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Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, left, kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.

Ron Chenoy

Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall says standing up for social justice by kneeling during the national anthem before Denver's season opener was worth it even though it cost him an endorsement deal.

The Air Academy Federal Credit Union on Friday terminated its five-month-old relationship with Marshall, president and CEO Glenn Strebe said in a Facebook post.

"AAFCU is a membership-based organization who has proudly served the military community for over 60 years. While we respect Brandon's right of expression, his actions are not a representation of our organization and membership. We wish Brandon well on his future endeavours," Strebe wrote.

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Marshall said the move surprised him but he doesn't regret his actions.

"Absolutely, they're worth the consequences," Marshall said. "I lost an endorsement. It's okay, though, I figured that some type of repercussion would happen."

Marshall said he respects the military, which fought for his freedoms, including the rights of free speech and peaceful protest.

Marshall, a college teammate and fraternity brother of Colin Kaepernick, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before Denver's season opener against Carolina on Thursday night.

Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem during San Francisco's preseason games, explaining it was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States.

Marshall sounded a similar theme after Denver's 21-20 win.

"I'm not against the military, I'm not against America," he said. "I'm against social injustice."

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Wentz still hot

Carson Wentz is keeping a cool NFL streak going.

When he starts Sunday for the Eagles against the Browns, it will mark the ninth consecutive season that at least one rookie quarterback starts in Week 1, the longest string in the Super Bowl era. The last year it did not happen was 2007.

The previous longest streak in the Super Bowl era was four, from 1968-71.

Wentz went second overall in the draft to Philadelphia. The top selection, Jared Goff of the Rams, right now is a third-stringer behind Case Keenum and Sean Mannion.

Joining Wentz on the list of rooking quarterback starters this season is fourth-round pick Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys who was pressed into service when Tony Romo went down with an injury.

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Helping hands

The Minnesota Vikings, emotionally stung by the massive injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's left knee last week, have naturally rallied around the popular leader.

New acquisition Sam Bradford, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2013 and again in 2014, offered his insight about recovery from the injury, also carrying the hope that Bridgewater could be a resource for his cram session with the offence.

"I wanted to make it known that I was available and willing to talk to him about it," Bradford said, "and then I asked him if he could please be here as much as possible to help me out. I would really appreciate that, too."

Then there's coach Mike Zimmer, hired the same year Bridgewater was drafted. He has developed a strong relationship with the young quarterback. Zimmer's voice cracked a couple of times last week during a news conference to discuss Bridgewater's injury. He recently revealed a new way they've bonded as well.

Bridgewater has been a regular visitor to the trainer's room, "always a smile on his face," Zimmer said, but unable to bend his leg to complete a simple, important task. So cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Zimmer have sprung to action.

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"He can't reach his shoes, so Xav does it," Zimmer said Monday. "I was down there today, and I tied it for him. I'm the shoe-tier now."

Number change in memory of friend

Tennessee rookie Derrick Henry finally has settled on a number for the regular season, and he's wearing No. 22 in memory of his late friend and former Alabama teammate Altee Tenpenny.

The running backs knew each other from high school, competing in camps before they both went to Alabama. Tenpenny then transferred to UNLV, then Nicholls State. Henry mentioned Tenpenny, who was 20 when he was killed in a one-car crash in Mississippi in October, in his speech when he accepted the Heisman Trophy in December.

"We always talked like during practice, and I asked him if he went to the NFL what would he wear?" Henry said of Tenpenny. "He said his high school number was 22. So make sure that that dream goes on for him."

The Heisman Trophy winner wore the No. 2 he played with in college at Alabama throughout the off-season and preseason, prompting speculation over what number he would wind up with in the regular season – league rules limit running backs to between the numbers 20 and 49. The release of running back Dexter McCluster freed up No. 22 in time for Tennessee's season opener against Minnesota.

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Young-uns

Three rookies made the Bengals' receiver group, an uncharacteristic lack of experience for Cincinnati at what's been its deepest position.

Second-round pick Tyler Boyd is expected to play a lot. Sixth-round pick Cody Core and free agent Alex Erickson earned spots with impressive preseasons.

"They've proved that they can play, and we're going to need them to," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "We're going to rely on them."

The big transition is the result of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu leaving as free agents. The Bengals released receiver Brandon Tate – the franchise's punt return leader – and gave the job to Erickson, a walk-on at Wisconsin.

Big Blue Wrecking Crew

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Their nickname was melodic. Their defence was anything but.

In his new book, Jerry Barca details the making of the 1986 New York Giants, the franchise's first of four Super Bowl champions. All the key characters get into the spotlight, from the man who built the team, general manager George Young, to coach Bill Parcells to the fearsome defence built around Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, both now Hall of Famers.

Wisely, Barca doesn't examine the 1986 champions in isolation. Big Blue Wrecking Crew begins with the 1978 fumble by Joe Pisarcik that in Philadelphia became known as the "Miracle at the Meadowlands." That decision not to take a knee to clinch a victory, leading to a devastating loss, was the catalyst for a rebuilding that culminated in the Super Bowl victory over Denver for the Giants' first NFL title in 30 years.

He also pulls no punches, looking into the darker side of the franchise, including players' issues with cocaine use, and Parcells' mind games with players.

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