E.J. Manuel, Teddy Bridgewater, Joe Montana
After a rookie year in which injuries limited his preparation for and participation in regular-season games, E.J. Manuel finds himself with a whole lot to prove.
And one of the biggest items on that list is the ability to stay healthy.
Manuel often put himself at risk with his tendency to run and expose himself to the sort of contact – such as on the play against the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 3 at FirstEnergy Stadium that resulted in a knee injury – that caused him to miss six games in 2013. He missed four games after the Bills' loss to the Browns.
"I think that's one thing I had to learn to be smart when I take off with the football," Manuel told the Bills' official website. "Instead of trying to get an extra three yards, either step out-of-bounds or slide. Those are all of the nuances I had to learn.
"Obviously, I didn't want to go down with an injury because I'm a competitive player. I go hard each and every time I step on the field. It just so happened that I had to come down with an injury. I moved past it. Thankfully, I am 100 percent healthy right now. I feel like I'm stronger than I was last year, so I'm looking forward to moving on."
COLTS GIVE FANS INCENTIVE TO GUESS KICKOFF TEMPERATURE
The Indianapolis Colts are asking their fans to put on their meteorologist hats for a chance to collect some serious cash.
Beginning now through Aug. 7, fans can submit their guesses of the temperature at kickoff for all of the Colts' four preseason and 16 regular-season games. In addition, they can guess whether the retractable roof of Lucas Oil Stadium will be open for the team's home games.
Anyone who gets all of what amounts to 30 total guesses right will receive $500,000.
The contest is similar to one the St. Louis Rams ran earlier this year when they offered $100,000 to the fan who correctly predicted the team's 2014 schedule. No one got that right.
JOE MONTANA LEADS FORMER 49ERS TO FLAG WIN TO CLOSE CANDLESTICK
Some of the best-known players who wore the San Francisco 49ers' uniform helped close Candlestick Park, where they created so many classic moments in NFL history, with a recent flag football game.
Not surprisingly, the decisive score in a 45-40 victory against an All-Star team of former NFL players came via a pass from the legendary Joe Montana.
What was a surprise was that the receiver on the play was Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., the 49ers' former owner and native of Youngstown, Ohio, was on the receiving end of the throw.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, DeBartolo didn't have a conventional playing role and actually sneaked onto the field to make the winning catch against an opponent whose quarterbacks included Dan Marino, Drew Bledsoe and Dave Krieg.
The 49ers begin playing in their new Santa Clara stadium this season. They will host Super Bowl 50 there in 2016.
"It was an honor being your owner," DeBartolo told the crowd, estimated between 25,000 and 30,000, on Candlestick's public-address system. "But it was an even bigger honor to be your friend."
DAUNTE CULPEPPER: 'THE VIKINGS GOT A GEM IN TEDDY BRIDGEWATER'
The Minnesota Vikings continue their search for the quarterback stability they last had when Daunte Culpepper was their starter for five seasons between 1999 and 2005.
They hope to have found the answer with the selection of former Louisville standout Teddy Bridgewater in May's NFL Draft.
As far as Culpepper is concerned, they did exactly that.
"The Vikings got a gem in the draft (in) Teddy Bridgewater," he was quoted as saying in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I love (Matt) Cassel's game. Teddy's going to learn a lot from him. (Christian) Ponder, he has a lot of ability as well.
"But the future is Teddy. He's going to be the guy. It's just going to be a matter of him maturing."
Bridgewater has been on Culpepper's radar since his days as a high school star athlete. Culpepper also watched him in college, including an impressive performance (29-for-38 for 341 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions) in a three-point Louisville loss to Central Florida, Culpepper's alma mater.
"In college, he played the game so effortlessly, he made the game look so easy," Culpepper said. "To do that, it takes skill."
This is the advice Culpepper said he offered Bridgewater: "Just keep doing what you're doing, man, just keep working. I could see it in you, you're a hard worker. Just play the game like you know how to play it, and take it all in. And love every second of it." >>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for "Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford" on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com. We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.