The Latest: Saints hand previously unbeaten Rams 1st loss

The Latest on Week 9 in the NFL (all times EST):

7:49 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams’ undefeated run is over.

Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes and Michael Thomas had 12 receptions for 211 yards and a score in a 45-35 win for the New Orleans Saints over the previously unbeaten Rams.

New Orleans led 35-14 late in the second quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, the Rams rallied to tie it with 21 straight points.

The Saints, though, made enough plays on both sides of the ball to pull away again for the victory.

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7:38 p.m.

Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes, helping the Houston Texans beat the Denver Broncos 19-17.

The Texans have won six in a row after opening with three losses. They joined the 1970 New York Giants as the only NFL teams to pull off that feat since 1970.

Philip Rivers also had two touchdown passes in a win, lifting the Los Angeles Chargers to a 25-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Rivers started his 200th straight game in the regular season, a milestone reached by just three other NFL quarterbacks: Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.

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7:25 p.m.

The New Orleans Saints have built another double-digit cushion against the Los Angeles Rams.

Drew Brees’ 72-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas converted a third down and helped New Orleans take a 45-35 lead with 3:52 left to play. New Orleans led the Rams 35-14 late in the first half, then gave up 21 straight points, before taking the lead back to put them on the brink of their first loss.

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7:03 p.m.

Malcolm Brown should get credit from the judges for degree of difficulty .

The Los Angeles Rams running back scored in spectacular fashion in the third quarter on an 18-yard catch, helping his undefeated team rally at New Orleans.

Brown hurdled Saints safety Marcus Williams when he tried to take his legs out inside the 10. Brown landed on his right foot and then got his left foot down as he twisted near the sideline before lunging to get the ball over the goal line.

The Rams pulled into a 35-all tie early with 9:58 left to play after trailing by 21 points late in the second quarter.

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6:14 p.m.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have the Los Angeles Rams on the brink of defeat.

The Saints led the undefeated Rams 35-17 at halftime.

Brees had a lot to do with that. He was 17 of 22 for 211 yards with three touchdowns, to three different teammates, over the first two quarters.

Todd Gurley scored in his 12th straight game for the Rams, breaking a franchise record he shared with Hall of Famer Elroy Hirsch.

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5:55 p.m.

Seattle took some choreographed steps toward having the best touchdown celebrations in the NFL.

Russell Wilson threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Jaron Brown midway through the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers, sparking the Seahawks’ latest display of creativity. Brown lined up behind three teammates in the end zone. Two of them slid to the left and two slid to the right, parting the way for Brown to finish off the fun with some dance moves.

In last week’s win at Detroit, the Seahawks acted out a baseball scene in the end zone.

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5:32 p.m.

Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes in the first half at Denver, giving him 36 career touchdown passes and putting him in company with two Hall of Famers.

The Houston Texans quarterback threw 19 passes in seven games as a rookie in 2017 and is nearing that total in his second season through nine games.

Dan Marino and Kurt Warner are the only other players in NFL history to throw at least 35 touchdown passes over the first 16 games of their career.

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5:10 p.m.

Philip Rivers is starting in his 200th consecutive game, a milestone just three NFL quarterbacks have ever reached.

Rivers took the first snap for the Los Angeles Chargers against Seattle to join Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning as the quarterbacks in league history to start at least 200 games. Favre started an NFL-record 297 straight times in the regular season.

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4:40 p.m.

Houston didn’t waste time getting Demaryius Thomas the ball in his Texans debut against his old team.

The standout receiver turned a screen pass into a 31-yard gain on Houston’s fourth play of the game and he had an 18-yard reception on the next snap against the Denver Broncos.

His two catches for 49 yards set up a touchdown pass to Jordan Thomas.

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4:14 p.m.

Julio Jones’ touchdown drought is done.

The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver caught a 35-yard scoring pass from Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins, dragging safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the way into the end zone. His score helped Atlanta beat Washington 38-14

It was Jones’ first touchdown since Nov. 26, 2017. He had played in 12 games since his previous score.

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4:04 p.m.

The Washington Redskins’ banged-up offensive line got a break with the return of Morgan Moses against Atlanta. Or, maybe not. The right tackle returned in the second quarter after limping off the field in the first. Moses was then called for holding, negating a 28-yard gain that would have put Washington in position to attempt a field goal.

Washington lost left guard Shawn Lauvao to an injured left knee on its first drive against the Falcons. The Redskins started the game without Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams after he had surgery on his right thumb. Lauvao was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair.

Atlanta was leading 38-14 late in the game.

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3:50 p.m.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seemed to survive a scare.

Roethlisberger went down after landing hard on the field after a sprint from the pocket, but was able to return after being out briefly. He was tackled from behind by Baltimore’s Za’Darius Smith and remained prone for a lengthy stretch of time. It appeared he landed hard on his shoulder, but appeared OK after being helped off the field.

The play occurred early in the fourth quarter with Pittsburgh leading the Ravens 20-13. Josh Dobbs came in to play quarterback for one play before Big Ben returned. Not long after that, Roethlisberger completed a 51-yard pass to Jesse James.

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3:40 p.m.

The Denver Broncos are going to honor former receiver Demaryius Thomas with a video tribute before their game with Thomas’ new team, the Houston Texans.

Thomas returned to Denver five days after his trade to Houston.

The Broncos also put a “Thank you, D.T.” message on the 10-story high poster of Thomas that graces the south side of Mile High Stadium.

The message was right above the tunnel where the Texans’ buses pulled into the stadium.

—Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.

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3:05 p.m.

Patrick Mahomes is lighting up the scoreboard again.

Kansas City’s quarterback had three touchdown passes early in the third quarter at Cleveland. Mahomes has 29 TD passes this season, one shy of the team record set by Hall of Famer Len Dawson in 1964.

Mahomes threw a 50-yard TD pass to Kareem Hunt and an 11-yarder to Travis Kelce in the first half. He hooked up again with Kelce on a 13-yarder early in second half.

By halftime, he had more yards passing (3,042) and touchdown passes (28) in his first 10 career games than any other player in league history since 1950.

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2:47 p.m.

Dalvin Cook has made an immediate impact for the Minnesota Vikings in his return to action after missing five of the past six games because of a hamstring injury.

The second-year running back had a career-long, 70-yard run in the second quarter against Detroit. That set up a short touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen. Cook has eight carries for 86 yards in the first half against the Lions, who are last in the league in run defense.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is back for the Lions after a six-game absence because of a shoulder injury. He sacked Cousins in the closing seconds of the second quarter to force a field goal. The Vikings lead early in the third quarter.

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2:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has scored for the ninth time, setting a franchise record for touchdowns through the first eight games in a year.

His latest touchdown came on a 6-yard throw from Ben Roethlisberger, who threw a screen to him and watched as he made a move to get the space he needed to get into the end zone in the second quarter.

Brown also made a spectacular catch in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens, but his leaping grab didn’t count because he was out of bounds.

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2:09 p.m.

James Conner continues to do a fantastic job filling in for Le’Veon Bell.

Pittsburgh’s breakout running back scored his 10th touchdown on a 7-yard catch in the first quarter at Baltimore. Since 1950, no one has scored more touchdowns for the Steelers through eight games than Conner. He has made the most of his opportunity to play for Bell, who hasn’t signed his one-year franchise tender.

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1:42 p.m.

The Washington Redskins are missing most of their starting offensive linemen just minutes into their game against Atlanta.

Washington lost left guard Shawn Lauvao to an injured left knee on its first drive and right tackle Morgan Moses to an injured right knee on its second possession. The Redskins started the game without Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams after he had surgery on his right thumb.

Lauvao was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair. Moses limped off the field. Both were listed as questionable to return.

The Redskins were behind Falcons 7-0 late in the first quarter.

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1:22 p.m.

Former NFL receiver Steve Smith has shared a secret.

He acknowledged on the NFL Network he left his Carolina Panthers’ playbook for his new team, the Baltimore Ravens, to find when he was released in 2013. It’s not unusual for players to share secrets about their former team after being released or waived, but it is difficult to recall anyone talking about it publicly.

“When I came in I had the playbook and said, ‘It will be on my desk and what you do with it is on you,'” Smith recalled .

Smith said the playbook was missing from his locker for a couple of days before it was returned and he took it home. Smith said he had a copy of the Panthers’ playbook because it was given to him by another player who was cut a couple years before he was released by the team. Smith said he thought the playbook might be helpful if he got into coaching after his playing career.

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1 p.m.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is wearing custom cleats emblazoned with a Star of David, adorned with the phrase “Stronger Than Hate,” in response to recent shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. The Star of David is in yellow and serves as the upper part of the Steelers logo.

Roethlisberger and his wife are friends of Michele Rosenthal, a former team employee. Two of Rosenthal’s brothers were among the 11 killed in the late-October shooting.

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12:46 p.m.

The surging Pittsburgh Steelers and the slumping Baltimore Ravens are among the NFL teams kicking off Week 9.

The AFC North-leading Steelers (4-2-1) are aiming for their fourth straight win on the road against the division rival Ravens (4-4), who have lost three of four.

Gregg Williams has a challenging debut as Cleveland’s interim head coach as the Browns (2-5-1) host the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs, who are a conference-best 7-1.

A pair of games later in the day, and night, should attract a lot of attention.

The undefeated Los Angeles Rams travel to face the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints, who have lost only once. Under the lights in New England, Tom Brady will match up with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Florida prosecutors say they’ll release Kraft videos

Florida prosecutors say they'll release Kraft videos

Florida prosecutors say they’ll release Kraft videos

Florida prosecutors on Wednesday said they intend to release videos that allegedly show New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other men engaged in sexual acts at a massage parlor because they are required to by state law.

In court documents filed by the Palm Beach County state’s attorney’s office, which were obtained by The Boston Globe, prosecutors said they “cannot delay the release of records to allow a person to raise a constitutional challenge to the release of the documents. The Public Records Act does not allow a custodian to delay the production of records to allow the resolution of a constitutional challenge to the release of the documents.”

No timetable was given for the release.

Kraft has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution following two January visits to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla.

The 77-year-old billionaire’s defense team has argued in court against the release of the videos.

“It’s basically pornography,” William Burck, one of Kraft’s attorneys, said in court Friday. Burck said release of the videos would result in “catastrophic” harm for Kraft and that “the public’s interest in seeing this video is all about prurient interest.”

Kraft’s lawyers filed an emergency motion Wednesday to “oppose the State’s intended disclosure” of the videos, CNBC reported.

Several media groups also have requested the videos’ release.

“The public now has a right of access to them,” Diane Schulman, an attorney for the media groups said, adding concerns about embarrassment and publicity are not justifiable reasons to seal the videos under Florida law.

–Field Level Media

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Boom or bust? QB Murray leads list of 10 risky picks

Boom or bust? QB Murray leads list of 10 risky picks

Boom or bust? QB Murray leads list of 10 risky picks

NFL scouting departments fight to find hidden gems in the late rounds and undrafted free agency. But striking out on top picks often determines whether a team succeeds or fails.

Teams cannot avoid risky players entirely.

Obviously, every player comes with some degree of risk. Going from college to pro is a projection game for scouts and general managers. No player is going to be asked to mirror the role he played in college and the leap in competition is incredibly steep. As informative as the athletic, psychological and medical testing performed at the Combine can be, there is no exact, scientific predictor which players will work even harder after depositing their first NFL paycheck.

This top 10 list of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft zeroes in on a handful of prominent prospects, but the rundown could be all-encompassing.

In each case, the prospect could blossom into the coveted All-Pro who makes an immediate impact and turns your favorite team into a Super Bowl contender. Or, in many cases, the same players could be colossal busts, the kind of failure that results in a reset at the position in just a few years – quite possibly a new general manager, too.

Players are listed in their projected order of selection.

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma, first round: There is no greater boom-or-bust prospect in the 2019 draft. His talent is undeniable and at no time in NFL history has the league been more accommodating to a dual-threat quarterback. Yet, I’ve always been leery of quarterbacks who were only successful for one year at the major college level, were protected by a phenomenal offensive line, threw to future NFL star wide receivers and were aided by an innovative play-caller. Murray checks every one of those boxes.

Greedy Williams, CB, LSU, first round: Williams is an exceptional athletic talent worthy of being selected in the top 10 – so was Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State, Cleveland Browns). The problem? Williams didn’t show NFL production and very little in terms of technical progress in his two starting seasons at LSU. His lack of competitiveness in run support last season is troubling. Talent is there, but it would not shock me to see Williams fall out of the first round entirely.

Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson, first round: Full disclosure, I’m higher on Ferrell than most. His size, physicality and use of hands all translate well to the next level. But edge rushers get drafted in the top 10 or earn Pro Bowl nods based on their ability to affect the quarterback and Ferrell simply does not possess the quick-twitch explosiveness to consistently threaten NFL offensive tackles with his speed. I have a hard time imagining a player with his size, competitiveness and production falling too far on draft day. Some wonder if he’s a bit of a “parasite player,” who fed off attention opponents gave Clemson’s stud defensive tackles.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi, first round: The team that hits on Metcalf could have the second coming of Calvin Johnson, who some forget was also very much a boom-bust prospect when he left Georgia Tech’s triple option offense. Of course, Johnson became one of the most dominant forces in NFL history. For all of Metcalf’s exceptional abilities, his lack of the most important one – durability – is frightening.

Byron Murphy, CB, Washington, first round: Murphy, too, struggled with durability over his short college career, a fact made more disconcerting given his physical playing style. Scouts are aware that recent former Washington cornerbacks have largely struggled to play with the same effectiveness in the NFL after leaving DB guru Jimmy Lake and the Huskies. And as any redshirt sophomore, Murphy has to convince scouts that he has the maturity to handle the responsibilities of the NFL – a concern only enflamed with his post-Combine decision to switch agents.

Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State, first round: Dillard is an easy first-round talent from an athletic perspective. He possesses the best feet of any offensive lineman in this draft, which translates beautifully to a pass blocking offense, like the one he played in with the Cougars. Few NFL teams rely on passing the ball as much as Mike Leach; I was stunned Dillard labored significantly during a relatively easy positional workout at his Pro Day. He looked out of shape, raising questions about how seriously he is taking this process.

Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama, first-second round: Despite his exciting range and ball skills, no player has dropped further on my board than Thompson since the end of the college football regular season and that includes recently injured prospects Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State) and Kendall Sheffield (Ohio State). Thompson struggled on the field during the playoffs, especially the national championship game loss to Clemson. Thompson raised some eyebrows at the Combine by opting not to run or jump at the Combine due to a right wrist injury and two Pro Days later, he still has not run the 40-yard dash for scouts, leaving some questioning his competitiveness and true athleticism. Thompson comes with character red-flags following an April 25, 2017 charge of felony aggravated assault in which he and three former high school teammates allegedly beat a man severely.

Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State, second round: I am as intrigued by Butler’s exceptional height-weight-speed combination (6-5 3/8, 227, 4.48) as anyone and he does have some phenomenal one-handed catches to ascend to highlight reel royalty. Unfortunately, there are a fair number of two-handed drops that show up on the real tape, a significant counterbalance in the overall evaluation.

Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State, second-third round: There is no denying that in this below-average running back crop, Sanders’ prototypical 5-11, 211-pound frame, lateral agility and proven 4.4 speed stands out. Just as catching the ball is the single-most important component to playing wide receiver, hanging on to the ball is most important at running back. Given that he was only Penn State’s one season after backing up Saquon Barkley, the fact that Sanders fumbled the ball 10 times over his career (losing seven) is alarming.

Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida, second-third round: Disappointing 40-yard dash times at the Combine (4.84) and his subsequent Pro Day (4.88-4.95) have generated a ton of negative publicity for Polite since the end of the season, when he notably led the country with seven forced fumbles. I believe 40-yard dash times for defensive linemen mean very little, especially for a player with Polite’s exceptional initial burst off the line. I am concerned that Polite’s slow times could mean that the poor conditioning which plagued his early career at Florida may be a lasting worry, raising plenty of questions about how hard he will work once those NFL game checks starting coming in.

–By Rob Rang, Field Level Media

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NFL puts dates on International Series games

NFL puts dates on International Series games

Five International Series games

NFL puts dates on International Series games

Five International Series games on the 2019 NFL schedule were assigned dates on Wednesday, including a primetime AFC West rivalry game in Mexico pitting the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers at Azteca Stadium.

The matchups for all five games, four of which are scheduled to be played in London, were announced by the NFL on Jan. 21.

The Chiefs-Chargers game is the final date on the International Series schedule, which opens Oct. 6 with the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders in a 1 p.m. ET game at Tottenham Stadium.

NFC South division foes are at Tottenham the following Sunday, when the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers square off in a 9:30 a.m. ET game (Oct. 13).

Play shifts to Wembley Stadium on Oct. 27 as the Cincinnati Bengals and NFC champion Los Angeles Rams meet (1 p.m. ET), and AFC South opponents — Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars — play Nov. 3 in a 9:30 a.m. ET contest.

The Rams were scheduled to play the Chiefs at Azteca Stadium last season, but that “Monday Night Football” game was moved to Los Angeles due to field conditions.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the Super Bowl in February that NFL officials are confident the game will be played in Mexico City this year.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots sign veteran WR Thomas

Patriots sign veteran WR Thomas

The New England Patriots

Patriots sign veteran WR Thomas

The New England Patriots have signed four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to a one-year deal, according to published reports.

Thomas, 31, could earn up to $6 million on the deal, NFL Network reported. He bolsters New England’s passing attack ahead of next week’s NFL draft.

In nine seasons with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, Thomas has hauled in 688 catches for 9,330 yards and 62 touchdowns. The Broncos traded him to the Texans before last season’s trade deadline, and he finished the year with 59 catches for 677 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games overall.

Thomas’ season ended Dec. 23 when he tore his left Achilles against the Philadelphia Eagles. He will be about seven months removed from the injury when the Patriots report to training camp, and it is uncertain whether he will be fully recovered for the first practice.

Last season’s production marked a decline for Thomas, who surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in five straight seasons from 2012-16. He was part of the Broncos’ Super Bowl championship team during the 2015 season and has scored six touchdowns in 10 career playoff games.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has spoken highly of Thomas in the past. He complimented the receiver and Emmanuel Sanders before the 2015 AFC title game.

“You can’t just take away one thing,” Belichick said in comments published by the Boston Herald. “They’re both great catch-and-run players. They can both beat you on intermediate routes, come-backs, in-cuts, slim posts, things like that, and then they’re both great down the field with vertical routes.”

Thomas joins a group of receivers in New England that includes top target Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Bruce Ellington, Maurice Harris, Braxton Berrios and others. Josh Gordon has been indefinitely suspended by the league.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: QB Wilson becomes league’s top-paid player

NFL notebook: QB Wilson becomes league's top-paid player

NFL notebook: QB Wilson becomes league’s top-paid player

The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year extension worth a reported $140 million, making the franchise quarterback the highest-paid player in the NFL.

The deal, which includes a $65 million signing bonus and no-trade clause, was reached late Monday night. Wilson confirmed the new deal in a Twitter post early Tuesday.

“Hey Seattle, we got a deal,” Wilson said from his bed, next to his wife, Ciara. “Go Hawks. But I’ma see y’all in the morning. Time for y’all to go to bed.”

Wilson’s reported annual average of $35 million tops the blockbuster extension signed last summer by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers at $33.5 million. Rodgers’ deal included a $57.5 million signing bonus, also topped by Wilson.

–The Oakland Athletics reportedly offered Kyler Murray, their 2018 first-round draft pick, a whole lot of money to give up his football dreams.

Sports Illustrated reported that Oakland offered to add a guaranteed $14 million to his $4.6 million signing bonus to try to persuade the Heisman Trophy winner to play baseball. The A’s also would have added him to their 40-man roster.

Instead, the 21-year-old Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma last season, walked away from baseball to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. He could be the first player selected when the draft kicks off on April 25 in Nashville, Tenn.

–The Atlanta Falcons reunited with defensive end Chris Odom and signed offensive lineman John Wetzel, the team announced.

Odom got a two-year deal. The 24-year-old originally signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2017 but was eventually cut. He went on to play seven games with Green Bay and is coming off a halted season in the Alliance of American Football league where he registered 2.5 sacks for the Salt Lake Stallions.

Wetzel, 27, inked a one-year deal with the Falcons after spending the past three seasons with Arizona, where he made 24 starts. The 6-foot-7 combo guard/tackle was put on injured reserve last November due to a neck injury.

–Los Angeles Chargers wideout Travis Benjamin received a one-year extension through 2020 as part of a reworked contract, ESPN reported.

Benjamin reportedly will receive a $3 million signing bonus in exchange for agreeing to reduce his 2019 base salary from $5.25 million to $1 million. His 2020 salary wasn’t immediately known.

The new agreement creates $2.75 million in salary-cap space for the Chargers, according to ESPN.

–The New England Patriots signed four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to a one-year deal, according to published reports.

Thomas, 31, could earn up to $6 million on the deal, NFL Network reported. He bolsters New England’s passing attack ahead of next week’s NFL draft.

In nine seasons with Denver and Houston, Thomas has hauled in 688 catches for 9,330 yards and 62 touchdowns. The Broncos traded him to the Texans before last season’s trade deadline, and he finished the year with 59 catches for 677 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games overall.

–Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller announced his retirement, 18 months after he sustained a horrific knee injury.

He had hoped to return to the game but in an Instagram post said he just physically couldn’t do it.

“The time has come to move on from playing the game of football,” Miller, 34, said in the post. “It has been an incredible journey for myself and my entire family and we can’t thank you enough for your continued support. I would love more than anything to step on Soldier Field one last time but I physically cannot give the game and our fans what they deserve.”

–The NFL will release the 2019 schedule Wednesday night during a televised show on NFL Network.

The unveiling begins at 8 p.m. ET, and it comes one week before the NFL draft, which starts April 25.

The NFL previously announced that the season will kick off Sept. 5 with a game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, a storied rivalry to commemorate the league’s 100th anniversary.

–Field Level Media

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Chargers to showcase powder blues at home

Chargers to showcase powder blues at home

Chargers to showcase powder blues at home

Out with the new, in with the old.

The Los Angeles Chargers announced Tuesday that they will return to their powder blue jerseys for home games during the 2019 season. The look dates back to the 1960s and 1970s but has been limited to occasional uses since the end of the 1974 season.

The decision comes one year before the Chargers move into their new stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

“I’ve talked to our fans, and they love the uniforms and the colors,” Chargers executive A.G. Spanos told reporters. “They love the lightning bolt. It’s truly iconic. It’s very special, and we have a great history.

“When you look at players like LaDainian Tomlinson, Dan Fouts, Junior Seau and on and on, I think it’s important to keep that tradition going.”

The Chargers are 4-0 under head coach Anthony Lynn when they wear the powder blue uniforms, according to ESPN.

–Field Level Media

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Cardinals undecided on next week’s No. 1 pick

Cardinals undecided on next week's No. 1 pick

Cardinals undecided on next week’s No. 1 pick

The Arizona Cardinals are nine days from a decision that could alter the course of their franchise.

Forgive them if they are having a hard time making up their mind.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim admitted as much Tuesday during a pre-draft news conference. He said the Cardinals have not decided which player to select with the No. 1 overall pick in next Thursday’s draft.

“We are not done with this process,” Keim told reporters. “There are a number of players in my opinion and our scouts’ opinions and our coaching staff’s opinion that warrant being the first overall selection.”

The list likely includes Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, a known favorite of first-year Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury. Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa also has been rumored as a possible No. 1 pick if the Cardinals prefer to turn to defense and keep Josh Rosen at quarterback.

Keim acknowledged that some teams have reached out about the possibility of acquiring the top draft choice.

“If it’s compensation you can’t pass up and it’s the next three drafts of some of these teams, you’d have to consider it,” Keim said.

The Cardinals’ general manager said speculation about the No. 1 pick has been “fun” but not always credible.

“When it comes to this press conference, you guys think this is misinformation,” Keim said. “We’re not the only ones spitting it out. There’s a lot of it going around.

“The fact that I don’t know what we’re doing but everybody else does, that’s concerning.”

Meanwhile, Kingsbury said he has been impressed by Rosen’s steadiness amid the uncertainty surrounding the top pick.

Rosen started 13 games as a rookie last season. He completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

“He couldn’t have been better, honestly,” Kingsbury said. “First one to show up, engaging, into it, very sharp, as everybody knows. Can’t say enough good things about my interactions with Josh so far.”

–Field Level Media

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Bears TE Miller gives up comeback, retires

Bears TE Miller gives up comeback, retires

Bears TE Miller gives up comeback, retires

Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller announced his retirement on Tuesday, 18 months after he suffered a horrific knee injury.

He had hoped to return to the game but in an Instagram post said he just physically couldn’t do it.

“The time has come to move on from playing the game of football,” Miller, 34, said in the post. “It has been an incredible journey for myself and my entire family and we can’t thank you enough for your continued support. I would love more than anything to step on Soldier Field one last time but I physically cannot give the game and our fans what they deserve.”

On Oct. 29, 2017, Miller suffered a dislocated knee against the New Orleans Saints. He had emergency vascular surgery at a local hospital to repair a torn popliteal artery and ultimately save his left leg.

The injury eventually required nine surgeries.

The Bears re-signed him June 2018, knowing he couldn’t play, to enable him to retain his medical insurance and rehab at the team’s facility.

A sixth-round draft pick by Jacksonville in 2009, he played three years with the Jaguars and three-plus seasons with the Bears. He ends his career having played in 66 games (33 starts) with 146 catches for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Wilson agrees to $140M extension, now NFL’s top-paid

Wilson agrees to $140M extension, now NFL's top-paid

Wilson agrees to $140M extension, now NFL’s top-paid

The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year extension worth a reported $140 million, making the franchise quarterback the highest-paid player in the NFL.

The deal, which includes a $65 million signing bonus and no-trade clause, was reached late Monday night. Wilson confirmed the new deal in a Twitter post early Tuesday.

“Hey Seattle, we got a deal,” Wilson said from his bed, next to his wife, Ciara. “Go Hawks. But I’ma see y’all in the morning. Time for y’all to go to bed.”

Wilson’s reported annual average of $35 million tops the blockbuster extension signed last summer by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers at $33.5 million. Rodgers’ deal included a $57.5 million signing bonus, also topped by Wilson.

ESPN and the Seattle PI reported the terms of the deal.

Wilson, 30, is contractually tied to Seattle through the 2023 season.

The Seahawks were up against a deadline of late Monday night to reach a deal with Wilson, who had vowed not to discuss an extension if the sides couldn’t reach a deal by midnight. Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, arrived at team headquarters last Friday to hammer out a deal, according to ESPN.

“At the end of the day, my guy wants to live, work, thrive in Seattle,” Rodgers told ESPN on Tuesday. “Loves this town and its fans. He compromised to stay here. I respect that.”

Wilson is a five-time Pro Bowl selection who posted career-highs in passing touchdowns (35) and passer-rating (110.9) in 2018. He has thrown for 25,624 yards and 196 touchdowns in his seven-year career. He has started all 112 games he has played for the Seahawks.

–Field Level Media

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Falcons bring back DE Odom, sign OL Wetzel

Falcons bring back DE Odom, sign OL Wetzel

The

Falcons bring back DE Odom, sign OL Wetzel

The Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday reunited with defensive end Chris Odom and signed offensive lineman John Wetzel, the team announced.

Odom’s deal is for two years, and the 24-year-old is coming off a halted season in the Alliance of American Football league where he registered 2.5 sacks for the Salt Lake Stallions.

Odom originally signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2017 but was eventually cut. He went on to play in seven games with the Green Bay Packers.

Wetzel, 27, inked a one-year deal with the Falcons after spending the past three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. Wetzel made 24 starts in Arizona. The 6-foot-7 combo guard/tackle was put on injured reserve last November with a neck injury.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Murray turned down extra $14M from Athletics

Report: Murray turned down extra $14M from Athletics

The

Report: Murray turned down extra $14M from Athletics

The Oakland Athletics reportedly offered Kyler Murray, their 2018 first-round draft pick, a whole lot of money to give up his football dreams.

Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday that Oakland offered to add a guaranteed $14 million to his $4.6 million signing bonus to try to persuade the Heisman Trophy winner to play baseball. The A’s also would have added him to their 40-man roster.

Instead, the 21-year-old Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma last season, walked away from baseball to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. He could be the first player selected when the draft kicks off on April 25 in Nashville, Tenn.

When the A’s drafted him with the No. 9 overall selection last summer, they told him he could play one more season of college football before reporting to the club.

“Circumstances change,” Missy Murray, Kyler’s mom, told Sports Illustrated.

Murray threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns in 14 games for the Sooners.

–Field Level Media

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Chargers extend WR Benjamin through 2020

Chargers extend WR Benjamin through 2020

Los Angeles Chargers wideout

Chargers extend WR Benjamin through 2020

Los Angeles Chargers wideout Travis Benjamin received a one-year extension through 2020 as part of a reworked contract, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

Benjamin reportedly will receive a $3 million signing bonus in exchange for agreeing to reduce his 2019 base salary from $5.25 million to $1 million.

Benjamin’s 2020 salary wasn’t immediately known.

The new agreement creates $2.75 million in salary-cap space for the Chargers, according to ESPN.

Benjamin caught 12 passes for 186 yards in 12 games last season. He has 93 receptions for 1,430 yards and nine touchdowns in 42 games for the Chargers over the past three seasons.

The 29-year-old Benjamin played his first four seasons with the Cleveland Browns and established career-highs of 68 catches for 966 yards and five touchdowns in 2015.

Overall, Benjamin has caught 202 passes for 3,113 yards and 19 scores in 96 games (35 starts). He also has returned four punts for touchdowns, three with the Browns and one for the Chargers.

–Field Level Media

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Wilson agrees to $140M extension, becomes top-paid player in NFL

Wilson agrees to $140M extension, becomes top-paid player in NFL

The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year extension worth a reported $140 million, making the franchise quarterback the highest paid player in the NFL.

The deal, which includes a $65 million signing bonus and no-trade clause, was

Wilson agrees to $140M extension, becomes top-paid player in NFL

The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year extension worth a reported $140 million, making the franchise quarterback the highest paid player in the NFL.

The deal, which includes a $65 million signing bonus and no-trade clause, was reached late Monday night. Wilson confirmed the new deal in a Twitter post early Tuesday.

“Hey Seattle, we got a deal,” Wilson says from his bed, next to his wife, Ciara. “Go Hawks. But I’ma see y’all in the morning. Time for y’all to go to bed.”

Wilson’s reported annual average of $35 million tops the blockbuster extension signed last summer by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers at $33.5 million. Rodgers’ deal included a $57.5 million signing bonus, also topped by Wilson.

ESPN and the Seattle PI reported the terms of the deal.

Wilson, 30, is contractually tied to Seattle through the 2023 season.

The Seahawks were up against a deadline of late Monday night to reach a deal with Wilson, who had vowed not to discuss an extension if the sides couldn’t reach a deal by midnight. Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, arrived at team headquarters last Friday to hammer out a deal, according to ESPN.

“At the end of the day, my guy wants to live, work, thrive in Seattle,” Rodgers told ESPN on Tuesday. “Loves this town and its fans. He compromised to stay here. I respect that.”

Wilson is a five-time Pro Bowl selection who posted career-highs in passing touchdowns (35) and passer-rating (110.9) in 2018. He has thrown for 25,624 yards and 196 touchdowns in his seven-year career. He has started all 112 games he has played for the Seahawks.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks QB Wilson set to be NFL’s highest paid

Seahawks QB Wilson set to be NFL's highest paid

Russell Wilson is on the verge of being the NFL's highest-paid player.

The 30-year-old quarterback shook on a four-year deal worth a reported $140 million with the Seattle Seahawks, ending days of negotiations around Wilson's self-imposed deadline.

Wilson

Seahawks QB Wilson set to be NFL’s highest paid

Russell Wilson is on the verge of being the NFL’s highest-paid player.

The 30-year-old quarterback shook on a four-year deal worth a reported $140 million with the Seattle Seahawks, ending days of negotiations around Wilson’s self-imposed deadline.

Wilson announced the deal in an Instagram video recorded from bed, lying next to his famous wife, Ciara.

“Hey Seattle, we got a deal. Go Hawks. But I’ma see y’all in the morning. Time for y’all to go to bed.”

The 2019 season would have been Wilson’s last on his existing contract – at $19 million – and market value has escalated rapidly in the past 13 months. Kirk Cousins (Vikings), Matt Ryan (Falcons) and Aaron Rodgers (Packers) helped push the new annual average value for franchise quarterbacks $35 million, which is where Wilson’s deal falls. Rodgers AAV is $33.5 million.

According to multiple reports, Wilson’s contract includes a new record for guaranteed money – $65 million – which pushes him past Rodgers ($57.5M).

Wilson had 35 touchdown passes and a 110.9 passer rating last season.

With his deal done, the Seahawks will be hard-pressed to find the cash under the cap to get market-value contracts for both Frank Clark and Bobby Wagner. Clark, currently under the franchise tag at $17.9 million for 2019, is the subject of trade speculation. Wagner played like an ascending linebacker in 2018 but this offseason has been kind to players at his position, too.

The Jets signed free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley to a five-year, $85 million deal in March.

-Field Level Media

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NFL 2019 schedule hits Wednesday

NFL 2019 schedule hits Wednesday

The NFL will release the 2019 schedule Wednesday night during a televised show on NFL Network, the league announced Tuesday.

The unveiling begins at 8 p.m., and it comes one week before the NFL Draft, which starts April 25.

The NFL previously

NFL 2019 schedule hits Wednesday

The NFL will release the 2019 schedule Wednesday night during a televised show on NFL Network, the league announced Tuesday.

The unveiling begins at 8 p.m., and it comes one week before the NFL Draft, which starts April 25.

The NFL previously announced that the season will kick off Sept. 5 with a game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, a storied rivalry to commemorate the league’s 100th anniversary.

The NFL released the preseason schedule last week.

–Field Level Media

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Report: 49ers K Gould no-show at voluntary workouts

Report: 49ers K Gould no-show at voluntary workouts

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould was a no-show for the start of voluntary team workouts Monday, according to a report from NBC Sports Bay Area.

The 36-year-old kicker has not signed his one-year franchise tender with the 49ers. The deal would

Report: 49ers K Gould no-show at voluntary workouts

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould was a no-show for the start of voluntary team workouts Monday, according to a report from NBC Sports Bay Area.

The 36-year-old kicker has not signed his one-year franchise tender with the 49ers. The deal would be worth $4.97 million if Gould signs it.

Gould reportedly was not pleased when the 49ers placed the franchise tag on him in February instead of allowing him to become a free agent. He spent the bulk of his career with the Chicago Bears, who are searching for a kicker after releasing Cody Parkey during the offseason.

In 208 career games, Gould has connected on 87.7 percent of his field-goal attempts and 97.6 percent of his extra-point attempts.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: QB Wilson’s extension deadline approaches

NFL notebook: QB Wilson's extension deadline approaches

Quarterback Russell Wilson will not sign a long-term deal with the Seattle Seahawks if he and the team fail to reach agreement before his self-imposed deadline of midnight Monday passes, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier in the day.

With the NFL draft next

NFL notebook: QB Wilson’s extension deadline approaches

Quarterback Russell Wilson will not sign a long-term deal with the Seattle Seahawks if he and the team fail to reach agreement before his self-imposed deadline of midnight Monday passes, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier in the day.

With the NFL draft next week, reports that franchise-tagged defensive end Frank Clark is on the trade block, and the team having only $12 million in available salary-cap space, it could be a busy two weeks ahead for the Seahawks.

Wilson previously informed the team he wanted a new long-term contract by April 15. According to reports, the two sides have engaged in discussions that would net Wilson one of the top deals — perhaps the highest-paying — in the NFL, approaching $30 million annually.

Wilson’s current contract expires after the 2019 season.

–Kansas City receiver Tyreek Hill was in attendance as the Chiefs opened offseason workouts, coach Andy Reid confirmed to reporters, as authorities investigate two alleged incidents of suspected child abuse last month at Hill’s home. Hill, 25, has not been charged with any crimes.

The second alleged incident occurred March 14 and involved a juvenile, according to multiple published reports. The Kansas City Star reported that Hill’s 3-year-old son sustained a broken arm in the incident. Overland Park police responded to the same address on March 5 to investigate a report of child abuse or neglect. Hill’s name is listed on the report.

–Former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray scheduled a visit with the Washington Redskins, and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins will meet with the New York Giants this week.

Murray is projected to be a top-10 draft pick, with speculation the Arizona Cardinals want the Heisman Trophy winner with the No. 1 overall pick. Haskins, ranked by most outlets as the No. 2 quarterback in the draft, has already worked out for the Oakland Raiders and visited with the Denver Broncos and Redskins.

–Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz says the stress fracture in his back hasn’t fully healed, but he still plans to be ready for the start of organized team activities, which begin May 21.

Wentz, 26, was diagnosed with the injury in mid-December and missed Philadelphia’s last three regular-season games and both playoff contests. He said he is taking things “week by week” and that he has been cleared to run and throw some.

–Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown has settled a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed his toddler was nearly hit by furniture Brown threw off a balcony last year, TMZ.com reported.

Ophir Sternberg said that his 22-month-old son was walking near the pool at a Florida apartment complex in April 2018 when “large objects started to fall from the building many floors above them.” Per TMZ, the settlement terms are confidential.

–Eagles running back Josh Adams reportedly will miss the start of the offseason conditioning program as he recovers from shoulder surgery he underwent following Philadelphia’s divisional-round playoff loss against the New Orleans Saints.

Adams, 22, was given a six-month timetable for his recovery and is expected to join the team for training camp in July. The undrafted free agent rushed for a team-high 511 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games in 2018.

–New England quarterback Tom Brady and newly acquired defensive end Michael Bennett were no-shows for the team’s first day of voluntary workouts, ESPN reported. Brady skipped the workouts last year while Bennett reportedly does his training at his offseason home of Hawaii.

–The Minnesota Vikings signed former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Sean Mannion and former Denver Broncos wide receiver Jordan Taylor. The team also announced that a pair of restricted free agents, safety Anthony Harris and offensive tackle Rashod Hill, had both signed their tenders.

–San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould was a no-show for the start of voluntary team workouts, according to a report from NBC Sports Bay Area. The 36-year-old kicker has not signed his one-year franchise tender with the 49ers. The deal would be worth $4.97 million if Gould signs it.

–Field Level Media

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Brady, Bennett no-shows for Patriots’ voluntary workouts

Brady, Bennett no-shows for Patriots' voluntary workouts

Brady, Bennett no-shows for Patriots’ voluntary workouts

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a no-show for the team’s first day of voluntary workouts, ESPN reported.

The entity also said defensive end Michael Bennett didn’t report for Monday’s start to the offseason program.

Brady’s absence wasn’t a major surprise since he skipped the voluntary workouts last year and the 41-year-old had hinted he was unlikely to take part this offseason either.

Not taking part in the voluntary workouts last year didn’t seem to hurt since the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

“My greatest challenge in 2019 is going to be continuing to prepare the way I want with my body, my mind,” Brady said back in February. “It always has its unique challenges. I’ve already got my offseason mapped out. … It will be a lot of time with my family and try to get ready for another year.”

Bennett reportedly lives in Hawaii in the offseason and does his training on the islands. The Patriots acquired the 33-year-old from the Philadelphia Eagles last month.

–Field Level Media

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Woods draws TV crowd, despite early Masters start

Woods draws TV crowd, despite early Masters start

Tiger Woods' victory at

Woods draws TV crowd, despite early Masters start

Tiger Woods’ victory at The Masters also delivered strong TV ratings.

CBS Sports started its Sunday telecast five hours earlier than normal, at 9 a.m. ET, due to weather-shifted tee times. The final round became the highest-rated morning sports golf broadcast in at least 34 years (since metered market ratings began) with a 7.7 overnight rating/21 share.

Combined with an encore presentation, the final round combined for a 11.1 rating, which would be the best for the final round of The Masters since 2010, when Phil Mickelson won and Woods finished tied for fourth as he returned from a scandal that began with him driving into a fire hydrant.

Because of the early start, though, the live rating was the lowest for the final round of the Masters since 2004 (7.3). As it was, the 7.7 rating was still the best for any round of golf since last year’s final round in Augusta, Ga.

The live telecast peaked from 2:15-2:30 p.m. ET with a 12.1 rating as Woods earned his fifth green jacket — first since 2005 — and his 15th major title. It’s the highest peak rating for the Masters since 2013, according to CBS.

A rating is the percentage of homes watching a program out of total number of TV homes. Share is percentage of televisions in use.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles QB Wentz says back still not fully healed

Eagles QB Wentz says back still not fully healed

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz says the stress fracture in his back hasn't fully healed, but he still plans to be ready for the start of organized team activities next month.

"It's still getting there," Wentz told reporters Monday when the

Eagles QB Wentz says back still not fully healed

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz says the stress fracture in his back hasn’t fully healed, but he still plans to be ready for the start of organized team activities next month.

“It’s still getting there,” Wentz told reporters Monday when the Eagles began their voluntary offseason program. “Some of the stuff just takes time. That’s not really the main concern, it’s just kind of how I feel and I feel really good with where I’m at.”

Wentz, 26, was diagnosed with the injury in mid-December and missed Philadelphia’s last three regular-season games and both playoff contests.

He said he is taking things “week by week” and that he has been cleared to run and throw some, but he declined to discuss specifics of his recovery.

The Eagles begin OTAs on May 21.

“That’s the goal. That’s the goal,” Wentz said. “But there really is no timetable, no rush. But I feel good with the progression I’ve been on.”

Wentz, who also missed the Eagles’ Super Bowl run in 2017 with a torn ACL, was asked to comment on concerns about his overall durability. That is a greater concern about that entering 2019 because former backup Nick Foles is now the starter in Jacksonville.

“I get it. I get it,” Wentz said. “I’m looking forward to putting those behind me. I understand it’s a part of this league, it’s a physical league and things happen. Some of those things are out of my control and I look forward to putting that behind me.”

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Wentz is 23-17 through three seasons with 10,152 passing yards, 70 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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