Patriots owner Kraft fights back against charges

Patriots owner Kraft fights back against charges

The attorney of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is firing back against law-enforcement officials in South Florida.

William Burck, who represents Kraft, issued a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday evening. Kraft is facing misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla., but he has pleaded not guilty.

“There was no human trafficking and law enforcement knows it,” Burck told Schefter, who posted the quote on his Twitter account. “The video and the traffic stop were illegal and law enforcement just doesn’t want to admit it.

“The state attorney needs to step up and do the right thing and investigate how the evidence in this case was obtained.”

Kraft and 24 other men accused in the case were offered the opportunity to have their charges dropped if they performed 100 hours of community service, took a class on the dangers of prostitution, were tested for sexually transmitted diseases and paid a fine, according to the New York Times.

Instead, Kraft is prepared to fight the charges.

William Snyder, the sheriff of Martin County, Fla., said he expected surveillance video of Kraft’s alleged illegal activities to be released before long.

“I do think ultimately they are probably going to get released,” Snyder said during an interview with CNBC.

–Field Level Media

Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown

Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown showed up to work Monday as his search for a suitable helmet continues.

Multiple outlets reported that Brown attended team meetings, although a walk-through practice was apparently canceled.

His attendance came the day after Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said it was time for the All-Pro wideout “to be all-in or all-out.”

Brown has had only one full-speed practice this preseason, in part because he was recovering from foot blisters caused by a cryotherapy mishap and lately because of his helmet issue.

His old helmet is no longer approved for NFL use because it is more than 10 years old, and when Brown used social media to find a newer version of his favored model — the Schutt AiR Advantage — it failed NFL testing.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Get Up! on Monday that his client “wants to be part of the team, he wants to practice, but he’d also like to do it with the helmet he’s worn his entire life.”

“He’s a wide receiver. He gets hit across the middle. People are trying to take his head off,” Rosenhaus said. “He’s a big target. You talk about how many catches he’s had over the last six years, for example, this is his life. He’s risking everything. He’s got a family. He’s had a concussion before. This helmet has kept him safe. He’s had brutal hits.

“We’re just trying to find a way to work it out. We’ve worked very closely with the Raiders, we’ve worked very closely with the NFL, but I hope people can appreciate, this is not a simple issue. The helmet is the most important piece of equipment and he’s had the same one every single snap he’s played in his football career. This is a major issue for him.”

The Raiders acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade in March and later signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million contract.

Brown, 31, caught at least 100 passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons with the Steelers. He has appeared in 130 games with Pittsburgh from 2010-18, catching 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Reports: Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio

Reports: Raiders WR Brown attends practice

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown showed up to work Monday as his search for a suitable helmet continues.

Multiple outlets reported that Brown attended team meetings, although a walk-through practice was apparently canceled.

His attendance came the day after Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said it was time for the All-Pro wideout “to be all-in or all-out.”

Brown has had only one full-speed practice this preseason, in part because he was recovering from foot blisters caused by a cryotherapy mishap and lately because of his helmet issue.

His old helmet is no longer approved for NFL use because it is more than 10 years old, and when Brown used social media to find a newer version of his favored model — the Schutt AiR Advantage — it failed NFL testing.

Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Get Up! on Monday that his client “wants to be part of the team, he wants to practice, but he’d also like to do it with the helmet he’s worn his entire life.”

“He’s a wide receiver. He gets hit across the middle. People are trying to take his head off,” Rosenhaus said. “He’s a big target. You talk about how many catches he’s had over the last six years, for example, this is his life. He’s risking everything. He’s got a family. He’s had a concussion before. This helmet has kept him safe. He’s had brutal hits.

“We’re just trying to find a way to work it out. We’ve worked very closely with the Raiders, we’ve worked very closely with the NFL, but I hope people can appreciate, this is not a simple issue. The helmet is the most important piece of equipment and he’s had the same one every single snap he’s played in his football career. This is a major issue for him.”

The Raiders acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade in March and later signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million contract.

Brown, 31, caught at least 100 passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons with the Steelers. He has appeared in 130 games with Pittsburgh from 2010-18, catching 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Agent says WR Brown will rejoin Raiders ‘soon’

Agent says WR Brown will rejoin Raiders 'soon'

Agent Drew Rosenhaus

Agent says WR Brown will rejoin Raiders ‘soon’

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said wide receiver Antonio Brown will rejoin the Oakland Raiders soon.

“I do think he’s going to be back soon,” Rosenhaus said on ESPN’s Get Up! program. “We’re looking into any and all options right now to resolve the helmet issue. Antonio is very genuine. He wants to be there, he wants to be part of the team, he wants to practice, but he’d also like to do it with the helmet he’s worn his entire life.”

The agent’s remarks came one day after Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said it was time for the All-Pro wideout “to be all-in or all-out.”

Brown was a full participant in the team’s walkthrough on Saturday, but he has had only one full-speed practice, in part because he was recovering from foot blisters caused by a cryotherapy mishap and lately because of the helmet issue.

His old helmet is no longer approved for NFL use because it is more than 10 years old, and when Brown used social media to find a newer version of his favored model — the Schutt AiR Advantage — it failed NFL testing.

“He’s a wide receiver. He gets hit across the middle. People are trying to take his head off,” Rosenhaus said. “He’s a big target. You talk about how many catches he’s had over the last six years, for example, this is his life. He’s risking everything. He’s got a family. He’s had a concussion before. This helmet has kept him safe. He’s had brutal hits.

“We’re just trying to find a way to work it out. We’ve worked very closely with the Raiders, we’ve worked very closely with the NFL, but I hope people can appreciate, this is not a simple issue. The helmet is the most important piece of equipment and he’s had the same one every single snap he’s played in his football career. This is a major issue for him.”

The Raiders acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade in March and later signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million contract.

Brown, 31, caught at least 100 passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons with the Steelers. He has appeared in 130 games with Pittsburgh from 2010-18, catching 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Report: CBA talks resume, playoff expansion front and center

Report: CBA talks resume, playoff expansion front and center

Report: CBA talks resume, playoff expansion front and center

Playoff expansion is front and center as the NFL and the Players Association resume talks geared toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, NFL Network reported Monday.

The addition of one playoff team from each conference has been discussed before, but could become reality as owners consider ways to maintain profit margins while also eliminating at least one week of preseason games.

Currently, each team has two home games each preseason. With season-ticket holder and personal seat license sales counting toward attendance, the gate for home teams at those two games is considerable.

Some owners support expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 weeks from 16.

There is also growing support for boosting the playoff field by one team in each conference, per NFL Network.

The existing CBA expires in March 2021, but commissioner Roger Goodell said there is momentum on both sides to agree to a new deal before the start of the NFL’s 100th season on Sept. 5.

Scheduling might not be an easy bridge to cross in negotiations considering player-safety initiatives during the lifespan of the current CBA. An even greater challenge would appear to be the players insisting on a greater take of revenues from the current allotment of 47 percent.

–Field Level Media

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Flores: Dolphins QB competition still open

Flores: Dolphins QB competition still open

Flores: Dolphins QB competition still open

Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the start for the Miami Dolphins this week, but head coach Brian Flores claims that decision is not an indication of his plans for Week 1 of the regular season.

Fitzpatrick was deemed to be ahead of Josh Rosen entering the preseason, but neither quarterback has separated himself through two games.

“I’m going to put the guy who will help us win, who we feel will give us the best chance to win games,” Flores said.

The third preseason game often is used as a dress rehearsal of sorts, testing starters against starters to prepare for opening weekend of the regular season on Sept. 8.

Fitzpatrick is expected to start Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars and play into the second half before giving way to Rosen, Flores said.

“I would say we’re going into every game trying to evaluate every player on the team,” Flores said on Monday. “I know this is the third preseason game, and the thought is this is the dress rehearsal for regular season game No. 1. In a lot of ways, it is that. But every game is important to me.”

Rosen is 23 of 38 (60.5 percent) for 293 yards and one interception. He has been sacked five times. When asked on Monday where Rosen needed to improve, Flores called him out for holding onto the ball.

Fitzpatrick is 5 of 14 (35.7 percent) for 40 yards with a long completion of 14 yards.

The Dolphins signed the 36-year-old Fitzpatrick in the offseason. They also traded for the 22-year-old Rosen, who was a first-round draft pick by Arizona in 2018. He became expendable when the Cardinals took quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.

–Field Level Media

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AAF roundup: Hackenberg benched, Apollos top Express

AAF roundup: Hackenberg benched, Apollos top Express

AAF roundup: Hackenberg benched, Apollos top Express

The Orlando defense forced Christian Hackenberg to the bench with two first-half interceptions, and the offense did enough for the Apollos to hold off the visiting Memphis Express 21-17 on Saturday night.

Memphis coach Mike Singletary pulled Hackenberg — the 2016 second-round pick of the New York Jets — at halftime in favor of Zach Mettenberger, who made 10 starts for the Tennessee Titans from 2014-15. Hackenberg finished 8 of 14 for 88 yards and the two picks, plus another would-be interception that was dropped.

Mettenberger rallied the Express to make it close, going 9 of 12 for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Sherman Badie also turned heads with eight carries for 59 yards for Memphis, which fell to 0-3.

Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who played briefly for the Carolina Panthers in 2018, finished 14 of 28 for 207 yards and a 37-yard touchdown to Rannell Hall. Wideout Charles Johnson, a former Minnesota Viking, continued his strong play with three grabs for 53 yards for the Apollos, who moved to 3-0.

Stallions 23, Hotshots 15

Quarterback Josh Woodrum threw for 178 yards and a touchdown as Salt Lake City earned its first win, beating visiting Arizona.

Woodrum, a Liberty product who has been on six NFL rosters since going undrafted in 2016, finished 22 of 31, with a 15-yard score to wideout De’Mornay Pierson-El in the second quarter. Pierson-El, who signed briefly with the Washington Redskins last spring before playing in the CFL, caught all eight of his targets for 90 yards. Running back Branden Oliver, who previously played for the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers, added 40 rushing yards and a touchdown.

John Wolford struggled at quarterback for Arizona, going 14 of 22 for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Trevor Knight, the former Oklahoma and Texas A&M quarterback, saw time as well, going 7 of 16 for 85 yards. Former Washington Redskins wideout Rashad Ross continued his strong play with six catches for 51 yards and a 1-yard score, but the Hotshots fell to 2-1.

–Field Level Media

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Baddeley holds third-round lead at Puerto Rico Open

Baddeley holds third-round lead at Puerto Rico Open

Baddeley holds third-round lead at Puerto Rico Open

Australia’s Aaron Baddeley fired a six-under-par 66 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

Baddeley’s 12-under 204 total is one stroke better than Nate Lashley and two ahead of Martin Trainer, who both shots 69s. Baddeley has six birdies during a bogey-free round. Lashley, who was among three co-leaders entering the day had an eagle, four birdies and three bogeys. Trainer had five birdies — including three in his last four holes — and two bogeys.

Defending champion D.A. Points is tied for 50th at 1 under. He shot 72 on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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Johnson takes 4-shot lead into WGC’s final round

Johnson takes 4-shot lead into WGC's final round

Johnson takes 4-shot lead into WGC’s final round

Dustin Johnson fired a 5-under-par 66 on Saturday and built a four-stroke lead after the third round at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.

Johnson is at 16-under 197 and well in front of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who had seven birdies and four bogeys on his card in the third round for a 68, good for second. Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay, Australia’s Cameron Smith and Spain’s Sergio Garcia are tied for third, seven shots back of Johnson at 9 under.

Reed fashioned a third-round best 7-under 64 on Saturday while Cantlay carded a 65, Smith finished with a 68, and Garcia birdied the last hole to end up with a 69. Reed will be in the final group with Johnson and McIlroy on Sunday.

Johnson still has not made a bogey this week through 54 holes, but a double bogey on the 10th hole showed that he is indeed human and slowed his march to this title, if only for one hole.

“I played really well on the front nine even though I missed some putt, but on 10, I misjudged the lie a little bit and it jumped straight up in the air and hit the tree and I ended up making double,” Johnson said. “I didn’t let it bother me because I knew I was playing well and I knew that there were still plenty of holes I could make birdie on coming down the stretch.”

Johnson also had an eagle on the par-4 second hole, when he drove the green and made a 4-foot putt. He had birdies on the fifth, 11th, 12th and, after a wonderful pitch, on the 15th. He also birdied No. 17.

“I feel good just about everywhere,” Johnson told Golf Channel, when asked about the state of his game. “I’m doing everything well. These green here are pretty tricky and I keep giving myself opportunities to make birdies. Maybe I will take advantage of a couple more of those on Sunday.”

If there is a horse for the course this week, it’s Johnson, who has two top-10 finishes in two starts in this event and won this championship in 2017.

Johnson had the 36-hole lead at 11 under, two strokes over first-round leader McIlroy and Matt Kuchar. Tommy Fleetwood of England started the third round three shots off the pace and Garcia was four back.

Kuchar on Saturday stumbled to a 79 — he had five bogeys and three double bogeys on his card — while playing in the final group with Johnson and McIlroy. He has a 54-hole total of 212, 15 shots behind Johnson.

Ian Poulter of England (69) and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat (68) are tied for seventh at 8 under.

Fleetwood (72) never got anything going, ending the round tied for ninth at 6 under.

Tiger Woods had an up-and-down round, settling for a 70 that featured six birdies, three bogeys and double bogey. Woods needed 35 putts in the round, just two shy of his all-time high of 37 in a PGA Tour round. He’s among the four players tied for ninth at 207, 10 shots off Johnson’s lead.

McIlroy had a slow start — he was six shots off Johnson’s lead after eight holes — but played the final 10 holes in 4 under.

“I hung in there because I didn’t hit the ball as well as I did the first couple of days,” McIlroy explained. “I kept myself in some sort of touch with D.J., which I had to work to do. The course is getting rather difficult out there, it’s getting bouncy, and it’s going to be tough out there [Sunday] if it remains dry like this and it gets even firmer and faster.”

Four players in the last 50 years have won 20 times on the PGA Tour before turning 35: Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Woods and Phil Mickelson. Johnson can join them if he can finish off things on Sunday. It would take an epic collapse for him, or a torrid round by McIlroy, not to get the job done in the final round.

Johnson has won seven of 15 times he’s held a 54-hole lead in his PGA Tour career. He said he will approach Sunday’s final round with the same strategy he had the first three days.

“There are a lot of great players behind me and I am going to have to go out and shoot a great score [Sunday] if I want to win,” Johnson said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

–Field Level Media

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Johnson takes commanding lead into WGC’s final round

Johnson takes commanding lead into WGC's final round

Johnson takes commanding lead into WGC’s final round

Dustin Johnson fired a 5-under-par 66 on Saturday and built a four-stroke lead after the third round of play at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.

Johnson is at 16-under and well in front of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who had seven birdies and four bogeys on his card in the third round to sit in second. Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay, Australia’s Cameron Smith and Spain’s Sergio Garcia are tied for third, seven shots back of Johnson at 9-under.

Reed fashioned a third-round best 7-under 64 on Saturday while Cantlay carded a 65, Smith finished with a 68, and Garcia birdied the last hole to end up with a 69. Reed will be in the final group with Johnson and McIlroy on Sunday.

Johnson still has not made a bogey this week through 54 holes, but a double bogey on the 10th hole showed that he is indeed human and slowed his march to this title, if only for one hole.

Johnson also had an eagle on the par-4 second hole, when he drove the green and made a 4-foot putt. He had birdies on the fifth, 11th, 12th, 15th holes and 17th holes

If there is a horse for the course this week, it’s Johnson, who has two top-10 finishes in two starts in this event and won this championship in 2017.

Johnson had the 36-hole lead at 11 under, two strokes over first-round leader McIlroy and Matt Kuchar. Tommy Fleetwood of England started the third round three shots off the pace and Garcia was four back.

Kuchar struggles to a 79 – he had five bogeys and three double bogeys on his card – while playing in the final group with Johnson and McIlroy.

Ian Poulter of England (69) and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat (68) are tied for seventh at 8-under.

Fleetwood (72) never got anything going, ending the round tied for ninth at 6-under.

Tiger Woods had an up-and-down round, settling for a 70 that featured six birdies, three bogeys and double bogey. Woods needed 35 putts in the round, just two short of his all-time high of 37 in a PGA Tour round. He’s among the four players tied for ninth, nine shots off Johnson’s lead.

Four players in the last 50 years have won 20 times on the PGA Tour before turning 35: Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Woods, and Phil Mickelson. Johnson can join them if he can finish off things on Sunday. It would take an epic collapse for him, or a torrid round by McIlroy, not to get the job done in the final round.

–Field Level Media

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Buccaneers WR Evans (leg) misses practice

Buccaneers WR Evans (leg) misses practice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans did not practice

Buccaneers WR Evans (leg) misses practice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans did not practice Monday due to an apparent leg injury.

The Tampa Bay Times said the two-time Pro Bowl selection grabbed his left leg after catching a deep ball during Sunday’s practice.

Evans played a total of 20 snaps in the Bucs’ first two preseason contests, but his availability for Friday’s game against the Cleveland Browns is in question.

Evans, who turns 26 on Wednesday, is coming off his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season. He broke the single-season Tampa Bay record with 1,524 receiving yards in 2018.

Named to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2018, the 2014 first-round draft pick (seventh overall) signed a five-year, $82.5 million extension in March 2018.

–Field Level Media

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Johnson shoots 2nd bogey-free round, leads WGC by 2

Johnson shoots 2nd bogey-free round, leads WGC by 2

Johnson shoots 2nd bogey-free round, leads WGC by 2

Dustin Johnson shot his second consecutive bogey-free round to build a two-shot lead at 11-under-par 131 after two rounds of the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.

Trailing Rory McIlroy by one shot entering the second round, Johnson found himself four shots back after the Northern Irishman birdied three of his first four holes. But Johnson continued his steady play while McIlroy ran into mid-round trouble, finishing Friday in a tie for second at 9-under with Matt Kuchar (67).

Since McIlroy got into the clubhouse first with his 1-under 70 on Friday, he will be paired with Johnson in the final group on Saturday. Kuchar will be paired with Spain’s Sergio Garcia (66), who is tied for fourth place with England’s Tommy Fleetwood at 7-under. Fleetwood tied for the low round of the day with his 7-under 65 despite missing a short putt on No. 17.

Fellow Englishman Ian Poulter (68) and Australia’s Cameron Smith (67) are another shot off the pace at 6-under. Tiger Woods was one shot off the low round of the day with his 66, which vaulted him 17 spots and into a five-tie for eighth place at 5-under.

No one had a bigger bounce-back Friday than Phil Mickelson, who is tied for 39th place. The defending champion moved up 31 spots by matching Fleetwood’s 65, and Mickelson’s 14-stroke improvement from the previous day was the largest single-round bounce-back in his 600 career PGA Tour events.

Johnson hasn’t experienced any such turbulence through the first two days. While acknowledging Chapultepec has narrow fairways, he said the tree-lined holes keep him focused and Johnson carded four birdies in posting a 4-under 67 on Friday.

He only hit half of the fairways in the second round, but hit 17 of 18 greens in posting bogey-free rounds during the first two rounds of an event for the first time in his career.

“I think I have a very good game plan,” Johnson told reporters. “I don’t really play too aggressive here, but when you can I try to be aggressive. And try to get myself some good looks at birdie, but off the tee I can’t be too aggressive.”

Johnson has now been in the Top 10 after nine of his past 10 rounds at the event, which is contested more than 7,000 feet above sea level and features many players hitting their long irons more than 300 yards.

“I just enjoy playing this kind of golf,” Johnson told the Golf Channel. “It makes you focus, you’ve got to think. You’re doing a lot of calculations with the numbers and trying to figure out how far the ball actually is going to go. I enjoy it.”

It looked early on like McIlroy might run away and hide. He was 11-under when he took a rip at the green on the par-5 sixth hole with his second shot. But McIlroy’s ball found the water and he wound up with a bogey.

He still held a one-shot lead when he stood over a birdie putt on the ninth hole. Having been perfect on all 24 putts inside 10 feet for the week to the point, McIlroy’s attempt lipped-out. He also missed the come-back putt for bogey and suddenly found himself looking up at Johnson on the scoreboard.

McIlroy did rebound to birdie the 14th hole to get into that powerhouse final group on Saturday.

“We’ve still got 36 holes to go,” Johnson said. “I feel like I’m in a good position going into the weekend, but a two-shot lead is not very much. Especially not around here.”

Woods fared much better in just his second career professional round in Mexico, improving by five shots over his first-round score. That included a shot from a fairway bunker that sliced around a tree and came within a foot or two of holing out.

“I realized that, ‘geez I really gotta slice this thing,'” he told reporters. “So I opened up and gave it as much of a cut motion as I could and it worked out.”

–Field Level Media

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AAF roundup: Woodrum guides Stallions past Hotshots

AAF roundup: Woodrum guides Stallions past Hotshots

Quarterback Josh Woodrum

AAF roundup: Woodrum guides Stallions past Hotshots

Quarterback Josh Woodrum threw for 178 yards and a touchdown as the Salt Lake City Stallions earned their first win, beating the Arizona Hotshots 23-15 on Saturday.

Woodrum, a Liberty product who has been on six NFL rosters since going undrafted in 2016, finished 22 of 31, with a 15-yard score to wideout De’Mornay Pierson-El in the second quarter. Pierson-El, who signed briefly with the Washington Redskins last spring before playing in the CFL, caught all eight of his targets for 90 yards. Running back Branden Oliver, who previously played for the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers, added 40 rushing yards and a touchdown.

John Wolford struggled at quarterback for Arizona, going 14 of 22 for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Trevor Knight, the former Oklahoma and Texas A&M quarterback, saw time as well, going 7 of 16 for 85 yards. Former Washington Redskins wideout Rashad Ross continued his strong play with six catches for 51 yards and a 1-yard score, but the Hotshots fell to 2-1.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Alabama S Thompson to miss combine workouts

Report: Alabama S Thompson to miss combine workouts

Report: Alabama S Thompson to miss combine workouts

Alabama All-American safety Deionte Thompson is expected to miss the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine after undergoing wrist surgery, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Saturday.

The surgery was performed Friday to repair a torn ligament in Thompson’s wrist, and he is not anticipated to have any lasting problems, Rapoport said.

Thompson is expected to be one of the first safeties off the board at the NFL draft in April.

In his three seasons at Alabama, Thompson had 112 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three interceptions.

Alabama’s pro day is set for March 19, but it is unknown whether Thompson will be able to participate. The combine will be held Feb. 26-March 4 in Indianapolis.

— Field Level Media

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Chiefs add ex-Raiders, Bills QB Manuel

Chiefs add ex-Raiders, Bills QB Manuel

Chiefs add ex-Raiders, Bills QB Manuel

The Kansas City Chiefs announced the signings of former first-round quarterback EJ Manuel and three other free agents on Friday.

The team also added two wide receivers, Sammie Coates and Davon Grayson, as well as defensive back Dontae Johnson.

Manuel, who turns 29 next month, last was active in the league in 2017, when he played in two games, with one start, for the Oakland Raiders. The team released the veteran during the 2018 preseason. Manuel joins Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne and Chase Litton as quarterbacks on the Chiefs’ roster.

Originally chosen by the Buffalo Bills in the first round (No. 16 overall pick) in the 2013 NFL Draft, Manuel went 6-11 as a starter in four seasons with Buffalo.

For his career, Manuel has completed 58.1 percent of his passes with 20 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions for a 77.1 passer rating.

Coates, who turns 26 in March, has played four NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2015-16), Cleveland Browns (2017) and Houston Texans (2018). The one-time third-round pick has caught 29 passes for 528 yards and two touchdowns in 45 career games (six starts).

Grayson, 23, was signed by Kansas City as an undrafted free agent last May out of East Carolina, but he didn’t make the final roster.

The 27-year-old Johnson was a fourth-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2014 who saw action for the Bills in one game last season. With the 49ers, Johnson played in all but one game in four seasons from 2014-17 and started every game in 2017. He has 145 career tackles and two interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles release Maragos, re-sign two others

Eagles release Maragos, re-sign two others

The Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles release Maragos, re-sign two others

The Philadelphia Eagles announced the release of defensive back Chris Maragos on Friday after five seasons with the franchise.

Maragos missed all of last season with a knee injury he suffered during the 2017 campaign in Week 6 against Carolina.

Maragos was one of the Eagles’ top special-teams players. The team said he made 49 special teams’ tackles in 53 games with the club and was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2014.

“We are grateful for Chris Maragos’ contributions to the Philadelphia Eagles over the last five seasons,” the team said in a statement. “A captain on our Super Bowl LII-winning team, Chris’ leadership on and off the field and his ability to connect with teammates, coaches and fans made him a valuable member of this organization and the community.

“Chris solidified himself as one of the best special teams performers in the NFL and played a crucial role in the success of our team. We wish Chris and his family all the best.”

Before joining the Eagles, Maragos also played for San Francisco (2010) and Seattle (2011-13), winning a Super Bowl in his final season with the Seahawks. He has played in 99 career games (three starts).

Philadelphia also signed kicker Jake Elliott and long snapper Rick Lovato to one-year deals.

Elliott has made 52 of 62 field goals in two seasons with the Eagles. He had 111 points last season when he made 26 of 31 field-goal attempts.

Lovato served as long snapper for the past two seasons and has spent parts of the last three campaigns with the Eagles. He also spent time with the Green Bay Packers (two games in 2015) and Washington Redskins (two games in 2016).

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

After a

Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

After a difficult season culminated by a crucial missed field goal on a potential game-winning field goal in the NFC playoffs, kicker Cody Parkey will be released by the Chicago Bears when the new league year begins in March.

According to multiple reports on Friday, the team intends to cut ties with Parkey once the NFL free agency period begins on March 13.

Parkey, who turned 27 on Tuesday, endured an inconsistent season in Chicago after inking a four-year, $15 million contract last winter following the team’s release of Robbie Gould, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer who moved on to the San Francisco 49ers.

Parkey, a five-year veteran, not only missed a career-high seven field-goal attempts and three extra points during the regular season, but his 43-yard attempt in the final seconds of the NFC wild-card round against the Philadelphia Eagles first hit the upright then the crossbar before bouncing back on the field.

Despite the NFL later ruling that the kick was partially blocked, Parkey took much of the public blame for the Bears’ season ending.

Parkey began his career with the Eagles in 2014 when he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, scoring a franchise-record 150 points while making 32 of 36 field-goal tries. In two seasons with the Eagles, Parkey never missed an extra point.

Parkey later kicked for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and Miami Dolphins in 2017.

In January, the Bears signed Tulsa product Redford Jones after conducting a workout that reportedly included multiple hopefuls. Jones made 50 of his 67 field-goal attempts at Tulsa from 2015-17, and he does have a kick on his resume where he hit both uprights. Unlike Parkey’s double-doink, though, that 2016 attempt against Cincinnati ended up going over the crossbar for three points.

“We need more production out of that position,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said last month after signing Jones. “We know we need to get better there, and it will be an area of focus.”

–Field Level Media

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Trio tied for lead at Puerto Rico Open

Trio tied for lead at Puerto Rico Open

Trio tied for lead at Puerto Rico Open

D.J. Trahan, Nate Lashley and Mexico’s Roberto Diaz all share the lead at 8-under-par 136 after two rounds of the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

Trahan shot a 5-under 67 in Friday’s second round while Lashley and Diaz carded 68s. Trahan had seven birdies and two bogeys, Lashley shot six birdies and two bogeys while Diaz had four birdies during a bogey-free round.

Defending champion D.A. Points is tied for 38th at 1 under. He shot 72 on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Patriots owner Kraft faces solicitation charges

NFL notebook: Patriots owner Kraft faces solicitation charges

NFL notebook: Patriots owner Kraft faces solicitation charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft faces two counts of solicitation of prostitution in Florida as one of 25 individuals facing similar charges in connection with an investigation into a Florida spa allegedly tied to an international human trafficking ring.

Kraft, 77, is alleged to have paid for sex at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., one of 10 shut down in the region after a long investigation showed the women in the spas were sex servants, according to authorities. Kraft allegedly visited the spa on two occasions, according to law enforcement.

He has not been arrested on the charges, both classified as misdemeanors. NFL Network reported that an arrest warrant will be issued on Monday with possibility of Kraft facing 60 days in jail.

Kraft, who also owns the New England Revolution MLS franchise, denied the accusations on Friday afternoon. The NFL also released a statement, saying it “is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”

–After a difficult season culminated by a crucial missed attempt on a potential game-winning field goal in the NFC playoffs, kicker Cody Parkey will be released by the Chicago Bears when the new league year begins in March.

According to multiple reports, the team intends to cut ties with Parkey once the NFL free agency period begins on March 13.

Parkey, who turned 27 on Tuesday, endured an inconsistent season in Chicago after inking a four-year, $15 million contract last winter following the team’s release of Robbie Gould, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer who moved on to the San Francisco 49ers.

–The Philadelphia Eagles announced the release of defensive back Chris Maragos after five seasons with the franchise, missing all of last season with a knee injury he suffered during the 2017 campaign.

Maragos was one of the Eagles’ top special-teams players. The Eagles said he made 49 special teams’ tackles in 53 games with the club and was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2014.

Philadelphia also re-signed kicker Jake Elliott and long snapper Rick Lovato to one-year deals. Elliott has made 52 of 62 field goals in two seasons with the Eagles. Lovato served as long snapper for the past two seasons and has spent parts of the last three campaigns with the Eagles.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: League seeks info on Gurley’s injury

NFL notebook: League seeks info on Gurley's injury

NFL notebook: League seeks info on Gurley’s injury

A revelation from running back C.J. Anderson that Todd Gurley’s knee injury was more severe than the Los Angeles Rams thought — and disclosed — triggered an NFL request for more information from the team, a league source told Field Level Media.

Gurley was not on the Super Bowl injury report. He largely gave way to Anderson in the postseason, but the company line from the Rams centered around head coach Sean McVay taking the blame for not getting Gurley more involved.

Gurley missed the final two regular-season games, dealing with an undisclosed knee problem, then played on a limited basis in the first two playoff games. After the Rams went through their final on-field workout Friday, two days before the Super Bowl, McVay labeled Gurley “100 percent.”

A league source told FLM that the NFL office routinely seeks more information from teams in situations such as Gurley’s. Rams spokesman Artis Tyman did not confirm or deny a request for information was made regarding Gurley’s injury since Anderson’s comments, instead directing queries on the matter to the NFL.

–The Cincinnati Bengals hired New York Giants secondary coach Lou Anarumo as their defensive coordinator.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor worked with Anarumo when both were with the Miami Dolphins.

Anarumo, 52, spent last season coaching the Giants and was in Miami from 2012-17. Anarumo and Taylor were made interim coordinators after the dismissal of head coach Joe Philbin with 12 games to go in the 2015 season.

–Put Denver quarterback Case Keenum atop the list of people surprised by the Broncos’ trade for Joe Flacco earlier this month.

Keenum, who signed a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver in March 2018, appeared on The Sports Spectrum podcast with his wife, Kimberly.

“(GM John) Elway called me that morning and we had a great conversation, which he didn’t have to do, and I appreciated that,” Keenum said. “It was definitely a shock. It was a surprise for us. … For us, we’re definitely disappointed. It’s not something we wanted to happen. I know everybody is doing their job and John feels like it was a chance to help the Broncos out.”

–The Baltimore Ravens agreed to a three-year contract extension with cornerback Tavon Young, multiple outlets reported.

Young, a 2016 fourth-round draft pick, turns 25 next month. He had one year remaining on his four-year rookie contract.

ESPN reported the extension is a three-year, $25.8 million deal with a max value of $29 million, making him the NFL’s highest-paid nickel back. NFL Network valued the extension at three years and $27 million.

–The New Orleans Saints are planning to release safety Kurt Coleman and clear more than $4 million in cap space, NFL Network reported.

Coleman signed a three-year, $16.3 million deal with the Saints last offseason and was due $5.5 million in total compensation in 2019.

A source told NFL Network that New Orleans was open to bringing the nine-year veteran back at a reduced rate.

–Former Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson Jr. was granted preliminary licensing approval to launch a medical marijuana business in Michigan, according to mlive.com.

Johnson plans to open a chain of provisioning centers in the state under the brand name “Primitive,” according to his attorney, Michael D. Stein.

This was the second time Johnson had sought approval for a provisioning center license. The Medical Marijuana Licensing Board denied his request with former Lions teammate Robert Sims two months ago, citing Johnson’s traffic violations.

–The Broncos have informed free agent nose tackle Domata Peko they don’t intend to re-sign him, 9News Denver reported.

Per the report, the Broncos would like to seek a younger option at the position, though they won’t rule out Peko if he remains on the market in the later stages of free agency.

Peko, 34, spent the past two years with the Broncos on a two-year, $7 million deal, excelling in a run-stopping role. The 13-year veteran, who spent his first 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, has missed just six games in his career, and only two since 2009.

–The Chicago Bears officially released veteran tight end Dion Sims, clearing $6 million in cap space.

Sims, who turned 28 on Monday, will count only $333,334 in dead money for 2019.

Sims signed a three-year, $18 million deal with Chicago as a free agent in 2017.

–The NFL conditionally reinstated former Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams after a lengthy suspension for substance abuse, according to multiple reports.

Williams, 25, hasn’t played in the league since his rookie season in 2015.

The fifth-round draft pick from Florida State showed promise when he appeared in 11 games for Buffalo, rushing for 517 yards and seven touchdowns and adding 11 catches for 96 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots owner Kraft faces solicitation charges

Patriots owner Kraft faces solicitation charges

New

Patriots owner Kraft faces solicitation charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged with two counts of solicitation of prostitution in Florida.

Kraft is one of 25 individuals facing similar charges in connection with an investigation into a Florida spa allegedly tied to an international human trafficking ring.

Kraft, 77, is alleged to have paid for sex at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., one of 10 shut down in the region after a long investigation showed the women in the spas were sex servants, according to authorities. Kraft allegedly visited the spa on two occasions, according to law enforcement.

He has not been arrested on the charges, both classified as misdemeanors. An arrest warrant will be issued.

Kraft, who also owns the New England Revolution MLS franchise, denied the accusations on Friday afternoon.

“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” a spokesman for Kraft said in a statement. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

Authorities at a news conference on Friday said much of their evidence in the investigation comes from cameras worn on officers’ uniforms and from surveillance that was conducted via hidden cameras inside the day spa. The cameras captured the alleged sexual acts being committed inside the spa, including those involving Kraft.

“We’re as deeply stunned as anyone else,” Jupiter, Fla., Police Chief Daniel Kerr said of Kraft’s alleged involvement.

–Field Level Media

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