Mahomes pays surprise visit for Sports Matter

The kids from Kansas City’s inner-city football program were already in the kind of happy-go-lucky mood that comes with a modest holiday shopping spree when they lined up to take a picture.

Some were laughing. All of them were smiling.

Then their idol stepped out from his hiding place and the screaming started.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had taken time out of his day off Tuesday to show up at Dick’s Sporting Goods and surprise the kids from KC United. He took photographs, signed autographs and presented the team’s founder, local pastor Adrian Roberson, with $5,000 to fund next season.

“I have no words for it,” said Roberson, who broke into tears.

Mahomes is arguably the hottest player in the NFL this season, his record-setting performance as a first-year starter helping the Chiefs to a 9-2 record. And not surprisingly, that has caused the demands on his time to skyrocket, from the unending interview requests to meet-and-greets and other events.

Somehow, the 23-year-old quarterback has managed to take everything in stride.

“I don’t know if it does something for me. It’s just part of being in this community,” Mahomes said the following day, before stepping onto the practice field to prepare for Sunday’s trip to Oakland.

“This community loves football and they love each other,” Mahomes continued. “It’s more than just football. It’s being a good person and giving back to the community.”

Mahomes has certainly ingrained himself in the community.

He threw out a first pitch at a Royals game over the summer. He was the grand marshal for the NASCAR race, wearing a cutoff jersey from the T-Bones, the local minor league baseball team. He pops up at stores, concerts and restaurants as if he was anybody else, even sitting front row at Sprint Center last week to watch his college, Texas Tech, play in the Hall of Fame Classic basketball tournament.

When he showed up at a Verizon store on Monday for a meet-and-greet, store officials were worried the crowd would be too large and asked that his appearance not be publicized. Several hundred people still found out, forming a line that snaked around the building as they awaited his arrival.

“I feel the excitement and I feel the love not only for me but for the Kansas City Chiefs,” Mahomes said. “It’s special. This is a special place. There’s great people here. That’s one of the main reasons I love playing for this team.”

VON’S KITS

Von Miller is leading a $200,000 initiative to provide protective kits to first responders in mass shootings and improve local law enforcement relations.

The donation from Miller, his teammates and the organization to SHIELD616, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit organization, will provide more than 125 advanced protective kits for police and firefighters responding to active shooter or mass shooting situations.

“It’s been 300 mass shootings this year, and I’ve only heard about four. When I was hit with that information, it really hit home for me,” Miller said. “I’ve got personal ties with Colorado — of course, we had the shooting here at the theater my second year in the league — and really heavy ties in Dallas. It was what, two years ago that we had the shooting there.”

Miller said his best friend is a police officer in Arlington, Texas, “so I can help him and some of his colleagues with some of these vests. It’s a real cool deal, the 616 initiative.”

Miller spoke up at a team meeting last week to get his teammates on board with the initiative, and nearly 20 players pitched in, as did team president Joe Ellis, general manager John Elway, and coach Vance Joseph.

SHIELD616 kits include a ballistic vest and helmet, along with a wound trauma kit, that upgrade standard equipment to protect against automatic weapons and assault rifles.

The initiative also allows for donors to contact the first responders they are helping protect to foster ongoing relationships, the Broncos said.

“It takes the unification of an entire community to not only better protect our first responders with physical armor, but to break down barriers between first responders and the citizens they serve,” said SHIELD616 President Jake Skifstad, a former police officer who founded the organization in 2015.

“It’s priceless to see complete strangers invest in the safety of first responders, changing their lives and the lives of their families,” Skifstad said. “We are humbled and proud to see that Von Miller, his teammates and the Broncos are utilizing their God-given leadership gifts and influence to not only better protect our protectors, but to also help build positive community relations.”

Joseph said he was proud of Miller for leading the initiative.

“Von is a special person. He wants to help people,” Joseph said. “He’s a great teammate and he’s great in the community. This is huge for Von to provide resources for our first responders. Obviously there have been a number of shootings in our country. It’s a huge issue.”

DAK THE DUCKLING

Dak Prescott’s first game with Drew Brees on the other sideline was a chance for the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year to reflect on the Pro Bowl trip they shared during that magical year for the Dallas quarterback.

Prescott had just led the Cowboys to an NFC-best 13 wins, while Brees got his 10th Pro Bowl nod following his record fifth 5,000-yard season. New Orleans had missed the playoffs for the third straight year, all 7-9 finishes. Prescott, who grew up in Louisiana, wasn’t thinking about those Saints records. He was thinking about Brees’ records.

“You do everything you can,” Prescott said when asked if he picked Brees’ brain during those few days together. “Like a little duckling. You just follow Drew Brees and just figure out what he does, how he does stuff. I was thankful to have him. Drew opened up and he shared some things.”

Prescott also noticed how Brees responded to those three straight losing seasons. With the 39-year-old having one of his best seasons in 2018, the Saints are on the verge of their second straight trip to the playoffs after winning 11 games last season.

“He’s taking care of his body, has done all the right things,” Prescott said. “Especially facing adversity, facing the middle of his career and some people were saying he wouldn’t do what he has done now. It just speaks to the character of that guy.”

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?

The Minnesota Vikings have been at the forefront of the creativity around the league since the celebration rules were relaxed last season to allow for more group play in the end zone.

In a game at Chicago last year, the Vikings initiated a game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” (or “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck,” as it’s called in Minnesota) after a touchdown reception by Kyle Rudolph. In their game against Green Bay last weekend, Dalvin Cook’s catch, run and score prompted the assembly of a purple-colored limbo line.

Cook exuberantly motioned his teammates over, as offensive linemen Tom Compton and Rashod Hill stood facing each other and wide receiver Adam Thielen was hoisted in the air to serve as the bar. Cook, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and offensive lineman Brian O’Neill each strutted through, with their backs bent backward to try to slide underneath Thielen without touching him.

“It was supposed to be the lightest guy on the field. Diggs was supposed to be up there, but Dalvin really wanted to do it, so I jumped up,” Thielen said.

Said Cook: “I knew Diggs needed to be the one that comes behind me, because he’s more of the dancer.”

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was impressed, though not enough to find a place in line.

“When I heard they were going to do it I thought, ‘That one is going to be a tough one to pull together in 10 seconds,'” Cousins said. “But they did it. It was pretty good.”

GETTING THEATRICAL

Miami Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch says he’s going to start flopping to draw the attention of officials when he’s held.

“I saw J.J. Watt fall over, so I’m going to start doing that,” Branch said. “It’s time for me. I’m pulling out the Vlade Divac.”

His latest source of frustration: Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo wasn’t called for holding Branch on a key play late in the Colts comeback win over the Dolphins last week.

The video replay was tough to swallow, Branch said.

“I jumped and I got pulled back,” he said. “That was the play of the game.”

ALLIANCE QBS

Some pro football washouts as quarterbacks might have another avenue back to the NFL: They now have teams in the Alliance of American Football.

The Alliance, with eight teams that will begin play the week after the Super Bowl, conducted a four-round draft of only quarterbacks. Josh Johnson, who has made many stops in the NFL, was the top selection, by San Diego.

Other players who have been on NFL rosters, whether in the regular season or preseason, were selected or protected by their regional franchise and will head to a league training camp in early January. Among those were Aaron Murray and Matt Simms by the Atlanta Legends; Garrett Gilbert and Stephen Morris by the Orlando Apollos; B.J. Daniels by the Salt Lake Stallions; Christian Hackenberg and Zach Mettenberg by the Memphis Express; and Scott Tolzien by the Birmingham Iron.

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AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Arnie Stapleton, Schuyler Dixon and Dave Campbell, and Sports Writers Steven Wine and Dave Skretta contributed.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Ansah officially signs with Seahawks

Ansah officially signs with Seahawks

Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah officially signed

Ansah officially signs with Seahawks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The change of scenery appeals to Ansah.

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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

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

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

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

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

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

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

Pierre-Paul was not ticketed at the scene.

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Romo misses cut at Byron Nelson

Romo misses cut at Byron Nelson

Tony

Romo misses cut at Byron Nelson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Bucs LB Beckwith to miss second straight season

Bucs LB Beckwith to miss second straight season

Bucs LB Beckwith to miss second straight season

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Report: Patriots agree to deal with WR Inman

Report: Patriots agree to deal with WR Inman

The New England

Report: Patriots agree to deal with WR Inman

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

Reports: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

The Miami Dolphins will make

Reports: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Rookie signings: Cardinals’ Murray inks $35.1M deal

Rookie signings: Cardinals' Murray inks $35.1M deal

Rookie signings: Cardinals’ Murray inks $35.1M deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buffalo took Oliver ninth overall last month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Howard was drafted 23rd overall.

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Bills backup QB Anderson retires

Bills backup QB Anderson retires

Backup quarterback Derek Anderson,

Bills backup QB Anderson retires

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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McCarthy scorches 63 to lead Byron Nelson by one

McCarthy scorches 63 to lead Byron Nelson by one

McCarthy scorches 63 to lead Byron Nelson by one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D.J. Trahan withdrew after eight holes.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

Seahawks release injured WR Baldwin, S Chancellor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

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

Seahawks sign CB Taylor, FB Bellore

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

NFL notebook: Seahawks officially cut ties with Baldwin, Chancellor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

The Miami Dolphins have will

Report: Dolphins make Howard highest-paid CB

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins are signing former

Report: Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

The Miami Dolphins signed former Buffalo Bills

Dolphins sign former Bills tackle Mills

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars release QB Kessler

Jaguars release QB Kessler

Cody Kessler is looking

Jaguars release QB Kessler

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

Reports: TE Watson to join Patriots

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

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

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

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

He announced his retirement in December.

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he

Jags LB Smith to skip 2019 for personal reasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

Reports: TE Watson visiting Patriots

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

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

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

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

He announced his retirement in December.

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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