Miller’s big game helps Texans beat Dolphins 42-23

HOUSTON (AP) — Lamar Miller’s second big game in a row helped the Houston Texans to their fifth straight win.

This one, a 42-23 victory Thursday night over the Dolphins, meant a little more to the running back because of his ties to South Florida. Miller was born and grew up in Miami before attending college at Miami, was drafted by the Dolphins in 2012 and spent his first four seasons with the team.

Miller had 133 yards rushing and a touchdown for his second straight 100-yard game.

“It felt good,” Miller said. “I was speaking to the guys before the game and today I just had a different type of juice. I got a lot of rest last night. So today was just good. The offensive line did a great job and I’m just thankful.”

He’s the first Texan to rush for 100 yards in consecutive games since Arian Foster in 2014.

Miller’s 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter tied the game at 7. He had a 19-yard run earlier in the drive to set up the score.

He had a 58-yard run early in the third quarter on his way to another 100-yard game. He hadn’t had one since 2016 before last week against Jacksonville.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson raved about Miller’s recent work and said it’s helped make things easier for him.

“It starts with the run game,” Watson said. “They’ve got to respect it. They’ve got to get seven men in the box, sometimes eight men in the box and then they kind of open up the passing game. So the safeties are very aggressive and we can get behind those guys using our speed and our talent with Will (Fuller), Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), Tyler (Ervin) and Keke (Coutee) when he’s healthy.”

The winning streak, which leaves the Texans in first place in the AFC South, comes after they opened the season 0-3. Miller is impressed with how the Texans worked together to turn things around, but he isn’t surprised.

“It just shows the type of guys we have in this locker room,” Miller said. “When we lost three games straight everybody still came in with the same mindset to get better. I think every week we’ve just been improving and building that bond and that chemistry, and we’ve just got to keep it going.”

Some things to know about Houston’s win over the Dolphins:

TANNEHILL’S STATUS

Brock Osweiler started his third straight game in place of Ryan Tannehill, who is out with an injured shoulder. Coach Adam Gase was asked if he thought Tannehill would return on Nov. 4 when the Dolphins host the Jets.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’re still going through the process with his rehab stuff. I’ll worry about that next week.”

Osweiler won his first start after Tannehill’s injury, but Miami has lost the last two games with him in charge of the offense.

Osweiler, who had one tough season in Houston after signing a $72 million contract in 2016, threw for 241 yards with an interception on Thursday night.

Though his time with the Texans didn’t go well, he insisted that he doesn’t have any hard feelings toward the organization.

“There was no negative emotion or anything like that,” he said. “In fact, it was great to see a lot of the guys.”

TEXANS INJURIES

Several Texans sustained injuries on Thursday night. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph injured his ankle in the first quarter, linebacker Zach Cunningham also left in the first quarter with a knee injury and receiver Will Fuller left the game after injuring his knee in the fourth quarter.

Joseph said he had a sprained ankle, but the coach Bill O’Brien said he didn’t have any details on the severity of the injuries to Cunningham and Fuller after the game.

HOPKINS’ HANDS

Hopkins has developed a knack for making one-handed catches look routine. He had one last week against Jacksonville and added another one on Thursday night. Unfortunately for the Texans, his eye-popping grab against the Dolphins didn’t count.

Hopkins reached back and grabbed the ball with one hand and weaved it between his legs in the air before crashing to the ground. But it was brought back after he was called for pass interference.

Hopkins said that he watched the replay several times and didn’t think that he pushed off.

“It was hand battling,” he said. “The guy had two hands, he was off-balance. So I think that somebody owes me an apology. I don’t know who it is but somebody owes me an apology.”

___

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Report: Ravens bringing back LB McPhee

Report: Ravens bringing back LB McPhee

The Ravens reportedly reached a one-year deal Thursday to bring

Report: Ravens bringing back LB McPhee

The Ravens reportedly reached a one-year deal Thursday to bring free agent linebacker Pernell McPhee back to Baltimore.

After three seasons with the Chicago Bears (2015-17) and one with the Washington Redskins (2018), McPhee returns to the organization he called home from 2011-14.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the deal, but no financial details were released.

McPhee, 30, has 31 career sacks, 94 quarterback hits, 197 tackles and six forced fumbles in 109 games.

The Ravens’ 2011 fifth-round pick posted a career-high 7.5 sacks in his final season in Baltimore in 2014.

–Field Level Media

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Falcons assistant GM Pioli resigns

Falcons assistant GM Pioli resigns

Scott Pioli resigned Thursday after five

Falcons assistant GM Pioli resigns

Scott Pioli resigned Thursday after five years as assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons.

Pioli’s seat at the personnel table had been under discussion for months, and a restructuring under general manager Thomas Dimitroff was expected.

Pioli, who has 26 years in NFL personnel evaluation under his belt, and Dimitroff have been friends for decades after meeting in Cleveland. Dimitroff’s father was a scout for Bill Belichick’s staff, which included Pioli.

“After careful consideration and ongoing dialogue with Thomas over the past year I have decided to step away from my position as the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons to pursue other potential opportunities,” Pioli said. “I want to thank both (owner) Arthur (Blank) and Thomas for bringing my family and I here in 2014.”

Dimitroff worked on the Browns’ grounds crew, but with bonds formed with Belichick and Pioli, he would rise to the position of Patriots’ director of college scouting as the Belichick-Pioli team began building a dynasty in New England. Pioli left the Patriots to be a first-time general manager with the Kansas City Chiefs, and Dimitroff headed to Atlanta.

After a brief foray into media, Pioli followed Dimitroff to Atlanta.

The Falcons did not announce a new personnel structure, but Dimitroff said options are under consideration.

“Over the last five years Scott has not only provided tremendous value to me, but to the entire Falcons organization. He is a dear friend and will be missed within our organization. We are continuing to assess the structure within our organization and move forward with our next steps,” Dimitroff said.

–Field Level Media

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Koepka charges to PGA lead as Tiger’s rally stalls

Koepka charges to PGA lead as Tiger's rally stalls

Koepka charges to PGA lead as Tiger’s rally stalls

Defending champion Brooks Koepka fired a 7-under-par 63 on Thursday to grab the early lead in the first round of the 101st PGA Championship in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Beginning on the back nine of the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, Koepka’s bogey-free round started with a birdie on No. 10. He would roll in six more birdies to serve early notice as he attempts to become the first player since World War II to win his first four majors within a two-year span.

He played Thursday’s opening round with Tiger Woods, who had a far more stressful time around the 7,459-yard, Par-70 track. Woods, seeking his 16th major title, double-bogeyed the opening hole and added another double on No. 17 to go out in 3-over 38.

Woods blistered the opening portion of the front nine with a pair of birdies followed by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole to get under par for the first time. The rally stalled when his par putt on the following hole lipped out, and Woods added two more bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 to fall eight shots back of his playing partner.

The margin grew to nine when Koepka rolled in a lengthy birdie putt on his final hole while Woods parred from just off the back to complete his 2-over round of 72.

Woods is playing for the first time since winning the Masters last month, while Koepka is coming off a fourth-place finish at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson and has now played 10 consecutive major rounds under par. In his last six rounds in the PGA Championship — all in the 60s — Koepka is a combined 25-under par.

The rust showed for Woods, who missed a pair of greens from inside of 100 yards and struggled with the speed of the greens.

NOTES: Koepka finished two shots ahead of Woods at last year’s PGA Championship. … The Black Course is playing host to the PGA Championship for the first time after serving as the venue for the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. It will also be the host site for the 2024 Ryder Cup. … The Championship was moved to May for the first time since 1949 as part of the PGA Tour’s schedule overhaul this season. … Jordan Spieth is attempting to become only the sixth player to complete the career grand slam. None of the previous five completed it at the PGA Championship. … The 156-player field includes 20 club professionals.

–Field Level Media

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Koepka fires course record as Tiger’s rally stalls at PGA

Koepka fires course record as Tiger's rally stalls at PGA

Koepka fires course record as Tiger’s rally stalls at PGA

Defending champion Brooks Koepka fired a course-record 7-under-par 63 on Thursday to grab the early lead in the first round of the 101st PGA Championship in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Beginning on the back nine of the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, Koepka’s bogey-free round started with a birdie on No. 10. He would roll in six more birdies to serve early notice as he attempts to become the first player since World War II to win his first four majors within a two-year span.

He played Thursday’s opening round with Tiger Woods, who had a far more stressful time around the 7,459-yard, Par-70 track. Woods, seeking his 16th major title, double-bogeyed the opening hole and added another double on No. 17 to go out in 3-over 38.

Woods blistered the opening portion of the front nine with a pair of birdies followed by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole – his first at a PGA Championship since 2001 – to get under par for the first time. The rally stalled when his par putt on the following hole lipped out, and Woods added two more bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 to fall eight shots back of his playing partner.

The margin grew to nine when Koepka rolled in a lengthy birdie putt on his final hole while Woods parred from just off the back to complete his 2-over round of 72.

“I drove the ball pretty well today, and the key is you’ve got to put it in the fairway here if you want to put it on the green,” Koepka told TNT. “If you put it in the rough all day, you’re going to be laying up and really trying to scramble for pars.

“Did a good job there, and my iron play was solid, hit a lot of greens. And if I didn’t, I left it in the correct place to get up and down. And then, my putter was hot today, I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t felt that good in a long time.”

Koepka finished the morning wave four shots clear of England’s Tommy Fleetwood (3 under), with Luke List, Chez Reavie and France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera another shot off the pace.

Woods is playing for the first time since winning the Masters last month, while Koepka is coming off a fourth-place finish at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson and has now played 10 consecutive major rounds under par.

The rust showed for Woods, who missed a pair of greens from inside of 100 yards and struggled with the speed of the greens. He’ll need a solid round Friday just to make the cut.

“I got off to just not the best start today,” Woods told TNT. “Fought my way back in the round there, but unfortunately let a couple slip away at the end with some bad putts.

“Making two double bogeys and making two three-putts wasn’t very clean today, and consequently I’m a long way back.”

If Woods can take any positive away from Thursday, it may be the fact that the past four PGA champions were outside of the top 10 after the first round. On the flip side, he is chasing a man in Koepka who has posted six consecutive rounds in the 60s at the PGA Championship while shooting a combined 25-under par.

The scary part for the rest of the field is Koepka believes he still left some shots out on the course.

“This is a crazy day,” he acknowledged. “Seven under isn’t going to happen every day, I know that. I parred two par-5s and missed about a five-footer on No. 11, so it could have been a helluva round.

“Don’t get me wrong, it was great. I’ll take it every day, but just need to clean a few things up.”

Other notable scores from the morning wave included Rickie Fowler (1 under), Xander Schauffele and England’s Justin Rose (even), Patrick Reed and Spain’s Sergio Garcia (4 over) and Bubba Watson (6 over).

NOTES: Koepka finished two shots ahead of Woods at last year’s PGA Championship. … The Black Course is playing host to the PGA Championship for the first time after serving as the venue for the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. It will also be the host site for the 2024 Ryder Cup. … The Championship was moved to May for the first time since 1949 as part of the PGA Tour’s schedule overhaul this season. … Jordan Spieth is attempting to become only the sixth player to complete the career grand slam. None of the previous five completed it at the PGA Championship. … The 156-player field includes 20 club professionals.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cardinals CB Peterson gets 6-game PED ban

Report: Cardinals CB Peterson gets 6-game PED ban

Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson of the

Report: Cardinals CB Peterson gets 6-game PED ban

Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals has been suspended for the first six games of 2019 for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, ESPN reported.

Details of the violation have not been released, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Peterson has dropped his appeal.

Peterson, 28, has never missed a start since the Cardinals drafted him in the first round (fifth overall) in 2011, making the Pro Bowl all eight seasons and earning first team All-Pro honors three times.

He would be eligible to return for the Oct. 20 road game against the New York Giants.

In 128 games, Peterson has registered 387 tackles, 23 interceptions, 76 passes defensed and 12 fumble recoveries.

Peterson asked for a trade last October, but rescinded the request and later confirmed his commitment to the Cardinals.

“I just want to apologize to everybody for asking for that trade in the middle of the season,” Peterson said while competing in a golf tournament in Phoenix in January. “I’m here to stay, baby.”

Peterson, who did not participate in Arizona’s voluntary workouts last month, signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Cardinals in 2014 and was due to make a base salary of $11 million in 2019. The suspension will cost Peterson $3.88 million.

–Field Level Media

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Bengals sign top draft picks Williams, Sample

Bengals sign top draft picks Williams, Sample

First-round draft

Bengals sign top draft picks Williams, Sample

First-round draft pick Jonah Williams and second-round selection Drew Sample signed their rookie contracts Thursday with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Both players signed four-year deals, and Williams’ contract contains a team option for a fifth year. Financial terms were not announced.

The No. 11 overall selection, Williams, an offensive tackle, played 44 games for the Crimson Tide and was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2018.

Sample, a 6-foot-5 tight end, played four seasons at Washington and caught 46 passes for 487 yards and five touchdowns. The No. 52 overall selection, Sample caught 25 passes for 252 yards and three scores in his senior season.

Linebacker Germaine Pratt, selected in the third round, and quarterback Ryan Finley, a fourth-round pick, are the only players among the Bengals’ 10 draftees to remain unsigned. Both played at North Carolina State.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots bring back former Pro Bowl LB Collins

Patriots bring back former Pro Bowl LB Collins

Outside

Patriots bring back former Pro Bowl LB Collins

Outside linebacker Jamie Collins rejoined the New England Patriots on Thursday after two-plus seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but the Patriots made room by releasing second-year defensive tackle Frank Herron.

Collins, 29, spent three-plus seasons with the Patriots before being dealt to the Browns for a conditional third-round pick midway through the 2016 season. Cleveland signed Collins to a four-year, $50 million extension in January 2017, but he was released this March after 30 games with the club.

The Patriots drafted Collins in the second round in 2013 and he blossomed with a Pro Bowl campaign in 2015, racking up 89 tackles (eight for loss), 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception and six passes defensed in just 12 games.

In 50 games (41 starts) with the Patriots, Collins totaled 326 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, five interceptions and 16 passes defensed.

After missing 10 games to injury in 2017, Collins played in all 16 for the first time in his career last year, totaling 104 tackles, four sacks, an interception and four passes defensed for the Browns.

Collins will be coached by a former teammate, as he played alongside Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo from 2013-15.

He adds experience and depth to a strong linebacker corps that includes Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and 2018 fifth-rounder Ja’Whaun Bentley.

Herron, 24, joined the Patriots in 2018 as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. He spent time on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad before joining the Patriots’ practice squad on Oct. 8, where he stayed for the duration of the campaign. He has not appeared in a regular-season game.

–Field Level Media

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Giants sign CB Ballentine

Giants sign CB Ballentine

Sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine signed his rookie contract with the New York

Giants sign CB Ballentine

Sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine signed his rookie contract with the New York Giants.

The Giants announced the signing on Thursday.

Ballentine is participating in meetings and classroom work with the other rookies while he continues his rehabilitation from injuries he suffered when he was shot on the night he was drafted.

He was shot in the backside on April 28 in an incident in Topeka, Kan., that claimed the life of Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons.

Ballentine missed New York’s rookie minicamp from May 3-5. The Giants encouraged him to remain in Kansas to mourn the loss of his best friend, whose funeral took place on May 4.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings TE Rudolph won’t take pay cut

Vikings TE Rudolph won't take pay cut

Vikings

Vikings TE Rudolph won’t take pay cut

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph won’t take a pay cut to stay in Minnesota.

“No I won’t, I am too young for that,” the 29-year-old told the Star-Tribune in a story published Thursday.

Rudolph, the subject of trade rumors and reported broken-down negotiations over a contract extension, said he is hoping to find a way to stay with the team.

“I am really excited about where this offense is headed, under the guidance of (offensive coordinator) Kevin Stefanski, with the influence of (assistant head coach) Gary Kubiak. I am extremely excited about our offensive staff,” Rudolph said. “I think we have the best offensive staff in football and they’re going to put our guys in great situations to be successful.”

Rudolph has one year left on his contact and is due $7.5 million in 2019. The Vikings have about $1.13 million left in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

Minnesota drafted Alabama tight end Irv Smith in the second round as a potential replacement.

Rudolph, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has spent his eight-year NFL career in Minnesota, catching 386 passes for 3,787 yards and 41 touchdowns. He had 64 receptions for 634 yards and four scores last season.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: New Jets boss Gase trades Lee to Chiefs

Reports: New Jets boss Gase trades Lee to Chiefs

Reports: New Jets boss Gase trades Lee to Chiefs

A busy day for the New York Jets wasn’t limited to the front office. And the drama spilled over to social media.

Hours after the team fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and named head coach Adam Gase his temporary replacement on Wednesday, Gase traded linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs, multiple outlets reported.

According to the reports, New York received a 2020 sixth-round pick in return.

Maccagnan selected Lee in the first round (20th overall) in 2016. The former Ohio State star struggled in his first two seasons, but had three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 74 tackles in 12 games (all starts) in 2018. However, his season was cut short when he received a four-game ban for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

The Jets declined his fifth-year option and signed free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley to a five-year, $85 million contract in the offseason, all but assuring Lee’s days in New York were numbered.

When the man who drafted him was no longer in power, his number was up.

But in the hours between Maccagnan’s firing and Lee’s exit, Lee tweeted “Good Afternoon everybody!” with a rosy cheek emoji, believed to be an indication of his happiness at Maccagnan’s departure.

The 24-year-old soon deleted the tweet, though screen grabs were caught before it was gone.

The Jets hired Gase in January, shortly after Miami fired the 41-year-old after three seasons and a 23-25 record.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Patriots bring back former LB Collins

Reports: Patriots bring back former LB Collins

Reports: Patriots bring back former LB Collins

The New England Patriots have agreed to bring back former linebacker Jamie Collins, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

Contract terms have yet to be reported. NFL Network reported earlier Wednesday the sides were in talks about a deal.

Collins, 29, spent three-plus seasons with New England before being dealt to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional third-round pick midway through the 2016 season. Cleveland gave Collins a four-year, $50 million extension in January of 2017, but he was released this March after 30 games with the club.

The Patriots took Collins in the second round of the 2013 draft, and he blossomed with a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign, when he racked up 89 tackles (eight for loss), 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception and six passes defensed in just 12 games.

In 50 games (41 starts) with the Patriots, Collins totaled 326 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, five interceptions and 16 passes defensed.

After missing 10 games to injury in 2017, Collins played in all 16 for the first time in his career last year, totaling 104 tackles, four sacks, an interception and four passes defensed for the Browns.

Collins will now be coached by a former teammate, as he played alongside current inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo from 2013-15.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Jets fire Maccagnan, make Gase interim GM

NFL notebook: Jets fire Maccagnan, make Gase interim GM

NFL notebook: Jets fire Maccagnan, make Gase interim GM

The New York Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan on Wednesday and named first-year head coach Adam Gase as the interim GM.

Hired in January of 2015, Maccagnan had two years remaining on the contract extension he signed at the end of the 2017 season.

Team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson issued a statement saying the decision was made “in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.” Speaking to reporters later Wednesday on a conference call, Johnson said he made the decision only after “diving deep into the organization,” but declined to go into specifics.

Johnson said the Jets’ search for a permanent general manager would begin immediately. Multiple outlets report that Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas has been rumored around the league as the Jets’ potential GM for some time. Douglas and Gase were both with the Chicago Bears in 2015, Douglas as director of college scouting and Gase as offensive coordinator.

–Cleveland running back Kareem Hunt said he promised the Browns there will not be another incident like the one that led to his eight-game suspension to start the 2019 season.

“I’ve apologized for my actions in the past and definitely won’t make those same mistakes,” Hunt told reporters in Cleveland, where he is attending organized team activities.

Hunt signed with the Browns on Feb. 11, about two and a half months after being cut by Kansas City. The Chiefs parted ways with their leading rusher after a video surfaced of him kicking and shoving a woman at a Cleveland hotel. Hunt, 23, said he hasn’t had a chance to apologize to the woman face to face, but said he would if given that chance.

–The New England Patriots have agreed to bring back former linebacker Jamie Collins, multiple media outlets reported.

Collins, 29, spent three-plus seasons with New England before being dealt to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional third-round pick midway through the 2016 season. Cleveland gave Collins a four-year, $50 million extension in January of 2017, but he was released this March after 30 games with the club.

The Patriots took Collins in the second round of the 2013 draft, and he blossomed with a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign, when he racked up 89 tackles (eight for loss), 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception and six passes defensed in just 12 games.

–The Patriots signed first-round wideout N’Keal Harry to a four-year contract worth more than $10 million. Like all first-round deals, it comes with a fifth-year team option.

Harry, taken 32nd overall out of Arizona State, is the first wideout drafted in the first round by New England since Terry Glenn in 1996.

–The Seattle Seahawks officially signed quarterback Geno Smith.

The 28-year-old will compete with former Denver Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch to back up starter Russell Wilson.

The Jets’ second-round selection in 2013, Smith joins his fourth NFL team. He was 12-18 as a starter over four seasons with the Jets, lost his only start with the New York Giants in 2017, and attempted just four passes with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018.

–Dallas Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton had minor ankle surgery but should be ready for training camp, NFL Network reported.

The Cowboys’ 2017 first-round draft pick tweeted a picture of himself Tuesday with his left leg in a boot, referring to the situation as a “minor setback.”

Charlton, 24, is entering the third year of his four-year, $10 million rookie contract.

–The Arizona Cardinals promoted former Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson to director of pro scouting, in one of several personnel moves.

A five-time Pro Bowler and 2009 first-team All-Pro in his 12 seasons (2001-12) with Arizona, Wilson joined the Cardinals’ front office in 2016. The 39-year-old has worked in both the pro and college scouting departments for the team.

Wilson’s promotion filled a position vacated by the promotion of another former Cardinals safety, Quentin Harris, who was named director of player personnel.

–The Miami Dolphins hosted free agent linebacker Connor Barwin on a visit and signed free agent linebacker Nate Orchard, according to multiple reports.

Barwin, 32, spent the last two years with the Rams (2017) and Giants (2018) after four years each with the Texans and Eagles, going to the Pro Bowl in 2014 with Philadelphia. He was released by the Giants in February.

Orchard, 26, played in four games last season for the Bills and Chiefs before latching on briefly with the Seahawks this offseason.

–The San Francisco 49ers signed free agent tight end Levine Toilolo, releasing safety Cameron Glenn to make room on the roster.

Toilolo, 27, spent last year with the Detroit Lions, catching 21 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. He spent the first five years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons.

–Field Level Media

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Browns RB Hunt: ‘I’ve got to earn everybody’s trust’

Browns RB Hunt: 'I've got to earn everybody's trust'

Cleveland running

Browns RB Hunt: ‘I’ve got to earn everybody’s trust’

Cleveland running back Kareem Hunt said he promised the Browns there will not be another incident like the one that led to his eight-game suspension to start the 2019 season.

“I’ve apologized for my actions in the past and definitely won’t make those same mistakes,” Hunt told reporters Wednesday in Cleveland, where he is attending organized team activities.

Hunt signed with the Browns on Feb. 11, about two and a half months after being cut by Kansas City. The Chiefs parted ways with their leading rusher after a video surfaced of him kicking and shoving a woman at a Cleveland hotel.

Hunt, 23, said he hasn’t had a chance to apologize to the woman face to face, but said he would if given that chance.

The 2017 Pro Bowl selection and Ohio native said he hopes to make a fresh start with the Browns.

“It turned out to be good landing in a situation like the Browns, close to home again,” Hunt said. “I just have to sit back [during the suspension] and keep faith and better myself as a person.”

He also said he is currently undergoing counseling twice a week and is planning to get baptized this Sunday.

“I’ve got to earn everybody’s trust,” Hunt said.

A third-round pick out of Toledo in 2017, Hunt rushed for 2,151 yards and 15 touchdowns and caught 79 passes for 833 yards and 10 scores in 27 games with the Chiefs. He won the NFL rushing title as a rookie with 1,327 yards.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks sign free agent QB Smith

Seahawks sign free agent QB Smith

The Seattle Seahawks are giving journeyman

Seahawks sign free agent QB Smith

The Seattle Seahawks are giving journeyman quarterback Geno Smith a shot at backing up the NFL’s highest-paid player.

Seattle signed the 28-year-old on Wednesday and said he will compete with former Denver Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch to back up starter Russell Wilson.

The New York Jets’ second-round selection in 2013, Smith joins his fourth NFL team. He was 12-18 as a starter over four seasons with the Jets, lost his only start with the New York Giants in 2017, and attempted just four passes with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018.

In 40 career games, Smith has completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 6,182 yards with 29 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. Smith has also rushed for 661 yards and seven scores.

Lynch, 25, was 1-3 as a Denver starter and completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 792 yards with four touchdowns and four picks. The Broncos cut him last September, and he signed with Seattle in January.

Last month the Seahawks signed Wilson, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, to a contract extension through 2023 that averages $35 million per season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Patriots in talks with former LB Collins

Report: Patriots in talks with former LB Collins

Report: Patriots in talks with former LB Collins

The New England Patriots are in talks to bring back former linebacker Jamie Collins, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Collins, 29, spent three-plus seasons with New England before being dealt to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional third-round pick midway through the 2016 season. Cleveland gave Collins a four-year, $50 million extension in January of 2017, but he was released this March after 30 games with the club.

The Patriots took Collins in the second round of the 2013 draft, and he blossomed with a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign, when he racked up 89 tackles (eight for loss), 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception and six passes defensed in just 12 games.

In 50 games (41 starts) with the Patriots, Collins totaled 326 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, five interceptions and 16 passes defensed.

After missing 10 games to injury in 2017, Collins played in all 16 for the first time in his career last year, totaling 104 tackles, four sacks, an interception and four passes defensed for the Browns.

If he does rejoin the Patriots, Collins would be coached by a former teammate, as he played alongside current inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo from 2013-15.

–Field Level Media

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Take 5: Good bets to win 101st PGA Championship

Take 5: Good bets to win 101st PGA Championship

Take 5: Good bets to win 101st PGA Championship

With a Par 70 course measuring 7,459 yards and featuring gnarly rough, the winner of the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black this week will need to drive the ball long — and straight.

He will also have to cope with a partisan New York crowd expected to number around 60,000 fans daily.

Five good bets to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday:

Lucas Bjerregaard, Denmark (150/1 by Bovada.com): We’ll go straight to our longshot pick. The 44th-ranked player in the world still isn’t a household name, but Bjerregaard’s game is well respected by his peers. He has also been playing more in the States this year, including knocking off Tiger Woods en route to the semifinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March. Great odds on an emerging player, with the downsides being two missed cuts in his past three events and little Sunday experience on the game’s grandest stages.

Tiger Woods, United States (11/1): Woods will have the crowd behind him and can’t be counted out, but he also hasn’t played a competitive round since winning the Masters last month. Few players understand the nuances of how to get around the Black Course better than the 2002 U.S. Open champion on the difficult track, and his course management is second to none. To be in contention on Sunday, Woods must drive the ball well and convert the short putts that have nagged him at times as he has aged. Tiger still gets our nod over world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (10/1), who is tied for 74th on the PGA Tour in final-round scoring (70.22) this season, including several notable Sunday implosions.

Tommy Fleetwood, England (28/1): Fleetwood is going to earn his major breakthrough sooner than later. One of the world’s elite ball-strikers, the Englishman hasn’t cracked the top 35 in his past two majors but did finish second at last year’s U.S. Open and has spent plenty of time on the first page of major leaderboards. He also earned a T-5 at this year’s Players Championship and is coming off a T-8 at the British Masters.

Brooks Koepka, United States: (10/1): Koepka has won three of the past eight majors and is a combined 47-under par in his past five PGA appearances — including a record-setting 72-hole score of 264 at Bellerive last year. He lives for the major stage, has more than enough firepower and is coming off a solid solo fourth at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Rory McIlroy (11/1): A two-time PGA Championship winner (2012, 2014) seeking his first major in five years, no one has been more consistent in 2019 than the recently turned 30-year-old Northern Irishman. He has top-10 finishes in all but one of his nine starts this year, and most important, he is the best all-around driver of the golf ball in the world. If he can get even warm with his inconsistent putter this week, McIlroy should be in line to capture his fifth career major.

–Field Level Media

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Cardinals promote Wilson to director of pro scouting

Cardinals promote Wilson to director of pro scouting

Cardinals promote Wilson to director of pro scouting

The Arizona Cardinals promoted former Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson to director of pro scouting, in one of several personnel moves announced Wednesday.

A five-time Pro Bowler and 2009 first-team All-Pro across 12 seasons (2001-12) with Arizona, Wilson joined the Cardinals’ front office in 2016. The 39-year-old has worked in both the pro and college scouting departments for the team.

Wilson’s promotion filled a position vacated by the promotion of another former Cardinals safety, Quentin Harris, who was named director of player personnel after serving as director of pro scouting since 2013.

Harris, 42, played four of his five NFL seasons for the Cardinals from 2002-05, then joined the front office in 2007.

The team also promoted Dru Grigson — the team’s director of college scouting for the last six years — to assistant director of player personnel and Chris Culmer to director of college scouting. Another former player, Josh Scobey, was promoted to western regional scout.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger rests as agent denies illness rumors

Tiger rests as agent denies illness rumors

Tiger Woods skipped his final practice

Tiger rests as agent denies illness rumors

Tiger Woods skipped his final practice round Wednesday, deciding to rest rather than play another nine holes ahead of Thursday’s start of the 101st PGA Championship.

Woods, who has not played a competitive round since winning the Masters last month, has played only nine holes this week. He opted to focus primarily on practicing around the course, although his agent noted that Woods also played the course last week.

“He’s all good, just getting some rest,” agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN in shooting down rumors that Woods may be dealing with an illness. “Saw the course last week, all is good.”

Woods’ yacht was docked in Oyster Bay more than two weeks ago, and the golfer arrived in Farmingdale, N.Y. last week. The 2002 U.S. Open champion at Bethpage Black also knows the course well.

The 43-year-old Woods indicated during his Tuesday press conference that managing energy over four days on the course measuring nearly 7,500 yards will be critical.

“There’s definitely going to be a component to stamina this week as the week goes on,” Woods said. “Four days over a tough championship that is mentally and physically taxing takes its toll.”

Woods won his 15th major championship last month and is currently three away from Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys DE Charlton has minor ankle surgery

Cowboys DE Charlton has minor ankle surgery

Dallas

Cowboys DE Charlton has minor ankle surgery

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton had minor ankle surgery but should be ready for training camp, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The Cowboys’ 2017 first-round draft pick tweeted a picture of himself Tuesday with his left leg in a boot, referring to the situation as a “minor setback.”

Charlton, 24, is entering the third year of his four-year, $10 million rookie contract.

He has recorded just four sacks in 27 games since Dallas made him the 28th overall pick out of Michigan. Injuries limited him to 11 games last season.

–Field Level Media

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Jets fire Maccagnan, name Gase as interim GM

Jets fire Maccagnan, name Gase as interim GM

The New York

Jets fire Maccagnan, name Gase as interim GM

The New York Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan on Wednesday and named first-year head coach Adam Gase as the interim GM.

Hired in January of 2015, Maccagnan had two years remaining on the contract extension he signed at the end of the 2017 season.

Team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson issued a statement saying the decision was made “in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”

“This morning, I informed Mike that he was being relieved of his duties as General Manager of the team, effective immediately,” Johnson said. “Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the past few months. However, I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and a careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”

Johnson said the search for a permanent general manager would begin immediately.

During the NFL draft last month, Maccagnan denied reports of simmering turmoil with Gase.

“Actually, I think Adam and I have worked very well together,” Maccagnan said at the time. “I’m sure like in any process, there’s times you may have different opinions. It’s just like in a scouting meeting, you may have different opinions on a player.

“But from my standpoint, I’ve had a very good working relationship with Adam. He has a very good sense of humor. He makes me laugh quite a bit, which is one of the things I really like working with him.”

Multiple reports indicated that Gase wasn’t pleased with the Jets’ approach in free agency.

Maccagnan maneuvered to add at least three starters in March, including running back Le’Veon Bell. Linebacker C.J. Mosley signed a five-year deal and the Jets acquired offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele.

“I don’t think I’m really going to sit here and comment on my job,” Maccagnan said last month. “I’m focused on the draft. I feel very good about the situation we’re in. I feel very good about working with Adam going forward.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Jets’ front-office shakeup Wednesday also included the dismissal of vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger.

Maccagnan was named the NFL Executive of the Year in 2015 by the Pro Football Writers Association.

Before joining the Jets, he worked in the scouting department for the Houston Texans from 2000-14 and scouted for the Washington Redskins from 1994-2000.

–Field Level Media

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