Skip to content

Baltimore fans give officials a standing ovation

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

The real refs are back, and the fans are showing their appreciation.

When referee Gene Steratore and his crew walked out on the field about an hour before the Browns and Ravens kick off tonight in Baltimore, the fans in the stands gave the officials a standing ovation. The officials tipped their caps and waved to the fans in appreciation of the rare case of the fans showing love to the officials.

Steratore and his crew are the first officials to take the field since the NFL ended its lockout of the officials late on Wednesday night. Although officials are rarely popular with fans, the regular officials became popular as the outcry over the replacements’ mistakes reached a crescendo with Monday night’s debacle in Seattle.

So for now, the officials are popular with NFL fans. This won’t last long.

Permalink 48 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Texans “encouraged and impressed” by Jadeveon Clowney’s progress

Houston Texans v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

It’s been almost a year since the Texans made linebacker Jadeveon Clowney the top pick in the 2014 draft and the team’s hoping for a bigger impact from the former South Carolina star in his second pro season.

His first season was almost a complete washout because of a knee injury that forced him to miss 12 games and led to a pair of surgeries, including a microfracture operation that set up an offseason of rehab. Clowney said recently that he’s encouraged by the progress he’s made in rehab and General Manager Rick Smith said the same thing on Tuesday while adding that the team has big plans for him in 2015.

“I’ve been encouraged and impressed. He’s doing well. We expect him to be a major contributor this year,” Smith said, via the team.

The Texans had the best defensive player in the league last year in defensive end J.J. Watt and the prospect of putting a healthy Clowney on the field with him conjures up images of a defense that can overwhelm opposing offenses. Until Clowney gets on the field, though, we won’t know what impact the surgeries might have on his ability to fulfill Smith’s expectations.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Stephen Jones takes exception to criticizing Cowboys over Greg Hardy

Carolina Panthers v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones is pushing back against a perception that the Cowboys were unprepared for the 10-game suspension the NFL handed down to Greg Hardy.

Asked if the NFL’s 10-game suspension of Hardy shows that the league considered it a more serious matter than the Cowboys realized when they signed him, Jones shot back, “I take exception to that.”

“I think we were very aware that there was a suspension pending and knew that it could be of that length, so I would disagree with you there. I think we were very aware of that. I don’t think it turned out any different than we thought could happen. I think we structured a contract to deal with that and knew very well — our eyes were wide open on that,” Jones said.

Asked if the NFL found something in its investigation that the Cowboys weren’t aware of, Jones said that’s not the case.

“I think we were very aware of the things that went on,” Jones said. “This was not a surprise to anybody.”

Although Hardy’s contract had a maximum value of $13.1 million, the Cowboys structured the contract to protect themselves in the case of a suspension, and if Hardy loses his appeal, the Cowboys will end up paying him about $5 million for six games. The Cowboys think that’s a bad deal for one of the NFL’s best pass rushers, who also happens to be one of the poster boys for the NFL’s domestic violence problem.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Falcons taking a look at former first-rounder Adam Carriker

Adam Carriker AP

Another member of the vaunted NFL Veteran Combine Class of 2015 has gotten a job, or at least an application for one.

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Falcons have brought former first-round pick Adam Carriker to minicamp this week on a tryout basis.

Carriker was the 13th overall pick in 2007 by the Rams, and got a lucrative free agent deal from Washington, before a pair of quadriceps tears and three surgeries derailed his career.

He hasn’t played since early in the 2012 season, but for the price of free, the Falcons figured it couldn’t hurt.

The Falcons have also brought in 10 other players on a tryout basis for coach Dan Quinn’s first minicamp: Cornerback Derek Cox, cornerback Kennard Cox, wide receiver B.J. Hamilton, tackle Nate Menkin, running back Horace Miller, running back Carlton Mitchell, fullback Collin Mooney, running back Evan Royster, guard Tevita Stevens and wide receiver Stephen Williams were practicing with the Falcons as tryout players.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Texans looking to deal safety D.J. Swearinger

D.J. Swearinger AP

A recent second-round pick is reportedly on the trading block.

The Texans are efforting to deal starting strong safety D.J. Swearinger, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported.

The No. 57 overall pick in 2013, the 23-year-old Swearinger has started 22-of-32 games in two seasons with Houston, making 144 tackles, defending 10 passes and hauling in three interceptions.

Swearinger has two years left on his contract at affordable salaries ($722,390 in 2015, $881,085 in 2016), and his affordability and youth could perhaps make him attractive to another club.

The Texans’ secondary is somewhat thin beyond the starting ranks, and the news of Swearinger landing in trade talks only adds to possibility of the club looking to add to its defensive backfield in the draft. What’s more, the Texans met with free agent safety Stevie Brown last week.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Evan Mathis came up in Eagles trade talks with Dolphins

Evan Mathis AP

Any interest the Eagles might have had in Dolphins outside linebacker/defensive end/cautionary tale Dion Jordan was rendered moot when Jordan was suspended for a year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

But it’s clear in the aftermath there was interest.

Via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles discussed a trade involving a conditional late-round pick in exchange for the third overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. But guard Evan Mathis was also discussed during the process, which ultimately led to nothing.

Mathis is skipping the Eagles’ voluntary workouts, amid reprots he could be released if he’s not traded. He’s due $5.5 million and $6 million the next two years, a valuation Chip Kelly clearly doesn’t agree with.

You’d think he’d have a degree of a market this offseason, since veteran guards with big contracts have been dealt already (Ben Grubbs), but the fact he’d come up in what amounts to a throw-away deal for Jordan should indicate exactly how the Eagles feel about him.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Dion Jordan to be suspended for the 2015 season

Dion Jordan AP

One of the top picks in the 2013 NFL Draft will miss the entire upcoming season.

Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan, the No. 3 overall selection two years ago, will be suspended for the 2015 regular season after a positive substance-abuse test, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday.

According to Schefter, Jordan’s positive test stems from a diluted test sample, and he is not appealing the ban. The defensive end served a four-game suspension in 2014 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Furthermore, ESPN reports the latest positive test has scuttled a potential trade between the Dolphins and Eagles for Jordan, who played collegiately at Oregon under now-Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly.

The 25-year-old Jordan hasn’t had much of an impact in his first two NFL seasons, notching just three sacks in 26 regular season games. And now, he has suffered a significant setback.

Permalink 99 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers G.M.: “We made our statement” on domestic violence

Dave Gettleman AP

The Panthers could certainly use a game-breaking wide receiver, and picking 25th in the 2015 NFL Draft, the guys with flawless resumes will be gone.

But it seems safe to assume they won’t be using their first-rounder on former Missouri/Oklahoma wideout Dorial Green-Beckham, not based on General Manager Dave Gettleman’s response to a general question about character Tuesday.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Gettleman blew that possibility out of the sky, without even being asked about the player specifically.

In terms of domestic violence, we made our statement,” Gettleman said, a clear reference to letting former franchise player Greg Hardy walk unfettered into the market.

Green-Beckham was investigated but not charged following a domestic violence incident, and also has drug issues in the past, making it easier for some teams to steer clear of a first-round talent.

Of course, drug issues alone might not be enough to knock a player off the Panthers’ radar, as Gettleman admitted having “more discussions” about some players with character questions this year. The Panthers brought pass-rusher marijuana test-failer Randy Gregory in for a visit, and Gettleman seemed to suggest that the scrutiny of players such as Gregory (and perhaps Shane Ray) was intense.

“It’s take no prisoners now,” Gettleman said of his interviews. “When they come in here, they get grilled pretty hard. We’re not hitting them with feather dusters; it’s two-by-fours. We have to find out what it’s about, what he’s about.”

Picking at the bottom of the first round, the Panthers might find a player who falls into their laps because of those questions. And it seems there are certain things they’ll abide, and certain things they won’t after paying Hardy $13.1 million for one game last year.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL will give up its tax-exempt status

Super Bowl Football AP

The NFL has often faced scrutiny over its status as a tax-exempt organization. Now the league is deciding to give up that status.

According to Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal, the NFL will change its status to taxable from tax-exempt. The federal government has granted tax-exempt 501(c)(6) status to the NFL since 1966.

That may reduce the criticism the league takes for being a tax-exempt organization, but more important to the league, it removes the requirement that the NFL disclose the compensation of Commissioner Roger Goodell and other top executives. So Goodell’s salary will no longer be public record.

Although the league has been classified as a tax-exempt organization, the 32 teams are all taxable, for-profit businesses, which means the money made by the league is taxed. This move will not affect the tax burden faced by the teams.

Permalink 39 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Teams expressing “legitimate interest” in Ray Rice

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

Ray Rice’s NFL career as we knew it ended the moment TMZ got its hands on a videotape of him punching his wife in the face.

Now, they’re saying that career might not be over.

The website reports, citing multiple sources, that “there are a handful of teams that have expressed ‘legitimate interest‘ in the embattled running back.”

Frankly, it’s a little hard to believe there are multiple teams willing to take on the public relations risk for a running back who was closer to the end of his career than the beginning before he knocked his wife’s lights out.

Since many had hoped he’d get a chance but none were offering one, the idea that the former Ravens running back wouldn’t just jump on the first thing smoking seems dubious.

Of course, if it happens, it’s hard to imagine that it would before the draft, since any team could get a younger, cheaper, less complicated back at any time Thursday through Saturday (or Saturday night through Sunday or Monday).

But with so many willing to play the second chance game for talented players involved in domestic violence (cough, Jerry Jones and his daughter, cough), maybe a market will emerge.

If it does, you can bet the runners-up will deny they ever had any interest, however.

Permalink 26 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL fines Jets $100,000 for Revis tampering

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Getty Images

The Jets are paying for tampering with Darrelle Revis while he was still on the Patriots. But they’re not paying very much.

The NFL has fined the Jets $100,000 as a result of owner Woody Johnson’s comments about Revis, but the Jets will not lose any draft picks, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. During the 2014 season, Johnson said, “I’d love for Darrelle to come back.”

Three months later, Revis did come back, leaving New England and returning to the Jets in free agency.

If Johnson’s comments helped the Jets acquire Revis, then that fine is a bargain. For a billionaire like Johnson, a $100,000 fine is chump change, and Revis is one of the best players in the NFL.

After signing Revis, the Jets later complained that Patriots owner Robert Kraft had tampered himself with comments he made about Revis. But the NFL has decided not to discipline the Patriots for that.

Mehta reports that at least one other team will be fined for tampering.

Permalink 145 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Urban Meyer: Media attention on Tim Tebow “did wear” on NFL teams

New York Jets Introduce Tim Tebow Getty Images

New Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow is no stranger to media attention.

But for NFL clubs, the focus on Tebow has been an unwanted byproduct of having the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner on the roster, his former college coach believes.

In an interview Tuesday with The Dan Patrick Show, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said numerous NFL coaches had indicated the attention paid to Tebow was an annoyance.

“I talked to many of the coaches involved, and one thing every coach wants is lack of distraction so they can focus on their team,” said Meyer, who coached Tebow at Florida. “And when all of a sudden ESPN has live people watching practice, and every time you wake up there’s ‘Tim Tebow this, Tebow this, Tebow this’ and you’re talking about a backup quarterback. And that did wear on people.”

However, Meyer noted: “… I think that is over for the most part, because you just don’t hear as much, and now hopefully Tim can just learn to be an NFL quarterback.

Asked about why Tebow wasn’t able to sustain success earlier in his career, Meyer noted the quarterback’s role in Denver’s 2011 division championship and dismissed Tebow’s tough one-season stint with the Jets as “not good for all involved.”

Said Meyer: “The problem with Tim — and this is the only problem — he creates so much conversation and distraction that I think that spooks some teams.

“And I think we’re that far beyond it now, that that’s not that big of a distraction anymore. He’s just a quarterback trying to make a team now.”

Meyer said he recently talked to Tebow and was pleased about his former player’s new career opportunity in Philadelphia.

“He deserves it. Hope he makes it. He’s in a great place,” Meyer said.

Permalink 29 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Brady was at stadium on day of White House visit

Obama AP

The news that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn’t attend last week’s visit by the defending Super Bowl champions to the White House initially didn’t register on the national radar scale.  Brady reportedly had a prior family commitment, and no one seriously questioned that.

But now comes word, from Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, that Brady spent part of last Thursday at Gillette Stadium, while his teammates were in D.C.  Although it’s possible that Brady’s family commitment kept him from traveling to Washington but not from making an appearance at work, this specific wrinkle makes the situation a bit more interesting.

The specific chain of events, with Brady not going to the White House and word now leaking that he was at least able to go to NFL’s reigning equivalent, invites speculation regarding whether Brady simply chose not to show up.  Which invites speculation that Brady chose not to show up because of a comment from White House press secretary Josh Earnest after Brady’s earnest-but-ineffective press conference in the immediate wake of the emergence of the #DeflateGate scandal.

“For years it’s been clear that there is no risk that I was going to take Tom Brady’s job as quarterback of the New England Patriots,” Earnest said after Brady’s widely-panned performance.  “But I can tell you, as of today, it’s pretty clear that there’s no risk of him taking my job either.”

The Boston Herald previously suggested that the jab may have influenced Brady’s decision not to attend the event.  This new information from Reiss, which surely didn’t come to him accidentally after last Thursday’s joke from President Barack Obama regarding the football-inflation imbroglio, supports the conclusion that Brady was demonstrating his displeasure.

The crack from the Commander-in-Chief drew a thumb’s down from coach Bill Belichick.  In turn, it may have prompted Brady to give himself a thumb’s up for choosing not to be there to hear it personally.

We also aren’t prepared to rule out that, in the photo of Obama holding a helmet autographed by the team, he’s not thinking to himself, “Is that ‘thank you’ under Tom Brady’s signature?”

Permalink 92 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ravens cancel draft party amid riots in Baltimore

riot AP

The Ravens have announced that they are canceling their Thursday night draft party as a result of the riots that have engulfed Baltimore.

Authorities have imposed a citywide curfew of 10 p.m. every night this week, and the Ravens have announced that they will call off their party to ensure that no one attending is in violation.

“Out of respect to the curfew in Baltimore, the Ravens have cancelled their Draft Party, which was scheduled for this Thursday (4/30) night (7-11 p.m.) at M&T Bank Stadium,” the team said in a statement.

The Baltimore Orioles also canceled their Monday and Tuesday night home games at the request of local authorities.

Permalink 62 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Bengals exercise 2016 options on Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler contracts

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Bengals had a pair of first-round picks in 2012 and they apparently like the players they selected enough to make a move to ensure they’ll return to Cincinnati for a fifth season.

Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that the team has exercised their options on the contracts of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and guard Kevin Zeitler for the 2016 season. Both options are guaranteed against injury only and the Bengals could opt to withdraw the options before the start of the new league year.

Kirkpatrick, the 17th pick in the draft, struggled with injuries as a rookie and has played mostly in sub packages in Cincinnati’s deep secondary the last two years. Terence Newman is gone this year, though, and Kirkpatrick has designs on bigger things after six interceptions over the last two seasons.

“I want to be the best. I don’t want to just be a starting corner. I want to be the best. I want to be the No. 1 corner in the league and that’s what I thrive,” Kirkpatrick said, via the team’s website.

Zeitler, who went 27th overall, has been a starter since arriving in Cincinnati and his salary will be just over $8 million under the terms of the option. Kirkpatrick will come in around $7.5 million and the team is reportedly interested in longer deals with both players.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Live: A.J. Hawk, Bengals talk with Paul Dehner Jr.

Carolina Panthers v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Tuesday’s PFT Live should come with a striped helmet because we’re going to be spending a good chunk of time talking about the Bengals.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk will join Mike Florio to share his early thoughts on working with a new team for the first time since the Packers made him the fifth overall pick of the 2006 draft. Hawk signed with the Bengals this offseason and he’ll be getting a few new teammates later this week when the Bengals make their draft selections.

Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer will join Florio to discuss some of the places the Bengals might be looking to enhance their roster with those selections. They’ll also talk about coach Marvin Lewis’s contract extension and more during Dehner’s visit.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top