NFL and NCAA Football News

Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

The Denver Broncos signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year contract on Friday evening.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $21 million with $10 million guaranteed.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

Callahan started 10 of 13 games played last season and recorded 45 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and defended six passes. He missed the final three games of the season after he broke his left foot in the Bears’ 15-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a Sunday night game.

Also Friday, the Broncos announced they have re-signed tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was a free agent following the 2018 season. Multiple sources report the two-year deal is worth $9 million.

The four-year veteran — who missed his entire rookie season to a torn ACL — is coming off his best professional season to date. The 26-year-old recorded 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games (10 starts) in 2018 before going on injured reserve with broken ribs.

Heuerman has missed 27 games to injury through four seasons since being drafted in the third round in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

The Denver Broncos have signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year, $21 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday evening.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

Callahan started 10 of 13 games played last season and recorded 45 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and defended six passes. He missed the final three games of the season after he broke his left foot in the Bears’ 15-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a Sunday night game.

Also Friday, the Broncos announced they have re-signed tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was a free agent following the 2018 season. Multiple sources report the two-year deal is worth $9 million.

The three-year veteran is coming off his best professional season to date. Last season, the 26-year-old recorded 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games (10 starts).

–Field Level Media

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Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

The Ryan Tannehill trade by the Miami Dolphins to the Tennessee Titans on Friday apparently gave Colin Kaepernick some ideas.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback expressed interest in replacing Tannehill as the starting quarterback in Miami, according to a CBS Sports report.

Kaepernick is “training hard and ready to play,” a source close to the onetime star told CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora. The source indicated that the Miami job interests Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has not been an active player in the NFL since the 2016 season, having gone unsigned in free agency during the past two seasons after opting out of a contract with the 49ers.

In February, he settled a collusion grievance with the NFL. Kaepernick filed his grievance in October 2017, alleging collusion by NFL owners to keep him out of the league.

A number of owners, executives, coaches and other figures were deposed as part of the grievance, and a motion by the NFL to have the grievance dismissed was denied in August.

Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice created controversy throughout the country in 2016.

While compiling a 28-30 record as the 49ers starting quarterback from 2012-16, he led them to a Super Bowl XLVII appearance after the 2012 season.

–Field Level Media

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NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

The Miami Dolphins traded

NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

The Miami Dolphins traded quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans on Friday, receiving a 2020 fourth-round pick and 2019 seventh-rounder while also sending a 2019 sixth-rounder to Tennessee.

Tannehill restructured his existing contract and will have a fully guaranteed one-year, $7 million deal with the Titans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, $5 million of which will be paid by the Dolphins. The value could climb to $12 million with performance incentives. The QB was previously due a base salary of $18.75 million in 2019.

Tannehill, 30, started 11 games in 2018 and completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,979 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He missed five games with an injured throwing shoulder.

To make room for Tannehill, the Titans released quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

–Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, NFL Network reported.

Bortles, a 2014 first-round pick, was released earlier this week after the Jaguars signed Nick Foles. Incumbent Rams backup Sean Mannion is a free agent, leaving an opening behind Jared Goff.

— The Denver Broncos signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year. ESPN reports the deal is worth $21 million, with $10 million guaranteed.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

The Broncos also re-signed starting tight end Jeff Heuerman on a two-year deal worth a reported $9 million.

–Cornerback Ronald Darby will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced.

According to multiple outlets, the deal is worth $8.5 million.

Darby had one interception in nine games last season before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11. It hasn’t yet been determined if he will be healthy by the start of the 2019 season.

–New England is releasing defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a move that clears about $4 million in cap space.

Clayborn, 30, broke the news on Twitter and thanked the Patriots for granting his release.

–Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has come out of retirement to sign with the Washington Redskins.

Rodgers-Cromartie retired midseason with the Oakland Raiders last season before deciding this spring to return.

–The Titans are releasing right guard Josh Kline, one year after signing him to a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

NFL Network reported the 29-year-old veteran declined to take a pay cut. Releasing him saves $3.25 million while leaving $3.5 million in dead money.

–The Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent guard John Miller to a three-year contract. The deal is worth $16.5 million, according to multiple reports.

The Bengals also brought former Cleveland Browns and Patriots defensive tackle Danny Shelton in for a visit, according to ESPN.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added former Broncos outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett on a one-year deal worth a reported $5 million.

The team also signed guard Earl Watford, per multiple reports, and re-signed cornerback De’Vante Harris and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

–The San Francisco 49ers released defensive end Cassius Marsh, saving $4.7 million against the cap in 2019.

Marsh had 5.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits last season but was apparently deemed expendable after the acquisition of Pro Bowler Dee Ford earlier this week.

The 49ers also re-signed linebacker Mark Nzeocha, per the team, and restricted free agent running back Raheem Mostert, per his agent, on three-year deals.

–The Los Angeles Chargers retained safety Adrian Phillips on a one-year deal. Phillips was a Pro Bowler in 2018 as a special teamer.

–The New York Giants are likely to sign former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Mike Remmers, his agent said. Remmers was primarily a right tackle before switching to guard last season.

Meanwhile, the Giants signed defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, who had 5.5 sacks under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher when both were with the Cardinals in 2017.

–The New Orleans Saints signed former New York Giants defensive lineman Mario Edwards on a two-year deal. The contract is worth $5 million with up to $1.5 million additional in incentives, per Pro Football Talk.

–The Baltimore Ravens signed former Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Justin Bethel to a two-year deal. Bethel made three Pro Bowls from 2013-15 as a special teamer.

–The Green Bay Packers re-signed restricted free agent wideout Geronimo Allison on a one-year deal, CBS Sports reported.

Per the report, the deal will pay Allison more than his restricted free agent tender and has additional incentives, after other teams expressed interest in the 25-year-old.

–The Raiders signed speedster wideout J.J. Nelson and defensive end Josh Mauro, while re-signing linebacker Jason Cabinda and guard Chaz Green.

Mauro’s one-year deal is reportedly worth $1.4 million.

–Former Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard is visiting the Kansas City Chiefs, per multiple reports.

–The New York Jets signed former kicker Chandler Catanzaro, after Pro Bowler Jason Myers left in free agency.

–The Browns signed former Houston Texans right tackle Kendall Lamm to a two-year deal worth $7 million, per the Houston Chronicle.

–The Texans signed former Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun on a one-year deal worth a reported $900,000. Houston also worked out former Bengals second-round offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who is trying to transition to tight end.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim.

–The Bears signed former Falcons wideout/returner Marvin Hall to a one-year deal.

–Former Saints offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod visited the Carolina Panthers but left without a deal, per multiple reports.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los

Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, NFL Network reported Friday evening.

The Jaguars released Bortles on Wednesday, less than two hours after officially signing free agent Nick Foles.

The Rams have an opening behind starter Jared Goff, with incumbent backup Sean Mannion an unrestricted free agent.

Bortles, who turns 27 next month, signed a three-year, $54 million extension with the Jaguars last offseason, but he threw for 2,718 yards, 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while going 3-9 as a starter before being benched for Cody Kessler. Jacksonville was willing to eat $16.5 million in dead money from Bortles’ contract to move on from him this offseason.

A first-round pick in 2014, Bortles has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 17,646 yards, 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions in his career, with a passer rating of 80.6 and a record of 24-49.

–Field Level Media

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OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

New head coach Bruce Arians is bringing

OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

New head coach Bruce Arians is bringing a familiar face to Tampa Bay, with the Buccaneers signing offensive lineman Earl Watford to a one-year deal on Saturday.

Watford, who spent last season with the Cleveland Browns, was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and spent his first five seasons playing for Arians.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Watford joins a Buccaneers offensive line that has four returning starters.

He’ll likely get a shot at the open right guard position, but he can provide flexibility across the line.

Watford, 28, has played both guard spots and right tackle over his NFL career, which spans 55 games and 22 starts.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

The Jacksonville Jaguars stayed busy in free agency, announcing the signings of wide receiver Chris Conley and offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi on Saturday.

The moves follow the Jaguars’ big free-agent splash when they signed former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles on Wednesday.

Contract terms for the two players were not announced.

Conley, 26, played for the Kansas City Chiefs over his first four seasons, making 104 catches for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns. He emerged as a scoring target for Patrick Mahomes last season, catching 32 passes for 334 yards and five touchdowns.

Conley and Foles were teammates in Kansas City in 2016, and the wide receiver cited the signing of Foles as a big factor in his decision.

“There was opportunity here to begin with, but then the addition of him at quarterback … that sealed the deal for me,” Conley said.

Ogbuehi figures to replace offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, who was released as part of the Jaguars’ efforts to free up money for Foles.

Ogbuehi, 26, started 25 of 35 games over his first four seasons, all with the Cincinnati Bengals, but appeared in just two games last season. A Texas A&M product, he was the Bengals’ first-round draft pick in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett ‘told me I should just quit’

Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett 'told me I should just quit'

Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett ‘told me I should just quit’

When suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving shared a post – in which he appeared to be smoking marijuana – on Instagram and announced his retirement last week, it was with coach Jason Garrett’s encouragement, he said.

“He told me I should just quit, smoke all the weed I want, the team didn’t need me,” Irving told USA Today in an interview. “I’m a distraction to the team.

“He views marijuana as a drug, whereas I view it as a medicine. It’s not a good situation.”

Two weeks ago, the NFL suspended Irving indefinitely for a third violation of its policy regarding banned drugs.

“Basically, guys, I quit,” Irving said in his post. “I don’t want to talk about a suspension and all this other nonsense. I’m outta there. I’m not doing this (junk) no more. You know, it’s a lot of reasons.

Now, he said, rather than give up the drug, he will make his living through it. He already has an agreement to market two products — cannabidiol pre-rolls (joints) and cannabidiol vape pens.

Irving said he suffers from mental illnesses that he attributes to football and that players should have the option to treat their ailments with cannabis.

“People need to understand I’m not doing this – I didn’t quit football to smoke weed,” Irving said. “That would be idiotic. I understand that.

“It’s about wellness, about rights. People need to understand that.”

While the Cowboys didn’t respond to USA Today’s request for comment, Irving said owner Jerry Jones understands him.

“Basically, Jerry, he is supportive of me,” Irving said. “He understands my situation and what I was dealing with. Our hands were pretty much tied. His hands were tied.”

Irving, 25, spent the past four seasons with the Cowboys after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State. He appeared in 37 games (10 starts) and recorded 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and 56 tackles. Irving played in just two games in 2018, notching one sack.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

New Orleans Saints center Max Unger retired Saturday in a surprising development, multiple outlets reported.

Unger, who turns 33 next month, completed his 10th NFL season and earned his third Pro Bowl selection in 2018. He had one year left on a three-year, $22 million contract and was set to earn $5.1 million in base salary in 2019.

With his help, New Orleans ranked third in the league last year in scoring at 31.5 points per game and Drew Brees was only sacked 17 times, fewest of any quarterback in the NFL with at least 10 starts.

Unger started 130 regular season and 12 postseason games with the Seattle Seahawks (2009-14) and Saints (2015-18).

He missed only one of the Saints’ 64 games over the past four seasons. He led the team with 1,013 offensive snaps in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald Darby will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a one-year deal on Friday, the team announced.

According to spotrac.com, the deal is worth $8.5 million.

Darby had one interception in nine games last season before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11. It hasn’t yet been determined if he will be healthy by the start of the 2019 season.

Darby totaled four interceptions in 17 games over two seasons with the Eagles after being acquired from the Buffalo Bills. He played in just eight games in 2017 after suffering a dislocated ankle in September.

Darby was a second-round pick in 2015 by the Bills. He had two interceptions in 29 games with Buffalo.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

The Pittsburgh Steelers will release safety Morgan Burnett on April 1, his agent, Kevin Conner, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Burnett asked the team in January to release him before free agency.

Burnett indicated he wants to join a team that will use him in a pure safety role, after playing what he believes was out of position at dime linebacker in Pittsburgh, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported at the time.

Burnett, 30, joined the Steelers on a three-year, $14.4 million deal as a free agent last March, but he started just two of 11 games in 2018 as the third safety. Sean Davis primarily played free safety, with rookie first-round draft pick Terrell Edmunds taking the strong safety spot and Burnett playing in sub packages, logging 55.7 percent of the defensive snaps.

The Steelers reportedly told Burnett that the delay in releasing him is due to accounting issues. Burnett is set to count just under $6.5 million against the cap in 2019. His release would save Pittsburgh about $3.6 million in cap space, while bringing a $2.8 million dead-money hit.

After eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Burnett registered 30 tackles and six passes defensed in his first season with the Steelers in 2018. In 113 career games (104 starts), he has 747 tackles, 50 passes defensed and nine interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject a conditional plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors on charges of soliciting prostitution, sources told CNN on Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, any defendant who accepts the deal must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, told CNN the offer was standard for first-time offenders, and that none of the people charged had accepted as of Wednesday morning.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The charges came in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Edmondson told CNN, however, that those misdemeanor charges generally result in no more than a 60-day sentence in county jail.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

Report: Kraft's team seeks to suppress evidence

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress

Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress video evidence that authorities assert support the solicitation of prostitution charges filed against him, ESPN reported Wednesday.

ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn said a motion filed Wednesday by Kraft’s attorneys is intended to make sure the video, which he said has been described as “graphic and damning,” never is released. He added it is a “warning shot” to prosecutors that Kraft’s team will challenge that police had probable cause even to collect the video as evidence.

That news comes after a source told CNN on Wednesday that Kraft will reject a conditional plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors to settle the case.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, any defendant who accepts the deal must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, told CNN the offer was standard for first-time offenders, and that none of the people charged had accepted as of Wednesday morning.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The charges came in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Edmondson told CNN, however, that those misdemeanor charges generally result in no more than a 60-day sentence in county jail.

–Field Level Media

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Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Ohio State held

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Ohio State held its Pro Day on Wednesday, and defensive end Nick Bosa was there just to talk.

Bosa, the potential No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL draft, did not participate with the rest of the Buckeyes’ pro hopefuls after performing well in drill work at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

“I just trust the people who advise me. They told me it was unimportant,” Bosa told the NFL Network about Pro Day. “I’m here to meet all the teams that want to meet with me, and that’s what’s really important. I’m just doing what I’m told.”

He said he had meetings scheduled later Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the New York Giants, who pick sixth. He interviewed with all the top teams at the combine, including Arizona, which picks first.

Bosa said he will have further discussions with the Cardinals, who might otherwise be focusing on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. Either way, Bosa is expected to be in high demand at the top of the draft.

“I have a lot of visits coming up, so my next three weeks are super busy, flying all over the place, meeting with teams,” he said.

His message to those teams?

“Just how much I love the game and how much I want to continue to get better,” he said.

“Obviously, there is a lot of doubt with how long it has been since I played. But I have played this game my whole life and I have put on film the player that I am, and if the film isn’t good enough, I don’t know what else I could have done.”

His junior season ended early because of a bilateral core muscle injury. He had 29 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks, in 29 career games for the Buckeyes.

Bosa (6-foot-4, 266 pounds) put up 29 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press at the combine, had a 33.5-inch vertical and ran a 4.79 40-yard dash. All those numbers were better than what his brother, Joey, a Los Angeles Chargers defensive end, did at the combine before being selected No. 3 overall by the franchise in the 2016 draft.

He said when he’s not meeting with teams across the country, he’s training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his brother. But he doesn’t brag about the combine results.

“I was not the happiest my with 40 anyway,” he said. “So there is no trash talk at all.”

Bosa told ESPN he would love to play with edge rusher Dee Ford, acquired by the San Francisco 49ers in a trade this month with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He played a bunch with my brother,” Bosa said. “I’ve seen him a lot.”

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin underwent shoulder and knee surgeries after last season, but his medical problems might not all be fixed.

He told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Wednesday that “more surgeries on the way, most likely,” while the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo cited a source to report that Baldwin is scheduled to meet with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in early April about a potential sports hernia.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said at the NFL Scouting Combine late last month that Baldwin was expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but another surgery could change expectations.

Baldwin, 30, missed two games in September with the knee injury, which bothered him even before the start of the season. His shoulder problem arose later in the campaign.

In 13 regular-season games last season, Baldwin caught 50 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns. Baldwin had three receptions for 32 yards in a playoff defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in January. He is entering his ninth season with Seattle.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

The Chicago Bears

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

The Chicago Bears re-signed two players Wednesday — starting punter Patrick O’Donnell and reserve quarterback Tyler Bray.

O’Donnell, 28, has been the team’s punter for the past five seasons after being selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Miami. He has a franchise-best career average of 44.9 yards per punt and set the team’s single-season record of 47.0 in 2017.

O’Donnell averaged 45.0 yards last season on 62 attempts, tying a career high with 28 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Bray, 27, spent much of the 2018 season on the practice squad in his first season in Chicago and figures to go to camp as the third-stringer. He spent his first five NFL seasons with the Chiefs, appearing in one game and attempting one pass.

–Field Level Media

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Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Quarterback Trevor Siemian

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Quarterback Trevor Siemian has agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Jets, his agent said on social media Wednesday.

Siemian, expected to provide an experienced backup to second-year pro Sam Darnold in 2019, will earn $2 million, with another potential $1 million in incentives, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. The Jets also have 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, who has yet to attempt an NFL pass.

Siemian spent all of last season on Minnesota’s active roster, although he did not play as Kirk Cousins’ backup after the Vikings acquired him in a trade with Denver last March.

Siemian, 27, started 24 games for the Broncos over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, passing for 5,686 yards and 30 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

He was a seventh-round pick out of Northwestern in 2015 and appeared in one game, without a pass attempt, as a rookie in Denver.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings sign OG Kline

Vikings sign OG Kline

The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced

Vikings sign OG Kline

The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced the signing of Josh Kline, who was released last week by the Tennessee Titans.

The deal is for three years and $15.75 million, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Kline started all 46 of his games at right guard in his three seasons with Tennessee, which reportedly wanted him to take a pay cut before he entered the second season of a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

Kline joins Danny Isidora as the only guards on the Vikings’ roster with regular-season experience. Minnesota previously released guard Mike Remmers, and guards Tom Compton and Nick Easton moved on in free agency.

Kline, 29, spent his first three NFL seasons with New England (2013-15), making 18 starts in 33 regular-season games.

–Field Level Media

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Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

Haskins' Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

There is plenty of buzz

Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

There is plenty of buzz about the New York Giants potentially selecting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the sixth pick in the NFL Draft. The team’s biggest decision-makers received up-close looks in recent days.

Much of the team’s top brass — including head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula, senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara — took Haskins to dinner Tuesday night and then studied his on-field drills at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day on Wednesday.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network summed up the action: “Strong workout for Haskins. Improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball.”

Haskins could be the choice if New York is ready to try to draft the replacement for Eli Manning, but there could be competition as other quarterback-needy teams assess their draft position. Haskins said he would soon meet with the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 pick), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), the Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and the Washington Redskins (No. 15).

“All my NFL friends tell me it’s not how early you go, it’s where you go,” Haskins told ESPN on Wednesday.

Haskins is widely considered one of the top two quarterbacks available, along with Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, a potential No. 1 overall pick. Haskins’ best features are his pocket-passing skills, decision-making and arm strength, while Murray has electrifying athleticism (and quite a good arm, too).

Haskins ran an official 5.04-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He hoped to counter criticism of his straight-line speed with quick footwork at the Pro Day.

“You put me in any playbook, I’ll make it work,” Haskins said. “So, to be able to show off-platform throws, moving to my left, moving to my right, being able to move off spot and still be accurate, is what I wanted to show because during the season I had a couple of throws that I missed that I still remember and I worked on all offseason.

“I definitely felt like I did a good job with that.”

Haskins threw for 4,831 yards in his lone season as a starter at Ohio State, working almost exclusively from the pocket.

Said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay: “He’s the most natural passer in this year’s draft class.”

–Field Level Media

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Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was released by the Cincinnati Bengals after seven seasons, the team confirmed on its website Monday afternoon.

“As we continue to build our roster for the 2019 season, we felt it best to give both the team and Vontaze a fresh start,” said Bengals first-year head coach Zac Taylor in a statement. “Vontaze has been a good player here — the team appreciates that, and I know a lot of fans appreciate that — but our focus is on the future. Our goal is to build a successful team for the upcoming season, and we felt that making this change now was best for everyone.”

Burfict had two seasons remaining on a $33.2 million contract extension, but releasing him results in a cap charge of only $1.8 million.

Burfict managed to play in only 43 games in the past five seasons, encountering repeated head injuries — seven documented concussions — and three suspensions.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict amassed more than $4 million in on-field conduct fines. He was suspended by the NFL to start both the 2016 and 2017 seasons for violation of player-safety policies and in 2018 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He was a physical force for the Bengals in the middle of Marvin Lewis’ defense, but when the Bengals parted with Lewis, a change at linebacker was expected under Taylor.

Later on Monday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Burfict may be of interest to the Oakland Raiders, who reportedly are already hosting fellow free-agent linebackers Manti Te’o and Aaron Lynch.

Burfict had 298 tackles in his first two seasons with the team and played in every game.

Burfict, 28, was an undrafted free agent signee with Cincinnati after an All-America career at Arizona State.

A poor performance at the NFL Scouting Combine — he ran a 5.09 40-yard dash and reportedly failed a drug test — coupled with concerns about his temperament and decision-making on and off the field left Burfict looking for work after the 2012 draft.

–Field Level Media

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Texans’ Watt, Hopkins placed on PUP list

Texans' Watt, Hopkins placed on PUP list

Texans’ Watt, Hopkins placed on PUP list

The Houston Texans placed defensive end J.J. Watt and wideout DeAndre Hopkins on the active/physically unable to perform list on Sunday, indicating both players will sit out practice when training camp begins later this week.

Texans veterans report on Wednesday and begin practicing Thursday. Rookies reported Sunday.

Watt had cleanup surgery on his knee in January after Houston lost in the wild-card playoffs, but there’s no indication his recovery will threaten his regular-season availability.

Hopkins battled a shoulder injury late last season, saying after the playoff loss he tore ligaments “completely off the bone,” but reports at the time said he would not need surgery. He also fought a foot injury, but said in June he expected to be ready for training camp.

Either player can be activated anytime to facilitate a return to practice.

The Texans also placed rookie tight end Kahale Warring on the active/non-football-injury list. Warring’s injury is unknown.

A third-round pick in April, Warring is expected to compete to start for the Texans after promising work in the offseason.

The team did not announce any move regarding wideout Will Fuller, which could be good news. If Fuller is not placed on the PUP list, he would be able to practice immediately after missing all of the team’s offseason work during his recovery from a torn ACL.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Chargers’ Gordon demands new deal or trade

NFL notebook: Chargers' Gordon demands new deal or trade

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will

NFL notebook: Chargers’ Gordon demands new deal or trade

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will not report to training camp without a new contract, ESPN reported Thursday.

Gordon also reportedly told the Chargers that failure to reach agreement on a contract would result in a trade demand. Gordon’s agent, Fletcher Smith, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter of the holdout and trade scenarios on Thursday.

The Chargers are scheduled to open training camp July 25.

Gordon signed a four-year, $10.67 million deal as a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and in April, the Chargers exercised their fifth-year option for $5.61 million for 2019. The 26-year-old, who has 38 touchdowns over the past three seasons, did not attend voluntary workouts with the Chargers but did report to minicamp in June.

–Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Kendrick Norton was ticketed in the July 4 crash that led to the amputation of his left arm, ESPN reported.

ESPN, which obtained a copy of the report from the Florida Highway Patrol, said Norton was cited with an improper lane change. He suddenly pulled his F-250 truck in front of a Maserati and clipped it, sending his car into a concrete barrier.

The Maserati driver was not injured. The report said drugs or alcohol were not believed to be involved in the accident.

–New Orleans Saints rookie defensive end Carl Granderson was taken into custody during a court date and ordered to serve six months in jail by the presiding judge, who refused to accept a plea deal entered in his sexual assault case.

Granderson pleaded not guilty in April to one count of third-degree sexual assault and another count of sexual battery. He agreed to a plea deal that would have reduced the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor count of unlawful contact and canceled a jury trial that was scheduled to start Monday.

However, Judge Tori Kricken of the Albany County (Wyo.) District Court called off the deal and remanded him to jail immediately. The judge also assigned a one-year jail sentence on the sexual battery charge, which will be suspended upon completion of the six-month jail term. It will be converted to one year of supervised probation.

–Former New York Jets coach Walt Michaels has died. He was 89.

According to the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Michaels died Wednesday in his hometown of Swoyersville in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Michaels’ daughter, Mary Ann, told the newspaper that Michaels died six years to the day after his wife, Betty, passed away on July 10, 2013.

Michaels had a 39-47-1 record in six seasons as coach of the Jets from 1977-82. His teams reached the playoffs twice — including losing to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game in the strike-shortened 1982 season. He guided New York to a 10-5-1 record in 1981.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment

Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment

New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, who

Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment

New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, who says he was harassed by police in the driveway of his Fort Bend County home in Texas during a traffic stop in March, wants a further investigation into the incident.

Jennine Hovell-Cox, Roberts’ attorney, told USA Today Sports that she made a request to the district attorney of Fort Bend County to further investigate the sheriff’s department over the March 10 incident, when the player was pulled over for speeding.

Roberts, who is heading into his fourth season with the Patriots after they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Houston, was stopped in Richmond, a Houston suburb, allegedly for driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone. He also received a citation for not providing proof of insurance.

The dashcam video of the incident obtained by USA Today shows Roberts, 25, getting out of his sports car with his hands in the air after arriving at the driveway of his home.

“Get back in the car” Fort Bend County Sheriff deputy Adam Watkins tells Roberts.

“This is my house,” says Roberts, who does get back in his car.

Watkins, calling for backup about “the big black man,” also says, “I told him to get back in. He wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard.”

Watkins also told Roberts’ wife to return to their home after she checked to see what was happening. Charges were not officially filed.

The sheriff’s office made phone calls to Roberts to apologize for the incident and said the ticket was dismissed, according to Hovell-Cox.

“We believe that once the dashcam footage was seen by Deputy Watkins’ supervisors and realizing who Elandon is, a decision was made to halt everything,” Hovell-Cox told USA Today.

Ten days after the stop, Roberts reportedly filed a complaint, writing that he “felt so harassed I couldn’t even remember where my insurance paper was in my car.”

In a statement to USA Today, Roberts said, “Unfortunately, these types of things are happening all too often to African Americans. People are becoming desensitized to them. Being harassed in your own yard simply because you are a ‘big black man’ should never become the norm. To the person being harassed, it is frightening, disrespectful and embarrassing.

“I have no interest in any financial gain from releasing this story. My only hope is that these types of bias-based traffic stops can end and that, perhaps, other black drivers might see how to de-escalate a threatening situation.”

In a May document obtained by USA Today, Roberts’ previous complaint was dismissed by the internal affairs division of the sheriff’s office and the matter was closed. The deputy was ordered by a supervisor to “go through refresher training” on traffic stops.

–Field Level Media

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Herman claims Barbasol Championship after Kraft stumbles

Herman claims Barbasol Championship after Kraft stumbles

Jim Herman made two back-nine

Herman claims Barbasol Championship after Kraft stumbles

Jim Herman made two back-nine birdies after a rain delay on Sunday and was rewarded when Kelly Kraft stumbled late, claiming his second career PGA Tour title at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky.

Herman shot 2-under 70 to finish at 26-under 262 at Keene Trace Golf Club, one stroke ahead of Kraft, who bogeyed the par-3 16th and par-4 17th right after taking the solo lead with birdies at 14 and 15.

After a three-putt from 48 feet on 17, Kraft’s 41-foot birdie try at 18 missed. Herman then two-putted from 23 feet, finishing with a tap-in to clinch the victory.

Herman, 41, was limited to nine events in 2018 by a foot injury and missed the cut in 16 of his previous 19 events this year, with no finishes higher than 43rd before Sunday’s victory.

“Obviously the last couple years have been a little lean,” he said afterward on Golf Channel. “A lot of missed cuts, and I never lost hope, but what are you gonna say? This was a great week. I always wanted to win a second one.”

Herman’s previous title came at the Houston Open in 2016. Coincidentally, both of his victories have come two weeks after he played a round with current U.S. President Donald Trump, who Herman said gave him putting advice two weeks ago that helped him this week.

“He’s a busy man, but I think I need to see him again here sometime soon,” Herman said of Trump with a smile. “… He motivates me and puts me in a good spot.”

Both players in the final pairing cooled off after a scorching Saturday, in which Herman shot a 62 and Kraft broke the course record with 61.

Herman was 1 under on the seventh hole when play was stopped due to weather. He then bogeyed No. 9 to fall level with Kraft, who had eagled at the par-5 fifth to get to 1 under on the day. Both players birdied the 11th before Kraft took the outright lead at 14, and both birdied 15 before Kraft’s back-to-back bogeys.

Austria’s Sepp Straka shot a 66 to claim third alone at 23 under, while Australia’s Matt Jones tied the low round of the day with a 63 to tie Austin Cook (70) for fourth.

Scotland’s Martin Laird, who also shot 63, was among three tied for sixth at 21 under.

–Field Level Media

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Broncos jump on Chargers, hang on for Fangio’s first win

Broncos jump on Chargers, hang on for Fangio's first win

Broncos jump on Chargers, hang on for Fangio’s first win

Phillip Lindsay rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown Sunday as the Denver Broncos upset the Los Angeles Chargers 20-13 in Carson, Calif., presenting Vic Fangio with his first win as an NFL coach.

Denver (1-4) led 17-0 at halftime and did just enough to hold off Los Angeles (2-3) after the break. Its only points in the second half came on Brandon McManus’ 46-yard field goal with 1:55 remaining, providing a 20-10 lead.

Rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin drew the Chargers within seven points on a 32-yard field goal with 10 seconds left, but the Broncos recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the outcome.

Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 14 of 20 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Denver, which outgained Los Angeles 350-246.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers endured a rough day, hitting on 32 of 48 passes for just 211 yards and tossing two interceptions. Los Angeles had two turnovers inside the 2-yard line, fumbling out the end zone and throwing an interception in the end zone from the 2.

The Broncos thoroughly dominated the first half, beginning with the afternoon’s first possession. The Broncos ripped off a 75-yard drive in seven plays, capped when Lindsay scored on a 4-yard run just 3:54 into the game.

It became 14-0 with 4:58 to play in the quarter when Flacco and Courtland Sutton combined for a 70-yard touchdown pass, the kind of big play Denver’s offense didn’t produce often enough during an 0-4 start to the season. Its longest play entering the day was 53 yards.

McManus upped the margin to 17-0 with a 40-yard field goal with 5:17 left in the first half. The Broncos’ defense made the lead last into halftime, coming up with a goal-line stand as Kareem Jackson forced an Austin Ekeler fumble inside the 1-yard line on fourth-and-goal after he caught Rivers’ pass. The ball went out the end zone for a touchback.

The Chargers frittered away another great chance in the third quarter when Rivers tossed an interception to Alexander Johnson in the end zone. But Desmond King got the Chargers on the board with 31 seconds remaining in the third, returning a Colby Wadman punt 68 yards for a touchdown.

–Field Level Media

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Buccaneers add two women to coaching staff

Buccaneers add two women to coaching staff

The Tampa

Buccaneers add two women to coaching staff

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added two women as full-time coaches Wednesday.

Maral Javadifar will take on the role as assistant strength and conditioning coach and Lori Locust as assistant defensive line coach, making them the first full-time female coaches in Buccaneers history and making the team the first in the NFL with two female coaches on staff.

“I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said in a team statement. “Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity.

“The Glazer family and our general manager, Jason Licht, were extremely supportive of my decision, and I know Maral and Lori will be great additions to my coaching staff.

“I have known Lori going back to my days at Temple University and I’ve seen firsthand just how knowledgeable and passionate she is about this game. I was equally impressed with Maral’s background in performance training and physical therapy and I know she will be a valuable asset to our strength and conditioning program.”

Javadifar most recently worked as a physical therapist at Avant Physical Therapy in Seattle, after completing her sports physical therapy residency at Virginia Commonwealth University last August.

Javadifar played basketball at Pace University in New York City. A native of Queens, N.Y., she earned a degree in molecular biology from Pace, before getting a doctor of physical therapy degree from New York Medical College.

Locust was working as the defensive line coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football during the league’s inaugural season this year.

In 2018, Locust served as a defensive coaching intern for the Baltimore Ravens during the team’s training camp and, from 2017-18, worked as a defensive line/linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator of the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League.

Locust worked as an assistant coach from 2010-18 at her high school alma mater, Susquehanna Township High School in Harrisburg, Pa. She also was an assistant coach with the Central Penn Piranha, a semi-professional team in Harrisburg from 2013-16, the DMV Elite semi-pro team from 2016-18 and the Keystone Assault of the Women’s Football Alliance from 2017-18.

Locust began her coaching career following four years as a player in women’s semi-pro football. She attended Temple University.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Kraft reportedly wants to block alleged video release

NFL notebook: Kraft reportedly wants to block alleged video release

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is

NFL notebook: Kraft reportedly wants to block alleged video release

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress video evidence that authorities assert support the solicitation of prostitution charges filed against him, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Per the report, a motion was filed Wednesday by Kraft’s attorneys with intentions to make sure the video, which he said has been described as “graphic and damning,” never is released. The report calls the motion a “warning shot” to prosecutors that Kraft’s team will challenge that police had probable cause even to collect the video as evidence.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial, along with other stipulations. CNN reported Wednesday Kraft will reject the offer.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

–Much of the New York Giants’ top brass — including head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara — took Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to dinner Tuesday night, then studied his on-field drills at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day the following day.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network summed up the action: “Strong workout for Haskins. Improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball.”

Haskins could be the choice if New York is ready to try to draft the replacement for Eli Manning with the No. 6 overall pick, but there could be competition as other quarterback-needy teams assess their draft positions. Haskins said he would soon meet with the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 pick), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), the Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and the Washington Redskins (No. 15).

–Also in Columbus, potential No. 1 overall pick Nick Bosa did not participate in on-field drills after performing well in drill work at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

He said he had meetings scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the Giants. He also interviewed with all the top teams at the combine, including Arizona, which picks first. Bosa had 29 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks, in 29 career games for the Buckeyes.

–Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle that “more surgeries (are) on the way, most likely,” while the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo cited a source in saying that Baldwin will meet with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in early April about a potential sports hernia.

Baldwin, 30, missed two games in September with a knee injury and a shoulder problem arose later in the campaign. He had surgeries to address both issues this offseason.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added two women as assistant coaches, making them the first full-time female coaches in team history and making the Bucs the first NFL team with two female coaches on staff. Maral Javadifar will take on the role as assistant strength and conditioning coach as Lori Locust will be an assistant defensive line coach.

–Quarterback Trevor Siemian has agreed to a reported one-year deal worth $2 million with the New York Jets. Siemian spent all of last season on Minnesota’s active roster, although he did not play as Kirk Cousins’ backup after the Vikings acquired him in a trade with Denver last March. Siemian, 27, started 24 games for the Broncos over the 2016 and ’17 seasons, passing for 5,686 yards and 30 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

–The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced the signing of Josh Kline, who was released last week by the Tennessee Titans. The deal is for three years and $15.75 million, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. … The Chicago Bears re-signed punter Patrick O’Donnell and backup quarterback Tyler Bray.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles bring back DE Curry

Eagles bring back DE Curry

Defensive end Vinny Curry

Eagles bring back DE Curry

Defensive end Vinny Curry returned to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, agreeing to a deal following one season away from the team.

Curry played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.

Curry, 30, was released by the Buccaneers in March in a cap-savings move. Tampa shaved $8 million off of its 2019 cap in the transaction.

Curry won the Super Bowl with the Eagles two years ago and helps add depth to a defensive line that subtracted Michael Bennett (via trade to the New England Patriots) and Haloti Ngata (retirement).

Curry had 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2018, his only season with Tampa Bay, after winning the Super Bowl with the Eagles.

Curry turns 31 on June 30. He spent the first six seasons of his career in Philadelphia, where he produced 22 quarterback sacks.

–Field Level Media

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QB McCarron signs with Texans

QB McCarron signs with Texans

The Houston Texans

QB McCarron signs with Texans

The Houston Texans bought themselves a veteran insurance policy for starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, signing AJ McCarron to a contract Tuesday.

Shortly after reports broke of a deal being finalized, McCarron tweeted a photo of himself signing a contract in the Texans offices.

Houston NFL reporter John McClain tweeted the deal is worth $3 million.

According to the Texans’ official website, Watson was the only quarterback on the active roster at the time of signing.

A 2014 fifth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals after a decorated career at Alabama, McCarron spent the first four seasons of his career with the Bengals, showing flashes of potential when asked to fill in for Andy Dalton. But after filing a grievance against the club and being granted free agency in February 2018, McCarron has become a bit of a journeyman.

In March 2018, he signed a two-year, $10 million contract with Buffalo. But on Sept. 2 of last year, a week before the beginning of the season, the Bills traded McCarron to Oakland in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round pick. He played in two games with the Raiders last season, completing 1 of 3 passes for 8 yards.

Then last week, with the 28-year-old McCarron set to count $5 million against the cap in 2019, the Raiders cut him. He is 87 of 136 for 928 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions in his career.

Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb backed up Watson last season, but one would never know it looking at statistics. The only player on the team other than Watson to throw a pass all of last season was wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (and he was 0 for 1).

In his second season in the NFL, Watson threw for 4,165 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions and ran for another 551 yards with five scores on the ground in 2018. But his tendency to run with the ball and seeming fearlessness of getting hit has led to many anxious moments in Houston.

He reportedly played with a broken rib and partially collapsed lung against the Cowboys in Week 5. He also missed half of his rookie season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee during practice.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints near deal with TE Cook

Report: Saints near deal with TE Cook

Free

Report: Saints near deal with TE Cook

Free agent tight end Jared Cook is close to a contract agreement with the New Orleans Saints, NFL Network reported Thursday.

Cook turns 32 next month but has been productive in stints with the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans.

The Saints had a hole at tight end with Benjamin Watson opting for retirement. Last spring, the Saints made a run at free agent Jimmy Graham, but he landed in Green Bay.

Cook had 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns with the Raiders in 2018.

He has 39-plus catches in seven of the past eight seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cards sign DT Philon to two-year deal

Report: Cards sign DT Philon to two-year deal

Report: Cards sign DT Philon to two-year deal

The Arizona Cardinals have reached a two-year deal with free agent defensive lineman Darius Philon, the NFL Network reported Thursday.

The deal is worth $10 million — $12 million with incentives — with $5 million guaranteed, according to the report.

The 6-foot-1, 300-pound tackle was drafted by the Chargers in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. Philon, 25, played in all 16 games with the Chargers last season, starting 13, recording four sacks, 33 tackles and a forced fumble.

–Field Level Media

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McIlroy to compete in Canada for first time

McIlroy to compete in Canada for first time

Rory McIlroy will play in

McIlroy to compete in Canada for first time

Rory McIlroy will play in Canada for the first time as a professional this summer after committing to the RBC Canadian Open.

The Northern Irishman, who moved up to No. 4 in the world rankings following his first victory at The Players Championship on Sunday, will play in the 115th edition of the Canadian Open when it moves from August to June 6-9 this year.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” tournament director Bryan Crawford said. “Rory is one of the top players in the world, has been one of the top players in the world for quite some time. He’s truly one of the global ambassadors for the game.”

McIlroy, 29, is coming off his 15th career PGA Tour title and has placed in the top six in each of his first six events of 2019. He is first in the FedEx Cup standings.

The Canadian Open purse has been increased to $7.6 million this year from $6.4 million, and the event will be contested at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club for the sixth time.

“He’s a fan favorite everywhere, but he’s certainly a fan favorite among Canadians,” said Crawford. “To have him participate in the RBC Canadian Open for the first time is fantastic.”

McIlroy will join world No. 1 Dustin Johnson in the field, along with the likes of two-time event champion Jim Furyk (2006-07), 2013 winner Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson and Canadian star Adam Hadwin.

Johnson is the defending champion.

“I’m really excited to play in my first RBC Canadian Open,” McIlroy said in a statement.

“There continues to be a lot of momentum around this historic tournament, with a new date, new location and now a new concert series. I’ve had the opportunity to see the passion that Canada has for our sport and I look forward to seeing the energy of Canadian golf fans first hand. I’m also looking forward to squaring off with DJ, Adam and the rest of Team RBC for Canada’s National Open Championship.”

–Field Level Media

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Bengals re-sign CB Dennard

Bengals re-sign CB Dennard

Cornerback Darqueze Dennard re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals re-sign CB Dennard

Cornerback Darqueze Dennard re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday.

Dennard, an unrestricted free agent, opted to return to the Bengals over other offers, including one from the Kansas City Chiefs, per NFL Network. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

A first-round pick in 2014 out of Michigan State, Dennard has 19 regular-season starts, including nine in 2018.

The 27-year-old rejoins a cornerback room comprised of first-round picks led by Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III.

–Field Level Media

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Els names 3 assistant captains for Presidents Cup

Els names 3 assistant captains for Presidents Cup

Els names 3 assistant captains for Presidents Cup

International team captain Ernie Els has named his final three assistant captains for the 2019 Presidents Cup, including two former Masters champions.

Former Augusta winners Mike Weir of Canada and Trevor Immelman of South Africa will join K.J. Choi of South Korea and the previously named Geoff Ogilvy of Australia on Els’ staff for the Dec. 9-15 event in Melbourne, Australia.

Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champ, was tabbed back in November.

“I gave it quite a bit of thought,” Els said during a press conference Tuesday in Australia. “I really wanted to try and start a new thinking process about the pairing system. I’m using a lot of data, a lot of science … and I wanted to get guys who have played a lot of Presidents Cups like myself.”

Weir competed in the Presidents Cup five times, while Choi played on three teams and Immelman on two.

The United States has dominated the biennial competition, which pits the U.S. against the rest of the world minus Europe. The U.S. has won the last seven Cups and owns a 10-1-1 record overall since the Presidents Cup debuted in 1994.

Last month, U.S. captain Tiger Woods named Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker as three of his four assistants.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Kaepernick, Reid to share less than $10M in settlement

Report: Kaepernick, Reid to share less than $10M in settlement

Report: Kaepernick, Reid to share less than $10M in settlement

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid will share less than $10 million, minus attorneys’ fees, in the settlement of their collusion case against the NFL, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The settlement between the league and the players was announced last month, but financial terms were not announced due to a confidentiality agreement.

The Journal said Thursday it was unknown how Kaepernick and Reid would split the settlement.

Kaepernick, the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, opted out of his contract in March 2017 to pursue free agency. But when he found no takers, he filed the grievance in the league seven months later.

In the 2016 preseason, Kaepernick began sitting on the bench during the playing of the national anthem in protest for what he saw as racial injustice against minorities, then decided to kneel instead after speaking with an Army veteran.

He hasn’t found a new job, and he contended in his grievance that the 32 NFL teams “colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”

A number of owners, executives, coaches and other figures had been deposed as part of the grievance, and a motion by the NFL to have the grievance dismissed was denied in August.

Defensive back Reid, who was the first player to join Kaepernick in 2016 with the 49ers by kneeling during the anthem, filed his own collusion case against the NFL in May 2018. The two grievances were combined into a joint case, but it’s unclear when that occurred.

Reid became a free agent in March 2018 and remained unsigned until mid-September, when the Carolina Panthers brought him in after an injury to safety Da’Norris Searcy. With his one-year deal expiring after the season, Reid signed a three-year extension for a reported $22 million with Carolina this offseason.

–Field Level Media

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Ravens reach 2-year agreement with QB Griffin

Ravens reach 2-year agreement with QB Griffin

The Ravens reached a two-year

Ravens reach 2-year agreement with QB Griffin

The Ravens reached a two-year agreement Thursday to keep quarterback Robert Griffin III in Baltimore, the team announced.

Pending the results of a physical, the 29-year-old veteran will continue his role as a backup and mentor to Lamar Jackson.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available. Griffin earned $1.1 million in his first season with Baltimore in 2018.

Griffin, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year, played in three games for the Ravens and completed 2 of 6 passes for 21 yards.

Griffin won a Heisman Trophy at Baylor and was the No. 2 overall pick by Washington in the 2012 NFL Draft.

In three seasons with the Redskins (2012-14) and one with the Cleveland Browns (2016), he passed for 8,983 yards and 42 touchdowns and rushed for 1,670 yards and 10 scores.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Colts sign LB Houston to 2-year, $24M deal

Report: Colts sign LB Houston to 2-year, $24M deal

Report: Colts sign LB Houston to 2-year, $24M deal

The Indianapolis Colts have signed former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston to a two-year, $24 million contract, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.

Houston registered 78.5 sacks in 102 games with the Chiefs from 2011-18, including a league-high 22 sacks in 2014.

The Chiefs released the 30-year-old pass rusher earlier this month when they could not find a trading partner. The four-time Pro Bowl selection had been due $15.25 million in base salary in 2019.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard knows Houston from his time in Kansas City, where he served as director of player personnel (2013-14) and director of football operations (2015-16).

Whether Houston lines up at linebacker or moves to defensive end, the 6-foot-3, 258-pound veteran should improve an Indianapolis defense that tied for 19th in the NFL with 39 sacks last season.

–Field Level Media

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Rams and Cowboys to play preseason game in Hawaii

Rams and Cowboys to play preseason game in Hawaii

Rams and Cowboys to play preseason game in Hawaii

The Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys will play a preseason game this summer in Hawaii, the teams announced on Thursday.

The defending NFC West and NFC East champions will meet Aug. 17 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

It will be the second preseason game for both teams and the first NFL exhibition game played in Hawaii since 1976, when the San Francisco 49ers played the then-San Diego Chargers.

The game is a rematch of last season’s divisional round playoff. The Rams defeated the Cowboys 30-22 en route to Super Bowl LIII.

–Field Level Media

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Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead

Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead

As

Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead

As is typical for a tournament following a marquee event, lesser-known names dominated the first page of the leaderboard after the first round of the Valspar Championship on Thursday.

Joel Dahmen, ranked 160th in the world, and No. 365 Sepp Straka of Austria share the lead after shooting 5-under-par 66s on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

They are one shot clear of Kevin Kisner, former world No. 1 Luke Donald from England and Scotland’s Russell Knox. Knox holed out from 275 yards for an albatross on the par-5 11th hole as part of a four-hole stretch in which he went 5 under.

A group of Americans at 3-under par is headlined by Keegan Bradley. He is joined by Brian Stuard, Denny McCarthy, Roberto Castro and Shawn Stefani, who bogeyed his final hole.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson was 3 under through eight holes, but his charge up the leaderboard was stalled by a bogey on No. 9. He shot even par on the back nine to close in a tie for 11th at 2 under along with Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and a host of other players.

Defending champion Paul Casey is another shot back after carding a 1-under 70.

Patrick Reed will have to rally on Friday to extend his streak of worldwide cuts made to 16 after opening with a 6-over 77.

Dahmen, who entered 2019 ranked No. 206, sandwiched four consecutive missed cuts with a tie for ninth place at the Farmers Insurance Open and The Players Championship. Starting on the back nine Thursday, he birdied three of his first four holes before a bogey at No. 15. Dahmen carded three more birdies over his final six holes to get to 5 under.

Also part of the morning wave, Straka posted a clean card, with three of his five birdies coming in a four-hole stretch on the front nine. The Web.com Tour graduate has missed six of nine cuts this season, but he did post top-20 finishes at the Farmers and the Puerto Rico Open.

Donald, 41, has slipped to 919th in the world while recovering from a herniated disc in his back. The 2012 event champion has played only five events worldwide — making one cut — since tying for 64th at last year’s Valspar.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle the last year,” said Donald, per Golfweek.com. “Obviously struggling with some back stuff and working hard at it, but backs are tricky, and they take a little bit of time. Honestly my goal this week is to play four rounds and feel pretty good at the end of four rounds and then keep going.

“To play well is a nice bonus.”

NOTES: This event is the anchor leg of the Florida Swing. … Copperhead has ranked as one of the two toughest par-71 courses among non-majors each of the past six years. … Furyk has made the cut in all nine attempts. … Johnson is making his first appearance since 2010. He missed the cut in both previous attempts. … The three-hole closing stretch is known as “The Snake Pit,” with none of the holes averaging under par since the tournament debuted in ’10.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Colts reportedly sign LB Houston

NFL notebook: Colts reportedly sign LB Houston

The Indianapolis Colts have signed former

NFL notebook: Colts reportedly sign LB Houston

The Indianapolis Colts have signed former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston to a two-year, $24 million contract, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.

Houston registered 78 1/2 sacks in 102 games with the Chiefs from 2011-18, including a league-high 22 sacks in 2014.

The Chiefs released the 30-year-old pass rusher earlier this month when they could not find a trading partner. The four-time Pro Bowl selection had been due $15.25 million in base salary in 2019.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard knows Houston from his time in Kansas City, where he served as director of player personnel (2013-14) and director of football operations (2015-16).

–Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid will share less than $10 million in the settlement of their collusion case against the NFL, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The settlement was announced last month, but financial terms were withheld due to a confidentiality agreement.

Kaepernick, the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, opted out of his contract in March 2017 to pursue free agency. But when he found no takers, he filed a grievance against the league seven months later. Reid, the former 49ers safety who was the first player to join Kaepernick in 2016 by kneeling in protest during the national anthem, filed his own collusion case against the NFL in May 2018, and the grievances were later combined into a joint case.

–The Ravens have reached a two-year agreement to keep quarterback Robert Griffin III in Baltimore, pending the results of a physical. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 29-year-old former Rookie of the Year will continue his role as a backup and mentor to Lamar Jackson. Griffin played in three games for the Ravens in 2018 and completed 2 of 6 passes for 21 yards.

–The Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys will play a preseason game this summer in Hawaii.

The defending NFC West and NFC East champions will meet Aug. 17 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. It will be the second preseason game for both teams and the first NFL exhibition game played in Hawaii since 1976, when the San Francisco 49ers played the then-San Diego Chargers.

–Restricted free agent cornerback Darqueze Dennard re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, reportedly rejecting offers from the Chiefs and other teams, per NFL Network.

A first-round pick in 2014 out of Michigan State, the 27-year-old Dennard has played in 68 games (19 starts) and registered 227 tackles, three interceptions and three sacks.

–Free agent tight end Jared Cook is close to a contract agreement with the New Orleans Saints, NFL Network reported.

Cook turns 32 next month but has been productive in stints with the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, then-St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans. He had 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns with the Raiders in 2018.

–Defensive end Vinny Curry is returning to the Philadelphia Eagles, agreeing to a deal after playing one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Curry, 30, was released by the Bucs in March in a move that cleared $8 million in 2019 cap space. He won a Super Bowl with the Eagles two years ago and adds depth to a defensive line that has lost Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata.

–New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith agreed to a pay cut that saves the team $2.3 million in cap space for the upcoming season. His cap hit is now $4.15 million, down from $6.45 million.

A knee injury limited Meredith, 26, to just six games in the 2018 season. He caught nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown last season. He has 86 catches and five touchdowns in his three-year career.

–The Arizona Cardinals reached a two-year deal with defensive lineman Darius Philon, the NFL Network reported. The deal is worth $10 million — $12 million with incentives — with $5 million guaranteed, according to the report.

Philon, 25, played in all 16 games with the Chargers last season, starting 13. He recorded four sacks, 33 tackles and a forced fumble.

–Field Level Media

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Saints WR Meredith agrees to $2.1M pay cut

Saints WR Meredith agrees to $2.1M pay cut

Saints WR Meredith agrees to $2.1M pay cut

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith agreed to a pay cut that saves the team $2.3 million in cap space for the upcoming season.

Meredith’s new base salary is $1.3 million, down from the $3.4 million deal he signed last year. But his cap hit is now $4.15 million, down from $6.45 million.

A knee injury limited Meredith, 26, to just six games in the 2018 season. He caught nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown last season. He has 86 catches and five touchdowns in his three-year career.

–Field Level Media

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Rams, LB Matthews agree on two-year deal

Rams, LB Matthews agree on two-year deal

Rams, LB Matthews agree on two-year deal

After 10 seasons in Green Bay, linebacker Clay Matthews is returning home to Southern California.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection and Packers franchise leader in career sacks is joining the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent. Matthews made the news public with a new profile picture on his Twitter profile: him sporting the No. 52 in a Rams uniform.

The Rams then tweeted that they have indeed agreed on a two-year deal with Matthews. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported the deal is worth a maximum of $16.75 million — less than other offers for Matthews, per Garafolo, but family considerations and a shot at a championship outweighed the increased money from other clubs.

A Southern California native born in Northridge, Matthews starred in college at USC before the Packers selected him with the 26th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. He quickly made a name for himself with both his level of play and his famed sack celebrations.

He had 10 sacks as a rookie, making the 2009 All-Rookie Team. He had a career-high 13.5 the following year, a season which ended with the Packers defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

In all, Matthews has 83.5 sacks in his career, though his production has slowed in recent seasons. He has not had double-digit sacks since registering 11 in 2014, the fifth of his six Pro Bowl seasons.

The Rams, the NFC champions last season, aren’t exactly hurting for pass rushers. Reigning two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald led the NFL with 20.5 sacks last season. The team also re-signed edge rusher Dante Fowler to a one-year contract earlier this month. The team acquired him in a trade-deadline deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Raiders, LB Burfict agree to deal

Reports: Raiders, LB Burfict agree to deal

Vontaze Burfict's time as a

Reports: Raiders, LB Burfict agree to deal

Vontaze Burfict’s time as a free agent apparently was very short-lived.

One day after Burfict was released by the Cincinnati Bengals, the only NFL team for which he has played, the linebacker agreed to a one-year deal Tuesday with the Oakland Raiders, multiple media outlets reported.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the contract is worth $5 million including incentives.

Burfict managed to play in only 43 games in the past five seasons, encountering repeated head injuries — seven documented concussions — and three suspensions.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict amassed more than $4 million in on-field conduct fines. He was suspended by the NFL to start both the 2016 and 2017 seasons for violation of player-safety policies and in 2018 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He was a physical force for the Bengals in the middle of Marvin Lewis’ defense, but when the Bengals parted with Lewis, a change at linebacker was expected under new head coach Zac Taylor.

The move to Oakland would reunite Burfict with Paul Guenther, the Raiders’ defensive coordinator who served in the same position with the Bengals from 2014-17.

Burfict had two seasons remaining on a $33.2 million contract extension he signed with the Bengals, but by releasing him, Cincinnati sustained a cap charge of only $1.8 million.

Burfict, 28, was an undrafted free agent signee with Cincinnati after an All-America career at Arizona State. He had 298 tackles in his first two seasons with the Bengals and played in every game.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins waive DT Norton, will pay salary

Dolphins waive DT Norton, will pay salary

The Miami Dolphins placed defensive tackle Kendrick

Dolphins waive DT Norton, will pay salary

The Miami Dolphins placed defensive tackle Kendrick Norton — whose left arm was amputated following a car crash earlier this month — on the reserve/non-football-injury list on Sunday, effectively waiving him.

Norton will not count against the 90-man roster, but the team will still pay his $495,000 salary, and his medical bills will be covered by insurance through the NFL and the Dolphins.

The 22-year-old’s NFL career is over after his July 4 accident. He had six surgeries over a two-week span before being discharged from the hospital on Thursday.

Norton, who played at the University of Miami, said several Dolphins teammates and coaches came to see him in the hospital often, and cited first-year head coach Brian Flores as a daily guest to his hospital room.

Norton spent most of the 2018 season on the Panthers’ practice squad after Carolina selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. The Dolphins signed him in December.

Norton was cited with making an improper lane change, per a Florida Highway Patrol report. He suddenly pulled his F-250 truck in front of a Maserati and clipped it, sending his car into a concrete barrier. The other driver was not injured, and the report said drugs or alcohol were not believed to be a factor.

Also on Sunday, the Dolphins placed tight end Dwayne Allen, linebacker Mike Hull and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley on the physically unable to perform list. None of the three can partake in on-field activities at training camp, which starts Thursday, until activated from the PUP list.

The Dolphins also claimed offensive lineman Will Holden off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals and waived cornerback Jamar Summers.

–Field Level Media

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Saints DE Granderson jailed after judge denies plea deal

Saints DE Granderson jailed after judge denies plea deal

New Orleans Saints

Saints DE Granderson jailed after judge denies plea deal

New Orleans Saints rookie defensive end Carl Granderson was taken into custody during a court date Thursday and ordered to serve six months in jail by the presiding judge, who refused to accept a plea deal entered in his sexual assault case.

Granderson pleaded not guilty in April to one count of third-degree sexual assault and another count of sexual battery. He agreed to a plea deal that would have reduced the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor count of unlawful contact and canceled a jury trial that was scheduled to start Monday.

However, Judge Tori Kricken of the Albany County (Wyo.) District Court called off the deal and remanded him to jail immediately. The judge also assigned a one-year jail sentence on the sexual battery charge, which will be suspended upon completion of the six-month jail term. It will be converted to one year of supervised probation.

The Saints were abundantly aware of the charges against Granderson, but gave him a team-high $85,000 to sign as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming in April.

During minicamp in June, Saints coach Sean Payton said, “We felt real comfortable with everything we knew, and so far he’s done a good job here.”

The alleged assault occurred Nov. 25, after the Wyoming season had ended, and off campus, according to the school.

Granderson graduated Dec. 15, but the football program did not offer an immediate defense of Granderson.

“The sexual assault charges recently filed against Carl Granderson are serious, and the allegations are troubling,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said in a statement. “I want to assure the people of Wyoming that we hold our young men to the highest of standards, and this alleged behavior is unacceptable.”

In four seasons with the Cowboys, Granderson had 96 tackles, 16.5 sacks and three interceptions. He also played in the Senior Bowl.

Granderson became the third Wyoming athlete, and second football player, to face criminal charges during the 2018-19 school year.

–Field Level Media

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Diaz shoots 62 to grab lead at John Deere

Diaz shoots 62 to grab lead at John Deere

Roberto Diaz

Diaz shoots 62 to grab lead at John Deere

Roberto Diaz of Mexico fired a 9-under-par 62 to jump atop the leaderboard after the first day of the John Deere Classic on Thursday in Silvis, Ill.

Diaz tallied seven birdies and carded an eagle on the 10th hole. The 32-year-old is seeking his first win on the PGA Tour in his 50th start.

“I just feel that everything clicked today,” Diaz said. “I’ve been playing pretty solid throughout the year. The driver has been awesome. I’ve been hitting a lot of fairways, and today I hit good numbers all day, and that helps.”

Adam Long and Russell Henley are two strokes back after both shot 64 in the opening round.

Long, who earned his first PGA Tour win at the Dessert Classic earlier this year, was in first heading into the clubhouse at 7 under after carding three birdies over his final five holes at TPC Deere Run. He finished one stroke shy of matching the best round of his career.

Starting on the back nine in the afternoon wave, Henley reached 8 under before his drive on the final hole found the right rough. He was unable to scramble for par and fell back into a tie with Long.

“I’ve been hitting it well lately,” Henley said. “My scores haven’t really shown it. I feel like I hit a lot of approach shots close, made a few putts when I gave myself the opportunity, and really just wasn’t a very stressful round. I didn’t feel like I had to work too hard to make par, so just put the ball into play, and I’m thankful for a nice round.”

Six players are tied for fourth at six under, with a group of 10 sitting another stroke back.

Zach Johnson made his 18th consecutive start in the event, which is not far from his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is on the event’s board of directors and had played 41 consecutive rounds at TPC Deere Run at par or better before bogeying the 18th hole on Thursday to shoot 1 over.

“Coming into the week, I was extremely excited,” Johnson told the Golf Channel. “I’d seen a lot of good work. I’ve seen a lot of improvement and positives. And I’ve had three weeks off … in those three weeks I worked really hard. The work I was doing was very strategic, and I’m still going to trust the fact that work with surface at some point. It just didn’t today, for whatever reason.”

Defending champion Michael Kim entered having missed 17 straight cuts. He shot a 2-over 73 and will need to scramble to make the cut.

Ho Sung Choi, a 45-year-old South Korean whose swing has been nicknamed “The Fisherman Swing,” shot 1 under in his second career PGA Tour start. He missed the cut at this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The field is limited due to top players being in Europe preparing for The Open Championship next week.

NOTES: The event holds the final available spot into the field for next week’s Open Championship, which would go to the top player not otherwise exempt who finishes inside the top five and ties. The JDC provides a charter flight to players traveling to The Open on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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Report: NFL set to drop full-time status for officials

Report: NFL set to drop full-time status for officials

The

Report: NFL set to drop full-time status for officials

The NFL is set to feature part-time officials next season rather than granting full-time positions, according to a report from ESPN on Thursday night.

The decision comes as the league and officials negotiate on a new contract with the NFL Referees Association. The current deal is set to expire next May.

ESPN reported that the league still has the ability to change its decision and re-introduce full-time officiating positions for next season.

The league employed about 20 percent of its officials on a full-time basis last season, according to ESPN. Those who are categorized as part-time are required to stay away from league business from the end of the season until May. Regardless of designation, all officials effectively work full-time once the season begins.

Officiating has drawn intense scrutiny over the past several seasons, particularly in the wake of a non-call that helped the Los Angeles Rams capture the NFC title over the New Orleans Saints. A soon-to-expire contract, along with pressure for improved officiating from players, coaches and fans, could create a tense negotiation process between the league and the officials’ union.

In 2012, the NFL used replacement officials for several weeks after failing to reach an agreement in time with its officials.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins’ Norton cited in accident

Dolphins' Norton cited in accident

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Kendrick Norton was ticketed in

Dolphins’ Norton cited in accident

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Kendrick Norton was ticketed in the July 4 crash that led to the amputation of his left arm, ESPN reported.

ESPN, which obtained a copy of the report from the Florida Highway Patrol, said he was cited with an improper lane change. He suddenly pulled his F-250 truck in front of a Maserati and clipped it, sending his car into a concrete barrier.

The Maserati driver was not injured.

The report said drugs or alcohol were not believed to be involved in the accident.

Norton, who played collegiately at Miami, has been in the hospital since July 4 and has had at least four surgeries on his arm. It is expected he will have further surgery to prepare him for an eventual prosthetic, ESPN reported.

His condition has been upgraded to stable.

Norton spent the 2018 season on the Panthers’ practice squad after Carolina selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Dolphins signed him in December.

NFL officials said the league and team insurance will cover his medical bills.

–Field Level Media

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Former Jets coach Michaels dies at 89

Former Jets coach Michaels dies at 89

Former New York Jets

Former Jets coach Michaels dies at 89

Former New York Jets coach Walt Michaels has died. He was 89.

According to the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Michaels died Wednesday in his hometown of Swoyersville in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Michaels’ daughter, Mary Ann, told the newspaper that Michaels died six years to the day after his wife, Betty, passed away on July 10, 2013.

Michaels had a 39-47-1 record in six seasons as coach of the Jets from 1977-82. His teams reached the playoffs twice — including losing to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game in the strike-shortened 1982 season. He guided New York to a 10-5-1 record in 1981.

He resigned after the 1982 season, citing the need for a break from football.

Michaels also was defensive coordinator of the Jets when they stunned the heavily favored Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III.

Michaels played 12 seasons as a linebacker from 1951-63 and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection for the Cleveland Browns. He had 11 career interceptions in 133 games (127 starts) with the Green Bay Packers (1951), Browns (1952-61) and Jets (one game in 1963).

Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson released a statement on Thursday.

“We are very sad to hear about the passing of Walt Michaels,” Johnson said. “Walt was a great leader who inspired players to take their games to another level. A defensive mastermind, he had one of his finest moments when he coordinated our unit in the Super Bowl III victory over the Colts. Later as a head coach, Walt led us to back-to-back playoff berths in 1981-82.

“Walt had a tireless work ethic and took an honest approach with his players. He will have a lasting impact on our organization and our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.”

–Field Level Media

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Bears DT Hicks leaves with elbow injury

Bears DT Hicks leaves with elbow injury

Chicago Bears defensive

Bears DT Hicks leaves with elbow injury

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders in London in the first half with a left elbow injury and did not return.

The team initially ruled Hicks questionable to return, then updated his status to doubtful. Head coach Matt Nagy offered few details afterward but said he didn’t think the injury was season-ending.

Hicks, who was active despite battling a right knee injury, was reaching out with his left arm to tackle Raiders running back Josh Jacobs when his elbow was hit from the outside by teammate Khalil Mack’s helmet. As Hicks fell to the ground, his elbow joint appeared to be out of place.

He remained on the ground with his left arm tucked tightly to his body as trainers came out to tend to him, and then was escorted to the locker room.

Hicks, 29, has one sack and three QB hits through four games this season after totaling 7.5 and 16, respectively, in 2018 en route to his first Pro Bowl selection. He had two tackles before leaving Sunday.

In his eight-year career, he has played in 113 of a possible 117 games, making 51 consecutive starts until missing last week with the knee injury.

–Field Level Media

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