Watson hit 19 times as Texans beat Bills 20-13

HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans got their third straight win on Sunday.

But it came with a price as the already-banged up quarterback took 19 more hits in the 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Watson was sacked seven times and took 12 other hits from the Bills. The second-year player, questionable this week with a chest injury, was slow to get up several times and didn’t seem to be moving as well as he normally does.

Houston coach Bill O’Brien was asked about the performance of the offensive line and what the group can do to improve.

“I don’t know, I really don’t,” he said. “I think we’ve got to go back and figure it out … it starts with me. So, we just have to keep grinding to figure it out, figure out how to get better.”

Watson brushed off questions about his health, saying he didn’t “want to make any excuses,” but his teammates acknowledged the injury and said it made them want to do more to help him.

“When you’ve got a guy that sacrifices everything when he’s hurt, everybody around him better do the same thing, especially if it’s your quarterback,” defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said. “I think everybody put that on their shoulders this week and just tried to give it all up for him.”

Watson was 15 of 25 for 177 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble. He’s been sacked 25 times this season and taken 66 other hits behind a line that was supposed to be improved this year.

O’Brien was certainly happy with the win, but knows his team must improve on offense if it hopes to compete with Jacksonville next week.

“We’re not going to be able to be where we want to be unless we figure this thing out on offense,” he said. “And figure out what we have to be to be able to run the ball, throw the ball consistently.”

Some things to know about Houston’s win over Buffalo.

ALLEN’S HEALTH

Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s status for next week is uncertain after he left Sunday’s game with an elbow injury. Coach Sean McDermott said after the loss that the Bills were still evaluating Allen’s injury and he didn’t have any more details on it. Allen did not speak to the media.

Allen was injured when Houston’s Whitney Mercilus hit his right elbow with his helmet after Allen’s pass.

Allen threw for 84 yards and ran for 20 before being replaced by Nathan Peterman. Peterman threw for 61 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, including one that was returned 28 yards by Johnathan Joseph for a touchdown that put the Texans on top with 1:23 remaining.

Kareem Jackson intercepted him after that to seal Houston’s win.

HAIRY TACKLE

Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney dragged running back Chris Ivory down by one of his long dreadlocks for a 3-yard loss early in the fourth quarter. The cringe-worthy play made Ivory’s head snap back as Clowney clutched his hair for the tackle.

“I was supposed to set that edge, but I took it inside,” Clowney said. “And if I go inside coach said: ‘You better make that tackle.’ So, I was trying to do whatever it takes to make that tackle. I tried to reach out and grab for his jersey and I pulled him by the hair.”

Clowney said Ivory approached him after the play to ask him about it.

“He said: ‘Come on man, why did you pull my hair?’ and I said: ‘Come on man, why you trying to run from me,'” Clowney said.

Clowney, who also has long dreadlocks, knows that being tackled like that had to hurt badly.

“I’ve been pulled by my hair a few times,” he said. “They made it part of the uniform and if I can reach for him again I would.”

THE “OLD GUYS

Joseph is 34 and Jackson is 30, leading the young players on Houston’s defense to joke that the “old men” were the stars of Sunday’s game.

“I’m cool with that,” Jackson said. “They can call us old all they want as long as we’re going out there and flying around.”

The two players are ranked first and second in career interceptions in franchise history.

Joseph took the lead with his 15th interception with the Texans on his touchdown return on Sunday, but Jackson regained the franchise lead when he grabbed his 16th one less than a minute after that.

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Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the

Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the solicitation of prostitution charges in Florida against him dropped, but there’s a catch.

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

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

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

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

More than two dozen people were charged in February in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

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

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Kentucky

Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has been cleared for pre-draft workouts after he had to leave the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month when a heart issue was found during his physical.

He wrote on Twitter on Monday: “My prayers have been answered! After getting further testing done, today I was finally CLEARED. I plan on having a pro day April 8. Thank you all that have encouraged and prayed for me through this tough time. I’m back!”

Conrad was medically cleared by cardiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, his agent Joe Linta, told Adam Schefter of ESPN on Tuesday.

NFL Network reported at the combine that Conrad had an irregular heartbeat due to an issue with a heart valve. He was not able to participate in on-field testing in Indianapolis but will do so at Kentucky’s Pro Day in Lexington on April 8.

Conrad caught 80 passes for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns in 35 career games at Kentucky. Prior to the combine, most outlets had pegged him as a late-round prospect.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cardinals’ brass meets with Murray

Report: Cardinals' brass meets with Murray

Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray

Report: Cardinals’ brass meets with Murray

Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray met with Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury near the Oklahoma campus on Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Cardinals own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the Oklahoma product is under heavy consideration as he is viewed as a solid fit for Kingsbury’s offense. Kingsbury is entering his first season as coach after a college stint at Texas Tech.

Arizona took quarterback Josh Rosen in the first round of last year’s draft but the team’s actions involving Murray display a willingness to move on from the 10th overall selection.

Murray is expected to meet individually with other teams during the process leading up to next month’s draft. He worked out last Wednesday at Oklahoma’s Pro Day.

Kingsbury’s infatuation with Murray is rooted in Texas football tradition. Murray went 43-0 as a starter in high school (Allen), was the 2014 Gatorade National Player of the Year and was recruited by Kingsbury before choosing to sign with Texas A&M.

But Murray ultimately transferred and wound up following Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma. With the Sooners, he went 12-2 as a starter and led the team into the College Football Playoff while winning the Heisman Trophy.

Murray passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and added 1,001 yards and 12 scores on the ground.

His NFL stock soared higher after he spurned the Oakland Athletics, who drafted Murray in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft.

The familiarity between coach and NFL prospect is a two-way street.

“I know what type of offense he runs,” Murray recently said of Kingsbury.

“Obviously he recruited me out of high school; I have a great relationship with him. If I were to play under him, I think it’d be a great deal. But again, like I said, I don’t get to pick the players. All I can do is show up where I’m supposed to be, work hard and get after it.”

Murray said he would covet the opportunity to follow Mayfield as the first players from the same program to win the Heisman, then be chosen first overall in the draft.

“To be the No. 1 pick, that’s a kid’s dream come true,” Murray said. “If my name was called No. 1, I’d be ready to go for sure.”

–Field Level Media

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Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

The Carolina

Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

The Carolina Panthers signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year contract Tuesday in an effort to boost their pass rush after the retirement of Julius Peppers.

The contract is worth $4 million, but Irvin can earn up to $5 million through incentives, a source told the Charlotte Observer.

Irvin is an seven-year pro who has 43.5 sacks, 277 tackles, 15 forced fumbles and three interceptions.

“Our primary focus coming into the offseason was to add talent to our offensive line and our front on defense, primarily in the area of rushing the passer,” general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. “Bruce has a knack for sacking and disrupting the quarterback. We are very pleased to have him as a member of the Carolina Panthers.”

Irvin (6-3, 250) recorded a career-high eight sacks in 2017 with Oakland but fell out of favor last season under new coach Jon Gruden and was waived in early November. He was picked up by Atlanta, posting 3.5 sacks in eight games (three starts) for the Falcons.

Irvin, the 15th overall selection in the 2012 draft by Seattle, had 22 sacks in four seasons with the Seahawks before signing a four-year, $37 million contract with the Raiders.

–Field Level Media

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Martellus Bennett won’t join brother on Patriots

Martellus Bennett won't join brother on Patriots

Martellus Bennett won’t join brother on Patriots

Tempted to play with his brother for the New England Patriots, tight end Michael Bennett said that he will instead remain retired to focus on his creative work.

Michael Bennett was acquired by the Patriots from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month, sparking speculation the defensive lineman might soon be joined by his 32-year-old brother, who retired after being released by New England last offseason.

Martellus Bennett has since focused his creative efforts on his “life’s work” for The Imagination Agency.

“This is why I can’t come out of retirement,” he wrote in an Instagram post Monday. “I would love to play ball with my brother it would truly be a dream come true. But my biggest dream is to change lives with my creativity and that is what I am currently doing @theimaginationagency

“these kids don’t need another athlete to look up to or to aspire to be there’s plenty of inspiration out there for that. I want to inspire the next wave of creatives. The storytellers. The engineers. The designers. The doctors. The filmmakers. The composers. Tech moguls. And maybe a few athletes who like me never felt like they belonged in a locker room.

“I was never one of the guys guys most of my teammates would tell that. I’ve always been a creative who enjoyed competing. I’m playing the game that I was made to play and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. Scoring touchdowns winning a super bowl has never made me feel the way seeing kids/families/people enjoying things I have created. I’m doing my life’s work fulfilling what I believe to be my life’s purpose. I hope everyone finds something that makes them as happy and as fulfilled as I have with my work @theimaginationagency I appreciate all of the love but this is waaaaayyy bigger than the game of football.”

Martellus Bennett has 30 career touchdowns and played 16 games for the Patriots in 2016, posting 55 receptions and seven scores.

Michael Bennett, 33, has played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks and Eagles.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings bring back PK Bailey

Vikings bring back PK Bailey

Dan Bailey re-signed with the

Vikings bring back PK Bailey

Dan Bailey re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings, agreeing to a one-year deal with a base value of $1 million, per reports.

Bailey must fight for his roster spot — and the kicking job — with only $250,000 guaranteed, NFL Network reports. If he’s not on the final 53-man roster, Bailey will not be paid the remainder of his salary.

The deal includes an additional $1 million in incentives.

Bailey, 31, joined the Vikings after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys at final cuts last September. Bailey spent seven seasons in Dallas.

He played the final 14 games of last season with the Vikings but made only 21 of his 28 field-goal attempts. His 75 percent conversion rate matched his uncharacteristically poor 2017 campaign in Dallas.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cowboys, Dolphins talk Quinn trade

Report: Cowboys, Dolphins talk Quinn trade

Defensive

Report: Cowboys, Dolphins talk Quinn trade

Defensive end Robert Quinn is reportedly visiting the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday as a precursor to a potential swap with the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins are willing to pay part of Quinn’s 2019 salary, according to NFL Network, to help facilitate a trade of the pass rusher. The Cowboys have six draft picks in 2019 and are without a first-rounder, which went to Oakland in October as part of the trade for wide receiver Amari Cooper.

In addition to Quinn, the Cowboys are expected to sit down with recently released Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Berry missed the majority of last season with a heel issue and his current health status is unclear.

Quinn was acquired by the Dolphins in 2018 from the Los Angeles Rams, and he started all 16 games with 6.5 sacks last season. He turns 29 in May, and has a $12.93 million salary cap number for the upcoming season.

To facilitate a trade of quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans, the Dolphins agreed to pay $5 million of his $7 million guaranteed salary for 2019.

The Cowboys are locked in a staredown with free agent defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who counts more than $20 million against the 2019 salary cap as a two-time franchise tag recipient. Lawrence is hopeful for a long-term deal.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Bengals release LB Burfict

NFL notebook: Bengals release LB Burfict

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was released by

NFL notebook: Bengals release LB Burfict

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

“As we continue to build our roster for the 2019 season, we felt it best to give both the team and Vontaze a fresh start,” head coach Zac Taylor said in a statement.

Burfict, 28, had two seasons remaining on a $33.2 million contract extension, but releasing him results in a cap charge of only $1.8 million.

Burfict appeared in only 43 games in the past five seasons, encountering repeated head injuries — seven documented concussions — and three suspensions. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict amassed more than $4 million in on-field conduct fines.

–Defensive lineman Haloti Ngata went to great lengths — rather heights — to announce his retirement.

The 13-year-NFL veteran posted a heartfelt message along with a photo on Instagram showing him standing atop Mount Kilimanjaro holding a banner that read, “I’m retiring from the NFL on top.”

“Just a man standing on top of the world with a heart full of gratitude. Thank you Lord for letting play the game I love for 13 unforgettable years,” read the social media post by Ngata, a 35-year-old who played for the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

–New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said that he traded star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. because the Cleveland Browns made an offer that was impossible to pass up.

“We didn’t sign him to trade him, but things changed,” he said. “Frankly, what changed is another team made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

The trade last Wednesday ended months of speculation that Beckham was on his way out of New York. After signing Beckham to a five-year, $95 million contract in 2018, the Giants saw their season spiral downward.

–Adrian Peterson is officially back with Washington after the Redskins announced his signing.

Multiple outlets reported last Wednesday that Peterson agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal.

Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games for the Redskins last season. He signed late in training camp after Derrius Guice sustained a torn ACL.

–Free agent wide receiver Jordy Nelson will visit the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, ESPN reported.

The New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs reportedly are among other teams interested in Nelson. He became available last week when the Oakland Raiders released him following their trade for former Pittsburgh Steelers star wideout Antonio Brown and the acquisition of Tyrell Williams in free agency.

–Kansas City agreed to sign cornerback Bashaud Breeland to a three-year contract, ESPN reported.

Breeland, 27, played seven games with Green Bay last season, starting five, after originally agreeing to a three-year, $24 million free agent deal with the Carolina Panthers last March. That agreement was nixed because of a failed physical (foot).

–Running back and kick returner Ameer Abdullah signed a one-year deal with Minnesota.

Abdullah, 25, was Minnesota’s primary kick returner for the final seven games of last season after he was claimed off waivers from Detroit. He returned 10 kicks for 258 yards, with a long of 33.

–Philadelphia announced a one-year deal with veteran strong safety Andrew Sendejo.

Sendejo spent the past eight seasons with Minnesota. The 31-year-old became a free agent earlier this month when the Vikings declined the $5.5 million 2019 option on his contract.

–Washington signed free agent offensive tackle Ereck Flowers to a one-year, $4 million deal, according to multiple reports.

Flowers was the ninth overall selection by the Giants in 2015 but didn’t pan out as an impact lineman and was released last October. He finished last season with Jacksonville, where he started the final seven games of the season.

–ESPN apparently is trying to convince Peyton Manning to join the “Monday Night Football” broadcast team.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro and content chief Connor Schell flew to Denver a week ago to meet with the future Hall of Fame quarterback. It’s unclear if 42-year-old Manning is interested in assuming the analyst role.

–The investigation into allegations of battery against Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill remains open.

Steve Howe, district attorney in Johnson County, Kan., acknowledged in a written statement that his office “has received numerous requests for information” about the status of the investigation into Hill but could provide no additional details.

Hill, 25, has not been charged with any crimes but is under investigation for an alleged battery incident involving 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.

–Field Level Media

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Rams, QB Bortles agree to one-year deal

Rams, QB Bortles agree to one-year deal

The Los Angeles Rams added

Rams, QB Bortles agree to one-year deal

The Los Angeles Rams added an experienced backup quarterback Monday, agreeing with former Jacksonville Jaguars starter Blake Bortles on a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not announced by the team.

Bortles, 26, gives the defending NFC champions an experienced starter behind Jared Goff as the team moves on from former backup Sean Mannion, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Bortles spent the first five seasons of his NFL career in Jacksonville, starting 73 of his 75 games and leading the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game after the 2017 season. The New England Patriots won 24-20.

The Jaguars gave Bortles a three-year, $54 million contract last year, but he went 3-9 and was benched for Cody Kessler. Jacksonville signed free agent Nick Foles last week and released Bortles.

Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, has completed 59.3 percent of his career passes for 17,646 yards with 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. The Jaguars made the playoffs once in his five seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings bring back RB/KR Abdullah

Vikings bring back RB/KR Abdullah

Running back and kick returner Ameer Abdullah has signed with

Vikings bring back RB/KR Abdullah

Running back and kick returner Ameer Abdullah has signed with the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced Monday.

He will come back to the Vikings on a reported one-year deal.

Abdullah, 25, was Minnesota’s primary kick returner for the final seven games of last season after he was claimed off waivers from the Detroit Lions. He returned 10 kicks for 258 yards, with a long of 33.

He rushed only one time last season, that coming with the Lions. He caught one pass for 10 yards with the Vikings.

Abdullah’s best season came in his rookie year in 2015, when he gained 780 total yards (597 rushing, 183 receiving) and scored three touchdowns after being a second-round pick of the Lions.

–Field Level Media

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Investigation into Chiefs WR Hill continues

Investigation into Chiefs WR Hill continues

Investigation into Chiefs WR Hill continues

The investigation into allegations of battery against Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill remains open.

Steve Howe, the district attorney in Johnson County, Kan., acknowledged in a written statement Monday that his office “has received numerous requests for information” about the the status of the investigation into Hill but could provide no additional details.

“While we understand the public’s concern, the investigation is still ongoing. It would be irresponsible to make definitive ‘official’ statements before the investigation is complete,” according to the statement.

The 25-year-old Hill has not been charged with any crimes.

Hill is under investigation for an alleged battery incident involving a juvenile, according to multiple published reports. The Kansas City Star reported that Hill’s 3-year-old son suffered a broken arm in the incident.

The report from police in Overland Park, Kan., where Hill lives, is dated March 14. It is unclear if the incident occurred that day.

Overland Park police also 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.

His fiancee, Crystal Espinal, is listed on the March 14 report under the category of “others involved.” The Star reported that Espinal is pregnant with twins and that she is the mother of the 3-year-old whose arm was broken.

Hill reportedly choked and punched Espinal when she was pregnant in December 2014. Hill was arrested and dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team.

Hill later pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation and received three years’ probation.

The Chiefs issued the following statement last week regarding Hill:

“The club is aware of the investigation involving Tyreek Hill,” the Chiefs said in a statement to The Kansas City Star. “We’re in the process of gathering information and have been in contact with the league and local authorities. We’ll have no further comment at this time.”

–Field Level Media

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Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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Eagles add veteran S Sendejo

Eagles add veteran S Sendejo

The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a

Eagles add veteran S Sendejo

The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a one-year deal with veteran strong safety Andrew Sendejo, the team announced Monday.

Sendejo spent the past eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He became a free agent earlier this month when the Vikings declined the $5.5 million 2019 option on his contract.

Sendejo, 31, only played in five games last season due to a groin injury. He had 27 tackles.

Sendejo intercepted six passes and recovered three fumbles in 93 games (58 starts) for the Vikings. He also played in two games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2010.

The Eagles figure to use Sendejo as the third safety in the defense with Malcolm Jenkins set as the starting strong safety.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins sign OT Flowers

Redskins sign OT Flowers

The Washington Redskins signed

Redskins sign OT Flowers

The Washington Redskins signed free-agent offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, the team announced Monday.

Flowers was signed to a one-year, $4 million deal, according to multiple reports.

Flowers was the ninth overall selection by the New York Giants in 2015 but didn’t pan out as an impact lineman. The Giants released him last October.

Flowers finished last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars and he started the final seven games of the season.

Overall, Flowers has playing 59 games (55 starts) during his four seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Chiefs to sign ex-Packers CB Breeland

Report: Chiefs to sign ex-Packers CB Breeland

The Kansas

Report: Chiefs to sign ex-Packers CB Breeland

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to sign cornerback Bashaud Breeland to a three-year contract, ESPN reported on Monday.

The 27-year-old Breeland played seven games with the Green Bay Packers last season, starting five, after originally agreeing to a three-year, $24 million free-agent deal with the Carolina Panthers last March. That agreement was nixed because of a failed physical (foot).

A former fourth-round pick of the Washington Redskins, Breeland has played in 67 career games (63 starts), collecting 10 interceptions and 64 passes defensed while forcing seven fumbles in five NFL seasons.

The Chiefs have spent much of this month remaking their defense, which ranked 31st in total yards allowed per game (405.5) last season. The team released veteran stalwarts in safety Eric Berry and pass-rushing linebacker Justin Houston, and the Chiefs also traded defensive end Dee Ford to San Francisco. In free agency, the Chiefs have added safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Alex Okafor.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Bengals release LB Burfict

Reports: Bengals release LB Burfict

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was informed

Reports: Bengals release LB Burfict

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was informed he would be released by the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, according to multiple reports.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

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GM Gettleman: Giants ‘couldn’t refuse’ offer for OBJ, defends Manning

GM Gettleman: Giants 'couldn't refuse' offer for OBJ, defends Manning

New

GM Gettleman: Giants ‘couldn’t refuse’ offer for OBJ, defends Manning

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said Monday that he traded star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. because the Cleveland Browns made an offer that was impossible to pass up.

“This was purely a football decision,” Gettleman told reporters in his first public comments since trading the three-time Pro Bowler Beckham for two draft picks and safety Jabrill Peppers. “Odell was a tremendous talent making him a valuable asset … With football being the ultimate team sport, we turned that fact into three assets.”

The trade last Wednesday ended months of speculation that Beckham was on his way out of New York. After signing Beckham to a five-year, $95 million contract in 2018, the Giants saw their season spiral downward.

“We didn’t sign him to trade him, but things changed,” Gettleman said. “Frankly, what changed, is another team made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

The Browns sent the Giants a first-round pick and a third-round pick along with Peppers.

Gettleman said he didn’t seek the Browns as trade partners. He conceded he called the Buffalo Bills after their failed attempt to acquire another disgruntled star wideout, Antonio Brown, failed, however.

“I completely understand why people would debate the merits of this deal. This trade really won’t be able to be fully evaluated until we get further down the road. We did not enter this decision to trade Odell lightly,” Gettleman added.

Gettleman wasn’t eager to share his plan for the team, though.

“Very honestly, it’s not my responsibility to tell you guys what I’m doing,” he told reporters. “That’s not my job. That’s not my responsibility. Trust me, we’ve got a plan. You’ve got to be patient. Everyone wants the answers now. Over time, you’ll see it.”

Part of that plan that concerns some fans and critics includes Gettleman’s apparent continued trust in longtime starting quarterback Eli Manning, who has won two Super Bowls with New York but whose performance has dipped over the past few seasons (8-23 record as starter since 2017).

Manning, 38, recently received a $5 million bonus amid an upcoming draft with the Giants holding two first-round picks, including the No. 6 overall selection. But Gettleman defended his veteran quarterback to reporters on Monday.

“This narrative that Eli is overpaid and can’t play is a crock,” Gettleman said, per NJ.com. “At the end of the day, you have to say, ‘Gettleman is out of his mind’ or ‘he knows what he is talking about when he evaluates players.’ That’s really where it’s at. I’m OK if you disagree with me.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Ex-Raiders WR Nelson to visit Seahawks

Report: Ex-Raiders WR Nelson to visit Seahawks

Free agent wide

Report: Ex-Raiders WR Nelson to visit Seahawks

Free agent wide receiver Jordy Nelson will visit the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

The New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs are among other teams interested in Nelson, per the report.

The veteran receiver became available last week when the Oakland Raiders released him following their trade for former Pittsburgh Steelers star wideout Antonio Brown and acquisition of former Los Angeles Chargers deep threat Tyrell Williams in free agency.

Nelson signed a two-year, $14.2 million deal last spring with Oakland. The Raiders already had paid him a $3.6 million roster bonus for 2019.

Nelson, who turns 34 in May, has been released in consecutive offseasons after the Green Bay Packers let him go last spring. He had 63 catches for 739 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games (14 starts) last season.

Nelson had 97 grabs for 1,257 yards and a league-high 14 scores in 2016 while coming off a torn ACL, but he posted just 53 catches for 482 yards in 2017, marking a career-low 9.1 yards per catch. In 10 career seasons, he has 613 catches for 8,587 yards and 72 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Report: ESPN meets with Manning about ‘MNF’ job

Report: ESPN meets with Manning about 'MNF' job

ESPN

Report: ESPN meets with Manning about ‘MNF’ job

ESPN apparently is trying to convince Peyton Manning to join the “Monday Night Football” broadcast team.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed Monday that ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro and content chief Connor Schell flew to Denver a week ago to meet with the future Hall of Fame quarterback. It’s unclear if Manning, who retired after leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl win in 2016, is interested in assuming the analyst role.

This is believed to be at least the second overture the network has made to Manning, 42.

Once Jon Gruden announced last winter that he was leaving the broadcast booth to return to coaching, ESPN reportedly reached out to Manning before hiring Jason Witten. After being criticized for his performance as an analyst, Witten decided to return to the Dallas Cowboys and reclaim his tight end position.

Manning is well-known to television audiences for his endeavors off the field, working as a pitchman for insurance, pizza and credit cards. He also has done some work for ESPN, analyzing quarterbacks for ESPN+.

If Manning declines to join ESPN, the network likely will go with a team of play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and analyst Booger McFarland, according to author Jim Miller, who wrote a book about the network.

“They’re going to have a two-man booth unless somehow Peyton changes his mind,” Miller said earlier this month on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. “They have a relationship with Peyton because of the ESPN+ show right now and Peyton has thought about this, but if you’re Peyton, what’s the upside?”

“I believe from everything I’ve heard it’s going to be the two of them (Tessitore and McFarland) and the only third possibility would be Peyton. Peyton is the only reason to pull up a third chair. If they start auditioning people and bringing somebody else in as a third that isn’t Peyton, I’d be surprised and I’d ask, why?”

–Field Level Media

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Peterson officially back with Redskins

Peterson officially back with Redskins

Adrian Peterson is officially back

Peterson officially back with Redskins

Adrian Peterson is officially back with the Washington Redskins after the team announced his signing on Tuesday.

Multiple outlets reported last Wednesday that Peterson agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with Washington.

Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games for the Redskins last season after signing late in training camp following Derrius Guice’s torn ACL.

The 1,000-yard campaign was the eighth of Peterson’s career, topped by his memorable 2,097-yard season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012, when he fell 8 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s all-time mark set in 1984.

The seven-time Pro Bowler ranks eighth in NFL history with 13,318 rushing yards and would pass three more players — Jerome Bettis (13,662), LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) and Curtis Martin (14,101) — with another 1,000-yard season.

Peterson, who turns 34 on Thursday, is tied with Jim Brown for fifth all-time with 106 career rushing scores. He needs five more to pass Walter Payton for fourth.

Peterson also had 272 receptions for 2,223 yards and six touchdowns during his 149-game career.

–Field Level Media

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