Ravens waive RB Collins after arrest for car crash

Ravens waive RB Collins after arrest for car crash

The Baltimore Ravens waived running back Alex Collins on Friday afternoon following his early morning arrest after a car accident near the team’s headquarters.

Baltimore County police and the team confirmed that Collins, 24, was taken into custody around 6:45 a.m. after police responded to a report of a car crashed into a tree in Owings Mills, Md. It was unclear whether Collins was the driver or a passenger.

The charges against him were not immediately known.

“We have spoken to the police and are aware of the situation,” the Ravens told NFL.com in a statement.

The team confirmed Collins’ release on social media by 3 p.m. ET.

Collins was a fifth-round draft pick by Seattle in 2016 and joined the Ravens the following year. In 25 games (22 starts) over two seasons in Baltimore, he has gained 1,676 total yards from scrimmage and scored 14 touchdowns.

He was a star on the rise following the 2017 season, in which he gained 973 yards rushing. But he struggled in 2018, running for just 411 yards, and wound up on injured reserve in December with a foot injury.

A restricted free agent before his release, Collins will now be subject to waivers. If he is not claimed, he will immediately become a free agent.

Coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL Scouting Combine this week that second-year running back Gus Edwards is first on the depth chart at the position.

–Field Level Media

Reports: Bills planning to release RB Ivory

Reports: Bills planning to release RB Ivory

Reports: Bills planning to release RB Ivory

The Buffalo Bills are planning to release veteran running back Chris Ivory in a cost-cutting move, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

Ivory, 31, signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Bills last March. His release will save the Bills nearly $2.2 million against the 2019 salary cap.

Ivory has rushed for 5,237 yards and gained 948 receiving yards during a nine-year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints (2010-12), New York Jets (2013-15), Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-17) and Bills.

He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 after rushing for a career-high 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns for the Jets.

Ivory appeared in 13 games with Buffalo last season, backing up LeSean McCoy. He rushed for 385 yards and a touchdown and added 13 catches for 205 yards.

Ivory became the odd man out when the Bills signed free agent Frank Gore earlier this month.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots owner Kraft pleads not guilty, requests jury trial

Patriots owner Kraft pleads not guilty, requests jury trial

Patriots owner Kraft pleads not guilty, requests jury trial

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday entered a not guilty plea to two counts of solicitation of prostitution and requested a jury trial.

His attorneys submitted the paperwork in Palm Beach County, Fla., and the filing cancels Kraft’s arraignment, which was scheduled for Thursday.

Kraft is in Phoenix, attending the NFL’s annual meetings.

The 77-year-old billionaire was charged last month for allegedly receiving sex acts at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. He has pleaded not guilty, and on Friday, his attorney said they intended to vehemently fight the charges as well as the release of two tapes that purportedly show Kraft receiving services at the spa.

In his first words since the charges were filed, Kraft issued a statement of apology on Saturday.

“In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks,” Kraft’s statement read. “To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks.

“I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”

If convicted at trial on the misdemeanor charges, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.

CNN reported earlier Tuesday that NFL owners said they would not make a decision on whether to punish Kraft until the legal case is over.

–Field Level Media

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Duke QB Jones: Joining Giants would be ‘awesome’

Duke QB Jones: Joining Giants would be 'awesome'

Duke QB Jones: Joining Giants would be ‘awesome’

For a team that doesn’t select a quarterback early in the 2019 NFL Draft, Duke’s Daniel Jones could be a strong consolation choice.

Jones generally is believed to be the fourth quarterback who will come off the board at the draft, following Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock. He is a potential first-round pick, with much of the buzz focusing on the possibility that the New York Giants will select him at No. 17 overall, assuming they don’t go for another quarterback with the sixth overall pick.

New York also has the fifth pick of the second round.

Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula was among the team’s contingent at Duke’s pro day on Tuesday, when Jones drew positive reviews for his 40-time — a reported 4.67 seconds — and seemed to show better arm strength to pair with his known strong points of touch and accuracy.

Former NFL quarterback and current TV analyst Troy Aikman chimed in on Twitter: “Caught the tail-end of Duke’s Daniel Jones’ pro day on @nflnetwork and liked what I saw – accurate ball placement which is #1 for me when evaluating QBs”

Jones (6-5, 221) decided to skip his senior season after passing for 8,201 yards and 52 touchdowns against 29 interceptions in three seasons with the Blue Devils.

If the Giants view him as an eventual successor to Eli Manning, it could be a seamless transition. Duke coach David Cutcliffe coached Peyton (Tennessee) and Eli Manning (Ole Miss) in college, and Jones has attended the Manning Passing Academy.

When Eli visits Duke’s campus, Cutcliffe said on NFL Network, “Daniel follows him around like you would follow Mother Goose.”

After Tuesday’s workout, Jones told NFL Network that getting to know the Giants’ brass during the scouting process “has been awesome.” He is expected to have a private workout with the Giants later this week, according to ESPN.

“With a guy like Eli Manning, to have that opportunity, if I did, to learn from him and watch him on a day-in and day-out basis, and kind of study him would be awesome,” Jones said.

“I have been lucky to do that a couple of times when he has come down — and I have gotten a lot from that.”

Jones made a quick rise at Duke after his only other Division I offer was from FCS school Princeton.

“He did a lot of things naturally well,” Cutcliffe said of his impressions of Jones as a recruit. “I knew he had a shot at being special and, boy, was I right.”

Cutcliffe added that scouts should not be fooled by Jones’ boyish looks.

“I think some people probably read that as him being a guy who is not a fierce competitor and not tough,” Cutcliffe said. “Don’t challenge him. He is physically and mentally tough.”

–Field Level Media

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Saints sign free agent TE Cook

Saints sign free agent TE Cook

Saints sign free agent TE Cook

The New Orleans Saints signed unrestricted free agent Jared Cook on Tuesday, filling a hole at tight end.

The Saints had been targeting Cook through the offseason after the retirement of Benjamin Watson. Cook made a career-high 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns with the Oakland Raiders in 2018, when he earned his first Pro Bowl nod.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Cook, who turns 32 next month, has been productive in stints with the Raiders, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans. He has 425 catches for 5,464 yards and 25 touchdowns in a 10-year career. Cook has at least 39 receptions in seven of the past eight seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks WR Baldwin set for hernia surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin set for hernia surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin set for hernia surgery

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin will undergo sports hernia surgery on April 4, coach Pete Carroll confirmed at the NFL meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Baldwin, who underwent shoulder and knee surgeries after last season, hinted at needing the procedure during a radio appearance last week.

Carroll said at the NFL Scouting Combine late last month that Baldwin was expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but the coach didn’t offer a new timetable on Tuesday.

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Raiders sign backup QB Jones

Raiders sign backup QB Jones

The Oakland Raiders have signed

Raiders sign backup QB Jones

The Oakland Raiders have signed quarterback Landry Jones, giving head coach Jon Gruden another prospective backup to David Carr.

The team announced his signing on Tuesday but didn’t reveal contract terms.

The Raiders already have veteran Mike Glennon and ex-Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman on the roster, but Jones brings something to the team they don’t have: familiarity with recently acquired star wideout Antonio Brown.

Jones, who turns 30 next week, spent five seasons (2013-17) as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup in Pittsburgh, and Gruden said Jones can help Brown adjust to the Oakland offense.

“Landry Jones is a guy that’s started and won games in the league,” Gruden told reporters at the annual league meeting on Tuesday.

“He can help us with Antonio’s transition as well. ‘What’d they call this in Pittsburgh?’ ‘Why did he convert his route and do that?’ So there are some really interesting side things that Landry can bring to the table also.”

With the Steelers, Jones played in 19 games (five starts), passing for 1,310 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.

He started the 2018 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars but was released in November without playing in a game.

On Monday, Gruden committed to Carr as the team’s quarterback in 2019, despite speculation the Raiders are interested in selecting a quarterback in next month’s NFL Draft. The Raiders have three first-round picks — Nos. 4, 24 and 27.

Gruden has said the team will meet with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, who finished third in the balloting.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Ravens QB Griffin III sued by former agent

Report: Ravens QB Griffin III sued by former agent

Baltimore Ravens backup

Report: Ravens QB Griffin III sued by former agent

Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III is being sued by his former agent for more than $650,000, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Court filings in Missouri last week indicate agent Ben Dogra claims that Griffin has not paid his 15 percent share of marketing and endorsement deals. ESPN reported the amount in question Tuesday.

Last week, Griffin re-signed with the Ravens. Last season, Griffin signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract to be the third quarterback in Baltimore.

He fired Dogra in 2018.

Court documents revealed Dogra’s claim that he invoiced Griffin for $390,000 in 2014 and $260,000 in 2015, but was paid a total of $49,000. In 2016, Dogra invoiced for $59,000 but received no pay.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Gruden affirms Carr as Raiders’ QB

NFL notebook: Gruden affirms Carr as Raiders' QB

NFL notebook: Gruden affirms Carr as Raiders’ QB

Amid rumors and speculation that the Oakland Raiders could be looking to move on from Derek Carr, coach Jon Gruden said Monday that Carr’s status is set for 2019.

“Yeah. He’s going to be our quarterback,” Gruden said in an interview with NFL Network from the league meetings in Phoenix. “I’m not going to address all the rumors. I could care less about the rumors.”

Gruden also confirmed the team will conduct private workouts with top quarterback prospects Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, as The MMQB reported earlier Monday. But he noted that those workouts are simply part of the team’s due diligence.

“We’re going to meet with a lot of guys at every position,” Gruden said. “We’re not going to look past anybody at any position.”

–NFL owners unanimously approved the Raiders’ lease agreement with the city of Oakland, keeping the team in the city for one more season before the club relocates to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority voted unanimously 10 days earlier to approve a new stadium lease with the franchise.

The Raiders will play seven games in Oakland in 2019, with an eighth “home” game scheduled against the Chicago Bears in London.

–Rob Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, suggested the now-retired tight end might come back for a few games if he was asked by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and let’s just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said ‘Rob, I need you,’ I wouldn’t be shocked if he came back to play a few games,” Rosenhaus said.

–The Bears and Green Bay Packers will kick off the NFL’s 100th season when they meet at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Thursday night, Sept. 5.

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will open their season on Sunday night, Sept. 8, against a yet-to-be-announced opponent. It will be the first time since 2003 that the Super Bowl champion won’t play in the season’s first game.

–Free agent defensive end Ziggy Ansah might not sign with a team until mid-April, NFL Network reported, due to concerns about his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Per the report, teams would like to know more about Ansah’s shoulder and will wait for his four-month checkup. Ansah reportedly visited the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints earlier this month.

A first-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2013, Ansah missed nine games last season while playing on the franchise tag. He will turn 30 in May.

–Lions nose tackle Damon Harrison has approached the team about a new contract after changing agents this offseason, MLive.com reported.

Harrison, 30, was acquired for a conditional fifth-round pick from the New York Giants last offseason. One of the best run-stoppers in football, he has two years and $15.75 million remaining on his contract, with a $7 million cap figure for 2019.

Meanwhile, the Lions are bringing former Indianapolis Colts wideout Dontrelle Inman for a free agent visit, according to NFL Network.

–Defensive lineman Malik McDowell, a second-round pick in 2017 who has never played in the NFL because of off-field injuries, has been cleared to play by independent doctors, according to Rosenhaus, his agent.

McDowell sustained reported extensive head and eye injuries in July 2017 in an ATV accident. He was waived with a non-football-injury designation by the Seattle Seahawks earlier this month.

–The San Francisco 49ers do not plan to release running back Jerick McKinnon, general manager John Lynch said.

McKinnon, who turns 27 in May, missed all of last season with a torn ACL after joining the 49ers on a four-year, $30 million deal. San Francisco added former Falcons running back Tevin Coleman in free agency this month.

–After being cut by the Tennessee Titans 10 days ago, quarterback Blaine Gabbert is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to The Athletic.

Gabbert played for new Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians while both were with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017.

–The New York Jets re-signed outside linebacker Brandon Copeland and tight end Neal Sterling.

Copeland’s deal is for one year and $1.25 million, with an additional $1.75 million in incentives, the New York Daily News reported. He had five sacks and 14 QB hits last season, his first in New York.

–The Buffalo Bills added a familiar face by signing cornerback E.J. Gaines to a one-year contract.

Per the Houston Chronicle, the deal will pay Gaines, who spent 2017 in Buffalo, $3.6 million for the 2019 season.

–Former Green Bay Packers defensive end Nick Perry is visiting the Seahawks, CBS Sports reported.

Perry, who was released earlier this month, had 1.5 sacks in nine games last season after totaling 18 over the previous two years. He turns 29 in April.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders’ Gruden: Carr is ‘going to be our QB’

Raiders' Gruden: Carr is 'going to be our QB'

Amid rumors and speculation that

Raiders’ Gruden: Carr is ‘going to be our QB’

Amid rumors and speculation that the Oakland Raiders could be looking to move on from Derek Carr, head coach Jon Gruden said Monday that Carr’s status is set for 2019.

“Yeah. He’s going to be our quarterback,” Gruden said in an interview with NFL Network from the league meetings in Phoenix. “I’m not going to address all the rumors. I could care less about the rumors.

“He threw for 4,100 yards. Threw for almost 70 percent (completion rate) in a very dire, tough circumstance. So I’ve got a lot of confidence in Carr; what he can do with Antonio Brown, with Tyrell Williams, with Trent Brown coming in here to help our offensive line.”

Gruden also confirmed the team will conduct private workouts with top quarterback prospects Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, as The MMQB reported earlier Monday. But he noted that those workouts are simply part of the team’s due diligence.

“We’re going to meet with a lot of guys at every position,” Gruden said. “We’re not going to look past anybody at any position. We have the fourth pick in this draft and we’re going to make sure we get it right.”

Unlike pre-draft visits — for which each NFL team can host up to 30 players at its facility — private workouts must be conducted on the player’s campus or near his hometown. To this point, neither Murray nor Haskins has been reported to be scheduled for a visit with the Raiders.

Like Gruden, general manager Mike Mayock has been similarly supportive of Carr, but he has also been open about his responsibility to look into all avenues available to improve the team. Speculation has swirled since before the NFL Scouting Combine that the Raiders have interest in Murray, who many expect to be chosen first overall by the Arizona Cardinals.

Haskins, once considered the likely first quarterback off the board, has been connected to the Raiders and the New York Giants (picking sixth), though a recent ESPN report said the Giants are less interested in the New Jersey native than many believe.

Missouri’s Drew Lock impressed at his pro day last week and has garnered some top-10 buzz, with some projecting him to go off the board ahead of Haskins. Gruden and his staff coached Lock at the Senior Bowl in late January.

Carr, who turns 28 on Thursday, is coming off a career high in passing yards (4,049) but a career low in touchdowns (19). He remains under contract for four more seasons, but the team could trade him this offseason and save $15 million of his $22.5 million cap figure.

If the Raiders chose to draft a top quarterback and move on from Carr next offseason, they could save $16.5 million of his $21.5 million cap figure for 2020.

Oakland also two other first-round picks in April’s draft, at Nos. 24 and 27.

–Field Level Media

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Draw held for WGC match play event

Draw held for WGC match play event

Draw held for WGC match play event

Defending champion Bubba Watson is in the same group as local standout Jordan Spieth after the draw for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was held Monday.

The event at Austin Country Club in Texas begins on Wednesday, but the selection process via lottery balls determined the pairings of 16 four-player groups.

Fellow Americans Billy Horschel and Kevin Na are also part of Group 15 with Watson and Spieth. Golfers in each group face one another in round-robin play Wednesday through Friday before the winners advance to the knockout rounds on Saturday and Sunday.

Tiger Woods, a three-time event winner, is participating for the first time since 2013. He is in Group 13 along with three other Americans — Patrick Cantlay, Brandt Snedeker and Aaron Wise.

Group 12 features 2016 and 2014 champion Jason Day of Australia and Phil Mickelson, along with Jim Furyk and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson. Group 16 includes Patrick Reed and Spain’s Sergio Garcia.

England’s Ian Poulter, part of Group 14 with Tony Finau, has won 27 matches at the event, second to Woods’ 33.

Not surprisingly, he likes playing one-on-one.

“It’s a great form of golf,” Poulter told the Golf Channel. “It’s a pure form for the simple fact that you can see your opponent’s eyes. You can try to control your match as much as you can with your own play. The clock starts ticking as soon as you tee off. You need to try to dispose your man as soon as possible, and that’s what I’ll be trying to do over the next few days.”

American Xander Schauffele is part of Group 9 with three Europeans. Schauffele admits he plays differently in this format.

“More aggression, I’d say. Consistent aggression,” Schauffele told the Golf Channel. “There’s no cut and overall, just the same sore of positive attitude as stroke play, but definitely more happy-go-lucky. That’s sort of my style for match play.”

Top-seeded Dustin Johnson, who won the event two years ago, is in Group 1. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama is one of the others in the group.

All groups (seeds in parenthesis)

Group 1 — (1) Dustin Johnson, (24) Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), (40) Branden Grace (South Africa), (55) Chez Reavie

Group 2 — (2) Justin Rose (England), (22) Gary Woodland, (34) Eddie Pepperell (England), (53) Emiliano Grillo (Argentina)

Group 3 — (3) Brooks Koepka, (27) Alex Noren (Sweden), (36) Haotong Li (China), (60) Tom Lewis (England)

Group 4 — (4) Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), (32) Matthew Fitzpatrick (England), (47) Justin Harding (South Africa), (64) Luke List

Group 5 — (5) Justin Thomas, (31) Keegan Bradley, (33) Matt Wallace (England), (50) Lucas Bjerregaard (Denmark)

Group 6 — (6) Bryson DeChambeau, (17) Marc Leishman (Australia), (39) Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), (59) Russell Knox (Scotland)

Group 7 — (7) Francesco Molinari (Italy), (21) Webb Simpson (45) Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark), (63) Satoshi Kodaira (Japan)

Group 8 — (8) Jon Rahm (Spain), (23) Matt Kuchar (43), J.B. Holmes (54), Si Woo Kim (South Korea)

Group 9 — (9) Xander Schauffele, (29) Rafa Cabrera Bello (Spain), (35) Tyrrell Hatton (England), (62) Lee Westwood (England)

Group 10 — (10) Paul Casey (England), (25) Cameron Smith (Australia), (42) Charles Howell III, (58) Abraham Ancer (Mexico)

Group 11 — (11) Tommy Fleetwood (England), (19) Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), (41) Kyle Stanley, (49) Byeong-Hun An (South Korea)

Group 12 — (12) Jason Day (Australia), (20) Phil Mickelson, (37) Henrik Stenson (Sweden), (52) Jim Furyk

Group 13 — (13) Tiger Woods (18), Patrick Cantlay, (44) Brandt Snedeker, (61) Aaron Wise

Group 14 — (14) Tony Finau, (30) Ian Poulter (England), (48) Kevin Kisner, (56) Keith Mitchell

Group 15 — (15) Bubba Watson, (28) Jordan Spieth, (38) Billy Horschel, (57) Kevin Na

Group 16 — (16) Patrick Reed, (26) Sergio Garcia (Spain), (46) Shane Lowry (Ireland), (51) Andrew Putnam

–Field Level Media

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Report: NFL approves Raiders’ lease in Oakland for 2019

Report: NFL approves Raiders' lease in Oakland for 2019

Report: NFL approves Raiders’ lease in Oakland for 2019

The Raiders are officially back in Oakland.

After the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority voted unanimously 10 days earlier to approve a new stadium lease with the franchise, NFL owners unanimously voted to approve the Raiders’ lease agreement with the city — keeping the team playing its home games in Oakland for one more season before relocating to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.

The vote was held Monday during the NFL’s annual owners meetings in Phoenix.

The Raiders will play seven games in Oakland in 2019, with an eighth “home” game scheduled against the Chicago Bears in London.

The Raiders will pay $7.5 million to play at the Coliseum in 2019 and have a $10.5 million option to remain there in 2020, an insurance plan in case of construction delays in Nevada.

The team’s $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat facility in Las Vegas is scheduled to be finished by July 31, 2020.

Team owner Mark Davis had explored other locations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium and the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park.

–Field Level Media

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Bears-Packers game to kick off NFL’s 100th season

Bears-Packers game to kick off NFL's 100th season

Bears-Packers game to kick off NFL’s 100th season

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will kick off the NFL’s 100th season when they meet at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Thursday night, Sept. 5, the NFL announced on Monday.

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will open their season on Sunday night Sept. 8 against a yet-to-be-announced opponent.

The Super Bowl winner typically plays in the season’s first game, but the NFL went for the historic Packers-Bears matchup instead.

This is the first time since 2003 that the Super Bowl champion won’t play in the league’s first game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers — who won the Super Bowl following the 2002 season — opened on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles in a Sunday night affair while the Washington Redskins hosted the New York Jets in the Thursday night season opener.

Chicago and Green Bay will meet on NBC and the contest will be the 199th in their longstanding rivalry, with matchup No. 200 to occur later in the season.

“As an organization, we are thrilled to be kicking off the 100th season of football in the NFL,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement. “As a charter franchise, we cannot think of a better way to begin our centennial season by hosting our longtime rival in prime time at Soldier Field.”

The Bears (12-4) and Packers (6-9-1) split last season’s two meetings. Chicago’s mid-December victory over Green Bay clinched the NFC North championship.

The Bears lost in the NFC wild-card game, 16-15 to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Patriots have intriguing possibilities for their first game, including a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game with the Kansas City Chiefs. New England prevailed 37-31 in overtime.

The Dallas Cowboys also are a possibility. New England’s other home opponents this season are the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants, as well as traditional AFC East foes in the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

The remainder of the NFL regular-season schedule is slated to be announced in mid-April.

The NFL also announced it will launch a series involving future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

The 30-episode series called “Peyton’s Places” will feature Manning visiting and featuring 30 pivotal figures as part of the NFL’s 100th season celebration.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Buccaneers expected to sign QB Gabbert

Report: Buccaneers expected to sign QB Gabbert

After being cut by

Report: Buccaneers expected to sign QB Gabbert

After being cut by the Tennessee Titans 10 days ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to sign quarterback Blaine Gabbert, according to a report Monday.

According to The Athletic, Gabbert’s experience with new Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians while both were with the Arizona Cardinals in the 2017 season is a key factor in the mutual decision.

Gabbert, 29, was the Titans backup quarterback to Marcus Mariota last season and played eight games for the oft-injured starter, going 2-1 in three starts. For the season Gabbert completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 626 yards, four touchdown passes and four interceptions.

The Titans moved on from Gabbert as a backup when they traded for former Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill on March 15, releasing Gabbert the same day.

His final start last season came in a winner-take-all season finale against the Titans’ AFC South rivals, the Indianapolis Colts. Tennessee lost 33-17 to miss the postseason. In that game Gabbert went 18-for-29 for 165 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Originally selected 10th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gabbert has played for four teams in his eight seasons — the Jaguars (2011-13), the San Francisco 49ers (2014-16), plus the Cardinals (2017) and Titans last season.

Gabbert owns a career 13-35 record as an NFL starter, working mostly as a backup since 2013. For his career he has played in 56 games (48 starts), throwing for 9,063 yards with 48 TDs, 47 interceptions and a 71.7 passer rating.

–Field Level Media

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Rosenhaus: DL McDowell cleared after missing two seasons

Rosenhaus: DL McDowell cleared after missing two seasons

Rosenhaus: DL McDowell cleared after missing two seasons

Defensive lineman Malik McDowell, a second-round pick in 2017 who has never played in the NFL because of off-field injuries, has been cleared to play, his agent Drew Rosenhaus said Monday.

McDowell suffered reported extensive head and eye injuries in July 2017 in an ATV accident. He was waived with a non-football injury designation by the Seattle Seahawks earlier this month, becoming a free agent.

“Unfortunately Malik got injured and it was a brain injury, a head injury,” Rosenhaus said in Phoenix at the NFL owners meetings, according to the Seattle Times.

“And the Seahawks, they did a wonderful job of exhaustively checking to see if they could get him cleared to play. Ultimately their doctors were not comfortable clearing him. He has since been cleared by independent doctors.”

McDowell visited last week with the Dallas Cowboys.

“So hopefully he will be able to continue his career, possibly with (Dallas),” Rosenhaus said.

Seattle traded down from the 26th pick in the 2017 draft to take McDowell at No. 35. McDowell last played in 2016 for Michigan State.

–Field Level Media

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Gronk’s agent: Return possible if Brady asks

Gronk's agent: Return possible if Brady asks

Gronk’s agent: Return possible if Brady asks

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement Sunday on Instagram, but his agent isn’t convinced we’ve seen the last of him.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, speaking on ESPN’s Get Up! on Monday, suggested the league’s most dominant tight end might come back for a few games if he was asked by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and let’s just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said ‘Rob, I need you.’ I wouldn’t be shocked if he came back to play a few games,” Rosenhaus said.

Gronkowski, who turns 30 in May, has battled injuries to his back and knee and missed 29 games in his career. He openly pondered retirement last offseason, but he returned for another campaign.

Before Super Bowl LIII this year, he said he would make a decision about his future a few weeks after the big game. He also discussed the physical wear and tear he endures throughout the season, as a 6-foot-6, 268-pounder who takes big hits as a receiver, regularly blocks defensive linemen and often plays through injury.

Brady, who has thrown twice as many touchdowns to Gronkowski (78) as any other player (Randy Moss, 39) in his career, commented on the tight end’s Instagram post, writing, “Love u man!! The [GOAT]!! Couldn’t be a better person or teammate!!!!”

Over the last several years, Gronkowski has steadily added experience in other fields, making a WWE appearance in 2017 and taking roles in various movies. Many reports have said the tight end has his eyes on an acting career in Hollywood, while some expect him to go into wrestling.

A three-time Super Bowl champion, four-time First Team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, Gronkowski caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in 115 games from 2010-18. Despite playing just nine seasons, he ranks ninth in NFL history among tight ends in receiving yards and tied for third in receiving TDs.

No player at any position caught more touchdowns than Gronkowski during his NFL tenure, and only LeSean McCoy equaled his 80 total touchdowns.

Gronkowski added 81 catches for 1,163 yards and 12 touchdowns in 16 postseason contests, all top marks among tight ends all-time. Only Jerry Rice (22) has caught more scores in playoff history.

–Field Level Media

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Bills reunite with former CB Gaines on 1-year deal

Bills reunite with former CB Gaines on 1-year deal

Bills reunite with former CB Gaines on 1-year deal

The Buffalo Bills bolstered their cornerback depth with a familiar face by signing E.J. Gaines to a one-year contract, the team announced Monday.

Per the Houston Chronicle, the deal will pay Gaines $3.6 million for the 2019 season.

Gaines, 27, spent the 2017 season in Buffalo after being dealt that summer from the Los Angeles Rams in a trade involving wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Gaines was a full-time starter at cornerback, although he missed five games because of injury that season.

The four-year veteran signed with the Browns in March 2018, but only played six games (two starts) with one interception — eventually being placed on injured reserve after having a pair of concussions in a three-week span.

Gaines has been a starter for most of his NFL career (43 games, 38 starts, four interceptions), but health has been an issue. He has missed games in every year since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 draft by the Rams, and was forced to sit out the entire 2015 season because of a Lisfranc injury suffered during training camp that year.

The Bills are coming off a strong season by their defense, which finished second in the league in total defense (294.1 total yards allowed per game) and best in the NFL against the pass (179.2 pass ypg allowed).

Gaines joins new free-agent addition Kevin Johnson, formerly of the Houston Texans, in the secondary in a Buffalo offseason dominated by signings on offense — with the team adding four offensive linemen (center Mitch Morse, guard Spencer Long, tackles Ty Nsekhe and LaAdrian Waddle) and a quartet of skill position players (running back Frank Gore, plus wide receivers Cole Beasley, John Brown and Andre Roberts).

–Field Level Media

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Casey vaults to No. 11 in world rankings

Casey vaults to No. 11 in world rankings

Casey vaults to No. 11 in world rankings

England’s Paul Casey vaulted four spots to No. 11 in the world rankings after defending his title at the Valspar Championship.

Casey became the first repeat champion in the event’s 19 years, and leapfrogged countryman Tommy Fleetwood, Australia’s Jason Day and Americans Tiger Woods and Tony Finau in the world rankings.

Dustin Johnson faded from contention on the back nine Sunday, but his overall finish (tied for sixth) helped him maintain the No. 1 spot for the 81st week of his career. There were no changes in the top seven, with Johnson followed by England’s Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Americans Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau and Italy’s Francesco Molinari.

Spain’s Jon Rahm also tied for sixth at the Valspar, helping him move up one spot past Xander Schauffele, with Rickie Fowler rounding out the top 10.

Jason Kokrak came up one shot short in his bid to claim his first PGA Tour victory over the weekend, but his T-2 did vault him 22 spots to No. 68.

Australia’s Scott Hend moved up 119 places to No. 134 with his sudden-death playoff win at the Maybank Championship — his first Asian Tour title in three years.

–Field Level Media

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Manziel plays sparingly in Express debut

Manziel plays sparingly in Express debut

Johnny Manziel made

Manziel plays sparingly in Express debut

Johnny Manziel made his Alliance of American Football debut for the Memphis Express on Sunday in a 31-25 comeback victory over the Birmingham Iron, rotating in during the second and third quarters with starter Brandon Silvers.

Manziel finished 3-of-5 passing for 48 yards, with the highlight a 36-yard pass down the sideline to Alton Howard. He also added 20 rushing yards on two carries, and had a wild scramble behind the line that helped draw a defensive holding penalty.

Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner and Cleveland Browns first-round pick, signed with the Express last week after being released by the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes. He split first-team reps with Silvers in practice this week, which proved to be enough preparation for him to play.

Manziel first entered during the second quarter, leading a drive that ended in a missed field goal attempt. The Express sent Silvers back out on the next possession, as the team ran a two-minute drill before halftime. Manziel came back in during the third quarter, but the offense didn’t gain much traction until Silvers returned.

The decision to stick with Silvers, a former Troy product who went undrafted in 2018, proved smart for Memphis head coach Mike Singletary. After trailing 19-8 late in the third quarter, the Express rallied for the overtime victory behind two touchdown passes from Silvers.

A 7-yard pass to Reece Horn — and the ensuing two-point conversion — tied the score with 24 seconds left, and a 10-yarder to Daniel Williams won it in overtime. Silvers finished 24 of 35 for 266 yards.

Manziel — who wore a microphone, as all AAF quarterbacks do — could be heard jawing with opponents on the field and chatting with fellow Express quarterback Christian Hackenberg on the sideline during the NFL Network broadcast. He celebrated Silvers’ game-winning TD pass jubilantly, along with the rest of the team.

It was the first overtime game in AAF history.

–Field Level Media

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Giants owner Mara: ‘Reluctant’ to approve Beckham trade

Giants owner Mara: 'Reluctant' to approve Beckham trade

New York Giants co-owner John Mara

Giants owner Mara: ‘Reluctant’ to approve Beckham trade

New York Giants co-owner John Mara admitted Sunday that he was reluctant to sign off on the decision to trade wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns earlier this month.

“I will tell you that it was a reluctant approval on my part because I happen to like Odell very much,” Mara said from the NFL owners’ meetings in Phoenix, his first public comments since the trade. “I recognize the unique talent that he has. It is not easy to trade that player to another team.

“I understand also that we have a lot of holes that we need to fill. If we make the right decisions with the [first-round] pick and the [third-round] pick, we obviously like [safety] Jabrill Peppers a lot, which filled a need for us. I ultimately gave my 50 percent share of the approval.”

The Browns sent the Giants their first-round pick (17th overall), a third-rounder and Peppers, who was drafted 25th overall in 2017, in return for Beckham. General manager Dave Gettleman told reporters last week that it was an offer he “couldn’t refuse,” despite his previous statement that the team did not sign Beckham to an extension only to trade him.

With a player of Beckham’s prominence — and less than a year removed from making him the NFL’s highest-paid wideout — the deal had to be approved by Mara and fellow co-owner Steve Tisch.

As Mara and Tisch recounted at a joint news conference Sunday, Gettleman called both men to relay news of the offer, and both had to think about it before ultimately deciding to go through with a deal.

“This was not a decision that was made quickly, without a lot of thought and a lot of conversation discussing with both Dave and [head coach Pat Shurmur] and the impact, what it would mean to the club,” Tisch said. “It is a tough decision. One of the toughest we have had to make in a long time. Many, many years.”

“It was not easy, that’s why it took this long,” Mara added. “It took a long time to come to grips with the fact that we were moving him to another team. I just didn’t think that was going to happen all winter. I think what we are getting in return will make us better if we make the right decisions.”

Mara also acknowledged that Beckham’s personality and tendency to make headlines for things not directly related to football played a small part in the decision.

“I had conversations with him about it, but it was never to the point where we said to Dave that he had to get rid of him,” Mara said. “It never reached that point. Was it a factor in the final decision? Yes, it is a factor. The thing about him, though, is that it never — he is a good guy. He did good things with us.”

Both owners wished Beckham well in Cleveland, but Mara admitted it will be difficult watching the former Giants first-round pick in another uniform.

“It is not going to be easy, I am not going to lie to you,” Mara said. “It won’t be easy. He is a great player and I hope he has a great career with the Browns. It makes it a little bit easier that he is not in our conference.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins DE Quinn visiting Saints Monday

Report: Dolphins DE Quinn visiting Saints Monday

Report: Dolphins DE Quinn visiting Saints Monday

Miami Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn will visit the New Orleans Saints on Monday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Sunday evening.

Quinn remains under contract with the Dolphins, but the team has reportedly given him permission to visit other teams while Miami tries to arrange a trade. Quinn visited the Dallas Cowboys last week, but a deal has yet to materialize.

The Dolphins are reportedly willing to pay part of Quinn’s 2019 salary to help facilitate a deal, which would likely increase the compensation they would receive, as they did in trading Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans last week.

Quinn, who turns 29 in May, has a $12.9 million cap figure for 2019, the final year of his deal. The Dolphins acquired him from the Los Angeles Rams last offseason for a fourth-round pick and a swap of sixth-rounders, and he posted 6.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits while playing in all 16 games for Miami.

A two-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, Quinn hasn’t topped 8.5 sacks or 15 QB hits in a season since posting 10.5 and 20, respectively in 2014. He had career highs of 19 sacks and 34 QB hits in 2013.

The Saints lost defensive end Alex Okafor to the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency, though they still have All-Pro Cameron Jordan and 2018 first-round pick Marcus Davenport, for whom New Orleans gave up its 2019 first-rounder in a trade.

–Field Level Media

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