Prescott, Elliott lead revamped Cowboys in playoff pursuit

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott dealt with the uncertainty of running back Ezekiel Elliott’s looming six-game suspension last year when the Dallas Cowboys slid from an NFC-best 13 wins to out of the playoffs.

Now the star quarterback faces the unknown of a revamped and largely unproven group of receivers after the departures of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant.

Elliott, Prescott’s fellow rookie standout from two years ago, is the supposed sure thing for a team looking up in the NFC East at defending Super Bowl champ Philadelphia.

Cole Beasley is the leader of the pass-catchers simply by having the longest Dallas tenure. The Cowboys have high hopes for newcomer Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup, the first receiver drafted by the club (third round) after dumping franchise touchdown catch leader Bryant in a cost-cutting move.

“They’re very hungry guys,” Prescott said. “They’re guys that you may not necessarily know their names, but that’s what they want. They want to get out there and make those plays, let people know that they can play and they can play at a high level.”

Elliott ended up serving the suspension over domestic violence allegations halfway through last season, triggering a three-game losing streak that was too much to overcome in the tight NFC playoff race.

Throw in the retirement of Tony Romo last year spurred by the sudden emergence of Prescott, and the team’s three most important offensive players for a decade have been replaced by Elliott, the 2016 rushing champion, and his backfield mate, that year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

“It just shows how fast time goes and how quick things can change, but I think we’re both ready to embrace this leadership role,” said Elliott, who still led the NFL in yards rushing per game last season. “We’re excited for this year to come.”

Some story lines with the Cowboys seeking a third straight winning season for the first time since the last of five straight in 2009:

DEFENSE FIRST?

The Cowboys have been offense-first just about every year since coach Jason Garrett joined the staff as offensive coordinator in 2007. If the preseason is any indication, Dallas might feed off its defense for once.

DeMarcus Lawrence, who tied for second in the NFL with 14½ sacks last season, leads a pass rush that’s gaining momentum. Linebacker Sean Lee is ready to be a face for the franchise with Witten gone. Starting cornerbacks Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie head a batch of young potential playmakers in the secondary.

“I don’t like to get ahead of ourselves — we have to put the stats down and the wins and the turnovers,” Lee said.

“Until we do that, we can’t say anything. When it comes to the right group of guys, guys who love to work and are talented, it’s as good a group as I’ve worked with.”

UNCERTAINTY AT CENTER

Four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick is out indefinitely after getting diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome , a disorder that attacks the nervous system. His absence raises a big question with the other part of the Elliott formula: a vaunted offensive line.

Right guard Zack Martin injured a knee in the preseason, but expects to be ready for the opener Sept. 9 at Carolina.

Left tackle Tyron Smith has battled back issues the past few seasons. Joe Looney is set to step in for Frederick, and the Cowboys have a rookie at left guard in second-round pick Connor Williams.

LEE’S CO-STARS

While Lee anchors the linebackers, Jaylon Smith has the Cowboys encouraged about his continuing recovery from a devastating knee injury in his final college game. He missed his rookie year while rehabbing and struggled with consistency last season.

Smith is playing without a brace this year and believes he has regained the form that made him a potential top-10 pick coming out of Notre Dame. First-round pick Leighton Vander Esch missed the latter part of training camp with a groin injury, but is expected to contribute as a rookie.

THICK AND THIN

Depth will be a strength with pass rushing if Randy Gregory and David Irving can overcome substance-abuse suspensions and contribute a few sacks apiece. Gregory was suspended all of last season, but has looked promising at camp. Irving is opening the season with a four-game suspension for the second year in a row.

The Cowboys are dangerously thin at safety. Jeff Heath is the only healthy player with significant experience. Xavier Woods (hamstring) and Kavon Frazier (shoulder) were injured in consecutive weeks in the preseason. Woods might miss the opener, while Frazier says he will play.

___

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Report: DE Sweat was misdiagnosed at combine

Report: DE Sweat was misdiagnosed at combine

Former Mississippi State defensive

Report: DE Sweat was misdiagnosed at combine

Former Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat has been a bit of a draft mystery since it was reported that a pre-existing heart condition had been discovered at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But hours before the draft kicks off, NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reports that follow-up examinations suggest that Sweat’s condition was misdiagnosed.

Sweat’s condition wasn’t publicly known prior to the combine. Doctors determined his condition to be low-risk, according to NFL.com, and allowed Sweat to participate.

Sweat was reportedly originally diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which leads to thickening of the heart wall, but a doctor who performed follow-up tests disagreed with the findings. According to Rapaport, one team suggested the measurement of the heart wall had been done wrong by accident.

Sweat ran a blazing 4.41-second, 40-yard dash at the combine, topping the previous mark for a defensive lineman shared by North Carolina State’s Manny Lawson (2006) and Isaac Hilton (2004) from Hampton. The performance elevated him into contention to be a possible Top 10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Sweat’s agents downplayed the original report last month.

“Because of privacy issues we are not allowed to comment specifically,” the statement began, “but I will tell you that this is not news. Montez is the same person that was medically cleared to play and dominate the SEC, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL combine. No change in health and no change in domination!”

Sweat ranked among the SEC leaders in sacks and tackles for loss in each of his two seasons (2017-18) with the Bulldogs, tallying a combined 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss in 2017-18.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Sweat posted a time that was faster than all but one of 23 running backs tested.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Texans open to trading Clowney

Report: Texans open to trading Clowney

The Houston Texans

Report: Texans open to trading Clowney

The Houston Texans are open to trading franchise-tagged defensive end Jadeveon Clowney for the right price, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Thursday.

The Texans tagged Clowney earlier this offseason, and various reports since have said the sides are not close to a long-term extension. They have until July 15 to agree to a new deal, or Clowney will play 2019 on the tag, which is worth $15.967 million.

General manager Brian Gaine told reporters last week that keeping Clowney around long-term is “still the plan.”

“You know, there’s a reason why we did that with every hope and intention to continuing to work on that,” Gaine said of using the franchise tag. “That’s a negotiation, it’s a process. It has to be a deal that makes sense for both sides, for the player, for the organization as it relates to short term and long term. That’s still the plan.”

Clowney, 26, has 18.5 sacks and 42 quarterback hits over the last two seasons.

He is likely seeking more than $20 million annually on a contract extension, after defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark each exceeded that benchmark within the last month.

Clark, who was tagged by the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, got his contract from the Kansas City Chiefs after being traded by Seattle for first- and second-round picks earlier this week. He was the second franchise-tagged pass rusher to be dealt this offseason, as the Chiefs sent Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick in March.

Drafted first overall by the Texans in 2014, Clowney missed 15 games to injury over his first two seasons but has played in 45 of a possible 48 since. He has 29 sacks and 67 QB hits in 62 career games.

–Field Level Media

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Bucs pick up option on CB Hargreaves III

Bucs pick up option on CB Hargreaves III

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers exercised their fifth-year option on

Bucs pick up option on CB Hargreaves III

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers exercised their fifth-year option on cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III on Wednesday.

Hargreaves was placed on injured reserve with a season-ending shoulder injury he suffered in the season opener against the New Orleans Saints. He also ended the previous season on injured reserve.

Selected 11th overall in the 2016 draft, Hargreaves is coming off a down 2017 season that saw him post 42 tackles over nine games, missing the team’s final seven contests with a hamstring injury. He had 76 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception in his 16-game rookie season in 2016.

Despite the missed time over the past two seasons, Hargreaves, 23, is expected to factor in as a press corner in new head coach Bruce Arians’ defense, which is being run by incoming defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

The Buccaneers pick fifth overall in the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday night.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs’ Hill releases statement about child abuse probe

Chiefs’ Hill releases statement about child abuse probe

Chiefs’ Hill releases statement about child abuse probe

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill released a statement through his lawyers Thursday, a day after the district attorney’s office announced it would not bring charges against him for child abuse and neglect.

“I love and support my family above anything. My son’s health and happiness is my number one priority. I want to thank the Kansas City Chiefs, my attorneys, my agent and my union for supporting me through this. My focus remains on working hard to be the best person for my family and our community I can be, and the best player to help our team win,” Hill said in the statement.

Kansas City District Attorney Stephen Howe on Wednesday said he believes a crime resulting in injury happened to Hill’s son, but that the evidence couldn’t support a charge against Hill or the child’s mother.

Hill’s attorneys Thursday insisted he is “innocent of any crime.”

“Contrary to media reports, Tyreek cooperated with law enforcement, waived his Fifth Amendment rights, and answered questions from both law enforcement and DCF,” Hill’s attorneys said in the release.

Authorities had been investigating incidents — one on March 5 for child abuse and neglect, and one on March 14 for battery — at Hill’s home in Overland Park, Kan. Both police reports indicated a juvenile was involved.

Hill, 25, and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, were listed on the March 5 police report as “others involved.” On the March 14 report, Espinal was listed as “others involved,” with a juvenile listed as the victim.

The Kansas City Star reported previously that the couple’s son suffered a broken arm in the incident. The Star also reported earlier this week that the boy was recently removed from his parents’ custody, as part of a family court process called a “child in need of care” case.

Despite not being charged with a crime, Hill could be subject to discipline from the NFL.

–Field Level Media

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Jernigan returns to Eagles on one-year deal

Jernigan returns to Eagles on one-year deal

The Philadelphia

Jernigan returns to Eagles on one-year deal

The Philadelphia Eagles and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan agreed to a one-year contract on Thursday.

The move comes after Philadelphia previously declined to pick up Jernigan’s $11 million option in March.

Jernigan, 26, played in just three games last season after undergoing offseason back surgery to repair a herniated disk.

The previous season, he was a key cog in the Eagles’ Super Bowl winning campaign and recorded 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 15 games.

Jernigan spent his first three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and had 13 sacks in 43 games (26 starts). He was traded to Philadelphia prior to the 2017 season.

Jernigan was a second-round pick in 2014 by the Ravens out of Florida State.

–Field Level Media

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Woods will play in PGA Tour’s first Japanese event

Woods will play in PGA Tour's first Japanese event

When the

Woods will play in PGA Tour’s first Japanese event

When the PGA Tour plays an official event in Japan for the first time, its biggest name will be in the field.

Tiger Woods confirmed Wednesday that he will compete in the Zozo Championship from Oct. 24-27 at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo.

“I’m excited to play in the inaugural Zozo Championship in October and return to Japan, one of my favorite countries,” Woods said in a statement. “The fans in Japan really enjoy, appreciate and understand golf, and I’m looking forward to competing there.”

Woods, 43, last played in Japan in 2006, when he finished second to Padraig Harrington in a playoff at the Dunlop Phoenix event. He hasn’t played in any of the fall events since the PGA Tour went to a “wrap-around” schedule in 2013-14.

The Zozo Championship will feature 78 players competing for $9.75 million in prize money. The event will join the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea and the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China, to give the PGA Tour three official Asian tournaments in the fall.

According to ESPN, Woods also will play an exhibition match in Asia, part of a content agreement he entered into with GolfTV in 2018.

Already the game’s biggest draw, Woods added to his legend when he won the Masters this month for his 15th career major championship and first since the 2008 U.S. Open.

Woods has not yet announced the location of his next event, but multiple media outlets reported that he is likely to play in the Wells Fargo Championship, May 2-5 in Charlotte, N.C.

–Field Level Media

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Blind fan to read Ravens pick off Braille card

Blind fan to read Ravens pick off Braille card

Blind fan to read Ravens pick off Braille card

The Baltimore Ravens will have a blind 13-year-old fan announce a fourth-round pick during this week’s draft by reading off of a card written in Braille.

Mo Gaba, who is battling cancer and lost his vision at nine months old, will become the first person ever to announce an NFL draft pick off a Braille card.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called into a Baltimore radio show that had Gaba on as a guest to deliver the good news. The team posted a video of the interaction on Twitter.

“Really?” Gaba responded when offered the opportunity by Harbaugh. “I’ve never done that before. I’d like to do that. Yeah.”

The Ravens currently hold two fourth-round picks, Nos. 113 and 123. Gaba is scheduled to announce No. 123.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Chiefs WR Hill won’t be charged

NFL notebook: Chiefs WR Hill won't be charged

NFL notebook: Chiefs WR Hill won’t be charged

The Johnson County (Kan.) district attorney’s office announced Wednesday it will not file charges against Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill or his fiancee following an investigation into two March incidents at the couple’s home involving their 3-year-old son.

“We believe a crime has occurred,” District Attorney Stephen Howe said. “However, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed this crime.”

Howe added the criminal investigation has been closed, although the child protection investigation is continuing. Any new information to emerge could reopen the criminal investigation, with a five-year statute of limitations in Kansas.

Authorities had been investigating incidents — one on March 5 for child abuse and neglect, and one on March 14 for battery — at Hill’s home in Overland Park, Kan. Both police reports indicated a juvenile was involved.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed to a two-year contract extension.

“I know Ben’s focus is on only one goal — to bring another Lombardi trophy back to Pittsburgh,” team president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “We are excited to finalize this new contract that will keep him as a Steeler through the 2021 season.”

ESPN reports the deal is worth $80 million in total over three years, with a $37.5 million signing bonus and $67.5 million guaranteed. The 37-year-old was previously due $12 million base salary for 2019, and he got a $5 million roster bonus last month.

–Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch plans to retire for a second time, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Lynch, who turned 33 on Monday, played the past two seasons for his hometown Raiders after sitting out the 2016 season. He rushed for 376 yards on 90 carries in six games in 2018 before sustaining a season-ending groin/core muscle injury in Week 6.

Lynch has rushed for 10,379 yards on 2,441 carries (4.3-yard average) and 84 touchdowns for the Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills in his career.

–Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said he is open to remaining with the team he signed with as an undrafted rookie in 2011, a day after taking a pay-me-or-trade-me stance.

“I want to be here, so we can salvage it,” Harris told 9News Denver. In a separate interview with The Athletic, he added, “I’m still open to coming back. I’m never closing that door until they close it.”

Multiple reports emerged late Tuesday night that Harris’ agent told the Broncos his client would like a new contract or to be traded. According to 9News Denver, Harris is seeking an annual salary of at least $15 million, which would equal the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback, Josh Norman.

–The Baltimore Ravens met with former Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah.

Ansah, who turns 30 next month, is recovering from shoulder surgery after missing nine games last season, which has slowed his free agent market.

NFL Network reported that Ansah visited expert Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday and drew positive reviews, with the expectation he’ll be cleared by mid-August.

–The Ravens signed Justin Tucker to a four-year extension that makes him the highest-paid kicker in NFL history.

The contract keeps Tucker in Baltimore through the 2023 season and is worth $23.05 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed in the first two years and an $8 million signing bonus, ESPN reported.

–The NFL warned Jacksonville Jaguars football czar Tom Coughlin that future comments disapproving of players who don’t attend voluntary offseason workouts could result in league discipline, ESPN reported.

The NFL Players Association had asked the league to remind the Jaguars that players should not be pressured to attend the workouts, ESPN said.

–Kelly Stafford checked herself back into the hospital because of pain following brain surgery.

The wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford posted on Instagram that she needed medical help to cope with headaches and other side effects. She had a 12-hour operation last week to remove a brain tumor and returned home Sunday.

–Veteran defensive end Brian Robison announced his retirement after signing a one-day contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

Robison, who turns 36 on Saturday and did not play in 2018, played in 173 games in 11 seasons with the Vikings from 2007-17, totaling 60 sacks.

–The Washington Redskins re-signed offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom.

Bergstrom, 32, played in 13 games (eight starts) at center and guard last season.

–The Ravens will have a blind 13-year-old fan announce a fourth-round pick during this week’s draft by reading off of a card written in Braille.

Mo Gaba, who is battling cancer and lost his vision at nine months old, will become the first person ever to announce an NFL draft pick off a Braille card.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to two-year extension

Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to two-year extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed

Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to two-year extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed to a contract extension on Wednesday that will keep him in black and gold through the 2021 season.

“I know Ben’s focus is on only one goal — to bring another Lombardi trophy back to Pittsburgh,” team president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “We are excited to finalize this new contract that will keep him as a Steeler through the 2021 season.”

The Steelers did not disclose terms, but NFL Network reports Roethlisberger will make $63 million over the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The 37-year-old was previously due $12 million base salary for 2019, and he got a $5 million roster bonus last month.

Russell Wilson became the highest-paid player in NFL history last week, signing a four-year, $140 million extension, but Wilson is only 30. The most recent top quarterback in Roethlisberger’s age bracket to sign a new deal, Drew Brees, signed a two-year, $50 million contract in March 2018 at age 39.

“I am grateful to the Rooneys and the Steelers organization for continuing to believe in me,” Roethlisberger said in a statement. “It has always been a goal to play my entire career in Pittsburgh. This is home for me and my family, and we love this city. I am as excited to be a Steeler in year 16 as I was when they drafted me. They will get my absolute best.”

At the start of the 2017 season, Roethlisberger said he believed he could play another three to five seasons.

He will lead a new-look offense in 2019, with disgruntled stars Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown gone. Running back Bell held out last season and opted for free agency, signing with the New York Jets. Wideout Brown got his wish to be traded, dispatched to the Oakland Raiders.

Despite the distractions, Roethlisberger posted his best statistical season in 2018 — his 15th as a starter — leading the league and setting career highs in completions (452), attempts (675) and passing yards (5,129) and tossing a career-high 34 touchdown passes. The Steelers missed the playoffs, however, at 9-6-1.

The Steelers’ first-round pick (11th overall) in 2004, Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl selection. He ranks sixth in NFL history in passing yards (56,194) and seventh in touchdown passes (363).

–Field Level Media

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Report: NFL reminds Jaguars about league workout rules

Report: NFL reminds Jaguars about league workout rules

Report: NFL reminds Jaguars about league workout rules

The NFL wants Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars to remember that voluntary workouts are just that: voluntary.

The league sent a letter to Coughlin, warning Jacksonville’s executive vice president of football operations that future comments like the ones he made last week critical of players who didn’t attend voluntary offseason workouts could result in league discipline, ESPN reported Wednesday.

The discipline could include a fine or loss of practice days.

The NFL Players Association had asked the league to remind the Jaguars that players should not be pressured to attend the workouts, ESPN said.

With players in town for the start of the offseason program, the Jaguars held their annual state of the franchise address last Thursday. During his four-minute turn at the podium, Coughlin spoke about team attendance — or lack thereof.

“We’re very close to 100 percent attendance, and quite frankly, our players should be here building the concept of team, working hard side by side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals,” said Coughlin, known as a strict disciplinarian, per ESPN. “Success in the NFL demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of team. The hard work that many try to avoid is the major building block for the development of an outstanding football team.

“It’s not about rights and privileges. It’s about obligations and responsibility, and the question is: Can we count on you?”

According to multiple reports, the specific players Coughlin was criticizing for not being in attendance were cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith.

NFLPA president Eric Winston issued a statement the following day in support of the players.

“Our CBA definition of voluntary is the same as the actual definition of voluntary and prohibits anyone from threatening players to participate in voluntary workouts,” Winston said. “This is precisely the reason players negotiated strict work rules and bright lines when it comes to offseason activities. We know, from experience, that not all coaches and executives will adhere to them and we always pursue any violations to protect our rules.”

–Field Level Media

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DE Robison retires with Vikings’ 1-day contract

DE Robison retires with Vikings' 1-day contract

DE Robison retires with Vikings’ 1-day contract

Veteran defensive end Brian Robison announced his retirement Wednesday after signing a one-day contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

Robison, who turns 36 on Saturday, played in 173 games in 11 seasons with the Vikings from 2007-17.

He did not play in the NFL last year after getting cut by Minnesota on Sept. 1, the week before the start of the regular season.

“Minnesota, no matter what happens from here on out or where the Robison family goes, you will always have a piece of our heart,” Robison said in a video posted to on the Vikings’ website. “You have given us 11 of the best years of our life. Some of the best and fondest memories will be from our time here. This is not goodbye by any means but rather until next time. Skol.”

A fourth-round pick out of Texas in 2007, Robison is the third longtime Vikings defensive lineman in the past three years to end his career with a one-day deal. Jared Allen and Kevin Williams did it in 2016.

Robison and Williams are tied for fifth on the franchise’s career list with 60 sacks. Robison also tallied 112 quarterback hits, 13 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries.

–Field Level Media

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Stafford’s wife back in hospital after brain surgery

Stafford's wife back in hospital after brain surgery

Kelly

Stafford’s wife back in hospital after brain surgery

Kelly Stafford checked herself back into the hospital Wednesday because of pain following brain surgery.

The wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford posted on Instagram that she needed medical help to cope with headaches and other side effects. She had a 12-hour operation last week to remove a brain tumor and returned home Sunday.

“I told myself the pain would succumb to me, I wouldn’t succumb to it,” Kelly Stafford wrote in the post.

“I was so wrong. The pain got so far ahead of me I couldn’t keep anything down. Including meds. I ended up in the ER very early this morning, back on steroids and pain medication. At first I felt like I had failed, like I couldn’t handle it. But what I really failed at was listening to my own body.”

She said she would be held overnight for observation and hoped to return home Thursday.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Matthew Stafford returned to workouts with the Lions on Monday but that the team has told him to take whatever time he needs to assist his wife.

The Staffords are parents to twin girls who turned 2 last month and an 8-month-old daughter.

–Field Level Media

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CB Harris: Situation with Broncos ‘can be salvaged’

CB Harris: Situation with Broncos 'can be salvaged'

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris

CB Harris: Situation with Broncos ‘can be salvaged’

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told multiple outlets Wednesday he is open to remaining with the team he signed with as an undrafted rookie in 2011, a day after taking a pay-me-or-trade-me stance.

“I want to be here, so we can salvage it,” Harris told 9News Denver. In a separate interview with The Athletic, he added, “I’ve been patient. I’m still open to coming back. I’m never closing that door until they close it.”

Multiple reports emerged late Tuesday night that Harris’ agent told the Broncos his client would like a new contract or to be traded. According to 9News Denver, Harris is seeking an annual salary of at least $15 million, which would equal the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback, Josh Norman.

The reports came hours after Broncos general manager John Elway told reporters the team would discuss a new contract for Harris after the draft.

“I said we’re going to talk about it,” Elway added. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to do it.”

Harris, who turns 30 in June, is entering the final year of his contract, with $7.9 million in base salary and workout bonuses available to him. A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, he has been a bargain for the Broncos on a five-year, $42.5 million contract signed in December of 2014.

Harris told The Athletic he doesn’t regret taking what he viewed as a discount on that contract — the team won Super Bowl 50 the following year — but he is now seeking better compensation.

Multiple outlets report a team reached out about Harris’ availability earlier this week, before Harris’ request. According to 9News Denver, the Broncos are listening to trade offers for the cornerback but “won’t give him away.”

Asked by The Athletic if he would be willing to sit out in 2019 if he doesn’t get traded or receive a new contract, Harris said, “It shouldn’t get to that point.”

The eight-year veteran had three interceptions and 10 pass breakups in 12 games last season before breaking his leg, a minor break that did not keep him from playing in the Pro Bowl less than two months later. Prior to the injury, he had missed just one game in his career.

Harris is the last member of the secondary that led Denver to its Super Bowl title three years ago after safety Darian Stewart was released and Bradley Roby left in free agency. The Broncos brought in two defensive backs — Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan — on big deals in free agency in March.

Harris is also, along with Von Miller, Denver’s longest tenured player.

–Field Level Media

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Notebook: Fifth-year options picked up on Elliott, Buckner

Notebook: Fifth-year options picked up on Elliott, Buckner

Notebook: Fifth-year options picked up on Elliott, Buckner

The Dallas Cowboys exercised the fifth-year option on running back Ezekiel Elliott’s contract, keeping him in place through the 2020 season.

Elliott is set to make $3.85 million in 2019. He figures to receive around $10 million in the option season though the Cowboys have stated they intend to negotiate a rich extension with him.

Elliott led the NFL with 1,434 rushing yards last season and also had a career-high 77 receptions for 567 yards.

Elliott has rushed for 4,048 yards and 28 touchdowns in 40 games over three seasons.

–The San Francisco 49ers exercised the fifth-year contract option on Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

Buckner is in line to receive around $12 million in 2020. The two sides have been working on a long-term contract extension that could get hammered out prior to the 2019 campaign.

Buckner posted a career-best 12 sacks last season while accumulating 67 tackles. He has 201 stops, 21 sacks and three fumble recoveries in 47 NFL games.

–The Atlanta Falcons announced via Twitter that they picked up the fifth-year option of safety Keanu Neal.

Neal suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2018 season opener. The 2017 Pro Bowl selection has 220 tackles, eight forced fumbles and one interception in 31 games.

–The New Orleans Saints have exercised the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, according to multiple reports.

Rankins is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in January’s playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He had a career-best eight sacks last season and has 14 sacks and 86 tackles in 41 NFL games.

–The Cincinnati Bengals exercised the fifth-year option on cornerback William Jackson.

Jackson had 41 tackles last season. He has 66 tackles and one interception in 31 career games.

–Field Level Media

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D.A. declines charges against Chiefs WR Hill

D.A. declines charges against Chiefs WR Hill

D.A. declines charges against Chiefs WR Hill

The Johnson County (Kan.) district attorney’s office announced Wednesday it will not file charges against Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill or his fiancee following an investigation into two March incidents at the couple’s home involving the couple’s 3-year-old son.

“We believe a crime has occurred,” District Attorney Stephen Howe said. “However, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed this crime.

“It bothers us when we see something that’s happened to a child like this and we can’t do anything about it,” he later added.

Howe said the criminal investigation has been closed, although the child protection investigation is continuing. Any new information to emerge could reopen the criminal investigation, with a five-year statute of limitations in Kansas.

“We feel we’re at an impasse at this point, and any further investigation would be unnecessary or unwarranted,” Howe said.

Authorities had been investigating incidents — one on March 5 for child abuse and neglect, and one on March 14 for battery — at Hill’s home in Overland Park, Kan. Both police reports indicated a juvenile was involved.

Hill, 25, and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, were listed on the March 5 police report as “others involved.” On the March 14 report, Espinal was listed as “others involved,” with a juvenile listed as the victim.

The Kansas City Star reported previously that the couple’s son suffered a broken arm in the incident. The Star also reported earlier this week that the boy was recently removed from his parents’ custody, as part of a family court process called a “child in need of care” case.

Howe declined to provide details in response to several questions Wednesday, citing the involvement of a juvenile as a need for privacy, though he did say “the child is safe.” He said he has not been in touch with the Chiefs but has been contacted by the NFL, though he has not responded because of the same privacy concerns, and the case will likely be sealed because it involves a child.

Despite not being charged with a crime, Hill could be subject to discipline from the NFL, and the league could consider his domestic violence history.

Hill reportedly choked and punched Espinal, then his girlfriend, when she was pregnant in December 2014. Hill was arrested and dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team. He later pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation and received three years’ probation.

Hill is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time first-team All-Pro through three seasons with the Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to extension

Reports: Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed

Reports: Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in black and gold through the 2021 season, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

Roethlisberger, 37, and the Steelers reworked his $12 million base salary for 2019 as part of the extension, according to ESPN. He got a $5 million roster bonus last month.

No official terms were disclosed, but the quarterback market has ballooned since Roethlisberger signed his four-year, $87.4 million deal in 2015.

Russell Wilson became the highest-paid player in NFL history last week, signing a four-year, $140 million extension, but Wilson is only 30. The most recent top quarterback in Roethlisberger’s age bracket to sign a new deal, Drew Brees, signed a two-year, $50 million contract in March 2018 at age 39.

At the start of the 2017 season, Roethlisberger said he believed he could play another three to five seasons.

He will lead a new-look offense in 2019, with disgruntled stars Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown gone. Running back Bell held out last season and opted for free agency, signing with the New York Jets. Wideout Brown got his wish to be traded, dispatched to the Oakland Raiders.

Despite the distractions, Roethlisberger posted his best statistical season in 2018 — his 15th as a starter — leading the league and setting career highs in completions (452), attempts (675) and passing yards (5,129) and tossing a career-high 34 touchdown passes. The Steelers missed the playoffs, however, at 9-6-1.

The Steelers’ first-round pick (11th overall) in 2004, Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl selection. He ranks sixth in NFL history in passing yards (56,194) and seventh in touchdown passes (363).

–Field Level Media

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Ravens sign K Tucker to record extension

Ravens sign K Tucker to record extension

The Baltimore

Ravens sign K Tucker to record extension

The Baltimore Ravens signed Justin Tucker to a four-year extension Wednesday that makes him the highest-paid kicker in NFL history.

The contract keeps Tucker in Baltimore through the 2023 season and is worth $23.05 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed in the first two years and an $8 million signing bonus, ESPN reported.

The total value of the extension, the guaranteed money and the bonus are all records for a kicker.

Tucker, 29, is a three-time first-team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Ravens.

He made 35 of 39 field-goal attempts and 36 of 37 extra points in 2018, with the missed PAT being the first of his career.

Tucker’s 90.1 percent success rate on field goals is the highest in NFL history entering the 2019 season.

–Field Level Media

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Pro Bowl pass rusher Ansah meets with Ravens

Pro Bowl pass rusher Ansah meets with Ravens

The

Pro Bowl pass rusher Ansah meets with Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens met with former Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah on Wednesday.

Ansah, who turns 30 next month, had 48 sacks and 110 quarterback hits in six seasons with the Lions.

The 2013 first-round pick (fifth overall) played last season under Detroit’s franchise tag and missed nine games with shoulder injuries.

Ansah was a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 with a career-high 14.5 sacks, following that up with 12 more sacks in 2017.

The Ravens need pass-rushing help after the offseason departures of Terrell Suggs (Arizona Cardinals) and Za’Darius Smith (Green Bay Packers).

Baltimore has the No. 22 selection in Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Raiders RB Lynch to retire again

Report: Raiders RB Lynch to retire again

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn

Report: Raiders RB Lynch to retire again

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch plans to retire for a second time, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Lynch, who turned 33 on Monday, played the past two seasons for his hometown Raiders after sitting out the 2016 season. He rushed for 376 yards on 90 carries in six games in 2018 before suffering a groin/core muscle injury in Week 6 against the Seattle Seahawks that would prove to be his final game of the season.

Lynch played six seasons for Seattle after being acquired from the Buffalo Bills in 2010. He was a first-round pick by Buffalo out of California in 2007, and has rushed for 10,379 yards on 2,441 carries (4.3-yard average) and 84 touchdowns. He has another 2,214 yards and nine touchdowns on 287 receptions.

With Lynch’s retirement, the Raiders’ backfield entering the 2019 NFL Draft includes the likes of Isaiah Crowell, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Chris Warren.

–Field Level Media

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2019 NFL mock draft: QB roulette starts at No. 1

2019 NFL mock draft: QB roulette starts at No. 1

2019 NFL mock draft: QB roulette starts at No. 1

Even with five first-round quarterbacks in the 2018 draft, there were clues as to how the proceedings might play out.

We knew quarterbacks would go No. 1 and No. 3, and the Buffalo Bills’ interest in trading up for Josh Allen was no secret. We also knew the Arizona Cardinals were likely targeting a passer.

This year, Kyler Murray is on track to go first. It’s anyone’s guess after that. Every team appears to have Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones ranked in a different order.

And who’s interested?

The Giants? Probably, but at No. 6 or No. 17?

The Redskins? Most likely, but who will be left for them?

The Broncos or Bengals? Who knows?

A surprise team like the Raiders? Perhaps.

Add in Cardinals 2018 first-rounder Josh Rosen — who becomes expendable if Arizona opts for Murray — and you essentially have five quarterbacks available and an unknown number of suitors. Oh by the way — 10 of the 11 first-round quarterbacks since 2016 have been drafted after a trade-up.

There will be fireworks. It’s just a matter of how early they start. Things appear to be settled at the top… for now.

1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Josh Rosen has yet to be traded, and the Cardinals have insisted no decision is final. But all signs point to Kliff Kingsbury running his offense through Murray this fall.

2. San Francisco 49ers: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State

Assuming the Cardinals don’t take Bosa, this appears all but locked in. Few prospects — in any draft — bring as complete of a package, even after he missed much of his final year to injury.

3. New York Jets: DT Ed Oliver, Houston

The Jets want to trade out, but it’s hard to see who might pay enough to trade up. Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen are options, but Mike Maccagnan rolls the dice on Oliver’s athleticism.

4. Oakland Raiders: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama

This should be the best remaining defensive player, which is Williams in this case. If he’s gone, Oliver or Devin White would make sense.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky

The Bucs might also try to trade out, or go with a popular choice here in White. But with Allen available, they favor the position value of an edge rusher.

6. New York Giants: LB Devin White, LSU

Even if Dave Gettleman has a quarterback he likes, it doesn’t appear he loves any of them. Here, he sticks to his board and takes the best remaining player.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

Jawaan Taylor or T.J. Hockenson would make plenty of sense, but Jacksonville loves pass rushers and likes to go best player available.

8. Detroit Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

An edge rusher would fill a need, but Matt Patricia’s defense doesn’t usually prioritize them. Instead, the Lions grab a two-way tight end after nearly trading for Rob Gronkowski last year.

9. Buffalo Bills: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Most don’t have Wilkins in the top 10, but 315-pounders who can rush the passer don’t come along very often. He would be a nice consolation prize for a team that might be eyeing Oliver.

10. Denver Broncos: LB Devin Bush, Michigan

Passing on top quarterback prospects in consecutive years could come back to haunt John Elway, but Bush fits right into Vic Fangio’s scheme. Denver would probably prefer White or Hockenson, if available.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Drew Lock, Missouri

In what is a mild surprise, both Lock and Haskins remain on the board. In this case, Zac Taylor passes on the Buckeyes star and rolls the dice on Lock’s upside.

12. Green Bay Packers: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida

Expect Green Bay to address the offensive line with at least one of its two first-round picks. With Taylor available, the Packers get a successor to oft-injured Bryan Bulaga who can compete at guard in the meantime.

13. Miami Dolphins: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

Ferrell fits perfectly in the type of defense Brian Flores ran in New England. He can rush the passer but also sets a mean edge and is very technically sound.

14. Atlanta Falcons: DE Rashan Gary, Michigan

With a reported shoulder issue and more potential than production on his resume, Gary could slide a bit. Dan Quinn pounces on one of the draft’s best athletes.

15. Washington Redskins: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Washington could wind up deciding between Rosen — who might cost only a second- or third-round pick via trade — or Haskins, who starred in high school in Maryland. If Haskins falls this far, he’d be difficult to pass up.

16. Carolina Panthers: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State

Daryl Williams is back, but only on a one-year deal, and he has an injury history. Between Dillard and Taylor Moton, Carolina would be in great shape on the edges.

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland): QB Daniel Jones, Duke

Most signs suggest Jones is the Giants’ preferred option at quarterback, but not necessarily a slam-dunk option. Would they trade up slightly to get him, or hope he falls to No. 17?

18. Minnesota Vikings: C Garrett Bradbury, NC State

It’s unclear how much influence Gary Kubiak will have on the offense, but Bradbury — the draft’s best center — would fit perfectly in Kubiak’s famed outside-zone-heavy scheme. Pat Elflein would bump to guard.

19. Tennessee Titans: OG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

Marquise Brown or an edge rusher would make plenty of sense, but the Titans need more athleticism on the interior. Head coach Mike Vrabel is well connected at Boston College.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB Brian Burns, Florida State

Burns may well go earlier than 20, but in this case, he’s available. The Steelers kept Bud Dupree into his fifth-year option, but he’s a free agent next March.

21. Seattle Seahawks: OL Jonah Williams, Alabama

Seattle is normally a trade-down contender, but a mini trade-up for Burns would make sense if he slides. In this case, no edge rushers on the board stand out, but Williams is a nice consolation prize.

22. Baltimore Ravens: C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M

A solid, scheme-versatile pivot, McCoy could fit the Ravens better than Bradbury, if both are on the board. Marquise Brown would also be tempting.

23. Houston Texans: OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma

The Texans might prefer Dillard or Williams, but Ford should get a chance at right tackle. If they view him as a guard and the top tackles are gone, a corner would make sense here.

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama

With so many defensive needs, it would be bold for Oakland go running back (and tight end a few picks later?). But Jon Gruden just can’t help himself sometimes.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

Perhaps more than any other team, the Eagles believe in using first-round picks in the trenches. Here, Howie Roseman bets big on one of the five best players in the draft hoping to have him at full strength in 2020.

26. Indianapolis Colts: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Some might see Brown and T.Y. Hilton as redundant in the same offense, but Frank Reich’s options could really open up with one on the outside and one in the slot. Safety could also be a possibility.

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Fant lacks nuance as as a route-runner and doesn’t have great natural hands, but his speed is a weapon that would help replace Jared Cook.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

Set at one cornerback spot (Casey Hayward) and in the slot (Desmond King), the Chargers take a swing at a rising talent to fill the No. 2 role.

29. Seattle Seahawks: WR A.J. Brown, Mississippi

Could Brown go before workout-warrior college teammate D.K. Metcalf? Stranger things have happened. Doug Baldwin is 30 and has been very banged up.

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi

If Metcalf makes it this far, it would be tough for the Packers to pass, given their need for explosive playmakers on offense.

31. Los Angeles Rams: C Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State

Three centers in Round 1? You bet. Jenkins has been garnering buzz lately, and the Rams need help on the interior. They could try to target him in a trade down.

32. New England Patriots: DL L.J. Collier, TCU

Collier plays exactly like a Patriot. He’s big, powerful and versatile — with some ability at end and at tackle — and is an excellent technician.

–David DeChant, Field Level Media

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