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Early Bird Report 5/16: Calvin Ridley's route to the NFL; Panthers sold to David Tepper

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes the hard work Calvin Ridley has put in to reach the NFL as well as the Panthers finalizing terms to sell franchise to David Tepper.



ESPN: Falcons rookie Calvin Ridley on right route to NFL success

Several NFL Draft experts believe the Falcons landed the best receiver coming out of college with the No. 26 pick in April, and there's plenty of reason for fans to be excited about the addition of Calvin Ridley to the offense.

At Alabama, Ridley displayed exceptional route-running, great top-end speed and won matchups against future NFL cornerbacks. Ridley has the tools to succeed in the NFL, but he must continue to work on his skills and learn from those around him to maximize his potential.

To determine what it is that makes Ridley such a talented receiver, ESPN's Vaughn McClure spoke with former Alabama wide receivers coach Billy Napier and Keary Colbert, a former NFL receiver and offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide.

"First of all, I think it's important to realize that Calvin is a product of a ton of hard work," Napier told McClure. "This guy is a tireless worker. And, in my opinion, a good route runner has to have great attention to detail and have to be willing to invest the time. Certainly, Calvin was one of those types of guys."

Ridley's attention to detail was apparent after his very first rookie minicamp practice with the Falcons. When speaking with the media, he explained that he felt he was playing a little too fast and wanted to focus on slowing things down both mentally and physically.

Colbert helped Ridley turn that attention to detail into success on Saturday's. While continuing to develop a well-honed arsenal of moves as a route-runner, Ridley worked with Colbert to analyze his opponents each week to find tendencies, a practice that is paramount in the NFL.

"He has an ability to make every route look like a go route with his speed, knee drive and arm action," Colbert told McClure. "He has a great ability to stop on a dime and transition in and out of his breaks. He also has great body control and suddenness. He has a knack for lulling DBs to sleep and then running right by them. Another thing that sets him apart is that he loves to practice. Practice is not a chore for Calvin. He loves perfecting his craft."

To check out the rest of McClure's piece on Ridley, click here.

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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL Panthers finalize terms to sell franchise to David Tepper

Pending approval by the league's owners in next week's spring meetings, hedge fund manager David Tepper will officially become the new owner of the Carolina Panthers.

Tepper purchased the Panthers this week for around $2.2 billion in cash(!), setting a record for the largest price tag of an NFL franchise. According to’s Jody Battista, Tepper has been the top choice among several of the owners because of his projected $11 billion net worth and the time he spent as a minority owner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, meaning he's already been vetted by the NFL.

"I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers," Tepper said in a statement. "I have learned a great deal about the community and the team over the past several months and look forward to becoming part of the Carolinas. I want to thank Jerry Richardson and the other Panthers partners for all they have done to establish and develop the NFL in the Carolinas. It has been a remarkable 25-year journey and I promise to build upon the Panthers' success on the field and in the community."

Here are some more articles from around the league:


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