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Marshawn Lynch missing as Seahawks camp begins (Yahoo Sports)

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Marshawn Lynch was absent as expected on Friday when the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks began training camp.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was disappointed Lynch was not present. Carroll reiterated the team wants Lynch there and still intends on him being an integral part of their plans for this season.

But the message was clear that Seattle put a plan in place before Lynch was signed to a four-year contract in 2012 and the Seahawks management is not inclined to stray from those plans.

”We’ve had a substantial plan working for us for years now and Marshawn was a big part of this plan. Just a couple of years back we made a big statement and made a big effort for him and we wish that he was with us now,” Carroll said.

”But this a tremendous opportunity for the guys getting their shot. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael they’re ready to go and really fired up about this opportunity and are going to try and take full advantage of it.”

Carroll said he’s remained in communication with Lynch during the offseason. Lynch showed up for the mandatory minicamp in June to avoid a hefty fine, but now faces fines of $30,000 for each day of camp he misses.

Lynch made known his intentions on holding out from camp on Thursday when former teammate Michael Robinson said on NFL Network that Lynch was unhappy with the structure of his contract. Lynch can make up to $5.5 million this season in base pay and roster bonuses. It’s the third year of a four-year contract.

Lynch has been the workhorse for Seattle’s offense since his arrival via trade during the 2010 season. Lynch has 1,066 carries for 4,624 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season since joining the Seahawks.

”I’m hoping that he will be back with us,” Carroll said.

In Lynch’s place, Turbin and Michael took most of the reps at running back Friday. Turbin is entering his third season, while Michael barely saw the field last year as a rookie as he struggled with the transition between college and the NFL.

”We all wish he was here,” Michael said. ”He’s a great leader. We learn a lot from him. He’ll be back soon.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Houston WR Andre Johnson reports to camp (Yahoo Sports)

HOUSTON (AP) — Andre Johnson had some issues with the Houston Texans.

In the end, they weren’t serious enough to keep the star receiver off the field.

Johnson was all smiles when he reported to camp on time Friday. He’s looking to move past an offseason where he skipped workouts and a mandatory minicamp after wondering in May whether Houston was ”still the place for me.”

”I love playing this game of football,” Johnson said Friday. ”I’m going to play football and … I don’t plan on walking away from this.”

He wouldn’t divulge what exactly was said or done to get him to return to the team. But said he’s excited to be back with his teammates and that it’s his plan to finish his career with the Texans.

His teammates shared his enthusiasm and said he received a standing ovation and was greeted with a slow clap when he entered a meeting on Friday morning.

”He’s a huge part of our team,” left tackle Duane Brown said. ”He’s been my teammate my whole time here and is a guy that I really look up to as a professional and it was good to have him in the building.”

The 33-year-old Johnson, whose 1,407 yards receiving in 2013 ranked second in the AFC, rejoins a team that is looking to bounce back from a disastrous 2-14 season. He’s the longest-tenured Texan after joining the franchise in its second season. In that time he’s played on just three teams with winning records, fueling his frustration.

”I’ve been here 12 years. There’s been a lot of things that happened,” he said. ”I’ve never really voiced my opinion on them. I think at times there comes a time when you don’t agree with something, things need to be said. That’s pretty much what it was.”

He said his unhappiness stemmed from playing here so long and feeling that his opinions were not being heard.

”It gets frustrating,” he said. ”After what happened last year, we went 2-14 and things like that, it wasn’t only frustrating for me, I understand it was frustrating for everybody.”

He knows some fans were angry at him for skipping Houston’s offseason work, but said the people he came into contact with were overwhelmingly supportive.

”It was never nothing negative,” he said. ”I think if anybody had something negative, it was behind my back. It was nothing said to my face. It was a lot of positive things. People telling me that they’re praying for me. Things like that. They understand the way I felt.”

Johnson has been the one constant on this young franchise through three different coaching regimes, several quarterback changes and countless player moves. Houston’s first two No. 1 overall draft picks David Carr and Mario Williams have come and gone, but Johnson has remained. He’s the only player on the team to have endured both of the team’s 2-14 seasons after also playing on the 2005 squad that posted the franchise-worst mark.

After spending his career here, he knew this was where he needed to be despite his reservations about enduring what some view as another rebuilding season.

”This is my home now,” he said. ”I’ve been here for so long. I was in Miami my whole life and now I’ve been here for going on 12 years. This is my home away from home. I think I’ve I built a great foundation here and built a great relationship with the fans.”

Johnson has always been known as a hard worker and said he’ll do whatever it takes to learn coach Bill O’Brien’s new offense. He knows it will be a challenge after missing so much time, but he’s looking forward to it.

He’ll have a new quarterback this season after the Texans signed veteran free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick in the offseason after Matt Schaub was traded to Oakland.

Fitzpatrick is eager to work with Johnson.

”He’s a guy that’s well-respected, not just here but around the league,” Fitzpatrick said. ”Anytime you have somebody like that on your team it’s a great thing and he’ll be a great player like he always has (been) and a great leader for us this year.”

Several other Texans met with reporters after Johnson did on Friday, but this year’s top overall draft pick outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney was not among them. His status for the first day of camp is still unclear as he recovers from surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Roethlisberger extension will wait until 2015 (Yahoo Sports)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger is going to have to wait awhile for his next raise.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II said Friday the team won’t work on a contract extension for the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback until after the 2014 season. Roethlisberger has two years left on his current deal, when the Steelers typically like to renegotiate with Roethlisberger.

Rooney stressed the goal is to lock the 32-year-old Roethlisberger for the long term. Pittsburgh opted to push back talks to focus on players with one year remaining on their deals. Rooney added a higher salary cap in 2015 should give the Steelers more flexibility.

Roethlisberger, who maintains he wants to play his entire career in Pittsburgh, has a base salary of $12.1 million this season.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup (Yahoo Sports)

GENEVA (AP) — FIFA rejected calls to move the 2018 World Cup from Russia, saying the tournament ”can achieve positive change.”

Some lawmakers in Germany want the hosting rights reviewed because of Russia’s alleged involvement in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last week.

Political pressure on Russia increased Friday when the European Union sought to freeze assets and restrict travel for more individuals and businesses.

FIFA said in a statement it ”deplores any form of violence” and questions the purpose of relocating the showcase tournament.

”History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems,” FIFA said, adding that global attention on the World Cup ”can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments.”

The conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatist rebels escalated days after the World Cup ended in Brazil.

On July 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a World Cup handover ceremony with Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff. Both then sat next to FIFA President Sepp Blatter to watch the final at the Maracana Stadium, won by Germany.

FIFA, which has Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on its executive committee, said a World Cup in the country ”can be a force for good.”

”FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia,” the governing body said.

Blatter already rejected calls to strip Russia of the tournament after it annexed the Crimea this year.

”The World Cup has been given and voted to Russia and we are going forward with our work,” Blatter said in March.

In a separate statement Friday, Mutko said a U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics had been a mistake.

”So there’s no sense in reacting to politicians trying to make names for themselves,” Mutko was quoted saying by the Russian news agency R-Sport. ”We’re preparing in a calm way, building facilities, getting ready for the World Cup.”

Russia has announced a $20 billion budget for building and renovating 12 stadiums, and other construction projects, for the first World Cup in Eastern Europe.

Restricting Russian financial institutions’ access to European capital markets was suggested to a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels on Friday. The 28-nation bloc is scheduled to further discuss the subject Tuesday.

”FIFA has stated many times that sport should be outside politics,” Mutko said. ”Hosting an event like this, we’re doing it for athletes from all over the world, for footballers, for the fans.”

Wizards’ Wall added to US list for World Cup (Yahoo Sports)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Washington Wizards guard John Wall has been added to the U.S. player pool for this summer’s World Cup of Basketball.

The 19 players on the list will be trimmed to 12 for the tournament in Spain in late August.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin said Thursday he was pulling out. USA Basketball announced Wall’s addition Friday.

Wall averaged 19.3 points and 8.8 assists this season to earn his first All-Star appearance.

The Americans will hold a training camp in Las Vegas on July 28-Aug. 1. Other players on the list include Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul George, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love and Stephen Curry.