All-Pro Maurkice Pouncey apologizes for 'Free Hernandez' flap

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. –– Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey apologized for wearing a baseball cap supporting former college teammate Aaron Hernandez.

Pouncey and his twin brother Mike, a center for the Miami Dolphins, were photographed wearing hats that read “Free Hernandez” during their co-birthday party in Miami on Saturday night.

Hernandez played at Florida with the Pounceys from 2007-09. The former Patriots tight end is charged with murder in the killing of Boston semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

Maurkice Pouncey posted on his Twitter account Monday he understands the “seriousness of the situation involving my former teammate.” Pouncey added he regrets making light of the situation and apologized if he offended anyone.

BRONCOS: Came down hard on their two executives facing drunken driving charges, suspending them without pay and making it clear they must straighten out their lives if they want to work in the NFL again.

Director of player personnel Matt Russell was suspended indefinitely, and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert was suspended for a month. Team president Joe Ellis said both men expressed remorse. But “this in no way excuses their conduct,” Ellis said.

Russell and Heckert will be provided with confidential treatment, rehabilitation and counseling services and must comply with these programs before they’re allowed to return to work, Ellis said.

Ryan Clady has been one of the NFL’s most dependable players, quickest healers and best risk assessors.

One year after rejecting a $50 million offer and playing last season for a relative bargain price of $3.5 million, Peyton Manning’s blindside protector cashed in on his gamble by signing a five-year deal worth up to $57.5 million over the weekend.

Clady, who is working his way back from a torn right labrum that required surgery, is expected back by August.

JAGUARS: Signed fourth-round draft pick Ace Sanders to a contract.

Sanders agreed to terms last week, but inked his rookie deal Monday. A receiver/punt returner from South Carolina, Sanders was the 101st overall selection in April’s NFL Draft. The 5-foot-7 speedster finished his college career with 99 receptions for 1,230 yards and 13 touchdowns.

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