Dolphins DT Phillips released after angry sideline outburst

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins have released defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in the wake of his angry outburst on the sideline after he came out of Sunday’s loss at New England.

The Dolphins were off Tuesday and didn’t discuss the reason for the move. On Monday, coach Adam Gase defended defensive line coach Kris Kocurek’s substitution pattern.

Phillips was a second-round draft pick in 2015 who has made 26 starts. He came off the bench this season as part of the defensive line rotation, and had one sack and five tackles.

Gase has spoken often about his desire to improve the team’s culture following a 6-10 season in 2017. Miami is 3-1 this year after losing 38-7 to the Patriots.

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Patriots owner Kraft fights back against charges

Patriots owner Kraft fights back against charges

The attorney of New

Patriots owner Kraft fights back against charges

The attorney of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is firing back against law-enforcement officials in South Florida.

William Burck, who represents Kraft, issued a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday evening. Kraft is facing misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla., but he has pleaded not guilty.

“There was no human trafficking and law enforcement knows it,” Burck told Schefter, who posted the quote on his Twitter account. “The video and the traffic stop were illegal and law enforcement just doesn’t want to admit it.

“The state attorney needs to step up and do the right thing and investigate how the evidence in this case was obtained.”

Kraft and 24 other men accused in the case were offered the opportunity to have their charges dropped if they performed 100 hours of community service, took a class on the dangers of prostitution, were tested for sexually transmitted diseases and paid a fine, according to the New York Times.

Instead, Kraft is prepared to fight the charges.

William Snyder, the sheriff of Martin County, Fla., said he expected surveillance video of Kraft’s alleged illegal activities to be released before long.

“I do think ultimately they are probably going to get released,” Snyder said during an interview with CNBC.

–Field Level Media

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Casey, Cook share Valspar lead

Casey, Cook share Valspar lead

If

Casey, Cook share Valspar lead

If there’s a horse for the course this week at the Valspar Championship, Paul Casey certainly fits that bill. However, there are plenty of golfers poised and ready to give the Englishman a challenge over the next two days on one of the PGA Tour’s toughest tests.

Casey, the defending champion, is tied with American Austin Cook at 6-under-par 136, good enough for a one-stroke lead after Friday’s second round under sunny, and ultimately wind-swept, conditions at the Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Casey’s 5-under-par 66 was tied for the low score for the second round and featured four birdies, an eagle (on the par-5 fifth hole) and just one bogey on the course that ends with the famed “Snake Pit,” a three-hole, closing stretch that’s among the hardest on the circuit.

“Champions always like the golf courses they win on,” Casey said about the Copperhead Course. “It’s really quality, and it’s very tough as well. There’s a premium on ball-striking. Scoring’s never that low around here. Bogeys do happen, and if you can just minimize those, it puts you in a good position.”

Casey, who came second in February at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for his best finish of the 2018-19 season, is a two-time PGA Tour winner and has captured 13 events on the European Tour and two on the Asian Tour. His victory at the Valspar last year was his first on the PGA Tour since the Shell Houston Open in 2009.

“I worked very, very hard on the game, and for whatever reason, it’s slowed things down,” Casey said. “I’ve quieted the transition at the top of the swing. These are very, very difficult greens, but that’s the way I kind of like them. It’s why I play well at places like Augusta as well. It’s clicked (this week), and I’m near the top of my game, which is good.”

Cook’s 67 on Friday included five birdies and a bogey. He is in the hunt for his second PGA Tour win. He made the cut at Innisbrook last year in his only other time playing the event.

“The first nine holes we played in no wind, so it was as easy as you could get this golf course,” Cook said. “The wind definitely picked up, and that back side, going through the Snake Pit with all the wind, was tough. I played it well — I had three great birdie opportunities and just didn’t make any of them. I’m looking forward to the weekend and happy about where the game is right now.”

Scott Stallings (who shot 3 under on Friday), Luke Donald of England (1 under), and Sungjae Im of South Korea (4 under) are tied for third at 5 under.

Donald had a share of the lead until he bogeyed the par-3 eighth, his 17th hole of the day.

Donald, who spent 56 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world in a stretch from 2011 and 2012, is currently ranked 919th. He has battled a back injury that forced him to miss most of last season and hasn’t won anywhere since the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan in 2013. Donald’s most recent victory in the United States was this event, then called the Transitions Championship, in 2012.

“It was a mixed bag today — a few bogeys, a few birdies,” Donald said. “Overall, pretty pleased, I really haven’t had too many reps, and maybe lost a little bit of focus down the stretch there the last few holes, but overall I’m in a great position. I’m thankful that I feel good and healthy and ready for a weekend. It’s been awhile.”

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who is playing in this tournament for the first time since 2010, carded a 2-under 69 and is tied for sixth along with first-round co-leader Joel Dahmen (1 over) and Australian Curtis Luck (3 under), two shots off the pace.

Americans Roberto Castro (even), Lucas Glover (4 under), Shawn Stefani (even) and Kramer Hickok (3 under) are tied for ninth at 3 under with Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini (2 under) and Spain’s Jon Rahm (3 under). Twenty-two players are within five strokes of Casey and Cook’s lead.

Austria’s Sepp Straka, the first-round co-leader, followed his opening-round 66 with a 76 on Friday and is in a pack of golfers at even-par 142.

Seventy players made the cut at 1-over 143 or better. The list of golfers who will not be around for the weekend includes Americans Ryan Moore, Ollie Schniederjans, Kenny Perry, Gary Woodland, Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed; K.J. Choi of South Korea; Charl Schwartzel of South Africa; Jason Day of Australia; and, 17-year-old American amateur Akshay Bhatia (who finished at 4 over).

–Field Level Media

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Raiders sign QB Glennon, S Riley

Raiders sign QB Glennon, S Riley

The Oakland Raiders signed free agent quarterback Mike Glennon and safety

Raiders sign QB Glennon, S Riley

The Oakland Raiders signed free agent quarterback Mike Glennon and safety Curtis Riley on Friday, the team announced.

The Raiders released AJ McCarron last week, creating a need for a backup quarterback behind Derek Carr.

Glennon, 29, was released by the Arizona Cardinals earlier this month after joining the team on a two-year, $8 million deal last spring. It was his second consecutive year getting cut after one year with a new team, as the Chicago Bears released him last March after adding him on a three-year, $45 million deal in 2017.

Glennon saw action in two games for Arizona, going 15 of 21 for 174 yards and a touchdown. He went 1-3 as a starter for Chicago in 2017, throwing for 833 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

A former third-round pick out of N.C. State by the Buccaneers, Glennon has a career passer rating of 84.0, with 5,107 yards, 35 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 27 games (22 starts).

Riley, 26, started all 16 games for the New York Giants in 2018, nabbing four interceptions and totaling 75 tackles. A former undrafted free agent out of Fresno State, he spent his first two seasons with the Tennessee Titans as a reserve, before earning a starting job with the Giants.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Falcons, WR Jones closing in on extension

Report: Falcons, WR Jones closing in on extension

The Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones are

Report: Falcons, WR Jones closing in on extension

The Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones are closing in on an extension that would pay him $20 million per year on a four- or five-year deal, Bleacher Report reported Friday.

According to the report, Jones is expected to get around $50 million-$60 million in new guarantees, though the deal is not done yet.

The league’s highest-paid wideout, recent Cleveland Browns addition Odell Beckham Jr., averages $18 million annually with an additional $1 million per season available via incentives. He got $41 million fully guaranteed at signing and $65 million in injury guarantees.

Jones, 30, has two years and $21 million remaining on a five-year extension he signed in August 2015. He stayed away from the Falcons throughout the 2018 offseason while seeking further contract guarantees. The team responded by turning $4.4 million of his future salary into a signing bonus while reportedly promising to redo the deal after the 2018 season, a rare concession for a player with multiple years remaining on his deal.

Jones had 113 receptions for an NFL-high 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018, with all three figures marking his best since 2015. He earned his fifth straight Pro Bowl nod and played in all 16 games for the second consecutive season and the third time in four years.

–Field Level Media

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Rams match offer on RB Brown

Rams match offer on RB Brown

Rams match offer on RB Brown

The Los Angeles Rams matched an offer by the Detroit Lions to keep running back Malcolm Brown in the fold, the team announced Friday.

Brown, 25, has rushed for 514 yards in four seasons in a backup role to Todd Gurley, including 43 carries for 212 yards and five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

The two-year deal gives Brown a $100,000 signing bonus and is worth $3.3 million total, with $1 million guaranteed.

Brown’s 2018 season ended in Week 13, when he suffered a clavicle injury against the Detroit Lions.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Falcons, Jones close to extension

NFL notebook: Falcons, Jones close to extension

NFL notebook: Falcons, Jones close to extension

The Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones are closing in on an extension that would pay him $20 million per season on a four- or five-year deal, Bleacher Report reported Friday.

According to the report, Jones is expected to get around $50 million-$60 million in new guarantees, though the deal is not done yet.

The league’s highest-paid wideout, recent Cleveland Browns addition Odell Beckham Jr., averages $18 million annually with an additional $1 million per season available via incentives. He got $41 million fully guaranteed at signing and $65 million in injury guarantees.

Jones, 30, has two years and $21 million remaining on his contract. He stayed away from the Falcons throughout the 2018 offseason while seeking further contract guarantees. The team responded by turning $4.4 million of his future salary into a signing bonus while reportedly promising to redo the deal after the 2018 season, a rare concession for a player with multiple years remaining on his deal.

–The attorney of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is firing back against law-enforcement officials in South Florida.

William Burck, who represents Kraft, issued a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Kraft is facing misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla., but he has pleaded not guilty.

“There was no human trafficking and law enforcement knows it,” Burck told Schefter, who posted the quote on his Twitter account. “The video and the traffic stop were illegal and law enforcement just doesn’t want to admit it. The state attorney needs to step up and do the right thing and investigate how the evidence in this case was obtained.”

–The Houston Texans signed offensive tackle Matt Kalil to a one-year contract, multiple media outlets reported.

Kalil, 29, was released by the Carolina Panthers last week in a salary-cutting move after he missed all of 2018 with a knee injury. He also missed 14 games to injury in 2016, but in his other five NFL seasons, Kalil started all 80 possible games at left tackle.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times last season, easily most in the NFL and equaling the fifth-highest total in NFL history. The Texans re-signed right tackle Seantrel Henderson — who missed all but one game in 2018 — earlier this offseason.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers will release safety Morgan Burnett by April 1, his agent, Kevin Conner, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Burnett asked the team in January to release him before free agency.

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

–The Oakland Raiders signed free agent quarterback Mike Glennon and safety Curtis Riley.

The Raiders released AJ McCarron last week, creating a need for a backup quarterback behind Derek Carr. Glennon, 29, was released by the Arizona Cardinals earlier this month after joining the team on a two-year, $8 million deal last spring.

Riley, 26, started all 16 games for the New York Giants in 2018, nabbing four interceptions and totaling 75 tackles.

–The Los Angeles Rams matched an offer by the Detroit Lions to keep running back Malcolm Brown in the fold. The two-year deal gives Brown a $100,000 signing bonus and is worth $3.3 million total, with $1 million guaranteed.

Brown, 25, has rushed for 514 yards in four seasons in a backup role to Todd Gurley, including 43 carries for 212 yards and five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

–Former Broncos first-round pick Shane Ray visited the Indianapolis Colts, according to multiple reports.

Ray, who had eight sacks in 2016 but has battled injuries the last two years, would move from linebacker to defensive end if he joins the Colts. Indianapolis reportedly added pass rusher Justin Houston on Thursday.

–The Buffalo Bills signed former Seahawks safety Maurice Alexander and former Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who is making the transition to be a blocking tight end.

Buffalo also reportedly visited with former Titans guard Quinton Spain and former Seahawks defensive back Neiko Thorpe.

–The Lions agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal with free agent cornerback Rashaan Melvin, multiple media outlets reported. Detroit also officially re-signed offensive lineman Andrew Donnal.

–Wide receiver Cody Latimer officially re-signed with the New York Giants.

–The Cleveland Browns signed free agent offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann.

–The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed fullback Anthony Sherman, per multiple reports.

–The Bengals signed former Giants defensive end Kerry Wynn, ESPN reported.

–The Texans re-signed special teamer Joe Webb III, who also serves as a backup wide receiver and quarterback.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Texans add ex-Panthers OT Kalil

Reports: Texans add ex-Panthers OT Kalil

The Houston Texans agreed with offensive tackle

Reports: Texans add ex-Panthers OT Kalil

The Houston Texans agreed with offensive tackle Matt Kalil on a one-year contract, multiple outlets reported Friday

Kalil, 29, was released by the Carolina Panthers last week in a salary-cutting move after he missed all of 2018 with a knee injury.

A first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2012, Kalil also missed 14 games to injury in 2016, but in his other five NFL seasons, he has started all 80 possible games at left tackle.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times last season, easily most in the NFL and equaling the fifth-highest total in NFL history. The Texans re-signed right tackle Seantrel Henderson — who missed all but one game in 2018 with a broken ankle — earlier this offseason.

Incumbent left tackle Julien Davenport allowed 8.75 sacks and committed 12 penalties last season, according to STATS LLC. Martinas Rankin, a 2018 third-round pick, allowed 5.5 sacks in four starts at tackle before being benched. Kendall Lamm, who started 13 games at right tackle, signed with the Cleveland Browns in free agency last week.

Kalil allowed 7.5 sacks and committed seven penalties in 2017 with the Panthers. He has allowed 39.25 sacks while committing 32 penalties in 82 career games.

–Field Level Media

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PGA Tour suspends Garrigus for drug use

PGA Tour suspends Garrigus for drug use

PGA Tour suspends Garrigus for drug use

Golfer Robert Garrigus been suspended for three months for violation of the PGA Tour’s anti-doping program, the tour announced Friday.

The PGA did not specify the substance, identifying it only as a “drug of abuse.”

Garrigus, 41, has talked publicly about previous addiction struggles: He admitted to smoking marijuana regularly while playing on the Web.com Tour (called the Buy.com Tour at the time) and spent 45 days in drug rehabilitation in 2003.

The Idaho native turned pro in 1997 and has one PGA Tour win, at the 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Classic. In 2019, he has competed in four tournaments, missing three cuts and finishing tied for 64th at the Genesis Open.

He is 201st in the FedExCup standings and 450th in the world golf rankings.

–Field Level Media

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‘Pacman’ Jones agrees to plea deal in casino arrest

'Pacman' Jones agrees to plea deal in casino arrest

Free agent defensive back

‘Pacman’ Jones agrees to plea deal in casino arrest

Free agent defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones reportedly has agreed to spend 10 days in jail under the terms of a plea deal rather than go to trial to face charges against him following an incident at an Indiana casino.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Thursday night that Jones accepted the plea deal, which is conditional upon acceptance by a judge.

Jones was arrested in February at the Rising Star Casino after he was accused of cheating at a table game. He was accused of nine felony and five misdemeanor charges, which included threatening to kill an Indiana Gaming Commission officer.

Also among the charges were felony counts of intimidation and cheating at gambling.

Under the agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop all charges other than felony cheating at gambling and misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, according to the Enquirer. He agreed to abstain from alcohol for 18 months and also during that time to not own a firearm without permission from a probation officer.

Jones, 35, has a history of arrests and has been plagued by legal issues throughout his career. The NFL suspended him for the 2007 season following a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club that left a man paralyzed. A member of Jones’ entourage was identified as the shooter.

The Tennessee Titans selected Jones with the No. 6 overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos. He spent the 2009 season in the Canadian Football League.

The Broncos signed him before the 2018 season and released him after he played in seven games.

He has 17 career interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Giants re-sign WR Latimer

Giants re-sign WR Latimer

Wide receiver

Giants re-sign WR Latimer

Wide receiver Cody Latimer re-signed with the New York Giants.

Latimer, a second-round draft pick of the Broncos who spent his first four seasons in Denver, played in six games with the Giants in 2018. He was hampered by injuries and spent two months on injured reserve with a hamstring issue.

Latimer stood out in the regular-season finale against Dallas with a 21-yard touchdown reception and four catches for 72 yards.

He has 46 career receptions in five seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Rams match offer on RB Brown

Report: Rams match offer on RB Brown

Report: Rams match offer on RB Brown

The Los Angeles Rams matched an offer by the Detroit Lions to keep running back Malcolm Brown in the fold, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Brown, 25, has rushed for 514 yards in four seasons in a backup role to Todd Gurley, including 43 carries for 212 yards and five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

The two-year deal gives Brown a $100,000 signing bonus and is worth $3.3 million total, with $1 million guaranteed.

Brown’s 2018 season ended in Week 13, when he suffered a clavicle injury against the Detroit Lions.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Steelers to release S Burnett

Report: Steelers to release S Burnett

Report: Steelers to release S Burnett

The Pittsburgh Steelers will release safety Morgan Burnett on April 1, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Browns sign OL Witzmann

Browns sign OL Witzmann

The Cleveland Browns continue

Browns sign OL Witzmann

The Cleveland Browns continue to stay busy this offseason, signing free agent offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann on Friday.

Witzmann, 28, started seven games at right guard for the Chicago Bears last season, his fourth in the league.

A South Dakota State product, Witzmann entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans in 2014, and he spent the 2016-17 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, making 13 starts during his tenure there.

He provides some offensive line depth to the Browns, who traded guard Kevin Zeitler to the New York Giants.

The Browns also have signed free agents Kendall Lamm, a right tackle, and Eric Kush, who plays guard/center, in their bid to shore up the line.

General manager John Dorsey previously signed both Witzmann and Kush when he was with the Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers QB Newton swore off sex for March

Panthers QB Newton swore off sex for March

Panthers QB Newton swore off sex for March

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton knows that sacrifice is a key to success.

With that in mind, the 29-year-old quarterback is really pushing himself in that department this offseason as he recovers from his recent shoulder surgery.

In January, he decided to give up betting for the entire year.

For the month of February, he went vegan.

For March, Newton says he’s sworn off sex for the entire month.

Newton explained his thinking during a guest spot on “The Late, Late Show with James Corden” on Wednesday night.

“It makes my mind stronger,” Newton said. “So when the season comes around, I say if I did those things, I’m mentally stronger.”

Newton underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after battling discomfort over the second half of the 2018 season before eventually being shut down with two games remaining.

Newton is expected to be ready well in time for the start of the 2019 regular season.

Newton passed for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns against 13 interceptions last season. Carolina started strong at 6-2 but collapsed with seven straight losses and ended up at 7-9.

–Field Level Media

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NFL owners to weigh replay for pass interference

NFL owners to weigh replay for pass interference

NFL owners to weigh replay for pass interference

The NFL Competition Committee will introduce 16 potential rule revisions for the 2019 season, including two that could lead to a modification of the use of replay.

The league shared its report Thursday with the public in advance of the annual league meeting, which begins Sunday in Phoenix.

One proposal under consideration would implement a one-year trial to expand the use of instant replay to fouls for pass interference as well as to automatically review scoring plays and turnovers that are negated by a penalties along with any extra-point or two-point attempt.

Additionally, the league owners will weigh a second proposal for a one-year trial that would allow review of penalties for roughing the passer and contact against a defenseless player.

The call to make pass-interference penalties — and non-calls — reviewable arose after the NFC Championship Game in January, when Nickell Robey-Coleman of the Los Angeles Rams wasn’t called for pass interference on a play that league officials later admitted should have been a penalty. As a result, the Rams were able to stop a New Orleans Saints’ touchdown drive, and the Rams won the game in overtime to earn a berth to Super Bowl LIII.

–Field Level Media

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Rams and Cowboys to play preseason game in Hawaii

Rams and Cowboys to play preseason game in Hawaii

Rams and Cowboys to play preseason game in Hawaii

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Ravens reach 2-year agreement with QB Griffin

Ravens reach 2-year agreement with QB Griffin

The Ravens reached a two-year

Ravens reach 2-year agreement with QB Griffin

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead

Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead

As

Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“To play well is a nice bonus.”

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

–Field Level Media

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