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Orton gets Broncos nod over Tebow

New coach John Fox said Thursday that Kyle Orton is his starting quarterback, not the popular but unpolished former Gator Tim Tebow.

That could change in camp, of course, but Tebow has a long way to go to catch up to Orton, a sixth-year pro who is a better pocket passer if not as bruising a runner.

"I don't think we'll really figure it out until we start competing," Fox said. "… Right now Kyle Orton is our starter."

Orton started the first 13 games last season but gave way to Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner, for the final three games.

Labor Status: George Cohen, the federal mediator overseeing talks said the owners and players union made "some progress" during more than 40 hours spread over seven days of meetings, but "very strong differences remain."

The league and union will resume mediation Tuesday, less than 72 hours before the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire. If there's no new deal in place by the end of Thursday, the union believes owners will lock out players, threatening the 2011 season. The NFL has said that the deadline could be extended.

"During the intervening weekend, the parties have been asked by us to assess their current positions," Cohen said.

Also, there was a hearing before a U.S. District Court judge in Minneapolis to discuss the NFLPA's complaint that the league improperly negotiated TV deals. The union accused the NFL of structuring contracts so owners would be guaranteed money from networks even if there were a lockout in 2011 — while not getting the most revenue possible in other seasons, when income would need to be shared with players.

Concussions: NFL doctors and trainers will use standardized sideline testing next season to diagnose concussions. League officials are scheduled today to unveil new guidelines by which all 32 teams use the same questions for players' baseline tests. The policy would also add a balance test to the list of other tests already being used.

Bengals: Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was sentenced to probation and 200 hours of community service under a plea deal for his role in a 2007 strip club melee in Las Vegas in which three people were injured. Jones received a suspended sentence and was ordered to receive anger management counseling. He will undergo random drug testing.

Dolphins: General manager Jeff Ireland said Chad Henne remains the starter for now, but he didn't rule out drafting a quarterback. Free agent tight end Jeremy Shockey, a former Hurricane, is being evaluated by and passed a physical for team trainers, the Miami Herald reported.

Giants: Co-owner John Mara said the team is ramping up talks to sign coach Tom Coughlin to a contract extension, Newsday reported.

Raiders: The team placed the franchise tag on linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and agreed to deals with potential free agent cornerback Stanford Routt (three years, $31.5 million) and defensive tackle John Henderson (two years, $8 million). The franchise tag guarantees Wimbley a deal projected to be worth more than $10 million.

Orton gets Broncos nod over Tebow 02/24/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 25, 2011 12:04am]

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