Report: Patriots, DE Bennett agree to reworked contract

Report: Patriots, DE Bennett agree to reworked contract

The New England Patriots and newly acquired Michael Bennett agreed on a reworked contract that gives the defensive lineman a raise heading into the 2019 season, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The base value of the final two years of Bennett’s contract increases from $15.7 million to $16.75 million and includes a $4 million signing bonus, according to the report. Bennett, 33, will earn $3 million this season with $1.5 million in per-game roster bonuses. Bennett stands to earn a base of $7 million in 2020.

The move also frees up about $700,000 in cap space for the Patriots this season, giving the club $18 million overall.

“I love being a Patriot because, obviously, it’s all about winning. I think everything about the organization is about team-first. It’s just about doing what you need to do to get to where we want to go as a group,” Bennett said last month after the Patriots acquired him from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bennett has 63 sacks over his 10-year career that started with the Tampa Bay Bucs. He posted nine sacks last season for the Eagles, his only season in Philadelphia.

Bennett spent the prime of his career with the Seattle Seahawks, starting every game he played in over his last four years there. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three consecutive seasons with Seattle.

Bennett has 118 tackles for loss and 13 forced fumbles in his career.

–Field Level Media

NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans

NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans

The Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans

NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Titans to retire jerseys for McNair, George

Titans to retire jerseys for McNair, George

The Tennessee Titans will retire quarterback Steve McNair's

Titans to retire jerseys for McNair, George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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

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

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

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

A reason for his absence had not been revealed.

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Trademark denied: Pats’ Brady can’t claim ‘Tom Terrific’

Trademark denied: Pats' Brady can't claim 'Tom Terrific'

The U.S.

Trademark denied: Pats’ Brady can’t claim ‘Tom Terrific’

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied Tom Brady’s application to trademark “Tom Terrific.”

The New England Patriots quarterback sought to trademark the phrase because he wanted to keep others from marketing that nickname in connection with him.

When news of his application got out in June, however, it caused a furor among fans of Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher who got the nickname as a member of the New York Mets from 1967 to 1977.

And that’s just why the patent office rejected the trademark, stating “the applied-for mark consists of or includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with Tom Seaver.”

The ruling, dated Thursday, continued: “Although Tom Seaver is not connected with the goods provided by applicant under the applied-for mark, Tom Seaver is so well-known that consumers would presume a connection.”

Brady said in June that it never was his intention to encroach on Seaver’s legacy.

“It’s unfortunate,” Brady said. “I was actually trying to do something because I didn’t like the nickname, and I wanted to make sure no one used it, because some people wanted to use it.

“I was trying to keep people from using it, and then it got spun around to something different than what it is. Good lesson learned, and I’ll try to do things a little different in the future.”

Brady has six months to respond to the rejection. If he doesn’t, the application will be closed.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins’ Flores taunts activist/WR Stills with Jay-Z playlist

Dolphins' Flores taunts activist/WR Stills with Jay-Z playlist

Dolphins’ Flores taunts activist/WR Stills with Jay-Z playlist

Brian Flores decided to pump up the volume on wide receiver Kenny Stills’ disdain for Jay-Z with a practice playlist the Miami Dolphins’ head coach said was intended to challenge the veteran receiver to perform under pressure.

One day after Stills — he has been outspoken regarding social activism and criticized owner Stephen Ross’ support of President Donald Trump — called out Jay-Z for saying he was “past kneeling,” the Dolphins came to practice and heard eight straight Jay-Z tunes. They were selected by Flores.

When the playlist ended, Flores challenged Stills in front of the team to put up or shut up.

“We talked about it in-house and he handled it in-house,” Stills, 27, said. “For the most part, I think it was him seeing if I could handle if people were going to heckle me or play Jay-Z in another stadium if I could be mentally strong enough to handle that sort of treatment. I’ve been dealing with this since 2016 — music, boos, racial slurs. So I don’t think a little Jay-Z music is going to ruffle my feathers that bad.”

Flores defended his choice of music and motivational ploys on Thursday.

“It was a challenge to Kenny to perform regardless of whatever is going on outside,” Flores said of playing the Jay-Z songs. “I would say, and I said this to him, he hasn’t performed up to that level over the course of training camp, or as I’ve seen. So that was the challenge — to get open, catch the football and make plays for this team, regardless of what’s going on outside of this building.”

Flores grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and said his stance on social activism is not a part of what he brings to practices. He said he supports those who use their voice — because they’re telling his own story.

“I’m a son of immigrants. I’m black. I grew up poor. I grew up in New York during the stop-and-frisk era. So I’ve been stopped because I fit a description before. So everything that these guys protest, I’ve lived it, I’ve experienced it. So I applaud those guys’ protest,” Flores said. “So whether it’s (Colin) Kaepernick, or Eric Reid or Kenny, I applaud those guys. I told Kenny that in our meeting in front of the entire team.

“I don’t know how many people have, but I lived it. So I understand why guys protest. And it’s important. And you know what else is important to me? There’s 89 guys in that locker room who are counting on Kenny to get open, catch the football and perform for this team.”

–Field Level Media

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Panthers ‘optimistic’ Newton can play in opener

Panthers 'optimistic' Newton can play in opener

Panthers ‘optimistic’ Newton can play in opener

The Carolina Panthers are “cautiously optimistic” that Cam Newton will be able to play in the season opener after the quarterback sustained a foot injury during Thursday night’s preseason game, general manager Marty Hurney said.

“Cam Newton has a mid-foot sprain in his left foot, and we are cautiously optimistic he will be ready for Week 1,” Hurney said on Friday.

Newton sustained the injury on a sack in the first quarter of Carolina’s 10-3 preseason loss to the New England Patriots.

The 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player limped off the field before retreating to the locker room. Newton exited the stadium in a walking boot.

Newton was making his preseason debut, his game first action since having shoulder surgery in April. He went 4-of-6 passing for 30 yards, taking two sacks, before departing.

Newton, 30, is entering his ninth NFL season. He completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games last season, missing the final two due to the shoulder injury.

The Panthers open the regular season Sept. 8 against the visiting Los Angeles Rams.

–Field Level Media

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Colts QB Brissett expected to sit out vs. Bears

Colts QB Brissett expected to sit out vs. Bears

Colts QB Brissett expected to sit out vs. Bears

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is expected to sit out Saturday’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

The decision to keep Brissett under wraps comes as questions surround the availability of fellow quarterback Andrew Luck for the season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 8.

Luck, who is dealing with injuries to his left calf and high ankle, previously had been ruled out of playing in any preseason games.

“At some level, we want to protect Jacoby anyway, to be honest with you, regardless of Andrew’s status,” coach Frank Reich said Thursday. “Because in theory, even if Andrew is playing Week 1, he still hasn’t taken a lot of reps. So we’re still going to protect Jacoby anyway.”

Brissett started 15 games for the Colts in Luck’s absence in 2017, with the team going 4-11 in that stretch.

Brissett, 26, completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,098 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2017. He also rushed for 260 yards and four scores.

— Field Level Media

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Giants’ Shurmur: ‘Eli’s our starter’

Giants' Shurmur: 'Eli's our starter'

New

Giants’ Shurmur: ‘Eli’s our starter’

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning remains the team’s starting quarterback despite another strong showing by rookie Daniel Jones, coach Pat Shurmur announced Friday.

Shurmur stopped short of declaring the 38-year-old Manning as the starter for the season opener against Dallas immediately following Thursday’s 25-23 preseason win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

That, apparently, prompted reporters to bring up quarterback concerns during a conference call on Friday morning.

“Eli’s our starter, and we’re getting Daniel ready to play,” Shurmur said. “(Jones) has done a good job in the preseason. He’s getting better and he’s going to do continue to do that, so that at whatever time we need him to play, he’ll be ready.”

Jones was ready on Thursday, completing 9 of 11 pass attempts for 141 yards in four series. The sixth overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft is 25 of 30 for 369 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason.

Manning is 8-23 as the starter over the past two seasons, throwing 40 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions during that span.

The four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion enters his 16th NFL season ranked seventh all-time in passing yards (55,981) and eighth in TD passes (360).

–Field Level Media

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Ex-NFL lineman Bennett found dead; son sought

Ex-NFL lineman Bennett found dead; son sought

Authorities are

Ex-NFL lineman Bennett found dead; son sought

Authorities are looking for a 22-year-old man in connection with the death of retired NFL lineman Barry Bennett and his wife, who were found dead earlier this week in their Minnesota home.

The Todd County (Minn.) Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that it is seeking the public’s help in finding Dylan John Bennett. His car was located outside the state, officials said.

The bodies of Barry Bennett, 63, and his 66-year-old wife, Carol, were found in their home in Long Prairie, Minn., on Wednesday. They were discovered after authorities went to their home on a welfare check requested by a friend.

The cause of death remains under investigation, the sheriff’s office said Friday.

Bennett played 11 seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints (1978-81), New York Jets (1982-88) and Minnesota Vikings (1988). He appeared in 132 games and posted 18.5 sacks in his career.

A product of Concordia College in Minnesota, he was a native of the state. After his NFL stint ended, he had a second career as a physical education teacher, the Star Tribune reported.

Jim Christopherson, who coached Barry Bennett at Concordia, told the Pioneer Press that Dylan Bennett was adopted by the couple. He said Dylan recently graduated from Bemidji State University and had found a job in China.

The Vikings tweeted their condolences on Friday afternoon.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of former Vikings player Barry Bennett and his wife, Carol. Our thoughts are with their friends and family during this difficult time,” the Vikings said.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs sign RT Schwartz to extension

Chiefs sign RT Schwartz to extension

Chiefs sign RT Schwartz to extension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Bears cut Blewitt, search for kicker continues

Bears cut Blewitt, search for kicker continues

Bears cut Blewitt, search for kicker continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Brady, Patriots beat Panthers; Newton exits

Brady, Patriots beat Panthers; Newton exits

Tom Brady was sharp

Brady, Patriots beat Panthers; Newton exits

Tom Brady was sharp in his preseason debut, while Cam Newton left his debut with a foot injury as the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 10-3 on Thursday night in Foxborough, Mass.

Newton hurt his left foot while getting sacked to end the third series. He limped off the field, received treatment on the sideline and was taken to the locker room before being ruled out. He finished 4 of 6 for 30 yards, taking two sacks.

Brady went 8 of 12 for 75 yards on three possessions, with two drives ending in punts before an 85-yard touchdown drive. Rookie fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham — not veteran backup Brian Hoyer — entered next and played the rest of the game. He finished 15 of 19 for 134 yards.

Panthers first-round pick Brian Burns had two more sacks, giving him four in the preseason, and one forced fumble. Third-round quarterback Will Grier entered third at quarterback, after Kyle Allen, and went 4 of 8 for 44 yards.

–Field Level Media

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

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

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wishes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smith-Schuster replied to the April 7 Twitter storm.

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars’ Ramsey: No extension coming in 2019

Jaguars' Ramsey: No extension coming in 2019

Jaguars’ Ramsey: No extension coming in 2019

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

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

“As long as I’m a part of this organization, as long as I’m a part of Duval County, I’m going to give the city and the players all I’ve got, and I think y’all know that,” Ramsey said. “I’ve fought through injuries. I’ve fought through everything, haven’t missed a game. …

“I feel like I have outplayed my rookie contract and I feel I’ve earned a new contract. But at the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world. I’m tremendously blessed. I’m so blessed. I’m not down on it or anything like that at all, but that is the circumstance. That is what I’ve been told.”

Ramsey, 24, is entering his fourth season. In April, the Jaguars exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract that will pay him $13.7 million in 2020. He will earn a base salary of $3.6 million in 2019.

Ramsey has started all 48 games since the Jags made him the No. 5 overall pick in 2016, totaling 193 tackles, nine interceptions and 44 passes defensed. He was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2017 and has made two straight Pro Bowls (2017-18).

–Field Level Media

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Ex-NFL DE Smith arrested on suspicion of DUI

Ex-NFL DE Smith arrested on suspicion of DUI

Ex-NFL DE Smith arrested on suspicion of DUI

Former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith was arrested Monday in Kansas on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The 29-year-old was initially stopped for a traffic violation. He was issued citations at the station in Mission, Kan., and picked up there by a friend, a police spokesman told the Kansas City Star.

Smith has not played in the NFL since November 2015, when he was suspended by the league for a year for violating its substance-abuse policy.

The 49ers drafted Smith No. 7 overall in 2011 and he was an immediate success, tallying 14 sacks as a rookie and earning first-team All-Pro honors with 19.5 sacks in 2012.

After four seasons and 44 sacks in 50 games with San Francisco, he played in seven games for the Raiders prior to his suspension in 2015.

Smith has a long history of run-ins with the law, including at least three previous DUI arrests.

Last November, Smith entered no-contest pleas to two misdemeanor domestic violence charges.

In exchange for his plea, he received a sentence of 90 days in jail and received credit for time served in a residential treatment center. He also was sentenced to three years of probation, one year of domestic violence counseling and 25 hours of community service.

–Field Level Media

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Koepka: Golfers complain too much at U.S. Open

Koepka: Golfers complain too much at U.S. Open

Koepka: Golfers complain too much at U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is known as the toughest test in golf, with narrow fairways, penalizing rough, and pin placements almost impossible to reach.

Some of the top pros claim the way the USGA has set up its championship courses in recent years is more than tough; it’s been unfair.

Those complaints were a big topic of conversation Tuesday after practice rounds for this week’s U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at the famed and picturesque Pebble Beach in northern California.

But you won’t hear any moaning from the guy who is going for his third consecutive U.S. Open title.

“I mean, everybody has got to play the same golf course,” Brooks Koepka said.

“It doesn’t make a difference if you put it in the fairway and you hit every green, there’s really no problem, is there? So obviously they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do. So they’re not playing good enough. If they put it in the fairway, you shouldn’t have to complain about the rough. You hit the greens and you hit it close, you shouldn’t have to complain about the greens.

“I’ve just never been one to complain, make excuses. It doesn’t matter. Nobody wants to hear anybody’s excuse. I find it annoying even when I play with guys and they’re dropping clubs or throwing them or complaining, like telling me how bad the golf course is or how bad this is. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me.

“It’s just something we’ve all got to deal with. If you play good enough, you shouldn’t have a problem.”

Koepka won last year at Shinnecock Hills in New York with a 1-over-par total. Perhaps the moment most remember from the event is Phil Mickelson, afraid his putt at a treacherous hole location was going to roll off the green and into a bunker, chased down the ball and hit it back while it was moving. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

On Saturday at Shinnecock, the last 45 players to tee off failed to break par.

Tough or unfair?

“I think big picture you still had the right champions every single time. And that’s what you want to do in majors, you want to separate who is playing the best from who’s not,” said Jordan Spieth, who won the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, when dead fescue grass on the greens was a significant storyline.

“And I don’t see how that’s not had the right result in any of the previous years, even though certainly everything could have gone a hundred percent perfectly and it didn’t, necessarily.”

The USGA has narrowed the fairways slightly from the typical setup at Pebble Beach, and Englishman Justin Rose said, “The rough seems penal but not outrageous.”

“I think there’s going to be some very unlucky lies around the greens and the tops of the bunkers the way they’ve let the fescue, or whatever that grass is around the tops of the bunkers, grow,” he added.

“It’s quite a coarse grass as well. Any ball that lands just over the top of a bunker and lands in that longer grass, I think the ball is going to stick in there and you’re going to have some tough lies. And maybe you’ll see guys not move a ball possibly from the tops of those bunkers. That’s probably the most penal area of the golf course, I think.”

It’s all fine by Koepka.

“I just view it as this is what it is this week, and I’ve got to deal with it and go,” he said. “In my mind it doesn’t equate to a bad setup or good setup.”

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys WR Hurns making strides after brutal injury

Cowboys WR Hurns making strides after brutal injury

Cowboys WR Hurns making strides after brutal injury

Allen Hurns’ horrific lower-leg injury appeared to be the type that might cause him to miss at least part of the 2019 NFL season.

But the Dallas Cowboys receiver is recovering fast and he told reporters on Tuesday that he expects to be fully ready when training camp opens next month.

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

Hurns was injured after catching a pass in the first quarter of the wild-card contest and was taken to the hospital with his leg in an air cast. He soon underwent surgery.

“I still get a little cringy thinking about it, but you know what’s surprising going through that? It wasn’t like the worst pain in my life,” Hurns told reporters in Frisco, Texas. “I was more freaked out about my ankle facing another way, but it was crazy for sure. Especially I had to stay off social media with everybody tagging me and things like that showing me the videos. I try not to watch it.”

Hurns was unable to put weight on the lower leg for two months. The first step was jogging, and now he describes himself as 90 percent recovered.

“It’s a progression thing,” Hurns said. “That’s the great thing about it. Each week you come in and you see that, ‘OK, I progressed to this,’ and you can look back and say I’m not where I was. That’s the great thing.”

Hurns caught just 20 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns last season in his first year with Dallas after playing his first four campaigns with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His best season was in 2015 when he established career highs of 64 receptions, 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The meager 2018 production adds another element, as Hurns is due to be paid $4 million in base salary in 2019 with a salary cap hit of $6.25 million.

He said he is aware the Cowboys might approach with an ultimatum: Take a pay cut or be released.

“I know that I’d return. I’m not sure where it’s going to be,” Hurns said. “My main thing is to get healthy, put together a great training camp and go from there.”

–Field Level Media

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Raiders to draw spotlight on ‘Hard Knocks’

Raiders to draw spotlight on 'Hard Knocks'

Just watch, baby.

Raiders to draw spotlight on ‘Hard Knocks’

Just watch, baby.

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Chargers sign first-round pick Tillery

Chargers sign first-round pick Tillery

Chargers sign first-round pick Tillery

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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