2 of NFL’s top rivalries have turned sour

Two of the NFL’s most intense rivalries have turned sour.

When the Chiefs visit the Raiders in a series that dates back to the AFL and has been as good as any in pro football, the oddsmakers see Oakland (2-9) getting routed — at home — by Kansas City. Most of America sees it that way, too.

“I know this, when it comes to Chiefs and Raiders, it doesn’t matter records,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, whose team is 9-2. “It’s one of those deals and you better come ready to play against a Jon Gruden-coached football team. That’s the way I am approaching it with the guys right now. I just think that’s very important.”

Since the Raiders moved back from Los Angeles to Oakland in 1995, there’s been only one season when both clubs had winning records (2016). The rivalry has been less heated since Marty Schottenheimer left as Kansas City coach in 1998 and Raiders owner Al Davis died in 2011. But this gap is success is ridiculous.

A more recent rivalry to savor has been San Francisco vs. Seattle. With the Seahawks (6-5) retooling but still competitive, and the 49ers (2-9) perennially rebuilding, that magic seems gone. Indeed, the league flexed this game off prime time.

“We had some great battles over the years,” says Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, specifically referring to the matchups with Jim Harbaugh when he led the 49ers. “If that’s what you guys want to call a rivalry, I’m not trying to minimize that part, it’s just that isn’t the way I talk and act and think about it. The better the other team is, the more it brings out the best you have, and I love that.”

The weekend began Thursday night with Dallas’ 13-10 home victory over New Orleans. Ezekiel Elliott scored the only Dallas touchdown and the Cowboys (7-5) stifled Drew Brees and the Saints (10-2), ending New Orleans’ 10-game winning streak. New Orleans failed to score in the first half, with Brees throwing for 39 yards.

There are no more byes on the schedule.

Kansas City (10-1) at Oakland (2-9)

It’s a bit complicated, but a Chiefs win and losses by Miami, Tennessee, Houston, Indianapolis, Baltimore and Cincinnati in certain combinations hand KC a playoff berth. Not that anyone doubts one is coming.

The Chiefs have won six of seven in this series and Reid’s teams are 16-3 coming off a bye.

Here’s a weird stat: Oakland stands fifth in the NFL with 34 points on opening drives. It’s third worst with 1.32 points per drive after that.

San Francisco (2-9) at Seattle (6-5)

Most intriguing here is Richard Sherman now wearing a 49ers jersey. The star defensive back for seven seasons in Seattle hasn’t done much in San Francisco: Sherman had 32 picks for Seattle, most in the NFL during that span. He has zero interceptions and four passes defensed this season.

“It’s different. Just the dynamic of the NFC West has changed,” Sherman says. “It’s changed a few times throughout the years. Early on when I first came in the league, San Fran was at the top and winning the division and went to a few NFC championships. In the middle of that, Seattle came up and was battling with Frisco, and for one crazy year Arizona came out of nowhere and had a really good season and made it to the NFC championship.

“There was a lot more teeth to the rivalry during those middle years for a number of reasons because there were several story lines. Since then, coaching changes have happened here, personnel changes have happened elsewhere, and the Rams have become incredible in the division and are playing really good football. So a lot has changed.”

The Seahawks have won eight straight and 10 of the past 11 vs. the 49ers. Seattle, which plays four of its final five at home — the other game is at the Niners — are 26-13 in regular-season games in December/January under Carroll.

Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-3-1)

The scoreboard might explode at Heinz Field as Class of 2004 QBs Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger light it up.

Rivers set an NFL record for highest completion rate (96.6 percent) and tied the mark for consecutive completions (25) in last week’s rout of Arizona. He has multi-TD games in every outing this season, but will be without running back Melvin Gordon (knee).

Roethlisberger’s 97-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster last week gave him four 90-plus yard passes, most in NFL history. He threw for 462 yards in the loss at the Broncos, his sixth game of 450-plus yards. No other QB in NFL history has more than four.

Pittsburgh has won four of the past five meetings and is 15-3 at home against the Chargers.

Neither team can afford a stumble as it approaches likely postseason berths. LA can’t fall further behind KC in the AFC West, and the Steelers have hopes of a first-round bye.

Minnesota (6-4-1) at New England (8-3)

More records are within Tom Brady’s reach. With two touchdown passes against Minnesota, Brady would pass Peyton Manning’s 579 for the most passing touchdowns in NFL history, including the postseason. He also would beat Brett Favre’s 508 for the third-most regular-season touchdown passes.

With the Vikings’ best cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, leaving last Sunday night with a hamstring issue, stymieing Brady could be a major challenge for Minnesota as it chases NFC North leader Chicago.

“I remember when we were going in Cincinnati I’m watching him pregame and he was just throwing these darts,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer says of Brady, “and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re in trouble today.’ But his accuracy, I think he sees so many things now, I think with the experience. I don’t know that he’s changed all that much.”

Washington (6-5) at Philadelphia (5-6), Monday night

Among the many so-so teams in playoff contention are the Redskins, operating without their No. 1 quarterback, Alex Smith, and the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, with a torn-up secondary.

Colt McCoy had 268 yards passing, two touchdowns and three interceptions last week. Something to look for: Adrian Peterson needs two TDs to pass Jim Brown (106) for fifth most in NFL history.

Philly’s secondary is ravaged by injuries, so a strong pass rush likely is needed.

Los Angeles Rams (10-1) at Detroit (4-7)

The Rams have their eyes on winning out to put the heat on New Orleans for overall home-field advantage in the NFC. First up, a pair of NFC Central opponents — at Chicago next week is the tougher test.

Los Angeles clinches the NFC West with a win or Seattle loss. Todd Gurley leads the league with 1,484 scrimmage yards and 17 scrimmage TDs, and DT Aaron Donald has been practically unblockable at times. He had two strip-sacks in the win over the Chiefs.

The Lions have lost four of five as Matthew Stafford has thrown for three TDs and four INTs in the past four games.

Chicago (8-3) at New York Giants (3-8)

NFC North-leading Chicago aims for a sixth straight win; the Bears won three times in 12 days, once without starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Chase Daniel started against the Lions on Thanksgiving, going 27 for 37 for 230 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

But it’s defense that marks these Bears, hardly a surprise. They lead the NFL with fewest first-half points allowed (64), are tops with 20 interceptions and are tied for the league lead with 16 forced fumbles.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley is one of four rookies in NFL history with touchdowns rushing and receiving in consecutive games. He has 100-plus yards from scrimmage in 10 of 11 games and Barkley ranks third in the NFL with 1,410 yards from scrimmage. He probably will find it tough going Sunday.

Cleveland (4-6-1) at Houston (8-3)

Houston is on quite a roll with eight consecutive wins, has beaten Cleveland four straight times and six of the past seven meetings.

Still, the Browns are dangerous under interim coach Gregg Williams and with top overall draft pick Baker Mayfield playing well. Cleveland ended a 25-game road losing streak last week at Cincinnati as Mayfield threw a season-high four touchdown passes.

Mayfield must keep a watch for J.J. Watt, whose sensational comeback season peaked with nine tackles, 1½ sacks and a forced fumble last Monday night. Watt, tied for second in the NFL with 11½ sacks, had three tackles for losses, one sack, forced and recovered a fumble and had a TD reception in his last game against Cleveland in 2014.

Indianapolis (6-5) at Jacksonville (3-8)

Indy is up, Jacksonville is awful.

A victory would give the Colts their first six-game winning streak since opening their 2009 AFC championship season 14-0. Andrew Luck has a TD pass in an NFL-best 34 straight games and three or more TDs in eight consecutive games, tying Peyton Manning for No. 2 all time.

The Jaguars have dropped seven straight, fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and benched QB Blake Bortles. Cody Kessler was 0-8 as Cleveland’s starter in 2016.

Jacksonville is without RB Leonard Fournette, suspended one game for leaving the bench and instigating a fight in Buffalo.

Denver (5-6) at Cincinnati (5-6)

The Bengals have lost five of six and now are without Andy Dalton (thumb); third-year quarterback Jeff Driskel gets his first NFL start Sunday.

Ground games could be key here. Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay ranks second among NFL rookies with 780 yards rushing, and with Dalton out, Joe Mixon — 89 yards vs. the Browns — should be busy toting the ball for Cincinnati.

Broncos star linebacker Von Miller has sacks in six straight games.

Baltimore (6-5) at Atlanta (4-7)

Only the sixth meeting, with Baltimore’s 19-13 OT victory in Atlanta in 1999 the only win by a visiting team.

Baltimore owns the NFL’s top-ranked defense, allowing a league-low 18 points per game, and has found a winning formula on offense as undrafted rookie Gus Edwards has rushed for at least 100 yards in two straight games. Rookie QB Lamar Jackson has been dynamic on the ground while Joe Flacco heals a hip injury.

The highly disappointing Falcons have their second three-game losing streak this season, but Matt Ryan needs two completions to pass Carson Palmer for 11th on the career list, and has topped 300 yards passing and a 100 QB rating in five of the past six games.

Carolina (6-5) at Tampa Bay (4-7)

Carolina’s three straight losses endanger its playoff chase. Don’t blame RB Christian McCaffrey, who had 125 yards rushing, 112 receiving for a club-record 237 scrimmage yards and two TDs last week vs. Seattle. Top draftee D.J. Moore has 17 receptions for 248 yards in the past two games.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul has 10½ sacks.

New York Jets (3-8) at Tennessee (5-6)

For Tennessee to have any thoughts about making the postseason, it must win games such as this. The Jets have lost five in a row and other than placekicker Jason Myers, offer little resistance. Myers has five field goals of 55 yards or longer this season, most by any kicker since 2000.

The Titans have won 13 of their past 16 home games and do a few things pretty well. They have 56 total penalties, fewest in the league, and have allowed 25 TDs, tied for fifth fewest in the NFL.

Arizona (2-9) at Green Bay (4-6-1)

Not much to watch with these also-rans. Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald needs four catches to pass Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,281 with 49ers) for most receptions in NFL history with one team. Fitzgerald has scored in all five of his previous games against the Packers.

Packers WR Davante Adams has a career-high 1,022 yards receiving, scoring at least 10 TDs for a third straight season.

Buffalo (4-7) at Miami (5-6)

Don’t look for a scoring spree here: Buffalo ranks 31st in offense, Miami is 28th.

Although the Bills have topped 300 yards in the past two games after failing to do so in the first six, their passer rating of 58.9 is worst in the NFL. They have been outscored by 111 points.

Miami does have regular QB Ryan Tannehill back from a shoulder injury. He has won his past seven home starts.

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Ansah officially signs with Seahawks

Ansah officially signs with Seahawks

Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah officially signed

Ansah officially signs with Seahawks

Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah officially signed with the Seattle Seahawks on Friday.

Ansah, who has 48 career sacks, reportedly received a one-year, $9 million contract.

“I’m super excited,” Ansah told the team website after signing his contract. “This is a great team. The caliber of players who have been through here, they have a great coach out here, the environment, the organization, it’s just great. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

The signing of Ansah figures to help make up for the departure of Frank Clark, who was recently dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs after leading the team with 13 sacks last season..

Coming off of shoulder surgery after missing nine games in 2018, Ansah is expected to be cleared by mid-August, according to the NFL Network.

Ansah, who will turn 30 on May 29, had four sacks and seven quarterback hits in seven games (two starts) while playing on the franchise tag ($17.1 million) for the Detroit Lions last season, after posting 12 and 17, respectively, in 2017.

His best season came in 2015, when he had 14.5 sacks and 34 QB hits while earning his only Pro Bowl nod.

Drafted fifth overall by Detroit in 2013, Ansah has 110 quarterback hits in six NFL seasons.

The change of scenery appeals to Ansah.

“I am really motivated right now,” Ansah said. “Not that I wasn’t motivated before, but I’m just super excited to be part of the Seahawks.”

Defensive end Nate Orchard was released to open a roster spot for Ansah. The four-year veteran was signed by Seattle last month.

Orchard has five sacks in 38 NFL games for the Cleveland Browns (2015-17), Buffalo Bills (2018) and Kansas City Chiefs (2018).

–Field Level Media

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Arians: Pierre-Paul out at least 5 to 6 months

Arians: Pierre-Paul out at least 5 to 6 months

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Arians: Pierre-Paul out at least 5 to 6 months

Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul will miss five to six months as a best-case scenario due to the broken neck he suffered in a car accident last week.

The best-case scenario was provided by coach Bruce Arians on Friday, when he met with reporters. A decision on whether Pierre-Paul will need neck surgery hasn’t yet been reached.

“Very unfortunate,” Arians said of the situation. “All we can do is just pray and hope for the best and hope it’s one of those five- or six-month things and go from there.”

Pierre-Paul was injured in the early morning hours of May 2 when he lost control of his Ferrari and it veered off the road and crashed into a concrete barrier. It was raining at the time of the accident, according to the crash report.

Pierre-Paul was not ticketed at the scene.

The loss of Pierre-Paul would be a big blow as even the best-case scenario outlined by Arians would have him missing six to 10 games. Not having him at all in 2019 is possible if the timetable worsens.

Pierre-Paul had a team-best 12.5 sacks last season, his first with the Bucs after playing eight years for the New York Giants. The 12.5 sacks tied for his second most behind the 16.5 he had for New York in 2011.

Pierre-Paul has faced adversity before as he was involved in a fireworks accident on July 4, 2015. He lost a finger and part of a second and played in just eight games in the 2015 season.

Arians is still pondering how the Buccaneers would replace Pierre-Paul.

“I don’t know what the answer is yet, if he’s gonna play, if he’s not gonna play,” Arians said. “(You) just practice with the guys you have, just like if anybody else gets hurt, on the field or off the field. You march on.”

–Field Level Media

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Romo misses cut at Byron Nelson

Romo misses cut at Byron Nelson

Tony

Romo misses cut at Byron Nelson

Tony Romo was happy with Friday’s 3-over 74 but the round didn’t prevent him from missing the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas.

Romo shot 8-over 150 in 36 holes in his third PGA Tour event, all due to sponsor’s exemptions.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback said he was encouraged by his trek around the course on Friday.

“I think more than anything, I got a sense to be able to hit a lot of high-quality shots under what is a pressure situation for me,” Romo told reporters. “That’s encouraging and shows that the work you’re doing holds up when it counts. And from there, you just got to find the little things that allow you to keep things going and not derail a round. Just small stuff, technique-wise, but we’re coming on.”

Romo shot three birdies, four bogeys and one double-bogey during the second round. He hit nine of 14 fairways.

He felt he performed better than Thursday, when he shot 76 despite recording an eagle-3 on the par-5, seventh hole.

“I hit so many good shots today,” Romo said after Friday’s round. “I mean, I kind of know that the driver is going to be the ability to go low because you have to put yourself in position to attack the pins consistently. I think you found the next step of what we’re going to be working on (with the driver). I think it’s more just your ability to keep your misses small. Out here, golf is a game of misses.”

–Field Level Media

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Bucs LB Beckwith to miss second straight season

Bucs LB Beckwith to miss second straight season

Bucs LB Beckwith to miss second straight season

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kendell Beckwith will miss a second consecutive season after being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list on Friday.

Beckwith missed last season after having surgery to repair a fractured ankle suffered in a single-car accident near his home in Louisiana.

According to ESPN, there are fears Beckwith’s ankle injury could be career-ending. He returned to the practice field late last season, but after three weeks the team declined to add him to the active roster.

Beckwith, 24, played in all 16 games (11 starts) as a rookie third-round pick in 2017, collecting 73 tackles, two passes defensed and a sack. His NFL debut was his first in-game action since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in November of 2016 during his senior season at LSU.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Patriots agree to deal with WR Inman

Report: Patriots agree to deal with WR Inman

The New England

Report: Patriots agree to deal with WR Inman

The New England Patriots agreed to terms with receiver Dontrelle Inman on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Inman reportedly visited the Patriots on Friday and the deal was consummated during his stay.

Inman, 30, caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games for the Indianapolis Colts last season.

Inman’s best season came in 2016 when he established career highs of 58 receptions, 810 yards and four touchdowns for the San Diego Chargers.

Inman played for the Chargers from 2014-17 — including four games in 2017 after the move to Los Angeles — and also played for the Chicago Bears (eight games in 2017).

He has 158 career receptions for 2,101 yards and 11 scores in 58 games (34 starts).

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

Reports: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

The Miami Dolphins will make

Reports: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

The Miami Dolphins will make Xavien Howard the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, agreeing to a five-year, $76.5 million extension, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

The deal reportedly includes $46 million in guarantees and $51 million over the first three seasons. Howard, 25, was set to earn $1.3 million in 2019, the final year of a four-year, $6.12 million rookie contract.

Washington’s Josh Norman was previously the NFL’s highest-paid corner at $15 million annually, signing a five-year, $75 million deal in April 2016 after the Carolina Panthers rescinded his franchise tag. Norman’s deal included $36.5 million in guarantees.

A second-round pick (38th overall) by the Dolphins out of Baylor in 2016, Howard tied for the league lead with seven interceptions last season despite missing the final four games to injury, earning the first Pro Bowl nod of his career. He had four interceptions in 2017 and has 31 career pass breakups in 35 games (34 starts).

Various reports earlier this offseason suggested Howard could be traded for the right price, as the Dolphins entered a rebuild under new head coach Brian Flores. Instead, the new deal puts him under contract through 2024.

–Field Level Media

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Rookie signings: Cardinals’ Murray inks $35.1M deal

Rookie signings: Cardinals' Murray inks $35.1M deal

Rookie signings: Cardinals’ Murray inks $35.1M deal

Arizona Cardinals quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray signed his rookie contract on Thursday, a four-year deal worth $35.1 million fully guaranteed. Like all first-round pacts, it includes a fifth-year team option.

Murray repaid a $4.66 million signing bonus to the Oakland A’s and, according to The MMQB, turned down more than $18 million in guarantees from the A’s when he announced his full commitment to football instead of baseball. His deal with the Cardinals includes a $23.59 million signing bonus and will count $6.39 million against the cap in 2019.

“This is just the beginning,” Murray told the team’s website. “I plan to work as hard as I can, lead this team to a lot of wins and, hopefully, a lot of rings.”

The Cardinals also signed five other rookie draft picks to four-year deals: CB Byron Murphy (second round), DE Zach Allen (third), WR KeeSean Johnson (seventh), OL Joshua Miles (seventh) and TE Caleb Wilson (seventh).

–The Washington Redskins signed 15th overall pick Dwayne Haskins to his rookie contract, worth $14.4 million over four years with a fifth-year team option.

Haskins was the first quarterback to sign in the first round, hours before the Cardinals announced Murray.

Washington also signed seven other picks to four-year deals: RB Bryce Love (fourth round), OLs Wes Martin (fourth) and Ross Pierschbacher (fourth), LB Cole Holcomb (fifth), WR Kelvin Harmon (sixth), CB Jimmy Moreland (seventh) and OLB Jordan Brailford (seventh).

–The Detroit Lions signed first-round tight end T.J. Hockenson to his rookie contract, which is worth $19.8 million over four years with a fifth-year team option.

Detroit took Hockenson eighth overall last month, making him the first tight end drafted in the top 10 since the Lions took Eric Ebron 10th overall in 2014.

The Lions also signed second-round LB Jahlani Tavai and fifth-round cornerback Amani Oruwariye to four-year deals.

–The Buffalo Bills signed first-round defensive tackle Ed Oliver to his rookie contract, which is worth $19.6 million over four years with a fifth-year team option.

Buffalo took Oliver ninth overall last month.

The team also signed six other draft picks — OT Cody Ford (second round), RB Devin Singletary (third), LB Vosean Joseph (fifth), S Jaquan Johnson (sixth), DE Darryl Johnson (seventh) and TE Tommy Sweeney (seventh) — to four-year deals, leaving TE Dawson Knox (third) as the only unsigned pick in the class.

–The Miami Dolphins signed five draft picks, including first-round defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

Taken 13th overall, Wilkins’ deal is worth $15.4 million over four years, with a fifth-year team option.

Signed to four-year deals were: LB Andrew Van Ginkel (fifth round), OT Isaiah Prince (sixth) and RBs Chandler Cox (seventh) and Myles Gaskin (seventh).

–The Philadelphia Eagles signed their full five-man draft class, led by first-round offensive tackle Andre Dillard.

Dillard, the 22nd overall pick, will make $12.33 million over four years, with a fifth-year team option.

Signed to four-year deals were: RB Miles Sanders (second round), WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (second), DE Shareef Miller (fourth) and QB Clayton Thorson (fifth).

–The Houston Texans signed first-round offensive tackle Tytus Howard to a four-year deal worth $12.3 million, according to the Houston Chronicle, plus a fifth-year team option.

Howard was drafted 23rd overall.

According to the report, Houston also signed fifth-round DE Charles Omenihu and sixth-round CB Xavier Crawford.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed five of their eight draft picks to four-year deals, including second-round cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting.

Also signing were fourth-round DE Anthony Nelson, K Matt Gay (fifth), WR Scotty Miller (sixth) and DE Terry Beckner (seventh).

–The Carolina Panthers signed five of their seven draft picks, including third-round quarterback Will Grier, to four-year deals.

Also signing were fourth-round OLB Christian Miller, RB Jordan Scarlett (fifth), OT Dennis Daley (sixth) and WR Terry Godwin (seventh).

–Field Level Media

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Bills backup QB Anderson retires

Bills backup QB Anderson retires

Backup quarterback Derek Anderson,

Bills backup QB Anderson retires

Backup quarterback Derek Anderson, who signed with the Buffalo Bills last October, has decided to retire from the NFL, the team announced Thursday.

“Derek let me know a few weeks back that he wasn’t sure if he could be committed (for the season) and wanted to still think about it,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said in a statement. “So I knew going into the draft that this was something that could potentially happen. But it wasn’t definite. We talked this week and he let me know today that he is going to retire.”

Anderson, 36, a sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2005 who began his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns in 2006, appeared in 78 career games, completing 909 of 1,674 passes for 10,878 yards with 60 touchdowns and 64 interceptions.

He led the Browns to a 10-5 record in 2007 — making the Pro Bowl for the only time in his career — then after two more seasons with the Browns, played for the Arizona Cardinals (2010) and Carolina Panthers (2011-17) before joining the Bills.

Last season, he played in only two games with Buffalo (both starts) and completed 42 of 70 passes for 465 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.

Among the remaining Bills quarterbacks are starter Josh Allen and backups Matt Barkley and Tyree Jackson, an undrafted free agent.

–Field Level Media

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McCarthy scorches 63 to lead Byron Nelson by one

McCarthy scorches 63 to lead Byron Nelson by one

McCarthy scorches 63 to lead Byron Nelson by one

Denny McCarthy rebounded from an early setback on Thursday to scorch the final 13 holes at Trinity Forest Golf Club and take a one-stroke lead after one round at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas.

McCarthy leads Tyler Duncan and Tom Hoge by one stroke after shooting 8-under 63.

World No. 3 Brooks Koepka, the highest-ranked player in the field, is one of nine players tied for fourth place after shooting 65. Nine more are another stroke back at 5 under.

McCarthy, a 26-year-old fifth-year pro seeking his first PGA title, opened with three pars before double-bogeying the par-4 sixth, following a penalty off his tee shot. But he responded by starting an incredible run at No. 6, birdieing five straight holes, eight of nine and 10 of 12 to go 10 under across the final 13 holes.

On greens softened by rain, McCarthy attacked pins with deadly accuracy. All 10 birdie putts came from 18 feet or closer, and six game from within nine feet. He also drained an eight-footer for par at the 18th to cap a 6-under 29 on the back nine.

“I’m not the farthest hitter, so the golf course played somewhat long for me, but I really put some work in on my mid-irons, long irons, so gave me a chance to work on those today,” McCarthy told reporters afterward. “Hit a lot of great ones today.”

McCarthy, who has one Web.com Tour victory, has missed six cuts in 12 PGA Tour tournaments since late January, including last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. His only finish better than 26th this year came when he tied for ninth at the Valspar Championship in March.

“I’ve kind of been looking for a round like this just to kind of get me going,” he said. “I know I can be out here playing with the best, and today kind of showed that. It’s a good start but still have three more days to go.”

Duncan started on the back nine and also had a hot finish, playing his final nine holes at 6 under with the help of an eagle at the par-4 fifth. Hoge had a bogey-free day with seven birdies.

Koepka also started on the back nine and was 6 under through 14 holes before finishing bogey-birdie-birdie-bogey.

“I’m pleased with the way I played,” Koepka said afterward. “What I did there on 6 … just hit a flyer from the middle of the fairway, and 9, didn’t hit a good shot. Other than that, I struck the ball beautifully.”

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo shot 5-over 76 and is tied for 148th in the 155-person field. He opened with a birdie and got as low as 2 under with an eagle at the par-5 seventh, but he double-bogeyed Nos. 9 and 13 before three bogeys in the final four holes.

Defending champion Aaron Wise is tied for 55th after shooting 69.

D.J. Trahan withdrew after eight holes.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

The Seattle Seahawks officially severed ties with two longtime standouts who are expected to retire due to health concerns, waiving wideout Doug Baldwin and safety Kam Chancellor with failed physical designations.

“The Seahawks have made the difficult decision to terminate/failed physical Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor,” general manager John Schneider said in a statement. “These are two of the most iconic players in franchise history and both were instrumental in establishing our championship culture, great examples of competitiveness and leadership on the field and in the community.

“These legendary players will always be a part of our Seahawks family.”

The news was expected for the 31-year-old Chancellor, who sat out all of last season with a neck injury that was described as career ending.

Baldwin’s playing future was revealed to be in doubt during the draft in late April, when ESPN reported the 30-year-old receiver might have already played his final game, due to an accumulation of injuries.

Baldwin is recovering from three offseason surgeries — on his knee, shoulder and abdomen — after battling nagging injuries throughout the 2018 campaign. Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll appeared to be holding out hope Baldwin could keep playing, before Thursday’s news.

NFL Network reports Baldwin is “leaning toward” retirement, with his release allowing him to keep his signing bonus and possibly future injury-protection money.

An undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2011, Baldwin had 493 catches for 6,563 yards and 49 touchdowns in eight seasons with the Seahawks, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017 and playing in 123 of a possible 128 games (90 starts). He ranks third in team history in catches and yards and second in receiving touchdowns.

Chancellor was a fifth-round pick by Seattle in 2010 and went on to make four Pro Bowls, intercepting 12 passes and breaking up 44 in 109 career games (93 starts) across eight seasons before missing 2018.

Both players were a part of the Super Bowl XLVIII winning team and the squad that lost Super Bowl XLIV to the New England Patriots a year later.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

Cornerback Jamar Taylor agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle

Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

Cornerback Jamar Taylor agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.

Taylor, a nickel cornerback, follows defensive end Ziggy Ansah as another potential value find deep into free agency.

Ansah, the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft, was due in Seattle on Thursday to a sign a one-year deal that could be worth $8 million. However, Ansah is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and might not be cleared until August.

Taylor, 28, is a former second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins out of Boise State but has bounced around from Miami to the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos, where he ended last season.

The Seahawks lost cornerback Justin Coleman (Detroit Lions) in free agency.

Seattle also announced the signings of fullback Nick Bellore and guard Marcus Martin.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

The Seattle Seahawks officially severed ties with two longtime standouts who are expected to retire due to health concerns, waiving wideout Doug Baldwin and safety Kam Chancellor with failed physical designations.

“The Seahawks have made the difficult decision to terminate/failed physical Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor,” general manager John Schneider said in a statement. “These are two of the most iconic players in franchise history and both were instrumental in establishing our championship culture, great examples of competitiveness and leadership on the field and in the community.

“These legendary players will always be a part of our Seahawks family.”

The news was expected for the 31-year-old Chancellor, who sat out all of last season with a neck injury that was described as career ending. Baldwin’s playing future was revealed to be in doubt during the draft in late April, when ESPN reported the 30-year-old receiver might have already played his final game, due to an accumulation of injuries.

–Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he won’t play the 2019 season for personal reasons, writing on Instagram, “I must take time away from this game & get my world in order.”

A full-time starter the past four seasons and a 2017 Pro Bowler, Smith affirmed he doesn’t plan to play for any team other than the Jaguars, despite rumors of a possible trade. The 28-year-old was set to earn a base salary of $9.75 million this season.

The Jaguars issued a statement, reading, “We will not have a comment about Telvin Smith’s statement at this time. We need to have a conversation with Telvin to understand the situation and the circumstances. If there is a way we can support him we need to understand that.”

–Tight end Benjamin Watson plans to end his short-lived retirement and sign with the team that drafted him, the New England Patriots, multiple media outlets reported.

According to ESPN, Watson will sign a one-year, $3 million deal.

Watson, 38, was drafted 32nd overall by the Patriots in 2004. He played six seasons in New England, followed by three in Cleveland, and spent four of the last five in New Orleans.

–The Carolina Panthers will receive $120 million in tax breaks if they move their facility to South Carolina, after the state’s Senate approved a bill by a 27-15 vote.

Under the bill, which Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to sign, the Panthers would be exempt from paying state income taxes for players, coaches and other employees for 15 years, assuming that money is used toward a new complex in South Carolina.

Currently based in Charlotte, N.C., the team has been planning a 200-acre development in Rock Hill, S.C., about 25 miles south of its current facilities next to Bank of America Stadium, though it will continue to play games in Charlotte.

–The Miami Dolphins signed former Buffalo Bills tackle Jordan Mills to a one-year deal, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported is worth $3 million.

Mills, 28, started all 48 games over the past three seasons and has appeared in 87 games (82 starts) for the Chicago Bears (2013-14) and Bills (2015-18).

Mills played 95.5 percent of Buffalo’s offensive snaps (1,011 total) at right tackle last season and was penalized five times — three for holding and two false starts.

–The Jaguars released backup quarterback Cody Kessler and linebacker Blair Brown.

Kessler, who turns 26 on Saturday, was 2-2 as a starter for Jacksonville last season. He completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 709 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Brown was a fifth-round pick in 2017. He has 12 career tackles in 28 games (two starts), with 495 of his 548 career snaps on special teams.

–The Seahawks signed cornerback Jamar Taylor, fullback Nick Bellore and guard Marcus Martin.

Taylor, 28, is a former second-round pick who has bounced around from Miami to the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos in recent years.

Bellore started four of 14 games for the Lions last year. Martin has not played in a regular-season game since 2016.

–Backup quarterback Derek Anderson, who signed with the Bills last season, has decided to retired from the NFL, the team announced Thursday.

“Derek let me know a few weeks back that he wasn’t sure if he could be committed [for the season] and wanted to still think about it,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said in a statement. “So I knew going into the draft that this was something that could potentially happen. But it wasn’t definite. We talked this week and he let me know today that he is going to retire.”

Anderson, who began his NFL career with the Browns in 2006, appeared in 78 games, completing 909 of 1,674 passes for 10,878 yards, with 60 touchdowns and 64 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

The Miami Dolphins have will

Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

The Miami Dolphins have will make cornerback Xavien Howard the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, agreeing to a five-year, $76.5 million extension, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

The deal reportedly includes $46 million in guarantees and $51 million over the first three seasons. Howard, 25, was set to earn $1.3 million in 2019, the final year of a four-year, $6.12 million rookie contract.

Washington’s Josh Norman was previously the NFL’s highest-paid corner at $15 million annually, signing a five-year, $75 million deal in April 2016 after the Carolina Panthers rescinded his franchise tag. Norman’s deal included $36.5 million in guarantees.

A second-round pick (38th overall) by the Dolphins out of Baylor in 2016, Howard tied for the league lead with seven interceptions last season despite missing the final four games to injury, earning the first Pro Bowl nod of his career. He had four interceptions in 2017 and has 31 career pass breakups in 35 games (34 starts).

Various reports earlier this offseason suggested Howard could be traded for the right price, as the Dolphins entered a rebuild under new head coach Brian Flores. Instead, the new deal puts him under contract through 2024.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers offered $120M to move facility to S.C.

Panthers offered $120M to move facility to S.C.

The Carolina Panthers will receive $120 million in tax breaks if they move

Panthers offered $120M to move facility to S.C.

The Carolina Panthers will receive $120 million in tax breaks if they move their facility to South Carolina, after the state’s Senate approved a bill Thursday by a 27-15 vote.

Under the bill, which Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to sign, the Panthers would be exempt from paying state income taxes for players, coaches and other employees for 15 years, assuming that money is used toward a new complex in South Carolina.

Currently based in Charlotte, N.C., the team has been planning a 200-acre development in Rock Hill, S.C., about 25 miles south of its current facilities next to Bank of America Stadium. The development plans include expansive football facilities as part of a broader campus with hotels, shopping and restaurants.

The bill was supported by McMaster, but many senators pushed back against the idea of giving public funds to a team owned by David Tepper, whose net worth is estimated at $11.6 billion.

“We’d like to be there. Hopefully they help us out there,” Tepper told reporters Wednesday of the potential facility in Rock Hill. “But I could be with a (practice) bubble and a cafeteria in Charlotte, too. So it’s up to them.”

Now the path appears clear for the Panthers to proceed with the planned move, which is not expected until at least 2022. The team will continue to play games at Bank of America Stadium, its home since its second season in 1996.

Tepper also told reporters Wednesday he hopes to bring a Major League Soccer team to the area eventually, potentially housing it on the same campus in Rock Hill.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins are signing former

Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins are signing former Buffalo Bills tackle Jordan Mills to a one-year, $3 million deal, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.

Mills, 28, started all 48 games over the past three seasons and has appeared in 87 games with 82 starts for the Chicago Bears (2013-14) and Bills (2015-18).

Mills played 95.5 percent of Buffalo’s offensive snaps (1,011 total) at right tackle last season and was penalized five times — three for holding and two false starts.

He was a fifth-round draft pick by Chicago in 2013.

Mills offers veteran stability to a Miami offensive line that lost Ja’Wuan James to the Denver Broncos in free agency.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins signed former Buffalo Bills

Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins signed former Buffalo Bills tackle Jordan Mills to a one-year deal Thursday, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports is worth $3 million.

Mills, 28, started all 48 games over the past three seasons and has appeared in 87 games with 82 starts for the Chicago Bears (2013-14) and Bills (2015-18).

Mills played 95.5 percent of Buffalo’s offensive snaps (1,011 total) at right tackle last season and was penalized five times — three for holding and two false starts.

He was a fifth-round draft pick by Chicago in 2013.

Mills offers veteran stability to a Miami offensive line that lost right tackle Ja’Wuan James to the Denver Broncos in free agency.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars release QB Kessler

Jaguars release QB Kessler

Cody Kessler is looking

Jaguars release QB Kessler

Cody Kessler is looking for work after the Jacksonville Jaguars released the quarterback on Thursday.

Kessler, who turns 26 on Saturday, was 2-2 as a starter for Jacksonville last season. He completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 709 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

A third-round pick in 2016 by Cleveland, Kessler was 0-8 as a rookie starter for the Browns and was traded to the Jaguars during the 2018 offseason for a seventh-round pick.

Kessler and Blake Bortles were the only quarterbacks used by the Jaguars last season, and now both are gone.

Bortles was released in March after Jacksonville signed Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl hero Nick Foles to a four-year, $88 million contract.

Foles’ remaining backups on the roster are untested 2018 draft picks Tanner Lee (sixth round by Jacksonville) and Alex McGough (seventh round by Seattle).

–Field Level Media

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Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

Tight end Benjamin Watson plans to end his short-lived retirement and sign with the team that drafted him, the New England Patriots, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.

According to ESPN, Watson will sign a one-year, $3 million deal. ESPN previously reported the tight end was also considering the Chiefs, Bills and 49ers.

Reports earlier Thursday said Watson was meeting with the Patriots, who took him 32nd overall in 2004. He played six seasons in New England, followed by three seasons in Cleveland.

Watson, 38, played four of his previous five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, including last season’s run to the NFC Championship Game.

He announced his retirement in December.

“It’s time. It’s time to be done,” he said then. “I’m going to finish strong.”

In his career, Watson has played in 195 games, with 530 receptions for 5,885 yards and 44 touchdowns. In 12 postseason games, he has 22 catches for 234 yards and three scores.

The Patriots were looking for depth at tight end following the retirement of All-Pro Rob Gronkowski. They previously added free agents Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse, and they did not draft a tight end last month.

On Wednesday, the Patriots announced the release of wide receiver Bruce Ellington. He signed with New England as a free agent on March 15.

–Field Level Media

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Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he

Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he won’t play the 2019 season for personal reasons.

A full-time starter the past four seasons and a 2017 Pro Bowler, Smith made the announcement Thursday on Instagram.

“At this time I must take time away from this game & get my world in order,” Smith wrote. “I must give this time back to myself, my family, & my health. I appreciate all the support I will & will not get. I just ask y’all respect my decision to not play football this season.”

He also affirmed he doesn’t plan to play for any team other than the Jaguars, despite rumors of a possible trade.

Smith, 28, was set to earn a base salary of $9.75 million this season. He signed a four-year, $45 million extension in October 2017.

A fifth-round pick by Jacksonville in 2014, Smith posted a career-high 134 tackles in 2018. He also has 26 pass breakups and nine interceptions in his five-year career.

Smith and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey opted to sit out the Jaguars’ voluntary workouts last month, prompting public criticism from team executive vice president Tom Coughlin.

Smith made his first public comments about that controversy Monday during an Instagram live session.

“Understand this, I never left Duval. I’m never leaving Duval; it’s Duval ’til we die,” he said, referring to Jacksonville’s location in Duval County. “You understand me? Y’all seen trade rumors and stuff. Y’all seen me go anywhere? Exactly. Y’all seen the rumors go somewhere, but y’all ain’t seen me go nowhere cause I ain’t going nowhere. You understand me?”

Smith promised his followers Monday that they would learn more “this week” about what’s going on.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Tight end Benjamin Watson could end his short-lived retirement and is spending Thursday meeting with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.

Watson is no stranger to the organization, which made him the No. 32 overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played six seasons in New England, followed by three seasons in Cleveland.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday that Watson also is considering the Chiefs, Bills and 49ers.

Watson, 38, played four of his previous five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, including last season’s run to the NFC Championship Game.

He announced his retirement in December.

“It’s time. It’s time to be done,” he said then. “I’m going to finish strong.”

In his career, Watson has played in 195 games, with 530 receptions for 5,885 yards and 44 touchdowns. In 12 postseason games, he has 22 catches for 234 yards and three scores.

The Patriots are looking for depth at tight end following the retirement of All-Pro Rob Gronkowski.

On Wednesday, the Patriots announced the release of wide receiver Bruce Ellington. He signed with New England as a free agent on March 15.

–Field Level Media

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