Tue Aug 16 7:13pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) warms up at the NFL football team's practice facility in Eagan, Minn., Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine speaks with the media after taking part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility in Eagan, Minn., Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) runs drills during NFL football training camp in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. First-round draft pick Lewis Cine is expected to anchor Minnesota's secondary for many years to come, but rookies have to earn their way into the lineup. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King, File)
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) The path that led Lewis Cine to pro football has taken plenty of turns, with more life experiences packed into 22 years than the typical NFL rookie.
If he doesn't crack the starting lineup in time for Minnesota's season opener, well, that'll hardly be worth sweating - even for a first-round draft pick.
''Nothing is going to be handed to me. I'm going to have to work, and I definitely understand that, but I know there's a place for me on the defense,'' said Cine, who has spent the majority of training camp on the second team behind Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum. ''I know I'm going to contribute somewhere, defense and special teams, so take my spot and take my assignment and do the best way I can.''
The Vikings held Smith out of the first exhibition game at Las Vegas last week for injury precaution, a veteran privilege of sorts for a six-time Pro Bowl pick entering his 11th year in the league. Cine started that game next to Bynum, who was a bright spot as a rookie backup and spot starter last season when Xavier Woods played next to Smith in the back end.
Woods was not re-signed and Cine, the hard-hitting former Georgia star fresh off the national championship team, landed in Minnesota with the 32nd overall selection.
''He's a focused, mature young guy. He comes focused every day to get better,'' defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. ''He's learning a lot of things.''
The education process began for Cine - pronounced ''seen'' - much earlier than most of his peers. Born in Haiti when his mother was 16, Cine moved to Florida with extended family at age 4. He hopped to Massachusetts next, then Texas, living with different relatives along the way as he began to build the profile of a top prep football prospect. He wound up at Georgia and played on one of the most dominant defenses in the recent history of the sport.
Cine also has a 5-year-old daughter, Bella, whose presence prompted him to skip most of the usual college fun being had by teammates and classmates.
''The game of football can end in an instant, so I'm enjoying the journey, making relationships, basically enjoying the company of the guys that I'm doing this with,'' Cine said.
He's planning on the company of family in Minnesota with him this fall, too. His mother has been preparing to leave Chile, where she has been living. His daughter will start kindergarten. In the meantime, he's been checking out the ample lakes in the area and taken up fishing in classic fashion for a Minnesotan.
''I'm having a great time, being around the water,'' Cine said. ''It's a place to unwind and kind of take you away from the football world. Football can take a mental toll.''
His face often covered partially by his dyed dreadlocks, Cine carries himself with a palpable level of maturity and expresses himself in terms revealing a depth of human understanding developed along his winding road to the NFL.
One surprise so far?
''You can compete with someone and still talk and be friends. In college that was never the mentality. It was, 'If I'm competing with you, we ain't going to talk,'' Cine said. ''Now, I can compete with someone day in and day out, but we can still vibe, still talk, still laugh, still be cordial.''
So regardless of whether it's Bynum or Cine on the field for the first snap on Sept. 11 when the Vikings host rival Green Bay, Cine will continue to play an increasingly important part of this revamped defense under Donatell.
''You can't be mad at yourself. You have to understand that some things do take time in terms of learning new stuff. You have to take the little wins,'' Cine said. ''I have a lot of won reps and have lost some. You learn from the losses, but also not to get too down on myself and enjoy the fact that it's like, `OK, I can play with that guy. I can play with that guy.'''
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Demarcus Robinson has been released by the organization. The 27-year-old spent his first six seasons in the league with the Kansas City Chiefs. He joined the Raiders this offseason and was reportedly in the mix for the WR3 job. Now, it sounds like the Raiders have decided to move in another direction without Robinson. There should be some potential suitors out there for Robinson. He did fairly well in limited playing time with the Chiefs. Despite that, it's unlikely he'll find a landing spot where he has weekly fantasy value.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock is scheduled to make the start under center for Thursday's preseason game. Geno Smith started the first contest, so this appears to be a legitimate competition. Head coach Pete Carroll mentioned this was the plan all along for the two quarterbacks to compete during training camp. Lock has been lackluster during his first three seasons in the league. It's hard to imagine either quarterback having more value than a low-end QB2 most weeks.
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (groin) returned to the practice field on Tuesday. He missed the first preseason game and a few practices due to a minor groin issue, There's a chance that the 26-year-old does not suit up at all during the preseason. Despite that, Penny should still be safe to draft with him likely starting in Week 1. Although, Kenneth Walker III should see plenty of carries as well. These two should form a committee in the Seattle backfield, which could make their fantasy value difficult to analyze right away.
New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler (undisclosed) has been placed on the injured reserve. The 32-year-old will see his season end before it even begins. Joejuan Williams (shoulder) will also be placed on the injured reserve, so the Patriots are out two defensive backs. Butler was attempting a comeback after not being in the league during the 2021 season. Honestly, Terrance Mitchell and Jack Jones were looking like better options than Butler anyway. This will somewhat hurt the Patriots secondary, but fantasy managers shouldn't be concerned about the Patriots defense declining without them.
New England Patriots CB Malcolm Butler (undisclosed) and CB Joejuan Williams (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Aug. 16. The team also waived P Jake Julien.
Las Vegas Raiders WR Demarcus Robinson and DT Vernon Butler were released Tuesday, Aug. 16.
New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston (foot) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Aug. 16, and is still considered day-to-day. Head coach Dennis Allen indicated Winston has a chance to practice Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Fantasy Spin: Winston will be the starting quarterback this season, so the team can be cautious with him. He has played well in the past and will have good receivers to work with in the passing game. He likely will be a No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues.
Miami Dolphins CB Byron Jones (Achilles) hopefully will be ready for Week 1, but he will not return to the field until he is completely healthy, according to head coach Mike McDaniel.
Cleveland Browns DT Sheldon Day was released Tuesday, Aug. 16. The team also waived/injured OT Elijah Nkansah (undisclosed).
Buffalo Bills LB Marquel Lee and CB Tim Harris were released Tuesday, Aug. 16.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley 'has looked the best he has in years,' according to ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan. Per Raanan, 'his workload will be huge ... as long as he is healthy.'
Fantasy Spin: Workload has rarely ever been a concern for Barkley when he has been active, but his ability to stay on the field has in recent years. With that said, Barkley is two years removed from his ACL injury and completely over last year's fluky ankle sprain, so he may be in his best spot to deliver for his fantasy managers since his rookie year - especially if Raanan ends up being correct about the strength of the Giants' offensive line is its run-blocking. Barkley has legitimate overall RB1 upside this season.
The San Francisco 49ers released defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche on Tuesday. Nkemdiche was only with the team for three weeks before being shown the door at training camp. The 27-year-old will try to latch on with another organization before the start of the regular season. Nkemdiche was originally a first-round selection by the Arizona Cardinals in 2016 out of the University of Mississippi. He played in nine games for the Seattle Seahawks last year, recording 15 tackles (seven solo) and a pass defensed. In his five-year NFL career, Nkemdiche has racked up 59 tackles (33 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 11 QB hits, 4.5 sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for a touchdown in 38 games (six starts).
The Tennessee Titans claimed defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday, according to a source. The Chiefs waived Johnson on Monday, but he'll quickly latch on with the Titans. Kansas City acquired the 26-year-old cornerback from the Houston Texans in May for a 2024 conditional seventh-round pick. The 26-year-old former second-round pick in 2019 had 55 tackles (38 solo), three interceptions and six passes defensed in 14 games (seven starts) in 2021 in his third year in Houston. Johnson will provide Tennessee with defensive back depth heading into the 2022 regular season.
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson's arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday was deemed a success, according to a source. There were no surprises from the original diagnosis. The Jets won't put Wilson back on the field until he's 100 percent healthy. There was a chance that the 23-year-old needed a full meniscus repair, which could have kept him out for the entire season, but instead he only needed a meniscus trim. He could be back on the field in two to four weeks and be ready for the regular season, but fantasy managers shouldn't get their hopes up. San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo remains available in a trade, but the Jets don't appear intent on making a move. They have confidence that veteran Joe Flacco can fill in under center until Wilson is ready to return.
Tennessee Titans RB Jordan Wilkins, DB Deante Burton, DL Haskell Garrett, WR Joshua Malone and OL Carson Green were waived Tuesday, Aug. 16.
San Francisco 49ers DL Robert Nkemdiche was released Tuesday, Aug. 16.
New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas (knee) 'is going to be ready to go' (when the season starts) and we're excited about that,' according to head coach Dennis Allen.
Fantasy Spin: Allen's excitement would suggest that he expects to have Thomas healthy for a full season after the latter dealt with ankle injuries for consecutive seasons. The days of Thomas drawing 145-plus targets are probably gone with Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry joining the roster this season, but he is certainly more than capable of serving as a strong WR2 option at worst in fantasy if he stays on the field in 2022.
Washington Commanders CB De'Vante Bausby, CB Troy Apke and OG Deion Calhoun were released Tuesday, Aug. 16. The Commanders also placed FB Alex Armah (undisclosed) and TE Sammis Reyes (undisclosed) on the Reserve/Injured list with undisclosed injuries.
Minnesota Vikings LB Andre Mintze and FB Jake Bargas were waived Tuesday, Aug. 16. The Vikings also waived DL Tyarise Stevenson (undisclosed) and WR Thomas Hennigan (undisclosed) with an injury designation and released CB Tye Smith.