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Reports: Jones, Falcons finalize 3-year, guaranteed $66M deal

Reports: Jones, Falcons finalize 3-year, guaranteed $66M deal

The Atlanta Falcons

Reports: Jones, Falcons finalize 3-year, guaranteed $66M deal

The Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones finalized a three-year, $66 million fully guaranteed contract extension with $64 million due immediately, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported Saturday afternoon.

“$66 million guaranteed and, yes, $64 million due at signing. That’s today,” Mortensen tweeted.

Schefter said that his 97 percent of the deal guaranteed at signing eclipses the previous record for a non-quarterback, which was the 74 percent that defensive end Trey Flowers received from the Detroit Lions.

Jones and the Falcons have been working toward a new contract for months. Owner Arthur Blank said in March the team wanted a deal done before training camp. General manager Thomas Dimitroff set a goal of the start of the season — which is Sunday.

Jones, 30, was set to make $21 million over the next two seasons on his existing contract. With the three-year extension tacked on, Jones and the Falcons are tied together for five years.

Entering his ninth season, Jones is coming off of his sixth Pro Bowl selection — and fifth in a row — after catching 113 passes for a league-high 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He remains the NFL’s all-time leader in career receiving yards per game (96.7).

Dimitroff said the Falcons expect Jones to be the highest-paid receiver in the NFL when his contract is finalized. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas signed for $100 million over five years, pushing the price tag for top pass catchers to an all-time high.

Multiple outlets reported Thursday a deal between Jones and the Falcons was imminent.

The Falcons open the season against the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Jones, Falcons finalizing 3-year, $66M deal

Reports: Jones, Falcons finalizing 3-year, $66M deal

The Atlanta Falcons and

Reports: Jones, Falcons finalizing 3-year, $66M deal

The Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones are working out the final details on a three-year contract extension worth $66 million, according to multiple reports on Saturday.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero both tweeted details of the looming deal, citing league sources.

Jones and the Falcons have been working toward a new contract for months. Owner Arthur Blank said in March the team wanted a deal done before training camp. General manager Thomas Dimitroff set a goal of the start of the season — which is Sunday.

Jones, 30, was set to make $21 million over the next two seasons on his existing contract.

Entering his ninth season, Jones is coming off of his sixth Pro Bowl selection — and fifth in a row — after catching 113 passes for a league-high 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He remains the NFL’s all-time leader in career receiving yards per game (96.7).

Dimitroff said the Falcons expect Jones to be the highest-paid receiver in the NFL when his contract is finalized. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas signed for $100 million over five years, pushing the price tag for top pass catchers to an all-time high.

Multiple outlets reported Thursday a deal between Jones and the Falcons was imminent.

The Falcons open the season against the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Dolphins reportedly to start Rosen at QB

NFL notebook: Dolphins reportedly to start Rosen at QB

NFL notebook: Dolphins reportedly to start Rosen at QB

A day after head coach Brian Flores affirmed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Miami Dolphins reversed course and made Josh Rosen the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game at the heavily favored Dallas Cowboys, according to multiple reports Thursday.

The Miami Herald reported earlier Thursday that the two quarterbacks split reps in Thursday’s practice, a change from previous weeks after Fitzpatrick won the preseason competition.

Fitzpatrick, 36, is 25 of 50 for 274 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions — two returned for touchdowns — through two games.

Rosen, 22, has gone 8 of 21 for 102 yards and two interceptions in mop-up duty.

–Philadelphia Eagles are expected to be without wide receivers DeSean Jackson (lower abdomen) and Alshon Jeffery (calf) on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, and likely Week 4 as well.

The Eagles were missing seven key players at practice, including tight end Dallas Goedert (calf), who is also considered unlikely for Sunday.

–New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur no longer will appear weekly on Mike Francesa’s radio show on WFAN, the team’s flagship station.

Francesa was blunt with Shurmur about the play of the 0-2 Giants on Monday. “You look like a bad team through two weeks. I hate to say it, but you look like a terrible team. You’re not good at anything.”

Shurmur said the team brass decided to end the weekly spots.

–Carolina quarterback Cam Newton missed practice with a foot injury again, increasing the likelihood that the Panthers will start Kyle Allen on Sunday in Arizona.

Newton aggravated a left mid-foot sprain during last Thursday night’s loss and has not practiced since.

Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters he wasn’t yet sure whether Newton or Allen would start against the Cardinals, saying he would know more Friday.

–In his first public comments since joining the New England Patriots on Sept. 7, wide receiver Antonio Brown declined to address his status amid the league’s investigation into sexual assault allegations against him.

“I appreciate that question,” Brown replied when asked about the subject. “I’m just here to just focus on ball. I look forward to getting out there in the home stadium and being with the team.”

The Boston Globe also reported that Nike has terminated its endorsement deal with Brown.

–Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was critical of the performance of wide receiver Donte Moncrief, saying he’s got to start hauling in catches.

In Week 1, Moncrief caught three of 11 targets for 7 yards, with four incompletions that hit both of his hands. Last week, Moncrief was targeted just once, watching the pass go off his hands and deflect for an interception.

–Denver Broncos general manager John Elway was frank about the rash of holding penalties racked up by left tackle Garett Bolles.

“It’s gotta stop. Period,” Elway said on 850 KOA radio. “There’s no more excuses for it. He’s had 26 holding penalties in the last two years and two games, so it’s gotta stop.”

–Chicago Bears defensive tackle Bilal Nichols has a broken hand but will likely avoid injured reserve. He is unlikely to play Monday at Washington but could play with the hand wrapped into a club, according to head coach Matt Nagy.

–The Dolphins claimed former first-round defensive end Taco Charlton, 24, off waivers from the Cowboys. The two teams play each other Sunday.

— The Green Bay Packers promoted tight end Evan Baylis from the practice squad as Jimmy Graham deals with a groin injury. Graham, 32, did not practice Thursday, and his status is murky for Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field against the Broncos.

–Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford is doubtful for Sunday due to a hip injury.

–Giants wideout Sterling Shepard is expected to clear the concussion protocol and play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–In addition to a groin injury, Oakland Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs said he also has an illness that has caused him to lose 10 pounds.

— Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is out of a sling this week, sparking speculation that he could return from a right clavicle injury before the original six- to eight-week estimate.

–Running back Marlon Mack (calf) and linebacker Darius Leonard (concussion) both missed their second straight day of practice. Coach Frank Reich is expected to announce their availability on Friday.

–Tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) remains out of practice, but the Washington Redskins haven’t ruled him out of Monday night’s game against the Bears.

Reed sustained the concussion in the preseason and has yet to be cleared to play.

–Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft, an offseason acquisition, has yet to play this season because of a broken right foot.

It appeared he might play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, but that is in doubt. He left practice with a right ankle injury, and coach Sean McDermott said the extent of the injury wasn’t known yet.

–Four-time Pro-Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley missed another practice, but coach Adam Gase wasn’t ready to rule him out for Sunday when the New York Jets travel to meet the Patriots.

–Field Level Media

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Investor Dundon files $70M claim against AAF

Investor Dundon files $70M claim against AAF

Investor Dundon files $70M claim against AAF

Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon has filed a claim against the Alliance of American Football in bankruptcy court, seeking repayment of the $70 million he paid to buy into the now-defunct league, The Athletic reported Tuesday.

His court filing, executed Monday, contends he was enticed by “misrepresentations” to invest in the league.

The court papers state that Dundon, who heads Dundon Capital Partners, never was told that the league would need $50 million on top of his investment to get through the first season.

“The AAF further represented that it could survive the season with only $55,000,000, leaving substantial capital to prepare for the following season,” Dundon’s filing charges read. “During the weeks following the execution of the Term Sheet, DCP learned a number of alarming facts that revealed that the AAF was not forthcoming with Dundon and DCP. DCP learned that, in addition to not having the funds to pay salaries after the first week of the League’s games, the AAF also had accumulated more than $13,000,000 in unpaid debts and commitments. The AAF did not disclose these unpaid debts or commitments to DCP prior to the execution of the February 14, 2019 Term Sheet.”

Legendary Field Exhibitions is the primary debtor in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The company is owned by Charlie Ebersol, the son of former NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol and founder of the league.

The AAF began play in February and ceased April 2 when Dundon pulled the plug. It had financial issues almost immediately and couldn’t make payroll after Week 1.

In response, Dundon pledged $250 million then and was named chairman, saying at the time he was impressed by the start-up league’s innnovations.

“As a lifelong sports fan and entrepreneur, I’ve always valued the opportunities generated in the ecosystem of sports and entertainment,” Dundon said in a statement released by the AAF in February. “I’m impressed with The Alliance’s stunning growth in-stadium and across TV, mobile and social media in just these first few weeks.”

The AAF filed the bankruptcy paperwork with the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio on April 17.

Filings show the league listed $11.4 million in assets and $48.4 million in liabilities.

–Field Level Media

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Bengals’ first-round OT Williams likely to miss season

Bengals' first-round OT Williams likely to miss season

The

Bengals’ first-round OT Williams likely to miss season

The Cincinnati Bengals’ Jonah Williams, the first offensive lineman selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, is expected to miss the season after surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum.

The Bengals selected the left tackle from Alabama with the 11th pick.

“We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won’t let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team,” coach Zac Taylor said in a release. “We’re confident in our offensive line personnel as we head into training camp, and we believe they can do their part in helping this team achieve its goals.”

The Bengals inserted Williams as their first-team left tackle in team drills last month, moving the incumbent at the position, Cordy Glenn, to left guard.

Williams missed minicamp June 11-13 after suffering the shoulder injury in practice a week earlier. Glenn slid back to tackle in minicamp, with Christian Westerman getting most of the reps at left guard.

Williams was a three-year starter at Alabama, playing right tackle as a true freshman while All-American Cam Robinson held down the left side. After Robinson’s departure, Williams took over at left tackle and earned unanimous All-America honors last season.

Williams’ injury continues a bad trend for Bengals’ first-round picks.

In 2018, offensive lineman Billy Price missed six games because of a foot injury.

In 2017, wide receiver John Ross played just 17 snaps.

In 2016, cornerback William Jackson missed the season due to a pectoral injury.

In 2015, offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi played in only five games because of a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs WR Hill to meet Wednesday with NFL investigators

Chiefs WR Hill to meet Wednesday with NFL investigators

With the specter

Chiefs WR Hill to meet Wednesday with NFL investigators

With the specter of a suspension looming, Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill will be interviewed by NFL investigators looking into the case involving his 3-year-old son.

ESPN reported the interview is scheduled to take place in Kansas City on Wednesday.

Hill is under investigation by the Kansas Department of Children and Families for possible child abuse, battery or neglect. Hill’s son broke his arm in March, and officers in Overland Park, Kan., were called to Hill’s home twice that month.

Hill could be subject to discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, even though there currently is no criminal investigation surrounding the case.

The Johnson County district attorney announced on April 24 that he felt a crime had taken place, but insufficient evidence existed to prove who committed the crime.

KCTV broadcast an audio recording the next day on which a voice, allegedly Hill’s, was heard discussing striking his son with fiancee, Crystal Espinal.

Espinal asks Hill, “Why did he say Daddy did it? Why did he say Daddy did it?’ A 3-year-old is not going to lie about what happened to his arm,” Espinal said on the recording. “He is terrified of you.”

Hill responded, “You need to be terrified of me, too, b—-.”

The Chiefs immediately announced Hill would be barred from team activities. The district attorney did not formally re-open the case, but did tell the Kansas City Star any new information would be evaluated.

–Field Level Media

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Romo enters Safeway Open despite possible NFL conflict

Romo enters Safeway Open despite possible NFL conflict

Romo enters Safeway Open despite possible NFL conflict

Tony Romo, who enjoys moonlighting as a golfer, would miss work at his day job if he makes the cut at the Safeway Open next week.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, now an NFL television analyst for CBS Sports, accepted a sponsor’s exemption into the event at Silverado Country Club in Napa, Calif.

Should he make the cut, he would be forced to miss his CBS assignment calling the Vikings-Bears game in Chicago on Sept. 29. If he misses the cut, he would fly to Chicago on Sept. 28 to do his normal pregame preparation, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

CBS executives signed off on Romo’s golf excursion after refusing to do so in similar circumstances last year, Marchand reported. The network told Marchand it has a backup analyst ready to fill in for Romo if necessary, but it wouldn’t reveal who that person is.

Romo’s PGA Tour record likely gives CBS confidence that the sub won’t be necessary.

Romo, 39, has played in three events on the top-level tour and has yet to come close to making a cut, winding up 38 shots over par through six rounds. However, he has won each of the past two American Century Championship celebrity tournaments in Stateline, Nev., and he owns an impressive amateur golfing resume.

According to Marchand, Romo is making around $3 million this year in the final season of his CBS contract, and he figures to attract other suitors when he becomes a television free agent in the offseason.

–Field Level Media

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Brown pleads for release from Raiders in Instagram post

Brown pleads for release from Raiders in Instagram post

Brown pleads for release from Raiders in Instagram post

While Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden expects Antonio Brown to play in the team’s season opener against the Denver Broncos, the wide receiver appears ready to walk away from Oakland without playing a snap — or earning a dime.

Brown posted a message to Instagram on Saturday morning that ends with “Release me @raiders,” capping a tumultuous week in Oakland.

“You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what’s best for you,” the message begins. “And that’s fine! I have worked my whole life to prove that the system is blind to see talent like mines. Now that everyone sees it, they want me to conform to that same system that failed me all those years.”

“I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong. Release me @raiders. #NOMore #theyputblindersonahorseforareason #NoMoreFake.”

Brown’s demand seems to stem from a fine he received for a confrontation with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock on Wednesday. The conduct fine voids the guarantees in his contract, while the Raiders also reportedly would not be obligated to pay him any termination pay.

According to multiple reports, that Raiders have yet to pay Brown any money. Spotrac, which tracks players’ salaries and bonuses, points out that Brown already missed out on a $500,000 bonus for not attending at least 85 percent of the offseason program and would be due no money or have any salary cap impact if he were cut before the Week 1 game.

“No way I play after they took [his guaranteed money] and made my contract week to week,” Brown wrote to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington in an email Saturday.

There has been plenty of drama around Brown since he was acquired from the Steelers in March and signed to a contract extension.

In the most recent episode, Brown and Mayock had to be physically separated during a testy exchange on Wednesday, ESPN and NFL Network reported, leading to Brown opening a team meeting on Friday morning with what was dubbed an “emotional apology.”

Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown confronted Mayock over being fined almost $54,000 and called Mayock a “cracker” and addressed him with a number of “cuss words” during the altercation. Anderson reported Mayock began to walk away because he felt the situation would escalate.

Brown told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that he did not call Mayock a “cracker” during their Wednesday altercation. Brown told Russini he would “never use that word.”

Brown, 31, initially had been expected to be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and miss at least the Week 1 game.

Later Friday, Brown posted a video to his YouTube channel that appears to contain the audio of a phone call he had with Gruden, reportedly earlier this week while Brown’s status with the team was in flux. The video lasts nearly two minutes and in it, Gruden asks Brown, “What the hell is going on, man?”

“Just a villain all over the news, man,” Brown replies.

“You’re not a villain,” Gruden then says back. “You’re just, you’re the most misunderstood (expletive) human being in my entire life that I’ve ever met.”

“Do you want to be a Raider or not,” Gruden later asks, to which Brown replies, “Man I’ve been trying to be a Raider since Day 1.”

Brown also missed time due to a frostbite-like condition on his feet, an incident Gruden said wasn’t Brown’s fault but stemmed from improper protection on his feet during cryotherapy.

Then he sat out during a dispute with the NFL over his helmet, returning only after losing two grievances.

–Field Level Media

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49ers DE Bosa questionable for NFL debut

49ers DE Bosa questionable for NFL debut

San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa was

49ers DE Bosa questionable for NFL debut

San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa was listed as questionable to make his NFL debut on Sunday against the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bosa, selected with the second overall pick in April’s draft, has been battling an ankle injury that caused him to miss the entire preseason. His status for the season opener was listed on Friday’s injury report.

Meanwhile, receivers Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back) were ruled out, as was safety Jimmie Ward, who broke a finger during Wednesday’s practice.

“Jimmie would do anything to play this week,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. “He had to get surgery on his broken finger to fix it. When you do it, sometimes it’s just risky to do that with sweating, infection and everything whenever you have an open wound. Hopefully, that will heal enough over the next week and the cast will protect the bone.”

The 49ers also listed center Weston Richburg (knee) and cornerbacks Jason Verrett (ankle) and K’Waun Williams (knee) as questionable.

–Field Level Media

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Packers-Bears opener post 3-year ratings high

Packers-Bears opener post 3-year ratings high

Thursday night's game between the Green

Packers-Bears opener post 3-year ratings high

Thursday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears was the most-viewed NFL season opener since 2016, Variety reported Friday.

Green Bay’s 10-3 victory in Chicago scored a 15.3 in the overnight metered-market ratings, topping the 13.4 posted by last year’s opener between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles by 14 percent.

The low-scoring affair also beat NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” Packers-Bears telecast from last year by seven percent.

The Packers-Bears opener produced the highest overnight metered-market household score for any sporting event since last year’s Super Bowl. The total viewership for the game hit the 22-million mark, up from last year’s opener which drew around 19 million viewers.

–Field Level Media

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Bills returner Roberts to miss game against Jets

Bills returner Roberts to miss game against Jets

Bills returner Roberts to miss game against Jets

Buffalo Bills return specialist Andre Roberts was ruled out of Sunday’s game against his former team, the New York Jets, due to a quadriceps injury.

Roberts, 31, was a Pro Bowl selection for the Jets last season. He didn’t practice all week and was ruled out on Friday by Bills coach Sean McDermott.

“Andre is going to be out for the game,” McDermott told reporters. “He didn’t practice so he’s out for the game. We have to be smart with Andre’s situation right now. He’s got to maximize his treatment opportunities, which I know he will. Injuries happen, so it’s next man up and a great opportunity for someone to step up and step in.”

Roberts enjoyed a stellar season for the Jets last season when he tied for the NFL lead in punt-return average (14.1) and placed second in kickoff returns (29.4). He returned one kickoff and one punt for touchdowns.

Overall, Roberts has five career return scores — three kickoffs and two punts.

McDermott was unsure who would replace Roberts as of Friday afternoon.

“We’ve got some options there,” McDermott said. “Whether it’s (Robert) Foster, Devin Singletary, (Isaiah) McKenzie, (Micah) Hyde. We’ve got some guys who have some experience there.”

Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (foot) was listed as doubtful.

–Field Level Media

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Chargers K Badgley (groin) questionable for Sunday

Chargers K Badgley (groin) questionable for Sunday

Chargers K Badgley (groin) questionable for Sunday

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley sustained a groin injury during the practice Friday and is questionable for the team’s Sunday opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said that the team will give Badgley a few days to rest before making the final decision on his availability for the game.

Lynn said that punter Ty Long would handle kicking and punting duties if Badgley is unable to play. Long was a punter and kicker for the Canadian Football League’s British Columbia Lions for two seasons.

Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor would stand in for Long as the holder in the event of Badgley’s absence. Taylor has only held in practice, not a game.

An undrafted free agent from Miami (Fla.) in 2018, Badgley failed to make the Colts’ roster last summer. He signed with the Chargers in October, and he went 15 of 16 on field-goal attempts. He also set a franchise record by kicking a 59-yard field goal in the Chargers’ Week 14 win over Cincinnati.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders release disgruntled WR Brown

Raiders release disgruntled WR Brown

Raiders release disgruntled WR Brown

The Oakland Raiders abruptly released wide receiver Antonio Brown on Saturday, just two days before the team’s season opener against the Denver Broncos.

The move capped a tumultuous week in Oakland and came just hours after the wide receiver posted a message to Instagram on Saturday morning that ended with “Release me @raiders”.

“You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what’s best for you,” the message begins. “And that’s fine! I have worked my whole life to prove that the system is blind to see talent like mines. Now that everyone sees it, they want me to conform to that same system that failed me all those years.”

“I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong. Release me @raiders. #NOMore #theyputblindersonahorseforareason #NoMoreFake.”

He becomes a free agent as of 4:01 p.m. ET on Saturday. He is free to sign with any team and would be eligible to play in Week 2.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, speaking on NFL Network, said he will get to work on finding a new team.

“It’s been well-documented that it’s been a rocky road from the beginning. Unfortunately, not all relationships between players and teams work out. … Everybody had the best intentions going in but it didn’t pan out.”

He continued: “We’re going to have to see what the market is. When you’re a free agent, it’s not always what you expect. It’s what the market is. Of course, my job as an agent is to always get the best contracts for my clients. That’s no different here.”

Brown’s release came less than 24 hours after Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he expected Brown to play in Monday’s season opener.

Brown was fined $215,000 on Friday for a confrontation with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock on Wednesday. The conduct fine voided the approximately $30 million of guarantees in his contract, while the Raiders also reportedly would not be obligated to give him any termination pay.

The Raiders acquired Brown in a trade in March, sending third- and fifth-round draft picks to Pittsburgh. They then signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million restructured contract extension.

According to multiple reports, the Raiders have yet to pay Brown any money. Spotrac, which tracks players’ salaries and bonuses, points out that Brown already missed out on a $500,000 bonus for not attending at least 85 percent of the offseason program and would be due no money or have any salary cap impact if he were cut before the Week 1 game.

“No way I play after they took [his guaranteed money] and made my contract week to week,” Brown wrote to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington in an email Saturday.

There has been plenty of drama around Brown since he joined the Raiders.

In the most recent episode, Brown and Mayock had to be physically separated during a testy exchange on Wednesday, ESPN and NFL Network reported, leading to Brown opening a team meeting on Friday morning with what was dubbed an “emotional apology.”

Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown confronted Mayock over being fined almost $54,000 and called Mayock a “cracker” and addressed him with a number of “cuss words” during the altercation. Anderson reported Mayock began to walk away because he felt the situation would escalate.

Brown told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that he did not call Mayock a “cracker” during their Wednesday altercation. Brown told Russini he would “never use that word.”

Brown, 31, initially had been expected to be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and miss at least the Week 1 game.

Later Friday, Brown posted a video to his YouTube channel that appears to contain the audio of a phone call he had with Gruden, reportedly earlier this week while Brown’s status with the team was in flux. The video lasts nearly two minutes and in it, Gruden asks Brown, “What the hell is going on, man?”

“Just a villain all over the news, man,” Brown replies.

“You’re not a villain,” Gruden then says back. “You’re just, you’re the most misunderstood (expletive) human being in my entire life that I’ve ever met.”

“Do you want to be a Raider or not,” Gruden later asks, to which Brown replies, “Man I’ve been trying to be a Raider since Day 1.”

Brown also missed time due to a frostbite-like condition on his feet, an incident Gruden said wasn’t Brown’s fault but stemmed from improper protection on his feet during cryotherapy.

Then he sat out during a dispute with the NFL over his helmet, returning only after losing two grievances.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers OC calls out WR Moncrief

Steelers OC calls out WR Moncrief

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Randy

Steelers OC calls out WR Moncrief

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner didn’t mince words Thursday when asked about the struggles of wide receiver Donte Moncrief.

“I just know that I had a coach a long time ago say that you’ve got to put the word receive into receiver,” Fichtner told reporters. “That’s your job No. 1. Receive the football. Catch it.”

Moncrief, who joined the Steelers as a free agent on a two-year deal in March, has had major issues hanging onto the ball through two weeks. In Week 1, he caught three of 11 targets for 7 yards, with four incompletions that hit both of his hands, although most involved a New England Patriots player contesting the attempted catch.

Last week, Moncrief was targeted just once, watching the pass go off his hands and deflect for an interception by Seattle Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald.

Moncrief, 26, told reporters he’s been putting too much pressure on himself and overthinking things. He said a minor finger injury is not to blame.

“When you go out there and try to be perfect, it just puts more pressure on yourself,” Moncrief said. “Put a lot on you mentally. Like you said, when you’re mentally not out there, just not out there having fun, it’s hard.”

In six NFL seasons, Moncrief has 203 catches for 2,550 yards and 21 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Chiefs WR Hill spends 8 hours with NFL investigators

Reports: Chiefs WR Hill spends 8 hours with NFL investigators

Reports: Chiefs WR Hill spends 8 hours with NFL investigators

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill spent eight hours answering questions from investigators on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Per Schefter’s report Hill took part in what was reportedly “a thorough interview,” but NFL Network reports he’s expected to attend training camp beginning on July 26.

The Kansas City Star reported Hill was interviewed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central time. NFL Senior VP of Special Counsel for Investigations Lisa Friel and Jennifer Gaffney, who works with Friel, were present, along with Hill’s legal representation.

Hill is under investigation by the Kansas Department of Children and Families for possible child abuse, battery or neglect, involving Hill’s 3-year-old son.

Hill’s son broke his arm in March, and officers in Overland Park, Kan., were called to Hill’s home twice that month, per public records.

Hill could be subject to discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, even though there currently is no criminal investigation surrounding the case at this time.

The Johnson County district attorney announced on April 24 that he felt a crime had taken place, but insufficient evidence existed to prove who committed the crime.

KCTV broadcast an audio recording the next day on which a voice, allegedly Hill’s, was heard discussing striking his son with fiancee, Crystal Espinal.

Espinal asks Hill, “Why did he say Daddy did it? Why did he say Daddy did it?’ A 3-year-old is not going to lie about what happened to his arm,” Espinal said on the recording. “He is terrified of you.”

Hill responded, “You need to be terrified of me, too, b—-.”

The Chiefs immediately announced Hill would be barred from team activities. The district attorney did not formally re-open the case, but did tell the Kansas City Star any new information would be evaluated.

–Field Level Media

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Woods dropped from wrongful death case

Woods dropped from wrongful death case

A

Woods dropped from wrongful death case

A family’s wrongful death lawsuit that was filed last month against Tiger Woods, a Florida restaurant named for him, and Woods’ girlfriend, Erica Herman, the eatery’s general manager, is no longer targeting the star golfer, Woods’ attorney said Monday.

The other defendants in the case remain. The family of Nicholas Immesberger, 24, a bartender at The Woods in Jupiter, Fla., filed the lawsuit in the wake of his death late last year in a car crash after he had apparently been drinking heavily at the restaurant after his shift ended.

Woods’ attorney, Barry Postman, wrote that the Immesberger estate dropped the golfer from the lawsuit because, despite the restaurant’s name, Woods doesn’t own the place.

Excluding Woods “was clearly appropriate and reflected the fact that Mr. Woods should not have been included in the lawsuit in the first place because he had nothing to do with Mr. Immesberger’s death,” according to a written statement from Postman.

Attempts to reach Spencer Kuvin, an attorney for the estate, were unsuccessful Monday, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Immesberger’s parents alleged in their filing that their son had a “habitual problem” with alcohol, which was known to the restaurant’s staff, and he had been overserved.

After ending his shift on Dec. 10, 2018, Immesberger allegedly stuck around and drank to the point of intoxication before he left the restaurant. He later died after losing control of his car and swerved across three lanes of highway traffic before going airborne and landing in a grassy patch, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, per the Palm Beach Post at the time.

At the time of the crash, Immesberger’s reported blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit at .256.

–Field Level Media

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Giants LT Solder (ankle) expects to be ready for camp

Giants LT Solder (ankle) expects to be ready for camp

Giants LT Solder (ankle) expects to be ready for camp

New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder expects to be healthy for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his ankle during the offseason.

Solder said he has incorporated football training into his comeback along with the typical injury rehabilitation. He has played in 114 career games, including all 16 contests with the Giants in 2018. He spent his first seven seasons with the New England Patriots.

“There’s no reason to think that I won’t be there for training camp,” Solder told The Athletic when asked about his ankle.

The Giants hope for more good news from another injured offensive lineman, right tackle Mike Remmers, who has been sidelined with a back injury.

The full team is scheduled to report to training camp on July 24 at the Giants’ complex in East Rutherford, N.J.

–Field Level Media

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Reavie wins Travelers for first title since 2008

Reavie wins Travelers for first title since 2008

Reavie wins Travelers for first title since 2008

Chez Reavie didn’t let anything get in the way of ending a victory drought that lasted more than a decade.

“I kind of know how to deal with my nerves a little bit better,” Reavie said, knowing that’s what it would take as others made charges on Sunday. “Finally getting it done. You feel like you can win. I’ve been close, but it’s just not the same.”

Reavie completed a steady round of 1-under-par 69 to win the Travelers Championship for his first PGA Tour victory in 11 years.

Reavie, whose sizable six-shot lead entering the day dipped to one, posted a 17-under 263 total at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.

He ended up with a four-stroke edge, primarily because Keegan Bradley’s comeback bid hit a snag with a double bogey on the par-4 17th hole. Reavie birdied that hole, creating a three-shot swing.

This marked his first victory in 250-tournament stretch.

“It means everything,” Reavie said. “I started from the ground up. … And here we are.

“I enjoy every single week that I’m out here, and I don’t know if I would think that way if I didn’t go through what I have.”

Reavie has put together two strong weeks in a row after tying for third place a week earlier in the U.S. Open.

“That gave me a lot of confidence,” Reavie said. “I played really well on Sunday in the U.S. Open and I tried to treat today like I did then. … I’ve been feeling great with the putter for a while now.”

Reavie had a birdie on the fourth hole and a bogey on the eighth on what was otherwise a scorecard filled with pars. His 14-foot birdie putt on No. 17 was followed by a shorter miss from Bradley, pretty much sealing the outcome.

“You go from having a one-shot lead to a four-shot lead,” said Reavie, 37, whose only other PGA Tour victory came in the 2008 Canadian Open.

With birdies on four of the first six holes on the backside, Bradley moved to within a stroke. The Vermont native had the support of the New England crowd.

“Chez, we love you, but we love Keegan more,” Reavie said of his interpretation of the galleries. “… It wasn’t malicious by any means. It was a fun day.”

Bradley had pars on No. 17 for the first three rounds before his chances came unraveled on that hole on Sunday.

“You can make up a lot of ground here, but there are also doubles around every corner on the back,” Bradley said.

He ended up with 67 for the round, sharing the runner-up spot with Zack Sucher at 13 under. Sucher, who was the leader at the tournament’s midway point, also shot 67.

It was a day with some outstanding scoring throughout the field. Reavie was one of only three golfers in the top 12 to fail to shoot at least 2 under, but he took a calculated approach for the most part and it paid off.

“It was a challenge, for sure. I unfortunately just didn’t make any putts,” said Reavie, who noted he has been fond of the course layout for years and that aided his comfort level for the final round.

Vaughn Taylor (65) finished fourth at 12 under.

England’s Paul Casey (65) tied for fifth place with Kevin Tway (67) and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann (66) at 11 under. Niemann sank a 54-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole.

Mexico’s Abraham Ancer carded the day’s low round at 63, moving him into an eighth-place tie at 10 under. Ancer had five birdies across the final eight holes.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots WR Brown: ‘Just focused on ball’

Patriots WR Brown: 'Just focused on ball'

Patriots WR Brown: ‘Just focused on ball’

In his first public comments since joining the New England Patriots on Sept. 7, wide receiver Antonio Brown declined to address his status amid the league’s investigation into sexual assault allegations against him.

“I appreciate that question,” Brown replied when asked about the subject Thursday. “I’m just here to just focus on ball. I look forward to getting out there in the home stadium and being with the team.”

That was the fourth and final question Brown took during a one-minute session with reporters before a team official escorted Brown away. The first question Brown was asked concerned his standing with the league, but he declined to acknowledge it.

“I’m super grateful to be here,” Brown said. “Thankful for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I’ve got a lot of the offense to learn and catch up, but I’m excited and grateful to be here and be a part of these guys.”

Brown was not asked directly about the accusations.

Britney Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, filed a civil suit last week accusing him of three incidents of sexual assault or rape over a two-year period from 2017-18. According to multiple reports, the league met with Taylor for 10 hours on Monday as it investigates the accusations, and a meeting with Brown is expected at some point.

Brown made his Patriots debut on Sunday in Miami, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown while playing 24 snaps.

The Patriots host the New York Jets on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Brady Instagram post catches attention

Brady Instagram post catches attention

Tom Brady apparently has a

Brady Instagram post catches attention

Tom Brady apparently has a new favorite receiver — Tom Brady.

The New England Patriots quarterback posted a new video on social media Friday showing Brady catching a pass from himself.

“Football is back,” Brady wrote in the caption, including the hashtag #Year20.

It wasn’t long before former teammates and opponents commented on Brady’s video, which potentially could be seen by his 6.4 million Instagram followers.

Former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola offered a “Nice catch bro” in the video’s comment section.

San Francisco 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, a former Olympic track star, joked about Brady’s ability to throw himself a pass. “How are u that fast?”

Former Patriots teammates Lonie Paxton (“Ridiculous!” Go get up #budee”), Donte Stallworth (“?????? TIME!!!”) and Stevan Ridley (“The coldest. Ever.)” were mong others who commented on Instagram.

Brady, 42, will begin his 20th NFL season when the Patriots play the visting Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings WR Diggs questionable for opener vs. Falcons

Vikings WR Diggs questionable for opener vs. Falcons

Minnesota Vikings standout

Vikings WR Diggs questionable for opener vs. Falcons

Minnesota Vikings standout receiver Stefon Diggs is listed as questionable for the club’s season-opening game against the visiting Atlanta Falcons on Friday.

Diggs has been bothered by a hamstring injury. He sat out Wednesday’s practice before being a limited participant the past two days.

Diggs set career highs last season with 102 receptions for 1,021 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games.

Also, cornerback Mike Hughes was ruled out with a knee injury.

Hughes is working his way back from an ACL tear sustained in Week 6 of last season.

Tight end Tyler Conklin (ribs) is listed as questionable.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars LT Robinson doubtful for opener vs. Chiefs

Jaguars LT Robinson doubtful for opener vs. Chiefs

Jaguars LT Robinson doubtful for opener vs. Chiefs

Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s opener against the Kansas City Chiefs due to a right knee injury.

Robinson didn’t practice on Friday. Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone indicated Robinson’s knee gave out earlier in the week while protecting on a pass play in practice.

The 23-year-old Robinson missed the final 14 games of last season after suffering an ACL tear in his left knee.

Second-year-pro Will Richardson is expected to start in place of Robinson. Richardson was a fourth-round selection in 2018 but missed the season with a knee injury.

Also, offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (hamstring) has been ruled out. So has tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring).

Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (elbow) is listed as questionable.

Quarterback Nick Foles (oblique) is a full go, as is receiver Marqise Lee (knee). Lee missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

–Field Level Media

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Bucs WR Evans (illness) misses practice

Bucs WR Evans (illness) misses practice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans' status for the team's

Bucs WR Evans (illness) misses practice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans’ status for the team’s season opener is listed as questionable after he missed practice Friday due to an illness.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said the hope is Evans will be able to play in the Sunday game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert and safety Justin Evans both were ruled out for the contest, but defensive tackle Vita Vea and linebacker Lavonte David (knee) were full practice participants Friday and should be fully ready for Sunday, according to Arians.

Evans, 26, is coming off his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection set the single-season franchise record with 1,524 receiving yards in 2018, making 86 catches and scoring eight touchdowns through the air.

Evans has 395 receptions for 6,103 yards and 40 touchdowns in five seasons since being selected by Tampa Bay with the seventh overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders RB Jacobs (groin) also dealing with illness

Raiders RB Jacobs (groin) also dealing with illness

Raiders RB Jacobs (groin) also dealing with illness

In addition to a groin injury, Oakland Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs said he also has an illness that has caused him to lose 10 pounds.

Jacobs, a limited participant at Wednesday’s practice, revealed his illness and weight loss in a post to his Instagram story Thursday morning.

Earlier this week, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Jacobs was dealing with a groin injury.

Jacobs, a first-round pick from Alabama, has rushed 35 times for 184 yards (fourth in the NFL) and two touchdowns during the Raiders’ 1-1 start.

If Jacobs is not at full strength for Sunday’s game at Minnesota, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington would be in line for more work.

–Field Level Media

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Saints QB Brees awarded $6M in diamond lawsuit

Saints QB Brees awarded $6M in diamond lawsuit

Saints QB Brees awarded $6M in diamond lawsuit

A jury awarded more than $6 million to Drew Brees in a lawsuit that claimed a San Diego County jeweler sold him overpriced diamonds.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was not in court in San Diego on Friday for the verdict, but Brees and his wife, Brittany, both testified during the two-week trial against La Jolla, Calif., jeweler Vahid Moradi.

Their civil suit claimed Moradi valued gems that were purchased as an investment at $15 million, when they were worth millions less. Moradi denied the allegations.

“It was our position that Mr. Moradi breached his fiduciary duty, and that’s essentially what the jury said,” said attorney Andrew Kim, who co-represented the couple with Rebecca Riley, per the San Diego Union-Tribune. “They saw Mr. Moradi for exactly what he is: a grifter and a confidence man.”

Brees, 40, played for the Chargers in San Diego from 2001-05 before joining the Saints.

–Field Level Media

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Reavie roars into Travelers lead with 63

Reavie roars into Travelers lead with 63

Reavie roars into Travelers lead with 63

Chez Reavie fired a 28 on the back nine Saturday and is lined up for his second victory on the PGA Tour.

Reavie shot a 7-under-par 63 to burst into a six-shot lead after the third round at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.

“I’ve been hitting ball well for a while, but I think now I’m starting to think my way around the golf course better,” Reavie said.

Reavie birdied the first four holes on the back side and then added three more birdies as part of his 28 on the last nine holes. He’s at 16-under 194 for the tournament.

He’ll take a six-shot lead on Keegan Bradley and Zack Sucher into Sunday’s final round.

Reavie’s only victory on tour came in the 2008 Canadian Open.

“There is a long way to go,” said Reavie, who tied for third place in last week’s U.S. Open. “But definitely thinking about it and excited and hopefully it happens.”

He was 1 over through seven holes before going on his big surge Saturday. He trailed Sucher by six strokes before the duo played the back nine.

Bradley recovered after hitting his tee shot on No. 15 in the water. He bogeyed that hole, and then posted pars on the final three holes to complete the 69 for the round.

“I’ve had a good year other than I’ve got to put four rounds together,” Bradley said. “I haven’t done that yet, and hopefully this will be the week.”

Bradley said he’s in a good state of mind and that could help him as the tournament wraps up. He’s a Vermont native and figures to have plenty of support in a tournament conducted in New England.

“I feel very comfortable here in Hartford,” he said. “I’ve got experience on my side and just got to go out there and execute.”

Sucher, who led by two strokes entering the day, shot a 71. He was playing with Reavie, marking the first time Sucher played in the final group on the weekend in a PGA Tour event, though he had done it multiple times on what was then the Web.com Tour.

Sucher called it a “new feeling” on the PGA Tour circuit, although his trouble didn’t develop until deep into the round.

Sucher played the round’s first nine holes in 4 under. A bogey and two double bogeys to begin the back nine sent him stumbling into a six-shot deficit.

Sucher was one of only two golfers in the top 19 to fail to produce a sub-70 third round. Adam Long (70) was the other, and he’s at 7 under for the tournament.

Australia’s Jason Day followed his 63 in the second round with a 68 to move into a fourth-place tie with Mexico’s Robert Diaz (67) at 9 under. Day overcame bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 to finish the back nine at par.

“I’ve got a lot of work,” Day said. “Like we say, we’re focusing on trying to win this year.”

Bryson DeChambeau made a big move with a 64, going to 8-under 202 for the tournament and in a sixth-place tie with Kevin Tway (66), England’s Tommy Fleetwood (67) and Scotland’s Martin Laird (68).

Defending champion Bubba Watson shot a 73, falling to a tie for 51st place at 2 under.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys DE Crawford (hip) doubtful for Sunday

Cowboys DE Crawford (hip) doubtful for Sunday

Cowboys DE Crawford (hip) doubtful for Sunday

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the visiting Miami Dolphins due to a hip injury.

“(He) is probably going to miss some time,” Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones told the official team website.

Crawford, 29, dealt with the nagging injury most of the offseason and only participated in two training camp practices before sitting out the preseason.

Crawford started the first two games, registering the Cowboys’ only solo sack so far this season during last Sunday’s 31-21 win against the Washington Redskins.

A third-round pick by Dallas in 2012, Crawford has 23 sacks and 163 tackles in 94 career games.

The Cowboys could replace Crawford with Robert Quinn, who returns from a two-game suspension.

–Field Level Media

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Browns’ Kitchens: Beckham ‘ready to go’ for Sunday

Browns' Kitchens: Beckham 'ready to go' for Sunday

Odell Beckham Jr. is

Browns’ Kitchens: Beckham ‘ready to go’ for Sunday

Odell Beckham Jr. is “ready to go” for the season opener on Sunday, Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said Friday.

Just a day earlier, the wide receiver said he was dealing with a lingering hip injury that prevents him from “opening up and sprinting.”

Beckham didn’t play in any preseason games but was a full participant in practice on Friday, The Plain Dealer reported.

Beckham, 26, missed 16 of 32 games during his last two seasons with the New York Giants. He played all 16 games only once (2016) in five years there.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection said Thursday the injury is getting better.

“It’s something that hopefully that keeps progressing and gets better and not worse,” he said.

The Browns will meet the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Lines shift after Gruden says Brown likely to play

Lines shift after Gruden says Brown likely to play

Lines shift after Gruden says Brown likely to play

The possibility of Antonio Brown playing Monday night when the Oakland Raiders host the Denver Broncos sparked some movement in sports books on Friday afternoon.

DraftKings dropped the Broncos from 2.5-point favorites to one-point picks after news broke that Brown delivered an “emotional apology” on Friday, two days after having to be separated from general manager Mike Mayock during an intense exchange. Reports on Thursday said Brown likely would be suspended for the game.

The sharp change in the betting line occurred just minutes after Raiders coach Jon Gruden said “the plan” was for Brown to play Monday.

Westgate Superbook dropped Denver from -2 to -1, but soon raised the spread to 1.5.

Caesars/Harrah’s and Golden Nugget both switched Denver from -2 to -1.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots’ Gordon addresses substance abuse in statement

Patriots' Gordon addresses substance abuse in statement

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh

Patriots’ Gordon addresses substance abuse in statement

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon offered his first public comments on Friday since being conditionally reinstated from his indefinite suspension last month.

Gordon issued the following statement ahead of his return to playing football on Sunday night as the Patriots open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxborough, Mass.

“Before the 2019 season starts, I would like to address an issue that arose toward the end of last season,” Gordon, 28, wrote. “It’s been well documented that I have battled substance abuse for quite some time. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to focus on a solution to my problem until this past year. I am eternally grateful for the constant support from the NFL, NFLPA and the Patriots organization. I also want to thank my family, friends and all the fans who supported me while I addressed this issue.

“Going forward, I will not be discussing the details of my past. I plan to focus on the present and getting better every day. I hope people will judge me on what I do now and in the future. I look forward to being a member of the Patriots once again this season and doing my part by contributing on and off the field.”

Gordon was suspended on Dec. 20 for violating the terms of his previous reinstatement under the NFL substance abuse policy. He was conditionally reinstated on Aug. 16.

“Yeah, Josh has worked hard,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters on Friday. “He’s created an opportunity for himself. But, you know, I’m excited for our entire team. We’ve got a lot of guys — everybody’s worked hard, put a lot into it. It’s time to start playing. It’s time to see where we’re at.”

After breaking into the NFL with the Cleveland Browns in 2012 and making the Pro Bowl after the 2013 season, Gordon missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons due to suspensions related to substance abuse.

Gordon played in five games in 2017 after being reinstated. He played one game for Cleveland last year before being traded to the Patriots in September.

In 12 games last season, Gordon caught 41 passes for 737 yards and four touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs sign WR Hill to three-year, $54M extension

Chiefs sign WR Hill to three-year, $54M extension

Chiefs sign WR Hill to three-year, $54M extension

The Kansas City Chiefs signed wide receiver Tyreek Hill to a contract extension on Friday, two days before the regular season begins.

The Chiefs did not disclose the terms of the deal, however multiple outlets reported that it was a three-year, $54 million extension with $35 million guaranteed.

“We’re pleased we were able to reach an agreement with Tyreek to keep him in a Chiefs uniform for the foreseeable future,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. “He understands our expectations of him as a member of this team and community. This extension is contingent upon the conditions Tyreek agreed to adhere to upon his return to the team in July.

“Tyreek is an elite player in this league and has played a major role in our team’s success, and we’re pleased that he’ll continue to make an impact for us.”

The deal, which makes Hill one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the league, comes after an offseason in which the police investigated allegations of child abuse after Hill’s 3-year-old son sustained a broken arm.

The NFL ruled that since the police investigation did not find enough evidence to charge Hill, he wouldn’t be punished or suspended by the league.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my playing career here in Kansas City,” Hill said. “Kansas City is my home, and I appreciate the love and support from Clark Hunt, Coach Reid and Brett Veach along with my coaches and teammates. To Chiefs Kingdom, you’re the best fans in the world.”

Hill recorded 87 receptions for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018 and was one of six Chiefs named to the 2019 Pro Bowl.

The 25-year-old Hill is the leading receiver for an explosive offense directed by reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes.

Kansas City opens the 2019 season Sunday at Jacksonville.

— Field Level Media

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Chiefs’ Nnadi named NFLPA’s first Community MVP

Chiefs' Nnadi named NFLPA's first Community MVP

Chiefs’ Nnadi named NFLPA’s first Community MVP

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was named the first recipient of the NFLPA Community MVP award on Friday.

Nnadi recently provided a shopping spree for a victim’s family following a mass shooting in May in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va. He also hosted two back-to-school events for kids in Kansas City and Southeast Virginia.

“As my father says, ‘As Nnadis, we don’t receive, we give,'” the 23-year-old Nnadi said in a release from the NFLPA. “It was very fulfilling to help some special people get ready for the school year ahead.”

The NFLPA Community MVP program recognizes league players who are making a positive impact in their local communities.

The NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to Nnadi’s foundation or charity of choice in recognition of the award. In addition, a crowdfunding campaign has been established in Nnadi’s name through PledgeIt to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City.

The award will be given weekly during the season. Nnadi, along with the other 2019 Community MVPs, will become eligible to win the Alan Page Community Award, which is the NFLPA’s highest honor.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ Rudolph set for first start at San Francisco

Steelers' Rudolph set for first start at San Francisco

After his first

Steelers’ Rudolph set for first start at San Francisco

After his first NFL game experience last week in a 28-26 loss to Seattle, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was asked how he would cope if veteran Ben Roethlisberger remained sidelined due to a right elbow injury.

“I am completely confident in myself, being a leader of a team, and playing games,” Rudolph said. “That’s what it all comes down to. If he’s out a while, I’m ready to roll.”

Well, Rudolph will have no choice but to be ready to roll, starting with Sunday’s trip to the San Francisco 49ers. Roethlisberger’s injury is indeed a season-ender, and Rudolph will make his first career start in a game Pittsburgh needs in the worst way.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Rudolph played decently against the Seahawks, hitting 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns with one interceptions. Rudolph posted a 92.4 passer rating, and NFL Network’s Deion Sanders observed during a Sunday night highlights package that the offense appeared to run better under Rudolph.

If the 0-2 Steelers are to turn around their early-season fortunes, Rudolph will have to continue to make their retooled offense run better. And he’ll have to do it against an opponent that has been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises.

San Francisco is off to a 2-0 start and has outscored its opponents 72-34. Granted, playing Tampa Bay and Cincinnati isn’t exactly the toughest start to a season, but the 49ers still beat both decisively on the road.

Making the wins even more notable was that San Francisco won in different manners. After using two interception returns for touchdowns to defeat the Buccaneers 31-17, the 49ers exploded offensively in Cincinnati, rolling up 571 total yards.

That was the sixth-highest single game total in franchise history. From 296 passing yards by Jimmy Garoppolo to 121 rushing yards by Matt Breida, the 49ers exhibited the kind of balance that makes any offense click.

“It seemed like for a while we didn’t have to call a third-down play … and that’s the goal,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. “When you get to third down, everyone in the league is pretty one-dimensional, and when you’re getting good plays on first and second down, it opens up everything.”

The only negative out of that outburst for the 49ers was losing left tackle Joe Staley to a fractured fibula, although the team believes he could return in eight weeks. Rookie sixth-round pick Justin Skule is expected to start in Staley’s place against Pittsburgh.

A product of Vanderbilt, Skule got 19 snaps in second-half garbage time at Cincinnati. With its bye coming up in Week 4, San Francisco could use that time to make a trade for a more experienced replacement or perhaps reconfigure its line.

Almost overshadowed by Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury was the Steelers’ trade with the Miami Dolphins on Monday for Minkah Fitzpatrick. The 22-year-old safety is expected to slot right into the starting lineup, offering immediate help for a secondary that has been strafed by Tom Brady and Russell Wilson in the first two games.

–Field Level Media

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Sucher, seeking first PGA win, leads Travelers

Sucher, seeking first PGA win, leads Travelers

Zack Sucher,

Sucher, seeking first PGA win, leads Travelers

Zack Sucher, who has missed the cut in 26 of his previous 36 PGA Tour events, is the surprise leader halfway through the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.

The 32-year-old Atlanta native shot a 5-under-par 65 on Friday at TPC River Highlands, and he holds a two-shot lead after closing the second round at 11-under 129.

Chez Reavie and Keegan Bradley are tied for second at 9 under after each shot 66 on Friday.

Ryan Moore (second-round 64) and Bronson Burgoon (68) share fourth place at 8 under. Australia’s Jason Day (63) and England’s Paul Casey (68) are among seven players tied for sixth at 7 under. Day produced the best round of the tournament.

Sucher’s only professional win came five years ago on the then-Web.com Tour. His best result in three previous events this year was a tie for 35th in the AT&T Byron Nelson. He didn’t appear in a PGA Tour event last year while fighting ankle and knee injuries, and he made the cut in just three of 14 events in 2017.

Sucher started hot on Friday while beginning on the back nine. He chipped in for eagle on the par-5 13th hole, then added three consecutive birdies from Nos. 15-17. Sucher added one birdie and one bogey on the front nine.

“Absolutely, it feels great,” Sucher said, according to AFP. “A lot of work to be done, but right now it’s feeling great. … I just feel a lot better in my game right now. After being out, just this year in general I’ve felt a whole lot better.

“This will be a little bit of a different feeling being in the final group of a PGA event. After the first few swings, I’ll settle in and be hopefully good to go.”

Day produced a stretch of four consecutive birdies among his seven birdies and no bogeys.

“It was disappointing to shoot even par yesterday because I know I played a lot better than the actual score showed,” Day said. “To capitalize on the opportunities that I had out there today, I definitely need it.”

Defending champion Bubba Watson shot a 66 on Friday, leaving him at 5 under, tied for 26th.

Among those missing the cut were Jordan Spieth (1 under on Friday, 2 over total), Tony Finau (1 over on Friday, 2 over total) and Phil Mickelson (6 over on Friday, 3 over total).

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints WR Thomas seeks $22M per year

Report: Saints WR Thomas seeks $22M per year

Report: Saints WR Thomas seeks $22M per year

New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas is reportedly seeking an average annual salary of $22 million, about $4 million more than the Saints’ latest offer.

Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com reported the sizable gap in the ongoing contract negotiations on Friday, adding that nothing would be resolved soon as Thomas is currently in Europe.

Thomas, 26, was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 with a league-leading 125 catches for 1,402 yards and nine touchdowns.

ESPN reported earlier this week that the Saints are “comfortable” with making Thomas the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

General manager Mickey Loomis confirmed on Mad Dog Sports Radio that the Saints are working on a long-term deal, with Thomas entering the final year of his rookie contract.

“We’ve had some conversations, and I like keeping that close to the vest until there’s something to report, but look, we love what Mike’s done for us,” Loomis said. “He’s a fantastic player, one of the best at his position in the league, and hopefully we can keep him a Saint for a long time as well.”

The Saints recently agreed to a three-year deal with defensive end Cam Jordan, but locking up Thomas might be pushed into the 2020 offseason.

If the two sides remain far apart on value, Thomas could be given the franchise tag for 2020. The tag value for 2019 was $16.7 million.

Thomas’ four-year deal signed as a second-round pick out of Ohio State calls for him to be paid $1.15 million in salary in 2019.

–Field Level Media

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Buccaneers waive RB Wilson

Buccaneers waive RB Wilson

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived

Buccaneers waive RB Wilson

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived second-year running back Shaun Wilson on Friday.

Wilson played in five games as a rookie, rushing for 29 yards on six carries and catching three passes for five yards.

The 23-year-old Wilson also averaged 17.4 yards on seven kickoff returns. He finished the season on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury suffered on Nov. 11 against the Washington Redskins.

Wilson played college football at Duke.

–Field Level Media

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Rams, Browns looking to put together complete games

Rams, Browns looking to put together complete games

The

Rams, Browns looking to put together complete games

The Los Angeles Rams know what it is like to be the NFL’s flavor of the month, and in prime time Sunday night there will be plenty who will tune in to see if they symbolically pass the torch to the latest up-and-comer.

The Cleveland Browns have not yet lived up to the hype they carried into the season, but they are coming off a victory over an overmatched New York Jets team Monday and will try to keep their stride against the Rams on Sunday in front of their own fans.

The Browns were humbled at home 43-13 by the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, but took down the Jets 23-3 behind 161 receiving yards from Odell Beckham Jr. and 325 passing yards from quarterback Baker Mayfield, who insists the offense can be even better.

“I think it falls back on me just playing better, getting the ball out and getting completions like I keep harping on. Just trusting the system,” Mayfield told reporters this week. “Everybody is going to do their job. We know what everybody is going to do. That is why we practiced in camp. That is why we did everything like that. Just trust and do my job.”

The Rams might be 2-0 but they have their offensive inconsistencies, too. Second-half mistakes led to a closer-than-necessary 30-27 victory at Carolina in Week 1, and in their home opener last week, the Rams didn’t score their first touchdown against New Orleans until late in the third quarter. And that was a game in which the Saints struggled to move the ball without quarterback Drew Brees.

Injuries to Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (lung contusion) and guard Austin Blythe (ankle) have both listed as day-to-day moving forward, potentially creating more adjustments for an offense still searching for a flow.

“Whatever the doctor’s orders are, that’s what’s in the best interest of Tyler, is exactly what we’ll follow,” Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters of Higbee, who coughed up blood and was hospitalized briefly following his injury. “What that means as far as this week, the following week, we’ll have a little bit more updates as we go.”

After passing for 186 yards against the Panthers, Rams quarterback Jared Goff recovered from a slow start Sunday to throw for 283 yards and a touchdown.

Los Angeles running back Todd Gurley rushed for 97 yards in Week 1 and 63 yards last week, while scoring his first TD, but has not yet looked like a force after entering the season with questions about a knee issue from last year.

While the Rams’ defense looks further along than the offense, defensive tackle Aaron Donald is still nursing a sore back that surfaced in the first half against the Saints. Both he and running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) were limited in practice Wednesday.

The Browns’ midweek injury report was packed. At full speed Wednesday were Beckham (hip), running back/return man Dontrell Hilliard (concussion) and kicker Austin Seibert (hip). Those limited included guard Joel Bitonio (abdomen) and wide receiver Rashard Higgins (knee).

Tight end as David Njoku is out Sunday after breaking his wrist in Monday’s game. Others that did not practice Wednesday: safety Morgan Burnett (quad), right tackle Chris Hubbard (foot), linebacker Christian Kirksey (chest), left tackle Kendall Lamm (knee), defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (ankle), safety Damarious Randall (concussion) and linebacker Adarius Taylor (ankle).

–Field Level Media

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Reports: GM Mayock, WR Brown physically separated after spat

Reports: GM Mayock, WR Brown physically separated after spat

Wide receiver

Reports: GM Mayock, WR Brown physically separated after spat

Wide receiver Antonio Brown approached Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock while he was watching practice to initiate the exchange that led to the men being physically separated on Wednesday, ESPN and NFL Network reported Friday.

Brown is expected to be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and miss at least the Week 1 game, with $30 million in guaranteed money also on the line should the Raiders opt to take a hard-line position in the matter.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown confronted Mayock over being fined almost $54,000 and called Mayock a “cracker” and addressed him with a number of “cuss words” during the altercation. Anderson reported Mayock began to walk away because he felt the situation would escalate.

Head coach Jon Gruden did not take a side in the matter Thursday and appears truly conflicted despite a pattern of behavior from Brown that would seem to indicate a lack of dedication to the Raiders. Gruden did say an official announcement would come “later.”

“Like I said, I’m not going to get into all of this,” Gruden said. “Obviously, [Brown] wasn’t here today, and when we have some information for you, we’ll give it to you. … I’ve been talking about the same guy every day.

“… I’m emotional about it, I hope you understand why. I think a lot of this guy. I think Antonio is a great receiver, and deep down I think he’s a really good guy. So, I’m frustrated, I’m not going to say anything more about it, hope it all works out. But I don’t have anything official to say about anything else until I get all the facts, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Brown is still hoping to play Monday night when Oakland begins the regular season at the Coliseum in a division game against the Denver Broncos.

“Right now I think his relationship with Coach Gruden is good, very good,” Rosenhaus said Friday. “I’m not going to get into his relationship with Mike Mayock, but I will say that we’re hopeful that that will be a good one, as well. It has been in the past; it can be in the future.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Raiders WR Brown issues ’emotional apology,’ might play Monday

Report: Raiders WR Brown issues 'emotional apology,' might play Monday

Report: Raiders WR Brown issues ’emotional apology,’ might play Monday

Wide receiver Antonio Brown approached Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock while he was watching practice to initiate the exchange that led to the men being physically separated on Wednesday, ESPN and NFL Network reported Friday.

According to ESPN, Brown was flanked by the team’s captains on Friday morning when he opened a team meeting with an “emotional apology.”

The Raiders have not made an official statement on his status for Monday’s regular-season opener, but multiple outlets reported Thursday that Brown would be disciplined. NFL Network reported Friday that the sense in Oakland was that Brown might actually be in the lineup.

Brown had been expected to be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and miss at least the Week 1 game, with $30 million in guaranteed money also on the line should the Raiders opt to take a hard-line position in the matter. Indications from NFL Network’s were the Raiders were leaning toward letting up after Brown’s apology.

There has been plenty of drama around Brown since he was acquired from the Steelers and signed to a contract extension.

Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown confronted Mayock on Wednesday over being fined almost $54,000 and called Mayock a “cracker” and addressed him with a number of “cuss words” during the altercation. Anderson reported Mayock began to walk away because he felt the situation would escalate.

Head coach Jon Gruden did not take a side in the matter Thursday and appears truly conflicted despite a pattern of behavior from Brown that would seem to indicate a lack of dedication to the Raiders. Gruden did say an official announcement would come “later.”

“Like I said, I’m not going to get into all of this,” Gruden said. “Obviously, [Brown] wasn’t here today, and when we have some information for you, we’ll give it to you. … I’ve been talking about the same guy every day.

“… I’m emotional about it, I hope you understand why. I think a lot of this guy. I think Antonio is a great receiver, and deep down I think he’s a really good guy. So, I’m frustrated, I’m not going to say anything more about it, hope it all works out. But I don’t have anything official to say about anything else until I get all the facts, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Brown is still hoping to play Monday night when Oakland begins the regular season at the Coliseum in a division game against the Denver Broncos.

“Right now I think his relationship with Coach Gruden is good, very good,” Rosenhaus said Friday. “I’m not going to get into his relationship with Mike Mayock, but I will say that we’re hopeful that that will be a good one, as well. It has been in the past; it can be in the future.”

Brown also missed time due to a frostbite-like condition on his feet, an incident Gruden said wasn’t Brown’s fault but stemmed from improper protection on his feet during cryotherapy.

Then he sat out during a dispute with the NFL over his helmet, returning only after losing two grievances.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Raiders WR Brown issues ’emotional apology’ to team

Report: Raiders WR Brown issues 'emotional apology' to team

Wide

Report: Raiders WR Brown issues ’emotional apology’ to team

Wide receiver Antonio Brown approached Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock while he was watching practice to initiate the exchange that led to the men being physically separated on Wednesday, ESPN and NFL Network reported Friday.

According to ESPN, Brown was flanked by the team’s captains on Friday morning when he opened a team meeting with an “emotional apology.”

The Raiders have not made an official statement on his status for Monday’s regular-season opener, but multiple outlets reported Thursday that Brown would be disciplined.

Brown is expected to be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and miss at least the Week 1 game, with $30 million in guaranteed money also on the line should the Raiders opt to take a hard-line position in the matter.

Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown confronted Mayock over being fined almost $54,000 and called Mayock a “cracker” and addressed him with a number of “cuss words” during the altercation. Anderson reported Mayock began to walk away because he felt the situation would escalate.

Head coach Jon Gruden did not take a side in the matter Thursday and appears truly conflicted despite a pattern of behavior from Brown that would seem to indicate a lack of dedication to the Raiders. Gruden did say an official announcement would come “later.”

“Like I said, I’m not going to get into all of this,” Gruden said. “Obviously, [Brown] wasn’t here today, and when we have some information for you, we’ll give it to you. … I’ve been talking about the same guy every day.

“… I’m emotional about it, I hope you understand why. I think a lot of this guy. I think Antonio is a great receiver, and deep down I think he’s a really good guy. So, I’m frustrated, I’m not going to say anything more about it, hope it all works out. But I don’t have anything official to say about anything else until I get all the facts, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Brown is still hoping to play Monday night when Oakland begins the regular season at the Coliseum in a division game against the Denver Broncos.

“Right now I think his relationship with Coach Gruden is good, very good,” Rosenhaus said Friday. “I’m not going to get into his relationship with Mike Mayock, but I will say that we’re hopeful that that will be a good one, as well. It has been in the past; it can be in the future.”

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins sign OT Webb, place LB Van Ginkel on IR

Dolphins sign OT Webb, place LB Van Ginkel on IR

Dolphins sign OT Webb, place LB Van Ginkel on IR

The Miami Dolphins signed offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb and placed linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel on injured reserve, the team announced Friday.

Webb, who visited the Dolphins earlier in the week, was released by the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 31.

Webb, 31, has played in 81 career games with the Bears (2010-12), Minnesota Vikings (2013-14), Oakland Raiders (2015), Seattle Seahawks (2016) and Indianapolis Colts (2018) since being selected by Chicago with a seventh-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Van Ginkel, who was a fifth-round pick by Miami in the 2019 NFL Draft, played two seasons at Wisconsin after transferring from Iowa Western Community College following his sophomore campaign. Van Ginkel didn’t play in the preseason because of a foot injury that has affected him since the second week of training camp.

— Field Level Media

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Gruden: Plan is for WR Brown to play in season opener

Gruden: Plan is for WR Brown to play in season opener

Gruden: Plan is for WR Brown to play in season opener

Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden announced Friday that Antonio Brown is expected to play in the team’s season opener against the Denver Broncos, mere hours after the wide receiver reportedly issued an apology.

Gruden’s comments are the latest in a whirlwind saga surrounding Brown, who approached Raiders general manager Mike Mayock while he was watching practice to initiate an exchange that led to the men being physically separated on Wednesday, ESPN and NFL Network reported.

According to ESPN, Brown was flanked by the team’s captains on Friday morning when he opened a team meeting with his “emotional apology.”

“That’s the plan,” Gruden told reporters of Brown’s expected participation for the season opener.

“Antonio’s back today. We’re really excited about that. Ready to move on. He’s had a lot of time to think about things. We’re happy to have him back and I know Raider Nation is excited about that too,” Gruden said.

Brown, 31, initially had been expected to be suspended by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and miss at least the Week 1 game, with $30 million in guaranteed money also on the line should the Raiders opt to take a hard-line position in the matter.

There has been plenty of drama around Brown since he was acquired from the Steelers in March and signed to a contract extension.

Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Brown confronted Mayock on Wednesday over being fined almost $54,000 and called Mayock a “cracker” and addressed him with a number of “cuss words” during the altercation. Anderson reported Mayock began to walk away because he felt the situation would escalate.

Gruden did not take a side in the matter Thursday and appeared truly conflicted despite a pattern of behavior from Brown that would seem to indicate a lack of dedication to the Raiders.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said prior to Gruden’s announcement that the wideout was hoping to play in the season opener.

“Right now I think his relationship with Coach Gruden is good, very good,” Rosenhaus said. “I’m not going to get into his relationship with Mike Mayock, but I will say that we’re hopeful that that will be a good one, as well. It has been in the past; it can be in the future.”

Brown also missed time due to a frostbite-like condition on his feet, an incident Gruden said wasn’t Brown’s fault but stemmed from improper protection on his feet during cryotherapy.

Then he sat out during a dispute with the NFL over his helmet, returning only after losing two grievances.

–Field Level Media

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Saints QB Brees has thumb surgery, calls it ‘successful’

Saints QB Brees has thumb surgery, calls it 'successful'

Saints QB Brees has thumb surgery, calls it ‘successful’

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees underwent surgery on Wednesday on his injured right thumb, he reported on Instagram.

“Complete…successful surgery. This is my attempt at giving everybody a (thumb’s up),” he captioned a photo that showed him with a smile on his face and a heavily wrapped right, throwing hand.

The Saints have not given a timetable for his return, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported he is expected to miss six weeks.

The 40-year-old Brees was injured in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams after hitting his hand on Aaron Donald’s hand while following through on a throw.

Brees, a second-round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, has missed just one game because of injury since joining the Saints in 2006, which came in 2015 due to a shoulder issue. He has missed just two other contests of a possible 210 with the Saints, both while resting in Week 17 with the team’s playoff position secure.

The league’s all-time leading passer needs 155 yards to become the first in NFL history to pass for 75,000 yards. He is 18 passing touchdowns shy of leapfrogging Peyton Manning (539) for most all-time, though New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is tied with Brees at 522.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins QB Smith still facing many hurdles

Redskins QB Smith still facing many hurdles

Washington

Redskins QB Smith still facing many hurdles

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith said “learning to run again” is one of the biggest hurdles he faces during his ongoing recovery from a devastating leg injury.

Making his first public comments since suffering a compound fracture in his right leg in November, the 35-year-old told a Fox 5 DC reporter he hasn’t given up hope of playing again.

“That’s the plan,” Smith told Angie Goff on her Oh My Goff podcast published Friday. “There are steps I’ve got to conquer before I get there. … Learning to run again. That’s a big one. I’m already throwing. Throwing isn’t a problem, but dropping, moving around, change of direction.”

Smith said he still has to wear an external fixator on his leg for another 4-6 weeks.

“The steps I’m at now are lifestyle steps,” he said. “I’m still working on playing basketball with my kids and running around after my daughter. Those are things I have to conquer anyway until I get to the point where I’m walking on the field. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited about that challenge. The stronger I get every week, the more I do, the more hopeful I am that that’s a real possibility.”

Smith suffered compound and spiral fractures to his tibia and fibula in a Week 11 loss to the Houston Texans and underwent surgery Nov. 18. He then battled a subsequent infection and remained hospitalized until Dec. 16.

The Redskins acquired Smith from Kansas City before the 2018 season. He signed a four-year contract extension that put him under contract for five years and $111 million. It included $71 million in injury guarantees.

Washington hasn’t settled on a starter for 2019. The Redskins acquired veteran Case Keenum in a trade with Denver in March and drafted Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins in the first round in April. Colt McCoy is recovering from his own leg injury, but is expected to join the position battle in training camp.

–Field Level Media

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Committee OKs interference replay through 2019

Committee OKs interference replay through 2019

Committee OKs interference replay through 2019

A rule change allowing for late-game instant replay of pass interference calls and non-calls should remain in effect for the 2019 season only, the NFL’s competitions committee has unanimously recommended.

Thursday’s announcement from NFL Football Operations indicates that the rule could be eliminated or extended after the season, depending on feedback throughout the year.

The call to make pass-interference plays reviewable arose after the NFC Championship Game in January, when the Los Angeles Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman wasn’t flagged on a play that league officials later admitted should have been a penalty. As a result, the Rams halted a drive by the Saints and ultimately won the game in overtime to earn a berth to Super Bowl LIII.

Under the new rule, the replay official will stop the game after the two-minute warning of each half and during overtime when there is “clear and obvious visual evidence” that a pass interference foul may or may not have occurred, based on viewing the play live or any initial replays.

In order to prevent excessive game stoppages, the criteria for a replay on pass interference will be stricter than other reviewable plays. Only a significant act that hinders a pass catcher’s ability to make a play will be overturned.

–Field Level Media

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Six tied for lead at Travelers Championship

Six tied for lead at Travelers Championship

Six players

Six tied for lead at Travelers Championship

Six players are tied for the lead at 6 under par as wet conditions Thursday led to a bevy of low scores during the first round of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.

A trio of Americans — Ryan Armour, Bronson Burgoon and Zack Sucher — posted 64s on the par-70 TPC River Highlands course along with Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes and South Korea’s Kyoung-Hoon Lee.

Chez Reavie, fresh off a tie for third at the U.S. Open, continued his momentum with a 65. He is tied at 5 under with Keenan Bradley, Scott Langley, Brady Schnell, Robert Streb and England’s Paul Casey.

Patrick Cantlay reached 6 under before the Memorial champion put his tee shot in the water on the par-3 No. 8 — his 17th hole of the day. He finished in a pack of 12 players at 4 under that also includes England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who is playing in the event for the first time.

Cantlay turned professional at the event in 2012, a year after carding a 10-under 60 at TPC River Highlands — still the only 60 in PGA Tour history by an amateur. He led after 36 holes last year before finishing in a tie for 24th.

“I like coming back to places that I like playing golf at,” Cantlay said. “I hit the ball really well today. One missed shot cost me two.”

Another shot off the pace is Norway’s Viktor Hovland, who is making his professional debut after a tie for 12th at Pebble Beach last Sunday. Hovland is tied at 3 under with Phil Mickelson, the only back-to-back champion (2001-02) in event history. Mickelson is in the field for the first time since 2003.

Defending champion Bubba Watson has won the event three times, but he managed only a 1-under 69 on Thursday and is in a tie for 61st. That’s still two shots better than top-ranked Brooks Koepka, who continued his uninspired play outside of majors with a 1-over 71 that included four bogeys against three birdies.

Burgoon, 32, posted his first under-par opening round since March. Having missed the cut in 10 of his past 14 starts and currently 140th in the FedEx Cup standings, Burgoon needs a strong finish to the season to secure his Tour card for next season.

“My whole golf career has been an uphill battle, honestly,” he said. “I feel like I’ve made golf a little more complicated than it should be. I’m trying to simply things and get my mind where I can compete.

“One thing I can do is compete.”

NOTES: Hovland’s former Oklahoma State Cowboys teammate Matthew Wolff shot an even-par 70 in his pro debut. … Watson is one victory shy of Billy Casper’s event-record four. Watson and Koepka are paired with Tony Finau (1 over par) for the first two rounds. … Jordan Spieth shot a 3-over 73 on Thursday that included a triple-bogey on the par-5 13th hole when he put his tee shot out of bounds and another shot in the water. … Casey held a four-shot lead entering the final round last year, only to lose to Watson.

–Field Level Media

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Cards’ Nkemdiche arrested after traffic stop

Cards' Nkemdiche arrested after traffic stop

Police in Scottsdale, Ariz., arrested Arizona Cardinals defensive end

Cards’ Nkemdiche arrested after traffic stop

Police in Scottsdale, Ariz., arrested Arizona Cardinals defensive end Robert Nkemdiche for alleged speeding and driving without a license earlier this month, ABC 15 Arizona reported Wednesday.

The incident occurred June 6 at 6:30 a.m., according to police documents obtained by the TV station. Police allege that Nkemdiche was driving 75 mph in a 45 mph zone.

After pulling over Nkemdiche, police learned there was a warrant out for his arrest on an allegation of driving on a suspended license and failing to appear in court, per the police report.

The Cardinals issued a statement: “We are aware of the June 6th incident involving Robert Nkemdiche. We have alerted the NFL office in accordance with the league’s personal conduct policy and will comment further when appropriate.”

Per ABC 15, the police report also mentioned that officers found a “white powdery substance, consistent with cocaine” in a small case in the car’s interior console.

The police in the report wrote, “Based on the totality of the circumstances, it was decided not to pursue testing of the credit card holder in lieu of impounding the item for destruction with Robert’s cooperation.”

Nkemdiche, 24, was a first-round draft pick in 2016. He appeared in a total of 17 games for Arizona his first two seasons, then made his first six starts while playing in 10 games in 2018. Nkemdiche posted a career-high 32 tackles last season and registered the first 4.5 sacks of his career.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Suspended Pats WR Gordon works with Brady

NFL notebook: Suspended Pats WR Gordon works with Brady

Suspended

NFL notebook: Suspended Pats WR Gordon works with Brady

Suspended New England Patriots wideout Josh Gordon and quarterback Tom Brady got together for a workout this week.

Brady posted a GIF on Instagram on Wednesday showing him throwing to Gordon, with the caption “Practice makes perfect.” ESPN reported the photo came from a workout Tuesday.

Brady regularly connects with teammates for workouts during the offseason, but Gordon’s future is murky after he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December for violating the terms of his reinstatement from a yearlong ban for substance abuse.

The Patriots have supported Gordon since the suspension, offering him a restricted free agent tender, which Gordon signed in April. If he is able to play this season, New England would welcome him back.

Gordon, 28, played one game for the Cleveland Browns last year before being traded to the Patriots in September. In 12 games, he caught 41 passes for 737 yards and four touchdowns.

— Police in Scottsdale, Ariz., arrested Arizona Cardinals defensive end Robert Nkemdiche for alleged speeding and driving without a license earlier this month, ABC 15 Arizona reported.

The incident occurred June 6 at 6:30 a.m., according to police documents obtained by the TV station. Police allege Nkemdiche was driving 75 mph in a 45 mph zone.

After pulling over Nkemdiche, police learned there was a warrant out for his arrest on an allegation of driving on a suspended license and failing to appear in court, per the police report.

— The Green Bay Packers waived tight end Michael Roberts after he failed a team physical, according to multiple reports. The Packers claimed Roberts off waivers from the Detroit Lions on Monday.

The Lions released Roberts on Friday after his trade to the New England Patriots for a 2020 seventh-round pick was rescinded due to a failed physical.

Roberts, 25, has 13 receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns in 23 NFL games, with 48 yards and two scores coming in one game last season (at Miami).

–Field Level Media

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Texans aim to keep Watson upright vs. Chargers

Texans aim to keep Watson upright vs. Chargers

Two

Texans aim to keep Watson upright vs. Chargers

Two teams seeking to move above .500 meet Sunday when the Houston Texans visit the Los Angeles Chargers in Carson, Calif.

The Chargers return home after dropping a 13-10 road decision to the Detroit Lions. It is the ninth time in the past 11 years the team has started 1-1.

Adding to Los Angeles’ frustration were two missed field goals, Austin Ekeler’s fumble on Detroit’s 1-yard line and Philip Rivers’ late-game interception deep in Lions territory.

“I’d expect us to be fired up and ready to bounce back,” said Rivers, who became the eighth player in NFL history with 55,500 career passing yards. “I think we’ve shown the ability to do that over the years when we’ve lost some tough ones.”

Houston heads to ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park off a 13-12 home victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans dropped their season opener at New Orleans on a 58-yard field goal on the game’s final play.

On offense, the Chargers rank fourth overall with 429.5 yards per game. They’re eighth in passing (298.5 ypg), and despite the absence of holdout Melvin Gordon, they’re 10th in rushing (131.0 ypg).

Houston’s offense has struggled, ranking 21st in total offense (338.5 ypg) and 24th in passing (185.5). The Texans, however, have averaged 153 rushing yards (No. 5).

The Texans’ biggest offensive problem has been protecting quarterback Deshaun Watson. He has been sacked four or more times in eight consecutive games, tying the longest such streak since sacks became an official stat in 1982. That, after Houston acquired left tackle Laremy Tunsil from Miami before the season opener.

Although each team was close to being unbeaten so far, both have had issues defensively. Los Angeles is ranked 17th overall (357.5 ypg) and Houston 23rd (395.5).

The Chargers have fared better against the pass (eighth, 209.0) than the run (28th, 148.5). But the unit sustained another blow Sunday when safety Adrian Phillips broke his forearm. He subsequently was placed on injured reserve.

“His versatility is huge,” coach Anthony Lynn said of Phillips. “He was a special teams Pro Bowler last year. He’s the captain of that secondary. He’ll be hard to replace. But we have some guys who are going to try to fill his shoes.”

The loss of Phillips, and the absence of safety Derwin James (foot) and running back Gordon, means the Chargers are missing three of their seven Pro Bowlers from last season. Tight end Hunter Henry (knee) remains out, and wide receiver Keenan Allen (knee) and kicker Michael Badgley (groin) were limited Wednesday.

The Texans are 22nd in the league defending the pass (270.0 ypg) and 23rd vs. the run (125.5).

One bright spot has been outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who has thrived after Houston traded Jadeveon Clowney. Mercilus was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after registering three tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits and two forced fumbles against Jacksonville.

“Whitney has been a very productive player for us over the years,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s been a guy who’s known really for just doing his job. He just does a good job of setting the edge in the run game, and then rushing the passer.”

Some bragging rights also will be on the line, as Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will face younger brother Derek, a Chargers fullback.

O’Brien also said his team needs to “be ready for the field,” as it will host a Los Angeles Galaxy soccer match Saturday night. What effect, if any, that has on the turf likely won’t be known until just before game time.

–Field Level Media

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Bears, Nagy search for remedy after ‘ridiculous’ opener

Bears, Nagy search for remedy after 'ridiculous' opener

On the optimistic side, Matt Nagy

Bears, Nagy search for remedy after ‘ridiculous’ opener

On the optimistic side, Matt Nagy has 10 days to evaluate and implement a fix for an ailing offense after the Chicago Bears put up three points in what the second-year head coach termed a “ridiculous” showing Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers won the opener 10-3 at Soldier Field.

“It just seemed a little scattered tonight with all our personnel (groups) and just trying to find a rhythm and trying to find our identity on offense, and we just put ourselves in bad situations and shot ourselves in the foot,” quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said after throwing a game-sealing interception in the end zone with 2:03 remaining. “It’s just we were uncharacteristic of usually who we were tonight as an offense, and I think we just need to do our job. But we just couldn’t find a rhythm, and I don’t think it’s because we didn’t play in the preseason, because we were rolling in practice, and it just didn’t translate the week of practice we had to the game. We’re going to look at the film and try to find out why and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine helped spare the Matt LaFleur in his coaching debut. The Bears went 3 for 15 on third downs.

The Packers put up negative yardage in the first quarter and survived with a win despite consistently moving the chains on only one drive, which ended in Aaron Rodgers finding tight end Jimmy Graham in the end zone.

Chicago dialed up only 12 handoffs in the game, while Trubisky threw 45 passes and never found the strike zone. Rookie David Montgomery, a star of the preseason for the Bears, managed six carries and one reception.

“That part is new to us a little bit, so we’ve got to make sure that, again, we figure out how to get that thing right,” Nagy said. “And luckily it is the first game of the year.”

Nagy will be knuckles deep in his game plan for the Denver Broncos and former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio by the time the rest of the Week 1 slate gets underway Sunday. Fangio knows all the flaws and personalities inside the building, and he likely already has a decent jump on his plan to keep the Bears’ offense in hibernation next week in Denver.

Nagy might take a day or two to get over putting up a 3-spot in the primetime 2019 opener.

“There’s humility there just for the fact that I know that our guys – we feel really good, we felt good going into it,” Nagy said. “I don’t know what the exact word is for it other than that what you can’t do and what you can’t fall into the trap of is all of a sudden making this seem like it was the Super Bowl and we just lost the Super Bowl. We didn’t lose the Super Bowl, we lost the first game of the regular season. We just need to make sure that we pull back and understand, okay, we’re 0-1, we were 0-1 last year, let’s go ahead and figure out how we rally together.”

–Field Level Media

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