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Oklahoma State Cowboys Fan Prep for SE LouisianaOklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph (2) looks to throw a pass during a college football game between the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners (UTSA) and the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

We are finally back at it.

It’s been 246 days since the Cowboys were crushed by the Ole Miss Rebels on New Years Day in the Sugar Bowl to end the season 10-3. It probably feels longer for Cowboys fans who watched as Oklahoma State fell apart after a brilliant 10-0 start to the regular season with three straight blowout loses.

But now the season is fresh and new, hopes have been rekindled. Mason Rudolph is another year older and is projected to be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, there’s renewed promise in a stifled 2015 running game now that the son of Oklahoma State’s greatest player has “come home.”

There are question marks, who will replace Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean on the defensive line as well as Kevin Peterson in the secondary and Ryan Simmons in the middle?

But OSU writers Kyle Fredrickson and John Helsley have been asking those questions all summer and fall to find all the information you’ll need for the Cowboys’ opener against SE Louisiana.

So without further ado…

It’s Gameday, let’s go!


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Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Central Michigan Chippewas Football Preview


 Oklahoma State football: Cowboys’ pushed for depth development in season opener

Oklahoma State’s John Kolar, left, throws a pass during the second half of a college football game between the Cowboys and Southeastern Louisiana at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater on Saturday. (Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman)

STILLWATER — Ramon Richards got the call when he least expected it about two years back on the sideline of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Oklahoma State opened with the defending national champion Florida State. Richards was a high school quarterback turned college defensive back when OSU assistant coach Van Malone called his name.

“Go get Kevin Peterson.”

“In my head, I’m just like, ‘Whoa,’” Richards said.

It was offensive tackle Zach Crabtree’s Cowboy debut, too.

“It’s a little freaky at first. Bullets are flying. Game speed is a little bit faster,” Crabtree said. “But everyone’s like that. You get some butterflies in there. … I remember that first series like it was yesterday. The first play was inside zone. I still remember it.”

A new crop of OSU freshmen made their own memories on Saturday. A combined 20 made their first appearance at Boone Pickens Stadium. Five more — defensive ends Jarrell Owens and Cole Walterscheid, offensive linemen Marcus Keyes and Larry Williams, and linebacker Devante Averette — made their first career starts.

As Richards and Crabtree looked on from the sideline, it was obvious their first-game stories were for much higher stakes as compared to Southeastern Louisiana. Though just as important.


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Multiple teams have reached out to the Cleveland Browns to inquire about the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

However, a Browns team source told Schefter that the team is not looking to trade Gordon.

Gordon said Tuesday that he doesn’t want to be traded.

“I haven’t heard too much about it,” Gordon said. “Cleveland is my team. That’s where I want to be, everything like that. That’s not even in the ballpark for me. I’m not sure how that works.”

Cleveland has tried to establish an environment in which Gordon could thrive, and many around the league believe first-year head coach Hue Jackson is the right coach for him.

Multiple teams inquire about availability of Josh Gordon

“I think it works out perfectly then for me,” he said. “Mr. [Jimmy] Haslam, the organization, Coach Jackson, I think the world of those guys, this city, this organization. They’re showing me the love and respect back to me by allowing me to stay here up to this point.

“I expect to move forward with that. I’m excited about it. This is where I want to be and I’m happy to be with Cleveland.”

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The Cleveland Browns have traded linebacker Barkevious Mingo, a former first-round pick, to the New England Patriots in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2017.

The trade was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Mingo, 25, was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft and has seven sacks in three seasons.

The Browns did not pick up his fifth-year option, and he was scheduled to become a free agent after this season.

The Patriots hope he will provide some additional pass rush.

Mingo was drafted by the Browns when Mike Lombardi was general manager. Lombardi spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as an assistant to the Patriots’ coaching staff and remains a confidant to coach Bill Belichick.

The Patriots are deep at their end-of-the-line position, which is where Mingo projects to play, as Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich are starters and Chris Long, Shea McClellin and Trey Flowers are also on the depth chart.

Ninkovich is rehabilitating from a torn triceps muscle that could sideline him into the regular season.

The Patriots now have acquired the No. 6 and No. 7 overall picks from the 2013 NFL draft in separate trades. Earlier this offseason, the Patriots acquired offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper from the Arizona Cardinals in the trade that sent Chandler Jones to Arizona. The Browns selected Mingo with the sixth overall pick, and Cooper was picked by the Cardinals with the next selection in the first round.

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Browns' Josh Gordon comes down with 43-yard TD catch against Bucs

Josh Gordon showed his 2013 form late in the first half of the Cleveland Browns’ 30-13 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night.

Gordon came back for a ball that was slightly underthrown and, with the help of a disguised push of cornerback Brent Grimes, came down with a 43-yard touchdown catch.

“It feels great,” Gordon said. “I feel really good to be out there with my teammates, my brothers. It was uplifting.”

Robert Griffin III laughed and showed a large smile when asked if it was fun to throw to Gordon.

“It’s fun throwing to any of those guys when they make plays like that for you,” Griffin said.

riday’s game was Gordon’s first since Dec. 21, 2014, the penultimate game of the regular season. He was suspended for the season finale and then the entire 2015 season.

Gordon was reinstated in late July by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell but missed the Browns’ first two preseason games after reporting with a quad injury. The receiver will serve a four-game suspension to begin the regular season.

“It’s just good to see him out there making plays,” Griffin said. “Getting an opportunity to get back in the league, we look forward to him making the most of that.”

Gordon’s first catch Friday went for 44 yards on third-and-8 during the Browns’ first drive. He beat Grimes on that play as well, selling the cornerback on an out move and then heading upfield. Gordon might have scored had Griffin hit him in stride, but the receiver had to adjust slightly for the ball.

Browns' Josh Gordon comes down with 43-yard TD catch against Bucs

The touchdown reception came with 1:53 left in the half, when Gordon ran a go route and Griffin threw deep down the right sideline. Gordon was able to come back for the ball and make the kind of catch that helped him lead the NFL in receiving yards in 2013.

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Robert Griffin III is back to being an NFL starting quarterback. The Cleveland Browns announced on Monday that the former Heisman Trophy winner is their man.

Griffin said he found out about the decision from Jackson on Monday morning in a meeting with all of the quarterbacks.

“It’s an honor,” he said. “It’s an honor to be one of 32 that are in this league. You take that and you respect that and you continue to go out and work and try to get better.”

Griffin, who had been battling Josh McCown for the starting job, becomes the 25th starting quarterback for the Browns since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999. Brian Hoyer is the only one of those quarterbacks to have a record over .500, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“He played the way I think a quarterback has to play. I think he did it flawlessly. I think he did everything I asked him to do. I know sometimes you guys judge him maybe a little different than I do; I get that. But I think that he did a great job and he’s continuing to do a great job. But again, he’s got to continue to get better, too,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said.

Griffin was rookie of the year and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season after being selected No. 2 overall in the 2012 draft by the Washington Redskins. A series of injuries, however, derailed his career, and last season he lost his starting job in Washington to Kirk Cousins.

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Cleveland Browns sign Cory Tucker

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland Browns announced Monday that the organization has signed former Slippery Rock University offensive lineman Cory Tucker. Tucker will report to training camp in Berea, Ohio Monday.

Tucker originally signed with the Green Bay Packers after earning a spot through an undrafted free agent tryout in early May. He was released by the Packers in June.

“The Packers drafted a few offensive linemen this year and there wasn’t a lot of room for him with their organization,” said SRU head coach Shawn Lutz. “We were pretty confident that he would get an opportunity to be brought into a training camp and we’re thrilled that the Browns have signed him. We’re very proud of the hard work and dedication Cory has shown. He’s a great representative of the Slippery Rock football program.

Tucker is the second former Slippery Rock offensive lineman that is currently on an official 90-man NFL roster during training camps, joining 2010 graduate Brandon Fusco, a starter for the Minnesota Vikings.

“I’m very thankful for the Browns organization for giving me this opportunity and I can’t wait to get up there and get in camp,” said Tucker. “All I’ve ever asked for was a chance to prove myself and this is another opportunity to do that.”

Tucker completed his academic coursework in the sport management program at Slippery Rock in May after concluding his football career at The Rock in stellar fashion last fall.

The South Park, Pennsylvania native helped lead one of the best offensive attacks among all NCAA Division II schools in 2015. The Rock finished the year with the highest scoring offense in the country, averaging 45.2 points per game. Slippery Rock had the most first downs (351) of any team in the nation, the fifth best total offense in the country at 490.3 yards per game and the 12th best rushing offense at 257.7 yards per game. The offensive unit shattered multiple single-season school records in 2015, including rushing yards (3,608), rushing attempts (741), rushing TDs (46), total offense (6,864), all-purpose yardage (8,599), scoring (633 points) and total TDs (87).

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One prominent upgrade at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this football season will be the installation of two end-zone video boards that each measure 333 feet wide and 38 feet high.

New Orleans Saints fans will see those video boards in person for the first time in a preseason game Friday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Saints promote the boards as the “largest of their kind in the NFL,” as they rank among the widest of all end-zone video boards.

Each board measures at 12,654 square feet, which ranks ahead of the Dallas Cowboys’ famous center-hanging video boards that measure at 11,520 square feet. The Cowboys video boards hang over the center of the field and are 72 feet high and 160 feet wide.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, however, have a wider set of end-zone boards that each measure 362 feet wide by 62 feet high, which amounts to more than 22,000 square feet.

The Saints and the Superdome hosted an event Wednesday for sponsors and other guests to view the video boards, which each span the width of nine sections of seats above the upper level.

“It’s long overdue. It’s beautiful. It’s crystal clear,” said Manny Lopez, 54, a season-ticket holder on the club level who attended the event with his 23-year-old son, Aaron. “All the other stadiums have them. This is definitely an upgrade, long overdue. This is just the last touch to make the whole renovation complete.”

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New Orleans Saints fan gets special moment at practice

Sylvia Masters had never attended a New Orleans Saints practice. Neither had her mother. But on Wednesday, mind more than two weeks after the passing of her husband of 25 years, online Rachel Masters went with her daughter from their home in Houma to watch their beloved football team in person for the first time.

What happened next went beyond their wildest expectations.

“I was shocked,” Rachel Masters said.

About midway through the final Saints training camp practice of the year, coach Sean Payton walked toward the sideline and said he needed two fans to join him on the practice field.

“You,” he said as he pointed toward Rachel Masters. “And you,” he said as he pointed toward another fan, Terry Gaddison Jr., of New Iberia.

He asked the two of them to serve as captains for a field-goal kicking competition between Connor Barth and Kai Forbath, with Masters calling the coin toss — she picked tails and lost, which left Gaddison to pick a kicker.

He went with Barth, with the memory of his overtime winning field goal for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome in 2009.

Barth kicked first and made four of five. Forbath followed. He also made four of five, and then made another from 54 yards to give Masters the win.

The decision by Payton to bring the two fans on the field came about 5 minutes before he did it.

“It was kind of spontaneous,” Payton said. “We knew we were going to have a little kicking competition. We decided we were going to include them.”

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