GM Gettleman: Giants ‘couldn’t refuse’ offer for OBJ, defends Manning

GM Gettleman: Giants ‘couldn’t refuse’ offer for OBJ, defends Manning

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said Monday that he traded star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. because the Cleveland Browns made an offer that was impossible to pass up.

“This was purely a football decision,” Gettleman told reporters in his first public comments since trading the three-time Pro Bowler Beckham for two draft picks and safety Jabrill Peppers. “Odell was a tremendous talent making him a valuable asset … With football being the ultimate team sport, we turned that fact into three assets.”

The trade last Wednesday ended months of speculation that Beckham was on his way out of New York. After signing Beckham to a five-year, $95 million contract in 2018, the Giants saw their season spiral downward.

“We didn’t sign him to trade him, but things changed,” Gettleman said. “Frankly, what changed, is another team made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

The Browns sent the Giants a first-round pick and a third-round pick along with Peppers.

Gettleman said he didn’t seek the Browns as trade partners. He conceded he called the Buffalo Bills after their failed attempt to acquire another disgruntled star wideout, Antonio Brown, failed, however.

“I completely understand why people would debate the merits of this deal. This trade really won’t be able to be fully evaluated until we get further down the road. We did not enter this decision to trade Odell lightly,” Gettleman added.

Gettleman wasn’t eager to share his plan for the team, though.

“Very honestly, it’s not my responsibility to tell you guys what I’m doing,” he told reporters. “That’s not my job. That’s not my responsibility. Trust me, we’ve got a plan. You’ve got to be patient. Everyone wants the answers now. Over time, you’ll see it.”

Part of that plan that concerns some fans and critics includes Gettleman’s apparent continued trust in longtime starting quarterback Eli Manning, who has won two Super Bowls with New York but whose performance has dipped over the past few seasons (8-23 record as starter since 2017).

Manning, 38, recently received a $5 million bonus amid an upcoming draft with the Giants holding two first-round picks, including the No. 6 overall selection. But Gettleman defended his veteran quarterback to reporters on Monday.

“This narrative that Eli is overpaid and can’t play is a crock,” Gettleman said, per NJ.com. “At the end of the day, you have to say, ‘Gettleman is out of his mind’ or ‘he knows what he is talking about when he evaluates players.’ That’s really where it’s at. I’m OK if you disagree with me.”

–Field Level Media

NFL notebook: Cardinals plan to start Murray

NFL notebook: Cardinals plan to start Murray

NFL notebook: Cardinals plan to start Murray

Arizona general manager Steve Keim said he remembers the moment he decided the Cardinals would make former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“When I closed my eyes and I visualized Kyler Murray running around State Farm Stadium in red and white, for whatever reason, all I saw was just fireworks, excitement, a must-see [environment] where fans have to go and show up and see this thing. Him being the architect was a phenomenal fit for me,” Keim told NBC’s Peter King.

Earlier in the day, Keim said Murray will be the Cardinals’ Week 1 starter.

“We didn’t draft him No. 1 overall to ride the pine,” Keim said on The Rich Eisen Show. “I know it’s a lot to put on his back, but that’s why we drafted him. He’s a fierce competitor, and that’s what he did at Oklahoma this year. He put the team on his back. They didn’t have a great defense, and he knew he had to score almost every series to give them a chance to win.”

–Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock doubled down on Derek Carr as the team’s franchise quarterback after not selecting a signal-caller in the draft.

Mayock was widely panned by the media following his first draft as a GM. The second-guessing began with his first selection, using the No. 4 overall pick on Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell.

He told The Rich Eisen Show that he and coach Jon Gruden identified Ferrell as the player they wanted entering the first round, and they were comfortable taking him at No. 4 after an opportunity to trade down did not materialize.

“The bottom line is that we knew going in that he was going to be our guy,” Mayock said. “Whether that was at (No.) 4 … 7, 8, 10, whatever, he was going to be our guy.”

–A Florida judge again blocked release of surveillance videos related to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s visits to a spa in Jupiter, Fla.

Kraft is one of 25 men charged with paying for sexual acts at Orchids of Asia Day Spa. The 77-year-old has pleaded not guilty to two counts of soliciting.

Palm Beach County judge Joseph Marx ruled that video and audio recordings that are part of evidence in the case against Kraft and the others are to remain sealed. A temporary order barring the release of the videos occurred earlier this month.

–Josh Rosen embraced a fresh start during his introductory news conference with the Miami Dolphins.

“Very rarely do you get a second chance to make a first impression,” Rosen said. “It felt like I got drafted twice.”

The former Cardinals quarterback will look to build upon a rookie season during which he passed for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He is expected to compete with veteran signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick for playing time in Miami, which acquired Rosen shortly after Arizona drafted Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.

–New York Giants sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine remains in the hospital after Sunday’s early morning shooting that also took the life of former Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons.

The two were shot outside an off-campus party as they celebrated Ballentine’s future with the Giants. Ballentine, a cornerback who was drafted 180th overall on Saturday, sustained a single gunshot wound to his glutes but he is expected to make a full recovery and make it to rookie minicamp on Thursday.

“He’s a really bright kid and he’s a great kid,” Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said on SiriusXM NFL radio, via NJ.com. “What happened is tragic and unfortunate. That’s his best friend he was with. We spoke to him on Sunday. He’s coming along fine. He’ll be here Thursday for the minicamp this weekend.”

–The Pittsburgh Steelers placed linebacker Ryan Shazier on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

It will mark the second straight campaign in which Shazier will spend the season on the PUP list. He hasn’t played since suffering a spinal injury in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017.

The 26-year-old has remained motivated toward playing in the NFL again. He reiterated that a few months ago when speaking to reporters shortly before the Super Bowl.

–The Cleveland Browns are bringing in some competition for punter Britton Colquitt.

The team worked out undrafted Scottish free agent punter Jamie Gillan before the NFL draft and they are on the verge of signing him. Gillan, nicknamed “The Scottish Hammer,” averaged 42.9 yards per punt last season at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Born in England, Gillan played rugby growing up in Scotland but began playing football after his father, a member of the Royal Armed Forces, was transferred to the United States. He attended high school in Leonardtown, Md.

–Vincent Testaverde, the son of former Tampa Bay quarterback Vinny Testaverde, will try out for the Buccaneers during the team’s rookie minicamp.

His college coach at Albany, Greg Gattuso, made the announcement on Twitter.

The elder Testaverde, now 55, played at Miami, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1986. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 1987 draft.

–Field Level Media

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Giants draft pick released from hospital after shooting

Giants draft pick released from hospital after shooting

New York Giants draft pick Corey Ballentine is

Giants draft pick released from hospital after shooting

New York Giants draft pick Corey Ballentine is out of the hospital and is expected to attend the team’s rookie minicamp starting Thursday.

Ballentine, a cornerback selected in the sixth round on Saturday, and Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons were shot early Sunday near the school’s campus in Topeka, Kan. Simmons was killed and Ballentine was shot in his gluteal muscle.

Multiple outlets reported Tuesday that Ballentine had been released from the hospital, but it’s not clear when he will resume football activities.

“He’s a really bright kid and he’s a great kid,” Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said of Ballentine on Monday on SiriusXM NFL radio, via NJ.com. “What happened is tragic and unfortunate. That’s his best friend he was with. We spoke to him on Sunday. He’s coming along fine. He’ll be here Thursday for the minicamp this weekend.”

Ballentine, 23, paid tribute to his fallen friend on social media Monday.

“Thank you for being a true friend who uplifted me, corrected me when i was in the wrong, and accepted my flaws. Thank you for being a brother to me. Thank you for letting me experience your life,” Ballentine tweeted.

A candlelight vigil honoring Simmons was to be held on campus Tuesday night.

No arrests have been made in the shooting.

–Field Level Media

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Post-draft Super Bowl odds favor Patriots, Rams

Post-draft Super Bowl odds favor Patriots, Rams

Post-draft Super Bowl odds favor Patriots, Rams

Oddsmakers favor a Super Bowl rematch between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots in post-draft odds to make it to Miami in February 2020.

The Patriots defeated the Rams in February and remain atop the heap based on post-draft lines at betus.ag.

New England is slightly ahead of the Rams — +800 to +900 — who nudged ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs in the listing of odds to win Super Bowl LIV.

The Chiefs and New Orleans Saints are +1000.

Another bookmaker, Las Vegas SuperBook, has New England on top and an over-under of 11 regular-season wins.

Behind the top four is a new kid on the block: the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland (+700) is also third to win the AFC Championship, behind only the Patriots (+450) and Chiefs (+500).

Both books installed the Browns as the favorite in the AFC North.

Betus.ag has Cleveland, the Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles at +1400.

At +1600 stand the Chicago Bears — NFC North rivals Green Bay and Minnesota are both +2500 — and Indianapolis Colts.

The longshots in each division based on betus.ag are the Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals (+5000) in the NFC and the Miami Dolphins in the AFC. Miami has the NFL’s worst conference title odds at +6600. Cincinnati is +5000.

–Field Level Media

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Testaverde’s son invited to Bucs’ rookie minicamp

Testaverde's son invited to Bucs' rookie minicamp

Vincent Testaverde, the

Testaverde’s son invited to Bucs’ rookie minicamp

Vincent Testaverde, the son of former Tampa Bay quarterback Vinny Testaverde, will try out for the Buccaneers during the team’s rookie minicamp.

His college coach at Albany, Greg Gattuso, made the announcement on Twitter.

The minicamp will be held May 10-11. Testaverde also took part in the Buccaneers’ local pro day workout.

The elder Testaverde, now 55, played at Miami, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1986. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 1987 draft.

His son didn’t have the same collegiate success after leaving Jesuit High School in Tampa. He played the 2014 season as a walk-on at Texas Tech, appearing in one game, then transferred to Miami. He sat out a year and didn’t play the following season, then transferred to Albany.

At Albany, transfer rules forced him to sit out the 2017 season, and in his one season for the Great Danes, he threw for 1,714 yards and 11 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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NFL draft drew record attendance, TV ratings

NFL draft drew record attendance, TV ratings

The 2019 NFL Draft was the best-attended and most-watched

NFL draft drew record attendance, TV ratings

The 2019 NFL Draft was the best-attended and most-watched draft in league history.

The NFL said Monday that more than 600,000 fans gathered in Nashville during the three-day event to soak in the draft atmosphere. The previous record was set in 2017, when 250,000 fans flocked to the streets of Philadelphia.

The draft, which aired on NFL Network, ESPN, ABC and affiliated digital channels, drew more than 47.5 million viewers on channels measured by Nielsen, an increase of 5 percent from 2018, and a draft record.

“The 2019 NFL Draft was a tremendous continuation of the celebration of the NFL’s 100th season and an opportunity to welcome the next generation of stars,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

The 2020 draft will be held in Las Vegas, making it the first big event in what will be the NFL’s next destination. The Oakland Raiders are scheduled to begin play in Las Vegas in the 2020 season.

–Field Level Media

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Cards GM Keim on QB Murray: ‘Wow’

Cards GM Keim on QB Murray: 'Wow'

Cards GM Keim on QB Murray: ‘Wow’

Arizona general manager Steve Keim said he remembers the moment he decided the Cardinals would make former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“When I closed my eyes and I visualized Kyler Murray running around State Farm Stadium in red and white, for whatever reason, all I saw was just fireworks, excitement, a must-see [environment] where fans have to go and show up and see this thing. Him being the architect was a phenomenal fit for me,” Keim told NBC’s Peter King.

That makes two seasons in a row that Keim has picked a quarterback in the first round, trading up in 2018 to draft UCLA’s Josh Rosen, who was dispatched to the Miami Dolphins in a trade on Friday night.

New coach Kliff Kingsbury recruited Murray, a Texas native, when he was a college coach recruiting in the state. But Keim and Kingsbury both said the coach didn’t insist on the selection.

“The thing I respect the most about Kliff is he never once interrupted the process,” Keim said, with Kingsbury sitting at the table with him and King. “He never once came down and put his fist on the table and said, ‘I want Kyler Murray. I have to have him.’ I knew that he loved him as a player, but he allowed the process to take care of itself. To me, that was the only way we were going to get it right.”

Keim said he put off watching tape of Murray until just six weeks ago. And when he did watch, he was mesmerized by the quarterback, who measured 5-foot-10 1/8 at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I was reluctant to study him because I knew what we had in Josh Rosen,” Keim said. “As I watched the first game, I watched the second game, I couldn’t put down the controller. All I wanted to do was keep watching this kid on tape. I don’t know if I wrote down ‘wow’ 100 times, or 500 times, but my hand got tired of writing it. In the time I’ve been doing this, I haven’t seen a guy who could throw like him and run like him. I’ve seen guys who could do one of each, but I’ve never evaluated a guy who possesses the skill set to do both things at such a high level.”

Speaking on The Rich Eisen Show Monday morning, Keim said Murray will be the Cardinals’ Week 1 starter.

“We didn’t draft him No. 1 overall to ride the pine,” Keim said. “I know it’s a lot to put on his back, but that’s why we drafted him. He’s a fierce competitor, and that’s what he did at Oklahoma this year. He put the team on his back. They didn’t have a great defense, and he knew he had to score almost every series to give them a chance to win.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Vikings unlikely to pick up WR Treadwell’s option

Report: Vikings unlikely to pick up WR Treadwell's option

Report: Vikings unlikely to pick up WR Treadwell’s option

The Minnesota Vikings are expected to decline the fifth-year option for wide receiver Laquon Treadwell by Friday’s deadline, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The option on Treadwell for the 2020 season would be for roughly $10 million.

Treadwell, who turns 24 in June, has largely been a disappointment since the Vikings made him the 23rd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss.

He has 56 catches for 517 yards and just one touchdown in 40 games. Eighteen players who were also drafted in 2016 have gained more receiving yards than Treadwell, including four tight ends and four running backs.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders release TE Smith, officially re-sign RB Martin

Raiders release TE Smith, officially re-sign RB Martin

Raiders release TE Smith, officially re-sign RB Martin

The Oakland Raiders released veteran tight end Lee Smith and officially re-signed running back Doug Martin on Thursday.

Smith, 31, had two years remaining on a three-year, $9 million extension signed last March.

Considered one of the league’s best blocking tight ends, he spent the last four years with the Raiders, catching 36 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns, including three TDs in 2018. Smith spent his first four seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

The Raiders drafted tight end Foster Moreau out of LSU in the fourth round last weekend, after signing former Lions tight end Luke Willson in free agency.

Martin’s re-signing was reported on Wednesday, following the news of Isaiah Crowell’s torn Achilles. Martin led the Raiders with 172 carries for 723 yards and four scores last season.

NFL Network reported Wednesday that Marshawn Lynch, who reportedly planned to retire, would be interested in playing in 2019 for the Raiders if the feeling is mutual. It’s unclear if Martin’s re-signing would preclude that.

Meanwhile, Oakland announced the signings of four draft picks to rookie deals: fourth-round picks Maxx Crosby and Isaiah Johnson, fifth-rounder Hunter Renfrow and seventh-rounder Quinton Bell.

–Field Level Media

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Attorney for Hill denies client abused child in letter to NFL

Attorney for Hill denies client abused child in letter to NFL

The attorney for Kansas City Chiefs

Attorney for Hill denies client abused child in letter to NFL

The attorney for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill sent the NFL a four-page letter Thursday, a detailed denial of child abuse allegations made against his client.

In the letter obtained by ESPN, attorney N. Trey Pettlon accused Hill’s fiancée, Crystal Espinal, of abusing the couple’s 3-year-old son.

Espinal secretly recorded a conversation she had with Hill that was broadcast last week by Kansas City station KCTV.

Espinal said in the recording, “He kept saying ‘Daddy punches me,’ which you do when he starts crying. What do you do? You make him open up his arms, and you punch him in the chest.”

Pettlon wrote in the letter, “He (Hill) categorically denies he has ever ‘punched’ his son in the chest or anywhere on his body, or otherwise touched him in the chest in a mean-spirited manner or as a form of discipline.”

Pettlon explained there have been times when Hill has tapped his son on the chest and told him to “man up, buddy” or “don’t cry, my man,” but denied Hill has grabbed his son’s arms as part of any discipline and further denied Hill played any part in their son suffering a broken arm. He noted the records at the hospital where the child was treated labeled the broken arm an accident.

The attorney does not deny the audio in question is of Hill and Espinal, but does challenge Espinal’s assertion on the recording that the child in question is “terrified” of Hill. Pettlon also called a comment Hill made on the recording, “You need to be terrified of me, too, b—-,” inexcusable.

The child is not living with either parent after being removed by the Kansas Department for Children and Families last month.

Authorities have been investigating incidents — one on March 5 for alleged child abuse and neglect, and one on March 14 for alleged battery — at Hill’s home in Overland Park, Kan. Both police reports indicated a juvenile was involved.

Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said Saturday that he and the front office were “deeply disturbed” by the audio, but offered no explanation as to why the team has not released him.

Speaking briefly at the team’s annual draft party, Hunt said he couldn’t elaborate further because of the ongoing investigation.

In November, the Chiefs moved swiftly to release running back Kareem Hunt after TMZ posted a video showing him kicking and shoving a woman in a Cleveland hotel.

The Chiefs banned Hill from participating in team activities but have not cut ties with him.

“I’d just point out that Tyreek is not with the franchise right now and we’re going to go through the process,” Hunt told reporters. “We’ll make the right decision about Tyreek at the right time.”

The NFL is said to be considering putting Hill on the commissioner’s exempt list amid the ongoing criminal investigation, according to multiple reports.

The commissioner’s exempt list typically isn’t used during the offseason, but the league is considering making an exception in this case, per reports, which added that the NFL has the full audiotape.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger Woods to visit Trump at White House

Tiger Woods to visit Trump at White House

Tiger Woods to visit Trump at White House

Tiger Woods is scheduled to visit the White House on Monday.

According to multiple reports, Woods was invited to celebrate his Masters victory with President Donald Trump in a special ceremony.

Woods played a round with President Trump in Jupiter, Fla., in February.

The day after the Masters, President Trump announced Woods would be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor for a civilian. However, that presentation is expected to take place later in the year.

Woods has 15 major victories, three shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record, and went more than a decade without winning a major while battling personal issues and injuries.

–Field Level Media

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Texans sign ex-Chargers S Addae

Texans sign ex-Chargers S Addae

Texans sign ex-Chargers S Addae

Former Los Angeles Chargers safety Jahleel Addae signed with the Houston Texans on Wednesday.

The team has yet to announce the signing, but Addae posted on Instagram with an image of him signing at the Texans’ facility.

Addae, 29, started all 32 games over the last two seasons for the Chargers, making 171 tackles (10 for loss) and 10 pass breakups, but he was released in March. Head coach Anthony Lynn praised Addae’s performance, noting that his release was a result of the emergence of Derwin James, whom the Chargers plan to play at strong safety full time in 2019.

Addae is predominantly a strong safety and often played linebacker in Los Angeles’ six- and seven-DB packages. He started 59 of 80 games played in six seasons with the Chargers.

The Texans added former Jacksonville Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson earlier this offseason while watching safety Tyrann Mathieu walk in free agency, signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. Reserve safety Andre Hal retired.

Houston did not take a safety during last weekend’s draft.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Lynch eyes possible return after Crowell injury

NFL notebook: Lynch eyes possible return after Crowell injury

Oakland Raiders

NFL notebook: Lynch eyes possible return after Crowell injury

Oakland Raiders running back Isaiah Crowell suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Tuesday and is out for the season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday.

Crowell, who signed a one-year contract valued up to $2.5 million in late March, will have surgery next week, Schefter said.

Meanwhile, NFL Network reports running back Marshawn Lynch is open to a return to the Raiders, if they’re interested. ESPN reported last week that the 33-year-old Lynch planned to retire for the second time in his career, after sitting out 2016 and returning for the last two seasons with Oakland, his hometown team.

It appears Oakland has already responded to Crowell’s injury by going with someone else, as NFL Network reports the Raiders will re-sign free agent running Doug Martin, their leading rusher in 2018.

–Retired Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann has given his blessing for rookie Dwayne Haskins to wear his No. 7.

The number hasn’t been worn since 1985 and is unofficially retired. The Redskins have retired just one number — Sammy Baugh’s No. 33 — but have kept several others out of circulation.

Theismann told 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday that he and Haskins talked about the number. Haskins, the former Ohio State quarterback, was selected by the Redskins at No. 15 overall last week in the NFL draft.

–Play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and analyst Booger McFarland will make up the two-person booth for “Monday Night Football” in 2019 — the 50th season for the television institution.

Lisa Salters will continue as the sideline reporter, and recently retired NFL referee John Parry will serve as officiating analyst. McFarland was an analyst on the field level in 2018.

The network will not replace Jason Witten, who took over Jon Gruden’s role as the primary analyst in the booth for the 2018 season. Witten quit to return to play for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019.

–The New York Giants said they have advised sixth-round draft pick Corey Ballentine to stay home in Kansas to continue to recover from his gunshot wound and not attend this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

Ballentine, a 23-year-old cornerback, and Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons were shot early Sunday near the school’s campus in Topeka, Kan. Simmons was killed, and Ballentine was shot in his gluteal muscle.

“We have been in communication with Corey since Sunday,” the team said in a statement. “We have encouraged Corey to stay in Kansas this week to be with his family and friends as they mourn the loss and celebrate the life of his good friend and teammate Dwane Simmons. Corey will be with us when it’s appropriate.”

–The Chicago Bears officially announced the hiring of Brad Childress as senior offensive assistant.

Childress, 62, spent the 2018 season with Chicago as a senior offensive consultant before leaving to coach the Atlanta Legends in the Alliance of American Football. He resigned from leading the Legends a month before their first game, and reports in March said he would return to join the Bears.

A former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Childress worked with Bears head coach Matt Nagy on the Kansas City Chiefs’ staff from 2013-17. Both held the offensive coordinator title for stretches, with Childress also serving as spread game analyst and assistant head coach during his K.C. tenure.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free agent linebackers Ramik Wilson, Najee Goode and D.J. Alexander.

Wilson was the only one of the group to start in 2018, starting four of 16 games for the Los Angeles Rams. Goode and Alexander combined to play 28 games for the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, with most of their contributions on special teams.

–The Miami Dolphins waived quarterback Luke Falk, cornerback Dee Delaney and defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga.

None of the three played during the 2018 regular season. Falk was a sixth-round pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2018 whom the Dolphins claimed off waivers after the Titans released him during final cuts.

–Field Level Media

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Bears announce hiring of Childress

Bears announce hiring of Childress

The Chicago

Bears announce hiring of Childress

The Chicago Bears officially announced the hiring of Brad Childress as senior offensive assistant on Wednesday.

Childress, 62, spent the 2018 season with Chicago as a senior offensive consultant before leaving to coach the Atlanta Legends in the Alliance of American Football. He resigned from leading the Legends a month before their first game, and reports in March said he would return to join the Bears.

A former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Childress worked with Bears head coach Matt Nagy on the Kansas City Chiefs’ staff from 2013-17. Both held the offensive coordinator title for stretches, with Childress also serving as spread game analyst and assistant head coach during his K.C. tenure.

The Vikings were 39-35 under Childress from 2006-10, reaching the playoffs twice and losing to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game after the 2009 season.

When he stepped down in January from the job in the fledgling AAF — which has since folded — Childress indicated he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“For now, I need to refocus,” he said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to spending time with them and supporting them as they’ve done so for me.”

–Field Level Media

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Option notebook: Titans decline Conklin, Bills decline Lawson

Option notebook: Titans decline Conklin, Bills decline Lawson

Option notebook: Titans decline Conklin, Bills decline Lawson

The Tennessee Titans will not pick up the fifth-year option of former All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

The option would have been worth nearly $13 million in 2020. Thursday is the deadline for teams to pick up fifth-year options — which are guaranteed only in the event of injury — for 2016 first-round picks.

Conklin, 24, was named first-team All-Pro as a rookie in 2016 after starting all 16 games and allowing just one sack, and he started all 16 while allowing 1.5 sacks in 2017. But he tore his ACL in the playoffs after the 2017 season and was limited to nine games in 2018, allowing five sacks.

The Titans traded up seven spots to take Conklin eighth overall in the 2016 draft. He is now set to hit free agency after the 2019 season, barring an extension.

–The Buffalo Bills will decline defensive end Shaq Lawson’s fifth-year option, according to multiple reports, which would have been worth around $10 million.

Lawson, 24, had four sacks and a career-high 12 QB hits while playing 14 games (six starts) in 2018, bringing his career totals to 10 sacks and 20 QB hits in 35 games (17 starts).

The Bills took Lawson 19th overall in 2016.

–The New Orleans Saints declined cornerback Eli Apple’s fifth-year option, which would have been worth nearly $14 million.

Apple, 23, was drafted 10th overall in 2016 by the New York Giants and acquired by the Saints for fourth- and seventh-round picks at the 2018 trade deadline.

He had two interceptions and nine passes defensed in 10 games for the Saints, after posting one interception and 20 passes defensed in 30 games with the Giants.

–The Chicago Bears picked up outside linebacker Leonard Floyd’s fifth-year option, which will pay him around $13 million in 2020.

Floyd, 26, had a career-low four sacks along with 11 QB hits in 2018. He played with a cast on his hand early in the season but did not miss any time, playing in all 16 games for the first time in his career.

The Bears traded up two spots to take Floyd ninth overall in 2016.

–As expected, the Green Bay Packers exercised defensive tackle Kenny Clark’s fifth-year option, according to multiple reports, which will pay him around $8 million in 2020.

General manager Brian Gutekunst had previously told reporters the team planned to pick up the option.

Clark, 23, is coming off a career year with six sacks and nine QB hits in 13 games. He was drafted 27th overall in 2016.

–The Minnesota Vikings officially declined wideout Laquon Treadwell’s fifth-year option, which would have been worth just over $10 million.

Treadwell, 23, had career highs of 35 catches for 302 yards and one touchdown in 15 games (seven starts) last season but has not been able to earn a major role in the offense.

Minnesota took him 23rd overall in 2016.

–The Washington Redskins have informed wideout Josh Doctson they will decline his fifth-year option, NBC Sports Washington reported.

Doctson, 26, had 44 catches for 532 yards and two scores in 2018, bringing his career totals to 81 catches for 1,100 yards and eight scores in 33 games (26 starts). He missed all but two games as a rookie due to injury.

Taken one pick ahead of Treadwell in 2016, Doctson’s option would have been worth just over $10 million.

–Field Level Media

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Original AAF lead investor Fowler charged with bank fraud

Original AAF lead investor Fowler charged with bank fraud

Reggie Fowler -- the original lead investor in the Alliance of American

Original AAF lead investor Fowler charged with bank fraud

Reggie Fowler — the original lead investor in the Alliance of American Football, which folded during its debut season earlier this spring — is facing federal charges of bank fraud unrelated to the belly-up league, according to a Sports Illustrated report.

Fowler reportedly has been charged with bank fraud this week by the Department of Justice, related to services provided for an unlicensed crypto-currency exchange company.

According to the report, the money-transmitting company misrepresented money transfers and avoided international services designed to detect money laundering. Fowler, a former minority owner of the Minnesota Vikings, had invested just shy of $25 million into the league, but his finances were reportedly frozen around the end of 2018.

Tom Dundon moved in as the league’s primary investor in February, but he decided to suspend operations in early April after the AAF completed eight weeks of play.

The AAF, which was headquartered in San Francisco, had eight franchises with teams in Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Memphis, Orlando, Tempe, Ariz., Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Texas and San Diego.

–Field Level Media

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Theismann passes on No. 7 to Redskins rookie Haskins

Theismann passes on No. 7 to Redskins rookie Haskins

Retired Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann

Theismann passes on No. 7 to Redskins rookie Haskins

Retired Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann has given his blessing for rookie Dwayne Haskins to wear his No. 7.

The number hasn’t been worn since 1985 and is unofficially retired. The Redskins have retired just one number – Sammy Baugh’s No. 33 – but have kept several others out of circulation.

Theismann told 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday that he and Haskins talked about the number. Haskins, the former Ohio State quarterback, was selected by the Redskins at No. 15 overall last week in the NFL draft.

“I told him it was OK to wear No. 7,” Theismann told the radio station. “Given him permission. Not that I felt like I needed to, but he was respectful enough to ask.

“We had a really nice conversation. It’s important to him. And hey, I want the kid to be successful. He doesn’t need to worry about, ‘Well, I wish I could’ve worn a different jersey. I wish I could’ve worn a number.’ If this is one less thing that puts any problems out there or issues out there for him or statements or comments, let’s make his life as easy as possible, so that we can get the success from him that we’re hoping and expecting.”

The Redskins still must give final approval to the jersey number.

–Field Level Media

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Giants draft pick Ballentine won’t be at minicamp

Giants draft pick Ballentine won't be at minicamp

The New York Giants said Wednesday they have

Giants draft pick Ballentine won’t be at minicamp

The New York Giants said Wednesday they have advised sixth-round draft pick Corey Ballentine to stay home in Kansas to continue to recover from his gunshot wound and not attend this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

Ballentine, a 23-year-old cornerback, and Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons were shot early Sunday near the school’s campus in Topeka, Kan. Simmons was killed and Ballentine was shot in his gluteal muscle.

“We have been in communication with Corey since Sunday,” the team said in a statement. “We have encouraged Corey to stay in Kansas this week to be with his family and friends as they mourn the loss and celebrate the life of his good friend and teammate Dwane Simmons.

“Corey will be with us when it’s appropriate.”

General manager Dave Gettleman previously said Ballentine would arrive in the New York area on Thursday.

Simmons was remembered at a candlelight vigil Tuesday night on the Washburn campus.

–Field Level Media

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Saints decline CB Apple’s fifth-year option

Saints decline CB Apple's fifth-year option

Saints decline CB Apple’s fifth-year option

Eli Apple will be a free agent at the end of the 2019 season after the New Orleans Saints declined the cornerback’s fifth-year option.

Apple was drafted 10th overall in 2016 by the New York Giants and acquired by the Saints at the trade deadline in 2018.

Thursday is the deadline for teams to pick up fifth-year options for 2016 first-round picks. All draft picks sign four-year deals, and first-round draft picks have a fifth-year team option. Apple’s fifth season in 2020 would have been worth $13.7 million, which ranks among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL.

To acquire Apple from the Giants, the Saints gave up fourth- and seventh-round draft picks. Apple had two interceptions in 10 games for the Saints after intercepting one pass in 30 career games with the Giants. He also had nine passes defended with the Saints, more than in any single season with the Giants.

The Saints did pick up the fifth-year option for their own 2016 draft pick, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.

–Field Level Media

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Woods, Molinari, Koepka highlight PGA pairings

Woods, Molinari, Koepka highlight PGA pairings

The

Woods, Molinari, Koepka highlight PGA pairings

The rest of the field of the upcoming PGA Championship must wait until next week to learn their tee times and pairings, but three players already know their playing partners for the first two days of the tournament.

Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari will be playing together at Bethpage Black when the PGA tees off May 16, continuing the traditional pairing of the reigning champions of the three other major tournaments.

Woods won the Masters in April, Koepka the 2018 U.S. Open and Molinari The Open last July.

The PGA will be played in May for the first time in 70 years.

–Field Level Media

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Tessitore, McFarland to make up ‘MNF’ booth

Tessitore, McFarland to make up 'MNF' booth

Tessitore, McFarland to make up ‘MNF’ booth

Play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and analyst Booger McFarland will make up the two-person booth for “Monday Night Football” in 2019 – the 50th season for the television institution.

Lisa Salters will continue as the sideline reporter, and recently retired NFL referee John Parry will serve as officiating analyst.

The network will not replace Jason Witten, who took over Jon Gruden’s role the primary analyst in the booth for the 2018 season. Witten quit to return to play for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019.

McFarland was an analyst on the field level in 2018.

“Booger’s insight, personality and passion for the game make him the right person for the job. He and Joe have been close friends since they helped ESPN launch the SEC Network five years ago. Their chemistry together in the booth – and with Lisa – will give us a team that fans want to spend Monday nights with this fall,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN executive vice president, Event and Studio Production.

Multiple reports last week said the network wanted Peyton Manning as Witten’s replacement as the chief analyst, but Manning declined. Manning is reluctant to comment on games while his younger brother, Eli, is still playing, according to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk.

Eli’s New York Giants have two Monday night games scheduled in 2019.

The broadcast team of Tessitore and McFarland will debut Sept. 9 when the New Orleans Saints host the Houston Texans in the first game of a Monday night doubleheader.

–Field Level Media

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