Wilson’s big day leads Seahawks past San Francisco 43-16

SEATTLE (AP) — Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdowns on just four completions and finished with four TD passes. Bobby Wagner capped a blowout with a 98-yard interception return touchdown, and the Seattle Seahawks won their third straight by beating the San Francisco 49ers 43-16 on Sunday.

Seattle (7-5) stayed in the middle of the NFC playoff race by jumping to a 20-0 lead and cruising to its ninth straight victory over its NFC West foe. But it won’t win the division because the Rams clinched it earlier in the day with a win at Detroit.

Wilson wasn’t asked to do much in the first half, but the little he did found the end zone. He hit Jaron Brown on a 4-yard TD pass in the first quarter, found Tyler Lockett for a 52-yard score and connected with Doug Baldwin on a 1-yarder. According to Sportradar, Wilson throwing three touchdowns on four completions made for the fewest TDs/completions in a first half dating to 1991. The previous low was six.

Rashaad Penny added a 20-yard run on the first offensive play of the second half following an 84-yard kickoff return by Lockett for a 27-3 lead.

Most of the attention centered on Richard Sherman’s first game back in Seattle after spending his first seven seasons with the Seahawks before being released and signing with the 49ers (2-10) last March. He greeted former teammates during pregame warmups — even giving a brief handshake and hug to Wilson — and then had a mostly uneventful return. Early in the third quarter Wilson hit Baldwin on a short route and Sherman’s close friend shook off the tackle attempt and raced 21 yards for a first down.

Wilson finished 11 of 17 for 185 yards and has thrown at least two touchdowns in eight straight games. It was the eighth time in the regular season Wilson has thrown four or more TD passes. His last TD came on an 18-yard strike to Brown early in the fourth quarter after he broke free from Sherman’s coverage.

Brown has 11 receptions on the season, five for touchdowns.

Wagner stole a fumble from Jeff Wilson Jr. at the Seattle 5 in the first half, one of two key fumbles by San Francisco. He then stepped in front of Nick Mullens’ pass near the goal line and outran the rest of the 49ers for the longest interception return in team history.

Dante Pettis had two touchdown receptions , including a 75-yard catch early in the fourth quarter, for San Francisco. Mullens was 30 of 48 for 414 yards.


Seattle’s wide receivers had plenty of chances to work on their touchdown celebrations.

The first after Brown’s 4-yard catch in the first quarter was a nod to Sherman and Seahawks history. The group created a re-enactment of the famous tip play by Sherman in the 2013 NFC championship game against the 49ers. Late in the fourth quarter, Sherman tipped an end zone pass from Colin Kaepernick into the arms of Malcolm Smith for an interception that secured Seattle’s berth in the Super Bowl.

Brown was the quarterback on the play ‘s re-enactment. Baldwin played the role of Sherman and David Moore was in the role of Smith, who is also playing for the 49ers.

They capped their day of celebrations with the “Macarena ” following Brown’s second TD.


Seattle may have suffered a significant loss when guard D.J. Fluker had to be helped to the sideline early in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Fluker has been a key part of Seattle’s run-game resurgence and appeared very angry on the field about the injury. He did not return and left the field on a cart.

Seattle running back Chris Carson also left in the fourth quarter to have X-rays on a finger.

San Francisco starting RB Matt Breida played only sparingly. He had five carries and three receptions.


49ers: San Francisco returns home to host Denver next Sunday.

Seahawks: Seattle hosts Minnesota next Monday night.


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

Eagles DE Long undecided about playing in 2019

Eagles DE Long undecided about playing in 2019

Eagles DE Long undecided about playing in 2019

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long told USA Today he is uncertain about whether he’ll return for a 12th NFL season in 2019.

“I’m pretty undecided, but from the looks of things they’re going to make it hard for me in my favorite city,” Long said Monday night, in a story published Tuesday. “We’ll see.”

After seeing media speculation that the Eagles have asked him to take a pay cut, Long responded on Twitter, indicating his decision is related to how much playing time the Eagles can offer him.

“My football decision has nothing to do with money,” Long wrote. “Nothing I’ve indicated would lead someone to believe that. Plenty of quotes out there on role being a driver for me … but here I am being redundant.”

Long, 34, played 612 defensive snaps (59 percent) last season, but Philadelphia brought back former defensive end Vinny Curry in free agency and will get 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett back from injury, after he was limited to six games last season. The Eagles also have 2018 fourth-round pick Josh Sweat, who could be in for a larger role.

Long finished 2018 with 6.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hits, his highest marks in a season since 2013 (8.5) and 2011 (21), respectively. He also was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year.

“In March, I really wanted to play,” Long told USA Today. “Now, I don’t know.”

“I definitely am not feeling like going to OTAs,” he added. “We’ll see what happens. If there’s any place that will make you try to do it again, it’s Philly. But it’s tough.”

Long is due $5.5 million in 2019, including a $2 million roster bonus due in May. The Eagles could save $5.3 million against the cap with his release or retirement.

Drafted second overall by the then-St. Louis Rams in 2008, Long spent his first eight years with the Rams before joining the New England Patriots in 2016 and the Eagles in 2017. He won back-to-back Super Bowls in those years, the second coming against the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

He has 70 sacks and 150 QB hits in 162 career games (103 starts), playing all 16 games in nine of his 11 seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Chiefs acquire Seahawks’ Clark, agree on $105M deal

Reports: Chiefs acquire Seahawks' Clark, agree on $105M deal

The Seattle

Reports: Chiefs acquire Seahawks’ Clark, agree on $105M deal

The Seattle Seahawks agreed to trade franchise-tagged defensive end Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2019 first-round pick, a 2020 second-round pick and a swap of 2019 third-round picks, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.

Clark, who must pass a physical for the trade to become official, has also agreed in principle with the Chiefs on a five-year, $105.5 million contract with $63.5 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports.

The Seahawks tagged Clark earlier this offseason, and both sides expressed a desire to keep him in Seattle long-term, but multiple outlets reported over the weekend that he could be dealt before the draft was set to begin Thursday.

The Seahawks now have two first-round picks — their own at No. 21 and the Chiefs’ at No. 29.

Clark, who turns 26 in June, was set to make $17.1 million on the franchise tag in 2019. He posted career highs of 13 sacks and 27 quarterback hits last season while starting all 16 games for the first time in his career.

The Chiefs traded their own franchise-tagged edge rusher, Dee Ford, to the San Francisco 49ers earlier this offseason, receiving a second-round pick in return. Ford, deemed an imperfect fit as Kansas City switches from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, signed a five-year, $85.5 million extension with the 49ers after the trade.

Kansas City also released long-time edge rusher Justin Houston this offseason, before signing former New Orleans Saints defensive end Alex Okafor in free agency and trading for Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.

Clark has 35 sacks and 72 QB hits through 62 games (33 starts) over four seasons since being drafted in the second round by Seattle in 2015.

Once considered a top prospect, he slipped to the second round after being dismissed by the Michigan football team following his 2014 arrest on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and assault. Clark later pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace.

The Chiefs have dealt with multiple players with incidents of domestic violence recently.

They drafted receiver Tyreek Hill in the fifth round in 2016, a year and a half after he was dismissed from Oklahoma State following his pleading guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation of his then-pregnant girlfriend. Overland Park (Kan.) Police are currently investigating two March incidents, one for child abuse and neglect and one for battery, involving a juvenile at Hill’s home.

In November, the Chiefs released Pro Bowl running back Kareem Hunt after video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel during a January 2018 incident.

–Field Level Media

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Gould won’t sign with 49ers, wants trade

Gould won't sign with 49ers, wants trade

Gould won’t sign with 49ers, wants trade

Veteran kicker Robbie Gould informed the San Francisco 49ers he won’t negotiate a long-term contract with the team and wants to be traded, he told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

Gould’s agent, Brian Mackler, said that if Gould decides to play with the 49ers this fall, he will hold out throughout training camp and report just before the season opens on Sept. 8.

San Francisco put the franchise tag on Gould in February.

Gould, 36, said he is dissatisfied after 14 months of contract negotiations with the team and pulled all proposals he made from the table. He also wants to be closer to Chicago, where he played the first 11 years of his career and where he makes his permanent home with his wife and three young sons, Schefter reported.

Gould also said he was disillusioned when the 49ers pursued free agent kicker Stephen Gostkowski before he re-signed with New England earlier this month.

“The bottom line is, I’m unsure if I want to play there anymore,” Gould told ESPN. “At this point, I have to do what’s best for me and my family back home.”

The Bears released Gould following the 2015 season, and he spent 2016 with the New York Giants. In the past two seasons with San Francisco, he has converted 72 of 75 field-goal attempts and 55 of 59 extra-point attempts.

49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday he intended to have Gould on the roster in 2019 and beyond.

“Robbie’s going to be a part of us this coming year, I know that,” Lynch said. “We would like it to be longer than that. We’ve made an attempt to make that happen. We haven’t come to an agreement as of yet and we’ll see where that goes, but Robbie will be a part of us this coming year. We’re excited for that because he’s very good at what he does and he’s also a big part of this team.”

–Field Level Media

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Judge: Public can’t see Kraft videos yet

Judge: Public can't see Kraft videos yet

Two videos that allegedly

Judge: Public can’t see Kraft videos yet

Two videos that allegedly show New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft participating in illegal acts at Florida massage parlor will not be released to the public yet.

Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser agreed with a request made by Kraft’s defense team to keep the videos sealed, at least for now. In his decision Tuesday, he wrote “making these images public, at this time, seriously jeopardizes Defendant’s fundamental right to a fair and impartial jury.”

He continued:

“Furthermore, the Court is seriously concerned about allowing the media to disclose to the public a piece of evidence that would be (or could be) central to the case against defendant,” Hanser wrote. “In effect, the potential jury pool would be given the opportunity to preview trial evidence, including identifying (Kraft) as the person depicted in the video tapes.”

Florida’s open-records law typically allows the release of evidence, and prosecutors last week said they intended to make recordings of Kraft public.

Hanser, however, said he won’t allow the video to be released until the jury is sworn in or the case is otherwise resolved.

Several media companies had asked the judge to release the footage, citing Florida law.

Kraft’s lawyers also are seeking to have the videos thrown out, contending his rights were violated when authorities recorded what happened inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla.

Kraft was one of 24 men charged with soliciting prostitution at the spa. Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two counts of soliciting, which allegedly occurred in January.

–Field Level Media

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Broncos LB Miller won’t be charged for catching shark

Broncos LB Miller won't be charged for catching shark

Broncos LB Miller won’t be charged for catching shark

Denver Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller will not be prosecuted for catching a hammerhead shark in Florida last April, USA Today reported on Tuesday.

The owner and operator of the boat Miller was on, however, will be charged with failing to properly release a shark and for shark fishing without a permit.

Miller, 30, is an avid outdoorsman.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched an investigation last year after posts on social media showed Miller posing with a 9 1/2-foot hammerhead shark during the fishing trip.

Photos and videos of Miller with the shark, its head bloodied and lying on the floor of the boat, caught the attention of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which said at the time it sought to “ensure that Miller is held accountable if killing this animal was, as we suspect, illegal.”

Miller was part of a guided excursion that was not fishing for sharks during the trip off the coast of Miami. The surprise catch was said to be released after the photo was taken.

Miller defended his actions.

“I went fishing. Everybody knows that I hunt and fish. It’s what I do. But I also believe in conservation. I’m not just out there going crazy,” he said last season at the Broncos’ offseason program. “We followed the rules. I did everything I was supposed to do.”

–Field Level Media

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Rams exercise QB Goff’s fifth-year option

Rams exercise QB Goff's fifth-year option

Rams exercise QB Goff’s fifth-year option

The Los Angeles Rams exercised quarterback Jared Goff’s fifth-year option on Tuesday, putting him under contract through 2020.

The option, which is guaranteed only for injury, will pay Goff an estimated $22.8 million. He is set to make $4.3 million in base salary in 2019, part of a rookie contract worth $27.9 million over the first four seasons.

Goff, 24, has been named to two Pro Bowls in two seasons since the arrival of head coach Sean McVay, throwing for 8,492 yards, 60 touchdowns and 19 interceptions over that span. He helped the Rams reach Super Bowl LIII in February, but struggled as Los Angeles fell 13-3 to the New England Patriots.

Now through three NFL seasons, Goff is eligible for an extension, and the Rams have previously been aggressive about locking up their draft picks well before they approach free agency.

Goff told reporters over the weekend that a new contract is “not on my mind at all.”

“I know the deal and understand that I hired an agent for that reason, and things always work out,” Goff said. “You continue to play well, it will work itself out.”

The Rams traded up 14 spots to take Goff first overall in 2016. He is 24-7 as a starter over the last two years after going 0-7 with 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions as a rookie.

–Field Level Media

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VP Williams: Redskins looking hard at quarterbacks

VP Williams: Redskins looking hard at quarterbacks

VP Williams: Redskins looking hard at quarterbacks

Washington Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams made it clear on Monday that the team is still seeking an upgrade at quarterback after trading for Case Keenum last month.

The Redskins, who hold the 15th pick in Thursday’s first round, have been connected to some of the draft’s top quarterback prospects and also to Josh Rosen, whom the Arizona Cardinals could trade if they draft Kyler Murray first overall.

“Case has done a good job over the last couple of years where he’s been, and you know, we needed a quarterback and was able to trade for Case,” Williams told reporters. “But that does not put us out of the realm of picking a quarterback if there’s one there that we like at 15. We don’t know who’s going to be there at 15. We’ve got some guys we do like, and if those guys are there, that’s the discussion that has to be had.

“I’m sure that would come up as a possibility that would happen, with a lot of other players in this draft that could help us. We’ll look at it from that standpoint too. It all depends on the board. Who’s highest on the board at that particular time? If that quarterback is the highest, then we’ve got to pick him. Nine out of 10, it’s going to be the quarterback [if he’s the highest-rated]. But if it’s not, that’s a discussion.”

Washington visited with three of the four consensus top quarterbacks — Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones — while Murray canceled his visit to D.C. The Redskins have also met with Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson.

Washington acquired Keenum from the Broncos in March for a swap of sixth- and seventh-round picks, with the Broncos contributing a portion of Keenum’s salary. He is due just $3.5 million this season.

The Redskins also have Colt McCoy. Incumbent starter Alex Smith’s future is in doubt after he sustained a compound fracture in his leg last year and had multiple surgeries to deal with complications.

–Field Level Media

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McNabb clarifies words on Eagles QB Wentz

McNabb clarifies words on Eagles QB Wentz

McNabb clarifies words on Eagles QB Wentz

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb clarified his recent comments about current Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz on Monday, after taking criticism from the team’s right tackle, Lane Johnson, on Sunday.

“For those of you who misread, didn’t understand, were confused or just didn’t like my comments let me clarify it for you,” McNabb wrote on Twitter. “Let me start by saying there’s no beef, riff or ill-will toward [Wentz] or the @Eagles. My comments were strictly based off of experience and understanding of how the business of football works.

“You are consistently evaluated everyday, every game and if you are reliable and or healthy enough to play. I know at times as players and fans it can be confusing to move on from a beloved player but due to the business of health and trust tough decisions are usually made.

“Maybe people just didn’t like it because it’s coming from me or I answered a question from one of the talents on the radio the way you didn’t agree with. If that’s how you feel I’m sorry you feel that way. It’s the nature of the game.”

McNabb said Saturday on CBS Sports Radio that the Eagles should consider drafting another quarterback if they don’t get past the second round of the playoffs with Wentz in the next “two years or so.” He referenced Nick Foles’ success in Philadelphia and added of Wentz, “He hasn’t really proven to me, besides the year before he got hurt [when] he was, really, an MVP candidate. He needs to get back to that moment.”

Johnson responded to McNabb on Twitter with several snake emojis and the words, “and you wonder why nobody respects you when you come back!!!!”

Johnson later went on 94WIP radio to expand on those thoughts, referencing former Eagles players who are critical of current players.

“Every training camp we have all of these ex-players come and shake our hands, wish us good luck,” Johnson said. “Then they just go out and just talk hate. I feel there is a lot of envy, jealousy, and I see a lot of fakery. It isn’t just me — a lot of other teammates see it too.

“You would think the best quarterback in franchise history would try to build up a young man that looks up to him instead of always criticizing him, critiquing him and wishing he would fail so he could be the missing link and feel better himself.”

Wentz, 26, earned a Pro Bowl appearance in 2017 and was an MVP candidate before tearing his ACL late in the season. He also finished last year on the sidelines with a back injury. Foles led the team to playoff wins in both years, including a Super Bowl LII title after the 2017 season, before leaving for Jacksonville in free agency this March.

McNabb, 42, went to six Pro Bowls in 11 seasons with the Eagles, finishing as the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yardage (32,873) and touchdowns (216).

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Seahawks DE Clark could be traded

Reports: Seahawks DE Clark could be traded

Seattle Seahawks defensive end

Reports: Seahawks DE Clark could be traded

Seattle Seahawks defensive end and franchise player Frank Clark could be traded leading up to or during the NFL draft this week, according to multiple reports Saturday.

NFL Network reported a deal is “a possibility” and added “several teams” are interested.

ESPN reported the Seahawks are considering trading Clark before the draft begins Thursday, but they would require at least a first-round pick in return.

General manager John Schneider told reporters earlier this week he would listen to any potential trade offers out of due diligence but doesn’t intend to deal Clark.

“If we didn’t [listen], we wouldn’t be doing our job,” Schneider said. “We can’t ever have our head in the sand with anything. But we love Frank, obviously. That’s why we franchised him.”

Fox Sports reported in March that Clark was drawing trade interest from the Buffalo Bills and others, and a separate ESPN report said the New York Jets also have interest.

Previous reports said Clark planned to hold out from team activities absent a long-term extension — which the sides have until July 15 to negotiate — but Schneider said he has not gotten that impression.

“That’s not my understanding at all,” Schneider said. “We’ve had very direct conversations, both myself and Frank and people in the organization and Frank and obviously myself and his agent, Erik Burkhardt.”

Clark, who turns 26 in June, is due $17.1 million on the franchise tag in 2019 and could be seeking more than $20 million annually on a long-term extension. Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who was tagged for the second year in a row, received $21 million annually on an extension signed earlier this month.

Clark posted career highs of 13 sacks and 27 quarterback hits last season while starting all 16 games for the first time in his career. He has 35 sacks and 72 QB hits through 62 games (33 starts) over four seasons since being drafted in the second round by Seattle in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Take 5: 2019 NFL Draft mock-busters

Take 5: 2019 NFL Draft mock-busters

Take 5: 2019 NFL Draft mock-busters

Mock drafts are like noses, everyone has one.

The same 25 or so names pop up in everyone’s forecast of the 2019 NFL Draft, with only slight variations to the order. Projecting the “surprise” players who sneak into the top 32 picks is the real art to the profession.

That task could be especially challenging this year with little consensus at the top of each position. Poll a few NFL scouts and analysts to name the top quarterback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback or safety in this class and you are likely to get different answers – which is fairly uncommon this late in the process.

That should result in a suspense-filled first round.

In the same way that a hot-shooting 12 seed can blow up your March Madness bracket, these are the five players destined to wreck mock drafts.

5. L.J. Collier, DE, TCU, 6-2 1/4, 283, 4.91

Players drafted in the first round typically dominated in college. Collier didn’t even start until his fifth year with the Horned Frogs, when he registered more tackles (43, including 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks) than in his previous three seasons combined (38 tackles) after redshirting his first year on campus.

The late-blooming Collier nevertheless was invited to the Senior Bowl, where his disproportionately long arms (34″), raw power and junkyard dog mentality made him a standout. He is a much more well-rounded defender than his 11 career starts suggest, showing an impressive array of pass rush moves and a commitment to run defense that should get him on the field early and often in the NFL.

If the anticipated early run of edge rushers comes to fruition, Collier could sneak into the late portion of the first round – perhaps as a plug-and-play replacement for Trey Flowers in New England.

4. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida, 5-10 7/8, 210, 4.48

Most draft enthusiasts know by now that the Class of 2019 offers an extraordinary bounty of defensive linemen, but the safety position isn’t far behind in terms of star power and depth. Though he is not included in many first-round projections from the media, Gardner-Johnson’s raw athleticism, versatility and penchant for turning turnovers (nine INTs in three seasons) into points (three TDs) very much has the attention of NFL teams.

Given his hyphenated name, it is perhaps appropriate that Gardner-Johnson played a slash role for the Gators, seeing action as a single-high free safety, in-the-box striker and nickel cornerback over his career. He led Florida in special teams tackles (eight) as a true freshman and punctuated that year by being named MVP of the team’s bowl game – joining Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith as the only first-year players at Florida to earn that distinction.

3. Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State, 5-11 7/8, 205, 4.31

One could argue that Campbell is the most under-appreciated receiver in this class. While the media blustered over the 40-yard dash time by Ole Miss workout warrior D.K. Metcalf and the straight-line speed shown by Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown as a vertical threat last season, Campbell, a two-time team captain, proved lightning fast on the field and in workouts.

Campbell led the Buckeyes in catches (88), receiving yards (1,062) and touchdowns (12) in a breakout 2018 campaign alongside two other receivers (Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon) who also will be drafted this week. He wasn’t asked to run complicated routes in Ohio State’s scheme, serving a Percy Harvin-like role on shallow crossers and jet-sweeps in Urban Meyer’s offense.

The traits and work ethic are there to suggest that Campbell’s route-tree will grow more branches and his production will only further bloom in the NFL.

2. Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington, 6-7 1/8, 317, 5.05

The massive and country-strong McGary is as battle-tested as any offensive tackle in this class. He started the past four years at right tackle for Washington before turning critics into believers at the Senior Bowl, Combine and well-attended pro day with his rare athleticism.

One of the biggest blockers in the class, McGary quietly wowed in workouts, generating top 10 performances among offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump (33.5″), broad jump (9’3″), 3-cone (7.66) and short shuttle (4.58) at the Combine. He then out-shined media darling and projected top 20 pick Andre Dillard (Washington State) in their respective pro day workouts – both of which I attended. That may not surprise Pac-12 observers, as the conference’s defensive linemen voted McGary the best blocker in the league with the Morris Trophy.

1. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State, 6-3, 305, 4.90 (estimated)

Simmons is likely facing a medical “redshirt” in his first NFL season after tearing his ACL during pre-combine workouts, so it is easy to see why he could slip out of the first round despite possessing top 10 talent. His projection is further clouded due to a disturbing 2016 video of Simmons repeatedly striking a woman on the ground.

Of course, in the talent-tops-all world of the NFL, the tape that matters most is what Simmons did at Mississippi State – not the family dispute caught on video prior to his joining the Bulldogs or the injury, from which he is expected to make a full recovery.

If a team is willing to invest in Simmons on Day Two, it might make more sense (and cents) to draft the three-time SEC honoree in the first round, given the fifth-year option provided in the NFL’s rookie contracts for players drafted in the opening frame.

–Rob Rang, Field Level Media

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Taipei’s Pan gets first pro win in PGA’s RBC Heritage

Taipei's Pan gets first pro win in PGA's RBC Heritage

Taipei’s Pan gets first pro win in PGA’s RBC Heritage

C.T. Pan had competed among leaders on the final day of tournaments in the past, but finishing the task made Sunday’s outing in the RBC Heritage particularly rewarding.

“It just means a lot to me to have a win on the PGA Tour,” Pan said. “It means everything to me.”

Pan, who’s from Taipei, won his first PGA Tour title by shooting 4-under-par 67 in the final round at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.

Pan finished at 12-under 272, avoiding many of the late-round snags that tripped other contenders, giving him a one-shot victory over Matt Kuchar (67).

“I’ve been working so hard for this moment,” Pan said.

Pan, 27, had a tie for second place in last August’s Wyndham Championship and a tie for second place in the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open as previous best finishes on tour. He played college golf for Washington.

Pan is the second golfer from Taipei to win on the PGA Tour. T.C. Chen won the Genesis Open in 1987.

It marks the fourth year in a row that the RBC Heritage winner is a first-time champion on tour.

Patrick Cantlay needed a birdie on the final hole to forge a playoff, but he ended up with a bogey and a round of 69.

Pan bogeyed the 15th hole before finishing his round with a birdie on a 9-foot putt on No. 16 and two pars. His attempt on a birdie putt on the last hole — that would have provided a two-shot lead — clipped the cup and rolled away.

The victory guarantees Pan a spot in next month’s PGA Championship.

Earlier, Kuchar’s birdie putt on No. 18 made him the leader in the clubhouse.

“To get in the mix, to have a chance was a lot of fun,” said Kuchar, the tournament’s 2014 champion.

Cantlay’s 10-under left him tied for third place with Scott Piercy (69) and Shane Lowry (70).

Cantlay also was in the mix a week earlier on the final day of the Masters.

“Playing that well on the weekend is obviously huge,” Cantlay said. “I feel like I usually play well and close strong.”

Lowry, the leader after the first two rounds, was aiming for his second PGA Tour victory.

Third-round leader Dustin Johnson, who holds the No. 1 world ranking, was a home-state favorite, but he faded with a 7-over stretch on Nos. 11-15. He finished his round of 77 with a birdie, tying for 28th at 4 under.

Johnson was in position for his 21st PGA Tour victory before the unexpected slide.

J.T. Poston (66) made a big move early and finished tied for sixth at 9 under. He was joined by Ireland’s Seamus Power (67) and Kevin Streelman (68).

Sam Burns used an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to catapult into contention. But after reaching 11 under, a three-hole stretch at 3 over on the backside dropped him out of reach. He was ninth at 8 under.

Jason Kokrak also appeared on the leader board, but he ended up with a 69 after a triple-bogey on the last hole. He finished 6 under.

–Field Level Media

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Wife of Lions’ Stafford home after 12-hour brain surgery

Wife of Lions' Stafford home after 12-hour brain surgery


Wife of Lions’ Stafford home after 12-hour brain surgery

Kelly Stafford, whose husband is Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, announced Sunday evening she is home from the hospital after a 12-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor earlier this week.

Stafford announced earlier this month she was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, which is a benign tumor, that was abutting her cranial nerves. She said she had been suffering from vertigo and experiencing other unusual symptoms and had the MRI performed on the advice of the Lions’ team doctor.

On Sunday, Stafford posted two photos on Instagram along with a video, showing her walking with assistance from her husband and her mother in the hospital.

“This Easter is the beginning of a new life for me,” she wrote in her post. “I wanna take a second to thank all of you for all the prayers. They have worked. I know they have.

“When they opened me up, I had an abnormal vein … maybe abnormal for other neurosurgeons, but not the one We chose. He had seen it before and written a paper on it. That’s truly God’s work. The prayers for my family, I’m beyond thankful for. A six hour surgery went to 12 hours and although they were anxious and scared, your prayers got them through. Thank you. Thank you so much.

“Now I am home and learning my new norm. It’ll take some time, but I really just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all your support, thoughts and prayers. It means more than y’all will ever know.”

The Stafford have three daughters, twins born in 2017 and another born last August. They met while both were students at Georgia and married in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Take 5: NFL draft props to play Thursday

Take 5: NFL draft props to play Thursday

Field Level Media analyzed dozens

Take 5: NFL draft props to play Thursday

Field Level Media analyzed dozens of prop bets offered by numerous sportsbooks, searching for the best odds and most likely moneymakers.

We’ve ranked the top five in descending order below, starting off with a dark horse that could pay big, a parlay worthy of a party and finishing with as sure a thing as the 2019 NFL draft has to offer.

5. First wide receiver drafted – FanDuel.com

FanDuel has 15 different NFL draft prop bets currently listed, including old standbys — Who Will Be The First (or Second) Pick; First Player Drafted at several different positions.

As for the wide receiver most likely to be the first drafted, Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf is listed as the favorite at -175, meaning that bettors would have to bet $175 to win $100.

Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown (+210) and Metcalf’s teammate at Ole Miss, A.J. Brown (+1000) are riskier but pay better. For those willing to roll the dice, consider Ohio State’s Parris Campbell, a 6-0, 205-pound Percy Harvin-like big-play specialist who at +5000 could make bettors rich even faster than the 4.31 second 40-yard dash he ran at the Combine. A measly $10 bet on Campbell – a late-rising prospect who was one of three receivers (along with Metcalf and Brown) listed in my latest mock draft – would net a $500 profit.

4. Kyler Murray Goes No. 1 – PointsBet.com

Many sportsbooks list Murray as the prohibitive favorite to be the top pick at -1000. A $1,000 bet would win $100. A thousand is the operative number for PointsBet.com, however, as the New Jersey-based online book is offering a +100 special to the first 1,000 bettors. As long as Cardinals general manager Steve Keim feels as strongly about Murray as his new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, this feels like easy money.

3. Number of Defensive Players Drafted in Round One – MyBookie.ag

You have heard by now that this year’s draft is loaded with defense, particularly along the defensive line. Two-time NFL general manager Scot McCloughan characterized the 2019 crop as the best defensive line class he’d ever seen in 25-plus years in scouting.

I expect multiple off-ball linebackers (specifically Devin White and Devin Bush) and a handful of defensive backs to join the historic defensive line class in earning first-round selections. MyBookie.ag offers several intriguing wagers but its over-under breakdown of defensive (16.5) and offensive players (15.5) is especially tantalizing.

You’ll need to invest a little to win, but at -150, take the over on defensive players or Under on Offensive Players and laugh all the way to the bank. Just don’t think you can get away with parlaying the two – I already asked.

2. ACC+Big Ten Players Drafted in Round One with possible SEC parlay – WilliamHill.us

If parlaying bets is your kind of party, check out the list of wagers available at WilliamHill.us, which offers online betting as well as walk-in sports books in Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey and West Virginia in the contiguous United States. First, for a reasonable gamble of -145, you can bet that at least 11.5 ACC and Big Ten players are selected in the first round.

That’s a steal.

I would be very surprised if these 12 players, in projected order, are not among the top 32 picks: Nick Bosa, Rashan Gary, Dwayne Haskins, Clelin Ferrell, T.J. Hockenson, Devin Bush, Brian Burns, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Daniel Jones, Garrett Bradbury and Noah Fant. And with a few other worthy candidates (Parris Campbell, Justin Layne, Chris Lindstrom, Amani Hooker, Juan Thornhill, etc.) having realistic shots at jumping into the mix, your risk is ready to become reward.

Parlay-seeking bettors might want to combine this bet with another on SEC prospects.

WilliamHill has the over-under on SEC players drafted in the first round at 12.5 with even odds on the over and -120 on the under. I see this as a riskier bet than the ACC and Big Ten combo but would take the over with 13 former SEC stars making my latest first-round mock (in projected order Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen, Devin White, Montez Sweat, Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams, Greedy Williams, D.K. Metcalf, Johnathan Abram, Deandre Baker, Jeffery Simmons, Josh Jacobs and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson) and several other worthy candidates capable of sneaking in, including A.J. Brown, Greg Little, Lonnie Johnson, Deebo Samuel and Elgton Jenkins.

1. Team (Denver Broncos) to Draft Player (Missouri QB Drew Lock) – DraftKings.com

A more accomplished NFL draft analyst than a sports betting guru, my comfort level is greater in projecting an individual player to a specific team (and not just the first or second overall pick).

I had a lot of success with it a year ago at the quarterback position, correctly forecasting all five first-round passers to their correct NFL teams. I love the fit with Lock in Denver and apparently so does DraftKings.com, listing the Broncos as the strong favorite to land the SEC’s all-time single-season touchdown leader with odds at +275 with the Redskins coming in second at +400.

–By Rob Rang, Field Level Media

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RB Yeldon signs two-year deal with Bills

RB Yeldon signs two-year deal with Bills

RB Yeldon signs two-year deal with Bills

Buffalo signed free agent running back T.J. Yeldon to a two-year contract on Monday.

Terms of the deal with the Bills were not announced.

Yeldon, 25, was a second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2015 NFL Draft.

In 51 games (30 starts) with the Jaguars, Yeldon gained 1,872 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns. He also was valuable as a receiver, catching 171 passes for 1,302 yards and six scores.

Yeldon was criticized by Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars executive vice president of football operations, after the final game of the 2018 season. Coughlin called Yeldon and running back Leonard Fournette “selfish” and “disrespectful” for what he perceived as their lack of interest in the game, a 20-3 loss to the Texans that capped a disappointing 5-11 season.

With Yeldon, the Bills now have six running backs on the roster, including veterans Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cardinals field trade offers, to meet about No.1 pick

Report: Cardinals field trade offers, to meet about No.1 pick

Report: Cardinals field trade offers, to meet about No.1 pick

The Arizona Cardinals still haven’t tipped their hand as to how they’ll use the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft on Thursday, and teams continue to inquire about a trade, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

He also said general manager Steve Keim, coach Kliff Kingsbury and owner Michael Bidwill have a final meeting scheduled to make a decision.

The assumption is Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy and led Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff in 2018. Reports over the weekend surfaced that the Cardinals plan to keep Josh Rosen at quarterback and draft a difference-maker on defense.

CBS Sports columnist Pete Prisco reported that Bidwell wanted the team to take Murray, but that has changed.

“Initially, the ownership pushed for Kyler Murray,” he said. “They were having a hard time selling tickets. They put it out there, Arizona was lukewarm to it, so now all of a sudden they’re pulling back and, from what I have been told, they’re going to go in a different direction.

“They’re not going to draft Kyler Murray.”

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said the team was undecided last week during a pre-draft news conference.

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

–Field Level Media

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Report: Peyton Manning will not join ‘MNF’ booth

Report: Peyton Manning will not join 'MNF' booth

Peyton Manning

Report: Peyton Manning will not join ‘MNF’ booth

Peyton Manning will not join ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast team this season, Sporting News reported Monday.

The future Hall of Fame quarterback met with network executives last month in Denver about replacing Jason Witten, who has returned to the Dallas Cowboys after one season in the booth.

But Manning is reluctant to comment on games while his younger brother, Eli, is still playing, according to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. Eli’s New York Giants have two Monday night games scheduled in 2019.

Manning, 43, retired after leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl win in 2016. Instead of joining ESPN as an analyst, he will host a 30-episode football documentary series called “Peyton’s Places,” set to debut on ESPN+ in July.

–Field Level Media

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Pan vaults to No. 55; Bjerregaard to play on PGA Tour

Pan vaults to No. 55; Bjerregaard to play on PGA Tour

Pan vaults to No. 55; Bjerregaard to play on PGA Tour

The benefits from C.T. Pan’s first career PGA Tour victory continued to roll in Monday, as the Taiwanese golfer rocketed up 58 spots to a career-high No. 55 in the official world golf rankings.

In addition to a two-year Tour exemption and a spot in this year’s PGA Championship and the 2019 Players Championship and Masters, Pan is now close to qualifying for the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in July, where the top 50 players in the OWGR receive automatic invitations.

Third-round leader Dustin Johnson shot a 77 on Sunday to drop into a tie for 28th at the RBC Heritage, but retained the No. 1 spot over England’s Justin Rose as there was no movement in the top 10. They are followed by Brooks Koepka, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Italy’s Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele and Spain’s Jon Rahm.

Jordan Spieth continued his slide, falling another spot to No. 35 after tying for 54th in Hilton Head, S.C.

No OWGR points will be awarded at this week’s Zurich Classic, which is a team event.

Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard, who took a week off following four events in a five-week stretch, dropped one spot to No. 44. However, the PGA Tour announced that he has accepted Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

Bjerregaard beat Woods in the quarterfinals before finishing fourth at last month’s WGC-Match Play. He is now eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the season as he attempts to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2019-20 season through the Non-Member FedExCup Points List.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick accepted a Special Temporary Membership earlier this year.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-caddie: Tiger’s comeback ‘an incredible story’

Ex-caddie: Tiger's comeback 'an incredible story'

Ex-caddie: Tiger’s comeback ‘an incredible story’

Steve Williams, who caddied for Tiger Woods for 13 years, was as transfixed as any observer when his former employer made a run to his fifth Masters title earlier this month.

Williams, who retired to his native New Zealand in 2017, told ESPN in a story published Monday that he hadn’t watched any golf on television since retirement — until Woods was making a run on Sunday at Augusta. Williams said he tuned in from New Zealand — where it was around 5 a.m. on Monday — as the final grouping was reaching the 15th hole.

Woods went on to birdie that hole and take the outright lead for good, while Italy’s Francesco Molinari double-bogeyed and fell out of contention.

“Given the fact that two years ago, he stated that he was unlikely to play competitive golf again, or was seriously doubting it … he wouldn’t just say that in jest,” Williams told ESPN of Woods, who made his return to the tour last year after a fourth back surgery. “There would have been a lot of truth to it. For him to actually come back full cycle to win a major championship … it’s just an incredible story.

“It’s an amazing achievement of pure guts and hard work for him and just a true indication of what he is made of. It proves again what an amazing athlete he is. It’s just an amazing achievement.”

Williams, 55, became Woods’ caddie in 1999 and remained on the bag until Woods fired him in July of 2011, covering a span of 13 of Woods’ 14 major victories to that point. Joe LaCava has caddied for Woods since.

Williams, who had caddied for Adam Scott while Woods was away from the tour, joined Scott regularly from 2011 until September of 2017. Scott won the 2013 Masters with Williams.

After seeing Woods claim the 15th major of his career and his first since 2008, Williams touted how strongly the achievement will impact the sport.

“You look at it from a broader perspective,” Williams said. “Here in New Zealand, golf is somewhat struggling. The number of rounds is down, junior numbers are slipping. Now that Tiger has come right back there again, winning a major championship, possibly putting Jack’s (Nicklaus) record (of 18 career major wins) in play again … it just re-energizes the game.

“It’s absolutely awesome. He’s the only guy who can energize the game like that. All those kids who were watching had to think it was fantastic. And so what he’s done is a remarkable achievement. It’s so positive.”

–Field Level Media

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft review

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft review

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft review

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft review

1 (5). Devin White, LB: 6-0, 237, LSU

2 (39). Sean Bunting, CB: 6-0, 195, Central Michigan

3 (94). Jamel Dean, CB: 6-1, 206, Auburn

3 (99). Mike Edwards, S: 5-11, 205, Kentucky

4 (107). Anthony Nelson, DE: 6-7, 271, Iowa

5 (145). Matt Gay, K: 6-0, 232, Utah

6 (208). Scott Miller, WR: 5-9, 174, Bowling Green

6 (215). Terry Beckner Jr., DT: 6-4, 296, Missouri

Grade: C+

White is an outstanding prospect, but is he more valuable than a top edge rusher such as Josh Allen? Bunting felt like a slight reach, and while he and Dean are talented, they are also indictments on 2018 second-rounders Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart. Jason Licht surprisingly had the audacity to draft Gay after the failed Roberto Aguayo experiment, although he got nice contributors in Edwards and Nelson.

Best pick: Even if Allen might be more valuable, White is clearly a top-five player in this class. He’s instinctive, can slip run blocks and has the physical tools to thrive in coverage. He also excels as a blitzer, making him an immediate threat in Todd Bowles’ scheme.

Upside pick: Edwards isn’t big or particularly explosive, but he’s extremely versatile, having played deep, in the box and over the slot in both man and zone coverage. He has the instincts to handle each of those assignments, making him an ideal multi-tool piece in today’s NFL.

–Field Level Media

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Los Angeles Rams draft review

Los Angeles Rams draft review

Los Angeles Rams draft review

Los Angeles Rams draft review

Los Angeles Rams draft review

2 (61). Taylor Rapp, S: 6-0, 208, Washington

3 (70). Darrell Henderson, RB: 5-8, 208, Memphis

3 (79). David Long, CB: 5-11, 196, Michigan

3 (97). Bobby Evans, OT: 6-4, 312, Oklahoma

4 (134). Greg Gaines, DT: 6-1, 312, Washington

5 (169). David Edwards, OT: 6-6, 308, Wisconsin

7 (243). Nick Scott, S: 5-11, 201, Penn State

7 (251). Dakota Allen, LB: 6-1, 232, Texas Tech

Grade: B+

There isn’t a ton of star power, but the Rams did well after entering without a second-rounder (traded for Marcus Peters). They traded down from No. 31 and made a few more deals to add picks, then nabbed an instinctive safety, a potential chess-piece back and some quality depth. Evans eventually could replace Andrew Whitworth, and Gaines will help shore up an occasionally leaky run defense. Nicely done.

Best pick: Coincidentally, many have compared Rapp to Eric Weddle, a safety who lacks elite tools but always finds himself in the right spot. Now Rapp will learn from the master. Wade Phillips could deploy Rapp right away as a dime linebacker and rotate him in to spell Weddle occasionally.

Upside pick: Henderson’s selection shouldn’t raise concerns about Todd Gurley, but it could eat into Gurley’s snaps as a receiver. Henderson — who is also a home run threat as a runner — has terrific hands and shows rare body control to adjust to throws downfield. Sean McVay should have fun deploying him.

–Field Level Media

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