Saturday, June 28, 2014
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[June 28, 2014]  June 27 (The Sports Xchange) - Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson told ESPN The Magazine that he has never been in a gang and that his hand gestures that have been interpreted as gang signs are dedicated to his childhood friends.

In the interview, Jackson denied reports that he is affiliated with gangs but acknowledged he knows people who are in them. He said the hand gestures he uses during games or on social media are not gang-related.

"If I score a touchdown or make a play and my boys at home can see me throwing up the area we're from, that's me showing them love," Jackson said. "They weren't fortunate enough to make it where I'm at. All my friends wanted to be in the NFL growing up, but they weren't able to do that and I was. That doesn't mean I forgot about them. They're my boys, I grew up with them, and I'm going to give them love."

Jackson, 27, signed with the Redskins in early April, less than a week after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles. had reported that the Eagles were concerned about Jackson's alleged gang ties.

The Eagles have maintained that the decision was purely football-related. Jackson had 82 catches for 1,332 yards with nine touchdowns in 2013.

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New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton testified at a grievance hearing this week that Jimmy Graham should be designated as a tight end and not a receiver, Pro Football Talk reported.

A ruling on Graham's arbitration hearing in the franchise-tag grievance against the Saints is expected next week, according to the report.

Graham's representatives contend that he should be categorized as a receiver rather than his listed position of tight end for purposes of the franchise tag and thus compensated accordingly.

The Saints' position is that tight ends routinely line up in the slot and that being split out is part of playing the position. Graham lined up wide for 67 percent of his snaps in 2013.

The difference between the franchise-tag salary for a receiver and a tight end is $5.3 million. If Graham is deemed a tight end and plays under the franchise tag in 2014, he would receive a $7.035 million salary.

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Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel said he will not change, despite criticism he receives for his perceived off-the-field behavior.

Manziel has been photographed on occasions with alcohol, gaining a reputation for being a partier.

Speaking at a Play 60 event as part of the NFL Rookie Symposium on Friday, Manziel said he does not care how he is perceived by the public.

"I'm not going to change for anybody," Manziel said. "I'm going to enjoy my time off."

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San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis strongly hinted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he will report to training camp next month without a new contract.

Davis held out of the team's mandatory minicamp last week. At an Atlanta-area youth camp, he said "at least I tried and I put my foot down" in trying to get a higher-paying deal.

Davis' contract runs through 2015. He is schedule to earn base salaries of $4.7 million this year and $4.35 million next year. (Editing by Gene Cherry)

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