NFL Notes: Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott Interacts With Fans, Shuns Media as Issues Swirl

OXNARD, Calif. -- Ezekiel Elliott stopped for a few moments to greet military personnel and pose for a few pictures on the opening day of training camp.

Just like that, the star running back of the Dallas Cowboys darted out of a large crowd of reporters and ran toward a fence to sign a few autographs.

Last year's NFL rushing leader as a rookie isn't talking to media members because of lingering issues off the field, but Elliott is still hamming it up with adoring fans. And he's also going through complete workouts a year after a hamstring issue limited his time in camp.

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"I'm not even worrying about Zeke because that guy loves football," said receiver Dez Bryant, who had his share of trouble upon entering the league in 2010.

"I understand it's more than football. He's got a great supporting cast and he can't lose with guys like us around him" (see full story).

Jets: Whitehead claimed off waiversafter identity snafu
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets claimed wide receiver-kick returner Lucky Whitehead on Wednesday, two days after the Cowboys cut him following a shoplifting charge in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

A man used Whitehead's identity to steal $40 worth of food and drink from a Virginia convenience store in June. Dallas released him Monday after reports that Whitehead was arrested and subsequently cited for missing a court hearing.

The Jets, desperate for help at receiver, claimed the three-year veteran and waived receiver Devin Street.

Whitehead appeared in 30 games the past two seasons with the Cowboys. He averaged 25.6 yards on 33 kick returns and 6.9 yards on 44 punt returns, and had nine receptions as a reserve receiver.

When the charges against Whitehead were announced, his agent, Dave Rich, contended that his client wasn't in Virginia at the time of the reported arrest. Police subsequently said they are seeking the person who used the identity of Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr., the receiver's given name.

Whitehead could file a grievance with the players' union about his release (see full story).

Browns: Top pick Garrett ready for camp
BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns already have their first win: Myles Garrett is ready for training camp.

The rookie defensive end and No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft has recovered from a foot sprain and will be on the field Thursday when Cleveland opens camp following a miserable 1-15 season.

Garrett suffered a left lateral foot sprain while rushing quarterback Brock Osweiler during minicamp in June. He was placed in a walking boot and there was some concern that he might be sidelined for an extensive period.

However, coach Hue Jackson said Wednesday that Garrett is "totally healthy" and will be on the field for the team's first workout. Garrett will be monitored during practices and it's possible he could be kept out of some drills.

"We will definitely monitor him but I think he's totally healthy, maybe hasn't done all the conditioning that you like to see right before training camp," Jackson said. "But I think he's up to speed and ready to go. And he's looking forward to it" (see full story).

Vikings: Pro Bowl DE Griffen gets extension
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings have signed two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen to a contract extension.

Griffen's deal was done Wednesday, when veteran players reported to training camp at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

Griffen's previous contract, which was signed in 2014, had two years remaining. Griffen has 48 sacks in seven seasons with the Vikings, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2010 out of USC. His tenure is the second longest on the team. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2014, Griffen has 30 sacks, the fifth most in the league during that span (see full story).

Falcons: Divers search lake for Jones' $100K-plus earring
GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- An NFL star's diamond earring valued at more than $100,000 is now presumed lost on the murky bottom of a Georgia lake.

WXIA-TV reported Tuesday that Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones lost it when he hit a boat wake and took a spill while jet skiing in Lake Lanier, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) outside Atlanta.

He resurfaced but his pricey earring didn't.

SCUBA divers have been searching the lake bottom, hoping to capture a flashlight's reflection off the jewelry amid old trees that have been submerged since the man-made lake's creation in the 1950s.

So far, no luck.

Falcons training camp begins Thursday and goes through Aug. 4. The first preseason game is Aug. 26 against the Arizona Cardinals, the grand opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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