NFL notebook: Steelers’ Bell unlikely to report by deadline

NFL notebook: Steelers’ Bell unlikely to report by deadline

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is unlikely to report to the team before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, meaning he will likely miss the entire 2018 season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday.

According to the report, Bell’s camp has nothing to say and will not discuss with reporters the 26-year-old back’s plans for the coming week. Bell will not be eligible to play this season if he does not sign his franchise tag tender before Tuesday’s deadline.

Bell has been holding out after the Steelers failed to meet his contract demands, sacrificing more than $8 million in salary during the ongoing stalemate.

Reporting after the July 15 deadline to sign a long-term deal, but before Week 1, would have assured Bell the entirety of his $14.5 million franchise tender for 2018. He would forfeit the entire salary if he does not report before Tuesday.

–The New England Patriots have ruled out tight end Rob Gronkowski for Sunday night’s road game against the Tennessee Titans, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“TE Rob Gronkowski (back, ankle) won’t play Sunday vs #Titans, source said. The team is taking the smart, cautious approach by making sure he’s back after the bye at full strength to close the season strong,” he tweeted.

Gronkowski played at Buffalo in Week 8 and finished with three catches, but was held out of the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears and last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots are on a bye next week and will face the New York Jets in Week 12.

–An MRI exam has confirmed New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant has a torn Achilles tendon, according to ESPN’s Schefter.

Bryant, who joined the Saints earlier this week, reportedly suffered the injury on the final play of practice on Friday. The recovery time is expected to be eight months.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract on Wednesday and was participating in his second practice when he was injured. With the injury to Bryant, 30, the Saints could take a second look at veteran Brandon Marshall, who also worked out for the team this week.

–Josh Allen has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, and the Buffalo Bills expect to start recently signed Matt Barkley at quarterback.

The team made the announcement, also stating that rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has cleared concussion protocol and will play. The Bills selected both Allen and Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

At quarterback, Barkley was the choice of head coach Sean McDermott over turnover-prone Nathan Peterman. Barkley, 28, was signed on Oct. 31 and is being sent onto the field in the manner veteran Derek Anderson was 12 days after signing.

–The NFL is monitoring fire-related conditions in California to determine if air quality will require any change to Sunday’s football schedule.

The Los Angeles Chargers are playing in Oakland on Sunday, while the Seattle Seahawks will meet the Rams in Los Angeles. Both games are set to begin in the 4 p.m. ET block.

Three fires are raging across the state, one in Northern California and two in Southern California. Thousands of people have evacuated their homes and 11 people had been killed as of Saturday afternoon. It is still unknown how many homes have been destroyed.

–The Washington Redskins downgraded receiver Jamison Crowder to out because of an ankle injury in advance of Sunday’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It will be the fifth consecutive game that Crowder will miss. He was initially listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report before the team announced Saturday that he did not travel with the team and would miss the game.

Also missing the game will be standout left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and running back Chris Thompson (rib). Both players are sitting out for the second straight game.

–Saints receiver Michael Thomas was fined $30,000 by the NFL for using a cellphone as a prop during a touchdown celebration last Sunday, multiple outlets reported.

Thomas’ actions occurred after he caught a 72-yard touchdown pass during a 45-35 victory over the previously unbeaten Rams.

Thomas had hidden a cellphone at the bottom of the goalpost and retrieved it after the touchdown. He grabbed the flip-phone and pretended to be having a conversation.

–The New York Giants cut offensive lineman Patrick Omameh.

Omameh, 28, was the starting right guard in Week 1. His release follows that of Ereck Flowers, who started at right tackle alongside Omameh to start the season.

General manager Dave Gettleman signed Omameh to a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason. He was supposed to join left tackle Nate Solder, another offseason signee, in bolstering the offensive line to protect quarterback Eli Manning, who has been sacked 31 times this season.

–Field Level Media

Buccaneers add two women to coaching staff

Buccaneers add two women to coaching staff

The Tampa

Buccaneers add two women to coaching staff

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added two women as full-time coaches Wednesday.

Maral Javadifar will take on the role as assistant strength and conditioning coach and Lori Locust as assistant defensive line coach, making them the first full-time female coaches in Buccaneers history and making the team the first in the NFL with two female coaches on staff.

“I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said in a team statement. “Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity.

“The Glazer family and our general manager, Jason Licht, were extremely supportive of my decision, and I know Maral and Lori will be great additions to my coaching staff.

“I have known Lori going back to my days at Temple University and I’ve seen firsthand just how knowledgeable and passionate she is about this game. I was equally impressed with Maral’s background in performance training and physical therapy and I know she will be a valuable asset to our strength and conditioning program.”

Javadifar most recently worked as a physical therapist at Avant Physical Therapy in Seattle, after completing her sports physical therapy residency at Virginia Commonwealth University last August.

Javadifar played basketball at Pace University in New York City. A native of Queens, N.Y., she earned a degree in molecular biology from Pace, before getting a doctor of physical therapy degree from New York Medical College.

Locust was working as the defensive line coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football during the league’s inaugural season this year.

In 2018, Locust served as a defensive coaching intern for the Baltimore Ravens during the team’s training camp and, from 2017-18, worked as a defensive line/linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator of the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League.

Locust worked as an assistant coach from 2010-18 at her high school alma mater, Susquehanna Township High School in Harrisburg, Pa. She also was an assistant coach with the Central Penn Piranha, a semi-professional team in Harrisburg from 2013-16, the DMV Elite semi-pro team from 2016-18 and the Keystone Assault of the Women’s Football Alliance from 2017-18.

Locust began her coaching career following four years as a player in women’s semi-pro football. She attended Temple University.

–Field Level Media

Read More 341 Words

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Quarterback Trevor Siemian

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Quarterback Trevor Siemian has agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Jets, his agent said on social media Wednesday.

Siemian, expected to provide an experienced backup to second-year pro Sam Darnold in 2019, will earn $2 million, with another potential $1 million in incentives, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. The Jets also have 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, who has yet to attempt an NFL pass.

Siemian spent all of last season on Minnesota’s active roster, although he did not play as Kirk Cousins’ backup after the Vikings acquired him in a trade with Denver last March.

Siemian, 27, started 24 games for the Broncos over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, passing for 5,686 yards and 30 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

He was a seventh-round pick out of Northwestern in 2015 and appeared in one game, without a pass attempt, as a rookie in Denver.

–Field Level Media

Read More 86 Words

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin underwent shoulder and knee surgeries after last season, but his medical problems might not all be fixed.

He told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Wednesday that “more surgeries on the way, most likely,” while the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo cited a source to report that Baldwin is scheduled to meet with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in early April about a potential sports hernia.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said at the NFL Scouting Combine late last month that Baldwin was expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but another surgery could change expectations.

Baldwin, 30, missed two games in September with the knee injury, which bothered him even before the start of the season. His shoulder problem arose later in the campaign.

In 13 regular-season games last season, Baldwin caught 50 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns. Baldwin had three receptions for 32 yards in a playoff defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in January. He is entering his ninth season with Seattle.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

–Field Level Media

Read More 130 Words

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

The Chicago Bears

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

The Chicago Bears re-signed two players Wednesday — starting punter Patrick O’Donnell and reserve quarterback Tyler Bray.

O’Donnell, 28, has been the team’s punter for the past five seasons after being selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Miami. He has a franchise-best career average of 44.9 yards per punt and set the team’s single-season record of 47.0 in 2017.

O’Donnell averaged 45.0 yards last season on 62 attempts, tying a career high with 28 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Bray, 27, spent much of the 2018 season on the practice squad in his first season in Chicago and figures to go to camp as the third-stringer. He spent his first five NFL seasons with the Chiefs, appearing in one game and attempting one pass.

–Field Level Media

Read More 70 Words

Vikings sign OG Kline

Vikings sign OG Kline

The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced

Vikings sign OG Kline

The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced the signing of Josh Kline, who was released last week by the Tennessee Titans.

The deal is for three years and $15.75 million, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Kline started all 46 of his games at right guard in his three seasons with Tennessee, which reportedly wanted him to take a pay cut before he entered the second season of a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

Kline joins Danny Isidora as the only guards on the Vikings’ roster with regular-season experience. Minnesota previously released guard Mike Remmers, and guards Tom Compton and Nick Easton moved on in free agency.

Kline, 29, spent his first three NFL seasons with New England (2013-15), making 18 starts in 33 regular-season games.

–Field Level Media

Read More 72 Words

Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

Haskins' Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

There is plenty of buzz

Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

There is plenty of buzz about the New York Giants potentially selecting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the sixth pick in the NFL Draft. The team’s biggest decision-makers received up-close looks in recent days.

Much of the team’s top brass — including head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula, senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara — took Haskins to dinner Tuesday night and then studied his on-field drills at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day on Wednesday.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network summed up the action: “Strong workout for Haskins. Improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball.”

Haskins could be the choice if New York is ready to try to draft the replacement for Eli Manning, but there could be competition as other quarterback-needy teams assess their draft position. Haskins said he would soon meet with the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 pick), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), the Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and the Washington Redskins (No. 15).

“All my NFL friends tell me it’s not how early you go, it’s where you go,” Haskins told ESPN on Wednesday.

Haskins is widely considered one of the top two quarterbacks available, along with Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, a potential No. 1 overall pick. Haskins’ best features are his pocket-passing skills, decision-making and arm strength, while Murray has electrifying athleticism (and quite a good arm, too).

Haskins ran an official 5.04-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He hoped to counter criticism of his straight-line speed with quick footwork at the Pro Day.

“You put me in any playbook, I’ll make it work,” Haskins said. “So, to be able to show off-platform throws, moving to my left, moving to my right, being able to move off spot and still be accurate, is what I wanted to show because during the season I had a couple of throws that I missed that I still remember and I worked on all offseason.

“I definitely felt like I did a good job with that.”

Haskins threw for 4,831 yards in his lone season as a starter at Ohio State, working almost exclusively from the pocket.

Said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay: “He’s the most natural passer in this year’s draft class.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 323 Words

Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

Report: Kraft's team seeks to suppress evidence

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress

Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress video evidence that authorities assert support the solicitation of prostitution charges filed against him, ESPN reported Wednesday.

ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn said a motion filed Wednesday by Kraft’s attorneys is intended to make sure the video, which he said has been described as “graphic and damning,” never is released. He added it is a “warning shot” to prosecutors that Kraft’s team will challenge that police had probable cause even to collect the video as evidence.

That news comes after a source told CNN on Wednesday that Kraft will reject a conditional plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors to settle the case.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, any defendant who accepts the deal must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, told CNN the offer was standard for first-time offenders, and that none of the people charged had accepted as of Wednesday morning.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The charges came in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Edmondson told CNN, however, that those misdemeanor charges generally result in no more than a 60-day sentence in county jail.

–Field Level Media

Read More 318 Words

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject a conditional plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors on charges of soliciting prostitution, sources told CNN on Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, any defendant who accepts the deal must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, told CNN the offer was standard for first-time offenders, and that none of the people charged had accepted as of Wednesday morning.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The charges came in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Edmondson told CNN, however, that those misdemeanor charges generally result in no more than a 60-day sentence in county jail.

–Field Level Media

Read More 232 Words

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Ohio State held

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Ohio State held its Pro Day on Wednesday, and defensive end Nick Bosa was there just to talk.

Bosa, the potential No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL draft, did not participate with the rest of the Buckeyes’ pro hopefuls after performing well in drill work at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

“I just trust the people who advise me. They told me it was unimportant,” Bosa told the NFL Network about Pro Day. “I’m here to meet all the teams that want to meet with me, and that’s what’s really important. I’m just doing what I’m told.”

He said he had meetings scheduled later Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the New York Giants, who pick sixth. He interviewed with all the top teams at the combine, including Arizona, which picks first.

Bosa said he will have further discussions with the Cardinals, who might otherwise be focusing on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. Either way, Bosa is expected to be in high demand at the top of the draft.

“I have a lot of visits coming up, so my next three weeks are super busy, flying all over the place, meeting with teams,” he said.

His message to those teams?

“Just how much I love the game and how much I want to continue to get better,” he said.

“Obviously, there is a lot of doubt with how long it has been since I played. But I have played this game my whole life and I have put on film the player that I am, and if the film isn’t good enough, I don’t know what else I could have done.”

His junior season ended early because of a bilateral core muscle injury. He had 29 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks, in 29 career games for the Buckeyes.

Bosa (6-foot-4, 266 pounds) put up 29 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press at the combine, had a 33.5-inch vertical and ran a 4.79 40-yard dash. All those numbers were better than what his brother, Joey, a Los Angeles Chargers defensive end, did at the combine before being selected No. 3 overall by the franchise in the 2016 draft.

He said when he’s not meeting with teams across the country, he’s training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his brother. But he doesn’t brag about the combine results.

“I was not the happiest my with 40 anyway,” he said. “So there is no trash talk at all.”

Bosa told ESPN he would love to play with edge rusher Dee Ford, acquired by the San Francisco 49ers in a trade this month with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He played a bunch with my brother,” Bosa said. “I’ve seen him a lot.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 396 Words

Manziel confident he can still play ‘at any level’

Manziel confident he can still play 'at any level'

As he

Manziel confident he can still play ‘at any level’

As he prepares to launch his latest comeback attempt, Johnny Manziel remains confident that he can still play quarterback “at any level anywhere.”

“My confidence level is high,” Manziel said Tuesday in Memphis at an introductory press conference with his newest employer, the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football. “I believe I still have a unique skill set and still have the ability to play at any level anywhere.”

Rejected by the NFL and banned by the Canadian Football League for his on-field struggles and off-field issues, the 26-year-old signed a standard player contract with the upstart AAF last weekend and was claimed off waivers by last-place Memphis.

Express coach Mike Singletary said he is eager to work with the former Texas A&M star, who earned the nickname “Johnny Football” while winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

“Our guys are excited, our team is excited, and I feel that many of the people here in Memphis are excited,” said Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker who is known as a strict, by-the-book boss.

Manziel, who sought treatment for alcohol abuse and anger management in the past, might be an interesting match with Singletary’s authoritarian style.

“I’ve done a lot of soul searching and a lot of looking at myself in the mirror and coming to the realization that when I’m on a football field and on a team, my life is substantially better,” Manziel said.

Manziel could see his first AAF action on Sunday when Memphis hosts the Birmingham Iron. The Express lost starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger to an ankle injury last weekend.

“In my eyes and in my mind, I believe I’m here for a reason,” Manziel said. “This is a great fit for me.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 240 Words

Reports: Raiders, LB Burfict agree to deal

Reports: Raiders, LB Burfict agree to deal

Vontaze Burfict's time as a

Reports: Raiders, LB Burfict agree to deal

Vontaze Burfict’s time as a free agent apparently was very short-lived.

One day after Burfict was released by the Cincinnati Bengals, the only NFL team for which he has played, the linebacker agreed to a one-year deal Tuesday with the Oakland Raiders, multiple media outlets reported.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the contract is worth $5 million including incentives.

Burfict managed to play in only 43 games in the past five seasons, encountering repeated head injuries — seven documented concussions — and three suspensions.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict amassed more than $4 million in on-field conduct fines. He was suspended by the NFL to start both the 2016 and 2017 seasons for violation of player-safety policies and in 2018 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He was a physical force for the Bengals in the middle of Marvin Lewis’ defense, but when the Bengals parted with Lewis, a change at linebacker was expected under new head coach Zac Taylor.

The move to Oakland would reunite Burfict with Paul Guenther, the Raiders’ defensive coordinator who served in the same position with the Bengals from 2014-17.

Burfict had two seasons remaining on a $33.2 million contract extension he signed with the Bengals, but by releasing him, Cincinnati sustained a cap charge of only $1.8 million.

Burfict, 28, was an undrafted free agent signee with Cincinnati after an All-America career at Arizona State. He had 298 tackles in his first two seasons with the Bengals and played in every game.

–Field Level Media

Read More 192 Words

Rams, LB Matthews agree on two-year deal

Rams, LB Matthews agree on two-year deal

Rams, LB Matthews agree on two-year deal

After 10 seasons in Green Bay, linebacker Clay Matthews is returning home to Southern California.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection and Packers franchise leader in career sacks is joining the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent. Matthews made the news public with a new profile picture on his Twitter profile: him sporting the No. 52 in a Rams uniform.

The Rams then tweeted that they have indeed agreed on a two-year deal with Matthews. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported the deal is worth a maximum of $16.75 million — less than other offers for Matthews, per Garafolo, but family considerations and a shot at a championship outweighed the increased money from other clubs.

A Southern California native born in Northridge, Matthews starred in college at USC before the Packers selected him with the 26th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. He quickly made a name for himself with both his level of play and his famed sack celebrations.

He had 10 sacks as a rookie, making the 2009 All-Rookie Team. He had a career-high 13.5 the following year, a season which ended with the Packers defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

In all, Matthews has 83.5 sacks in his career, though his production has slowed in recent seasons. He has not had double-digit sacks since registering 11 in 2014, the fifth of his six Pro Bowl seasons.

The Rams, the NFC champions last season, aren’t exactly hurting for pass rushers. Reigning two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald led the NFL with 20.5 sacks last season. The team also re-signed edge rusher Dante Fowler to a one-year contract earlier this month. The team acquired him in a trade-deadline deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

–Field Level Media

Read More 230 Words

QB McCarron signs with Texans

QB McCarron signs with Texans

The Houston Texans

QB McCarron signs with Texans

The Houston Texans bought themselves a veteran insurance policy for starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, signing AJ McCarron to a contract Tuesday.

Shortly after reports broke of a deal being finalized, McCarron tweeted a photo of himself signing a contract in the Texans offices.

Houston NFL reporter John McClain tweeted the deal is worth $3 million.

According to the Texans’ official website, Watson was the only quarterback on the active roster at the time of signing.

A 2014 fifth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals after a decorated career at Alabama, McCarron spent the first four seasons of his career with the Bengals, showing flashes of potential when asked to fill in for Andy Dalton. But after filing a grievance against the club and being granted free agency in February 2018, McCarron has become a bit of a journeyman.

In March 2018, he signed a two-year, $10 million contract with Buffalo. But on Sept. 2 of last year, a week before the beginning of the season, the Bills traded McCarron to Oakland in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round pick. He played in two games with the Raiders last season, completing 1 of 3 passes for 8 yards.

Then last week, with the 28-year-old McCarron set to count $5 million against the cap in 2019, the Raiders cut him. He is 87 of 136 for 928 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions in his career.

Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb backed up Watson last season, but one would never know it looking at statistics. The only player on the team other than Watson to throw a pass all of last season was wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (and he was 0 for 1).

In his second season in the NFL, Watson threw for 4,165 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions and ran for another 551 yards with five scores on the ground in 2018. But his tendency to run with the ball and seeming fearlessness of getting hit has led to many anxious moments in Houston.

He reportedly played with a broken rib and partially collapsed lung against the Cowboys in Week 5. He also missed half of his rookie season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee during practice.

–Field Level Media

Read More 296 Words

Report: Cowboys sign WR Cobb for 1 year, $5M

Report: Cowboys sign WR Cobb for 1 year, $5M

Report: Cowboys sign WR Cobb for 1 year, $5M

The Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Randall Cobb agreed to terms Tuesday on a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal is worth $5 million, according to the NFL Network.

Cobb, 28, has been with the Green Bay Packers since they drafted him in the second round in 2011. He missed seven games last season due to concussion and hamstring injuries and caught just 38 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns.

Cobb could replace the recently departed Cole Beasley and will give quarterback Dak Prescott another veteran target to pair with Amari Cooper, acquired midway through last season.

In 105 games with Green Bay, Cobb caught 470 passes for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns. Those totals rank sixth, 11th and 11th, respectively, in franchise history.

He made the Pro Bowl in 2014 with career highs in catches (91), receiving yards (1,287) and touchdowns (12).

Cobb helped the Packers knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs following the 2014 and 2016 seasons, catching a combined 15 passes for 178 yards in those two Green Bay wins.

–Field Level Media

Read More 111 Words

NFL notebook: Prosecutors reportedly make Kraft an offer

NFL notebook: Prosecutors reportedly make Kraft an offer

NFL notebook: Prosecutors reportedly make Kraft an offer

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the solicitation of prostitution charges in Florida against him dropped, but there’s a catch.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that prosecutors have offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, the defendant must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, per the report.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea in late February after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money both times.

–In an interview with Sports Illustrated, running back Le’Veon Bell said he never intended to sit out the entire 2018 season.

Bell, who recently signed with the New York Jets as a free agent, told the outlet that his original plan was to miss only Week 1 of last season. But the running back had a change of mind as events played out with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Once he realized the Steelers could again put the franchise tag on him following the season, Bell continued to sit out, and never joined the team. He became a free agent after the season and received a four-year, $52.5 million deal from the Jets.

–Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray met with Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury near the Oklahoma campus, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Cardinals own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and the Oklahoma product and Heisman Trophy winner is under heavy consideration as he is viewed as a solid fit for first-year coach Kingsbury’s offense.

Arizona took quarterback Josh Rosen 10th overall in last year’s draft but the team’s actions involving Murray may display a willingness to move on from Rosen.

–Tempted to join his brother with the Patriots, tight end Martellus Bennett said he will instead remain retired to focus on his creative work.

Michael Bennett was acquired by the Patriots from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month, sparking speculation the defensive lineman might soon be joined by his 32-year-old brother, who retired after being released by New England last offseason.

–The Carolina Panthers signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year contract reportedly worth up to $5 million in an effort to boost their pass rush after the retirement of Julius Peppers. The seven-year pro has 43.5 sacks, 277 tackles, 15 forced fumbles and three interceptions.

–The Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Randall Cobb agreed to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced. The deal is worth $5 million, according to the NFL Network. Cobb, 28, has been with the Green Bay Packers since they drafted him in the second round in 2011. He missed seven games last season due to concussion and hamstring injuries and caught just 38 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns.

–Defensive end Robert Quinn visited the Cowboys as a precursor to a potential swap with the Miami Dolphins, but reportedly left town without a deal pending. The Dolphins are willing to pay part of Quinn’s 2019 salary to help facilitate a trade of the pass rusher, according to NFL Network.

–Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has been cleared for pre-draft workouts after he had to leave the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month when a heart issue was found during his physical. Prior to the combine, most outlets had pegged him as a late-round prospect.

–Kicker Dan Bailey re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings, agreeing to a one-year deal with a base value of $1 million, per reports. … The Patriots have reportedly re-signed punter Ryan Allen to a one-year deal. … The Detroit Lions have signed restricted free agent running back Malcolm Brown to an offer sheet, which the Los Angeles Rams have until Monday to match, according to multiple reports.

–Field Level Media

Read More 621 Words

Bell planned to report to Steelers after Week 1

Bell planned to report to Steelers after Week 1

Bell planned to report to Steelers after Week 1

Le’Veon Bell says he never intended to sit out the entire 2018 season.

Bell, who recently signed with the New York Jets as a free agent, told Sports Illustrated that his original plan was to miss only Week 1 of last season. But the running back had a change of mind as events played out with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I was not going to come until Week 1, that was my original goal, original plan in my head,” Bell told SI. “At first I was literally thinking like, ‘I don’t want to play (training) camp and OTAs’ because of the hurt in my body and I’m like, ‘I’m not playing.’

“When Week 1 comes, I’m going to come, but the things that kind of led up to Week 1, I started thinking, ‘I’m not going to play Week 1.’ After even Week 1, it started to build up and it’s not making me feel comfortable.”

Bell doesn’t indicate what made him uncomfortable but he was criticized sharply by his teammates just days before the season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, left guard Ramon Foster and center Maurkice Pouncey all strongly voiced concern about Bell’s refusal to sign his $14.5 million franchise tag and join the club

“What do you do?” Foster said to reporters. “Here’s a guy who doesn’t give a damn, so I guess we’ll treat it as such. I just hate it came to this.

“… He’s making seven times what I make, twice as much as (left tackle) Al (Villanueva) is making and we’re the guys who do it for him.”

Regardless, Bell reassessed his plan and continued to sit out week after week, game after game before again deciding he was going to return after Game 6.

“Then it got to a point, regardless of what they say, I am going to bite the bullet and come back at the bye week,” Bell said.

But the 27-year-old again changed the plan and didn’t return when he realized the Steelers could again slap the franchise tag on him after the season.

He became a free agent after the season and received a four-year, $52.5 million deal from the Jets.

Bell rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns and caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven scores in 62 games over five seasons with Pittsburgh.

–Field Level Media

Read More 328 Words

Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the

Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the solicitation of prostitution charges in Florida against him dropped, but there’s a catch.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors have offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, the defendant must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

More than two dozen people were charged in February in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.

–Field Level Media

Read More 177 Words

Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Kentucky

Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has been cleared for pre-draft workouts after he had to leave the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month when a heart issue was found during his physical.

He wrote on Twitter on Monday: “My prayers have been answered! After getting further testing done, today I was finally CLEARED. I plan on having a pro day April 8. Thank you all that have encouraged and prayed for me through this tough time. I’m back!”

Conrad was medically cleared by cardiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, his agent Joe Linta, told Adam Schefter of ESPN on Tuesday.

NFL Network reported at the combine that Conrad had an irregular heartbeat due to an issue with a heart valve. He was not able to participate in on-field testing in Indianapolis but will do so at Kentucky’s Pro Day in Lexington on April 8.

Conrad caught 80 passes for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns in 35 career games at Kentucky. Prior to the combine, most outlets had pegged him as a late-round prospect.

–Field Level Media

Read More 120 Words

Report: Cardinals’ brass meets with Murray

Report: Cardinals' brass meets with Murray

Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray

Report: Cardinals’ brass meets with Murray

Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray met with Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury near the Oklahoma campus on Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Cardinals own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the Oklahoma product is under heavy consideration as he is viewed as a solid fit for Kingsbury’s offense. Kingsbury is entering his first season as coach after a college stint at Texas Tech.

Arizona took quarterback Josh Rosen in the first round of last year’s draft but the team’s actions involving Murray display a willingness to move on from the 10th overall selection.

Murray is expected to meet individually with other teams during the process leading up to next month’s draft. He worked out last Wednesday at Oklahoma’s Pro Day.

Kingsbury’s infatuation with Murray is rooted in Texas football tradition. Murray went 43-0 as a starter in high school (Allen), was the 2014 Gatorade National Player of the Year and was recruited by Kingsbury before choosing to sign with Texas A&M.

But Murray ultimately transferred and wound up following Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma. With the Sooners, he went 12-2 as a starter and led the team into the College Football Playoff while winning the Heisman Trophy.

Murray passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and added 1,001 yards and 12 scores on the ground.

His NFL stock soared higher after he spurned the Oakland Athletics, who drafted Murray in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft.

The familiarity between coach and NFL prospect is a two-way street.

“I know what type of offense he runs,” Murray recently said of Kingsbury.

“Obviously he recruited me out of high school; I have a great relationship with him. If I were to play under him, I think it’d be a great deal. But again, like I said, I don’t get to pick the players. All I can do is show up where I’m supposed to be, work hard and get after it.”

Murray said he would covet the opportunity to follow Mayfield as the first players from the same program to win the Heisman, then be chosen first overall in the draft.

“To be the No. 1 pick, that’s a kid’s dream come true,” Murray said. “If my name was called No. 1, I’d be ready to go for sure.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 329 Words

Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

The Carolina

Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

The Carolina Panthers signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year contract Tuesday in an effort to boost their pass rush after the retirement of Julius Peppers.

The contract is worth $4 million, but Irvin can earn up to $5 million through incentives, a source told the Charlotte Observer.

Irvin is an seven-year pro who has 43.5 sacks, 277 tackles, 15 forced fumbles and three interceptions.

“Our primary focus coming into the offseason was to add talent to our offensive line and our front on defense, primarily in the area of rushing the passer,” general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. “Bruce has a knack for sacking and disrupting the quarterback. We are very pleased to have him as a member of the Carolina Panthers.”

Irvin (6-3, 250) recorded a career-high eight sacks in 2017 with Oakland but fell out of favor last season under new coach Jon Gruden and was waived in early November. He was picked up by Atlanta, posting 3.5 sacks in eight games (three starts) for the Falcons.

Irvin, the 15th overall selection in the 2012 draft by Seattle, had 22 sacks in four seasons with the Seahawks before signing a four-year, $37 million contract with the Raiders.

–Field Level Media

Read More 142 Words