NFL notebook: Chiefs TE Kelce eager to return

NFL notebook: Chiefs TE Kelce eager to return

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce expects to be 100 percent at the start of training camp next month.

Kelce said he’ll be recovered from offseason ankle surgery when the Chiefs take the field at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo.

“I’m ready to go,” Kelce said. “It’s kind of been a little bit of an experience just not being able to really go out there and train for the upcoming season quite yet. I don’t know if I’ve had an injury that hasn’t allowed me to get on the field, at least a little bit in the offseason, outside of my knee surgery my first year.”

Kelce, 29, was named All-Pro in 2018 — he caught 103 passes for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns — and described the offseason as “frustrating.” The Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, and Kelce has spent the entire offseason as an observer.

–Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa said the hamstring injury that forced him to miss OTAs and minicamp shouldn’t keep him off the field when the San Francisco 49ers open training camp next month.

“I think I’m going to be just fine,” Bosa told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I’m going to get this hammy perfectly right, and I think there will be plenty of time to play football and get the reps that I need.”

Bosa was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain on May 23. The No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL draft hasn’t played in a game since September, when he suffered a core muscle injury playing for Ohio State.

–New England added tight end Michael Roberts in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

According to multiple reports, the Lions are owed a seventh-round pick in return.

The Patriots are shuffling into life after Rob Gronkowski at tight end with significant uncertainty. Roberts, entering his third season, was a fourth-round pick out of Toledo in 2017.

–The Indianapolis Colts and Kenny Moore agreed on a four-year contract extension that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid slot cornerback in terms of guaranteed money, according to multiple reports.

Moore reportedly is assured of $18 million, more than the $16 million guarantee that the Detroit Lions gave Justin Coleman in March.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Moore’s extension includes $30 million for 2020-23, with a maximum value of $36 million. ESPN reported that the extension could rise to $40 million total with escalators.

–Replay reviews of potential pass-interference calls in the last two minutes of games and in overtime will be initiated by the replay official and not coaches, but the bar will be set high for such video checks, the NFL’s competition committee announced.

A previous proposal would have put the onus on coaches to ask for late-game reviews of possible pass interference, but the protocol was changed after coaches reportedly disapproved with that plan.

The announcement doesn’t constitute an official policy for the 2019 season, as the NFL will give teams until next week to provide feedback on the latest tweak.

–The Chiefs signed kicker Harrison Butker to a contract extension, with NFL Network reporting that the deal is worth $20.3 million over five years.

Butker confirmed the contract extension on Twitter, saying he was “proud to announce that I’ve signed an extension” and that he is “excited to be a part of this team for the next six years.”

In his second year with the Chiefs in 2018, Butker, 23, was 16 of 16 on field-goal attempts under 40 yards. He ended the regular season 24 of 27 on all field-goal attempts, and was 65 of 69 on extra-point attempts, with both totals leading the NFL.

–Howie Roseman is again general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Roseman, executive vice president of football operations since 2015, was operating in a de facto GM role with the team. He formally held the position for four seasons but gave it up during Chip Kelly’s run as head coach.

Instrumental in constructing a Super Bowl roster in 2017, Roseman helped make the moves needed to draft Carson Wentz and last week signed off on the quarterback’s new contract. He also was vital in selecting head coach Doug Pederson as Kelly’s replacement.

–A former Houston Texans employee accused the team of discrimination in a federal complaint, alleging recently fired general manager Brian Gaine “targeted” African-American employees, USA Today reported.

Jeff Pope was the team’s security coordinator until he was fired on May 8. In a 4,500-word filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he alleges he is one of nine African-Americans fired by Gaine since the team named him GM in January 2018.

The Texans abruptly fired Gaine last Friday. Chairman and CEO Cal McNair said Gaine was let go after “a thorough evaluation of our football operations.”

–Field Level Media

Chiefs K Butker signs contract extension

Chiefs K Butker signs contract extension

The

Chiefs K Butker signs contract extension

The Kansas City Chiefs signed kicker Harrison Butker to a contract extension on Thursday, with NFL Network reporting that the deal is worth five years, $20.3 million.

Butker confirmed the contract extension on Twitter, saying he was “proud to announce that I’ve signed an extension” and that he is “excited to be a part of this team for the next six years.”

In his second year with the Chiefs in 2018, Butker, 23, was 16 of 16 on field-goal attempts under 40 yards. He ended the regular season 24 of 27 on all field-goal attempts, and was 65 of 69 on extra-point attempts, with both totals leading the NFL.

The Georgia Tech product, who was previously signed off the Carolina Panthers practice squad, was 2 of 2 on field-goal attempts in two playoff games last season. Including bonuses, Butker could make as much as $21.5 million on the deal.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles add GM back to Roseman’s title

Eagles add GM back to Roseman's title

Howie Roseman is again general manager of

Eagles add GM back to Roseman’s title

Howie Roseman is again general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Roseman, executive vice president of football operations since 2015, was operating in a de facto GM role with the team. He formally held the position for four seasons but gave it up during Chip Kelly’s run as head coach.

Instrumental in constructing a Super Bowl roster in 2017, Roseman helped make the moves needed to draft Carson Wentz and last week signed off on the quarterback’s new contract. He also was vital in selecting head coach Doug Pederson as Kelly’s replacement.

On Thursday, Roseman’s GM title was restored as Joe Douglas left the Eagles to become general manager of the New York Jets.

Douglas was the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel.

Roseman has been with the Eagles for 20 years, starting in a salary-cap advisory role before blending into personnel.

“Joe Douglas did such an outstanding job for us and has such an outstanding reputation around the league that we knew we had to be prepared and we knew that we had to have a succession plan,” Roseman said Thursday, announcing Andy Weidl was promoted to help fill Douglas’ role.

“We want everyone here to see that there’s room for growth, that there is room for continued titles and promotions based on us winning and good things happening for the organization. We want the people in this organization to know that they have opportunities to grow within the areas of their expertise and expand their repertoire of knowledge while helping us win football games.”

–Field Level Media

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Fowler among three tied for early U.S. Open lead

Fowler among three tied for early U.S. Open lead

Fowler among three tied for early U.S. Open lead

Rickie Fowler narrowly missed a birdie putt on the final hole that would have tied the U.S. Open scoring record at Pebble Beach, settling for a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday to share the lead with Xander Schauffele and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen after the morning wave.

With players taking advantage of ideal scoring conditions along the Monterrey Peninsula, it was the first time there were three scores of 66 or better in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach — and the afternoon wave was just starting.

Fowler carded six birdies against a lone bogey. He pulled his approach shot left on the par-5 18th hole, and his birdie putt slid right of the cup, preventing Fowler from tying Tiger Woods’ U.S. Open course-record 65 from the first round in 2000.

“I thought I made it as soon as I hit it, just didn’t really react the way I thought it would,” Fowler told FOX Sports. “To be honest, I felt like that was about as bad as I could have shot. I thought there was more out there.

“It was just a fun day, it’s nice when you can shoot a stress-free 66 and get off to a good start for the week.”

Fowler was alone atop the scoreboard when he left the course, but he soon was joined by Schauffele and Oosthuizen, who chipped in for eagle on his second hole of the day.

Schauffele equaled the feat, but did it in dramatic fashion with an eagle on the 18th hole after ricocheting his drive off the rocks along the peninsula. He went on to cap off a 5-under 31 on the back nine.

“My round was solid, but I feel very fortunate just because of that late eagle,” he told FOX Sports. “I hit two really bad shots and a great putt, and that’s how that 3 occurred there.”

Scott Piercy was the first to reach 5 under for the tournament with an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole. He went 1 over the rest of the way, missing a par putt on No. 18 to fall to 4 under, which he called a “kick in the stomach.”

Piercy finished with the eagle, five birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.

“I thought it was set up really fair,” Piercy said of the course. “If you hit a good shot, you got rewarded for it. If you miss, which I did a couple of times, you really had to scramble.”

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was among a group of four players another shot off the pace. He carded a 3-under 68 despite failing to birdie any of the three par-5s.

“I think I did what I wanted to do,” McIlroy told FOX Sports with a sigh. “I feel like I just did everything you need to do in a U.S. Open. I stayed patient. I bogeyed the first hole, then played really, really solid golf after that.

“I did what you’re supposed to do at a U.S. Open — made a lot of pars, chipped off the birdies when you can … and I thought it was a good day’s work.”

Fowler’s day included six birdies against a lone bogey. Most important, he hit 13 fairways — his most on Tour this season.

“It definitely helps everything out from there. Driving the ball well frees you up a bit. I feel like I’m swinging it well throughout the bag. You gotta get the ball in the fairway to allow yourself to use the rest of your game to your advantage. If you don’t drive it in the fairway, you’re just playing catch-up.”

McIlroy was candid earlier in the week how important he felt getting off to a fast start would be. It has been five years and 17 starts since his last major victory, but McIlroy has also gone on to win the past three majors in which he opened with a 68 or better.

“Especially trying to get back to winning these big events, you know, it is important,” McIlroy said of Thursday’s start. “The first two majors of the year, I think I shot 73 at Augusta and I shot over par at Bethpage (in the PGA Championship) as well. It’s so hard to chase, especially when the golf courses are so hard.

“To get off to a good start like this today … you’re right in the tournament from the start, which is a nice position to be in.”

NOTES: World No. 2 Dustin Johnson shot an even-par 71. He is one shot ahead of Phil Mickelson, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. … Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (2-under 69), the winner of the last U.S. Open held at Pebble Beach in 2010, put together his first bogey-free round in a major since the 2009 PGA Championship at Bellerive.

–Field Level Media

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NFL: Late-game PI reviews will come from booth

NFL: Late-game PI reviews will come from booth

Replay reviews

NFL: Late-game PI reviews will come from booth

Replay reviews of potential pass-interference calls in the last two minutes of games and in overtime will be initiated by the replay official and not coaches, but the bar will be set high for such video checks, the NFL’s competition committee announced Thursday.

A previous proposal would have put the onus on coaches to ask for late-game reviews of possible pass interference, but the protocol was changed after coaches reportedly disapproved with that plan.

The NFL’s statement read, in part, “After the two-minute warning of each half and during overtime, the Replay Official will stop the game to initiate a review for pass interference under stricter criteria than for other reviewable plays to prevent excessive game stoppages. …

“A decision on the field will only be reversed when there is ‘clear and obvious visual evidence’ that warrants a change.”

The Thursday announcement doesn’t constitute an official policy for the 2019 season, as the NFL will give teams until next week to provide feedback on the latest tweak.

The league also announced that it would not take an overly lenient view of Hail Mary plays during video checks. Referees on the field generally allow more contact on Hail Mary passes than on typical passes.

“The ‘Hail Mary’ play will be reviewed in replay consistent with the guidelines for officiating the play on the field,” according to the league statement.

The move to allow replay review of possible pass-interference penalties was sparked by a play at the end of this year’s NFC Championship Game. Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman clearly hit New Orleans Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived, but no call was made.

Had the penalty been called, the Saints could have lined up for a game-winning field goal as time expired. Instead, the Rams ultimately won the game in overtime and advanced to the Super Bowl.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs TE Kelce on schedule for training camp

Chiefs TE Kelce on schedule for training camp

Chiefs TE Kelce on schedule for training camp

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce expects to be 100 percent at the start of training camp next month.

Kelce said he’ll be fully recovered from offseason ankle surgery when the Chiefs take the field at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo.

“I’m ready to go,” Kelce said. “It’s kind of been a little bit of an experience just not being able to really go out there and train for the upcoming season quite yet. I don’t know if I’ve had an injury that hasn’t allowed me to get on the field, at least a little bit in the offseason, outside of my knee surgery my first year.”

Kelce, 29, was named All-Pro in 2018 — he caught 103 passes for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns — and described the offseason as “frustrating.” The Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, and Kelce has spent the entire offseason as an observer.

“Right now, just getting healthy is the main thing, and I think we’re there. I think by the time training camp comes around, I’ll be 100 percent,” Kelce said.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-Texans employee: Ex-GM Gaine ‘targeted minorities in leadership’

Ex-Texans employee: Ex-GM Gaine 'targeted minorities in leadership'

A former Houston Texans employee accused the

Ex-Texans employee: Ex-GM Gaine ‘targeted minorities in leadership’

A former Houston Texans employee accused the team of discrimination in a federal complaint, alleging recently fired general manager Brian Gaine “targeted” African-American employees, USA Today reported Thursday.

Jeff Pope was the team’s security coordinator until he was fired on May 8. In a 4,500-word filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he alleges he is one of nine African-Americans fired by Gaine since the team named him GM in January 2018.

The Texans abruptly fired Gaine last Friday. Chairman and CEO Cal McNair said Gaine was being let go after “a thorough evaluation of our football operations.”

Amy Palcic, a team spokeswoman, told The Houston Chronicle that Pope’s complaint “was not a factor in the recent decision to relieve Brian Gaine from his job as general manager.”

The team also issued a statement: “We have just been made aware of Mr. Pope’s claim. We do not comment on pending litigation. The Houston Texans do not tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind.”

Pope, in his filing, pointed the finger at Gaine.

“It appeared, and I believe, that he was targeting all minorities in leadership positions and was set to replace them with non-African-Americans. Which he did,” Pope wrote in the complaint, which was obtained by USA Today.

–Field Level Media

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Post-Gronk Patriots trade for TE Roberts

Post-Gronk Patriots trade for TE Roberts

New England added tight end Michael Roberts in a

Post-Gronk Patriots trade for TE Roberts

New England added tight end Michael Roberts in a trade with the Detroit Lions, agreed to on Thursday.

According to multiple reports, the Lions are owed a seventh-round pick in return.

The Patriots are shuffling into life after Rob Gronkowski at tight end with significant uncertainty. Roberts, entering his third season, was a fourth-round pick out of Toledo in 2017.

Matt LaCosse, who caught one touchdown in 15 games for the Denver Broncos last season, lined up with the first-team offense at mandatory mincamp for the Patriots this week. With Gronkowski retired, New England is counting on 38-year-old Benjamin Watson to hold off Father Time another year. But Watson, who was lured out of retirement, is suspended the first four games of the 2019 season.

Detroit drafted T.J. Hockenson in the first round, spent a seventh-round pick on Isaac Nauta and signed free agent Jesse James to fill out the tight end depth chart.

Gronkowski, 30, retired in March, taking his 79 career TD receptions and one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets out of the offensive gameplan.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: CB Moore, Colts agree to four-year extension

Reports: CB Moore, Colts agree to four-year extension

Reports: CB Moore, Colts agree to four-year extension

The Indianapolis Colts and Kenny Moore agreed on a four-year contract extension that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid slot cornerback, according to multiple reports.

Moore, who played at Valdosta State, signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2017. The Patriots placed him on waivers before the start of the season, and he was claimed by the Colts.

He had a breakout season in 2018. In 15 games, all starts, Moore made 77 tackles and had three interceptions, one forced fumble and 1.5 sacks.

–Field Level Media

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49ers’ Bosa says injury shouldn’t keep him from camp

49ers' Bosa says injury shouldn't keep him from camp

Rookie Nick Bosa said the hamstring injury

49ers’ Bosa says injury shouldn’t keep him from camp

Rookie Nick Bosa said the hamstring injury that forced him to miss OTAs and minicamp shouldn’t keep him off the field when the San Francisco 49ers open training camp next month.

“I think I’m going to be just fine,” Bosa told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I’m going to get this hammy perfectly right, and I think there will be plenty of time to play football and get the reps that I need.”

The defensive end was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain on May 23.

“I was worried when it happened,” Bosa said. “I was pretty down on myself that I couldn’t stay on the field but once I got with the guys and just had some of the older guys talk me up a little bit, it’s been super helpful.”

Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, hasn’t played in a game since September, when he injured his core muscle playing for Ohio State.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the hamstring isn’t all to watch with Bosa. He still hasn’t signed his rookie contract, and that could be delaying the signing of pick Nos. 3-6 , who have yet to agree to contracts.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans

NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans

The Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans

NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans

The Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans and the NFL opened an investigation, according to multiple reports Wednesday, regarding Houston’s attempts to hire New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio as its new general manager.

The Texans fired former GM Brian Gaine on Friday, 17 months after giving him a five-year contract and one day after the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony. According to multiple reports, new Texans executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby — the Patriots’ former team chaplain — was at Thursday’s ring ceremony, as was Caserio.

Asked Tuesday if he or Easterby had contact with Caserio or his representatives before Gaine’s firing, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien told reporters, “I would say that the answer to that is not relative to contact about anything having to do with the Houston Texans. No.”

The Texans have formally requested permission to interview Caserio, just as they did in January 2018, when the Patriots denied the request and the Texans moved on to hire Gaine.

–Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wishes Antonio Brown’s run in Pittsburgh — which ended with his trade to the Oakland Raiders — had resolved more amicably.

Brown left Pittsburgh, torch in hand, criticizing management, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and other team leaders. He didn’t exactly share kind words about Smith-Schuster, either.

“The man’s a role model. In that situation, I didn’t want it to end like that,” Smith-Schuster said. “I have no hard feelings against him. Obviously if we’re ever in the same room, I’m going to say what’s up to him. I think hatred is a huge word to use against somebody. At the end of the day, he’s a great player, he comes out every day with work ethic. He worked hard. Other than that, I don’t have anything toward him like that.”

–The Kansas City Chiefs signed right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to a one-year extension, putting him under contract through 2021.

NFL Network reported the extra year is worth $11,255,000, with Schwartz’s 2019 and 2020 salaries fully guaranteed.

Schwartz, who was named first-team All-Pro in 2018, was scheduled to make $6.6 million in both 2019 and 2020, with a cap hit of $8 million in each season. It’s unclear if the contract structure in 2019 and 2020 was affected.

–Running back Sony Michel underwent minor knee surgery, causing him to miss offseason workouts with the Patriots, according to multiple reports.

A reason for his absence had not previously been revealed. The date of the knee scope was not announced, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Michel should be ready for training camp next month.

Michel wasn’t seen at any of the Patriots practices that were open to the media, including minicamp last week, during the offseason.

–The Tennessee Titans will retire quarterback Steve McNair’s No. 9 jersey and running back Eddie George’s No. 27 during the Sept. 15 home opener.

The pair, who led the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, will be the first to have their jerseys retired after playing primarily for the Titans, since the team was rebranded from the Oilers in 1999.

Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bruce Matthews (No. 74) played five of his 19 seasons in Tennessee — after the team moved from Houston in 1997 — and three as a Titan, but none of the franchise’s other five with retired numbers played more recently than 1993.

–The Chicago Bears waived former Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt, one of three kickers at mandatory minicamp.

A day earlier, with the whole team and about 25 former Bears gathered to watch, all three kickers missed a 42-yard attempt.

“Um, whatever went through your mind went through my mind,” coach Matt Nagy said of the missed kicks. “Yeah, no, I mean, that’s about as real as it gets. They were 0-for-3 out there. For today, we can’t have that. We are going to figure this thing out, but 0-for-3 today, no good.”

–Baltimore Ravens first-round wideout Marquise Brown was cleared for individual drills, allowing him to practice with teammates for the first time.

Brown didn’t do much, but his progress in his recovery from a Lisfranc injury has him on track to be ready for training camp.

The Ravens drafted Brown 25th overall out of Oklahoma in April.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys WR Cooper says he won’t hold out

Cowboys WR Cooper says he won't hold out

Cowboys WR Cooper says he won’t hold out

Preparing for his first training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, wide receiver Amari Cooper is also entering the final season of his rookie contract.

However, the 24-year-old is far more focused on his team than his contract, and he vows to continue to practice through the offseason and not hold out in hopes of forcing the Cowboys’ hand.

“I just handle my business,” Cooper told reporters Wednesday at the Cowboys’ minicamp in Frisco, Texas. “I’m more anxious about camp and actually playing football. …

“I just want to get better and I love football. That’s why I’m here. I love coming out here doing seven-on-seven, routes on air, team periods and being able to showcase my ability. To be able to run routes, that’s like the greatest thing to me. It’s kind of like an art to me. It’s like a painter drawing or something like that. That’s how I feel every time I run a route.”

The Cowboys acquired Cooper from the Oakland Raiders last October in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick. After grabbing 22 balls for 280 yards and one touchdown in six games with Oakland, Cooper was a revelation for Dallas. In nine games, the 2015 first-round pick had 53 catches for 725 yards and six touchdowns, earning his third Pro Bowl selection despite the limited time with the team.

Drafted fourth overall out of Alabama by the Raiders in 2015, Cooper had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons — and consecutive Pro Bowl berths — in his first two seasons. But his numbers dipped in his third season in 2017 (48 catches and 680 yards — though he did score seven touchdowns), and when new coach Jon Gruden took over in 2018, his days in Oakland were numbered.

He is due $13.9 million for the 2019 season thanks to his fifth-year option. Odell Beckham is the highest-paid receiver in the league currently, making $18 million per season as he approaches his first season with the Cleveland Browns.

Antonio Brown ($16.7 million), Mike Evans ($16.5 million) and DeAndre Hopkins ($16.2 million) are next on the list. And receivers including Julio Jones, Mike Thomas and A.J. Green are also in talks for new deals with their teams.

But when it comes to measuring his contract against those of other receivers, Cooper said, “I ain’t counting nobody’s pockets.”

–Field Level Media

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Titans to retire jerseys for McNair, George

Titans to retire jerseys for McNair, George

The Tennessee Titans will retire quarterback Steve McNair's

Titans to retire jerseys for McNair, George

The Tennessee Titans will retire quarterback Steve McNair’s No. 9 jersey and running back Eddie George’s No. 27 during the Sept. 15 home opener, the team announced Wednesday.

The pair, which led the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, will be the first to have their jerseys retired after playing primarily for the Titans, since the team was rebranded from the Oilers in 1999.

Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bruce Matthews (No. 74) played five of his 19 seasons in Tennessee — after the team moved from Houston in 1997 — and three as a Titan, but none of the franchise’s other five with retired numbers played more recently than 1993.

“Steve and Eddie will be forever linked as two of the driving forces for our team in the late 90’s and early 2000’s,” owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. “They were the heart and soul of the team and each made the other a better player and ultimately led to a great deal of team success. Their statistics will forever live in our record books, but their play and sacrifice is what our fans will always remember.”

McNair, who was tragically shot and killed in 2009, was drafted third overall by the then-Houston Oilers in 1995 and went on to start 131 of 139 games across 11 seasons with the franchise, throwing for 31,304 yards, 174 touchdowns and 119 interceptions, reaching three Pro Bowls and sharing MVP honors with Peyton Manning in 2003.

His number has not been worn by a Titan since he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2006.

George, 45, was drafted 14th overall in 1996 and started all 128 games over eight seasons with the Titans, earning four Pro Bowl nods and All-Pro honors in 2000.

His number was been worn just once since he left Tennessee for the Dallas Cowboys in 2004, when running back Chris Henry used it briefly in 2009.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Pats’ Michel had knee scope, will be ready for camp

Reports: Pats' Michel had knee scope, will be ready for camp

Reports: Pats’ Michel had knee scope, will be ready for camp

Running back Sony Michel underwent minor knee surgery, causing him to miss offseason workouts with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

A reason for his absence had not been revealed.

The date of the knee scope was not announced, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Michel should be ready for training camp next month.

Michel wasn’t seen at any of the Patriots practices that were open to the media, including minicamp last week, during the offseason.

The No. 31 overall draft pick in 2018, Michel has had a variety of knee issues. He tore an ACL in high school, then had a knee strain at Georgia in 2017.

He missed the first game of the 2018 season after having a knee procedure as training camp opened, and he missed two more games later in the year.

In 13 games, he rushed for 931 yards with six touchdowns. In three playoff games, including the Super Bowl, he had 336 yards rushing and six more TDs.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Pats accuse Texans of tampering with Caserio

Reports: Pats accuse Texans of tampering with Caserio

The

Reports: Pats accuse Texans of tampering with Caserio

The Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans and the league opened an investigation, according to multiple reports Wednesday, regarding Houston’s attempts to hire New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio as its new general manager.

The Texans fired former GM Brian Gaine on Friday, 17 months after giving him a five-year contract and one day after the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony. According to multiple reports, new Texans executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby — the Patriots’ former team chaplain — was at Thursday’s ring ceremony, as was Caserio.

Asked Tuesday if he or Easterby had contact with Caserio or his representatives before Gaine’s firing, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien told reporters, “I would say that the answer to that is no relative to contact about anything having to do with the Houston Texans. No.”

The Texans have formally requested permission to interview Caserio, just as they did in January of 2018, when the Patriots denied the request and the Texans moved on to hire Gaine.

Caserio, 43, has held his position since 2008 as the top personnel man for Bill Belichick, who has final authority on personnel decisions. He is also close with O’Brien, who coached in New England from 2007 to 2011.

Caserio has turned down numerous overtures for GM jobs in the past, though he was allowed to interview with the Miami Dolphins in 2014. He is widely considered the favorite for the Texans’ job if he is interested.

Houston has reportedly interviewed San Francisco 49ers vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew — the former Detroit Lions GM — and former Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer for the opening.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs sign RT Schwartz to extension

Chiefs sign RT Schwartz to extension

Chiefs sign RT Schwartz to extension

The Kansas City Chiefs signed right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to a one-year extension, putting him under contract through 2021, Schwartz’s agent said Wednesday.

Agent Mike McCartney announced the one-year deal on Twitter.

NFL Network reported the extra year is worth $11.255 million, with Schwartz’s 2019 and 2020 salaries fully guaranteed. Schwartz was scheduled to make $6.6 million in both 2019 and 2020, with a cap hit of $8 million in each season.

It’s unclear if the contract structure in 2019 and 2020 was affected.

The highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history, Trent Brown, averages $16.5 million annually and will play right tackle for Oakland this season after playing on the left side for New England last year. The highest-paid full-time right tackle, Denver’s Ja’Wuan James, averages $12.75 million annually.

Schwartz, who turned 30 last week, was named first-team All-Pro in 2018, the first such honor of his career. He has never missed an NFL snap in seven seasons, spending his first four with the Cleveland Browns and the last three with the Chiefs after arriving in free agency.

According to STATS LLC, Schwartz has allowed just 2.5 sacks and committed four penalties in three out of the last four seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Bears cut Blewitt, search for kicker continues

Bears cut Blewitt, search for kicker continues

Bears cut Blewitt, search for kicker continues

Chicago’s search for a kicker hit the upright again at minicamp.

The Bears waived former Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt on Wednesday, one of three kickers at mandatory minicamp. On Tuesday, with the whole team and about 25 former Bears gathered to watch, all three kickers missed a 42-yard attempt.

“Um, whatever went through your mind went through my mind,” head coach Matt Nagy said of the missed kicks. “Yeah, no, I mean, that’s about as real as it gets. They were 0-for-3 out there. For today, we can’t have that. We are going to figure this thing out but 0-for-3 today, no good.”

Still under contract are Eddy Pineiro, acquired from the Oakland Raiders, and former AAF kicker Elliott Fry, but the Bears aren’t satisfied with those options as training camp looms.

“We talk it through and we figure it out and we do everything we possibly can to make sure that in the end, when we get to the very end, we have the right guy there,” Nagy said.

The Bears cut Cody Parkey, who missed a 43-yard attempt that would have given Chicago a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Instead, the Bears lost 16-15 after Parkey missed the kick with seconds remaining.

The Bears have actively searched for a new starting place-kicker since the club cut Parkey.

Parkey missed seven field goal attempts and three extra points in the regular season.

–Field Level Media

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Smith-Schuster regrets bitter end to AB’s run with Steelers

Smith-Schuster regrets bitter end to AB's run with Steelers

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wishes

Smith-Schuster regrets bitter end to AB’s run with Steelers

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wishes Antonio Brown’s end run in Pittsburgh had been amicable.

Smith-Schuster jumped to the No. 1 receiver role with the team when Brown was dealt to the Oakland Raiders.

Brown left Pittsburgh, torch in hand, criticizing management, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and other team leaders. He didn’t exactly share kind words about Smith-Schuster, either.

“The man’s a role model. In that situation, I didn’t want it to end like that,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday. “I have no hard feelings against him. Obviously if we’re ever in the same room, I’m going to say what’s up to him. I think hatred is a huge word to use against somebody. At the end of the day he’s a great player, he comes out every day with work ethic. He worked hard. Other than that, I don’t have anything toward him like that.”

Brown put Smith-Schuster on blast with a direct attack via Twitter shortly after the Steelers announced Smith-Schuster as the team’s 2018 Most Valuable Player. The team award is voted on by players in the locker room.

Brown tweeted: “Emotion: boy fumbled the whole post season in the biggest game of year ! Everyone went blind to busy making guys famous not enough reality these days ! by the way check the list.”

Smith-Schuster replied to the April 7 Twitter storm.

“All I ever did was show that man love and respect from the moment I got to the league. I was genuinely happy for him too when he got traded to Oakland w/ a big contract, and now he takes shots at me on social media?

“Crazy how big that ego got to be to take shots at people who show you love! Smh.”

With the benefit of hindsight, Smith-Schuster said he should have passed on the emotional response and avoided the negative attention it brought.

“I never want to be the center of attention for causing problems,” Smith-Schuster said. “I just try to stay positive as much as possible. When stuff like that goes sideways, I say what I say and then I back out and leave it at that.”

–Field Level Media

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Raiders to draw spotlight on ‘Hard Knocks’

Raiders to draw spotlight on 'Hard Knocks'

Just watch, baby.

Raiders to draw spotlight on ‘Hard Knocks’

Just watch, baby.

That is what HBO is hoping football fans will do this summer when they feature the Oakland Raiders on the latest season of “Hard Knocks.” The network and the NFL announced Tuesday that the Raiders will be showcased in the 14th edition of the series.

The five-episode series will have no shortage of storylines as it focuses on the Raiders, who are led by fiery head coach Jon Gruden and acquired superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown during the offseason. Oakland is looking to bounce back from a 4-12 season in what is expected to be its final season in the Bay Area before the franchise moves to Las Vegas.

The series likely will spend ample time on the Raiders’ rookie class, which includes a trio of first-round picks: defensive tackle Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson, running back Josh Jacobs out of Alabama and safety Johnathan Abram out of Mississippi State.

HBO plans to air the series debut on Aug. 6 at 10 p.m. ET.

“Everybody wants to be a Raider,” team owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “Now they’ll find out what it takes to become one.”

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Saints’ Jordan reportedly lands $52.5M extension

NFL notebook: Saints' Jordan reportedly lands $52.5M extension

NFL notebook: Saints’ Jordan reportedly lands $52.5M extension

The New Orleans Saints and defensive end Cameron Jordan reached an agreement on a three-year contract extension, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

The extension will take the four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher through the 2023 season and be worth $52.5 million — with a max value of $55 million, including performance-based bonuses — and $42 million in guaranteed salary, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Jordan, who turns 30 next month, is now under contract for five years with a max of $74.5 million on the deal.

–HBO and the NFL announced that the Oakland Raiders will be featured on Season 14 of “Hard Knocks.” HBO plans to air the series debut on Aug. 6 at 10 p.m. ET.

The five-episode series will have no shortage of storylines as it focuses on the Raiders, who are led by fiery head coach Jon Gruden and newly acquired superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown. Oakland is looking to bounce back from a 4-12 season in what is expected to be its final season in the Bay Area before the franchise moves to Las Vegas.

The series likely will spend ample time on the Raiders’ rookie class, which includes a trio of first-round picks: defensive tackle Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson, running back Josh Jacobs out of Alabama and safety Johnathan Abram out of Mississippi State.

–A judge declared a mistrial on eight remaining counts against former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, who was found guilty of felony rape one day earlier in Vista, Calif.

Winslow also was found guilty on misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and lewd conduct. He was acquitted on another lewd-conduct charge on Monday, but the jury was deadlocked on the other eight charges, and Judge Blaine K. Bowman ordered the jurors to return Tuesday.

Shortly after 10 a.m. PT, Bowman received a note from the jurors saying they remained deadlocked on the remaining charges, which included six felonies. He then polled the jury in the courtroom. After hearing the results, he declared a mistrial on all eight counts.

–New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur set the stage for a summertime quarterback competition between Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones.

Shurmur previously said Manning would be the starter and Jones would figure out where he fits in the quarterback pecking order. That tune changed dramatically when Shurmur said he is “constantly” evaluating which quarterback gives the team the best chance to win.

“We’re gonna play the very best player,” Shurmur said. “I know we’re dancing around the words here, but right now Eli is getting ready to have a great year and Daniel is getting ready to play. We’ll just see what happens.”

–Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will sit out this week’s mandatory minicamp because of a calf strain that also kept him out of last month’s organized team activities.

Coach Frank Reich told reporters that the team was being cautious with the injury and that it was a “no-brainer” that Luck would be ready for training camp in late July.

Luck said he has been able to throw “significantly” while rehabbing the calf injury.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars informed Jalen Ramsey he won’t receive a contract extension this year, the All-Pro cornerback said at minicamp.

Ramsey, 24, who is entering his fourth season, said he wasn’t upset about the situation, even joking on Twitter that he planned to “ask for so much money, they have to put me on lay-away.”

–Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones will not report to minicamp in hopes of having his contract situation addressed by the team before the start of the 2019 season.

Jones’ deal was set on the back burner when the Chiefs acquired Frank Clark from the Seattle Seahawks and signed him to a massive contract.

–Allen Hurns was expected to miss at least part of the 2019 NFL season after sustaining a horrific lower-leg injury in January, but the Dallas Cowboys receiver told reporters that he expects to be fully ready when training camp opens next month.

Hurns, 27, ran pass routes for the first time since badly dislocating his left ankle and breaking his fibula during the NFC wild-card game against the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 5. He said he would participate in individual drills on Thursday, the final day of camp.

–The Minnesota Vikings and tight end Kyle Rudolph agreed to a multi-year contract extension Monday night — a day before the team’s mandatory minicamp was set to begin.

Rudolph, who had just one year left on his previous deal, confirmed on his Twitter account that he is staying with the Vikings long term. He landed a four-year, $36 million extension, according to multiple reports.

–Field Level Media

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Chargers sign first-round pick Tillery

Chargers sign first-round pick Tillery

Chargers sign first-round pick Tillery

The Los Angeles Chargers signed defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, the team’s 2019 first-round draft pick, to a four-year contract Tuesday.

According to ProFootballRumors.com, Tillery is set to receive $11.4 million, which is the slotted amount for the 28th overall pick, with a $6.3 million signing bonus.

The Chargers could lean heavily on Tillery (6-foot-6, 300), who shined during his collegiate career at Notre Dame. Tillery joins a talented defensive front that includes Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

Los Angeles has two more draft picks to sign: second-rounder Nasir Adderley (defensive back, Delaware) and third-rounder Trey Pipkins (offensive guard, Sioux Falls.)

–Field Level Media

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