Drew Brees opens the door to a return to football

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 16, 2022 - 12:39 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
NFL: JAN 16 AFC Wild Card - Steelers at Chiefs
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It started with a report that he’s leaving NBC. It escalated into something much more significant.

Following a report from Andrew Marchand of the New York Post that future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees will be leaving NBC, Brees said this on Twitter: “Despite speculation from media about my future this fall, I’m currently undecided. I may work for NBC, I may play football again, I may focus on business and philanthropy, I may train for the pickleball tour, senior golf tour, coach my kids or all of the above. I’ll let you know.”

In fairness to Marchand, he wasn’t speculating. He was reporting. Brees seems to be disputing the reporting, while also raising the possibility of playing again.

Some will think he’s kidding about playing again. If he is, it doesn’t scream out from his tweet.

Making his claim about playing again semi-plausible is the fact Brees did indeed consider an offer from the Saints to return for a late-season game against the Dolphins. He wisely didn’t, given that the New Orleans roster was dramatically depleted by COVID positives.

My guess, and it’s just a guess for which I possibly will get myself in trouble, is this: Brees has a contract that he may not want to just walk away from. His official position as stated on Twitter could be part of an effort to leverage a buyout.

That’s between him and NBC, obviously. But he didn’t sign a one-year contract. Thus, if he’s going to be leaving NBC, something needs to happen with the balance of his deal.

Andrew Whitworth jokes about a possible return: “You never say never; I did learn that”

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 16, 2022 - 12:06 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
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Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is retired. Unless he isn’t.

Whitworth announced his retirement on March 15. He recently joked (we think) with about a possible return.

You never say never,” Whitworth said, “I did learn that.”

He learned it from Tom Brady, who retired and then invoked that line six days later before coming back. It would be a surprise if Whitworth comes back.

The potential return as a player came at the end a video that focused mostly on Brady’s broadcasting deal and whether that will result in more former players getting more money to talk sports. Whitworth seems far more interested in a gig like that than in playing again.

Texans agree to terms with first-round choice Kenyon Green

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 9:45 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article

The Texans have agreed to terms with first-round choice Kenyon Green on a four-year, $15.9 million deal that is fully guaranteed, Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 reports.

Houston selected Green 15th overall, the second of its three first-round choices.

He is the eighth of the team’s nine draft picks to agree to terms. Only third-round linebacker Christian Harris remains without a deal.

Green saw action at every single position in the offensive line at Texas A&M. He was on the All-SEC freshman team at right guard in 2019 and was a full-time starter at right guard in 2020. In 2021, Green played two games at right tackle, one game at left tackle, two games at right guard and seven games at left guard. He also saw limited snaps at center in his career.

He projects as the Texans’ starting left guard.

“It helped me a lot, playing different positions, knowing where I can come in and do my best at,” Green said, via Wilson. “So, I come in and just be a team player, you know, be the best I can be and help the team in whatever form and fashion that is.”

Dolphins signing Melvin Ingram

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 9:29 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article

The Dolphins have agreed to terms with pass rusher Melvin Ingram, per multiple reports.

The Chiefs had interest in re-signing Ingram and used the unrestricted free agent tender on him May 2. That meant Kansas City offered him a one-year, $4.4 million contract for 2022 and enacted a July 22 for him to sign with another team.

With Ingram signing with the Dolphins, the Chiefs, having employed the rarely used UFA tender, will receive a compensatory draft choice for his departure despite the deadline for compensatory picks having passed.

Ingram, 33, visited Miami in April.

He will join Jaelan Phillips, Andrew Van Ginkel, Emmanuel Ogbah and Jerome Baker as the team’s top pass rushers. Ingram, who can play both defensive end and linebacker, has 51 sacks and 119 quarterback hits since entering the league as a first-round choice in 2012.

Ingram spent nine seasons with the Chargers before splitting last season between the Steelers and the Chiefs. Pittsburgh traded Ingram to Los Angeles at the deadline.

Seven CFL teams go on strike, and the other two will join them soon

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 6:26 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Edmonton Elks v Toronto Argonauts
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The NFL hasn’t seen an in-season work stoppage in 35 years. The CFL is starting one now.

Players from seven CFL teams have been instructed to stay away from the field during training camp after the labor deal between the CFL and its union expired. Via the Ottawa Citizen, talks collapsed on Saturday.

The Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos will join in the work stoppage as soon as the Albert labor laws allow it.

Via, the two sides reportedly met for 16 hours on Friday, and then started negotiations again on Saturday. The CFL Players Association rejected the league’s most recent proposal on Saturday afternoon.

The CFLPA is reportedly expected to conduct a town-hall meeting on Sunday, in order to provide more information and direction to membership.

Farhan Lalji of TSN has tweeted that there are three main sticking points, and that the two sides are “not that far apart.”

Bills issue statement of support for Buffalo community after latest mass murder, but the NFL can do more

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 5:28 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
BUFFALO, NY - MAY 14: A small vigil set up across the street fr
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After one of the many fairly recent mass shootings that made many think, “Well, this will be the one to change things,” nothing changed. Nothing ever changes, not with the toxic combination of factors that has transformed any reasonable conversation about gun control into an immediate rallying cry that they’re coming to take our guns.

The political and commercial forces responsible for the hard wiring of this mindset into average, law-abiding citizens who don’t realize they’re being manipulated into believing that sensible restrictions today means a farewell to all arms tomorrow have become far too strong to undo. Meanwhile, media voices that routinely peddle the poison of replacement theory in prime time are getting louder all the time, with zero repercussions.

The latest tragedy happened in Buffalo, where an 18-year-old white man decided to target Black citizens.

Praying for and with our Buffalo community,” the Bills said on Saturday. “Our hearts are with the victims, their families and friends.”

It’s an appropriate response. But the NFL and its teams need to do more.

So what can the NFL do? Well, one of the loudest and most prominent voices when it comes to replacement theory belongs to Tucker Carlson of Fox News.

That’s not a hot take. It’s a cold fact.

“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said in April 2021.

By the way, Fox News is part of the same corporate family that does billions of dollars of business with the NFL. It’s a broadcasting partner of the league. In other words, a partner of the league.

Should the NFL start sending unambiguous messages to Fox about its relationship with Fox News and, in turn, with Tucker Carlson? The league had no qualms (as explained in Playmakers) about squeezing the testicles of ESPN to cancel the TV show Playmakers after only one season because — boo, hoo — it made the NFL look bad. (If anything, the TV version of Playmakers painted an inaccurate picture about pro football because it was too tame.)

Instead, the NFL actually allowed Fox to announce one of its 2022 games on the Fox News morning show last week. After we received the press release from the NFL regarding that plan, we sent the league this question last weekend: “Do you have any concerns about associating the NFL brand with Fox News?” To no surprise, we received no response.

Hopefully, others will ask that question of Fox, and maybe of those who work there — including perhaps a recent high-profile hire who has a very strong voice, if he chooses to use it. It’s a fair question to ask, if there’s any true desire to get to the root cause of these mass murders. The problem isn’t just the ready availability of weapons of mass murder. It’s the spreading of hate- and fear-based commentary that gives people the motivation to use those weapons of mass murder to murder in mass numbers.

That’s precisely what happened in Buffalo, as proven by the killer’s manifesto. It will keep happening, absent dramatic change.

Even if it will be impossible to ever make real strides in striking a better balance between the Second Amendment and the Sixth Commandment, real pressure can be placed upon major media outlets that give those who foment fear and hate a prominent mainstream voice. It wouldn’t be the ending point, but it could be a very good starting point.

Browns sign QB Felix Harper after rookie minicamp tryout

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 5:04 PM UTC
By Michael David Smith · Original Article
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 21 Celebration Bowl - NC A&T v Alcorn State
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The Browns invited former Alcorn State quarterback Felix Harper to their rookie minicamp as a tryout player, and he made the most of the opportunity.

The Browns announced on Sunday that they’ve signed Harper to a rookie contract.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Harper doesn’t have ideal quarterback size, but he’s a good athlete who passed for 2,489 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.

Harper also worked out with Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson before the draft, and Watson likely gave Harper a strong recommendation.

The Browns now have five quarterbacks on the roster with Watson as the starter, Baker Mayfield still on the team but not in their future plans, Jacoby Brissett as the likely backup to Watson, and Josh Dobbs competing for a roster spot. Harper will have to have a good training camp just to earn a spot on the practice squad in that crowded quarterback room, but making the 90-player offseason roster is a good start.

Judge allows access to medical records in Henry Ruggs case

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 4:39 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Former Las Vegas Raiders Wide Receiver Henry Ruggs III Ordered to Appear In Court Following Fatal DUI Crash
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Former Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III continues to face multiple felony charges following a car accident that claimed the life of 23-year-old Tina Tintor last November. And the legal case, as many legal cases do, continues to move slowly through the justice system.

Most recently, via the Associated Press, a judge has ruled that prosecutors can obtain medical records regarding injuries sustained by Ruggs’s girlfriend, Kiara Je’nai Kilgo-Washington. Prosecutors claim that they want the medical records in order to prove that Kilgo-Washington suffered substantial injuries in the crash, since those injuries provide a separate basis for charges against Ruggs.

The prosecution also may be looking to seal off grounds for reasonable doubt based on whether Ruggs was actually driving the car. If he elects not to testify and if Kilgo-Washington invokes the Fifth Amendment when asked whether she was driving, can it be proven to the satisfaction of the very high legal standard applicable to criminal cases that Ruggs was actually driving?

Regardless of whether anyone agrees with the propriety of such an approach, the entire criminal justice system is premised on forcing prosecutors to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the key elements of the charges against Ruggs is that he was driving the car. Thus, while prosecutors may want those records in order to show that Kilgo-Washington suffered substantial injuries, the broader goal may be to secure a document in which she tells a doctor or some other medical professional that she was not driving the car and/or that Ruggs was.

Yes, it would be hearsay. And, yes, there are surely one or more various exceptions that could be utilized to allow the statement to be introduced into evidence at trial.

For now, there’s no specific reason to believe that Ruggs’s defense will be premised on the absence of sufficiently clear evidence that he was driving. But neither Ruggs nor his lawyers have any reason to put their cards on the table prematurely. The point is that the subtext for the prosecution’s pursuit of those records could be showing to the satisfaction of the reasonable-doubt standard that Ruggs was indeed driving.

Howie Roseman explains the decision to trade for A.J. Brown

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 3:50 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Texas Rangers v Philadelphia Phillies
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The Eagles stunned the football-following world on the first night of the draft by trading for Titans receiver A.J. Brown.

Recently, Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman visited #PFTPM to discuss the decision to make the trade.

“Three factors, when I think about why we made the trade,” Roseman said. “I think one was the player fit. The evaluation of the player. Tremendous player. We did a lot of work on him coming out of Ole Miss. Felt like this guy really made a difference whether playing inside or outside. How he complemented our young receivers. We drafted DeVonta [Smith]. We drafted Jalen Reagor. We have Quez Watkins. We signed Zach Pascal. We have a bunch of other guys here that have contributed to our football team. He was a different kind of player.”

Roseman became drawn to Brown given their experiences against another big receiver who could make things happen with the ball in his hands.

“We had played for a long time against Anquan Boldin,” Roseman said. “The difference he made as a player and how physical he was and the toughness that he played with. He hated to be tackled. Then we had won a championship with Alshon [Jeffrey] and what he did on the outside. That’s kind of a piece, that we had different body types.”

Roseman also explained that the current makeup of the roster made it easier to go after Brown.

“I think second is just where we were as a team,” Roseman said. “I think there’s two parts of that. I think the first part is we have a quarterback on a rookie deal so you’re able to maybe be more aggressive in those modes. I’m sure that was — I don’t want to talk for [Titans G.M. Jon Robinson] but I’m sure that was part of his thinking, like, ‘I got a quarterback that I’m paying.’

“The third part of it is that we had accumulated assets. We know this. The best guys in the draft are going to hit on 60 percent of their first-round picks. No matter how strongly you feel about a first-round pick, you still don’t know how that guy is going to transition. How is he going to transition to a new city? How is he going to transition with money in his pocket? How is he going to translate to new personalities? How is he going to translate living on his own for the first time? I’m not saying that’s a reason to be risk averse and not take draft picks, but because we had accumulated some of these draft picks and because of those other reasons, we felt like this made sense for us right now at this time.”

Roseman still had to consider the impact of trading for and paying Brown on the rest of the team.

“When you bring free agents in and you pay free agents a lot of money or you trade for guys and pay them a lot of money . . . I think when you do that and you don’t take care of your own locker room, you’re basically telling your guys like maybe you’re not good enough,” Roseman said. “Maybe the guys that you drafted, and you’ve developed and have given blood, sweat, and tears in Eagles uniforms, they’re not good enough. Then you risk those guys becoming independent contractors, right? Because when you get to free agency, you’re probably going to the highest bidder or close to the highest bidder. When you do that to your team and say, ‘Hey we’re going to be aggressive in trying to improve our team, but our priority is always going to be take care of our own.’ Guys we draft and develop that we know them day-to-day, the ins and outs to their personalities. I think what it says to our younger guys is you do the right thing, you play well, and we’re going to try take care of you.”

That’s an important point. A team can’t just pay big money to players who have never played there. The team also has to be willing to reward those who have earned second contracts, or the younger players indeed begin to realize that their future will be elsewhere.

If the Eagles keep performing at a high level, they’ll have to do that. Starting with quarterback Jalen Hurts, and extending to others. That’s what a team considers a good problem to have.

For little early Father’s Day shopping, buy Playmakers

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
May 15, 2022 - 3:13 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article

Two months ago today, Playmakers was released. We picked March 15 because it landed in the busiest week of the NFL offseason. And because there would be plenty of occasions to engage in the ancient art of capitalism by trying to get people to buy it as the year goes on.

Enter Father’s Day. Four weeks away. Dad loves football. Dad loves to read. You love checking the box on buying Dad’s Father’s Day gift. It all adds up.

It’s simple. It’s easy. Click and buy. The price is holding steady at $18.76 on Amazon. If you think Dad would like a signed copy, Premiere Collectibles still has some from a second run.

Or buy it for yourself, if you haven’t. Or tell your kids to buy it for you. You need a book to take to the beach, or wherever you’ll be going on vacation this summer.

Playmakers peels back the curtain on how the NFL operates, looking at 20 years of specific examples and controversies and other trends and developments and issues and everything else. It’s broken up into short, easy digestible chapters. You can read it start to finish. You can jump around. You can use it as a reference tool, if/when the next nutty thing happens and you want to see how a past incident possibly relates to the new situation.

If you or Dad visit PFT on a regular basis, it’s a pretty safe bet that you or Dad will like Playmakers. Especially since it currently costs less than four gallons of gas. By the time Father’s Day arrives, maybe it’ll cost less than two gallons of gas. Hooray?

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