Walk the talk: Browns’ rookie Mayfield playing at high level

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Somewhat lost and overlooked amid Baker Mayfield’s public spat with former Browns coach Hue Jackson is that the rookie’s playing at an elite level.

This quarterback isn’t all talk.

Mayfield had a November to remember, completing 74 percent of his passes (65 of 88) while leading the Browns (4-6-1) to two wins and the edge of serious playoff possibilities.

The No. 1 overall pick has thrown nine touchdown passes and just one interception in his past three games while earning a 129.5 rating — second only to New Orleans star Drew Brees.

Nothing fake about those numbers.

Mayfield, who threw a season-high four TD passes last week — is the first rookie in NFL history to record ratings of 140-plus in consecutive games, and his efforts earned him rookie of the month honors.

Rookie of the year may be next.

It’s not a coincidence that Mayfield’s recent rise came after Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired. With running backs coach Freddie Kitchens taking over for Haley and calling plays, Cleveland’s offense has played with a faster tempo, has been more versatile and efficient.

Mayfield is getting rid of the ball much quicker, spreading it around to his playmakers and making better decisions.

It would be easy to surmise Jackson was holding him back, but Mayfield doesn’t think that’s the case.

“No,” Mayfield said. “I mean, obviously the easiest answer would be to look on that and say, ‘Yeah, I’ve played a lot better since then.’ But that’s not it. It’s just been about me doing my job and doing it at a high level. So it’s not about that. I wouldn’t blame that at all.”

Still, it’s worth considering where the Browns would be if Mayfield had begun the season as the starter and not Tyrod Taylor’s backup.

But that’s irrelevant now as Mayfield has the Browns winning — they snapped a 25-game road losing streak last week at Cincinnati — and playing in meaningful December games, starting with Sunday’s matchup in Houston against the Texans, who have won eight in a row.

With his impressive career start, Mayfield has converted numerous doubters who thought he was either too small or too smug to succeed.

Texans star Deshaun Watson isn’t surprised by anything Mayfield has done. Watson and Mayfield are friends, their bond beginning as college rivals and strengthened as offseason workout partners.

Watson has been around Mayfield long enough to see how players, teams and cities gravitate toward the No. 1 overall draft pick.

“I saw that when he was playing at Texas Tech and saw it at Oklahoma,” Watson said. “That is what drew me closer to him, want to be around him and get to know him a little better because I can feed off of that energy that he gives off. Everyone wants to play with him. The guy is a playmaker.

“He is playing very well. That is the reason why they are having a lot of success because he is leading that team, he is leading that organization and he is going to have a bright future, a bright career, win a lot of games, win championships and do a lot of things for himself and that organization.”

Mayfield might be in his first season, but Kitchens said Cleveland’s staff isn’t modifying any aspect of the game plan because of his inexperience.

No time for that.

“There is not babying him into anything,” Kitchens said. “He is doing a good job. He works hard during the course of the week. He puts time in after hours and before hours. He is doing a good job of staying focused on the task at hand inside of one play, inside of one read, inside of one practice and one game. That is how you continue to progress. It is not overwhelming him or anything like that. It is just continuing his progress on a play-by-play basis.”

NOTES: Kitchens joined the chorus of Mayfield supporters who had no problem with the QB objecting to Jackson taking a job with Cincinnati or calling his former coach “fake.” day. Haley said Mayfield had every right to speak his mind. “If he said it, that’s what he feels,” Kitchens said. “And I’m standing behind Baker Mayfield. … Suddenly it’s big news if we don’t want to turn it into a Kumbaya after the game and turn it into fist bumps and hugs. I don’t think Baker disrespected anybody in what he said. He spoke what he felt.”

___

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Ex-Cowboys QB Romo fails to qualify for U.S. Open

Ex-Cowboys QB Romo fails to qualify for U.S. Open

Ex-Cowboys QB Romo fails to qualify for U.S. Open

Tony Romo failed Monday in his quest to qualify for the U.S. Open.

Three days after the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback missed the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, his third PGA Tour event, Romo failed to move on at a local U.S. Open qualifier at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.

He shot a 3-over-par 74 on Monday — four strokes higher than the cut line to advance.

Romo has played three PGA events via sponsor exemptions, something the U.S. Open does not hand out. The 39-year-old retired NFL star has tried many times to qualify, advancing to sectional qualifying in 2010, when he withdrew while still an active player in the NFL offseason.

The current CBS NFL analyst told ESPN that he will try to play next in the Mid-Amateur and Northeast Amateur over the summer. He also hopes to play the American Century Championship at Stateline, Nev., in July, a tournament he won last year.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles re-sign OL Wisniewski

Eagles re-sign OL Wisniewski

Stefen Wisniewski re-signed

Eagles re-sign OL Wisniewski

Stefen Wisniewski re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

NFL Network reported Wisniewski signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract, with $500,000 in additional incentives.

A guard and center, Wisniewski has been a capable and valuable fill-in up front, starting at least six games each of the past three seasons. Guard Brandon Brooks is recovering from a torn Achilles, and Wisniewski could open training camp with the first unit.

The Eagles declined a $3.7 million option in Wisniewski’s contract in March. The 30-year-old tested free agency but opted to return to Philadelphia.

Originally a second-round pick by Oakland in 2011, he started 61 games with the Raiders (2011-14) and 16 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2015) before joining Philadelphia.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Woods sued over bartender’s drunk-driving death

Reports: Woods sued over bartender's drunk-driving death

Reports: Woods sued over bartender’s drunk-driving death

Tiger Woods is facing a lawsuit from the family of a bartender who worked at one of his restaurants following the staffer’s death in a drunk-driving accident, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

The parents of Nicholas Immesberger allege that their son, whom they allege had a “habitual problem” with alcohol, had been overserved after he stayed and had drinks following a work shift at The Woods, a restaurant in Jupiter, Fla., owned by the 15-time major champion and run by Woods’ girlfriend, Erica Harmon.

After ending his shift on Dec. 10, 2018, Immesberger allegedly stuck around and drank to the point of intoxication before the 24-year-old was allowed to drive home. He later died after losing control of his car and swerved across three lanes of highway traffic before going airborne and landing in a grassy patch, according to Florida Highway Patrol, per the Palm Beach Post.

At the time of the crash, Immesberger’s reported blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit at .256.

The lawsuit alleges that Woods “was directly responsible for ensuring that his employees and management … were not over serving its employees/customers.”

Woods, 43, has not publicly commented about the incident or the suit filed in Palm Beach County. Woods is scheduled to play this weekend in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, his first tournament since winning his fifth Masters title in April.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

NFL notebook: Judge suppresses video in Kraft's solicitation case

NFL notebook: Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

A judge on Monday granted Robert Kraft’s motion to suppress video evidence, delivering the New England Patriots owner a huge victory — and potentially derailing the prosecution’s case — as he combats charges of soliciting a prostitute at a Jupiter, Fla., massage parlor.

Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser sided with the defense’s contention that the warrant that allowed recording devices into the spa, and the methods detectives used to obtain video, did not sufficiently protect the privacy and identity of innocent people in the surveillance videos.

Hanser added that the police’s stop of Kraft’s car on Jan. 19 constituted an unlawful search and thus all information obtained from that search is also suppressed. While the state could appeal the ruling, the suppression could effectively end the state’s case against the 77-year-old Kraft.

–The Patriots officially signed free agents Dontrelle Inman (WR) and Jared Veldheer (OL). Terms were not announced. To make room on the roster, the Patriots released undrafted rookies Calvin Anderson (OL) and Xavier Ubosi (WR).

Inman, 30, caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games for Indianapolis last season. Veldheer, 31, started 12 games at right tackle for Denver last season after being acquired via trade, allowing just one sack but committing seven penalties.

–Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller said he wants the team to give cornerback Chris Harris Jr. the money he wants, but acknowledged, “both sides kind of take it personally, honestly.”

Harris, a four-time Pro Bowl pick in the last year of a five-year, $42.5 million deal he signed in 2015, reportedly wants a contract extension worth $15 million a year and is not participating in the Broncos’ voluntary offseason program. He would be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season.

–Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph told a reporter he is hoping to find a way to stay with the team despite trade rumors and reported contraction negotiation breakdowns. Rudolph, 29, has one year left on his contact and is due $7.5 million in 2019.

–Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Gunther Cunningham has passed away after a brief illness. He was 72. Cunningham compiled a 16-16 record in two seasons at the helm of the Chiefs from 1999-2000. He also served as defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Raiders (1992-93), Chiefs (1995-98, 2004-08) and Detroit Lions (2009-13).

–The Seattle Seahawks will reportedly meet with free agent quarterback Geno Smith on Wednesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. Other reports said a signing is imminent. Smith, 28, was 12-18 as a starter in four seasons with the Jets, lost his only start with the New York Giants in 2017, and attempted just four passes with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018.

–Buffalo is bringing back tight end Lee Smith on a reported three-year, $9 million deal. Smith, 31, played the last four seasons with the Raiders, catching 36 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns. He spent his first four NFL campaigns with the Bills, tallying 20 receptions for 144 yards and three scores from 2011-14.

–Stefen Wisniewski reportedly re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year, $1.5 million contract, with $500,000 in additional incentives. A guard and center, Wisniewski has started at least six games each of the past three seasons. Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks is recovering from a torn Achilles, and Wisniewski could open training camp with the first unit.

–The Chargers re-signed defensive lineman Damion Square to a one-year contract after his 31-tackles, three-sack season in which he started a career-high 11 times.

–New York Giants sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine was with fellow rookies, in meetings and the classroom, two weeks after the cornerback was shot on the night he was drafted. He was shot in the backside on April 28 in an incident in Topeka, Kan., that claimed the life of Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons. He is still rehabbing his injuries.

–Jury selection was set to begin in San Diego County in the trial of former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, who faces possible life imprisonment on multiple charges of rape, kidnapping and indecent exposure. The allegations against Winslow, 35, include the rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2003; the rape of a 54-year-old hitchhiker in 2018; and the rape of a 59-year-old homeless woman, also in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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Broncos’ Miller sides with Harris in contract battle

Broncos' Miller sides with Harris in contract battle

Broncos’ Miller sides with Harris in contract battle

All-Pro linebacker Von Miller wants the Denver Broncos to show veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. the money.

Harris, a four-time Pro Bowl pick who has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, hasn’t had much luck in trying to convince the Broncos to give him a new, improved contract.

Miller, who has played alongside Harris on a formidable Denver defense for years, went through a similar contract impasse with the Broncos before they eventually agreed to a six-year, $114.5 million deal in 2016.

“I talked to Chris all the time … this is our ninth year playing football together,” Miller said Monday in an article on espn.com. “… We kind of go through the process together, it takes a while, you’ve just got to stay level-headed. With a guy like Chris he’s done every single thing right on and off the football field, he’s checked every single box. … Chris definitely has to get what’s right for him, he’s done everything right.”

In the last year of a five-year, $42.5 million deal he signed in 2015, Harris reportedly wants a contract extension worth $15 million a year and is not participating in the Broncos’ voluntary offseason program. He would be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season.

In April, Harris told 9News Denver, “I want to be here, so we can salvage it.” And in a separate interview with The Athletic, he added, “I’ve been patient. I’m still open to coming back. I’m never closing that door until they close it.”

On Thursday, multiple outlets reported that the Miami Dolphins were making Xavien Howard the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, after they agreed to a five-year, $76.5 million extension.

In the ESPN story, Miller indicated that it’s difficult for either side to get involved in a contract battle without getting their feelings hurt.

“I think both sides kind of take it personally, honestly,” Miller said. “I think both sides kind of take it personally, I think when you talk about money and contracts, both sides, not just the player, but the guys in the front office take it personally, too, they want to get a great deal done, too. … If you really focus on business and it’s all about business, it’s easy to get it done, you look at what’s been done, you look at what you want to do going forward, whether you want to pay the guy, or you don’t want to pay the guy and you just go from there.”

–Field Level Media

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Thomas (wrist) withdraws from PGA Championship

Thomas (wrist) withdraws from PGA Championship

Justin Thomas,

Thomas (wrist) withdraws from PGA Championship

Justin Thomas, the No. 5 player in the World Golf Rankings, has withdrawn from this week’s PGA Championship because of a wrist injury.

Thomas, 26, won the PGA Championship in 2017 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., and tied for sixth last season at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

The season’s second major begins Thursday at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.

“Obviously, as a past Champion, this tournament is extra special to me,” Thomas wrote on social media. “It consistently has the strongest field in golf and I’m disappointed to not be among those competing this year but I’m optimistic about a return in the near future.”

Kelly Kraft, a 30-year-old from Dallas who has two top 10 finishes this season, will replace Thomas in the field.

Thomas, who has nine career victories on the PGA Tour, has five top 10 finishes this season in 11 events. He last played at the Masters last month, tying for 12th at 8 under. He has been bothered by the nagging wrist injury that prevented him from playing at Quail Hollow in the Wells Fargo Championship that began May 2.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots officially sign WR Inman, OL Veldheer

Patriots officially sign WR Inman, OL Veldheer

Patriots officially sign WR Inman, OL Veldheer

The New England Patriots on Monday officially signed a couple of free agent acquisitions — wide receiver Dontrelle Inman and offensive lineman Jared Veldheer. Terms were not announced.

Deals with both players were reportedly in the works last week.

To make room for the two veterans, the Patriots on Monday released two undrafted rookies in offensive lineman Calvin Anderson and wide receiver Xavier Ubosi. Both players practiced during the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend.

Inman, 30, caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games for the Indianapolis Colts last season. His best season was in 2016, when he established career highs of 58 receptions, 810 yards and four touchdowns for the then-San Diego Chargers. Signed as a rookie free agent by Jacksonville Jaguars out of Virginia in 2011, he was released at the end of training camp.

Then the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Inman moved on the Canadian Football League, playing two seasons (2012-13) with the Toronto Argonauts. The Argonauts won the Grey Cup in 2012.

Inman played for the Chargers from 2014-17 — including four games in 2017 after the move to Los Angeles — and also played for the Chicago Bears (eight games in 2017). He has 158 career receptions for 2,101 yards and 11 scores in 58 games (34 starts).

Multiple media outlets reported last week that Veldheer had agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $6.5 million. According to SiriusXM NFL, the minimum value will be $3.5 million, with up to $3 million in additional escalators.

Veldheer, who turns 32 in June, started 12 games at right tackle for the Denver Broncos last season after being acquired via trade, allowing just one sack but committing seven penalties.

He spent the previous four years with the Arizona Cardinals, playing primarily left tackle before moving to the right side in 2017. A third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2010 out of Hillsdale College, Veldheer has 113 starts in 118 games through nine seasons, with the majority at left tackle. He projects as New England’s swing tackle and likely will battle 2018 first-round draft pick Isaiah Wynn for the starting spot at left tackle.

–Field Level Media

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Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

Judge suppresses video in Kraft's solicitation case

Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

A judge on Monday granted Robert Kraft’s motion to suppress video evidence, delivering the New England Patriots owner a huge victory — and potential derailing the prosecution’s case — as he combats charges of soliciting a prostitute at a Jupiter, Fla., massage parlor.

Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser sided with the defense’s contention that the warrant that allowed recording devices into the spa, and the methods detectives used to obtain video, did not sufficiently protect the privacy and identity of innocent people in the surveillance videos.

“The Court finds that the search warrant does not contain required minimization guidelines, and the minimization techniques employed in this case did not satisfy constitutional requirements … (thus) all evidence against the Defendant obtained through and connection with the search warrant is suppressed,” Hanser wrote in his ruling.

Hanser added that the police’s stop of Kraft’s car on Jan. 19 constituted an unlawful search and thus all information obtained from that search is also suppressed.

While the state could appeal the ruling, the suppression could effectively end the state’s case. Last week, Hanser set a May 21 date for a mandatory appearance for Kraft and his attorneys, at which time a trial would be scheduled. According to reports, however, it is highly unlikely that hearing will happen.

Kraft, 77, visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter on Jan. 19 and 20, during which time prosecutors claim Kraft paid for and received sex acts at the spa.

A different judge in April judge issued a temporary protective order to prevent the public release of the videos, with Kraft’s attorneys arguing 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.”

When Kraft was first charged with first-degree solicitation of a prostitute in February, the NFL released a statement that Kraft would be subject to the league’s personal-conduct policy, and that the NFL would monitor the investigation and let the legal process play out before taking any potential action.

–Field Level Media

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TE Rudolph hoping to stay with Vikings

TE Rudolph hoping to stay with Vikings

TE Rudolph hoping to stay with Vikings

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, the subject of trade rumors and reported broken-down negotiations over a contract extension, said he is hoping to find a way to stay with the team.

“My family, myself, we want to be here and we’re going to do everything we can to be there,” he said Monday, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “If the alternative happens and we do get traded, change happens. … Obviously, that’s not what we’re hoping for. …

“We’re in a tough situation as a team. You can’t keep everybody, you can’t pay everybody. Those guys I know are working really hard to try to figure out something.”

Rudolph has one year left on his contact and is due $7.5 million in 2019. The Vikings have about $1 million left in cap space.

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

“I’ve had conversations with Kyle and quite honestly I really love all my players,” said coach Mike Zimmer. “We expect Kyle to be here but sometimes business gets in the way.”

Rudolph, 29, 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.

“Obviously, it’s a difficult situation, so there’s a lot of complex things that go into it,” Rudolph said. “That takes time. It’s not an easy, ‘They like me, I like them. We want to stay here.’ That’s not the way it works.”

–Field Level Media

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Chargers bring back DL Square on 1-year deal

Chargers bring back DL Square on 1-year deal

The Los Angeles Chargers

Chargers bring back DL Square on 1-year deal

The Los Angeles Chargers re-signed defensive lineman Damion Square to a one-year contract on Monday.

Square, 30, is coming off his most productive season, making 31 tackles, including three sacks, while appearing in all 16 games, with a career-high 11 starts. He started games at nose tackle and defensive end.

Square has made 74 tackles, including nine for loss and 5.5 sacks, in six seasons after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama in 2013. He joined the Chargers in 2014.

Square likely figures into the defensive tackle rotation in 2019 for Los Angeles, which drafted defensive tackle Jerry Tillery in the first round.

–Field Level Media

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Jury selection to begin in ex-TE Winslow’s rape trial

Jury selection to begin in ex-TE Winslow's rape trial

Jury selection was set

Jury selection to begin in ex-TE Winslow’s rape trial

Jury selection was set to begin Monday in San Diego County in the trial of former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, who faces possible life imprisonment on multiple charges of rape, kidnapping and indecent exposure.

The allegations against Winslow include the rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2003; the rape of a 54-year-old hitchhiker in 2018; and the rape of a 59-year-old homeless woman, also in 2018.

Winslow had been out of jail on $2 million bail, but it was revoked after another alleged incident in a fitness center hot tub in February. He was charged with lewd conduct, elder abuse and battery of an elder in that case.

Jury selection at the Vista, Calif., courthouse was expected to take up most of the week, with opening statements possibly starting Friday.

Winslow, 35, played nine seasons with four NFL teams from 2004-13. He is the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers.

The younger Winslow was a first-round pick (sixth overall) by Cleveland in 2004 and played in 44 games with the Browns, including a Pro Bowl campaign in 2007 with 82 catches for 1,106 yards.

He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-11), New England Patriots (2012) and New York Jets (2013).

–Field Level Media

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Gunshot victim Ballentine joins Giants rookies

Gunshot victim Ballentine joins Giants rookies

New York Giants sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine joined his fellow

Gunshot victim Ballentine joins Giants rookies

New York Giants sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine joined his fellow rookies on Monday, two weeks after the cornerback was shot on the night he was drafted.

Ballentine is participating in meetings and classroom work with the other rookies while he continues his rehabilitation from his injuries.

He was shot in the backside on April 28 in an incident in Topeka, Kan., that claimed the life of Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons.

Ballentine missed New York’s rookie minicamp from May 3-5. The Giants had encouraged him to remain in Kansas to mourn the loss of his best friend, whose funeral took place on May 4.

–Field Level Media

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Former Chiefs head coach Cunningham dies at 72

Former Chiefs head coach Cunningham dies at 72

Former Chiefs head coach Cunningham dies at 72

Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Gunther Cunningham died Saturday after a brief illness. He was 72.

Cunningham compiled a 16-16 record in two seasons at the helm of the Chiefs from 1999-2000.

He also served as defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Raiders (1992-93), Chiefs (1995-98, 2004-08) and Detroit Lions (2009-13).

Cunningham’s coaching career spanned six decades, starting as a defensive line coach at his alma mater Oregon in 1969 and ending with his role as a senior coaching assistant for the Lions from 2014-16.

“Gunther Cunningham will forever be remembered as one of the great men of our game,” the Lions wrote in a statement. “He left a lasting impact on every person who was fortunate enough to work alongside him during his more than 47 years as a coach — including 34 years in the National Football League.”

Cunningham retired from coaching after the 2016 season and took a position with the analytics website Pro Football Focus as its director of football oversight.

He is survived by his wife, Rene, and their two children.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles sign OG Wisniewski

Eagles sign OG Wisniewski

Stefen Wisniewski re-signed

Eagles sign OG Wisniewski

Stefen Wisniewski re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

NFL Network reported Wisniewski signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract, with $500,000 in additional incentives.

A guard and center, Wisniewski has been a capable and valuable fill-in up front, starting at least six games each of the past three seasons. Guard Brandon Brooks is recovering from a torn Achilles, and Wisniewski could open training camp with the first unit.

The Eagles declined a $3.7 million option in Wisniewski’s contract in March. The 30-year-old tested free agency but opted to return to Philadelphia.

Originally a second-round pick by Oakland in 2011, he started 61 games with the Raiders (2011-14) and 16 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2015) before joining Philadelphia.

–Field Level Media

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Bills sign TE Smith to $9M deal

Bills sign TE Smith to $9M deal

The Buffalo

Bills sign TE Smith to $9M deal

The Buffalo Bills are bringing back tight end Lee Smith, agreeing Monday to a reported three-year, $9 million contract with the 31-year-old.

Smith played the last four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, catching 36 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns.

He spent his first four NFL campaigns with the Bills, tallying 20 receptions for 144 yards and three scores from 2011-14.

Originally drafted in the fifth round in 2011 by New England, he was cut just before his rookie season started and acquired off waivers by Buffalo.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the value of his new deal, a front-loaded contract that includes fully guaranteed money into the second year.

Smith becomes the seventh tight end on the Bills’ current roster, including 2019 draft choices Dawson Knox (third round) and Tommy Sweeney (seventh).

–Field Level Media

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Report: Seahawks meeting with QB Smith

Report: Seahawks meeting with QB Smith

The Seattle Seahawks will reportedly meet with

Report: Seahawks meeting with QB Smith

The Seattle Seahawks will reportedly meet with free agent quarterback Geno Smith on Wednesday.

“No contract talks yet, but a visit shows clear interest if everything checks out,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Monday.

The Seahawks would be the fourth NFL team for the 28-year-old Smith, the New York Jets’ second-round pick in 2013.

Smith was 12-18 as a starter in four seasons with the Jets, lost his only start with the New York Giants in 2017, and attempted just four passes with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018.

In 40 career games, he has completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 6,182 yards with 29 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. Smith has also rushed for 661 yards and seven scores.

In addition to starter Russell Wilson, who last month became the NFL’s highest-paid player, Seattle has quarterbacks Paxton Lynch and rookie Taryn Christion on its current roster.

–Field Level Media

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WR Baldwin says his NFL ‘watch has ended’

WR Baldwin says his NFL 'watch has ended'

Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and

WR Baldwin says his NFL ‘watch has ended’

Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and apparent “Game of Thrones” fan Doug Baldwin appeared to announce his retirement Sunday night, signaling in a series of tweets that his watch has ended.

The Seahawks terminated the 30-year-old’s contract last week after he failed a physical. Following an injury-plagued 2018 season, Baldwin underwent surgeries on his knee, shoulder and abdomen.

Through multiple posts on Twitter, Baldwin wrote a letter to a younger version of himself.

“Because the end of one journey sees the beginning of another,” he wrote. “And guess what..it will be one hell of a journey. You will feel emotional and physical pain you never knew existed. You will fail over and over again. But don’t worry, all of it will be the reason why you succeed.

“But when the journey finally comes to the end, you will reflect on what that little boy caught between Gulf Breeze and Pensacola really wanted: to be seen and to be loved.”

He also posted a “Game of Thrones” GIF reading, “My watch has ended.”

An undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2011, Baldwin had 493 catches for 6,563 yards and 49 touchdowns in eight seasons with the Seahawks, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017 and playing in 123 of a possible 128 games (90 starts). He ranks third in team history in catches and yards and second in receiving touchdowns.

He was part of Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII winning team and the squad that lost Super Bowl XLIV to the New England Patriots a year later.

–Field Level Media

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Kang wins Byron Nelson for first PGA Tour title

Kang wins Byron Nelson for first PGA Tour title

Kang wins Byron Nelson for first PGA Tour title

South Korea’s Sung Kang flourished down the stretch to win on the PGA Tour for the first time, completing a long day by capturing the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas on Sunday.

Kang shot a 4-under 67 in the final round to finish at 23-under 261 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, giving him a two-stroke victory.

For Kang, 31, it was his 159th tournament appearance on the PGA Tour. He’s the ninth first-time winner on tour this season.

Matt Every (66), who began the final round with five birdies and a bogey across the first six holes, and Scott Piercy (64) tied for second at 21 under.

Brooks Koepka (65), who goes into this week’s PGA Championship as the defending champion, finished fourth at 20 under.

Great Britain’s Matt Jones (67) bogeyed the final hole and dropped into a five-way tie for fifth place at 17 under.

Despite several golfers putting up scores to make them contenders, Kang didn’t flinch. He notched birdies on Nos. 14-16 to create a three-shot edge.

Most golfers had to finish the third round Sunday before the final round began, creating a long day for contenders. So while Every was the overnight leader, Kang held a three-shot advantage going into the final round.

Every had four straight bogeys while completing the third round. Meanwhile, Kang was back in front with three backside birdies Sunday morning.

Piercy and Koepka were five shots off the lead going to the last round.

Kang, whose second-round 61 allowed him to jump into the lead, took a nap at the course between the third and fourth rounds. He appeared plenty energized for the last task.

Spain’s Carlos Ortiz made a big move in the final round, with an eagle on the first hole and going 5 under through seven holes. He ended up with a 65 for the round and 15 under for the tournament.

–Field Level Media

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NFL signings notebook: RB Walton returns to Miami

NFL signings notebook: RB Walton returns to Miami

The Miami Dolphins signed former Miami Hurricanes running back

NFL signings notebook: RB Walton returns to Miami

The Miami Dolphins signed former Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton on Sunday.

A fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by Cincinnati, Walton was released last month by the Bengals following his third arrest in 2019.

“I’m trying to leave an impression on the coaches. I’m trying to leave a lasting mark on them,” Walton told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel during his weekend tryout. “I can’t really say too much about the other stuff (off) the field. But I know what I got to do while I’m here. That’s all I can talk about right now.”

Walton appeared in 14 games for Cincinnati as a 2018 rookie, rushing 14 times for 34 yards and catching five passes for 41 yards.

–The Philadelphia Eagles will sign former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Cody Kessler on Monday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

Kessler, 26, was cut by Jacksonville earlier this week. Cleveland’s third-round pick in 2016 has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 2,215 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions in 17 games (12 starts) with the Browns (2016-17) and Jaguars (2018).

–The New York Jets signed edge rusher Jachai Polite, a third-round draft pick from Florida. Over The Cap reported the contract is for four years and $3.6 million with a $1.22 million signing bonus.

With the Gators, he had 11 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in 2018.

–The Detroit Lions signed wide receivers Tom Kennedy and Jordan Smallwood following their rookie minicamp.

Kennedy is a former professional lacrosse player who played college football at Rhode Island’s Bryant University, tallying 57 catches for 888 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games in 2017. Smallwood was on the practice squads of the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers after going undrafted out of Oklahoma.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots’ Edelman reaches another milesone: college grad

Patriots' Edelman reaches another milesone: college grad

New England Patriots

Patriots’ Edelman reaches another milesone: college grad

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman received something special to add to his collection of three Super Bowl rings.

A college diploma.

Thirteen years after he entered Kent State with a year of community college under his belt, Edelman was back in Ohio on Saturday, walking in the graduation ceremony and later posing for photos with his proud parents.

Edelman shared on Instagram earlier in the week that he had earned his degree and would put on the cap and gown.

“It is important to me that I make my parents proud as I fulfill a promise that I made to them that I would, one day, be a college graduate,” he said. “I also want to set a great example for my daughter, so that when I talk about the importance of a college degree, I can show her that earning my degree was important to me.”

He was back on social media Saturday, sharing a photo of himself flanked presumably by his parents, that read: “Kent State class of 2019… we did it!” followed by a graduation cap emoji and “#13YearSenior.”

Teammates and friends had their fun with Edelman on social media.

“Who ever knew it could take 14 years to graduate college?” Tom Brady commented.

Edelman, who turns 33 later this month, played quarterback for the Golden Flashes for three seasons, completing 54.5 percent of his passes for nearly 5,000 yards with 30 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.

The Patriots selected Edelman in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

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