The Latest: Eagles pull off Philly special play again

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on the Atlanta Falcons playing the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening game of the NFL season (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Call it the Philly Special Junior.

It didn’t go for a touchdown like the pass quarterback Nick Foles caught to help the Eagles beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. But it was just as tricky.

Wide receiver Nelson Agholor took a handoff on a reverse and Foles took off down the right sideline. The pass was perfect, just like Trey Burton’s Super Bowl throw to Foles. The gain was 15 yards to the Atlanta 26 in the third quarter, with Foles stumbling out of bounds.

Soon after, Jay Ajayi scored from the 1-yard line to give the Eagles the lead 10-6 on Thursday night.

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11 p.m.

An ad starring Colin Kaepernick as the face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign has made its broadcast debut.

The spot aired on NBC during the third quarter of the season opener between the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. The version that was broadcast was shorter than the 2-minute ad that debuted online on Wednesday.

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016, when he protested the treatment of minorities by police by first sitting, and later kneeling, during the national anthem. He has filed a grievance against the league, alleging that owners colluded to keep him unsigned.

The ad features athletes in a variety of sports, with Kaepernick extolling them to do their best. “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” he says in a veiled reference to his own circumstances.

Kaepernick spoke Thursday at a Nike event in Oregon to celebrate the ad’s premiere, telling the crowd that “we have to come together … and make sure we have a brighter future together.”

Nike faced a backlash from some fans who urged a boycott of the company’s products for glorifying Kaepernick.

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10:35 p.m.

The Atlanta Falcons lead the Philadelphia Eagles 6-3 after a sloppy, penalty-filled first half Thursday night to open the NFL season.

Although there was lots of staunch defense, the game often looked like a preseason contest, marred by dropped passes, missed blocks and all those flags. There were 16 penalties in the opening half.

The Eagles, defending an NFL championship for the first time since 1960, had an impressive goal-line stand on Atlanta’s first possession. They stopped Atlanta three times at the Philadelphia 1.

But the Falcons, who lost 15-10 in the divisional round here in January, marched downfield on their next series. Again, they were stopped close to the end zone and Matt Bryant made a 21-yard field for the first points of the 2018 season.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, still at quarterback with Carson Wentz recovering from last December’s knee injury, was sacked twice in the opening quarter.

Foles did lead Philly on a long drive to start the second quarter capped by Jake Elliott’s 26-yard field goal to make it 3-3.

Late in the half, Matt Ryan limped off following a 2-yard run and a slide. Breathe easy, Falcons fans: not an injury. His knee brace came loose. Atlanta called timeout and he returned for the next play.

Ryan was sacked on the next play and Bryant made a 52-yarder for a 6-3 edge.

Atlanta linebacker Vic Beasley was checked for a head injury but then cleared to return.

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9:10 p.m.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Michael Bennett were on the sideline when the national anthem was played before the NFL season opener between Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Neither really demonstrated during the song Thursday night. Jenkins and Bennett regularly have either knelt or stayed off the field during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest social injustice and racial inequality. They have been among the most vocal protesters since then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began similar demonstrations in 2016 by kneeling during the anthem.

Jenkins stood with teammates while Bennett wandered behind them near the Eagles bench and adjusted his equipment.

No Falcons players were absent from the sideline and none has protested in the recent past.

The anthem has been a particularly thorny issue for the NFL, especially with President Donald Trump urging owners to bench or fire players who demonstrate. Players say their message has been misconstrued into something against the American flag or the military.

The league and players union still haven’t resolved whether players will be punished this season if they choose to kneel or demonstrate during the anthem. Owners approved a policy requiring players to stand if they are on the sideline during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” allowing them to stay off the field if they wish.

But the league and union put that on hold after the Miami Dolphins faced backlash for classifying the protests as conduct potentially detrimental to the team — putting players at risk of fines or suspensions.

During the game broadcast, Nike is expected to run a commercial featuring Kaepernick after making him the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.

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9 p.m.

After waiting since 1960 to be called champions, the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans had to withstand a weather delay before unveiling their Super Bowl championship banner.

About 30 minutes after the scheduled kickoff, which was delayed from 8:20 p.m. until 9:05 p.m., the banner high above Lincoln Financial Field was uncovered Thursday night as the building rocked in celebration.

Fans came back from the concourses following the rain-and-lightning delay and were greeted to an on-field pep talk by former safety Brian Dawkins, resplendent in the gold Hall of Fame jacket he received last month. With owner Jeff Lurie by his side, Dawkins then led a chorus of “Fly Eagles Fly,” accompanied by more than 70,000 fans.

The rendition was just as loud as after the Eagles’ NFC championship victory over Minnesota in January.

Moments later, led by veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles ran onto the field to another rousing ovation.

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8:10 p.m.

A severe weather pattern has forced fans at Lincoln Financial Field to leave the open seats for cover before the kickoff of the NFL season opener between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.

A message from the National Weather Service was posted on the Linc videoboard asking everyone to take cover in stadium concourses. Some fans in end zone seats ignored that, frolicking in the downpour and dancing as music blared over loudspeakers.

Rain began falling at the Linc around 8 p.m., accompanied soon after by lightning. Earlier, temperatures had reached the high 90s.

Stadium officials announced a new kickoff time of 8:55 p.m., more than 30 minutes after the game was originally scheduled.

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7:15 p.m.

Falcons long snapper Josh Harris is inactive against the Eagles, ending a streak of 103 consecutive games played.

Harris has a hip injury and missed a couple days of practice. Jeff Overbaugh was promoted from the practice squad and takes Harris’ spot. Overbaugh played in three games for the Vikings, including two playoff games last season.

There were no surprises on Philadelphia’s list.

Quarterback Carson Wentz and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery are the starters sitting out. Both are returning from surgery. Wide receiver Mack Hollins was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury hours before the game.

Other inactives for the Eagles: G Chance Warmack, T Jordan Mailata, OL Matt Pryor, DE Josh Sweat.

Inactive players for the Falcons: CB Isaiah Oliver, S Jordan Richards, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, G Ben Garland, T Matt Gono, DT Justin Zimmer.

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6:35 p.m.

Carson Wentz was throwing passes on the field more than two hours before kickoff as he continues his recovery from surgery last December to repair two torn knee ligaments.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will start for the defending champion Eagles on Thursday night against Atlanta. Wentz wasn’t officially ruled out by coach Doug Pederson until Monday, though it was an obvious decision because he hasn’t been medically cleared.

Wentz did various drills and looked sharp as he wore a brace on his left knee. It’s uncertain when he’ll return to the starting lineup. Foles stepped in Week 14 and helped the team win its first NFL title since 1960.

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6:10 p.m.

The last time the Eagles took the field for a game that mattered, the temperature hovered around zero in Minneapolis. It was slightly hotter in Philly on Thursday.

Like pushing 100 degrees.

The season opener between the Eagles and Falcons is going to be a heated affair, thanks to Mother Nature. About 2 1/2 hours before kickoff, it was 96 degrees (35.6 degrees Celsius) at Lincoln Financial Field — hotter than earlier in the day. Compare that with the comfort of the Super Bowl, which of course was played indoors in Minneapolis, not in the Arctic conditions outside the Vikings’ home stadium.

That was the last time the Eagles had a meaningful game, beating New England for the championship.

Predictions of rain Thursday night — and probably a cooling off — certainly aren’t dampening the enthusiasm for the Eagles’ first home game as NFL champion since the 1961 season.

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4:45 p.m.

The NFL is opening its season by giving Philly fans one last celebration of their Super Bowl title before their team dives in to chase another.

The Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night in the first game of the regular season, eight months after the teams played a tight game in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Philadelphia will unveil its first Super Bowl banner in franchise history in front of a sellout crowd.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson says he expects both a great atmosphere and a great opponent.

The Falcons aren’t trying to make up for their loss to the Eagles in January. They have a new goal — finishing the season at home in Atlanta, where the Super Bowl will be played in February.

The Eagles will be playing without quarterback Carson Wentz, who had surgery last December to repair two torn knee ligaments. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will start instead.

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Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

The Ryan Tannehill trade by the Miami Dolphins to the Tennessee Titans on Friday apparently gave Colin Kaepernick some ideas.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback expressed interest in replacing Tannehill as the starting quarterback in Miami, according to a CBS Sports report.

Kaepernick is “training hard and ready to play,” a source close to the onetime star told CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora. The source indicated that the Miami job interests Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has not been an active player in the NFL since the 2016 season, having gone unsigned in free agency during the past two seasons after opting out of a contract with the 49ers.

In February, he settled a collusion grievance with the NFL. Kaepernick filed his grievance in October 2017, alleging collusion by NFL owners to keep him out of the league.

A number of owners, executives, coaches and other figures were deposed as part of the grievance, and a motion by the NFL to have the grievance dismissed was denied in August.

Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice created controversy throughout the country in 2016.

While compiling a 28-30 record as the 49ers starting quarterback from 2012-16, he led them to a Super Bowl XLVII appearance after the 2012 season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

The Denver Broncos have signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year, $21 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday evening.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

Callahan started 10 of 13 games played last season and recorded 45 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and defended six passes. He missed the final three games of the season after he broke his left foot in the Bears’ 15-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a Sunday night game.

Also Friday, the Broncos announced they have re-signed tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was a free agent following the 2018 season. Multiple sources report the two-year deal is worth $9 million.

The three-year veteran is coming off his best professional season to date. Last season, the 26-year-old recorded 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games (10 starts).

–Field Level Media

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Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

The Denver Broncos signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year contract on Friday evening.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $21 million with $10 million guaranteed.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

Callahan started 10 of 13 games played last season and recorded 45 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and defended six passes. He missed the final three games of the season after he broke his left foot in the Bears’ 15-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a Sunday night game.

Also Friday, the Broncos announced they have re-signed tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was a free agent following the 2018 season. Multiple sources report the two-year deal is worth $9 million.

The four-year veteran — who missed his entire rookie season to a torn ACL — is coming off his best professional season to date. The 26-year-old recorded 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games (10 starts) in 2018 before going on injured reserve with broken ribs.

Heuerman has missed 27 games to injury through four seasons since being drafted in the third round in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

The Miami Dolphins traded

NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

The Miami Dolphins traded quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans on Friday, receiving a 2020 fourth-round pick and 2019 seventh-rounder while also sending a 2019 sixth-rounder to Tennessee.

Tannehill restructured his existing contract and will have a fully guaranteed one-year, $7 million deal with the Titans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, $5 million of which will be paid by the Dolphins. The value could climb to $12 million with performance incentives. The QB was previously due a base salary of $18.75 million in 2019.

Tannehill, 30, started 11 games in 2018 and completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,979 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He missed five games with an injured throwing shoulder.

To make room for Tannehill, the Titans released quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

–Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, NFL Network reported.

Bortles, a 2014 first-round pick, was released earlier this week after the Jaguars signed Nick Foles. Incumbent Rams backup Sean Mannion is a free agent, leaving an opening behind Jared Goff.

— The Denver Broncos signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year. ESPN reports the deal is worth $21 million, with $10 million guaranteed.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

The Broncos also re-signed starting tight end Jeff Heuerman on a two-year deal worth a reported $9 million.

–Cornerback Ronald Darby will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced.

According to multiple outlets, the deal is worth $8.5 million.

Darby had one interception in nine games last season before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11. It hasn’t yet been determined if he will be healthy by the start of the 2019 season.

–New England is releasing defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a move that clears about $4 million in cap space.

Clayborn, 30, broke the news on Twitter and thanked the Patriots for granting his release.

–Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has come out of retirement to sign with the Washington Redskins.

Rodgers-Cromartie retired midseason with the Oakland Raiders last season before deciding this spring to return.

–The Titans are releasing right guard Josh Kline, one year after signing him to a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

NFL Network reported the 29-year-old veteran declined to take a pay cut. Releasing him saves $3.25 million while leaving $3.5 million in dead money.

–The Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent guard John Miller to a three-year contract. The deal is worth $16.5 million, according to multiple reports.

The Bengals also brought former Cleveland Browns and Patriots defensive tackle Danny Shelton in for a visit, according to ESPN.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added former Broncos outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett on a one-year deal worth a reported $5 million.

The team also signed guard Earl Watford, per multiple reports, and re-signed cornerback De’Vante Harris and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

–The San Francisco 49ers released defensive end Cassius Marsh, saving $4.7 million against the cap in 2019.

Marsh had 5.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits last season but was apparently deemed expendable after the acquisition of Pro Bowler Dee Ford earlier this week.

The 49ers also re-signed linebacker Mark Nzeocha, per the team, and restricted free agent running back Raheem Mostert, per his agent, on three-year deals.

–The Los Angeles Chargers retained safety Adrian Phillips on a one-year deal. Phillips was a Pro Bowler in 2018 as a special teamer.

–The New York Giants are likely to sign former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Mike Remmers, his agent said. Remmers was primarily a right tackle before switching to guard last season.

Meanwhile, the Giants signed defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, who had 5.5 sacks under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher when both were with the Cardinals in 2017.

–The New Orleans Saints signed former New York Giants defensive lineman Mario Edwards on a two-year deal. The contract is worth $5 million with up to $1.5 million additional in incentives, per Pro Football Talk.

–The Baltimore Ravens signed former Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Justin Bethel to a two-year deal. Bethel made three Pro Bowls from 2013-15 as a special teamer.

–The Green Bay Packers re-signed restricted free agent wideout Geronimo Allison on a one-year deal, CBS Sports reported.

Per the report, the deal will pay Allison more than his restricted free agent tender and has additional incentives, after other teams expressed interest in the 25-year-old.

–The Raiders signed speedster wideout J.J. Nelson and defensive end Josh Mauro, while re-signing linebacker Jason Cabinda and guard Chaz Green.

Mauro’s one-year deal is reportedly worth $1.4 million.

–Former Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard is visiting the Kansas City Chiefs, per multiple reports.

–The New York Jets signed former kicker Chandler Catanzaro, after Pro Bowler Jason Myers left in free agency.

–The Browns signed former Houston Texans right tackle Kendall Lamm to a two-year deal worth $7 million, per the Houston Chronicle.

–The Texans signed former Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun on a one-year deal worth a reported $900,000. Houston also worked out former Bengals second-round offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who is trying to transition to tight end.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim.

–The Bears signed former Falcons wideout/returner Marvin Hall to a one-year deal.

–Former Saints offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod visited the Carolina Panthers but left without a deal, per multiple reports.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los

Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, NFL Network reported Friday evening.

The Jaguars released Bortles on Wednesday, less than two hours after officially signing free agent Nick Foles.

The Rams have an opening behind starter Jared Goff, with incumbent backup Sean Mannion an unrestricted free agent.

Bortles, who turns 27 next month, signed a three-year, $54 million extension with the Jaguars last offseason, but he threw for 2,718 yards, 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while going 3-9 as a starter before being benched for Cody Kessler. Jacksonville was willing to eat $16.5 million in dead money from Bortles’ contract to move on from him this offseason.

A first-round pick in 2014, Bortles has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 17,646 yards, 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions in his career, with a passer rating of 80.6 and a record of 24-49.

–Field Level Media

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OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

New head coach Bruce Arians is bringing

OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

New head coach Bruce Arians is bringing a familiar face to Tampa Bay, with the Buccaneers signing offensive lineman Earl Watford to a one-year deal on Saturday.

Watford, who spent last season with the Cleveland Browns, was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and spent his first five seasons playing for Arians.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Watford joins a Buccaneers offensive line that has four returning starters.

He’ll likely get a shot at the open right guard position, but he can provide flexibility across the line.

Watford, 28, has played both guard spots and right tackle over his NFL career, which spans 55 games and 22 starts.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

The Jacksonville Jaguars stayed busy in free agency, announcing the signings of wide receiver Chris Conley and offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi on Saturday.

The moves follow the Jaguars’ big free-agent splash when they signed former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles on Wednesday.

Contract terms for the two players were not announced.

Conley, 26, played for the Kansas City Chiefs over his first four seasons, making 104 catches for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns. He emerged as a scoring target for Patrick Mahomes last season, catching 32 passes for 334 yards and five touchdowns.

Conley and Foles were teammates in Kansas City in 2016, and the wide receiver cited the signing of Foles as a big factor in his decision.

“There was opportunity here to begin with, but then the addition of him at quarterback … that sealed the deal for me,” Conley said.

Ogbuehi figures to replace offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, who was released as part of the Jaguars’ efforts to free up money for Foles.

Ogbuehi, 26, started 25 of 35 games over his first four seasons, all with the Cincinnati Bengals, but appeared in just two games last season. A Texas A&M product, he was the Bengals’ first-round draft pick in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett ‘told me I should just quit’

Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett 'told me I should just quit'

Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett ‘told me I should just quit’

When suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving shared a post – in which he appeared to be smoking marijuana – on Instagram and announced his retirement last week, it was with coach Jason Garrett’s encouragement, he said.

“He told me I should just quit, smoke all the weed I want, the team didn’t need me,” Irving told USA Today in an interview. “I’m a distraction to the team.

“He views marijuana as a drug, whereas I view it as a medicine. It’s not a good situation.”

Two weeks ago, the NFL suspended Irving indefinitely for a third violation of its policy regarding banned drugs.

“Basically, guys, I quit,” Irving said in his post. “I don’t want to talk about a suspension and all this other nonsense. I’m outta there. I’m not doing this (junk) no more. You know, it’s a lot of reasons.

Now, he said, rather than give up the drug, he will make his living through it. He already has an agreement to market two products — cannabidiol pre-rolls (joints) and cannabidiol vape pens.

Irving said he suffers from mental illnesses that he attributes to football and that players should have the option to treat their ailments with cannabis.

“People need to understand I’m not doing this – I didn’t quit football to smoke weed,” Irving said. “That would be idiotic. I understand that.

“It’s about wellness, about rights. People need to understand that.”

While the Cowboys didn’t respond to USA Today’s request for comment, Irving said owner Jerry Jones understands him.

“Basically, Jerry, he is supportive of me,” Irving said. “He understands my situation and what I was dealing with. Our hands were pretty much tied. His hands were tied.”

Irving, 25, spent the past four seasons with the Cowboys after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State. He appeared in 37 games (10 starts) and recorded 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and 56 tackles. Irving played in just two games in 2018, notching one sack.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

New Orleans Saints center Max Unger retired Saturday in a surprising development, multiple outlets reported.

Unger, who turns 33 next month, completed his 10th NFL season and earned his third Pro Bowl selection in 2018. He had one year left on a three-year, $22 million contract and was set to earn $5.1 million in base salary in 2019.

With his help, New Orleans ranked third in the league last year in scoring at 31.5 points per game and Drew Brees was only sacked 17 times, fewest of any quarterback in the NFL with at least 10 starts.

Unger started 130 regular season and 12 postseason games with the Seattle Seahawks (2009-14) and Saints (2015-18).

He missed only one of the Saints’ 64 games over the past four seasons. He led the team with 1,013 offensive snaps in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald Darby will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a one-year deal on Friday, the team announced.

According to spotrac.com, the deal is worth $8.5 million.

Darby had one interception in nine games last season before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11. It hasn’t yet been determined if he will be healthy by the start of the 2019 season.

Darby totaled four interceptions in 17 games over two seasons with the Eagles after being acquired from the Buffalo Bills. He played in just eight games in 2017 after suffering a dislocated ankle in September.

Darby was a second-round pick in 2015 by the Bills. He had two interceptions in 29 games with Buffalo.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

The Pittsburgh Steelers will release safety Morgan Burnett on April 1, his agent, Kevin Conner, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Burnett asked the team in January to release him before free agency.

Burnett indicated he wants to join a team that will use him in a pure safety role, after playing what he believes was out of position at dime linebacker in Pittsburgh, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported at the time.

Burnett, 30, joined the Steelers on a three-year, $14.4 million deal as a free agent last March, but he started just two of 11 games in 2018 as the third safety. Sean Davis primarily played free safety, with rookie first-round draft pick Terrell Edmunds taking the strong safety spot and Burnett playing in sub packages, logging 55.7 percent of the defensive snaps.

The Steelers reportedly told Burnett that the delay in releasing him is due to accounting issues. Burnett is set to count just under $6.5 million against the cap in 2019. His release would save Pittsburgh about $3.6 million in cap space, while bringing a $2.8 million dead-money hit.

After eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Burnett registered 30 tackles and six passes defensed in his first season with the Steelers in 2018. In 113 career games (104 starts), he has 747 tackles, 50 passes defensed and nine interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

Report: Kraft's team seeks to suppress evidence

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress

Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Ohio State held

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

His message to those teams?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

The Chicago Bears

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Quarterback Trevor Siemian

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Vikings sign OG Kline

Vikings sign OG Kline

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

Vikings sign OG Kline

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was released by the Cincinnati Bengals after seven seasons, the team confirmed on its website Monday afternoon.

“As we continue to build our roster for the 2019 season, we felt it best to give both the team and Vontaze a fresh start,” said Bengals first-year head coach Zac Taylor in a statement. “Vontaze has been a good player here — the team appreciates that, and I know a lot of fans appreciate that — but our focus is on the future. Our goal is to build a successful team for the upcoming season, and we felt that making this change now was best for everyone.”

Burfict had two seasons remaining on a $33.2 million contract extension, but releasing him results in a cap charge of only $1.8 million.

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

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

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

Later on Monday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Burfict may be of interest to the Oakland Raiders, who reportedly are already hosting fellow free-agent linebackers Manti Te’o and Aaron Lynch.

Burfict had 298 tackles in his first two seasons with the team and played in every game.

Burfict, 28, was an undrafted free agent signee with Cincinnati after an All-America career at Arizona State.

A poor performance at the NFL Scouting Combine — he ran a 5.09 40-yard dash and reportedly failed a drug test — coupled with concerns about his temperament and decision-making on and off the field left Burfict looking for work after the 2012 draft.

–Field Level Media

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Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

Haskins' Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

There is plenty of buzz

Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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