicak

For the Denver Broncos, their preseason opener represents a rematch of their February mismatch in New Jersey.

The Broncos and Seahawks will play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to open their preseason schedule sometime Aug. 7-10, with the exact date and time to be finalized at a later date.

The Buffalo Bills and New York Giants will open the preseason in the nationally televised Pro Football Hall of Fame game from Canton, Ohio, at 4 p.m. ET on Aug. 3.

Eight national TV games headlined by the New Orleans Saints visiting the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs playing at Carolina marked the 65-game NFL preseason schedule released Wednesday.

The San Francisco 49ers open new Levi's Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 24, against the San Diego Chargers, a 4 p.m. ET kickoff to be aired nationally on FOX.

---University of Phoenix Stadium will host the 2015 Pro Bowl, seven days before the Super Bowl is played at the home of the Arizona Cardinals.

After considering cutting the all-star game entirely, the 2014 Pro Bowl was deemed a success by commissioner Roger Goodell. The annual exhibition played in the playoff bye week between conference championship games and the Super Bowl will not relocate from Hawaii on a permanent basis.

In 2015 the game will be played Sunday, January 25, 2015 and televised live on ESPN at 8 PM ET from University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLIX a week later on Sunday, February 1. The Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee will host the Pro Bowl and surrounding activities.

The Pro Bowl following the 2015 season will be played on Sunday, January 31, 2016 and televised live on ESPN from Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, which first hosted the NFL's All-Star game in 1980. San Francisco will host Super Bowl L the following Sunday.

An agreement with the state of Hawaii ties the NFL to playing the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium following the 2016 season pending final mutual approval.

The 2014 Pro Bowl drew 11.4 million viewers.

The 2015 Pro Bowl will be the third one played in the same city as the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Coliseum hosted the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967 and the Pro Bowl the following week. South Florida hosted the Pro Bowl in 2010 a week before Super Bowl XLIV.

---The New Orleans Saints restructured the contract of defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley to create $2.85 million in salary cap space, according to reports Wednesday.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Bunkley cut his 2014 salary from $4.5 million to $1.65 million. His base salary in 2014 is now $1.3 million and he will receive a $300,000 roster bonus on April 10. His base salary in 2015 and 2016 will remain at $4.4 million.

The 30-year-old is a rotational defensive tackle. He played in 13 games and had eight tackles and five assists last season.

---The San Diego Chargers re-signed offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger to a one-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Ohrnberger appeared in 13 regular-season games in 2013, making one start at right guard. He also played at left guard and center.

Ohrnberger, 28, has appeared in 31 regular season games (five starts) in his NFL career. He has also played for the New England Patriots (2009-2011) and Arizona Cardinals (2012). Ohrnberger was a fourth-round selection of New England in 2009.

---The Buffalo Bills signed free agent punter Jake Dombrowski on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Harvard product appeared in 31 career games (2009-12) for the Crimson, booting 146 punts for 5,839 yards. A native of Gaylord, Mich., Dombrowksi earned First-Team All-Ivy League honors as a senior.

The signing means competition for veteran punter Brian Moorman, who re-signed with the Bills early in the offseason. He averaged 41.2 yards per punt with a 36.6 net average last season.

---Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne said he expects to be cleared April 25, in time to fully participate in offseason workouts.

The 35-year-old Wayne had surgery in October to repair a torn ACL. He said he is ahead of schedule and stoked to return to a wide receiving corps that added former New York Giants first-round pick Hakeem Nicks.

"I'm a fan of (Nicks). We can combine all the winning he's done and we've done and come out with a nice mixture," Wayne said. "He's a big target, great skills, big hands ... I really don't think there are a lot of guys that can cover him."

Third-year receiver T.Y. Hilton caught 99 passes, including playoffs, last season and emerged as quarterback Andrew Luck's top target in Wayne's absence.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Wayne is entering the final season of a three-year contract signed in 2012, when he became an unrestricted free agent. He has 13,566 yards and 1,006 receptions (regular season) with the Colts, who drafted him 30th overall in 2001.

---The Carolina Panthers re-signed defensive tackle Colin Cole on a one-year contract.

Cole returned to the field in 2013 after missing the previous two seasons recovering from a serious ankle injury suffered in 2010 against the Seattle Seahawks. He started 13 games for the Panthers and collected nine tackles and one sack.

The 33-year-old veteran is expected to back up Star Lotulelei in 2014.

Cole spent five seasons with the Green Bay Packers and two with the Seattle Seahawks before he was sidelined with the ankle problems. His career totals include 158 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and 13 passes defensed.

---The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with tight end Matthew Mulligan on a one-year contract and claimed receiver Josh Bellamy off waivers from the Washington Redskins.

Mulligan, 29, spent his first five NFL seasons with the New York Jets (2009-11), St. Louis Rams (2012) and New England Patriots (2013), catching 16 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns while appearing in 65 games with 24 starts.

The 6-foot-4, 267-pounder entered the NFL with the Miami Dolphins in 2008 as an undrafted free agent out of Maine. He spent time on the practice squads of the Dolphins, Tennessee Titans and Jets before making his NFL debut in 2009. Mulligan was also with the Green Bay Packers last preseason.

Last season Mulligan appeared in 15 games with four starts for the Patriots, catching two passes for 16 yards. He has also played in six postseason games, catching one pass for six yards.

Bellamy has appeared in eight NFL games, all as a reserve, in two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs (2012), San Diego Chargers (2013) and Washington Redskins (2013). The 6-foot, 206-pounder averaged 20.2 yards on five kickoff returns with Kansas City in 2012, but has yet to catch a pass in a regular-season game.

Bellamy, who will turn 25 in May, entered the league with the Chiefs in 2012 as an undrafted free agent from Louisville.

---The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived long snapper Patrick Scales, the team announced Wednesday.

Scales signed a futures contract with the Buccaneers on Jan. 6.

Jeremy Cain now is in line to handle the snaps for the 2014 season.

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