Veteran RB Jamaal Charles hopes to ‘be a spark’ for Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Telvin Smith broke toward the sideline during practice Wednesday and had newly signed running back Jamaal Charles in his sights.

For a second anyway.

Smith said Charles “hit me with a little step” that got the linebacker’s attention and gave everyone else a glimpse of what the four-time Pro Bowl selection still has to offer to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I said, ‘OK, OK,'” Smith said. “It was good to see him get out there and move and have that step. We’re just ready to see that on Sunday.”

The Jaguars (3-2) signed Charles to a one-year contract Tuesday and expect him to contribute at Dallas (2-3) on Sunday.

Jacksonville will be without Leonard Fournette for the fourth time in six games and lost third-stringer Corey Grant to a season-ending foot injury. The team also signed running back Dave Williams off Denver’s practice squad.

All eyes were on Charles, though. And for good reason.

The 31-year-old running back had a successful career in Kansas City and insisted he has plenty to offer despite tearing a ligament in his right knee in 2015 and needing a second surgery the following year. Charles also tore a ligament in his left knee in 2011.

“I can’t look back and get those years back, but I’m excited where I’m at right now,” said Charles, who played 14 games as a backup in Denver last year. “I feel good. I feel like last year was just trying to get back the feel of the game and get back to healthy again. Now I’ve been out for a while, but I’ve also had time to get my body right and get stronger and get healthy, so I feel great.”

The Jaguars certainly need a boost on offense.

Fournette is out indefinitely, quite possibly until after the team’s Week 9 bye, and is one of four starters sidelined. Receiver Marqise Lee (knee) and left tackle Cam Robinson (knee) are out for the season, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core muscle) is out at least eight games. Backup left tackle Josh Wells (groin) also won’t play against Dallas, leaving Jacksonville with its third starter (Josh Walker) at the all-important position.

Making the situation more dire, center Brandon Linder (back) and guard Andrew Norwell (foot) also missed practice Wednesday.

“It’s difficult,” coach Doug Marrone said. “It’s adversity, and it gives us a chance to show where we can improve ourselves and do a better job. No one ever feels sorry for you, and we don’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“I kind of get excited. It’s a great challenge. It’s a challenge to play in this league when you get to the level where you’re bringing people in that are getting ready to play for you. I’m excited for those guys to have an opportunity, and I’m excited for us as coaches to see how we can use those players and the players that we have to the best of our ability.”

Charles worked out for New Orleans in May and had a more recent interview with Washington.

But his first offer came from Jacksonville. He was more than willing to jump on a plane and head east from his home near Houston.

“I want to win a Super Bowl,” Charles said. “That’s why I kept my options open because I did want to win. I want to win a Super Bowl and they have a good chance to do that, so I came here to contribute.”

Charles has 7,556 yards rushing and 44 touchdowns, plus 2,586 yards receiving and 20 more scores.

He will play behind T.J. Yeldon for now, a part-time role that gets him back on the field and gives him another chance to prove his worth.

“I’m just trying to bring energy, excitement, big plays and show them that I can still play,” he said. “I want to give them a new boost, get them hyped, get them excited that I’m here. Be like a spark, you know what I’m saying, a spark to the fire and hope that we can make a flame.”

___

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Raiders sign TE Swoope, release QB Jones

Raiders sign TE Swoope, release QB Jones

The

Raiders sign TE Swoope, release QB Jones

The Oakland Raiders continued to add offensive pieces to Jon Gruden’s roster puzzle by signing tight end Erik Swoope on Wednesday.

Swoope, who turned 27 earlier this month, was waived twice by Indianapolis last season after recording eight catches for 87 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in seven games (two starts) for the Colts. Swoope spent part of the season on the practice squad and missed several games due to injury.

Swoope was briefly picked up by the Saints in December, but released just two days after being claimed off waivers. For his career, he has played in 24 games (six starts) with 23 receptions, 384 yards and four touchdowns.

He was originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2014 out of Miami (Fla.), where he also played on the basketball team and averaged 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 110 games over four seasons.

To make room on the roster, the Raiders released quarterback Landry Jones.

Jones, 30, spent five seasons with the Steelers (2013-17) as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup, playing in 19 games (five starts), passing for 1,310 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Steelers went 3-2 in games he started.

Jones began the 2018 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars after being cut by Pittsburgh before the season, but he was again released in November without playing in a game.

The Raiders have veteran Mike Glennon and ex-Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman on the roster behind starter Derek Carr.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Panthers’ Newton not throwing, Olsen healthy

NFL notebook: Panthers' Newton not throwing, Olsen healthy

NFL notebook: Panthers’ Newton not throwing, Olsen healthy

Cam Newton was not cleared to throw as the Carolina Panthers worked out together Wednesday, four months after the quarterback had shoulder surgery.

Head coach Ron Rivera said the team remains focused on Newton returning at full strength for the start of training camp in July.

“We’ll just continue to go through the process,” Rivera said after the first day of organized team activities in Charlotte, N.C. “It’s really … not that big a deal.”

Tight end Greg Olsen, whose 2018 season ended in December with a foot injury, told reporters he can be a full participant at OTAs. Injuries have limited him to just 16 games combined over the past two seasons.

–NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league has not been in touch with Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill as authorities continue to investigate allegations of child abuse.

“We will not interfere with that,” Goodell said at league meetings in Florida. “The priority is the young child. We will obviously be cooperative with whatever the court wants.”

Specifically, Goodell said any disciplinary action from the NFL will wait until the investigation concludes.

–A relative of Tyrann Mathieu has been accused of trying to extort $5 million from the Chiefs safety.

ESPN reported that Geourvon Keinell Sears, 21, allegedly threatened to reveal personal information to TMZ if he didn’t receive the money.

Mathieu’s lawyer, Denise White of EAG Sports, confirmed to KMBC 9 in Kansas City that Mathieu was the target, saying he is working through a “private and personal family issue.”

–Robert Kraft’s trial has been suspended indefinitely as prosecutors appeal a judge’s ruling over the admissibility of video surveillance footage.

The suppression of the key video evidence could end the case against Kraft, who was charged with a misdemeanor alleging he paid for sex at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla.

Judge Leonard Hanser in Palm Beach County postponed the trial indefinitely as prosecutors launched an appeal of Hanser’s decision to disallow secretly shot video of Kraft.

–Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph confirmed report that the team has offered him a five-year extension.

Rudolph, 29, told ESPN that Pro Football Talk’s report — which said the team’s offer would make Rudolph one of the NFL’s highest-paid tight ends — was accurate.

“That’s what they’re working at,” Rudolph said, per ESPN. “We’re in a tough situation. Everybody knows that. That’s why we (the Vikings) have the best salary-cap guy in the NFL and I believe I have one of the best agents.”

–The NFL awarded the 2021 draft to Cleveland and the 2023 draft to Kansas City.

The event in Cleveland will be centered downtown, around FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and on the shore of Lake Erie.

The 2023 draft in Kansas City will be centered on the Missouri side of downtown, around Union Station and the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The 2022 draft location has yet to be determined.

–The NFL Scouting Combine will remain in Indianapolis through at least 2021, while on-field workouts will be moved to the afternoon and prime time in 2020.

The agreement to hold the combine in Indianapolis also includes a series of annual options in the future.

–NFL overtime rules will be unchanged for the 2019 season, the competition committee declared at its annual May meeting in Florida, with the proposal to be revisited in 2020.

The NFL also banned teams from using several well-known one-on-one practice drills, including the popular Oklahoma Drill and the Bull in the Ring.

–Recently retired defensive end Chris Long admitted to using marijuana as an NFL player, saying the league should move toward a place where testing positive does not result in a suspension.

“I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career,” Long said on The Dan Patrick Show. “…Listen, if not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it.”

–The Washington Redskins placed linebacker Reuben Foster on injured reserve with a torn left ACL and signed free agent linebacker Jon Bostic.

Foster, 25, sustained the season-ending injury Monday. Bostic, 28, is on his fifth NFL team after spending last year in Pittsburgh.

–The Oakland Raiders signed tight end Erik Swoope and released quarterback Landry Jones.

–The New Orleans Saints signed offensive linemen Marshall Newhouse and Ryan Groy and released offensive tackle Derek Newton.

–The Arizona Cardinals signed defensive tackle Terrell McClain.

–Free agent wideout Jermaine Kearse visited the Detroit Lions, but the sides were unable to agree on a contract, according to multiple reports.

–Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Alex Redmond was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s PED policy, ESPN reported.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins sign LB Bostic, move LB Foster to IR

Redskins sign LB Bostic, move LB Foster to IR

Two days after

Redskins sign LB Bostic, move LB Foster to IR

Two days after Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster was carted off the practice field with a season-ending torn left ACL, Washington placed him on injured reserve and signed free agent linebacker Jon Bostic.

Bostic, who turned 28 earlier this month, will essentially fill the substantial void left by Foster, who was injured after the first workout of the team’s offseason program.

A five-year veteran, Bostic started 14 of 16 games with Pittsburgh last season, recording 73 tackles and a career-best 2.5 sacks in his lone campaign with the Steelers. He has also played for Chicago (2013-14), New England (2015) and Indianapolis (2017) and spent 2016 with Detroit, but missed the entire season after suffering a season-ending foot injury during training camp.

For his career, Bostic has recorded 313 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 70 games (46 starts).

The move formally ends the season for Foster, who was emotionally distraught on Monday as he was assisted to the cart and into the locker room with an air cast on his left knee.

Foster crumpled to the ground on the third play and immediately was tended to by defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and team president Bruce Allen. Head coach Jay Gruden said Foster, in a non-contact drill while going about three-quarters speed, stepped on guard Tyler Catalina’s foot and “landed funny on his left leg.”

“Very disappointing what happened,” Gruden said after Monday’s workout. “His first rep as a Redskin, he runs through the gap and gets injured. … He’s devastated. He’s obviously guarded right now. He felt something happen in his leg. But he’s very upset about it.

The Redskins claimed Foster off of waivers when the San Francisco 49ers parted with the troubled linebacker last season. The 49ers let Foster go in the wake of a domestic violence accusation stemming from an alleged incident during a team road trip to Tampa, Fla.

Foster, 25, was a first-round pick out of Alabama in 2017 (31st overall). He has played in 16 of a possible 32 games in his career.

–Field Level Media

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Cleveland awarded 2021 draft; K.C. gets 2023

Cleveland awarded 2021 draft; K.C. gets 2023

The 2021 NFL Draft

Cleveland awarded 2021 draft; K.C. gets 2023

The 2021 NFL Draft will be held in Cleveland, and Kansas City will host the 2023 draft, the league announced Wednesday from its spring meetings in Florida.

The event in Cleveland will be centered downtown, around FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and on the shore of Lake Erie.

“Cleveland has a passionate fan base and the city offers distinctive iconic locations and attractions that will bring the NFL Draft experience to fans in unique and exciting ways,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

“We are incredibly honored to be able to showcase the City of Cleveland and the passion of Browns fans through the unique international platform the NFL Draft provides,” Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam added in a statement. “This is an exceptional opportunity for Northeast Ohio that even extends beyond football.”

Cleveland was a finalist for the 2019 (awarded to Nashville) and 2020 (Las Vegas) drafts. Denver and Kansas City were also finalists for those drafts, although Denver was not expected to be a contender for any drafts awarded this week.

The 2022 draft location has yet to be determined.

The 2023 draft in Kansas City will be centered on the Missouri side of downtown, around Union Station and the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

“We know Chiefs fans will come out to celebrate along with thousands of fans from teams around the country for an incredible experience as we welcome the next generation of NFL players,” Goodell said in a statement.

“This is a historic day for Kansas City and Chiefs Kingdom, and we are thrilled to be named the host city for the 2023 NFL Draft,” chairman and CEO Clark Hunt added in a statement.

The draft began moving around the country in 2015, being held in Chicago for two years before going to Philadelphia (2017), Dallas (2018) and then Nashville last month. Before that, the draft was held annually in New York City from 1965-2014.

The free event has expanded since it started moving around, drawing hundreds of thousands of fans across three days of action with fan-interactive games and drills, opportunities to take photos with the Lombardi Trophy and more.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Vikings TE Rudolph confirms 5-year offer

Reports: Vikings TE Rudolph confirms 5-year offer

After weeks

Reports: Vikings TE Rudolph confirms 5-year offer

After weeks of trade rumors and prior broken-down negotiations over a contract extension, Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph confirmed a report that the team has offered him a five-year extension, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

Rudolph, 29, was quoted by ESPN on the second day of the Vikings organized team activities (OTAs) as asserting the Pro Football Talk report was accurate. The PFT report stated that the team’s offer would make Rudolph one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL.

“That’s what they’re working at,” Rudolph said, per ESPN. “We’re in a tough situation. Everybody knows that. That’s why we (the Vikings) have the best salary-cap guy in the NFL and I believe I have one of the best agents. So, like I said, they’re working really hard.”

One week earlier Rudolph, whose 41 touchdown receptions rank as the most in franchise history for tight ends, firmly told the Star-Tribune that he was “too young” to take a pay cut to remain a Viking.

Rudolph has one year left on his contact and is due $7.5 million in 2019. The Vikings have about $1.13 million left in cap space, which ranks as the second-lowest amount of available in their budget in the league, according to Over The Cap.

Despite his contract status being up in the air, the veteran has participated in all voluntary OTA workouts thus far.

“I don’t know what kind of example it would set if I wanted to be here and I wasn’t here,” he said. “And that’s not the kind of person I am. If I was at home right now and everybody else was out here at practice, that would be really hard for me.”

Minnesota drafted Alabama tight end Irv Smith in the second round as a potential replacement.

Rudolph, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has spent his eight-year NFL career in Minnesota, catching 386 passes for 3,787 yards and 41 touchdowns. He had 64 receptions for 634 yards and four scores last season. He ranks second in team history for catches and receiving yards among tight ends.

–Field Level Media

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Falcons DE Means out for season (Achilles)

Falcons DE Means out for season (Achilles)

Falcons DE Means out for season (Achilles)

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Steven Means suffered a torn Achilles during OTAs and will miss the 2019 season, the team announced Wednesday.

Means, 28, played in eight games (four starts) for the Falcons last season, signing in September after being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles at the end of training camp. Means made 14 tackles, including three for loss and a sack, in 2018.

He was vying to reprise his role as a reserve pass-rusher behind Vic Beasley, Takkarist McKinley and Adrian Clayborn.

Means, a fifth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013, has 26 career tackles and three sacks in five NFL seasons. He has played for the Buccaneers (2013-14), the Baltimore Ravens (2014), the Eagles (2016-17) and Falcons.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers QB Newton out, TE Olsen in at OTAs

Panthers QB Newton out, TE Olsen in at OTAs

Cam

Panthers QB Newton out, TE Olsen in at OTAs

Cam Newton was not cleared to throw as the Carolina Panthers worked out together Wednesday, four months after the quarterback had shoulder surgery.

Head coach Ron Rivera said the team remains focused on Newton returning at full strength for the start of training camp in July.

“We’ll just continue to go through the process,” Rivera said Wednesday after the first day of organized team activities. “It’s really … not that big a deal.”

Newton, 30, had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January after sitting out the final two games of the 2018 season. Doctors removed scar tissue that remained from a 2017 surgery on his partially torn rotator cuff.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback and 2015 MVP said last month he had not been given a timetable for his return. He said he started a vegan diet and hired a personal trainer to prepare for the 2019 season.

There was good news for one of Newton’s key targets, however.

Tight end Greg Olsen, whose 2018 season ended in December with a foot injury, told reporters he can be a full participant at OTAs. Injuries have limited him to just 16 games combined over the past two seasons.

“I’ve been cleared for everything for a while now,” Olsen told reporters.

Olsen, 34, is entering his 13th NFL season — his ninth with the Panthers. He was a Pro Bowl selection each year from 2014-16, when he gained at least 1,000 yards each season.

He has 666 career receptions, with 57 of them for touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Long admits marijuana use, points to flaws in NFL testing

Long admits marijuana use, points to flaws in NFL testing

Long admits marijuana use, points to flaws in NFL testing

Recently retired defensive end Chris Long admits to using marijuana as an NFL player, saying that the league should move toward a place where testing positive does not result in a suspension.

“I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career. I was never afraid to say that, but I’m able to say it more explicitly now,” Long said of his marijuana use on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday.

“Listen, if not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it.”

Long, 34, announced his retirement Saturday night. He made 70 career sacks in 11 NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2008-2015), New England Patriots (2006) and Philadelphia Eagles (2017-18). He was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft.

The NFL announced earlier this week that the league and the NFL Players Association have created a committee that “will establish uniform standards for club practices and policies regarding pain management and the use of prescription medication by NFL players as well as conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies.”

Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, told the Washington Post: “We’ll look at marijuana.”

“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug,” Long said. “It’s far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game.

“I think from a standpoint of what’s safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, it is far less harmful than alcohol. It is far less harmful than tobacco, and at various points in the league’s history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels with those respective industries.”

Long said he was able to easily beat once-a-year testing by the NFL.

“Players know when the test is. We can stop,” Long said.

“In that month or two that you stop, you’re going to reach for the sleeping pills, you’re going to reach for the pain killers and you’re going to reach for the bottle a little bit more. … If you’re serious about players not smoking, you’d be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and just kind of realize how arbitrary doing that one test a year is.”

–Field Level Media

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Combine staying in Indy for now; prime time in 2020

Combine staying in Indy for now; prime time in 2020

The NFL Scouting Combine will remain in Indianapolis

Combine staying in Indy for now; prime time in 2020

The NFL Scouting Combine will remain in Indianapolis through at least 2021, while on-field workouts will be moved to the afternoon and prime time starting in 2020, the league announced Wednesday.

On top of a one-year extension through 2021, the agreement to hold the combine in Indianapolis includes a series of annual options in the future, with the league planning to evaluate the combine’s status in the city after 2021.

Starting next year, on-field drills and workouts — typically held during the morning and afternoon — will be bumped to the afternoon and prime time, with the goal of drawing more viewers.

“We are always looking at ways of bringing more football to a wider audience,” the league told NFL Network in a statement. “This will enable us to accomplish the goal of reaching more fans while still fully maintaining the football integrity of the event. We will adjust the schedule to ensure a positive experience for the players and clubs.”

The combine has been held in Indianapolis since 1987 as a centralized location for all teams to watch prospects and meet with them for interviews and medical testing, but there have been rumors and reports that the league is considering moving the event to a larger market. One possibility would be Los Angeles, where NFL Network will eventually have a large campus at the Los Angeles Rams’ new stadium and complex in Inglewood.

Many teams have pushed back against the idea of moving the combine, arguing in favor of the convenience of Indianapolis, where the events are centralized at the downtown convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium, with player physicals handled at nearby hospitals and everything running on a consistent schedule for years.

That schedule will change at least somewhat moving forward, with the workouts being pushed later, when players typically were meeting with teams in past years.

The NFL has shaken up the draft in recent years to garner more attention and viewers, splitting it into three days — with the first two in prime time — moving it around the country and featuring it in more places on television.

–Field Level Media

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NFL tables talks to overhaul overtime

NFL tables talks to overhaul overtime

NFL tables talks to overhaul overtime

NFL overtime rules will be unchanged for the 2019 season, the competition committee declared Wednesday in Key Biscayne, Fla., at its annual May meeting.

A proposal by the Kansas City Chiefs received considerable attention, and commissioner Roger Goodell welcomed a debate he said should continue with a particular focus on changes to OT for playoff games.

Competition committee chairman Rich McKay said the proposal, which guarantees both teams one possession in overtime, will be revisited next year by NFL owners.

Current rules allow for the team receiving the ball first in overtime to score a touchdown and end the game.

The impetus for the Chiefs’ plan was an overtime loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game in January. In that game, the Patriots won the coin toss, and Tom Brady engineered a 13-play, 75-yard drive then ended in a Rex Burkhead touchdown and a New England trip to the Super Bowl.

–Field Level Media

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NFL tables OT overhaul, bans Oklahoma drill

NFL tables OT overhaul, bans Oklahoma drill

NFL tables OT overhaul, bans Oklahoma drill

NFL overtime rules will be unchanged for the 2019 season, the competition committee declared Wednesday in Key Biscayne, Fla., at its annual May meeting.

A proposal by the Kansas City Chiefs received considerable attention, and commissioner Roger Goodell welcomed a debate he said should continue with a particular focus on changes to OT for playoff games.

Competition committee chairman Rich McKay said the proposal, which guarantees both teams one possession in overtime, will be revisited next year by NFL owners.

Current rules allow for the team receiving the ball first in overtime to score a touchdown and end the game.

The impetus for the Chiefs’ plan was an overtime loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game in January. In that game, the Patriots won the coin toss, and Tom Brady engineered a 13-play, 75-yard drive then ended in a Rex Burkhead touchdown and a New England trip to the Super Bowl.

The NFL also announced it would ban teams from using several well-known one-on-one drills from practice and training camp, including the popular Oklahoma Drill and the Bull in the Ring. Each simulates one-on-one play between either a pair of linemen or a blocker and would-be tackler. Eliminating the drills is intended to reduce incidences of head injuries during contact portions of practice.

A committee was formed and met in Atlanta last month to discuss which drills to eliminate to reduce helmet-to-helmet contact on the practice field.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers QB Newton not cleared to throw at OTAs

Panthers QB Newton not cleared to throw at OTAs

Cam

Panthers QB Newton not cleared to throw at OTAs

Cam Newton was not cleared to throw as the Carolina Panthers worked out together Wednesday, four months after the quarterback had shoulder surgery.

Head coach Ron Rivera said the team remains focused on Newton returning at full strength for the start of training camp in July.

“We’ll just continue to go through the process,” Rivera said Wednesday after the first day of organized team activities. “It’s really … not that big a deal.”

Newton, 30, had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January after sitting out the final two games of the 2018 season. Doctors removed scar tissue that remained from a 2017 surgery on his partially torn rotator cuff.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback and 2015 MVP said last month he had not been given a timetable for his return. He said he started a vegan diet and hired a personal trainer to prepare for the 2019 season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Chiefs’ Mathieu alleged victim in $5M extortion plot

Report: Chiefs' Mathieu alleged victim in $5M extortion plot

Report: Chiefs’ Mathieu alleged victim in $5M extortion plot

A relative of Tyrann Mathieu has been accused of trying to extort $5 million from the Kansas City Chiefs safety.

ESPN reported that Geourvon Keinell Sears, 21, allegedly threatened to reveal personal information to TMZ if he didn’t receive the money.

Documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana contend Sears demanded $1.5 million from Mathieu in April, then raised the price to $5 million.

While the alleged victim of the extortion plot is identified only by initials in court documents, Mathieu’s lawyer, Denise White of EAG Sports, confirmed to KMBC 9 in Kansas City that Mathieu was the target. White said Mathieu is working through a “private and personal family issue.”

Sears is alleged to have told Mathieu’s friends that if the money was not paid, he would “kill you all.”

Sears is set to appear in court on June 21. He is free on $25,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Mathieu, 27, is entering his seventh NFL season but his first with the Chiefs. Mathieu sign a three-year contract in March. He spent the first five seasons of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, then played the 2018 season with the Houston Texans.

A first-team All-Pro in 2015, Mathieu has played in 82 games (73 starts) in his career and has 394 tackles, 13 interceptions and 19 quarterback hits on his record.

–Field Level Media

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Kraft trial postponed indefinitely; prosecution appeals video ruling

Kraft trial postponed indefinitely; prosecution appeals video ruling

Kraft trial postponed indefinitely; prosecution appeals video ruling

Robert Kraft’s trial has been suspended indefinitely as prosecutors appeal a judge’s ruling over the admissibility of video surveillance footage.

The suppression of the key video evidence could end the case against Kraft, who was charged with a misdemeanor alleging he paid for sex at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla.

Judge Leonard Hanser in Palm Beach County postponed the trial indefinitely as prosecutors launched an appeal of Hanser’s decision to disallow secretly shot video of Kraft.

The footage allegedly shows Kraft participating in a sex act at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January.

Kraft, 77, pleaded not guilty. He owns the New England Patriots and still would be subject to NFL discipline regardless of the outcome of the appeal and trial.

–Field Level Media

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Goodell: NFL action on Hill secondary to child’s welfare

Goodell: NFL action on Hill secondary to child's welfare

Goodell: NFL action on Hill secondary to child’s welfare

Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill remains away from the Kansas City Chiefs as authorities investigate allegations of child abuse, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league has not been in touch with Hill as that process continues.

“We will not interfere with that,” Goodell said Wednesday at league meetings in Florida.

“The priority is the young child. We will obviously be cooperative with whatever the court wants. We are prepared to go ahead and have an interview whenever we have the permission to do so, and then we’ll go ahead and make a determination based on what information we have at that time.”

Specifically, Goodell said any disciplinary action from the NFL will wait until the investigation concludes.

Last month, the district attorney’s office in Johnson County, Kan., declined to press charges against Hill or his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, after an incident in which their young son suffered a broken arm.

But days later, an audiotape emerged in which Espinal accuses Hill of breaking the boy’s arm, and he threatens her in return. The Chiefs banned Hill, 25, from participating in team activities but did not cut ties with him, and the Kansas Department for Children and Families and local law enforcement reopened their investigations.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Bengals G Redmond hit with PED suspension

Reports: Bengals G Redmond hit with PED suspension

Cincinnati

Reports: Bengals G Redmond hit with PED suspension

Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Alex Redmond will be suspended four games for violating the NFL’s Performance-Enhancing Drug Policy, per reports from ESPN on Wednesday.

“Played last season with a torn labrum and hamstring injury, and made bad decision to try to help it,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted.

Redmond, 24, started 15 games at right guard last season for the Bengals. He was an undrafted free agent out of UCLA in 2016, signing with the Bengals that year before being cut at the end of training camp. Cincinnati brought him back in January 2017, and he played in five games that season.

He re-signed with the Bengals in April on a one-year exclusive rights free agent contract worth a reported $645,000.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks’ Wagner not practicing while seeking new deal

Seahawks' Wagner not practicing while seeking new deal

Seahawks’ Wagner not practicing while seeking new deal

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner is present at organized team activities but will not practice, as he seeks an extension from the team entering the final year of his contract.

“It’s a tricky situation,” Wagner told reporters Tuesday, adding that he wanted to attend as a leader of the defense. “This is a business. You get hurt, they’re going to cut you. So you’ve got to be mindful of that. … Y’all know I’m fresh enough, going to be in shape.”

Wagner, who turns 29 in June, is due $11.4 million in 2019, the final season of a four-year, $43 million deal. He said Tuesday he intends to set a new benchmark for salary among off-ball linebackers, after C.J. Mosley joined the New York Jets on a five-year, $85 million contract in free agency in March.

“That’s the plan, to break that,” said Wagner, who is serving as his own agent and said the sides have had communication and have a plan for the negotiation.

Head coach Pete Carroll sounded pleased with how Wagner has handled the situation, and said that talks have gone well.

“Bobby’s been great,” Carroll said. “Everything’s going to come together in time. Everything’s in order, and we’re in order of what we want to do, and it feels very comfortable and very amicable and all of that. So everything’s going just right.”

Wagner has reached five straight Pro Bowls and had four first-team All-Pro nods, including in each of the last three seasons. He racked up 138 tackles (six for loss), 11 passes defensed, one interception (returned for a touchdown), one sack and eight quarterback hits in 15 games last season.

He hopes to reach an agreement before the season but reiterated that he’s prepared for this to be his final season in Seattle, if necessary.

The seven-year veteran has 916 tackles (51 for loss), 41 passes defensed, nine interceptions, 16.5 sacks and 60 QB hits in 103 career games since the Seahawks drafted him in the second round in 2012.

–Field Level Media

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Bosa pulls hamstring, 49ers RBs still hurting

Bosa pulls hamstring, 49ers RBs still hurting

San Francisco 49ers top pick

Bosa pulls hamstring, 49ers RBs still hurting

San Francisco 49ers top pick Nick Bosa left practice early on Tuesday, sustaining a hamstring during a pass-rushing drill and sitting out the remainder of workouts.

With the 49ers in their second day of a three-day week of organized team activities, Bosa did some 11-on-11 work, as well, before the injury forced the defensive end to limp off to the sidelines.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters afterward that the team does not yet know the severity of the injury, which happened while Bosa was working with the second-team defense, but Bosa remained out on the sidelines through the end of practice.

Bosa, 21, was selected second overall in April. He played in only three games as junior last season at Ohio State, suffering a core muscle injury in September and sitting out the remainder of the season to recover and prepare for the draft.

Shanahan also gave injury updates on his running backs, a position group with three players currently out.

Matt Breida suffered a slightly torn pectoral muscle during offseason lifting, Raheem Mostert had his fractured arm re-set because it was not healing properly, and Jerick McKinnon, coming off a torn ACL that cost him all of last season, is running lightly. All three are expected back for training camp, however.

On the bright side, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo — also coming back from a torn ACL, his suffered in Week 3 last season — threw passes during 7-on-7 drills while wearing a knee brace. He won’t be cleared for full team drills until camp, Shanahan said.

–Field Level Media

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Report: 2021 NFL Draft awarded to Cleveland

Report: 2021 NFL Draft awarded to Cleveland

The 2021 NFL Draft

Report: 2021 NFL Draft awarded to Cleveland

The 2021 NFL Draft will be held in Cleveland, according to an Uproxx report on Tuesday.

The league is expected to officially announce the news, and potentially the hosts of other future drafts, on Wednesday, as owners hold spring meetings in Florida this week.

Cleveland, Kansas City and Denver were among the finalists for recent drafts that were awarded to Nashville (2019) and Las Vegas (2020). Multiple outlets reported Tuesday that Denver is not expected to be awarded a future draft this week.

“We’re confident in our city and our proposal, and feel Cleveland has a great chance at securing this event,” David Gilbert, president of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, told Cleveland.com in a statement earlier Tuesday.

The draft began moving around the country in 2015, being held in Chicago for two years before going to Philadelphia (2017), Dallas (2018) and then Nashville last month. Before that, the draft was held annually in New York City from 1965-2014.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ Roethlisberger: ‘I lacked in leadership’ in 2018

Steelers' Roethlisberger: 'I lacked in leadership' in 2018

As the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2019 organized

Steelers’ Roethlisberger: ‘I lacked in leadership’ in 2018

As the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 organized team activities got underway on Tuesday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pinned the team’s 2018 struggles on himself.

“I lacked in leadership,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “Because that’s my job as the leader of this team, to get us to the playoffs. I’m gonna need to focus and refocus my energy and time on, how can I be a better leader to get us back to the playoffs?”

The comments came a day after Roethlisberger told Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate, KDKA, he probably went “too far” in making critical comments about wide receiver Antonio Brown after a loss at Denver last year. Brown had a falling out with the team, demanded a trade this offseason and was dealt to the Oakland Raiders.

“I took some heat and deservedly so for some of the comments … and especially towards him,” Roethlisberger told KDKA. “I genuinely feel bad about that and I’m sorry.”

On Tuesday, the 37-year-old spoke further about Brown, who responded Monday to the quarterback’s interview with KDKA by tweeting only, “Two face.” The QB said he wasn’t sure why the pair’s relationship deteriorated last year and added that he didn’t get a chance to repair it.

“I never really saw any of it coming,” Roethlisberger said. “I would have loved to have had the chance to talk to him. That’s why I said yesterday, whatever I did to offend him, I apologize for it. I tried to do that in person, talk to him. He wouldn’t allow me to.”

Roethlisberger also said Tuesday he is emphasizing his connections with his current teammates, as this group looks to build toward a better season.

“You just have to focus on the guys that are here and make sure they are good,” he said. “Everyone I’ve talked to is good with me. … We’ve been attacked from all angles this year, this offseason. We just need to stick together and have each other’s backs.”

The Steelers finished 9-6-1 in 2018, missing the postseason for the first time since 2013. They haven’t had a losing season since 2003.

–Field Level Media

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