Broncos continue to have trouble covering tight ends

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Covering tight ends has been the Denver Broncos’ bugaboo for several seasons, a trend that continued when they allowed Seattle’s Will Dissly to become the first tight end in league history to top 100 yards receiving and score a touchdown in his NFL debut.

Up next: Jared Cook , who’s coming off a career-best 180-yard performance in Oakland’s opener.

Dissly did his damage on just three catches, covering 105 yards.

“I tell you what, he was one of my favorite guys in the draft. He’s a good player, but we can’t do that,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “The first catch he made, we missed four tackles. The coverage wasn’t great, but we missed four tackles. The second play he made down the seam, again our eyes are bad and we’re out of position.”

Actually, Joseph was forgetting Dissly’s first catch, a 15-yard touchdown grab in which the fourth-round draft pick out of Washington burst past rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb, the fifth overall pick in the draft.

It was Dissly’s second catch when he broke four tackles before Brandon Marshall dragged him down at the 5-yard line following a zigzagging 66-yard catch and run, and it was his third grab, a 24-yarder, that put him over 100 yards.

“That’s been a problem for us and we’ve got to fix it,” Joseph said. “We’ve got to coach better and we’ve got to play better.”

The Raiders (0-1) visit the Broncos (1-0) on Sunday and Cook is getting as much attention from Denver’s coaching staff and defenders as Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper, Martavis Bryant, Jordy Nelson and Derek Carr.

“The tight end is going to be a challenge this week,” Joseph said. “He is a physical mismatch for most safeties and definitely for backers. We have to play to bracket him and to play a safety over top of him like he’s a receiver. Hopefully we can rush the passer, speed the quarterback up, and kind of help us cover these guys.”

That’s what they did last week when they sacked the mobile Russell Wilson six times, their most since Nov. 27, 2016, in an overtime loss to Kansas City.

Von Miller , who had three sacks last week, has always rated the Raiders as the best O-line in the league, one he insists is even better now that Donald Penn moved to right tackle to make room for rookie left tackle Kolton Miller.

“Donald Penn can play any position on the line (and) 77 is a beast. He was the best tackle in this year’s draft,” Miller said. “I’ve always said the Raiders have the best offensive line in football. They made it a whole lot better with the Miller kid.”

Last season, tight ends averaged 64 yards a game against Denver, and the Broncos were especially burned by Jason Witten (97 yards, TD), Evan Engram (82 yards, TD), Hunter Henry (73 yards), Travis Kelce (133 yards, TD) and Rob Gronkowski (74 yards).

Throw in Nick Vannett’s 11-yard catch and Seahawks tight ends had 116 yards and a TD last week.

“The tight ends, we haven’t fixed that yet,” Joseph said.

He knows a quick fix is necessary Sunday to contain Cook.

“He’s 6-6, he has great ball skills, he runs a 4.5 (40-yard dash),” Joseph said. “We have to have a great plan to get him contained. We can’t walk in here on Monday and say we didn’t contain him. If we don’t contain him, it’s going to be a long day for us.”

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Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

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

Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

The Miami Dolphins have will

Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins are signing former

Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins signed former Buffalo Bills

Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars release QB Kessler

Jaguars release QB Kessler

Cody Kessler is looking

Jaguars release QB Kessler

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

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

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

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

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

He announced his retirement in December.

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he

Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

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

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

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

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

He announced his retirement in December.

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Reports: CB Taylor joins Seahawks

Reports: CB Taylor joins Seahawks

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

Reports: CB Taylor joins Seahawks

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Seahawks agree with DE Ansah

Reports: Seahawks agree with DE Ansah

Reports: Seahawks agree with DE Ansah

The Seattle Seahawks agreed to a one-year deal with free agent defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday evening.

Ansah is expected to fly to Seattle on Thursday to sign, according to ESPN.

NFL Network reported earlier Wednesday that Seattle was the front-runner to sign Ansah, adding that no agreement had been finalized and the Buffalo Bills remained interested.

Had a team signed Ansah before Wednesday, he would have factored into the compensatory-pick formula. By waiting, Seattle remains in line to get third-, fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks next year as compensation for losing Earl Thomas, Justin Coleman, Shamar Stephen and Brett Hundley, per OverTheCap.com.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said earlier Wednesday on 1270 The Fan in Buffalo that the team was still in contact with Ansah, and that he wasn’t necessarily buying that the Seahawks were the favorite.

“We’re still in talks with him and his agent,” Beane said. “Everything has been very good. All I’ll say about reports is I don’t buy into that garbage, especially when I consider where some of the sourcing comes from.”

Ansah visited the Baltimore Ravens and then the Seahawks in late April, after meeting the Bills and the New Orleans Saints shortly after free agency opened in mid-March. Coming off of shoulder surgery after missing nine games in 2018, Ansah saw his market be slow to develop as teams monitored his health and recovery.

NFL Network reported last month he is expected to be cleared by mid-August.

Ansah, who will turn 30 on May 29, had four sacks and seven quarterback hits in seven games (two starts) while playing on the franchise tag for the Detroit Lions last season, after posting 12 and 17, respectively, in 2017. His best season came in 2015, when he had 14.5 sacks and 34 QB hits while earning his only Pro Bowl nod.

Drafted fifth overall by Detroit in 2013, Ansah has 48 sacks and 110 quarterback hits in six NFL seasons.

The Seahawks added defensive end L.J. Collier with the 29th overall pick in last month’s draft, but they needed help at the “leo” defensive end spot after trading Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: McVay opens up on Super Bowl loss

NFL notebook: McVay opens up on Super Bowl loss

NFL notebook: McVay opens up on Super Bowl loss

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay experienced paralysis by analysis in the days before his team lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.

McVay took responsibility for the 13-3 defeat in the immediate aftermath of the game, and he expounded upon his faults in an interview with Sports Illustrated published Wednesday.

“In the back of my mind, (when making the Super Bowl game plan back in L.A.), I operated knowing I had another week,” he said. “That urgency to completely finalize the game plan wasn’t quite there, and that led to me watching so much film that you can almost water down your thought process.”

“You have so much time that you can overprepare and get away from some of the things that helped you get there. I watched every game from New England’s season. You see stuff that worked in, say, Week 3, but you forget about the amount of stuff that’s taken place since Week 3. You can watch so much film that you lose perspective.”

–The Seattle Seahawks have emerged as the front-runner to sign free agent defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, NFL Network reported.

The report indicated no contract was finalized, adding that the Buffalo Bills remain interested after hosting Ansah for a visit in March.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said on 1270 The Fan in Buffalo that the team is still in contact with Ansah, and that he isn’t necessarily buying that the Seahawks are the favorite.

–Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is paying the funeral expenses for Jaylon McKenzie, the promising eighth-grade football player killed by a stray bullet last weekend in Venice, Ill.

“For him to reach out to me was unbelievable,” McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Jaylon loved Ezekiel Elliott. He talked about him all the time. … For him to reach out to me and help me in this difficult time leaves me speechless.”

–The Carolina Panthers hired recently retired defensive end Julius Peppers as special assistant of business operations.

Team vice president of external affairs Steven Drummond said Peppers will have an office at the team facility and will be in the building several days a week.

–Former Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson said he is suffering from an autonomic disorder that contributed to his decision to step down after the 2017 season.

Thompson, 66, who was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame on Saturday, revealed his diagnosis on the Packers’ official website. He added that medical specialists do not believe he is suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

–Washington Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff said he is 90 percent recovered from a torn pectoral muscle and will be “ready to go” for training camp.

Scherff, 27, sustained the season-ending injury during a 38-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 4.

–Free agent running back Bilal Powell has been cleared to play after a career-threatening neck injury and is looking for an employer.

NFL Network reports Powell sent a letter to NFL teams to say he was “really looking forward to getting back to work.” The 30-year-old sustained a season-ending neck injury with the New York Jets in October and underwent surgery soon after.

–The Indianapolis Colts will induct defensive end Dwight Freeney into their Ring of Honor during a Nov. 10 game against the Miami Dolphins.

The date was confirmed on Twitter by team owner Jim Irsay, who announced Freeney’s selection last week.

–Kansas City signed longtime linebacker Derrick Johnson to a one-day contract so he could retire as a Chief.

Johnson, 36, played his first 13 seasons with the Chiefs, earning four Pro Bowl nods, before playing six games with the Oakland Raiders in 2018.

–Joe Thomas, a former All-Pro offensive tackle with the Cleveland Browns, joined the NFL Network in various on-air roles.

Thomas will be added to the network’s on-location pregame and postgame shows for 13 Thursday night games, as well as coverage of the Super Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and the draft.

–The Philadelphia Eagles signed safety Blake Countess to a one-year extension, after claiming him off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams last week.

Countess was a restricted free agent but is now under contract through 2020. He was primarily a special teamer for the Rams.

–The New England Patriots waived/injured former Houston and Detroit wideout Bruce Ellington, who was signed in free agency in March.

Ellington caught 31 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown across seven games with the Texans and Lions in 2018.

–The New York Giants signed former Cowboys running back Rod Smith.

Smith had 129 touches for 631 yards and six touchdowns in four years with Dallas, the past three as a backup to Elliott.

–The Chicago Bears signed free agent linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who last played for the Jets.

–Field Level Media

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After Masters’ bet, man goes big on Tiger to win Slam

After Masters' bet, man goes big on Tiger to win Slam

James

After Masters’ bet, man goes big on Tiger to win Slam

James Adducci, who took home $1.19 million on a bet when Tiger Woods won the Masters, is again putting his faith in the 15-time major champion.

Adducci took $100,000 of his winnings and placed it on Woods to take the title at all four majors this season, according to Golf Digest, which confirmed the bet through sports book operator William Hill U.S. Adducci placed the bet at SLS Casino in Las Vegas, the same sportsbook where he gambled $85,000 on Woods to win the Masters at 14-to-1 odds.

Adducci, a 39-year-old from Wisconsin, is getting 100-to-1 odds on Woods winning the Grand Slam, which would pay out $10 million.

The second leg of the Grand Slam, the PGA Championship, will be held next week at the Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale, N.Y., with the U.S. Open in June and the British Open in July. Woods is the betting favorite for the PGA Championship at 8-1, according to Westgate Sportsbook.

No golfer has ever won all four modern majors in the same season, although Woods held all four titles at the same time over the 2000 and 2001 seasons. The term Grand Slam was coined in 1930, when Bobby Jones won the British Open, U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur and British Amateur.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys’ Elliott pays funeral costs for slain eighth-grader

Cowboys' Elliott pays funeral costs for slain eighth-grader

Cowboys’ Elliott pays funeral costs for slain eighth-grader

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is paying the funeral expenses for Jaylon McKenzie, the promising eighth-grade football player killed by a stray bullet last weekend.

“For him to reach out to me was unbelievable,” McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Jaylon loved Ezekiel Elliott. He talked about him all the time. When Ezekiel was playing, he would sit in front of the TV. His eyes were glued to the TV, watching him. For him to reach out to me and help me in this difficult time leaves me speechless.”

McKenzie, 14, was featured in an article in Sports Illustrated last November titled: “Six Teens Who Will Rule the Future in Sports.”

He played running back, wide receiver and defensive back at Mason-Clark Middle School in East St. Louis, Ill., and already had Division I college offers from Missouri and Illinois.

Elliott has ties to the area, having played prep football at John Burroughs School in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue, Mo.

–Field Level Media

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Former All-Pro OT Thomas joins NFL Network

Former All-Pro OT Thomas joins NFL Network

Former All-Pro OT Thomas joins NFL Network

Joe Thomas, a former All-Pro offensive tackle with the Cleveland Browns, has joined the NFL Network in various on-air roles.

Thomas will be added to the network’s on-location pregame and postgame shows for 13 Thursday Night Football games this season, starting Sept. 13 when the Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Thomas is also slated to appear on the NFL Network’s coverage of the Super Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine and the draft, as well as various daily programs.

“I am thrilled to join NFL Network and Thursday Night Football,” Thomas said in a statement. “Throughout my playing career, I quickly realized there are few events which can rival the excitement and action of primetime NFL games, and having the chance to be a part of that atmosphere each week is something I greatly look forward to.”

Thomas played 11 seasons with the Browns, earning 10 Pro Bowl invitations and six first-team All-Pro nods. He retired after the 2017 season.

The New York Post reported Wednesday that the NFL Network is being forced to cut $20 million out of its projected budget and has eliminated five shows. The network said it was shifting its programming based on a celebration of the NFL’s 100 season this year.

“As part of an increased investment in programming and content for 2019, NFL Network will unveil several shows geared towards a celebration of the NFL’s 100th season,” an NFL network spokesman, Alex Riethmiller, said in a statement to The Post. “These shows will replace a handful of existing shows from our 2018 schedule.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Seahawks front-runner for DE Ansah

Report: Seahawks front-runner for DE Ansah

Report: Seahawks front-runner for DE Ansah

The Seattle Seahawks have emerged as the front-runner to sign free agent defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The report says no contract is finalized, adding that the Buffalo Bills remain interested after hosting Ansah for a visit in March.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Wednesday on 1270 The Fan in Buffalo that the team is still in contact with Ansah, and that he isn’t necessarily buying that the Seahawks are the favorite.

“We’re still in talks with him and his agent,” Beane said. “Everything has been very good. All I’ll say about reports is I don’t buy into that garbage, especially when I consider where some of the sourcing comes from.”

Ansah visited the Baltimore Ravens and then the Seahawks in late April, after meeting the Bills and the New Orleans Saints shortly after free agency opened in mid-March. Coming off of shoulder surgery after missing nine games in 2018, Ansah’s market has been slow to develop as teams monitor his health and recovery. NFL Network reported last month he is expected to be cleared by mid-August.

Ansah, who will turn 30 on May 29, had four sacks and seven quarterback hits in seven games (two starts) while playing on the franchise tag for the Detroit Lions last season, after posting 12 and 17, respectively, in 2017. His best season came in 2015, when he had 14.5 sacks and 34 QB hits while earning his only Pro Bowl nod.

Drafted fifth overall by Detroit in 2013, Ansah has 48 sacks and 110 quarterback hits in six NFL seasons.

The Seahawks added defensive end L.J. Collier with the 29th overall pick in last month’s draft, but they could still use more help at the “leo” defensive end spot after trading Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins G Scherff targets training camp return

Redskins G Scherff targets training camp return

Redskins G Scherff targets training camp return

Washington Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff said he is 90 percent recovered from a torn pectoral muscle and will be “ready to go” for training camp.

Scherff, 27, sustained the season-ending injury during a 38-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 4.

“I think it was just a fluke injury,” said Scherff, who competed in the Redskins Charity Golf Classic earlier this week. “My arm got caught in a weird position, and my pec popped. There’s nothing you can really train for that injury, but it’s all about getting stronger and eating healthier — I’ve been doing that a lot better — and just not worrying about (the injury). Just going out and playing football.”

Scherff was the Redskins’ first-round pick (fifth overall) in 2015 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017.

Before the injury, he had started 54 of a possible 56 games.

–Field Level Media

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Freeney to join Colts’ Ring of Honor on Nov. 10

Freeney to join Colts' Ring of Honor on Nov. 10

The Indianapolis Colts will induct defensive

Freeney to join Colts’ Ring of Honor on Nov. 10

The Indianapolis Colts will induct defensive end Dwight Freeney into their Ring of Honor during a Nov. 10 game against the Miami Dolphins.

The date was confirmed Wednesday on Twitter by team owner Jim Irsay, who announced Freeney’s selection last week.

A first-round pick (12th overall) by Indianapolis in 2002, Freeney played 163 games with the Colts from 2002-12. He earned three first-team All-Pro selections, made seven Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl championship during that tenure.

Freeney ranks second in franchise history in sacks (107.5) and forced fumbles (43).

Freeney becomes the 16th member of the Ring of Honor, a group that includes former teammates Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Edgerrin James and Jeff Saturday and former coach Tony Dungy.

–Field Level Media

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